Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at 6:10pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
If you paid close attention to my Toy Fair coverage you'd know that there was a set I already had waiting to be built. Now that I'm done with that event, I have turned my attentions to review 60046 Helicopter Surveillance from this year's LEGO City line. Strongly resembling the Sikorsky S-61R (Sea King or Jolly Green Giant), this helicopter seems like quite the set. Is that really the case though? 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.
Look at that box, so boxy and box-like. But ignore the ages on there ("That's just a suggestion.") and focus on the sweet helicopter, along with the hideout, truck, and plethora of cop and robber minifigures. Flipping it over, we see a callout to the modular building nature of the set, along with what is essentially a comic showcasing the action features. I really like them doing it that way, as it adds something more to the packaging.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
With 528 parts spread across six bags, there's certainly a lot of building to be done. It actually takes a good while, but is varied enough that it's not too boring or tedious.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
I go into a lot of detail in the video regarding the pieces in each bag, so watch that if looking at pictures isn't good enough for you. There's a lot of white and light and dark grey, with blue being a major highlight on the helicopter and green on the car. There's a good variety of basic bricks, plates, and slopes that would be a good addition to any collection.
There's not too many pieces that stood out to me. I'd say my favorite was the 1x4 masonry brick, which you get a whole bunch of, along with a good number of 1x2 bricks. There's quite a few SNOT pieces too, from modified bricks to plates. This set has a little bit of everything.
The final product is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The helicopter looks sharp from all angles and has some great details like the radar antennas under the nose and the jet engines on either side. I feel they did a good job with the color scheme and blocked things off in a way that looks appealing. They did a decent job with the curves on the nose, although I do wish it was a little smoother. Also, a more gradual curve or slope on the bottom of the tail would have been appreciated. Despite those two things though, I really like the overall look and am quite happy with it.
The robbers' hideout is a fairly simple structure making great use of the masonry bricks to give it a run down and dilapidated look. The boards on the windows and 'Keep Out' sign are both nice touches, as is the chimney. The inside is sparse, just housing a safe, but I'd rather they spent bricks on the helicopter than fleshing out the interior anyway.
The pickup truck is nice and straightforward. It's green and grey and has a crate on the back for storing ill-gotten loot. There's nothing too fancy here, but with the limited amount of parts they had to use I think the designers did a good job.
You get three police officer minifigs in this set - an 'arrester,' a pilot, and a surveillance specialist. The non-pilots are identical except for the heads and feature front and back printing on bright blue torsos. The pilot has a dark blue torso with a flight suit print that says 'POLICE' on the back, in case you weren't sure who you were dealing with. None of them have double-sided heads or leg printing.
The criminals look like they just broke out of prison. One is wearing a black leather jacket over his prison outfit while the other isn't even trying to hide it. I like the black masks and greased mustache the one robber has, although the stubbly look on the other works too. The printing continues onto the backs of their torsos, but again, neither has a double-sided head or printed legs.
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?
The helicopter has an accessible cockpit that seats two, a sliding door on the left side with a rope that comes out, and a ramp that opens and closes. And of course, the rotors spin. While I think these features are all fine and dandy, I feel like the inside of the helicopter was forgotten about. There's a huge amount of empty space in there, and while I understand why they couldn't fill it all, it would have been nice to have another door or a removable roof so you could more easily access it. That's probably my biggest issue with this set, which I don't see as too major considering what you do get.
The hideout has two opening doors, and I think the sliding one is a great touch and adds a lot to the structure. On the inside, you just have a safe that opens up - nothing too special.
The pickup doesn't have too many features - the doors open and close, the roof comes off so you can add a minifig, and the crate pops on and off the back. And of course, you can roll it around on the floor!
The real fun is had, of course, when you combine all three elements with the minifigures. There's tons of scenarios you can come up with, and lots of fun to be had. I enjoyed swooshing the helicopter around, and it's sturdy enough to do so without fear of a midair disassembly. This set should be enough to spark any child's imagination.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Sikorsky S-61R Sea King!
- Great design on the helicopter
- Wide variety of useful parts
- Lots of masonry bricks
- Solid minifigures
- Great play potential
What's not to like?
- Inside of the helicopter is very bare
- So is the inside of the hideout
- A couple areas of the helicopter could be a little smoother.
This set comes with 528 parts and retails for $74.99. While that may not seem too great, there's a lot of bigger pieces like baseplates and rotor blades here and I feel it's certainly worth that amount. I was able to pick it up on Amazon for a little over $50 though, and for that price this set is a no-brainer (if you like helicopters, that is). Overall it's well-designed, has some good pieces, and offers a lot of play value - to me those are all the hallmarks of a quality LEGO set and I certainly recommend this one.
Thank you all for reading this review (and watching the video) - hopefully you enjoyed it! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Talkback and I'll do my best to answer them. I just made a trip to the LEGO Store today, so you can be sure there will be more reviews coming soon (from myself and other staff) as well as plenty of LEGO news, right here on BZPower!
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