A vehicle even a youngster can build

As a child, I enjoyed playing with LEGO blocks. I would spend hours creating all fashions of vehicles, plus garages for them - all of which I considered to be works of art.

Like almost everything, LEGO kits have evolved over time so that users can create more advanced models than the standard LEGO blocks.

LEGO is coming out with a vehicle model that may get me back into playing with building blocks.

The company has teamed with Mercedes-Benz to create a Technic model based on the multi-purpose Unimog U 400 truck.

You may not be familiar with the Unimog because it is rare in the U.S., but is widely used throughout Europe. Mercedes-Benz calls it “the world’s most versatile workhorse.”

When it was developed, “the drive system concept for the first Unimog ambitiously sought to redefine the term ‘utility’ for four-wheeled vehicles,” according to Mercedes-Benz.

“The result was an entirely distinctive kind of working machine and tractor featuring very high cross-country mobility thanks to all-wheel-drive, capable of high speeds for on-road transport, and provided with implement mounting areas - front, center and rear - for more flexibility than any other vehicle.”

Comprising 2,048 parts, the 1:12.5 scale Unimog model will be the largest LEGO Technic model ever released.

Talk about detail. Designed in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz, the features of the model are the same as the real vehicle and are accurate down to the engine pistons, axles and suspension.

Reflecting the Unimog’s wide variety of applications that include snowplowing and road construction, the LEGO model features a pneumatically-operated crane gripper arm that can rotate almost 360 degrees via an electrically controlled turntable.

There is also a front winch that can be converted into a snowplow.

As you might expect, this is not an inexpensive toy. It will sell for around $260.

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the start of Unimog production in 1951, the LEGO Technic Unimog U 400 will be available starting in August.

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