Appearance - 1/5
Construction - 1/5
Pieces - 4/5
Playability - 2/5
Minifigs/accessories - 4/5
Value for money - 4/5
One of two $9.99 City "Starter Sets" released in summer 2015, 60077 Space Starter Set contains 107 pieces, for a CPP of 9.34 cents/piece.
Verdict: A refreshingly good price for a City set, and there are some great pieces and minifigures for your money. I recommend this set to MOC builders and City collectors. For most collectors, or kids looking for a cheap, entertaining set, there are far better options.
It's been rather quiet here in The Brick Bucket's review sector since I posted my Pirates set reviews... so today I'll remedy that with a look at the smallest set from the new (or at least revisited) City subtheme - Space!
The last time there was a Space subtheme of City was in 2011, when four sets (plus a satellite polybag set) were released: a rover, launch pad, space shuttle, and spaceport. This new wave also has the space shuttle and spaceport, but the mid-price set this time around is a training jet and transporter, and the smallest set is this starter set (or as I keep calling it - to my space-obsessed brother's annoyance - "battle pack"). This was actually a birthday gift for said brother, but I requested to review it here as my first foray into this year's summer sets. And I was... disappointed.
There's certainly a lot of things included in the set (and it's the first City set in a long time that comes in under 10 cents per piece), but the way those things are put together is not to my liking. As a parts pack or minifig pack, however, the set excels, so I'll get to that in due time. But first let me talk about the shortcomings.
The main model in the set is this sort of combination science lab/rocky terrain section, pictured at left. I'm not sure why a science lab would be set up in the middle of nowhere, and even if you get beyond that, the construction isn't exactly brilliant. Some cheese slopes stacked haphazardly on plates make up the rocks; the lab looks nice enough, but its stacked-bricks construction makes it prone to falling apart. The entire lab is connected to the rocks by just two studs, which is too flimsy a connection considering the amount of pieces used in the model. The actual content of the lab is a computer terminal and a few bottles of... something.
Another key model in the set is this quad bike. And...ugh. It's everything I don't want in a LEGO quad bike. The basic construction is just wheel frames sandwiched between some plates, all topped (barely) by some various wheel-cover elements. To make matters worse, the designer apparently couldn't even decide on a color scheme, throwing tan, gray, and blue into the chassis and adding red, black, gold, light blue, and another shade of gray (!) on top. This is just not a well-made model; I can't find anything good to say about it.
I have marginally better words for the two other small models in the set, which are just tan 4x4 plates with various accessories on them. One has a light pole; the other has a camera, the purpose of which in this set is unknown, but at least it looks nice. And the 3-length white bar is a very welcome part in my collection.
So the models, while they contain plenty of nice parts, are not built well at all. That may or may not matter to kids interested in this as a playset, but to older collectors it's make-or-break. The set is only 10 bucks, so if collectors want to complete their City Space collection it's a worthwhile buy. And it's a cheap parts pack. And there are tons of minifgures!
...Which brings me to the minifigures themselves.
Three of them are pictured above - an unsuited astronaut; scientist; and worker. First and foremost, it's great to see a female scientist minifig! The City theme has greatly increased its percentage of female minifigs in the past year or so, and having a scientist is a great addition to the lineup. Yay, gender equality and all that!
At right is the other astronaut; he's fully suited up with a helmet, light, and jetpack. My brother tells me the jetpack is not at all realistic with current technology, but maybe this is the future of Space exploration! The fun part of LEGO is that you can imagine it to be whatever you want, right?
I think these are some very nice minifigs - a good selection of characters and pieces. For those concerned only about the astronaut gear, rest assured you do get another helmet and visor. Sending that gentleman to space in a baseball cap probably wouldn't end well. I was most excited by the worker's torso and new white construction hat (part #3833), which is exclusive to this and 60080 Spaceport. Actually, Brickset lists two different versions of that part in white, one from this year and one from 1994-2002, so maybe there are minor differences between the two.
That leads me to my usual Brick Bucket Parts Analysis. Check out the image below to see the most interesting new and useful parts from the Space Starter Set:
Well, not quite all of them. A lot of them are white, which would not photograph well on a white background, so at right I've shown them on a purple background. For some reason I left out the very useful part #17715 in white, a 3-length rod. This set is the cheapest way to get it, and there's an extra!
The fence design #6583 in white is actually quite rare, appearing only in this set and 4664 City Marina from way back in 2011 (loved that set!). Meanwhile, Technic element #11458 in white is actually commoner than I thought - in 16 sets - but it's my first one, and I wish I had more! There's also a rare-ish computer keyboard and a couple of white 1x1 round tiles (part #98138).
Also of note are a large "rock slope" (part #64867) in dark tan, a couple of dark tan cheese slopes, and four light gray 1x2 cheese slopes, which are a great addition to my collection.
On the whole, there isn't much good in this set as far as the models themselves go. It's a pretty nice parts pack, though, especially with its wallet-friendly price-to-parts ratio. Recommended for MOCers and City completists; not recommended for most other people.