LEGO City: Lunar Research Base (#60350) by LEGO

This year, I’ve been dabbling with a lot of LEGO, and so far I’ve checked out two of the LEGO City Space sets. Today I’m going BIG with the Lunar Research Base, which is not only a damn cool set on its own, but also has some compatibility with one of those other sets, which we’ll check out at the end of the review! There’s a ton of stuff to look at here, so strap in tight and watch out for those G-Forces!

I got a nice deal on this set through Amazon, but the downside was they shipped it in the “Hassle Free” packaging, which means they just slap 1000 shipping labels on the box and kick it out the door. As a result, mine arrived in dire condition, so I’m using LEGO’s official picture for the box shot. Clocking in at 786 pieces, it’s not the biggest set out there, but it’s a lot bigger than anything I’ve built recently. And the piece count feels a little deceptive, because it feels like you get a lot of bang with for your buck when this one is built. When all is done, this set builds two ground vehicles, a drone, the research base itself, a rocket ship, a mineral deposit, and six Minifigs! It’s a whole world of fun in one box. Let’s start with the Minifigs!

The six Minifigs include three astronauts, a rocket pilot, and two scientists. It’s a satisfying number of Minifigs, and despite the rather high level of reuse between them, it feels appropriate and not like a cost-saving cop-out.

The astronauts all use the same bodies, helmets, and backpack harness, but one of the backpacks is built differently having clips on the sides to store tools. These are essentially the same astronauts that we saw with the Lunar Roving Vehicle set, and that’s appropriate, since we’ll see later that the two sets are very compatible. The gold helmet visors are removable to reveal that you get one man and two women. You also get hair pieces for all of them for when you remove the helmets entirely, and each head only has one face print. You get a metal detector for one of the astronauts, and I gave the other a drill taken from the large inventory of tools that comes with this set. The printing is crisp and colorful, and the backpacks each get stickers.

The scientists also share the same body, which consists of blue jumpsuits and that makes the rocket pilot the only totally unique Minifig in the set. He has an orange pressure suit and a helmet with a removable blue face shield. The pilot comes with a hair piece for when you take off his helmet and all three only have single face prints. The printing on these figures is simple, but it still looks great.

With the Minifigs out of the way, let’s check out some of the smaller builds! First up is this little solar powered robot rover. This four-wheeled little guy is a simple but fun little build. He’s got some solar panel stickers on the side to keep him powered up. There’s a light, or perhaps a camera on the front, a tail hitch on the back, and a sensor dome up top. I love the use of the translucent blue pieces for the body as you can see some of the basic mechanisms inside him. Very cool!

Next up is the Lunar dozer, which seats one Minifig. It’s a sporty little work vehicle with four big wheels, a dozer blade on the front, a little blue lightbar, red tail lights, and some lever controls for the driver. The blade is on front is hinged to angle it up and down. The dozer comes in handy for pushing around rocks or cleaning up the dig site! I love the look of this little crater-hopper and it looks like it would be fun to go off-roading around the Kepler Crater with it.

Speaking of dig sites, we get another mineral deposit, which is very similar to the one included with the Lunar Roving Vehicle. The big rock opens up to reveal blue crystals inside, one of which can be removed and taken back to the Research Base where it infects the crew with a bizarre alien radiation that turns them into violent rage zombies. Nah, just kidding. I’m sure they’re perfectly safe.

And how do you transport that big boulder of alien goodness? With a crane drone of course! This quad-thrusting workhorse has a massive claw that can capture the boulder and carry it off to be poked and prodded by the Geological Team! The big claw uses a rubber band to keep it closed, and you also get a simpler hook in case it needs to rescue the rover robot from a bad tumble.

The rocket is a neat build all to itself, and an awesome bonus for this set. It has a one man cockpit, a ladder for getting in and out, two gold dishes, which I assume are for communications. Maybe it can be used to relay messages from the Research Base back to Earth. When you pick up the Rocket to blast off, a transparent flame piece emerges from the thruster cone and the landing legs fold up, which is pretty clever. The sides of the rocket have four gold foil solar panel stickers.

The cockpit module is attached by two technic pieces, so you can detach it. I’m not sure if it’s intentional since it has no propulsion of its own, but I guess it can be used for emergencies if the engine overloads and is about to explode. The cockpit is both roomy and sparse. There’s a place for the pilot to take his helmet off and stow it and there are a couple of control panels on each side.

And then we get to the Research Base itself, which can be broken down into four basic areas: Garage, Research Dome, Lab Pylon and Airlock Pylon. The main body of the base houses the garage, which can be accessed by lifting off the Dome Section. The garage has a little work bay and lots of places for tools. And that’s convenient, because this set comes with a whole bag full of tools! The robot rover can recharge in his little alcove in the back and there’s still room for the rover dozer to come in for repairs. There are hatches to the left and right that lead off to the Pylons.

The transparent dome on the top of the Research Base opens up to allow you access. But only pretend access, because if the dome actually opened, the Minifigs would did of asphyxiation. Inside are sleeping quarters with two beds, a work station, and a hydroponics area. These scientists seem to be focused on growing vegetable life in space, and it looks like they’ve produced some sort of giant mutant carrot. It was fun building all of the plant life, and if you don’t want to follow the instructions, you can just go wild and come with all sorts of fun combinations. The central column has a circular table for coffee mugs, with additional space on thet wo end tables by the beds. There’s a smart-phone accessory, which I think is probably intended as a work tablet.

The pylons contain opening compartments. The shorter pylon has a little laboratory with room for one scientist. On top there are articulated solar panels with foil stickers and a communications dish that can rotate and angle up and down. Open up the pylon and you gain access to the lab. There’s an electron microscope and a containment jar with some microscopic organisms in it. I like to think this lab is isolated because it’s where the real dangerous stuff happens. If any of that deadly alien bacteria escapes, they can just lock it down and vent it into space, doing the infected scientist a kindness by not allowing him to be taken over and consumed from the inside out. Nah, just kidding. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe.

The middle of the longer pylon has the same articulated solar panels on top and opens to reveal an airlock. Here there are some clips to store tools and places for the returning Astronauts to place their helmets when embarking back onto the base.

Beyond the airlock is a corridor that can actually angle upward to allow it to dock with the Lunar Rover vehicle from the previous set. The engineering in the walkway is really cool in that it angles upward while keeping the two end ports perpendicular to the ground. Both the rover and the airlock use the same ports, so you just have to flip up the hatches and the two ports will line up perfectly. If you have some spare technic connectors you can even lock them together.

Wow, what a set! The Lunar Research Base has a lot going on and it took me about two nights to build. It wasn’t a difficult build at all, but there’s just a lot to it. Once it’s done this is a wonderful playset in a box with a bunch of different play patterns and lots of compatibility with the other LEGO City Space sets. It retails for $129.99, but I was able to get a little bit off of it when Amazon was having a LEGO sale. This is just the kind of thing that I would have loved to find under the Christmas Tree when I was a wee lad! I’ve got two more sizeable sets from the LEGO City Space series to build, but next time we look at a LEGO set, it’ll be time to bust out out trusty whips and fedoras!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.