Review: LEGO City – 60123 Volcano Supply Helicopter
The Volcano Explorers sub-theme are some of the most exciting releases from LEGO this summer. Featuring five new playsets, this new LEGO City sub-theme features scientists, geologists and volcanolgists in the hot pursuit of lucrative precious gems and mineral deposits in the landscape of an active volcano. You can find an overview of all of the new LEGO City summer releases here.
Full disclosure: All of the views and opinions in this review are that of my own but I was provided with this LEGO set for free for the purpose of this review.
The set we are reviewing today is the LEGO City (60123) Volcano Supply Helicopter playset from the Volcano Explorers sub-theme. It contains a helicopter, excavator and boulder opening platform alongside three minifigures. The set has a recommended retail price of £39.99 and contains 330 LEGO pieces at a cost of 12.1p per piece. You can find the official description and an overview of the set below.
Take science and discovery to new heights with the Volcano Supply Helicopter. Finding more boulders means more crystal elements need to head to the lab. Unload the excavator and boulder opener tool and start breaking open those boulders! Pack the box with the newest crystal element and load it in the back of the helicopter. Spin the rotors and take to the skies one more time – all in the name of science. Includes volcanologist and pilot minifigures, plus exploration accessories and equipment.
Now that we’ve introduced the LEGO City: (60123) Volcano Supply Helicopter playset it’s onto the review. The review is broken down into three parts, the two parts cover the sets main components and the final part is an overall review of the set as a whole.
Excavator and Boulder Opener
The excavator and boulder opener are the first things we build in the Volcano Supply Helicopter (60123), they are built from the same bag of LEGO and have their own instruction manual. While not a large or even lengthy build these two items pack a lot of fun.
The boulder opener and female volcanologist are the initial things to construct at this stage, the minifigure went together as normal, nothing special though it’s notable that her hair and hard hat are just a single piece. Which is something I highly welcome, I’m not a fan of having a separate hair piece and then an additional hat. The boulder opener does exactly what it says it does. If you place one of the many lava boulders from the Volcano Explorers range onto it’s platform and then push down with the drill bit the pressure from you pushing down causes the boulder to split in two and reveal it’s hidden gem. The drill bit makes great use of an elastic band to allow it to spring back into position after you’ve split a boulder.
Next up is the excavator vehicle and much like the boulder opener it went together in no time and without hassle. The excavator has a lot of moving parts, which without a doubt definitely add a lot of playability to this model. It has moving tank treads, the excavator cabin spins 360 degrees on it’s joint, the crane arm has four points of articulation and can pivot 360 degrees at the base and with the help of another elastic band the excavator claws open and spring back shut. The excavator claws are big enough to hold one of the lava boulders included with this set.
The excavator is the only part of this stage to use stickers and they are the yellow and black hazard warning stripes on the articluated claw arm. The front of the excavator does look incredibly simple and it’s a suprise there isn’t a grill or a sticker to go across the rounded grey brick (which you can see in the above picture) at the front which could show a manafacturers name or various inlet pipes for the hydraulics and oil. Lastly the excavator has a little clip on the left side of the cabin where you secure the accessory of the minifigure you choose to sit in it.
Both of the volcanologist minifigures have exceptional and very detailed legs and chest pieces, very well printed with nice metallic inks for buckles, carabiners and so on. The female minifigure comes with a walkie talkie and the male minifigure comes with a stone pick accessory.
The meat and potatoes of this set, is of course, the supply helicopter model. It’s built from two bags of LEGO, has it’s own instuction manual and comes with a pilot minifigure.
Much like the volcanologist minifigures, the male pilot features high quality printed chest and leg pieces with the same great use of metallic inks, he also comes with a visored helmet and no other accessories.
The helicopter itself is built in two stages, the first stage sees the completion of the undercarriage, winch and fuselage up to the level of the forward windows and the second stage completes the helicopter by adding it’s roof, rear door and rotor blades. In terms of moving parts the helicopter features a rear door that opens up to fit a storage crate, all of the rotors spin, the cabin canopy can be removed to insert and remove the pilot and it also includes a winch for lifting the lava boulders.
Most of the helicopter came together in no time due to some large pieces but I did waste a bit of time tying the knot for the winch string. This was because the instruction showed putting the string through the hole in the winch pulley and tying a single knot, however the knot wasn’t big enough for the string just to fall through the hole and this had me baffled for a few minutes. If I’d just looked at the next page of instructions I’d have seen that the winch string is actually kept in place by a pin that is placed through the center of the winch pulley.
Personally I feel the helicopter is the weakest (albeit biggest) part of the set. While it does have a good amount of playability it lacks detailing, especially in the cabin where you place the pilot minifigure. The cabin is barren, once you remove the front canopy it’s nothing more than a blue chair and a simple printed display brick (which amusingly seems to have a floppy disk drive), it’s even missing a simple control column (joystick) which incidentally the excavator does have. The removeable canopy itself also lacks detail, it’s essentially just a large green piece that has a sticker on top.
My only other complaint, which is minor and ultimately only a problem for a collector like myself, is that the main rotors of the helicopter do not fold back in anyway which means it takes up a fair amount of redundant space on a shelf. As I said this is a minor point for an adult collector I’m highly certain this is a non-issue for children playing with the set.
One of the greatest parts of modern LEGO City sets is that the bags of LEGO in the sets correspond to specific sections of the build, and each section of the set comes with it’s own instruction manual. This means the task of building the set can be split between friends of family without any hassle of sharing manuals or all pilthering through the same bags of LEGO.
On a whole the set has a great amount of replayability, the excavator is an incredibly mobile vehicle with lots of moving parts and the boulder opener is a great touch for the entire Volcano Explorers range. The helicoper itself is more static in what you can physically do with it, but it does come with a winch and hook which make it ideal for zooming around the house with a lava boulder attached to it
The build itself took around one hour and fifteen minutes and went togther without any real problems, besides me messing up with the winch string. There are very little stickers used in the set, the hazard warning on the excavator’s boom and the hatch doors, logos and a few details on the helicopter. As always there were a handful of spare parts.
Both of the vehicles, the helicopter and the excavator, are lacking detail and are somewhat simplistic in places. However the minifigures themselves have a high level of detail with metallic accent printing which I’m a major fan of.
When it comes to value for money at the £39.99 RRP, I’d honestly say that depends on how much you like the helicopter part of the set. If the helicopter is something you or your child will love, then I’d certainly say it’s value for money.
Though for me I wasn’t the biggest fan of the helicopter, it lacked detail, it felt static and the size of the rotors made it a space hogging piece to display. I’d have been much happier with a smaller set containing just the boulder opener and excavator. For me the excavator is definitely the stand out part of the LEGO City (60123) Volcano Supply Helicopter set.
Overall it’s a fun set, has a good range of models and minifigures and I truly love the new Volcano Explorers sub-theme, but in the end I’d only go for this set if the helicopter is to your liking, if not I’d give the rest of the Volcano Explorer sets a look over as there are some cracking sets available.
MORE: Review: LEGO City – 60103 Airport Air Show playset
MORE: LEGO Super Heroes: Five new sets featuring heroes and villians from DC and Marvel are available now
MORE: LEGO Star Wars: Seven new Star Wars vehicle and playsets released from across the expanded universe
MORE: LEGO City: ‘Fun in the Park’ set arrives and with it comes the world’s first LEGO baby
MORE: 13 facts you (probably) never knew about LEGO Minifigures
Image Credits: LEGO