In our little family it falls onto me to act as the online ordering hub and so it happened that last week I once more scoured Amazon in search of something for my brother and ended up a few Euros short of free shipping. As an adult LEGO builder what do you do? Yepp, you throw in a small model just to avoid having to burn money. As they say: a penny saved is a penny earned and so spending 5 Euros extra to pad out the purchase on a set instead of letting the same amount go to waste seems only logical.
I opted for set 42057, the little gyrocopter. I didn’t plan to ever purchase it, but now that I have it, I’m actually quite positively surprised. I’ve been an aviation aficionado all my life and to boot, this vehicle is not quite unsimilar to several of the small helicopters/ autogyros seen in several of the James Bond movies. So what’s not to like?
The set of course was a very quick and simple evening build, but a welcome and relaxing one, regardless. Many people tend to underestimate the value of these small sets, but in this case it actually has a lot going for it. One of the most important things for me is the varied selection of parts.
As someone who doesn’t have a lot of storage place I’m always carefully weighing the parts you get vs. how useful they may be for later custom builds without ending up with too many redundant or useless parts. No point in having the ump-teenth liftarm in a weird color that you can’t use for anything else but one specific model, if you get my drift. This isn’t the case here and in addition to the standard panels/ shields, connectors, axles, pins, gears and a few liftarms your get a dark grey corner panel (I don’t have one of those in this color yet), the prop blades, a small propeller, a tail fin and a “horns” type steering wheel. It also features two handlebars and, which is nice for me for some of my planned aircraft projects, small and narrow wheels of two types.
Once assembled, the whole model is pretty sturdy, though during the build some things are a bit tricky to hold in place temporarily and occasionally one could use a third hand. With the model being a decent scale and not too heavy it offers some great play value to re-enact those scenes from the Bond movies. The second model looks somewhat similar and could represent a prop-driven experimental vehicle with a highly aerodynamic body from one of those “longest duration” contests for solar mobiles or whatever, but I’m probably not going to bother actually building it.
While this was fun for the most part, there are some minor niggles. For one, I would have much preferred something different for the motor than LEGOs ever same, crappy-looking motor blocks. In reality most of these things run off small boxer motors or gas turbines and I’m sure it would have been possible to include parts for a rendition of one of those. The other thing are the blades of the main rotor. Unfortunately there don’t appear to be some suitable existing parts in the right size, so perhaps it would have been better to include stub-based bricks and tiles to cobble up an imitation.
Overall, though, this is good value for money. The box can be had for slightly over ten Euros and given the wide selection of parts and the good playability, this really is worth every penny. I’m going to come up with something that fixes the issues I criticized, so perhaps you’ll see something pop up around here soon.