Price: £109.99 / $149.99 / €129.99 Pieces: 1250 Available: June 1
Following on from recent ventures under the sea, into the arctic and across volcanic land, CITY’s taste for travel continues as for June 2017 the theme heads into the jungle. Leading the way into the undergrowth is 60162 Jungle Air Drop Helicopter, a retailer exclusive priced at the top end of the range at £110 and containing a selection of small and medium-sized builds centred around a substantial helicopter.
The CITY Jungle theme’s vehicles are based around a yellow colour palette, whilst its minifigures carry new print designs on mainly nougat torsos and plain dark blue legs. Whilst there is clear continuity in set design across this theme’s other sets, in comparison with their recent deep sea, arctic and volcano predecessors, 60162 stands out with a unique build, even if at first glance the jeep and helicopter riff on previous themes.
We’re straight out of the blocks as far as the build goes, with the first bag constructing the rather marvelous – and menacingly scaled – carnivorous plant, complete with giant red spider inside. Combined with the inclusion of the effeminate set-exclusive moulded tiger, the researcher’s panicked expression is as accurate as it is charming.
This range introduces the moulded big cat – a tiger here, a panther and a leopard in other sets in the range. It’s in keeping with previous moulded animals, such as the recent grizzly and polar bears. If you like those, you’ll like these. At this point in the LEGO Group’s development, given how they are continually pushing boundaries in other building areas, I would like to see what designers would do with the opportunity to brick-build an animal or two.
Back to putting together the set and it’s in building the next two stages that the mind begins to wander as the setting and narrative both take shape. The bike rack is an ingenious conception, for its simplicity and for the added weight it adds to the overall scene within 60162 – this is a group of adventurers more prepared and with more resources than those who have come before them. Indeed, they even have some bananas with them, in spite of the fact there are no monkeys or apes in this range… Meanwhile, the jeep may look similar to previous jeeps you’ve built – and by now that is likely to be many – but its construction is novel, even if the end result still feels like most other jeeps of late – a bit too big. All told, though, the bike rack and jeep are unique enough between them in conception and style to add a new identity to a CITY theme that already has a number of bikes and 4x4s on its roster.
Unique they may be, but, that yellow colour scheme does bring the mind back to 2012’s Dino range, something compounded by the next instructions book for 60162. Indeed, there’s a feeling that we’re building something primed for a velociraptor or a pterodactyl to attack when putting together a river-based lookout tower strongly reminiscent of 5883 Tower Takedown. Dino comparisons aside, this is a more solid construct, with a loading crane attached at the top.
Added into the this scene is an excellent and truly original river ferry, a sleek and interesting design. At this stage of the build, the balance of the set is looking fantastic, as that feeling of the surrounding environment begins to take shape and the design points so far really ramp up a feeling of an expedition into unknown territory.
And this becomes even more apparent as the bridge and hidden cave scene are put together. Close at times to the Indiana Jones sets of a decade ago, this is a two-part build complete with collapsing rickety bridge and hidden treasure. It’s also a mini scene that offers one of the biggest location-based builds across the entire theme, and 60162 is all the stronger for it.
The set finishes with the eponymous helicopter, a dual rotor vehicle that, for better or worse, absolutely dominates the finished set. Given that the set is named after this vehicle, it can come as no surprise that it takes a major chunk of the piece count and final set footprint, but the sheer size of the thing overshadows the rest of the supporting cast. There is a carry mechanism for it to transport the bike rack from location to location, whilst it has a two-seater cockpit – something not all LEGO-world vehicles can boast.
The main criticism comes in what for many will also be its main plus-point – its awesome magnitude. Where the other vehicles and scenes in the set offer a natural progression in size and detail through construct, to all come together in a complementary way, the helicopter stands out as comparatively overscaled. It isn’t, really, but lined up next to everything else, it seems it.
This massiveness is a minor complaint, though, as in many ways, 60162 Jungle Air Drop Helicopter offers LEGO fans of all ages a set that is complete not only for its varied and intuitive builds, but for the overall scene it presents once completed. If you have the budget, this is worth it – and it may be the only set from the new CITY Jungle theme you’ll need to get.