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Review: #8046 Helicopter

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LEGO Technic #8046 Helicopter
Review by RobExplorien

And the Technic sets keep coming. Going from the green to the red, it is the #8046 Helicopter from LEGO Technic. This aircraft set made its first appearance in 2010 (I got it in that same year for Christmas), and shows quite some resemblance with the #8068 Rescue Helicopter. It was sold at a retail price of $19,99/€14,99 (according to Brickipedia). This, in contrast with the #8256 Go Kart, which includes less pieces, but was sold at a higher retail price (euro); the Go Kart was sold for €16,99 and this Helicopter set for €14,99. The boxart generally is the same for all (lately) released Technic sets, so there's not much more to say other than I already described in earlier reviews I've done of LEGO Technic sets. A few features to point out already (note the lower right corner on the front of the box), the rotating blades and the winch. It also is no surprise that this Technic set has a '2 in 1' feature. The alternate model will be revealed on the back of the box.



Both main and alternate model are aircrafts. So, aside from the Helicopter, a Seaplane can be build as well. It features a rotating propeller, which can be rotated by twisting the gears near the wings. A more detailed description of these models will follow, along with more images of these models, in construction and complete.



Now to move on to the contents of the box:

  • 152 pieces
  • 0.5m (1.7ft) black string
  • 2 instruction booklets

The pieces mainly vary in red, white and black colours. The small white box holds the black string. The quality of this string is not really good; it starts to get untwisted at the ends, meaning that the string is literally starting to fall apart. Even though having no stickers, the LEGO Company still knows a way to vex you with low quality string. Luckily, replacing this string yourself with a new/better one shouldn't be a problem.



I do have a better review on the instructions of the main model of this set, than I had with the instructions of the #8256 Go Kart. Where the main model of the latter has 50 steps for 144 pieces, the main model of the former has 35 steps for 152 pieces, an improvement. But ironically, the Seaplane of this set has building instructions explained in 41 steps, for about 110 pieces. So, how does logic work again? The Seaplane definitely isn't any harder to build than the Helicopter, and the Helicopter even uses the 'tedious to attach'-string. The upper instructions pictured belong to the Helicopter, the lower to the Seaplane. Just look at it, step 1 and 2 of the lower instructions could be merged easily, as well as step 3 and 4 of the upper instructions.



Anyway, let's get to the building. This is what the model looks like at step 17. The core of the gear system is in place, and the long axle on the right will be connected to the rear propeller of the helicopter. Red elements are already in place, and the winch is to be hidden in the back of the helicopter.



Not far ahead of step 17. A notable change is the addition of the rear part.



Arriving at step 25, and now you can see the rear propeller attached and connected to the gear system. The white and read elements nicely cover up the gears, aside from the upper gears, which aren't yet covered.



Now two red caps cover up the upper gears, and make the helicopter look a lot better in my opinion. You also get a better view on how the long axle is connected to the rear propeller. The front part is still to be added, using the flexible axles (which are visible in the back).



There is a tiny detail to point out at these flexible axles. It is the mold 'leftover', that middle part of the flexible axle (see image in spoiler). Instead of one smooth line (as preferred), it is interrupted by a mold 'leftover'. The LEGO brand moldings on this axle is not what I'm talking about, that is mandatory.



And then, it's finished. Three long black blades, two blue movable seats in the cockpit, red and white elements which I think fit well with helicopters, and gears on the side to rotate blades and rear propeller, and a working winch to carry objects (like bricks). There are spare parts, but not pictured.



More of the Helicopter:

View from the back. I just love how the rear propeller is connected to the gear system, making both (blades and propeller) rotate simultaneously by turning one gear.



The other model, the Seaplane, is a little less complicated to build. Pictured below is the state of the Seaplane in step 10.



Then you slide the propeller connected to the axle through the beam holes, and the first step in making this model look like an aircraft is done.



And after you went through the other steps, the Seaplane is complete. It uses the caps (from the former model) as wings, and the blades as floats. The Seaplane has gears on both sides, to make the propeller rotate by turning them, and uses flexible axles to finish off the cockpit. Lots of spare parts come with this alternate model, so adding extra features to the Seaplane, like adding a winch, is an option.



More of the Seaplane:

View from the back, getting a better sight on the rear wings (which aren't movable). The floats stick out far to the back to preserve stability.



Detail on the cockpit. Look at how the pilot's seat is safely placed next to the gear system. Maybe it functions as a gear change? Also, an axle that is part of the gear system actually goes through the seat.



Having this set examined and tested, I come to the following conclusion:

  • Not much more to tell about the boxart. It has become standard for LEGO Technic sets to have this kind of boxart, but an alternate background would be nice.
  • Understanding the instructions shouldn't be a problem, but merging some steps could've been done.
  • The pieces have a fitting colour for these aircraft models, kinda reminds me of a rescue chopper.
  • No stickers, but a piece of string vexes me in its quality.
  • You can build nice models with this set. The Helicopter has a cool feature in which both blades and rear propeller rotate simultaneously when turning a gear, and the Seaplane makes clever use of the blades as floats.

Design: 9
Quality: 7
Fun: 7
Price: 9

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