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Technic and power functions --can someone help me understand for my son's birthday?

So, my kiddo turns 6 next month. Before you tune me out for asking about technic for an almost six-year-old, hear me out, please. He's been building Lego pretty much all his life (he even had the huge infant lego before he got the big megablocks then duplo). He built Destiny's Bounty pretty much by himself a year ago. After Christmas, he did his Tie Fighter independently. Plus, he MOCs (we call it free building) all the time. He recently went to a birthday party put on by a lego education outfit (Play-well Teknologies) where they used the Technic power functions and built cars. He loved it. He's going to a summer camp put on by these folks a few weeks after his birthday.

So, I'm thinking I need to get him some of these power functions for his birthday, but I must admit I'm lost and can't find a good primer on the subject. I assume he needs the motor and the battery pack and some sort of cables. But, honestly, I'm lost. Do I just buy 8293, the power functions accessory pack and call that done? Or, is there some piece you always end up needing two of that I ought to just get an extra one of now? Or, is there some reason why the m-motor in the accessory pack isn't what I want? Did I mention that I'm lost?

As a follow-up, in looking at power functions, I found myself in the foreign world of technic. So far, he's just been doing basic lego brick sets and Hero Factory. Technic is another whole new world of Lego. Based on what I've told you so far, is he ready for a technic kit, maybe one of the minis? They say age nine and up...but so do many of the other things he's building.



  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    No idea if he's ready for a Technic set (6 seems pretty young, but maybe he's more advanced than others). But if he is and he's interested in power functions, why not just get him a Technic set with power functions included? That way he can built the set per the instructions, sort of learn how the functions work, and then take apart the set and have the power functions available for other projects. Just a thought.
  • BuilderMomBuilderMom Member Posts: 21
    It is a valid thought if you don't know my kid, nkx. Getting him to take anything apart is an ongoing issue. He doesn't even ever want to take apart MOCs, until he runs out of parts. Plus, I know that he's going to learn to use the power functions in the summer camp. From what I saw at the birthday party, it was all in a very basic way, just making the car "go." But, the kiddos loved the new twist to lego.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    @BuilderMom, if you just want power function (battery box, IR controller and receiver), you can consider some of the trains (#3677, #7938, #7939), builds are easier than most Technic and a nice introduction to power functions.

    If you really want to go Technic, my advice would be #9395 + #8293, it has instructions to add motorized, but you need to buy the #8293 motor set separably. The motor set on its own does not do anything, it is only meant as a complement to many existing Technic sets.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Member Posts: 380
    You might also consider #42006 which can have added power functions.
  • OldLegoOldLego Member Posts: 28
    I built both #42006 and #9395. #9295 I found easier to build if that matters. I have also added the power functions to the excavator. I find that one the cooler of the two since it has universal joints and lots of cool gears. I have another power function set that I was thinking about putting on the tow truck, but I have #9396 which I think would be more fun with the power functions. Maybe I'll just get more...

    I love technic...good luck.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,696
    I would start him off with a smaller non-motorized set. If you start off with a larger set like the 42006 I think he will be in over his head. Part of putting Lego sets together isn't just putting them together but understanding how they work. The hardest part about building a Technic set is getting all of the gears to mesh and operate properly, even adults have trouble with this. If you get him a large set such as the 42006 you need to be prepared to dive in and help him to understand how it all works. If you can't do that, then you could likely end up with an unfinished/non-functional set and 2 frustrated people.
  • BuilderMomBuilderMom Member Posts: 21
    Thanks for the input, gang. I was already leaning the way of oldtodd33's advice, so I think I'll just go there. Although I've never done a Technic set, I have seen enough parts (LegoFest, Discovery Center, etc.) to think that he's not really ready for a motorized/complicated Technic set. But, a little one might be fun just to dip his toe in.

    The thing about all of this that, honestly, blows me away, is that no one else seems to "get" what I saw as the joy of letting the little ones use the motors in really simple, basic MOCs. Is it that most families don't MOC with their kids like we do or that they just want to keep their bricks as a non-electric toy? Just food for thought ;0
  • The_MackThe_Mack Member Posts: 239
    Some kids are just advance when it comes to LEGO, they are able to do a lot more than the norm. I think once he's tried a few of the smaller Technic sets, and see what he's been able to do with them. If he's wanting to motorize things, you might want to look at a possible #8547 Mindstorms for the future or #31313 which isn't out yet.. It's the ultimate Technic set in my opinion, and some LEGO/Robotics camps are based around them. But try the smaller technic sets first.
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