The hazard level is high in this extension to the CITY brand — do the various builds in Volcano Exploration Base combine to give fans a worthy LEGO experience?
Price: £79.99/$119.99/€99.99 Pieces: 824 Available: Now
60124 is the second largest set in the LEGO CITY Volcano Explorers subtheme, and represents the different aspects of the theme with the various builds included. There’s a mobile lab, an excavator, a mini dumper and a volcano.
The small dump truck is a rather lazy design – the minifigure will have to sit very still and be cautious not to fall off the little wheeled platform. A small holding area, also of simple design, is included for the dumper to interact with, providing some play value. The drone is simple and to a suitable scale with the minifigures.
The excavator starts with using Technic elements around the base, for wheels that the treads will be connected around. As always, putting treads together is repetitive but worth it for the finished motion. Putting the cab and hammer arm together is enjoyable, producing a nice vehicle when finished. A rubber band provides an effective motion for the hammer to crack open the LEGO boulders.
The mobile lab is the highlight of the set. The truck cab is built first, starting with a plate then built up from the front. It makes for a big, hefty truck cab that fits in well with the concept of travelling on rugged terrain. The lab itself is a simple construct, a plate that is built up at the front and back before the opening sides are added. Having two opening sides is useful, as it is easier for fingers to get inside and position elements or minifigures. There is a desk and equipment inside, not too much to overstuff the interior.
The volcano is the most controversial aspect of the set. It feels like an unnecessary addition, stealing bricks from the mobile lab that could have made it a more substantial vehicle. Even a younger builder would be better with a stash of grey slopes to build a more interesting volcano. But the volcano is based on eight of the new-for-2016 Mountain Bricks (23996), not much of a build, yet surprisingly it looks effective when finished. It provides as much scale as a regular set could probably allow compared to the minifigures, and the simple erupting function is fun.
The minifigure variety is good, with two scientists in protective gear slightly out-done by the scientists in a heat suit. With the line-up finished by two drivers and a scientists in lab coat, it makes for an interesting mix.
It’s hard not to compare this set to 2014’s 60036 Arctic Base Camp, which was also based around a command base complemented by medium and small builds. Both the command base and treaded vehicle were bigger in that case, as it didn’t have the large volcano taking up space in the box. On balance, 60036 seems like a better deal.
60124 provides a solid build experience, if not one that contains many surprises. Play value is where it most excels, providing different vehicles, a location and minifigures in one box – as the best large CITY sets always have. The functions on the builds are simple, but effective.
For display purposes, it really will depend on the desired set-up. It’s unlikely many AFOLs are clamouring to build a volcanic land mass near their table top town, and even if they do, the colour scheme is rather bright for such purposes.
With everything taken into account, this offers a satisfying build that’s better for play than display. Whether it’s good value or not will depend on how offensive the individual builder finds using eight big rock pieces to erect the volcano.
You can get your hands on a copy from this Thursday (July 14) if you’re a VIP, or August 1 if not, exclusively from the LEGO store.
60124 Volcano Exploration Base is available to buy at the LEGO Shop online.
This product has been provided by the LEGO Group.