Monday, November 30th, 2020 at 12:24pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Today we're looking at one of the Marvel sets released almost a year ago: 76144 Avengers Hulk Helicopter Rescue. This set, loosely based on the movie Endgame, features desirable characters like Hulk, Rescue, and Black Widow with an Avengers helicopter, as well as some Chitauri and their vehicles. BZPower Report Xccj has put together a review of the set, so read on to see if it's worth picking up for the holidays! (And minor movie spoilers will be mentioned.)
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The white box features the full helicopter on the front facing off against the Chitauri in the skies over New York. There is a side banner featuring the actual movie characters, and then there's the lineup of the figs present in the set. The back showcases some of the alternate scenes and action features. Pretty standard stuff. The set has 482 pieces and goes for $59.99 USD, which isn't the best value but seems par the course for a licensed set nowadays. Although it was technically released last year, it's still available online this holiday season, and has a few exclusive figs to get people's attention. I mean, I know I wanted it for the MCU inspired Rescue fig, and I'm sure many others would be interested too.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is fairly standard. There are three vehicles to construct; a small Chitauri flyer, a medium sized Chitauri flyer, and the helicopter itself. The helicopter is actually pretty neat because the cockpit is built studs-out; I appreciate the different studs-not-on-top build they have going and it made the set feel a bit more varied. It was a decent construction.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Of the 482 pieces, there weren't a lot of elements that really stood out, beyond the minifigure related pieces. The two Chitauri vehicles are made using a lot of dark tan and gold elements, with a few trans purple highlights thrown in. The main helicopter, meanwhile, is a mix of dark blue, dark grey, and light gray, with some trans orange highlights. Some of the gold and dark blue piece looked interesting, but there wasn't anything that was particularly rare. And although the piece has had a wider release now, this was the first set to include the new stud shooter element; it's a housing that can hold three 1x1 round studs for rapid fire.
The one big exclusive is the dark red Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet. While the original gold gauntlet piece released for Infinity Wars (not included in the set, but in the picture for reference) was left-handed, the new red gauntlet is a mirrored right-handed version, and still has room for all of the Infinity Stones. Unfortunately, only four are included in this set: the blue space gem, the orange soul gem, the red reality gem, and the yellow mind gem. If you want the purple power gem and green time gem, you need to pick up the other Endgame set with Thanos in it: 76131 Avengers Compound Battle.
It's a given that any Super Heroes set is more about the amazing minifigure designs than the actual builds. You get four standard figs and one bigfig here, which is a pretty decent showing. The two Chitauri are identical and feature some new printings on a light gray body. They're almost the definition of throwaway characters, and only really showed up as filler baddies in the movie anyway. Next you have Black Widow in her white time travel jumpsuit. White the jumpsuit looks interesting, it was slightly disappointing that the same design was reused for most of the hero characters in the Endgame sets, so only the heads were any different. Plus, this Black Widow variation did appear in a previous set.
New in his jumpsuit is Hulk, who wasn't wearing it in his first Endgame set appearance. The design is nicely printed on the standard bigfig mold (even if the Hulk in Endgame wasn't quite as big as his previous versions, but we can't expect LEGO to give us a modified bigfig mold, so this will have to do.) The arms are in white for the first time though, which is something.
The main draw, of course, is Pepper Potts as Rescue. She donned her own purple armor at the end of the movie to help in the big fight scene. The fig has some neat gold and blue designs printed on the torso and legs, and also includes some extra wings that attach to the back. It's a great looking fig and a worthy addition to everyone's Avengers collection. She also comes with a spare hair piece for when she takes the helmet off, but you also need to remove the wings for the hair to fit properly.
The first Chitauri build is a mini glider, and it is actually pretty bad. The front panels attempt an unusual angle by connecting to a handlebar piece, but the connection for me is very loose and they fall out of position easily. It's a throwaway build; something I would expect from a polybag but very lackluster in a big set. It would've been nicer to see the pieces used elsewhere, but I guess for play value they wanted each Chitauri to drive their own vehicle. Oh well.
The second Chitauri vehicle is actually much better. It's designed to be one of the flying gliders / chariots / monsters, complete with a moveable tail, flappable wings, and a head with a working jaw. I guess it may be reminiscent of the giant Leviathan ships seen in the original Avengers movie and in Endgame, although it is much smaller. (I would like to see a proper sized Leviathan LEGO set some day, but it's hard to say if they'd make any sets calling back to the older movies.) The dark tan and gold color scheme works nicely here, and the Mixel joints allow for a decent range of motion.
The main helicopter is a pretty hefty vehicle. I like the angled pieces used on the wings to give some different angles between the colors, and the wings can be positioned down to hide the interior of the copter. The cockpit, as mentioned earlier, has a fun studs-out design and nicely fits a pilot fig. The center of the helicopter is mostly empty; this is where Hulk is supposed to be stored when it's transporting him around. When Hulk is inside, it feels pretty hefty, with the wings providing him enough cover on the sides. The tail is a bit simpler, as is the technic extension for the rear skis. Two somewhat simplistic bulky engine pieces are attached to the sides, but these are actually the footholds for Hulk so they do end up servicing a purpose. However, after the helicopter drops Hulk, the interior feels a bit empty. It would've been nice if some extra container could be placed there instead, like how many of the City cargo helicopters have two or three different setups that can be placed in the center. There is a small crate that can be placed behind the cockpit which can hold onto your spare ammo.
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?
One of the biggest draws for sets based on the movie is recreating the scenes their based on, and that's where this set fails hard. Because there was no Avengers helicopter in Endgame; this vehicle did not appear in the movie! I understand the reasons; when they were designing the Endgame sets, the actual details of the movie were being kept secret, so they didn't exactly have a lot to go off of. Even though this set came out six months after the movie, the only real secret it gives away is Rescue's presence, and most of the design was probably finalized before the movie came out. That still doesn't make it less annoying that the sets differ so much from the movie. This happened with the Iron Man III sets, and it happened again with Endgame. Maybe the helicopter design is based on something from the comics, which would redeem it slightly, but I'm not aware of it. The other storyline sin this set makes is the inclusion of Black Widow, who died before the big final battle that this set is supposed to be replicating. It's interesting that they chose to include her in this set, since she'd already been released in this outfit previously. Anyway, I can see how these complaints would be a bit superficial, but it's something that annoyed me all the same.
The main feature in the helicopter is the button on the top that can be pressed to drop Hulk down. Presumably you would fly him over the battle, and then drop him into the middle of the conflict to use his Infinity Gauntlet. The edge of the wings also hold the new stud shooters. They're about as good as the standard stud shooter elements (two of which are attached to the small Chitauri vehicle) but the new housing piece can hold three 1x1 round tiles for rapid fire. It's a bit of a clunky piece, but it's a lot harder to lose the ammunition while attached to the main vehicle, so I'm okay with it. And, of course, as with any good helicopter, the propellers spin on the top in a satisfying way.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Good Rescue and Hulk figs
Iron man Infinity Gauntlet (but only four stones)
Decent Chitauri / Leviathan build
Helicopter has some cool studs-out designs
Good play features
What's not to like?
Scene did not appear in the movie, like at all
Small Chitauri vehicle is bad
A bit pricey (but aren't all LEGO sets pricey?)
I have to admit, although the helicopter didn't show up in the movie, it still makes for a pretty satisfying vehicle. And the figs are pretty decent too, especially Hulk and Rescue. The medium sized Chitauri flyer is great, but the smaller one is a waste of pieces. Overall, I think the set makes for a decent generic Super Heroes set, and the unique characters included also are a big draw, so it could be a worthwhile purchase to pick up. Hopefully you can find some good deals for it this holiday season.
Thanks again to LEGO for providing this set for us to review. The thoughts and opinions presented here are solely my own.