02 April 2021

LEGO® City review: 60243 Police Helicopter Chase

Tim Goddard (@tim_goddard928) reviews a 2020 LEGO® City set today with an interesting inclusion: magnets! Buying 60243 Police Helicopter Chase? Consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.

Last time I looked at a brief history of LEGO® magnets, today I look at the 2020 return of the magnet and one of the two sets that these new offerings come in. But before the pull of the magnets overwhelms us, let us have a look at the rest of the set.

This is a fairly basic set, at least by New Elementary standards, and so something that AFOLs may easily overlook. It is the kind of set designed to appeal to younger children who might just be able to pester a parent into buying it for them during a trip to the supermarket. It offers good value for money and plenty of play value and I have often seen it available on discount.


It has a certain 1980s action film vibe. There are 4 minifigures, 3 of which are unique to the set. The helicopter pilot is called Sam Grizzled and he has a big grey moustache. I bet this is his last investigation before he retires, I hope he is careful! The other named character is the villain Snake Rattler. You can tell he is the villain because he has an eye patch, a big hat and a crowbar. The other two characters are unnamed females; an ATV rider and another villain with a striped white and grey prisoner outfit on.

The set portrays a classic chase: a van which perhaps inadvisably advertises its contents with a giant diamond on the side has been stolen, accompanied by a presumably stolen motorbike.  The police give chase in an ATV and a helicopter armed with a standard issue giant magnet. 


I defy anyone not to enjoy chasing down and picking up the van with the helicopter magnet.

Interesting parts in LEGO City set 60243

  • 1 x Motorcycle Frame in Red (6287328 | 65521) was new for 2020 and appears in a total of 3 sets.
  • 3 x Wheel 14.4 mm with Bar in Black and Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray (6285598 | 65630) was also new in 2020, currently in 7 sets. 

The new wheel has a rubbery tyre which is almost fused with the hard plastic hub. As you can see I tried to separate them in the interest of research but it proved impossible; there are holes in the hub which the tyre is moulded through and into. I am slightly sad to see this new wheel design as it is likely to mean the retirement, or at least reduction in use, of the venerable pulley wheel, Wheel Centre Small with Stub Axles (3464 – you can see one attached to a magnet holder in my previous article). The pulley wheel is one of those rare elements which is both small and can be used to reverse the direction of build by 180 degrees; the centre of the hub is a stud width in diameter. 

There is a surprising sprinkling of Cool Yellow/ Bright Light Yellow which looks great against the blue of the helicopter:

  • 1 x Plate 2 x 12 in Bright Light Yellow (6286848 | 2445) - New in 2020, also appears in 60271    Main Square.
  • 2 x Plate 1 x 6 in Bright Light Yellow (6211356 | 3666) - First appearance was 2018 in 41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle, now in 16 sets.
  • 1 x Plate 2 x 6 in Bright Light Yellow (6175294 | 3795), introduced in 2017 and now in 18 sets.


The helicopter in particular relies on stickers to finish the design, I have not applied the stickers so here is the sticker sheet for your information.

The main event of course are the two new magnet counterpart composite pieces:

  • Brick Special Round 4 x 4 x 2 with Magnet in Yellow (6285585 | 65209) first appeared in 2020. In two sets, the other is 60245 Police Monster Truck Heist.
  • Brick Special 4 x 4 x 1 1/3 with Magnet with Dark Bluish Gray Circle, Magnet print in Light Bluish Gray (6285589 | 65217), also new in 2020 and in 60245.

Both have a round dark grey circle sealed into the main body of the piece with an inset horseshoe magnet design.

When you pick either up the first thing you notice is that they rattle. The actual magnet is loose inside which is a rather inspired idea; it means that there is no problem making sure your magnetic poles are lined up, the magnet just flips over and lines up with whatever magnet you want to attract.

Both pieces are rather large compared to older LEGO magnet designs but presumably this is to make them impossible to swallow. The large size did rather put me off when I first saw them but they are nicely designed and, as with every LEGO piece, the main limitation in use is your imagination.

Tim Goddard’s MOC using the new LEGO magnet

In what is not a massively radical move, I decided to build a crane but not just any crane: a spacey crane!

The magnetic space sets of old were all about moving containers so this was my inspiration. The first one I built proved a little too heavy so I built a slimmed down version and this held just fine.

Even wrapped inside a plastic case the magnets are pretty strong but just how strong are they compared to the venerable 73092? Let us find out!


The new system (right) can cope with 3 tiles between magnets and still hold. Can the old system (left) beat that? Yes it can, 4 tiles and it can still lift! Impressive.

Not the most scientific of tests and the difference between the two systems are not poles apart. No doubt the actual magnets in the new pieces would be stronger if freed from their plastic prisons but from the practical aspects for building, the old pieces win.

The older magnets are likely to be a ferrite material; a mixture of mostly iron oxide. The newer ones are likely to be newer, stronger neodymium-containing magnets which allows them to be strong enough even when encased in plastic. But enough with theorising, let us take a look inside!


And wow is this tiny magnet strong, it takes quite some effort to separate it from another. It has much more power than the old magnets.

One last thought, the beauty of magnets is that they are backward and forward compatible; yes your old magnets will work just fine with new!

Buying 60243 Police Helicopter Chase which is priced £24.99 / $39.99 / 29.99€? Consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission.

READ MORE: Available today: 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, check our review first!

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13 comments:

  1. Those new magnet pieces are understandably inflating the average price/part of this small set! I checked Lego’s B&P listing for the set to see if both were available to order (and at what cost). They’re up for grabs at $4.29 (65209 - Yellow “Top”) and $4.41 (65217 - Gray “Bottom”) a piece (USD). I was a little surprised to see both pieces going for significantly less (Under $1 USD) on BL. These are only available in two sets, so Lego must have done something to saturate the market with these pieces. Interesting.

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    1. Hypothetically, saturating BL with certain rare parts at or below cost might be an effective way for TLG to discourage folks from disregarding the restrictions resale LUGBULK parts, with the side benefit of making more cool parts accessible to more AFOLs.

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    2. No reason to assume that this sort of discrepancy would require any sort of LEGO Group intervention. Keep in mind that City is a very popular theme that tends to be produced in large quantities. So it's plausible that some BrickLink sellers might have found sets with these magnets on clearance somewhere, bought them up in large quantities to part out.

      Also, while the LEGO Group's own prices for individual parts can depend heavily on the manufacturing cost, BrickLink prices tend to be based more on demand (especially among adult MOCists and collectors). So even if a part was very expensive for LEGO to manufacture, the BrickLink price won't necessarily be very high unless it's a part that AFOLs have a lot of interest in.

      A good comparisons is the Ninjago spinners from 2011–2012. These were complex, printed, pre-assembled parts, each constructed from four plastic components and a metal weight ring. Presumably, this was the a major factor in the high price per piece of those years' spinner sets ($10 for just 19 to 26 pieces).

      But on BrickLink, many of these spinners were (and still are) available for $1 or less. Chances are, most BrickLink sellers who bought spinner sets to part out made most of their profit on the minifigures (and to a lesser extent, the weapon pieces), not the spinners themselves.

      And of course, the huge number of spinner sets that were sold, many of them to kids who have since moved on from LEGO and sold their collections, ensures that the aftermarket has an ample supply of these parts, even many years after they stopped appearing in sets.

      Needless to say, the aftermarket is a funny thing, and behaves according to much different rules than LEGO's own prices!

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    3. When you buy them direct from The LEGO Company, they price them to make a profit. On Bricklink, supply and demand combine to dictate the market rate. If people want to make sure these sell, they may check the official rate and make sure to undercut it, or they'll risk just sitting on these until they're no longer available through S@H.

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    4. I'm sure the large helicopter cockpit and rear fuselage pieces must also contribute to the inflated pirce/part ratio, right?

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    5. SideSwept2 said, "...Lego must have done something to saturate the market with these pieces."
      BrickTeller2 said, "Hypothetically, saturating BL with certain rare parts at or below cost..."

      How would TLG do this? Are some BL Stores really fronts for TLG? I thought BL was supposed to be a self-regulated market. Isn't this similar to insider trading on the stock market? I'm not saying TLG saturating BL is nefarious, TLG own BL, so they can do with it whatever they like.

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  2. The loose neo magnet inside these parts was a clever design decision, but it does unfortunately rule out using these for maglev features in MOCs.

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  3. I'd be VERY surprised if LEGO intended to retire the pulley wheel 3464, since the scooter piece 36273 is designed to use it. And that scooter piece has appeared in sets with the pulley wheel even MORE recent than this City helicopter!

    I suspect that this new combined wheel and tire piece was primarily introduced for 4+ sets, since connecting wheel and tire pieces this small can be a bit tricky for younger kids. Its use in City sets with a higher age range may be intended to help offset the cost of the mold.

    I love the new vintage motorcycle frame, and hope we see it in a Friends set one day to represent Ethan's motorcycle from the "LEGO Friends: Girls on a Mission" animated series!

    As for the magnet pieces themselves, I'm honestly really impressed with this design. Even if the bulky size and specific colors might be a bit limiting, the design as a whole is basic enough that it should be able to work with a wide range of themes.

    I hope LEGO continues to use this magnet piece in future sets so that its potential is fully realized (even if its higher price than the old magnets creates some limitation).

    The integrated Technic pin holes on the sides are a great feature, since they allow the magnet and the attached build to be locked together more securely than if they were attached solely from the top or bottom. For a set like this, that might not be a big deal, but it might be if using the magnets to lift a heavier load.

    Thanks for the review!

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    Replies
    1. Once they've committed to making a dual-molded wheel with tire, that adds a third (and fourth!) mold to the equation. Since the policy established about 20 years ago says they have to retire old molds before they can add new ones, adding redundant molds like this doesn't make a lot of sense. You have a point about the scooter (which has only appeared twice?), but maybe a compromise would be to retire the tire and not the wheel.

      The difficulty here is that this tire isn't just used with that wheel. It's also being used with 34337, 40145, and 4265c. It'll be interesting to see where they go with this.

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  4. I like the self-orienting magnetic feature, that way you can use grey-to-grey or yellow-to-yellow connections and not worry about pole direction.

    I also love seeing the classic container box 2x2x2, it just always evokes a warm nostalgic feeling whenever I am putting a set together and it calls for one of them.

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    1. Especially paired with magnets like this—really evokes the M-Tron theme and other space themes that used them with magnets!

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    2. That may be a side benefit, but the main reason is certainly so they magnets are never rendered incompatible by having one of them get flipped during assembly.

      Even with the old magnets there was always a pole-reversing capability. The train coupler and the armature yoke both allow the magnet to spin freely, so regardless of how you assemble them, they will self-align. The only way you could actually assemble magnets so they'd always repel was to use the 2x2 tile or plate, both of which hold the magnet against a flat surface.

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  5. Further complicating the science of your test is the fact that you've got two extra layers of plastic involved with the new style magnets. The larger base also weighs more than the old style, so the new magnets are working harder to achieve the same result.

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