Review: 4473 Police Helicopter
I received my copy this week, just days after placing the order. I thought it'd be worth doing a quick review so that those of you who may have more difficulty getting hold of one can judge whether it's worthwhile doing so.
Before taking a look at this set, it's worth remembering that the last police helicopter of this size, 7741, came out in 2008 and is still being sold from shop.LEGO.com, some 5 years after its introduction. Clearly there's demand for such a model. I wonder why then that LEGO made this one an airline-special and not part of the regular City line-up.
Box and contents
The first thing you notice about airline specials is that they come in small boxes because, of course, space is at a premium in aircraft and their duty-free trollies. As you can see below, the sets 112-parts are packed in tightly and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that they are packed by hand due to the need to fold the bags.
There's three unnumbered bags, one sticker sheet and an instruction book all packed into the small box.
The set contains two police pilots which are adorned with 'Forest police' uniforms. The one on the left is, apparently, unique although his head is fairly common.
The helicopter is a reasonable design but an unchallenging build. The use of 6-wide wheel arches above the side doors is effective.
There's one weird thing about it that I don't like at all, though. The winch is operated by spinning the rotors. That means you can't give them a good push prior to swooshing it because the string either reaches its limit, causing the rotors to 'stall', or the hook is lowered and the string gets in the way. A bit of a strange design decision, but I suppose it keeps it simple.
The stickers haven't been applied but it's still unmistakable as a police helicopter due to the livery.
Although it's one of the least appealing airline specials of recent years, it's not a bad model. It would certainly keep a child occupied for an hour or two on a long-haul flight which is, of course, what they are designed for.
Unless you're a collector of airline specials, there's no compelling reason to go out of your way to track it down or pay a ridiculous sum for it. But if you see it in the brochure whilst on board a plane, snap it up!
[Note: I went to a photography show on Thursday and had my DSLR sensor cleaned which is why there there are no dust spots on these images! I also traded in my D300, which has been unused since I got my D7000 two years ago, for the Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro lens which, if anything, seems to be sharper than the 105mm I have been using.