Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 at 11:24am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Time again for another review - this time from the City line. I don't generally buy a lot of City sets, but I made an exception for the 4439 Heavy-Duty Helicopter. Should you do the same and let this chopper fly into your heart? You'll just have to read on to find out.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The first thing I see when looking at the box is a Chinook - this set appears to be a civilian version of the CH-47. If that means nothing to you, then all you see is a big helicopter and a little off-roading vehicle. The back of the box indicates that there are four bags that you can build in order. It also highlights its play features.
As expected, when you pop open the box you've got four bags. This is apparently an involved-enough set that it warrants two instruction manuals. Both are pretty thick, so you can expect the build to take a while.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The first thing you build it the off-roader. It's a simple build with nothing exciting to mention. I forgot to put the stick on the top until the end, but I don't think it makes a huge difference.
Next we get to the meat of the set, the helicopter. As hinted at by the number of bags and the instructions, it's a pretty long build. There's a little bit of SNOT building along the sides and on the front, which is always appreciated and makes for some nice shapes. There's some slightly repetitive parts, but for the most part they keep it varied.
Eventually, the roof and doors go on, and then finally the rotors. Aside from the engines, this part felt a little bit more boring, although the roof and door pieces were new to me so I enjoyed that. All-in-all, it's not a build that's going to make you struggle, especially with the numbered bags, but it will take a while to see it through to the end.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Above you see all the pieces from the set, broken up by bag. Blue and white are the predominant colors, followed by dark grey, black, and yellow. It's a good variety with a lot of plates, bricks, and panels.
The first bag didn't have a lot of parts that excited me. There was a black lightsaber hilt, an interesting hat and a new life vest, and a nice printed 1x2 tile. The 2x4 tiles are always nice to see, and the car fender just looks kind of cool.
The second bag had a large black brick that should really help with SNOT building, as well as some cool dome pieces. I personally haven't gotten my hands on those window pieces in a while, so it was good to see them. I like the partial chrome finish on the wheel, and printed control panels are always awesome.
The third bag was a bit boring - nothing new about the trap door or cockpit piece. I had never seen the two roof pieces, but I'm sure they're nothing new. The last bag had a cool landing gear piece, an interesting slope, and some really big rotors.
Once upon a time, I was really big into military aviation, so when I see this all I think is, 'Chinook, Chinook, Chinook!' They do a good job of capturing the look, and I really like it. The one place that needs some work is the nose - the domed pieces on the black part look great, but the rounded 2x3 bricks on the top need something to make the corners smoother.
I think the color scheme is a good fit. The blue stripe along the top is nice and the yellow accents on the doors make them stand out and add some contrast. Not many improvements here that I can see.
The set comes with three minifigs: two pilots and a ranger. The latter has some nice back and front printing and a good face. I love the torso and leg printing on the pilots, especially the little map on their legs. The back printing is hard to see, but still nice. I'm not sure what kind of expression the pilot with the aviators is giving, but it's kind of weird. None of them have two-sided heads, which isn't a big deal to me.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
As you would expect with any helicopter, the rotors spin. This helps make it very swooshable - you can run around your house flying this copter to your heart's content.
Play feature number two is the ramp on the aft end. It opens up and the ATV we built earlier can drive right up inside. Oddly though, there's a bunch of empty, unused space between the vehicle bay and the cockpit. Seems like a missed opportunity to me.
The last main play feature is the opening and closing hatches, three in total. They're not super-amazing, but I was impressed with the tolerances of the pieces that allow them to close and look solid and hinge up effortlessly.
Yep, that's kind of it. No bad guys to catch, no forest fires to put out, and no rabid bears to put down. One less pilot and one more criminal wouldn't have been too hard, LEGO. Then the unused space could be a holding cell!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Well-built and sturdy
- Fun build
- Lots of hatches
What's not to like?
- Not a lot of play features
- Nothing for the police to do
- Tragically unused space
All in all, I'm a fan of this set, but that's probably because I'm biased. It is really cool and I'll be displaying it for the foreseeable future. At $50 though, I don't feel like it would be worth it for most. If you think it looks cool like me, wait for it to go on sale.
I hope you all have enjoyed this review. You can, of course, leave your feedback in the Talkback topic on the forums along with any questions you may have. And please keep checking back on BZPower for more LEGO news and reviews!
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