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Lego Technic: Studded or Studless construction

Huw posted a very good article on a Lego catalog from 1995 that raised an interesting point about the Lego Technic line. He mentioned that 1995 was the last year before Lego Technic pieces changed forever. Sets in 1996 started incorporating the new studless pieces, and as the years went on the ratio of studless to studded pieces changed more and more in favor of studless.

It's been about 20 years now since that momentous occasion, enough time for us to look back and reflect. I was wondering (because I often wonder that myself) what kind of Technic sets people generally prefer - sets that utilize mostly studless construction, sets with only studded pieces, or a hybrid set with both types? Or perhaps not just sets - which construction style feels more natural?

Personally I am torn - I find the build to be more enjoyable when the construction has more studded pieces. But at the same time I tend to like the look of the final models more when studless pieces are involved. Studless sets can also pack more functionality in the same amount of space, but tend to feel less moddable, in my opinion.

A good example to illustrate this conundrum is the evolution of a Lego super car line. Which one did people like to build/look at/play with more? Personally, my favorite was 8880, but I could be biased because that was the first Technic set I had the pleasure of building :)


  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,711
    studless. I think the old models looked awful. what's even better than studless is a system build with technic mechanisms hidden inside.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,779
    Studless. The squareness of the studded beams interferes with many designs.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    I always been a Technic fan and I went into my dark ages while it was still only studded. Even though I like the cleaner look of studless models and also the help of those many curved panels for a smoother look. 
    That said my 2 favorites Technic models are studded #8860 Car Chassis as it was a memorable birthday gift when I turned 10 and while I came back from my dark ages, get the super cars that came out during my dark ages and I really love the build of #8880 Super car.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,119
    They both have their merits. It's been interesting watching the transition from one to the other over the last 20 years.

    Maybe that would make another interesting article...
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor Member Posts: 3,937
    edited February 2016
    Studless pieces looks much better aesthetically.

    Studded pieces are much more useful for things like gearboxes or transmissions. 

    Answer: both
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    A few years back, I compared my Technic super cars :
    Since then I also acquired #956 Chassis and #8865 Test Car.

    The older Technic builds also had a charm and completeness that the new ones do not have, I love the look of #8462 Tow Truck, it also has 2 air tanks, something we do not see anymore but would be more than welcome in sets like #42043 Mercedes Arocs...
  • AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,044
    For Technic sets, I prefer studless parts. Not just aesthetically but also functionally, since you don't have to worry about the space taken up by the studs and anti-studs, you don't have to worry about the corners of bricks colliding, and when building your own original creations you don't have to worry so much about "which side is up".

    Studded parts are obviously more useful for System–Technic integration, such as when you want to give a large System vehicle a sturdier base.

    Of course, that's just a generalization. There are times when studded Technic parts are useful for Technic creations, and times when studless Technic parts are useful for System creations.

    Aesthetically, I think the newer Technic sets that use primarily studless beams and panels look much better than the older ones. But that's not purely a matter of studded beams versus studless ones. It often has just as much to do with things like the introduction of smooth Technic panels that make the sets feel cleaner and more finished.
  • theLEGOmantheLEGOman Member Posts: 1,524
    Studless technic beams tend to flex a fair bit, just pick up an Arocs in the middle underneath and you'll see what i mean, same for the Unimog.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,270
    I had a couple of studded Technic sets before entering my 'dark age'. If Technic sets still used bricks rather than beams, I'd buy them. As it is, I don't. I don't really consider those sets as 'real' Lego, if that makes sense? - i.e. Lego that you build, rather than connect.

    Having said that, I really like the flexibility that the beams give when making frames for models. One of the frustrations with the technic bricks was that you couldn't connect angled bricks right next to each other.

    I'm generally of the opinion that (in system sets and mocs), both are useful. One of the mocs I'm currently building uses beams for the main frame, and bricks to connect the outer 'skin'.

    I still have pretty much zero interest in the newer studless Technic sets though, although I might well end up getting the new Bucket Wheel Excavator, just because it's so huge.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Member Posts: 1,895
    I'm with @Paperballpark - I started out with studded sets and I just really like the way they look, but it's also easier to see it as Lego because you can more easily connect it to standard bricks. I suppose it's silly now I've built Lance's Mecha Horse, but I find it harder to visualise how newer Technic could be integrated with things I'd want to motorise - I've never been good at MOCing with Technic in the first place, so the studless elements add another layer of abstraction for me. 

    Having said that, the growth of my obsession with Technic in my late teens can be traced to all those lovely little pocket money-priced sets they did in 1998 - when I went back to those recently I was surprised at how many studless pieces were involved. I had a period of serious illness in that year and I remember sitting building them and watching Robot Wars and thinking, "I could do it! I could build a robot!", which is quite something given that I don't think of myself as mechanically minded, even though I love the look of robots, planes, construction vehicles, etc.

    One of my unrequited Lego loves is the Mobile Crane, and realistically the only way I'll ever afford one is in one of its more modern, studless incarnations. And then there's the Bucket Wheel Excavator, which is so huge and ridiculous that it has quite stolen my heart. I am curious about what it'd be like to build a large studless model, but when it comes to spending serious money on sets, they tend to end up behind Creator stuff that I know my partner (a staunch Lego traditionalist, particularly with Technic) will enjoy building with me. Still, maybe one day...
  • willobee498willobee498 Member Posts: 349
    Love the studless. Just so much easier to build with, I think. And unlike most I see many easy connections to motorizing brick built stuff, as happily the still make many studded technic parts. So very many brick based sets have a large variety of stuless Technic pieces included, I don't see how they can be so separated to others. But maybe that's my youth talking, since i only ever owned two studded Technic sets back in the day.
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot Member Posts: 799
    ^ I agree totally. I just voted #10240 as my all time favorite set over on the other thread. One of the things I love about that set is the gearbox driving the studless Technic mechanism and lift arms that move the s-foils.
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