Review

Lego rescue helicopter: the best Technic set of 2022

Helicopters have always been part of the Lego Technic range. However, the Airbus H175 is now the first with a licence. You know what the best part is? It works without the despised smartphone app.

If you’ve been into Lego Technic in recent years, helicopters will probably make you think of the Osprey. It was supposed to have been launched two years ago, but was cancelled by Lego at the last minute. Why? Because the Osprey is used exclusively for military purposes. This goes against Lego’s policy of not producing military vehicles. For the Airbus H175, it was a different story. Although there’s also a military version of the aircraft, it’s mainly used in private aviation, for medical transport and search and rescue (SAR) operations. This is because it’s famous for its long range capabilities and smooth flight qualities. While a new, original helicopter like this will set you back around 17 million US dollars, Lego is currently (August 2022) selling it for just over 200 francs.

LEGO Airbus H175 rescue helicopter (42145, LEGO Technic)
198.–

LEGO Airbus H175 rescue helicopter

42145, LEGO Technic

42145, LEGO Technic

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The model is 24 centimetres tall, 72 centimetres long and weighs a little over 2.5 kilogrammes. Its red, white and yellow finish is fictitious and not based on any real helicopter. Personally, I find the colours appropriate for a rescue helicopter.

Finally an engine without app control

A true Technic set must include features you can play with. And the Airbus comes with outstanding ones. At the heart of the helicopter is a new engine. It’s the same one that should’ve been included in the Osprey mentioned previously. However, as the Osprey was cancelled just before its launch, it’s the first time Lego has installed it. All the engine needs is six AA batteries – no annoying app or Bluetooth. Yes, you read that right: at long last, a motorised Technic set without smartphone control, which is generally frowned upon by the Lego community. And I’m no exception. After all, I’ve always associated Lego with analogue fun. Having to stare at a smartphone screen as part of the experience just feels wrong. What’s more, the app-less engine control has the advantage that you can still play with the set in the post-smartphone era.

You start the engine with a switch located on the left side of the helicopter. Press «ON» and you’ll hear the engine hum, but it’s still in neutral. If you want to make the main and tail rotors turn, you can set a further switch to tortoise (slow) or to hare (fast), just like you would on the lawn mower.

The left side of the helicopter with the on/off button for the engine.
The left side of the helicopter with the on/off button for the engine.

The right side of the helicopter is equipped with two more switches for further motorised features. One of them allows you to extend and retract the front landing gear. With the other, you can operate the winch located above the side door.

The right side of the helicopter with the winch and two more switches.
The right side of the helicopter with the winch and two more switches.

Manual mechanical functions

In addition to operating the engine, the Airbus also has a number of other mechanical functions you can use by hand. For example, opening the cockpit doors or sliding the side doors back to open them. You can also slide the entire engine cover forwards or backwards for «inspection».

There’s a swashplate under the engine cover.
There’s a swashplate under the engine cover.

What impressed me most about the entire helicopter, however, is that you can control the rotor blades via a swashplate. Just like in a real helicopter, you regulate the main rotor in the cockpit using two different sticks. With the control stick, located in front of the seats, you can adjust the blades’ pitch and angle of attack. It’s how you make the helicopter go left, right, forwards or backwards. The second stick is the so-called «collective». It’s located on the left side of the seats and controls the ascent and descent in hover flight.

The main rotor can be adjusted with the sticks in the cockpit.
The main rotor can be adjusted with the sticks in the cockpit.

Verdict

The Airbus H175 by Lego Technic is an amazing model. I’d even go so far as to say it’s my favourite Technic model of 2022. In addition to its appealing colours and fun assembly, I’m particularly impressed with the features – both motorised and mechanical. In other words, the helicopter is more than just a beautiful exhibit; it’s also perfect to play with. What I particularly like is the fact that you can enjoy the motorised features without a smartphone. At long last, Lego has said goodbye by to app control for at least one of its sets. Simply feed the helicopter six AA batteries and it’s good to go. And still will be in 50 years from now. Personally, I feel that’s how all Lego Technic products should be.

With the front landing gear folded, the helicopter sets off for its next rescue mission.
With the front landing gear folded, the helicopter sets off for its next rescue mission.

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Riding my motorbike makes me feel free, fishing brings out my inner hunter, using my camera gets me creative. I make my money messing around with toys all day.


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