The 2015 Technic Polar Expedition

Image 1: LEGO® Technic designer Aurelien Rouffiange with the 2015 Arctic Truck (42038)


What was the inspiration behind the 42038 Arctic Truck?

Since I was a kid, I have always loved reading about explorers and scientific discoveries. So much of our planet is covered in water and ice, and we have only explored a fraction of these big parts of our planet. The appeal of mystery in exploration is universal, I think. And polar researchers have the coolest equipment! I was inspired by two of the biggest polar vehicle types - a heavy-duty transporter and a tracked snow cat.

The result is a classic, futuristic-looking model of a vehicle that has to work in the harshest regions in the world. It has triangular tracks for all terrain transportation, a big rear bay and rotating crane for loading and unloading cargo and geological samples, and a huge cockpit with room for three scientists. There’s an antenna, because you need satellite communication, and on the dashboard, you can see the scanner and radar that help scientists navigate in extreme temperatures and altitudes.

The chassis is quite classic, and it is very similar when you rebuild the truck into the alternative model, a serious Tracked Pick up Truck. The Pick up has a crane for loading or unloading cargo, maneuvering on ice, rescue operations, or attaching or detaching the mobile antenna mounted on the rear. Both models have so much play value in their own way.

One of the first LEGO Technic models I got was the 8858 Rebel Wrecker (from 1994). I loved it! It was built for extreme adventure. I saw a chance to pay tribute to my coolest childhood toy vehicle, and that’s what inspired the design for the alternative model.

The logo and decorations were inspired by early real life polar expeditions. I’m French, and France has a history of Antarctic expeditions that goes back more than 200 years. This was my humble way of contributing to these polar expeditions, hehe!

Image 2: LEGO® Technic designer Aurelien Rouffiange with concept art and inspiration for the 2015 Arctic Truck (42038)


What were the biggest challenges?

For one thing, fitting the Power Functions battery box into a very low and flat profile vehicle, and getting the suspension perfect for the model as it is, and for the extra weight if you upgrade it with the battery box. Tracks are always a little tricky, too. We wanted them to work on at least hard carpet without designing a new element. And giving a new and fresh look to Polar trucks that usually look old fashioned.

What was the best thing about the design process?

All of it! I got to work on the Polar/science theme – that’s a territory we have not explored much in Technic until now J. I got to use my favorite color: Technic Orange! And it was the first time I had the chance to work on a model this big. I am really happy with the final look of both the main and alternative models!