Wednesday, April 1, 2015

McDonald's Lego Motion Wind Whirler

If you were a kid in 1989 and you ate at McDonald's, there's a chance you got a Lego set in that thin cardboard box stuffed with fried potatoes, questionable meat, and grease. Tonight, I'm taking a look at one of those sets, the Wind Whirler.

The Wind Whirler was one of eight sets available from Ronald's burger joint. They all had moving parts of some sort, with rolling wheels or spinning propellers. It was mostly a bunch of planes, helicopters, and race cars, with one sort of prop driven boat thrown in there. They were pretty simple sets, since they were mostly made up of basic blocks. 

There you go, that's all you get; a whole 17 pieces. Still, it's hard to complain when they came free in a box of already cheap food. Honestly, even a bad Happy Meal Toy was still a good reason to smile. It either gave you something to do while you were sitting at the table waiting for your parents to finish their food, or it kept you entertained for the ride home. Then you tossed it in a box and forgot about it. A truly great Happy Meal prize though, you found a way to work that in with your regular toys. Of course, since these were just regular Lego pieces, it was pretty easy to "lose" these among all our other interlocking building blocks. 

The directions are short. I've actually seen simpler sets with more steps. I'm guessing they didn't want to waste too much paper, so they condensed the process a little bit. I'm not going to lie, as simple as this set may seem, I managed to screw it up when I tried to just use the photo on the package. That's what happens when you get cocky though. I went into this all "I don't need no stinkin' directions!" and ended up "Now where did I put those instructions..". Less than a minute later, I had a working Lego helicopter. Like I said before, there isn't much to it. It does have an impressive wingspan though. 

I could definitely see my 8 year old self running through the house while I'm holding this thing, periodically pausing to spin the rotor again. Then I'd have to stop again because I knocked one of the rotor blades off. That's why you have to wait until you get home to really start playing with these things. You don't want to have to go crawling under the seats in a McDonald's to try and find that one little piece you just lost. 

Like all the older sets, Lego tempts creativity by showing off other models that can be built with the same pieces. I'm always up for a challenge, however slight, so I got to building. 

The first model is basically just another helicopter, just smaller. I like to think that the main model is some huge cargo carrying beast, while this is more like something your uncle may have put together in his shed. 

Next we have a..boat of some sort. A ship? That's part of the problem with these real basic pieces. It's really hard to work out any sense of scale. This could be anything from a small pleasure craft, to an oil tanker. You know what? It's a yacht. I'm going with yacht. There you go.

Another boat? Are you kidding me? Fine, this one is a cargo ship. I missed an opportunity to use the 1x6 blocks as containers on the ship's deck. I just know that lack of foresight is going to haunt me for the rest of my days. Especially since I'll never build this model again. 

The last model Lego suggests is a small sea plane. Or, maybe it's a glider since there doesn't seem to be any way to reasonably attach the propeller. I could have slapped it up there on top of the wing. I bet that would have been fun. 

I couldn't let Lego have all the fun, so I tried my hand at coming up with my own alternate models. 

Oh look, another cargo ship. I have to admit, I forgot I even built this one. I'm actually rather happy about this one, and I think it turned out better than Lego's model. At least it looks like it's actually carrying something. 

And it's another sea plane. It's a bit different than the one on the package though. This one sits more like a boat in the water than the other model. I still didn't add the propeller, so you'll just have to use your imagination. Pretend it's propelled by unicorn farts or something. Okay, there's time for one more model..

It's a...well, I'm not quite sure what I made here.  Maybe I could call it a Helo-Hovercraft. Hey, at least I managed to find a place for the propeller this time. Do I need to point out that 3 out of 4 of Lego's suggestions didn't have any moving parts at all?  I didn't think so..

But wait, don't go yet! 

On the other side of the instruction sheet, there was a mail in offer for a free Lego set. All you had to do was collect three Proofs of Purchase from 3 Lego Motion sets and buy at least $10 worth of Duplo or Lego sets. Then you sent this coupon off with your sales receipt and proofs of purchase with $1 for postage.  Then, 6-8 weeks later, you would get a set in the mail with a suggested retail of $5-7. I'm all for mailing off forms then getting cool stuff back, but man, that seems like a lot of hoops to jump through. Sadly, the offer expired December 31, 1990, so I think it's a little too late to send off for a "free" set. 

While you're still here, check this out.

If you managed to buy the companion set, the Sea Skimmer, you could combine it with the Wind Whirler to create this monstrosity. Powered by two jet engines, one propeller, and flown by three pilots, this is some Howard Hughes scale aviation going on here. 

I am a little disappointed Lego didn't toss that other propeller on top though. 

Thanks for reading! 

You can keep up with all things Stunt Zombie on my infrequently used Twitter account  or on my less infrequently used Instagram. 


  1. Wasn't there a stomper/monster truck too?

    1. I don't think there was in this one, but there may have been another series.

  2. Simple but fun set...I like it!

    1. I agree. I'd love to see McD's do another promotion like this one.

  3. Replies
    1. That they were. I'm surprised they didn't so something similar for the Lego Movie. Maybe for the sequel..

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