When I was young, LEGO City was my favorite LEGO product (although the name Town was still used back then). But these days, between Star Wars and Ideas and massive Creator Expert sets and all the other cool themes I enjoy, I don’t often get the opportunity to build City sets. LEGO reached out to me and asked me for a review of the latest LEGO City sets that are focused on space exploration. Since 1990, when the first Space Shuttle set was launched, real-world space has been a constant theme in City. This latest wave is inspired by NASA’s Artemis project, the planned mission to return to the moon by 2025 (the first Artemis I unmanned mission is planned for this spring). Today we’re looking at two sets in the middle of the range, 60348 Lunar roving vehicle With 275 piecesUS $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £24.99), and 60350 Lunar Research Base With 786 piecesUS $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £89.99). Both sets will be available March 1,
The LEGO Group provided early copies to The Brothers Brick for review. TBB is not responsible for any negative reviews or coverage.
Unboxing the set with its contents 60348 Lunar roving vehicle
Just like other City sets, the boxes feature the blue brick wall in the upper left. An inset panel on the bottom of the boxes shows NASA renderings. The back of the box contains the usual play features exposition as well as Artemis renderings. A blurb explains how these two sets can be linked via a docking station.
60348 Lunar Roving Vehicle comes with just three numbered bags, loose sticker sheets, and an instruction manual.
The sticker sheet is reflective with shiny gold for a few solar panels and mirrored silver for the flag, which bears the new City space line’s emblem, an updated version of the Classic Space logo that originated in the 1970s and has been a fan favorite ever since. This logo has been used by LEGO for many Town/City themes. However, this latest version is closer to the original than any of the previous versions. A two-tone orb has replaced the gold planet.
You’ll also get the updated logo on a trio of 2x2x2/3 slopes, which are the set’s only new printed elements apart from the minifigures.
There’s not a lot in the way of new or recolored parts, but the one does stand out: a new design for the 4×4 split rock element. The Town Space Port line introduced asteroid rocks in 1999. This new version is a geode that has been dual-molded in dark grey and translight. It’s a really lovely design. The blue is ice and not minerals, as Artemis’ mission goal is to find water on Mars. The transparent parts of the set look cool and cool when lit by the sun. I wish there was a way for the rock to glow from within. It would be quite possible to rig this up on your own, however, since a 2×2 section of the bottom is transparent.
The instruction manual ends with pages that show the actual vehicle alongside the LEGO model. This is the Habitable mobility platform, also known as a mobile house that NASA calls a mobile residence. It allows for longer journeys from the base camp. The word “inspired”This is vital because it does not translate HMP into LEGO form. It’s easy to see how LEGO started with the Artemis design and ended up with this set, but play features and construction simplicity were clearly the priorities, with only a vague head nod in the direction of accuracy.
The build: 60348 Lunar roving vehicle
The rover kicks off with a stacked-plate chassis, using three of the 2×6 Technic bricks from the Speed Champions line for the axle connection points. The HMP crew compartment has been pressurized so that the bulkhead between the cargo compartment on left, and the driving compartment right, is clearly visible.
The solar panel and airlocks are next. The windscreen’s bottom panel is inverted to create a great design. To my sci-fi hungry eyes, it’s not nearly as cool as the multi-paneled design on the real HMP, but it is a clever bit of LEGO engineering.
With the canopy in place, all that’s left is the roof, which contains the airlock doors, and the wheels and front robotic arms. The roof is attached with only a few studs so it’s easily removable to access the interior.
The final model: 60348 Lunar roving vehicle
The build also includes three miniaturefigures as well as a bit of moon-terrain to make the ice gede. The rover’s unusual 12-wheeled chassis gives it a passing resemblance to the real HMP, but it’s definitely not an accurate model. The LEGO model, on the other hand, has hatches at both the ends.
It is, however, great fun. It can be driven in any direction with zero radius turns thanks to its omnidirectional wheels. This is one of the most fun wheeled vehicles I’ve built in a long time.
For astronaut access, the hatch can be opened from one side. Access to the cargo bay is possible via the solar panels that are lower.
The interior is quiet simple, though there are a variety of computer screens and control surfaces, including a pair of black nipple elements that function perfectly as small joysticks; exactly the sort of control scheme you’d expect to find in the real rover.
The arms at either the front or back can hold a variety of tools. However, they can also be equipped with a drill and metal detector.
If you are very successful in water prospecting and find large ice geodes, flip down a platform so that you can transport your incredible finds back to the moonbase.
The minifigures 60348 Lunar roving vehicle
The rover consists of two astronauts dressed in full space suits and a casually dressed driver. LEGO has given some characters names, but they are all unnamed. Both of the astronauts include hairpieces for when they’re not wearing their helmets, which is a nice touch. The suits are simple but elegant. They have identical torsos and leg prints and would look great on real astronauts as on a sci-fi spaceship. I would have liked to seen a logo on the suits, or even the arms. The driver receives a new torso design with a dark orange jacket, and a small Classic Space logo printed in Silver.
Two of the printed slopes I mentioned earlier go on the astronauts’ EVA backpacks, which are constructed slightly different from one another, with the male astronaut getting over-the-shoulder lights, and the female having attachment points for a shovel and buzzsaw.
Unboxing the set with its contents 60350 Lunar Research Base
Now that we’ve had a drive about the lunar surface, let’s trundle home to the Lunar Research Base. The larger box contains seven numbered bags. Plug an unmarked bag containing large elements. There’s also a few corner BURPs (Big Ugly Rock Pieces) and a light grey 16×16 plate. The three instruction manuals, as well as the two sticker pages, are all packed in a sealed bag.
One sheet is dedicated for solar panels with reflective gold surfaces and the other sheet contains logos as well as maneuvering ports. It’s worth noting that while the City Space theme’s blue planet logo is the old Classic Space logo that I mentioned earlier, two of the logos here are just straight-up un-altered Classic Space logos in the iconic gold and red.
There are some completely new elements that you can take in. Two of them are cylinders for the rocket capsule. The base is white, and the windscreen trans-light-blue. They’re pretty similar to some existing elements, but make for a quick and simple cockpit design here. Each element is included, but only one is necessary. The third element is a large, trans-light-blue half-dome element. It reminds me a bit of the old-school quarter dome that was the highlight of many of my favorite 90s space sets. You’ll get four of them here to make a complete circle, and they’re also available in white in 60351 Rocket Launch Center from this same line.
There are a handful of other parts that aren’t wholly new, but are relatively rare and interesting. Part of the large white Mudguard Technic panel. 46882) has only been available once before in white in 51515 Robot Inventor. The gold dish (part 80337The new-for-2022 part (partnumber ) was first found in Disney Princess miniature doll sets. It is now also available in gold. The red Technic friction pins are also of interest (part 89678) which is new for 2022 and has only been in a couple of sets, a new-for-2022 clear 1×1 round tile printed with a cell culture in a petri dish (part 6384069) that’s only appeared in 1 other set, the same ice geode rock that appears in several of the City Space sets including the rover we already looked at. Finally there’s a grey claw element (part 91347) that’s not new but hasn’t been seen since 2017, and has only come in four sets total previously.
The three manuals each build separate sections of the model and there’s no indication of which you should begin with, so it’s up to you whether you start with the rocket, the base itself, or the small rovers.
Like the rover’s manual, there’s a section in the manuals showing NASA’s designs of the real Artemis base camp that will be located near the Shackelton crater on the moon’s south pole. Similar to the rover, the LEGO base and rocket have similarities to the real designs but aren’t direct translations.
The build: 60350 Lunar Research Base
Although the booklets aren’t numbered, I opted to go in the order that uses the set’s bags in numbered order, which means starting with the small rovers and a few of the minifigures. Being very simple builds there’s not much build process to examine there so we’ll move on straight to the rocket, which is also fairly simple. The rocket is designed as a two-stage vessel, with the lower booster being a 6×6 cylinder with legs, while the upper stage is the astronaut capsule.
The lower stage, which is hollow, has a mechanism that hides a large flame element. The rocket will be lifted and the flame will appear. “deploys”Gravitation pushes the bottom upwards, creating a nice lift-off area.
The base camp can have three sections. The center section is constructed on the 16×16 plate and contains the workshop garage for servicing the small vehicles. The sides have two docking stations that are located at 45 degrees. The station’s back is carved into a rock face.
The first side module is made from large components of the aircraft hull. It also features a docking station at the far end that allows astronaut egress as well as further extensions to the base. The interior is stuffed with all the science equipment you could need in a small area.
The opposite side module has a similar design, but it also features a second segment with a cool function.
The HMP can then driven up to the research station. The end module can be lifted from this point, much like a plane bridge at an airport. This allows the base and rover to dock in a controlled atmosphere. It’s an unexpectedly cool function that’s super fun and definitely makes buying both sets together worthwhile.
Finally, the second floor of the garage is granted to the base camp. This large dome contains sleeping quarters aswell as a garden.
It’s covered with the four large quarter dome panels, which combine to make a cool dome. Look closely, and you can spot that one of the astronauts brought a postcard from Heartlake City—it’s a small world after all.
The base pieces fit together perfectly. The domed top attaches in a matter of seconds, making it easy to access the garage.
The final model: 60350 Lunar Research Base
With all the small vehicles, the full base contains quite a lot of activity to do, which is fitting for how busy NASA’s astronauts would be on their week-long stints on the moon.
There’s a rather large remote-controlled drone with a claw attachment that can go out and hunt for ice and minerals. I haven’t been able to correlate this drone to a specific part of the real Artemis project, so I’m not clear if it’s a LEGO fabrication, though it certainly seems plausible.
This strange-looking solar-powered rover isn’t a LEGO invention. NASA has dubbed it the VIPER, AKA the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, and it’s an unmanned vehicle that will map out the moon’s water resources. The real VIPER—planned to head to the moon next year—is about the size of a golf cart, so the LEGO version is a bit miniaturized. However, the brick version has a drill underneath it, just like the real deal.
The set also includes the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) which is more or less what we’d rec0gnize as the traditional moon rover from the Apollo era, but overhauled with modern technology. The LEGO version has a plow that can move regolith during the hunt to find minerals and water. NASA has not yet made plans to place a bulldozer onto the moon. An astronaut can wear the EVA suit while the rover moves.
The rocket is the Human Landing System (HLS), which will allow two crew members to transit between the lunar surface and the orbiting station.
The base is filled with play features and activities, including a vehicle facility, science labs, and a garden.
The minifigures: 60350 Lunar Research Base
Base camp contains six minifigures.
All minifigures with helmets have alternate hairpieces that can replace their helmets. The torsos of the minifigures are identical to the ones in the set of rover rover.
Two astronauts have heads with double sides.
While Canadian astronaut and former ISS-commander Chris Hadfield has no direct affiliation with the Artemis project, my personal conspiracy theory is that LEGO’s designers just couldn’t help but tossing in a little easter egg of one of the most famous astronauts of the last few decades.
Each pilot and researcher scientist have a new torso design, which is emblazoned in the Classic Space logo. They are simple, elegant, and look great in a variety of sci-fi settings.
Conclusion & recommendation
Both of these sets are packed to bursting with fun play features and enough spacey goodness to warm any space fan’s heart. The collaboration with NASA on these sets has brought them a real-world gravitas that makes them far cooler, even if they’re only “inspired by”The Artemis project. Although they could have been more precise, LEGO has displayed creativity with these City playsets. kids 6-7 and up, not Creator Expert kits meant to look good on an adult space fan’s shelf. And even as an adult, if you’ve got nostalgia for actually playing with your LEGO, you’ll find a lot to love here. The docking mechanism between the base camp rover and rover looks amazing, and rocket’s lift-off blast is clever and simple.
What’s not awesome is the price. These sets are both ridiculously expensive, with base camp being the most expensive. This isn’t the first time that LEGO City Space sets are overpriced, but that doesn’t make it any better this go around. The Lunar Research Base retails for $120 USD and contains 786 pieces. That’s $0.15 per item. It’s true that it includes a handful of larger elements, but nowhere near enough to justify this price. Even at $100, this set might have earned a recommendation, but at $120 it’s impossible to say it’s a good buy. The rover doesn’t fare as well at 275 pieces for a $40 USD cost, which works out to less than $0.15 per piece. It’s a fantastic set, but one that ought to be priced at $30.
If they are on sale, they are worth the investment. They can still be purchased at full retail if they are not on sale.
60348 Lunar roving vehicle Available at LEGO starting March 1 and includes 3 minifigures and 275 pieces US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £24.99. It may also be offered by third-party vendors AmazonAnd eBay.
60350 Lunar Research Base Includes 6 minifigures with 786 pieces and is available at LEGO starting March 1. US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £89.99. It might also be offered by third-party vendors AmazonAnd eBay.
The LEGO Group provided early copies to The Brothers Brick for review. TBB does not guarantee coverage nor positive reviews.
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