The Arctic subtheme from 2014 proved to be extraordinarily popular and LEGO CITY has since explored the deep ocean, a volcanic field and the jungle. We are now returning to the frozen Arctic with 60193 Arctic Air Transport, a medium-sized set from the new subtheme which contains 277 pieces and looks rather interesting.
Helicopters are ubiquitous across the entire CITY range but this unusual quadcopter design is very distinctive so appeals to me a great deal. Moreover, the set includes a brand new sabre-toothed cat which looks absolutely fantastic and its UK price of £24.99 seems reasonable.
Two minifigures are included, both of whom are appropriately dressed for the Arctic environment. The first appears to be a mountaineer so wears a medium azure helmet which is new in this colour as well as a matching jacket and a dark orange jumpsuit. I like the white guy ropes wrapped around his chest and the climber's dark blue face mask looks realistic, combined with a pair of blue-tinted goggles.
A pilot for the quadcopter accompanies the climber, sporting a medium azure crash helmet and a flame yellowish orange safety harness over her flight suit. Dark orange is one of my favourite LEGO colours and it looks marvellous here. However, the same colour dominated last year's Jungle sets so it might have been nice to see something different. The figures are equipped with ice picks and a circular saw for slicing through ice formations.
These Arctic sets are focused upon the recovery of prehistoric animal specimens, including the sabre-toothed cat. The three big cats produced for the Jungle subtheme in 2017 were excellent but this figure is even more impressive, featuring a medium nougat coat with reddish brown stripes on each flank. It is almost impossible to accurately identify the likely patterning of real sabre-toothed cats but I think the stripes work nicely in this instance.
Sabre-toothed cats are best known for their elongated canine teeth and that characteristic attribute has been captured beautifully. I absolutely love the moulded fur on the sides of the creature's head and the texturing along its neck looks brilliant too. A pair of pale yellow eyes complete the figure, presenting an appropriately intimidating visage.
While the head sculpt is new, the sabre-toothed cat shares its body and legs with the jungle animals introduced last year. The same points of articulation are therefore present, allowing you to raise and lower the head or change the angle of the hind legs. This is very useful for creating dynamic displays, although I am not convinced that a cat which has been frozen for at least 10,000 years would exhibit a great deal of movement after thawing!
The Completed Model
ATVs can be deployed in a broad range of different environments and have appeared in most of the explorative subthemes released in recent years. This model features a lovely orange colour scheme and enormous balloon tyres which look a lot better than the more common tyres with a deep tread in my opinion. The ground clearance is considerable so the vehicle can traverse rough terrain, as one would expect.
There is room to seat a single minifigure behind the steering wheel and clips for the accessories are included at the back which is always welcome. The 2x2 curved slope towards the front of the ATV is printed with a new Arctic emblem that presumably takes inspiration from the 2014 design. The two symbols share a similar colour scheme and round shape, although this version shows a mountain rather than the whole Arctic circle.
Numerous different kinds of helicopters have been manufactured over the last century, ranging from conventional single-rotor craft to those with tandem, transverse or coaxial designs. The quadcopter configuration is most often used for unmanned drones but concepts do exist for quadcopters which would be deployed as cargo vehicles. This model measures 25cm long and 30cm wide so is quite substantial and I think it looks reasonably realistic, despite taking inspiration from concept aircraft.
The nose is very sleek and makes use of a canopy element which was introduced in 2010, although it has not appeared in orange before. I like the split windscreen design and the arctic emblem sticker on top of the cockpit looks good too. A couple more stickers are applied on either side of the quadcopter. These line up with some brick-built dark blue and medium azure stripes, creating an attractive pattern that differentiates these Arctic sets from their 2014 forerunners.
Removing the canopy reveals a seat for the pilot along with a printed control console. CITY vehicles frequently lack detail inside but I think this example looks alright and I appreciate the easy access to the cable spool behind the pilot. However, there is not enough space for the second minifigure inside the cockpit which is somewhat disappointing.
Each of the four rotors are fixed to the fuselage using orange 'A-frame' plates which have been cast in this colour for the first time. The resultant structure is absolutely rigid and the model is therefore easy to play with as you can grip it from almost anywhere. The helicopter blades rotate smoothly and the trans-red and trans-green lights at the ends of the stanchions, denoting the port and starboard sides, look superb.
Additional stickers are applied to the pontoons and to the curved component at the rear of the aircraft. These are decorated with the set number that represents an identification code, a round fuel cap and the rearmost section of the medium azure stripe. I like the combination of orange, medium azure and dark blue across the vehicle, although the stripe along its centre appears to taper off rather abruptly.
Most helicopters with transverse rotors feature twin vertical stabilisers, increasing the total surface area of the rudders. This model does include two stabiliser fins but they are attached using hinges so rest at an unusual angle, as demonstrated below. The stabilisers can be knocked out of position during flight but this is only a minor issue and can be avoided by gripping the quadcopter from somewhere other than the tail.
This section of the fuselage is almost entirely hollow so there is a great deal of unused space inside. A couple of seats would have been welcome but it can be modified quite easily, allowing the mountaineer minifigure to ride as a passenger. Unfortunately, there is not quite enough room to slot the ATV in here as the storage space is too narrow.
The quadcopter includes four skis which are designed for landing on snow. They are each mounted on a Technic pin so their orientation will adapt to suit the terrain and the twin landing skis beneath the nose rotate too. The winch line hanging underneath the helicopter can be extended or retracted by rotating a black gear on top and it stretches to an impressive length of nearly 50cm.
Almost all of the new Arctic sets include a block of ice for investigation. This example is comparatively simple, consisting of some trans-light blue panels and a rock component as well as a few white pieces. A black ring allows you to capture the ice block with the hook and carry it back to base for analysis. I am satisfied with how this works but the ice block itself could certainly have included greater detail.
The sabre-toothed cat fits into the block of ice fairly neatly, standing on a smooth tiled surface. A small gap behind the animal allows you to push it forward, causing the rock panel to break off and release the sabre-toothed cat. This function works effectively but I do not like the narrow gaps between the textured rock piece and the 1x6x5 wall elements.
The 2014 Arctic range set a high standard for LEGO CITY subthemes so a great deal of expectation has been placed upon the new models. Fortunately, 60193 Arctic Air Transport is an excellent set on the whole. I like the unusual design of the quadcopter which makes a welcome change from conventional helicopter designs and the sabre-toothed cat is tremendous, as we have come to expect of LEGO animals.
Furthermore, this set costs £24.99 in the UK so offers great value in relation to its content. The US price of $39.99 is less appealing, although even that does not feel too expensive in my view so I would recommend this set, especially to those who are not intending to purchase 60196 Arctic Supply Plane which also includes a sabre-toothed cat.
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