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Review: 3222 Helicopter & Limousine


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#1 Rufus

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:59 PM

INDEXED

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Lego City has taken an interesting turn lately, with a profusion of civilian sets to give the Fire and Police departments something to protect.  Amongst this year's offerings is this interesting interpretation of modern life, featuring a rich businessman and his lady friend enjoying the high life by taking a ride on a helicopter taxi and sipping champagne in a stretched limousine.  It's an original idea; let's take a close look and see how it stands up to inspection.


3222 Helicopter and Limousine

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Official Lego.com picture


The Stats

Name: Helicopter & Limousine
Number: 3222
Theme:  City
Year:   2010
Pieces: 267
Minifigs:  4
Price:   UK £17.99  |  US $29.99  |  Can $39.99  |   EUR 24.99 - 34.95 |  AUS 49.99  |   DKK 299.00

Links   Bricklink ...  Brickset ... Peeron ... Shop@Home

Shop@Home said:

Now you’re driving and flying in style!
Whether you’re a movie star, a famous executive or any other V.I.P., there’s no better way to travel than by taking your very own stretch limousine to your very own private helicopter for an exclusive and luxurious flight to exotic destinations around the world! Features removable limo roof and spinning helicopter blades. Includes driver, pilot and 2 passengers.
  • Includes helicopter and limousine plus 4 minifigures!
  • Take off the limo roof, put the driver at the wheel, seat the V.I.P.’s, then drive away in style!
  • Spin the helicopter’s rotating blades and take off!


The Box

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In line with all City sets from the last few years, the box features a display of the set against a suitably 'city' background, in this case a nice silhouette of an airport-ish scene. Some nice Photoshopping enables the figures to walk out of the scene onto the traditional blue surround.  


The back is a little busy:

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The many panels show off the modular construction, and some of the play features: the removable roof of both helicopter and limo, and the opening doors of the latter.   Some of this year's Airport sets are advertised, and it's a pilot who gets to annoy us with his Hey! on this box.  There's no respite from the thumb-tab opening with this set.


The top surface has a nice display of the four figures, replete with accessories - mostly drinking apparatus, but it's always nice to get a briefcase.

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We'll take a closer look at the figs in due course.


Contents

The box is quite big, measuring W 380 x H 257 x D 67 mm, but is reasonably well-filled.

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There are three numbered bags, each containing a smaller bag of fiddly bits, two instruction manuals, and a sticker sheet.


Manual 1 builds the limo, and comes with a separate picture of the same on the front:

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Notice the sloppily constructed model - with poorly connected studs - just behind the front wheel.


The steps are simple, with only a few parts per set, and the absent piece call-outs aren't missed.  

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As you can see, it's taken 22 steps to put about 40 pieces of Lego together.  Colour differentiation is no problem, with black and white being the only prominent colours in this section.


Manual 2 is about twice the height of the first; but as the heli is two-thirds of the set that isn't a surprise.

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Notice the little trans-clear round plate on the nose-wheel: more on that story later.


A random page of manual 2...

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... shows yet again the simplicity of the build, helped along by the big chunky airplane pieces.  Blue, white and dark bluish-grey are the theme colours; although there is also a little black in there, the intuitive build ensures no tricky colour issues.


The Parts

Bag 1

As I've already mentioned, the first bag builds the limo, and out spills an array of black and white pieces that will be all too familiar to anyone who has built a 4-wide Lego car recently. Note the two chassis pieces, which will be connected together to form the wheel base, and the two SNOT pieces which are commonly used on the front and rear ends of these little cars.

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The three round trans-yellow inverted bumps kept me guessing, and we'll discover their surprising use soon.  Otherwise, the only pieces of interest are the and the fig torsos, and a printed tile that I presume is supposed to be a TV, but looks like a PC with an error message to me.


Bags 2 & 3

The helicopter parts selection is dominated by the big pointless airplane parts, but there are some useful long plates, and a decent number of the lovely grille tiles in dark bluish grey.  

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Three brown chairs are always welcome.  Notice the blue square window pieces: the last time I built a Lego plane - 6368, in 1985 - I seem to remember the windows fitted flush, but these are flat and therefore recessed in the frames.


Decal Sticker Sheet

It's hard to argue against the use of stickers in this set.  The tail fin of the helicopter is rather plain without them; in addition, the blue/grey/white triangles help to continue the colour scheme of the bricks quite nicely.

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The picture is a link to a very high resolution picture.


Figs

Now we come to one of the highlights of this set.  Four figures are included:  a sour-looking pilot, a smug sunglasses-toting chauffeur, a businessman and his female companion.

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The businessman and the girl remind me of the 7639 camper couple - perhaps this is what they look like at work rather than on holiday?  Businessman also resembles the guy from the 8402 Sports Car - I think he even shares the same torso, although in 8402 he's obviously taken his specs off to enjoy the open-top driving experience.  Or maybe he sometimes wears contact lenses.


There's nothing exciting to see from the back:  no printing, and the bare backs of the capped dudes' heads are starting to look very dated.

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Let's have a closer look at the pilot, and the girl:

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Pilot-dude is clearly very grumpy about something.  What's up with him?  He has such a nice uniform!  Maybe he's not so keen on the orange sunglasses.

The babe is another matter.  Her hair is possibly the best hairstyle Lego have created, even if it's a little ubiquitous these days, and she certainly looks like she's enjoying herself.  Maybe it's the effect of champagne in the back of a limo.  I love that torso :wub: , but my worries that she looks a little like an air hostess seem to have been realised:  3182 Airport  Her torso also appears in the new Public Transportation set, and the TRU truck.  Too much of a good thing?


The Build - Limousine

Bag 1 builds the limousine.  As you can see, it is constructed from two car bases stuck together lengthways, with some 8x1 plates with ridges to form the footboards at the side.

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The monotony of black and white is broken intermittently by a splash of colour, but this doesn't detract from the overall design.  The blacked-in window effect is created simply by using opaque black pieces rather than even darker transparent ones; this has a nice authentic look but makes the interior a little dark.  It looks like doors have returned to stay; TLC does listen to us occasionally!


The front and rear are similar in construction to the 2005 7235 Police Car and 2009's 8402 Sports Car, using a special piece to avoid an unsightly gap in front of the mudguards.

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The roof is strengthened by a trans-yellow inverted bump.  Perhaps this represents an interior light, to make up for the blacked-in windows?



Build - Helicopter

As might be expected, a number of Big Pointless Pieces are employed here, but the build is reasonably entertaining nonetheless.

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I love the smooth outlines of the undercarriage outriggers, and the attention to detail on the lights is super: red for port, green for starboard. :thumbup:  There are two storage cupboards at the rear; a useful touch, but it means that the potential space in the rear BPP is wasted.  There could have been a little washroom in there!


More BPPs are employed in forming the cockpit and the rear roof:

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The cockpit pieces fits reasonably securely, but the mould doesn't sit quite flush with the base, on mine at least.


Thus far, the heli resembles a Playmobil toy!

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The red block is necessary for strength; it's not visible on the completed set.


Jumper plates are used to create a nice spine on the tail:

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Lego have economised here, using 2x4 tiles rather than a whole series of twelve jumper plates.  The result is sufficiently secure.


The engines are attached using a similar SNOT-technique to those of Luke's Landspeeder 8092:

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The rotor blades are simple but nicely shaped.


When attached, the blades spin freely and smoothly:

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No Photoshop blur required here!  Just spin and snap!


Finally, the wheels are attached; and we have an unsurprising pile of leftovers:

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In my set, some of the tyres had Lego markings stamped, and some were plain.  And no, I didn't just reverse them - the one on the right is plain on both sides.


Complete Set


The Limousine

Looking first at the Limo, in this high shot it looks smart.  The lines are smooth, and the blacked-in windows realistic.  

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The use of a 4x4 tile with four studs for the bonnet is interesting - you might expect a bonnet-part like the two used in the roof, but the windscreen would then not attach securely.  The downside is that the front looks a little square; though this effect is reduced by the headlight cheese slopes.

Personally, I think the Limo should have been six studs wide - it's a little too narrow as it is, and there is the usual problem of the protruding wheels at this scale.  But the 6 vs 4 argument will rage on and on...


From the side, its length is very apparent:

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The black stripe along the bottom is nice, and complements the black of the windows.


The length of the vehicle allows for interesting depth of field shots:

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The chauffeur is very proud of his ride.  It hardly needs a driver - a vehicle this long, and with those tyres, is nigh-on impossible to steer.


Let's have a look inside:

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The driver sits quite comfortably in his isolated cabin, whilst Mr Business and his 'assistant' enjoy a glass of bubbly in the privacy of the rear.  You can see that the space behind him is a useful storage area for luggage.


Some flashes of colour are visible on the underside:

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I'm not sure what the trans-yellow bumps are doing here; they probably help to prevent the car breaking in two if excessive force is used to attach the roof, but it looks a little like the limo has been 'pimped', with underside lighting and probably a powerful subwoofer somewhere!


The Helicopter


Let's now turn to the Heli.  From the side, she's quite a sleek beast; she doesn't suffer too much from the use of BPPs, not looking too 'juniorised'.

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The white stripes along the side end a little abruptly at the front; this would be corrected by the decals, if I'd applied them.


The underside is quite plain; the 4x12 plate makes the outriggers seem a little blocky, but they add to the strength.

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Note that I haven't at this point placed the little trans-clear round plate onto the nosewheel - a step that appeared to be missing from the instructions. :wacko:


The BPPs give a smooth appearance to front and rear:

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I love the second shot - it looks quite dramatic.


There's plenty of room inside for the passengers to sit in comfort:

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The pilot continues to scowl unhappily.  Maybe he would rather be ferrying Alan Sugar around, or perhaps ...


... he's unhappy because the helicopter has no doors.  You have to remove the roof to get the figures in and out.

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You can see the nosewheel light in place now.  It's a good rendering of a commercial passenger heli.


As to what sort of helicopter this is:  I doubt it's based on one particular design, but it resembles something between a Sikorsky S76 and a Bell 430, the latter (I think) pictured below:

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Even the colour scheme is similar!


All together

Finally, we can look at the whole ensemble:

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Mr Business has my vote for being the richest man in Studsville.  Even if he doesn't own the helicopter - it does proclaim itself to be an 'air taxi', at least if you put the stickers on - he must be loaded to be able to afford helicopter and limousine rides, a small entourage of flunkies, and the attentions of a beautiful woman. :wink:  Lucky get.


A last look at the whole set - here's the title shot without the Photoshoppery:

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Conclusion & Scores

This attractive little set represents a refreshing change from the whordes of Police and Fire sets that have hitherto been the mainstay of the City range; it's also interesting to see a very 'modern' idea of social hierarchy represented in a Lego set: the kings of today are the wealthy entrepreneurs, not the nobility of yesteryear.  For this to be a feature of a kids' toy is remarkable, although I suspect these nuances will be lost on most kids, who even now are dispatching their police and fire services to the aid of a crashed helicopter and a rolled limo.

The set itself is well designed, and has some nice play features; four figures in a £ set is a bonus, but the ubiquity of these figures is a slight let-down.  Personally, I'd rather have seen a six-wide limo, or something a little shorter; this one really is too long.  


Design: 8  The concept is what gets the points here.  The helicopter is nicely realised, and resembles a real commercial aircraft, but has nothing ground-breaking to set it apart; the design is similar to the contemporaneous fire helicopter set, but could do with some doors.  As I've already stated, I think the limo would be better as six studs wide; this one really is too narrow.
Build: 7  It's fun to build, but there are no innovative techniques or 'wow' moments.  The build is simplified by the Big Pointless Pieces, making it look more realistic (and undoubtedly easier for kids) but they do detract from an adult's enjoyment.
Figures: 8  Four figures in an £18 set is a bonus, but the ubiquity of these figures is a slight let-down.  It's a real shame they've flooded the market with that air-hostess girl - she's a hottie and would otherwise be quite sought-after. :wub:
Parts:  6  Take away the airplane parts, and you're left with a humdrum collection of pieces, in common colours; not much to recommend really.
Playability: 8 You've got a swooshable chopper (actually, it's more fun to push around) with a roomy featureful interior, a limo that can zoom along the carpet, if only in straight lines, and four figures to enjoy.  It doesn't integrate too well into the average Town layout, unless you have an Airport or other open space, but I'm sure the Grand Emporium could be modified to have a helipad on the roof!

Overall:  8/10  It's a lovely concept set, if a little average in the execution, but great value and fun.  Perhaps not a set to rush out and buy, but you'll enjoy it if you do.


Thanks for reading!  Comments and criticisms welcome as ever.

Rufus  


Brickshelf folder, with high resolution pictures

Even limousines have to be crash-tested:

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Check out this great shot by Chris McVeigh:

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#2 Zorbas

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:19 PM

Very beautiful and enjoyable review Rufus!

I personally find this set very nice since the whole idea of not-so-common-sets add variety in the City theme and reminds me of the great classic era days when you had sets that were from different activity fields (something that TLG has managed to "fix" during the last 2-3 years).

The helicopter has a great colour scheme and I'm very happy to see the return of the classic engine piece. :thumbup:  The limo is not something to die for but I consider it as an extra in the package so no problem.

Oh, and the female minifig's head is the best that TLG has ever produced in my opinion! :wub:


Thanks again for the great review!

EDIT:
It seems that it's not the classic era engine piece. My bad... :blush:

Edited by Zorbas, 04 September 2010 - 09:36 PM.

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#3 WhiteFang

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:58 PM

Thanks Rufus. I was really looking forward to this review of yours. Being able to read this review in such detailed manner made me appreciate greatly on this overall new concept done by TLG. In fact, this set was my first City 2010 purchase and it's definitely one of my favourite especially having to see the private luxurious copter and long white limousine to ferry the rich to Casinos and Hotels for example. A great grand lifestyle concept.

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#4 prateek

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 11:09 PM

Great review. As you said, this refreshing from the Police and Fire sets. IMO this is one of the best City sets of this year. BTW, the US price is $29.99 and the Canadian one is $39.99

#5 KielDaMan

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 08:55 AM

Great review as usual Rufus. :thumbup: I agree this is one of the nicest sets in the CITY line-up this year, as civilian sets are always good addition to any city. The limo and chopper are relatively good builds, though there are some elements that could be improved with a bit of modding. I agree the girl's hairpiece is one of the best ones recently, but the Series 2 Pop Star's hair narrowly edges it "by a hair" IMO. It's a pity I won't be able to grab this one as of the moment since I'm concentrating on SW stuff, but maybe when I have the chance in the near future.

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#6 NPimenta

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:38 AM

i have this set, and i like it alot  :thumbup: :thumbup:  
great review

#7 Rufus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 11:26 AM

Cheers for the comments guys! :classic:

View PostZorbas, on 04 September 2010 - 09:19 PM, said:

I personally find this set very nice since the whole idea of not-so-common-sets add variety in the City theme and reminds me of the great classic era days when you had sets that were from different activity fields (something that TLG has managed to "fix" during the last 2-3 years).

The helicopter has a great colour scheme and I'm very happy to see the return of the classic engine piece. :thumbup:  The limo is not something to die for but I consider it as an extra in the package so no problem.
Thanks mate!  The set does make a refreshing change.  What is the 'classic era engine piece' you're referring to?

View PostWhiteFang, on 04 September 2010 - 09:58 PM, said:

Thanks Rufus. I was really looking forward to this review of yours.

This review is now blogged in,
Sorry I made you wait!  And thanks for blogging!  :sweet:

View Postprateek, on 04 September 2010 - 11:09 PM, said:

Great review. As you said, this refreshing from the Police and Fire sets. IMO this is one of the best City sets of this year. BTW, the US price is $29.99 and the Canadian one is $39.99
Thanks for pointing this out!  When I first wrote the review it wasn't available in US/Can.  Now corrected!

#8 Zorbas

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:00 PM

View PostRufus, on 05 September 2010 - 11:26 AM, said:

What is the 'classic era engine piece' you're referring to?

Posted Image

Piece info

It looked identical to the one it's been used in this set when I saw it for the first time.
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#9 Rufus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:36 PM

View PostZorbas, on 05 September 2010 - 12:00 PM, said:

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Piece info

It looked identical to the one it's been used in this set when I saw it for the first time.
Well spotted!  I hadn't even noticed the difference.  This set uses this one:

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#10 lightningtiger

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for the review 'Rufus'  :sweet: - I agree with you on the limo being 4 wide with those fat tyres....too wide for a 4 wide, those tyres should be used on 6 wide or greater vehicles.
The copter is very cool and lends to MODing into a police chopper or a like.
A great set in all to add at least some rich and famous to your Legotown/city.....keep on bricking everyone ! :sweet:

#11 Col. Brik

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 02:15 AM

Excellent review. You just put it in my head that this is my next purchase for PBR! I haven't paid to much attention to the newer sets for town since the kids are really into Star Wars right now but this one is on the shopping list now.

#12 Svelte

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 02:38 AM

Thanks for a beautiful review!

I must admit, CITY hasn't grabbed me this year but I did pick this up when I first saw it. The helicopter is nice without being too small or too large (like the Coast Guard monstrosity) and the limousine is such a great concept that you have to love it even if it's not perfect.

#13 tiggerkiddo

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:33 AM

I'm still undecided on the helicopter. It's not too big or unwieldy per se but I just prefer the older helicopter builds (Old fashioned, I know) and don't care much for that big plastic piece for the nose and such. The limo is a unique car and I'm a little surprised its taken this long for us to get one but I'd probably still buy the set! Love the detailed review!



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