Saturday, December 30th, 2017 at 2:56am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for another BZPower set review, and today BZPower Reporter Xccj ventures into the jungle to check out 60162: Jungle Air Drop Helicopter. As the largest set from the LEGO City Jungle Explorers theme, is it worth braving the dangers of the forest for, or should it be left hidden beneath the trees? Read on or watch the video review to find out.
First, a big shout out to LEGO for generously donating this set to us for a review. It took a while to get it together, but it was still a fun set to review!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box for this set is big. Like, they don't get much bigger. The front shows off, surprisingly, everything in this very large set. You have the helicopter swooping in to deliver some supplies to the dock, and meanwhile some adventurers have already driven out and discovered a cool statue in the jungle, but they're being stalked by a tiger and a crocodile. The background is nice and forested, but between a gap in the trees you can see the edge of the city. I guess LEGO City is in close proximity to a jungle, but given that they're also close to an ocean, the arctic, and a volcano, it must be very well situated.
The back of the box includes a lot of scenes based on the various models in the set. It actually tells a bit of a story of how the explorers utilize all their vehicles and equipment as they explore the jungle, and a few even show off a couple of action features in the set, like the helicopter's ability to pick up supplies. Already you can tell that there's a lot going on in this set.
Once you open the box, you get twelve bags of parts, as well as five instruction manuals. The set is split up into multiple builds across the five instruction manuals, which means you'll finish building a lot of the vehicles and landscape pieces as you go, and that allow kids to begin playing partway through the build. While the individual builds aren't terribly time consuming, there are still a lot of them to tackle, so the construction phase of this set could last a while.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with a whopping 1250 parts, plus your standard supply of small extras. Most of the colors include blacks and grays, with a fair amount of browns and tans for the landscape builds and docks, as well as a smattering of green elements for the plant life. The primary color for the Jungle Explorers appears to be the flame yellowish orange color, also known as bright light orange or Keetongu-orange. Most of the set's rare pieces come in this color, such as some of the wedges, curved and standard slopes, regular and rounded plates, motorcycle chassis, and the large rudder piece. A couple of other new elements include a new mudguard element in dark gray, a large 6x8 slope in dark red, the new Venus flytrap shell piece, and the new machete accessory. A majority of the elements remain pretty standard, so the real draw to this set piece-wise is the plethora of yellowish orange elements.
You get seven minifigures in this set to make up your Jungle Explorers team, and you get a nearly even gender ratio with four men and three women. Four of the figs are in their jungle exploration gear, which involves a dark orange jacket with gear strapped on it and dark blue legs. The male and female torsos are the same used through the theme, but the heads and headgear make all four of these characters unique to this set. You also have three more specialized characters, although they all appear in other sets in the theme. The female pilot has a dark orange jumpsuit with some extra straps, while the female scientist is wearing a lab coat over her orange shirt. Meanwhile, the mechanic has a dirty shirt with some overalls and stains on his head, which fits nicely with his occupation. Overall, it's quite a team for a single set.
Another highlight of the Jungle sets is the inclusion of some of the wild animals, and this set delivers in that regard with a tiger, a crocodile, and two spiders. The spiders utilize a new mold, which is more detailed than the previous, and includes all eight legs, front mandibles, and even multiple eyes. The crocodile also got a makeover; it's now a bit larger with some more realistic curves compared to the original, which used the dragon head. Besides a working jaw, the new crocodile also has a tail connected in via a pin, which is a more standardized connection point compared to the older style.
Finally, we have the new tiger mold, which has joints on the neck and back legs, similar to the new horse and bear designs from recent years. The Jungle theme has included a couple of different wildcats in the various sets, but they all have different prints and colors, thus making the tiger unique to this set. I really like the detailed striping on the sides and head, and it's probably my favorite character from this set.
The first booklet is pretty simple, and includes the scientist, two technology pallets, the tiger, the Venus flytrap plant, and the standard brick separator. The pallets are simple designs; the first appears to be a power generator with some lights included, while the second is a mobile lab with a microscope, some test tubes, and a small computer. For such small builds, they managed to pack in a lot of details.
The Venus flytrap plant is another simple design, but the new plant shell pieces definitely makes it stand out. The stem is on a hinge, allowing some forwards-and-backward movement, but the main action feature is opening and closing the shells, which are contained using a rubber band. When opened, you can see the spider on the inside, where it can attach to a stud. But if one of your figs gets too close, then you can snap the plant's mouth shut and capture them. It's a fun feature, and a bit sturdier compared to some of the other monster plant designs we've seen before.
The next build is the 4 wheeler truck, complete with our first explorer. At first glance, it seems a bit plain, since trucks like this are a main staple of LEGO City, especially within its adventure subthemes like Arctic, Mining, or Volcano Explorers. But however repetitive it seems, it's still a solid build, and the yellowish orange color scheme works nicely on it. It has room for a single driver, as well as storage in the back for a small 2 stud wide crate. Its main play feature is a classic by LEGO's standard; a rope winch. It attaches to the front via some pins, which means it's easily removed so you can wind it back up. It's a bit of a basic design, but you can't have a jungle theme without some sort of 4 wheeler!
The next part is a bit more unusual; it's a pallet transporter, which is clearly meant to be picked up by the cargo helicopter. (And also the mechanic.) It has a small tower in the center with two attached storage compartments. One side is for the two motorcycles, which are the standard design but in the yellowish orange color for the first time. While most of the bikes use the T piece as a kickstand, this set utilized it further as a way to attach the bikes to a jumper piece on the transporter, securing them in. (Well, slightly; the connection is still pretty weak and it's easy to knock them off. But it's better than sitting them loose on the platform.)
The center tower includes clips for some tools (a hatchet, a machete, a crowbar, and a wrench), as well as stands for two bike helmets. I was surprised that the helmets could fit so easily on the bar piece, but the connection is snug. (Maybe too snug, but I'm sure LEGO wouldn't allow for a connection that was putting too much stress on the helmet.) Finally, the other end has space for a pallet that contains a crate of bananas and two Octan fuel canisters. (Although it doesn't seem safe to store your fuel right next to your food.) One complaint is that the banana crate doesn't have a lid, since the bananas are the only loose element on the entire transporter. But something that is interesting is that the pallet space is designed to also fit the two technology pallets from the first build, giving them multiple transportation options.
The first big landscape piece you build are the docks and work tower, along with two more explorers. The actual docks are pretty meager; just some brown plates suspended over some blue plates. The tower has another fairly simple design, merely utilizing the support beans stacked on top of each other. But while the design is simple, it is effective, allowing the tower to be tall and sturdy. There's a covered shelter on the top for a minifigure to monitor the area and work the crane, and there's also space underneath the tower to store on of the previously constructed pallets. The main feature here is the crane, which utilizes another winch attached to an arm to raise and lower pallets. The forklift design fits perfectly underneath the standardized pallet design, but you do have to angle the hook at the top to make sure the pallets don't slide off when they're lifted.
The next vehicle design is the riverboat. Again, the design is fairly simple, but it's also a bit refreshing because we haven't seen a whole lot of iterations of this vehicle before. I particularly like the yellowish orange slopes along the side, which are connected via SNOT bricks and offer nice detailing. The main cockpit is fairly small and can seat one minifigure, although it can be a bit of a pain to get them seated inside. The front of the boat has storage that's just the right size to fit two pallets; ideally they can be loaded off the docks by the crane and lowered into the boat, adding some nice play value. There's also a loading door at the bow of the boat, which is probably to allow the motorcycles to drive on and get transported upriver. The back also includes an outboard engine, which stands out with its red color and includes a gear element to stand in for the propeller.
The next build actually lets us construct something this set has been lacking in so far; the jungle! The landscape design consists of a bridge over a river and a small temple, as well as the crocodile and the last explorer. The bridge section is nice, since it has substantial sides on each end. One side features stone steps leading up to the bridge, but the leaf pieces can be tilted down to cover it, bringing in a more jungle-like feel. (The leaf piece on the top, however, is only connected by the clip, and has a tendency of popping off.) The bridge utilizes a design from an earlier Ninjago set; the bridge itself is made using tread elements suspended over an axle piece. But when you pull the axle back, this causes the bridge to collapse, sending whoever was on top of it down into the water below. It's a great play function, and it's nice to see that it's fully utilized here.
After crossing the bridge, there's an angled connection to the next piece, but the plates are nicely covered from the top. (From behind, the technic connectors are clearly visible, as well as a few other gaps in the hills.) A generally sizable tree is built into the hillside, and while it's a bit standard as far as LEGO trees go, it is nice to see a larger tree in this jungle theme. Beneath the tree sits a golden chalice, which feels very much like something out of Raiders of the Lost Arc. But the main eye catcher is the bear statue, which has some nice details on it from the mouth to the claws. It's connected to the main structure by a rod, allowing it to be tilted over the entrance of a small cave. When you pull it back, you reveal the hidden treasure chest full of gold tiles. There are also a few handles on the side of the statue where you can hook up the winch from the 4 wheeler and have it pull the statue back, adding in more play integration. Overall, this is my favorite design of the set, because it really feels like the explorers are trekking through the jungle.
The final build consists of four bags that put together the set's namesake: the cargo helicopter. The helicopter is certainly the largest build in this set, and contains the final fig with the pilot. The final build is a bit larger than my standard photography space, thanks to the long tail and dual rotors. The main cockpit is fairly substantial, with a few interesting SNOT designs on the sides. The roof has a fairly secure connection via a clip, which also allows it to be easily removed. The interior has seating for two figs. The wings of the helicopter are quite wide, but very flat; they're merely a plate with a meager support layer beneath it, but even that's not enough to support the heavy rotors and causes the wings to sag slightly. The tail has a bit of a nice curve on the sides thanks to some SNOT bricks, but the rudder piece and tail wings do tend to snap off a lot when handling the vehicle. There are plenty of stickers on the full vehicle with the Jungle Explorer's logo, as well as the set number. The two side support wheels also include a caution sticker on them.
The main play feature involved the grabbing bars in the middle of the helicopter. If you slide a panel along the top of the tail, it will cause the grabbing bars to close shut, allowing the helicopter to latch onto something and pick it up. The small tower on the pallet transporter is designed to snugly fit within the grabbing bars, so the helicopter can swoop down and pick up the supplies. Another bit that surprised me was that the 4 wheeler is also designed to fit with the helicopter, so it can also be picked up and dropped off at a new location. This is a clever function, and it's nice that it works in with some of the smaller models.
However, the large helicopter isn't without some faults. There are a few parts that like to disconnect, including the tail pieces, the rotors, and a stopper plate situated behind the cockpit. Additionally, it can be tricky to grip the full thing without causing one of the parts to pop off, because there's no easy location to grab it while swooshing it around. For something that should be the main focus of the set, it feels like one of the weaker models.
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?
I've already gone over most of the play features, but there are a lot. The Venus flytrap has a cool opening and closing function to capture spiders or wayward figs. Both the 4 wheeler and the crane utilize a winch function, and the landscape piece includes a moving statue and a collapsible bridge. The helicopter latching system is also pretty neat, allowing it to grab onto the pallet transporter and the 4 wheeler and lift off with them. These are all cool functions, and some of these models would make for great smaller sets individually. But the real power is that they all work together, so that the pallets that can be delivered by the helicopter will then be loaded onto the boat via the crane. Additionally, the helicopter can drop off the 4 wheeler, which uses the winch to pull back the statue and reveals the treasure chest, which then can be stored in the back of the truck. You have plenty of figs to lead your team through the jungle in their various vehicles, as well as a handful of animals for them to discover and observe (or run away from.) The action features are nice, but the overall role play potential is the real winner for this set.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Nice collection of figs for your Jungle Explorers team
Good source of yellowish orange pieces
The pallets can be transported in multiple ways
The tiger, crocodile, and Venus flytrap are all excellent
Cool boat design
Great collapsible bridge function
Helicopter can pick up pallet transporter and 4 wheeler
Huge play value
What's not to like?
Figs aren't exactly exclusive
Not enough jungle elements
The designs are generally pretty basic (could be a Pro for younger builders)
Docks and tower feel a bit sparse
Helicopter's build is lackluster; thin wings and fragile tail
A very expensive set
This set is very substantial, in that you get seven minifigures, four animals, five vehicles, and three landscape pieces. There's a lot of play value to be had here. However, we need to address the giant cargo helicopter in the room; this set is EXPENSIVE! At $149.99 USD, it is about the most expensive set you can get without delving into the Expert or Ultimate Collector Series range. (There are only 15 other sets more expensive released this year, as well as 3 sets that are the same price.) It's also one of the exclusive sets, so not all retailers have been allowed to carry it, limiting its availability. The set includes all the hits from the Jungle Explorers theme, but it costs a lot to get them. If you have the means to pick up this set, it is totally worth it, but a LEGO fan on a budget might have to settle for some of the smaller sets and forgo some of the Jungle features, like the cool tiger mold.
Thanks again for reading and / or watching another BZPower Set Review. LEGO generously donated this set for review, and the thoughts and opinions in this article are entirely my own. Make sure to stay tuned to BZPower for more LEGO set reviews, including more from the Jungle Explorers theme!