Review: 60179 Ambulance Helicopter

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View image at flickr

Helicopters are a constant component of the LEGO City theme and have often been criticised as a result of their sometimes repetitive designs. However, 60179 Ambulance Helicopter features a bright red and yellow colour scheme so really stands out, not least because these colours are unusually faithful to real rescue helicopters.

The price of £17.99 or $19.99 appears very reasonable for a set containing 190 pieces and three minifigures, each of whom includes new elements. In addition, 60204 Hospital will be released in the summer and should prove to be a suitable companion for this set so I have been looking forward to adding it to my collection.

Minifigures

This set includes two paramedics, one of whom serves as the pilot while the other tends patients in the passenger bay. A new uniform has been created for these minifigures which features the blue Star of Life emblem along with metallic silver stripes that increase visibility. I think both designs look superb and appreciate the variation between male and female torsos, although they are sufficiently similar to be used interchangeably if you wish.

View image at flickr

A pair of orange sunglasses protect the pilot from the snow's glare and he wears a white helmet while the doctor comes with a new hat and hair piece. This combination of reddish brown hair with a red hat only appears elsewhere in 60183 Heavy Cargo Transport so it is very rare and I think it looks fantastic, matching the torso designs and including impressive moulded detail. The figures are equipped with a radio.

View image at flickr

A snowboarder waiting to be rescued completes the set. He sports a white protective helmet and his head is brand new, featuring a stern expression and a pair of blue-tinted goggles. Unfortunately, there is no alternative expression printed on the other side but this is excusable in my opinion as the helmet would not entirely cover such a design. Presumably this head will also appear in the Arctic sets being released in the summer but for now it remains exclusive.

60179 Ambulance Helicopter

The torso, however, has been in use since 2011. This green jacket is perfect for a wintry environment and I like the detailed zip printed down its centre. It may be safe to assume that the snowboarder likes green as he is also wearing lime green trousers and his snowboard, which is decorated with a couple of stickers, is lime green too! A printed snowboard would have been preferable but the stickered designs do look good.

60179 Ambulance Helicopter

The Completed Model

The helicopter measures 29cm from nose to tail and it feels even larger as a result of the impressive blade span. I am not sure whether this model is based upon a specific helicopter but it resembles the AgustaWestland AW139 quite closely, right down to the red and yellow colour scheme. These bright colours are very striking and the curved fuselage looks superb, due in part to some large specialised components but also to the excellent use of more traditional pieces.

View image at flickr

This sleek cockpit element was introduced in 2010 but is new in yellow. It looks marvellous here and I like the Star of Life sticker on the front. Matching designs are present on either side of the cockpit. The helicopter rests on four skids situated at the front and rear of the fuselage These are articulated so are ideally suited to landing on rough terrain or snow, as indicated on the box. It is a bit disappointing that the landing gear cannot fold up but it can be removed very easily for a more realistic flight mode.

View image at flickr

Removing the canopy reveals space for a single minifigure and a printed control console. There is also room to place some accessories behind the pilot but there are no clips in the cockpit which is a shame. I like the trans-red and trans-green 1x1 round tiles denoting the port and starboard sides of the helicopter though and the yellow spotlights hanging underneath look splendid as well.

View image at flickr

The cargo bay is fairly small but you can still slot a minifigure onto the stretcher and there is plenty of equipment inside, including an intravenous drip, a lime green syringe and a heart rate monitor screen which is depicted by a sticker. There is no space for the medical staff though, who must instead sit on the hinged platforms beside the cargo bay. This seems odd but is actually quite sensible as it allows you to move the figures back and forth with ease.

View image at flickr

Sponsons project from either side of the helicopter. These support the landing gear and include warning lights as well as two clips for attaching accessories. Ambulance stickers are applied above the sponsons and I like the angled air intakes linked to the engine. This dark bluish grey assembly stands out very clearly against the yellow fuselage and it includes some nice mechanical details so looks reasonably realistic.

View image at flickr

A hinged hatch opens at the rear, providing easy access to load the stretcher. This works nicely but the angled fuselage does not match the underside of the tail boom very well. Fortunately, the curved slopes on top look much better and I like the consistent transition between red and yellow which continues for the length of the tail boom.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The tail boom includes a vertical stabiliser with a sticker on each side and a tail rotor. A total of fourteen stickers are included which is quite a few for a set of this size but they look great and I found them fairly easy to apply. The tail rotor can rotate in its housing and you can also change the angle of the rotor to point in any direction as it is mounted on a Technic pin.

The main rotor consists of four large blades and its tips are decorated with small hazard warning stripe stickers. The blades spin freely and conserve momentum remarkably well so will continue to rotate for several seconds following a good push. This is vital for play and I am very impressed with the overall strength of the model which is perfect for enthusiastic swooshing and occasional rough landings!

View image at flickr

Overall

The LEGO City theme has offered no shortage of helicopters in recent years but 60179 Ambulance Helicopter really stands out as an excellent example. I love its bright red and yellow colour scheme which is suited to a rescue vehicle and the shaping of the aircraft looks superb, closely matching a number of real helicopters. All three minifigures are great too and I am particularly satisfied with the new paramedic uniforms.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the price of £17.99 or $19.99 feels very reasonable in relation to the content of the set. A more spacious area for tending patients would have been welcome as it does look slightly cramped at the moment but in all other respects I think this is a marvellous model and I would therefore highly recommend it.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

 

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21 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I love this set but "...60204 Hospital will be released in the summer...", had I known this I wouldn't have bought the friends hospital that said, that hospital is easily incorporated into something I am making and in the end, I can also incorporate that City Hospital as well.

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By in Germany,

Great set! I am looking forward to buy it and the new hospital. At first glance I thought, this might be an easy pass, but you are totally right about color scheme and paramedics.

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By in United States,

$19.99 for a set this size? Not bad at all; too bad it is another helicopter though (IMO)

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By in United States,

I love the colors used, it's very bright and different. But I don't need another helicopter.

However I would like to address the torsos in case anyone at LEGO reads this...

STOP MAKING USELESS / UN-NEEDED HIPS ON 'FEMALE' TORSOS!!!

There is no need to have hips on the female in this set, the rest of the torso looks great for both a male or female. Stop making torsos that are female when there is no need for it.

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By in United States,

Never seen a yellow helicopter in my life! Must live in the wrong place!!!

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By in Indonesia,

Nice chopper, certainly in this color.

The review says "There is no space for the medical staff though, who must instead sit on the hinged platforms beside the cargo bay". Unfortunately I don't have the model to try, but it looks as if it's possible to seat a minifig between the cockpit and the stretcher?! Would be nice to know whether that's correct or not.

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By in United States,

In the 2006 Medical Helicopter, there was a working winch and closing doors. That was nice. I do like the color scheme, as it is used in Canada and parts of the northern U.S.

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By in United States,

I just wish the cockpit came in black. Maryland has an EMS helicopter which looks close to that model, but it's black and also has the very distinct Maryland flag color scheme.

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By in United Kingdom,

Almost a decent helicopter.
But put some doors on the medical bay.
Anyone riding in there is going to freeze to death before they get to hospital!

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By in United Kingdom,

Got it on release the lady behind the till in lego store said It was great to see the hospital theme come back. I agreed superb review hopefully the new hospital will have a helipad ??

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By in Canada,

Finally a LEGO city set with a decent price

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By in United Kingdom,

Are there some more medical / ambulance themed sets planned?

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By in United States,

^ We get a very large $100 Hospital in the summer.

It's decent looking, nothing special, but better than most hospitals LEGO has made.

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By in United States,

Nice review! I bought this set a couple weeks ago, was very disappointed to find the Flight Medic cannot be inside the helicopter with the patient. Oh well, nice medical helicopter though!

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By in United States,

Yeah, the shrouded fan tail rotor is an Aerospatiale/Eurocopter trademark feature.
The one deephorse posted a photo of is the Dauphin/Dolphin. The US Coast Guard has some in its fleet.

I like the set a lot, though the tail doesn't seem long enough. And it's really too bad you can't fit the paramedic in the cargo bay. And doors would have been nice.

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By in Germany,

We're finally getting a Lego City Hospital??? How did I miss that?
I actually bought the Friends hospital and turned it into a City Hospital with lots of details. Curious to see now what the official hospital will look like.

Bought the helicopter already and I love it. Not so fond of the colours though.

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By in Australia,

@speedorz4ever We have rescue helicopters in Australia that look almost identical to this. Google 'Westpac Helicopter Australia'.

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By in Germany,

Like the body but not the skids, if you know what i mean.

Easy as you say to adapt it. I hope they do the Hospital justice this time round.....finally!

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By in Germany,

@ preztail099
The City hospital will have a landing pad but it will be way too small for this beast. Imagne a 60174 pad size, but not as high.

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By in United Kingdom,

I love this! I think it's a must-have, and I'm really looking forward to the hospital too.

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