Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 at 11:53pm by Benjamin, BZPower Reporter
Is there life on the moon? That's the question the next series of LEGO City sets ask—in space! That's right, LEGO City is going to space again, this year their sights are set on the moon. Today we review the Lunar Reserach Base, one of the larger sets and available on March 1 with the rest of the collection. Does the set inspire a future of space travel, or does it fail to launch? Read, and watch, on to find out.
First, a big thank you to LEGO for sending BZPower some City Space sets so I can share my opinions. Second, this set has 786 pieces and costs $120, with 6 minifigs and a good amount of vechicles or settings for the minifigs.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box is nice and big and showcases all the vehicles of the set and the Lunar Research Base itself (henceforth known as “Moonbase.”) The back details some play features, from lab research to lunar exploration and more. (This European box doesn't feature many details, but the US version will probably have the set name and piece count on the front.)
You'll notice seven numbered bags along with one bag of larger parts for use throughout the build and a few free-floating parts as well. Additionally, there is a sticker sheet, which I don't normally apply to sets, but since most of these are for solar panels I figure I can utilize those in MOCs and decide to apply them.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
What I found fascinating with this build was how sectional it was. You can build the contents of bag #1 and have a few basic vehicles and minifigs worthy of a small set. Then bag #2 built a solid rocket ship to add to the play time. Same goes for the drone with the claw. All these things work on their own, but group them all together, especially with the crater and moon rock, and you already have a great space scene with vehicles, characters, and mission goals.
But of course, this is a big set, and you came here for the moonbase:
The moonbase is built into a lunar rock, maybe on the edge of a crater or something else solid. It has a nice big garage and two hallways sticking out from either side with science equipment and decontamination tools and an airlock. The long hallway even lifts up to reach the rocket ship's ladder or the door of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (60348). I'm impressed with the details that went into such a small space.
The last build is the biome on top of the base with a garden, kitchen, and beds. The entire set assembly is generic and studs-up, so the set's 7+ rating seems appropriate for such a large set. But older builders will be excited to have a moonbase that looks great anyway.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There are lots of cool new and/or interesting pieces here, like the blue quarter-dome, Classic Space adorned 1x2 curved slopes, and moon rocks with transparent crystals inside. But my favorite might be the printed round tile that has a bit of microbial life on it. It really drives a story into the set, looks great, and can have plenty of use in science-themed MOCs.
All the parts of the moonbase you'll notice come together for a cohesive set, where every astronaut has a job and a place, as do the vehicles. The design is very sturdy, being able to be lifted from the front beams of the garage without worry. The hallways jut out organically from the sides like any good research facility would implement.
The rocket is pretty basic, but it follows the design of the transparent blue window, some solar panels, and a bit of gold. What's clever is the main flame exhaust can hide in the body of the rocket, only igniting after liftoff.
An all-around look at the biome module shows that rest and relaxation are also important for any research operation. There's a garden with fresh vegetables and some beds with personal memorabilia.
There are six minifigs all suited for different roles in the moonbase. One is the pilot of the rocket, two are in jumpsuits in the main lab, and three are suited for the lunar surface in full space suits. What I like most here is there are three men and three women all serving differnet roles on the mission.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with.
There's lots to do on the moon, and lots of space to do it. On the surface, one team researches moon rocks, craters, and the atmosphere, as seen in the vehicles they have for drilling, extracting, traveling, and flying. The drone can even use its claw and grab a rock to take back to the base. You'll also notice the vehicles can fit into the garage under the biome.
Once back, each hallway has some research tools next to an airlock. These house various equipment under their solar paneled roofs.
And finally, the biome is a great place for some rest and relaxation, with fresh plants to care for, a kitchen for meals, and some beds after a long day of work.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Lots of playability right from the start.
Good assortment of minifigs—men and women and different roles/outfits.
Details inside the set and not just exterior vehicular play.
Easy enough for the 7+ age range, but cool enough for any builder/collector.
What's not to like?
Sticker sheets for solar panels.
All the minifigs don't have beds or seats on the rocket. Little cramped?
LEGO City last went to space with some concept Mars exploration sets three years ago. It's great to see a return to space a little more close to home: exploring the Moon in ways we couldn't decades ago. The callback to Classic Space is appreciated by the older builders, as is the moonbase design (a popular collaboration project at LEGO conventions). With a good assortment of minifigs, vehicles, and play features, there's much to love about this set and its solid design.