The annual range of 'Great Vehicles' receives a great deal of attention and this is well deserved as many of these sets are undoubtedly excellent. 60177 Airshow Jet caught my attention when the 2018 selection was revealed as creating a proper model of a jet aircraft for a set which costs just £7.99 or $9.99 seemed almost impossible.
However, I think the designer has done rather well given the constraints of the price point. Not only is the plane surprisingly large in relation to its cost but it includes considerable detail, some rare parts and an attractive colour scheme of dark blue and red which suits a display aircraft.
The pilot wears a dark blue uniform with red, white and gold stripes across his chest. I like the metallic gold pin printed on the left breast and the plane icon over the stripes is a nice inclusion as well. This element was introduced in 60103 Airport Air Show but has not been seen since so I am glad that it makes a return here. In fact, I think it suits 60177 Airshow Jet better than the two red, black and white aircraft found in the 2016 set.
I would have preferred to see a more realistic helmet featuring a visor and an oxygen mask printed on the face would have been perfect, although this plain white design is satisfactory. I like the blue-tinted sunglasses worn beneath the helmet and the pilot's confident smile feels very appropriate. Moreover, this element has only appeared in 60153 People Pack - Fun at the Beach before now so it becomes even more appealing.
The Completed Model
I was pleasantly surprised at the size of this model once construction was complete. It measures just over 18cm from nose to tail and has a wingspan of 14cm. The vehicle therefore feels more realistic than I was anticipating. I doubt this set is based upon anything specific but it seems somewhat reminiscent of the ViperJet, a small aerobatic display aircraft with similar proportions.
The cockpit is very large in relation to the rest of the fuselage, occupying about half of its entire length. This looks a bit strange at first glance but is not an uncommon feature of real aircraft, especially those which are very small. I quite like the shape of the trans-black canopy and the stickers on either side look good. However, the transition between the rounded nose cone and the square fuselage could be improved.
Opening the canopy reveals a single seat for the pilot as well as a yellow lever and a trans-light blue heads-up display. Minifigures often have to lean a long way back to fit in LEGO vehicles, particularly those which are very small, but the large canopy means that the pilot can almost sit up straight. He therefore looks quite comfortable in the cockpit and I would be inclined to display the set with the pilot at the controls.
The air intakes situated just behind the cockpit are my favourite area of the vehicle. The angular shape looks brilliant and matches the designs on the wings and tailplane fairly well. A total of ten stickers are used across the entire aircraft which seems excessive to me, although the results look very good. However, you could leave some of them off without detracting from the appearance of the model too much.
These stickered designs remind me of the maple leaf on the Canadian flag, although this was probably not intended by the graphic designer. I like the air show insignia on either side of the vertical stabiliser and the pearl silver thrust nozzle looks great, nestled between the three fins that make up the tail. In addition, trans-red and trans-green lights are fitted to the port and starboard wings, respectively.
Standard tricycle undercarriage is fitted underneath the fuselage. This is definitely the most appropriate configuration given the design of the jet, although I think positioning the front wheel a couple of studs further forward would improve their appearance. Rotating wheels would also have been ideal but are not a necessity for a set of this size.
This is a marvellous little set. The jet aircraft is very sturdy so is perfect for play and I like the stickered designs on the wings and tailplane, although seeing so many stickers in a set of this size is somewhat disappointing. The dark blue and red livery looks superb too and the shape of the fuselage is rather attractive, particularly given the size of the trans-black cockpit canopy which dominates the set.
Furthermore, this large canopy is relatively rare, having only appeared in three previous sets, so could prove to be very appealing. The minifigure's dark blue uniform is even less common and matches the aircraft very well. I would certainly recommend this set as I think the model is excellent and it offers tremendous value at a price of £7.99 or $9.99.
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