Price: £84.99 / $119.99/ €99.99 Pieces: 792 Available: Now
60167 Coast Guard Head Quarters provides a base for the Coast Guard crew, with a ship for the heroic City dwelling team. The largest set in this year’s coast guard sub-theme is an interesting one, it fancies itself as something of a play set, but it’s really much more than that. While it’s true that the actual ‘headquarters’ part of the build is pretty bare bones and uninspired, the rest of the set does its best to make up for it.
Many play sets in the City line have a tendency to do be little more than a collection of – at best – average vehicles. Somehow, 60167 manages to sidestep this trend, while still being primarily a collection of vehicles. Each varies in terms of visual fidelity, but all are solid entries and work to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
You would be forgiven if you were to believe that every play set to leave the LEGO Group’s design department is required to have a helicopter build included. Often these afterthought type builds range in quality from pointless to just boring, but I have to say the one on display here is really quite good. Many other small scale LEGO helicopters tend to aim for all of the bullet points of the craft – rotor, skids/pontoons, bubble canopy – without much regard for the shape of actual helicopters. When viewed from the side, 60167’s helicopter has a very believable profile. The size, shape, and visual weight of it all feels convincing. The weakest point is the canopy. For as many helicopters as the LEGO Group cranks out, you’d think they would design a new, fully enclosed canopy, or at least complimentary parts to create the enclosure.
It is indeed unusual to get two moulded boat hulls in a single set. The smaller of the two here is a leaky civilian craft, besieged by a shark and an octopus. Both of these creatures are standard moulds, so it looks like the Silent Mary’s zombie sharks will have to keep waiting for the right time to make another appearance. While simple in its overall construction, this speedboat looks quite sharp. It has seating for four, and a pair of simply designed, but still effective outboard motors. The leak is achieved through the use of a large trans-blue flame piece. The minifigure for this build has a red flare gun, and makes use of the new face print seen in some of the Jungle City sets from this year. It’s a great pair of expressions, and it is nice to see the piece get some further use.
Before we get to the real showstopper of 60167 Coast Guard Head Quarters, we should talk about the headquarters build. It really is as basic as it gets. Lots of windows to take up as much surface area as possible, combined with several 8×8 plates to make up the bulk of the structure. It does use the new corner door/window frames though, so that’s a welcome touch. The interior has two floors, one with a TV, and the other with some monitoring equipment and a coffee machine. Off to the side there is a helipad, which ends up really being only a skeleton of a build, as there’s a lot of open space on the surface.
Finally we have the largest bit of the build, a coast guard cutter. Built on a large hull, this ship is surprisingly detailed, and has some fun play features. At the front of the ship stands a giant search light with a handle for minifigures to sweep the water’s surface. Just behind there is a series of windows looking down into a medical bay. This entire section can be lifted out to all access to the interior of the ship, using a technique I refer to as ‘part trapping’. What is interesting about this section is that it’s built sideways, meaning the studs run front to back as opposed to up and down in relation to the rest of the ship. This is a fairly common practice within the fan community, but it’s not so often that you see this type of building in an official LEGO set.
Further back is the pilot house, though there’s little of particular interest inside. The back of the ship sports a fun feature. There is a large life raft settled on a smooth, angled ramp. With the turn of a gear, the arm which holds it in place lifts, allowing the raft to quickly slide into the water. There are a number of other aesthetic details around the ship, including life preservers and chains hanging from the deck that all help create a well thought out look and feel.
Overall, this set feels very alive. It’s convincing enough to create a believable sense of drama. For kids, this will lead to a highly enjoyable play experience. For adults, this set will deliver a fun – and in some instances – interesting build. Plus they’ll have something (mostly) nice to look at to put on display. The price tag on this one is pretty high at £84.99. It would have been nice to see the building removed, and the price dropped accordingly. Still, this set is quite easy to recommend, particularly if you find it at a discount.