If anything could ever compete with the mighty Star Wars movie franchise, it’s probably going to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And this trend may be playing out in the LEGO universe too, with an ever-growing line of super hero sets that is now joined by the 76042 SHIELD Helicarrier, currently available on Amazon.
Like the 76023 Tumbler, it’s aimed at older builders and thus has limited play features. And while LEGO reserves the term Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) for its big Star Wars sets, the LEGO fan community has already started using it to describe these big super hero sets as well, for obvious reasons.
A big set deserves a big review! This review is split it into two parts. In Part 1, I focus on the ship itself, covering the build experience, structural design, and looks. In Part 2, I’ll be exploring the smaller details – including the new microfigs – and of course all the bundled minifigs. In both parts, I will also be exploring one very important question… Does it fly?
If video is not your thing, click below the fold for a written review (…but trust me, watch the video!).
The Helicarrier consists of 2996 pieces and retails in the US for $350. It is recommended for builders age 16+. The set, which depicts the Helicarrier from the 2012 Avengers movie, includes a ship with display stand, a variety of accompanying microscale vehicles, 12 new printed “microfigs”, 5 Marvel super hero minifigs (all new for 2015) and a brick-built mining display stand. Ship features include four working rotors (hand-operated, but with an option to add power functions) and a concealed microfig-scale version of the bridge.
– The set took me 8 hours to build (check the video review for a time lapse of this). Although, I wouldn’t recommend doing this in one sitting. At about hour five I began to phase out and make mistakes!
– The ship is cleverly put together. It seemed specifically designed to be both very easy to construct and very sturdy once finished. A definite improvement over previous UCS sets of this size.
– The instructions are well thought out and really easy to follow, for a set of this size and complexity. Most LEGO manuals confuse me easily, but I had no trouble with this one. The parts are grouped into numbered bags that you tackle in sequence, which saves time searching for the right pieces.
– The manual is glue-bound, so it doesn’t lay completely flat, and I found myself tearing the pages a bit as I turned them. Previous sets of this size had spiral bound manuals, which I preferred.
– The ship centers around a giant hollow hull, re-enforced with a ton of technic, which houses the bridge and the rotor drive mechanism. Everything else hangs off this hull. Thankfully, there weren’t too many angled body panels, and they were easy to get in place. The rotor housings were also straightforward to hook up.
– The rotor drive mechanism works well and is easy to set up. Not much fiddly tuning is required, thanks to some clever technic components that ensure the gears don’t wander apart.
– Unlike some other large LEGO ships, this one can be lifted off it’s display stand, which was a nice touch. However, I found it almost impossible to set the ship back on the stand again – the connecting regions don’t have any slack (plus the ship is kinda heavy).
– The set features both printed parts and stickers. The runway tiles are printed (yay!) but everything else is stickers (boo!). Most annoyingly, the runway striping is comprised of a mixture of printed and stickered parts, which doesn’t look so great up close. And the big sticker on the display stand is a pain to get on.
The ship certainly looks cool, but as a representation of the Helicarrier from the 2012 Avengers movie, it’s highly inaccurate…
– The side panels bear no resemblance to the original whatsoever
– The quintets are way out of scale
– The control tower is clunky and has a superfluous clear canopy (to show off microfigs)
– Instead of being all one color, the ship is a festival of dark gray, light gray and black
– The rotors are trans-blue (which is more reminiscent of the Helicarriers in Winter Solider).
However, I can see why LEGO decided to “embellish” the original design. Previous UCS set were criticized for being “dull gray slabs”, because they were intended as movie-accurate scale models. But this time round LEGO has decided to create something more visually appealing, and with a lot of extra features.
Even so, I’m not a fan of all the studs on this ship. Many UCS sets have studs, but they were featureless scale models so it didn’t matter. But the Helicarrier is packed with surface detail, and in my opinion the studs just create a lot of noise.
On balance though, I think it is a good looking display model and Marvel fans (who aren’t hung up on that whole ‘accuracy’ thing) are gonna get a kick out of it.
Does it fly?
Well, you’re gonna have to watch Part 2 of the video review to learn the answer to that!
In Part 2 of the review, we’ll look at the microscale details, new microfigs, and the minifigs…
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier is currently available on Amazon.