Fast forward to several days later when I make a trip to the LEGO store. No Emerald Express and only one each of the helicopter and digger. Somehow I found the money to fund not only this small trip but also a S@H order. I was able to finish off the triad. But it seems these sets are popular as they are hard to find. </story>
Not only is there some confusion in the name of the train, but the helicopter as well. Badged as "Red Thunder" I had it confused for "Red Rotors" which is a more applicable name as well as a larger set. And technically, Red Thunder's rotors aren't red. Then again, neither are they in Red Rotors.
Red Thunder appears to be a baby version of the Rotors. Both sets feature a red helicopter though the Rotors is a co-axial counter rotating machine while the Thunder has a smaller tail prop. Both sets feature two alternate builds which are an airplane and a hovercraft. But then there's also the mini helicopter polybag 30184 which is straight up a Red Rotors baby.
To the build already!
As for me, I tend to stick with the main Creator model. Oftentimes the alternates seem like they're trying too hard. The set comes with two bags inside so no building in the bag. The second bag has a whopping 12 parts in it which seems ridiculous. In true Creator style you often find yourself using 2 parts where one would be adequate. Why use two 2x3 or 1x6 when a 2x6 would work fine? Because this is Creator! And one of the designers decided that they needed the piece split to use in one of the alternate models. This would be the same reason why two wedge plates are used in the helicopter tail when only one would do the job. You need both to balance the airplane build. It does sort of artificially increase the part count but on such a small model who cares?
I make it a habit of trying to incorporate the extra pieces into my builds. This becomes fairly difficult when you have lots of smooth surfaces. Fortunately there were plenty of studs and anti-studs to work with. Can you find my extras?
I'm much more into mini wheeled things. Just a personal preference. But this was a fun little build and it makes a nice display/swooshing model. Despite my little digs about how and why it came together I'm pleased with the result. I really only have one complaint and that is that the 'copter can only be in flight mode. There's no landing gear. A few extra pieces on the underbelly would have been a nice touch.
If you're concerned about part count, there are 66 pieces plus six extras. A total of 72 pieces for $5 seems like a sweet deal until you realize that most of them are smaller than a 2x2 brick. Nonetheless if you like small aircraft, or you're a micro builder who needs red, white, and dark bley, this is a great little set. Almost every piece is versatile except for the rear rotor. Pick it and it's cousins up in the image links below.