Review: 4473 Police Helicopter

Posted by ,

4473 Police HelicopterThis new airline-special set, which has been in the news a lot recently, is now available from the British Airways High Life shop for £16. Several other airlines are also selling this set.

I received my copy this week, just days after placing the order. I thought it'd be worth doing a quick review so that those of you who may have more difficulty getting hold of one can judge whether it's worthwhile doing so.

Before taking a look at this set, it's worth remembering that the last police helicopter of this size, 7741, came out in 2008 and is still being sold from shop.LEGO.com, some 5 years after its introduction. Clearly there's demand for such a model. I wonder why then that LEGO made this one an airline-special and not part of the regular City line-up.

Box and contents

The first thing you notice about airline specials is that they come in small boxes because, of course, space is at a premium in aircraft and their duty-free trollies. As you can see below, the sets 112-parts are packed in tightly and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that they are packed by hand due to the need to fold the bags.

4473 Police Helicopter

There's three unnumbered bags, one sticker sheet and an instruction book all packed into the small box.

4473 Police Helicopter

Minifigs

The set contains two police pilots which are adorned with 'Forest police' uniforms. The one on the left is, apparently, unique although his head is fairly common.

4473 Police Helicopter

The helicopter

The helicopter is a reasonable design but an unchallenging build. The use of 6-wide wheel arches above the side doors is effective.

4473 Police Helicopter

There's one weird thing about it that I don't like at all, though. The winch is operated by spinning the rotors. That means you can't give them a good push prior to swooshing it because the string either reaches its limit, causing the rotors to 'stall', or the hook is lowered and the string gets in the way. A bit of a strange design decision, but I suppose it keeps it simple.

4473 Police Helicopter

The stickers haven't been applied but it's still unmistakable as a police helicopter due to the livery.

4473 Police Helicopter

Overall opinion

Although it's one of the least appealing airline specials of recent years, it's not a bad model. It would certainly keep a child occupied for an hour or two on a long-haul flight which is, of course, what they are designed for.

Unless you're a collector of airline specials, there's no compelling reason to go out of your way to track it down or pay a ridiculous sum for it. But if you see it in the brochure whilst on board a plane, snap it up!

[Note: I went to a photography show on Thursday and had my DSLR sensor cleaned which is why there there are no dust spots on these images! I also traded in my D300, which has been unused since I got my D7000 two years ago, for the Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro lens which, if anything, seems to be sharper than the 105mm I have been using.

24 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I was quite attracted to this set from the box artwork alone initially, but I am less than enthused at the prospect of the winch being operated by spinning the rotor. I might pick one up, but better to just build my own Police Helicopter I reckon since I never liked the old one very much.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I agree, the winch is weird...

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

£15 Virgin online

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I am sure I saw this in my local Toys R Us the other day (Gateshead). It was defo not #7741 , are there any other police helicopters it could have been?

Gravatar
By in United States,

^You forgot http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=4440-1 — though of course the helicopter is hardly a prominent part of that model, so that probably wasn't it.

I have to agree, having the rotors and winch connected is a huge drawback to this set. An easy partial solution would be to swap the pin holding the rotors on for the non-friction variety, but of course then there would be no easy-to-access mechanism for operating the winch at all, and the winch would still have a chance of going up and down when the rotors spin.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^^ It could have been 3658 maybe, but I still think it may have been 4473. I will try to get back in this week to investigate.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Out of all of them, the best helicopter is the one in 60009 if you ask me. It like some sort of cool dark blue night infiltration unit out on a bust!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Is there anyone in the United Kingdom who wants to send me one of these? :D

Gravatar
By in United States,

At first I was interested in the set based on the artwork on the box. But now that I have seen these pictures provided by Huw and the price: no way am I going to get one. Out of all the police helicopters released in the last 5 years, this is one of the worst in my opinion.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Hmmmm... maybe I will buy it... someday.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

I love all Lego helicopters (my city has an unusual overabundance of helicopters in the sky. And I've built a number of custom Lego train carriages to carry small helicopters around), but no, this one doesn't really appeal to me. I picked up 7741 years ago, and love it (I think it's a beautiful model), so I never really needed this one.

And the rotor/winch thing is just strange.

Gravatar
By in Curaçao,

^ Yes, as noted in my text, but BrickLink considers it a unique figure because the head has not appeared with that torso/leg/helmet combination before.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

The design of this one is rather sloppy, feels like an average 10-year-olds MOC (no offense). The winch leaves me puzzled. I doubt there is anyone who wouldn't want to spin the blades a little once it's finished.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I thought the mechanism sounded familiar. Spy Clops' helicopter in set 8634 [Agents] 'Turbocar Chase' used a winch wound around the rotor shaft to raise and lower the aforementioned hexapod with delusions of arachnidity.
As a play feature, I thought it worked quite well. Certainly a quick way of rewinding the winch, and you could tug on the string to make the rotors spin.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The best police chopper of recent years has to be 4439 - OK, so there aren't really any police forces running around with Chinooks, but it actually has the interior space to carry a decent payload - unlike so many Lego choppers that can barely hold two minifigs.

Gravatar
By in United States,

where can you find it?

Gravatar
By in United States,

I thought this set was going to be released last year!?!?!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I actually found this set in Argos, so I'm really doubting that this is an airline exclusive...

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^It wasn't in Argos, this was a catalogue issue with them.

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

Just got mine in the mail today, thanks to brickset member calv.

Commenting has ended on this article.

Return to home page »