The LEGO City theme has nearly always been reliable in delivering good looking trucks. I can remember all the way back to Construction Truck (6652), Highway Maintenance Truck (6653) and Tractor Trailer (6692). So you could say I have a lot of love and fond memories of these vehicles so the LEGO Heavy Cargo Truck was a must for me the day I saw it! And after we built the set, we had some fun in the snow testing it’s capabilities! You can can check out the shots in my Battling Through the Snow post.
A bit of history
First a bit of background – excuse my indulgence. With the Heavy Cargo Transport, LEGO has made a modern version of some classic sets. Quite literally because there have been at least 6 similar truck and helicopter combos, some big, but most LEGO City set scale. Going through the Brickset archives I found some of the previous sets:
- 6357 Stunt ‘Copter N’ Truck (1988)
- 5590 Whirl and Wheel Super Truck (1990)
- 6328 Helicopter Transport (1988)
- 7686 Helicopter Transporter (2009)
- 5765 Transport Truck (2011)
- 60049 Helicopter Transporter (2013)
There might be more but that’s most of the ones I could find quickly. Of those, the Classic Model Team one is hard to beat, but not the most similar. I think for colours, 6357 and 5590 but for the concept of this model, probably 7686 as it’s the heaviest transport in that list.
The Box and it’s Contents
The box front is LEGO City branded and shows the truck parked and the helicopter doing it’s heavy lifting thing. It’s good to see the truck driver is using the walkie talkie and has left the coffee cup in the cab. The truck is shown in a slightly off road position which is not uncommon for this style of truck.
On the back, the truck is shown in various action poses with the driver and pilot performing tasks on the truck and helicopter. It’s great to see the two figures working together, and it’s already a great looking looking set in all of these shots.
The contents of the box are 4 number bags of parts, 1 base plate, 2 manuals and a small sticker sheet. Lots of black, white and red. The sticker sheet is not too large with 13 large stickers.
The LEGO Building Experience
This set is broken into two manuals, with the first manual putting together the tractor unit from bags 1 and 2. The second manual puts together the trailer and helicopter with bags 3 (trailer) and 4 (Helicopter).
Instruction Manual Book 1
Working through the first bag of bits, you put together the chassis of the tractor unit so it’s predominately large pieces. There’s not a lot to write home about it, but it is a very solid foundation. By the end of bag one it is all together including those side details, attached via 2×4 angle brackets. You’ve also included the rear storage tray.
Bag 2 is all about building out the cab and detailing the tractor unit. There’s a lot of small parts that go together to create the engine unit, cab and front bumper. Interestingly there’s an arch piece hidden in that red section. Not sure why it’s there, but adds variety. The main cab and engine unit are nothing special, but it all locks together to create something very solid.
The front of the truck is an exercise in layering and build up from a train railing, building up until you have the whole piece together. The way it’s attached to the front of the truck is cleverly done as it overlaps and connects top and bottom, joining it all together. I say this a lot in this review, but it really is a very solid little vehicle. Bravo to the LEGO Designers on how it goes together.
Instruction Book 2
Bag 3 is the parts for the trailer, with one addition of the large flat board that makes up the trailer bed. Again, a straightforward build starting with the middle bed, then the rear wheels and then the front wheels. One interesting thing they’ve done is double up on the S-shaped parts at both ends, so theres two underneath each end of the bed and then two on top. It adds a surprising amount of rigidity. By the end of this bag we have the truck itself complete.
The final bag is all about the helicopter. Starting with the underside of the cockpit and then building up and back using a mix of red and white for highlights. There’s a couple of hidden pieces in brighter colours that you don’t really see in the finished model. Again, it all goes together and flow really well. The main rotor and tail are build as one piece on top of a long 2×16 base plate. The finished product looks really good and is very solid. I would perhaps have liked to see something like the bumper done to join the top and bottom elements of the copter.
Whilst not a lengthy build, it was a very satisfying one with some well tried and tested techniques used. And not too many stickers, all of which are easy to position and I think add a lot to the finished product. A couple of them I think could have been printed like the lead Special Transport piece.
The Finished Heavy Cargo Transport
It looks great and the final model is absolutely superb in my opinion and different enough from previous ones to make it special and a really interesting addition to any city.
The Tractor Unit
The tractor unit itself is a fine looking machine in it’s own right. A lot of attention has gone into this model, even along the sides between the wheels – something that is often left bare as it’s a relatively small space. Speaking of the side profile, there’s lots happening on both sides, and the set includes a walkie-talkie, spanner and dual vertical exhaust pieces.
Moving to the front, you are given a treat! This is one fantastic looking vehicle from the front. Starting from the lowest point, it uses a railing as a sort of deflector. Then you get the lights and number plate with chevrons – which is a sticker. And then the radiator surrounding by a bull bar. Nothing is going to stop this special delivery! The driver gets a great vantage point high up with her 6 stud wide windscreen, side mirrors (1×2 wedges), adorned by the Special Transport trucking logo. And finally the obligatory ‘siren’ lights that all heavy vehicles have. It all comes together perfectly.
The details carry on throughout the tractor unit with the interior featuring the now standard coffee mug. Behind the cab, theres a big red block that various parts attach to and features more radiator grills. I would guess this is part of the engine block. Towards the rear, there’s a lot of storage space that houses a single container, which is well clipped in. Overall the parts of the tractor unit are great, and like I said before, would make a great vehicle in it’s own right!
Trailer and Helicopter
Then the articulation that the LEGO designers have added to the trailer with that front bogey is a great twist – literally – from the normal single connection. That is also a first time for this style in a set and is more representative of an actual Heavy Cargo Transporter. There’s the added benefit of making the trailer self standing as well. The trailer itself is relatively simple but solid as previously mentioned, and includes a fire extinguisher and shovel. There’s also a heavy weight for the helicopter to lift. At the tail end, there’s a pretty full on light cluster, again with the number plate and chevron lines.
With the Helicopter, LEGO has again tried something a little new with the design – they have and do make a lot of helicopters – around the canopy layout. They’ve used a big clear windscreen that looks like something from a fighter jet rather than a helicopter. This gives it quite a sporty look, but does mean that there’s some large gaps between it and the bricks. But, this is necessary else the mini-figure wouldn’t fit. And I think the result looks great!
It’s built on the helicopter skids base piece and features red and white colours with only 4 stickers (2 on the tail and one small one on each side. The design incorporates two jet turbines just below the main rotor. On the back there’s a special chain and hook that attaches below the main rotor and hooks on behind the rear blades. This is used to lift that heavy load and is big enough to be easy to attach. One very minor annoyance I did find with the chain attachment, you have to reverse the hook in the clip to get it to stay put reliably. But, when the chain is not being used, you’re meant to remove it and put it in the container on the tractor unit.
One thing I would have liked to see is a few more tools and a bit more happening in the front of the trailer. If you look at the 7686 set from above, it’s got good storage and tools. But that’s really nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a simple MOC.
Conclusion and Final Recommendation
I honestly do not have anything bad to say about this set. From beginning to completion it did not at any stage disappoint me. It all comes together so well and creates a practical vehicle that looks more than capable of doing the job it’s designed to do.
This is a set that should be part of anyone’s LEGO City in my opinion!