And here we go again, 5 years ago we have seen last underwater theme - Deep Sea Explorers and now LEGO have thought that the time has come for a new one. It seems that this theme should be called "Ocean" according to the prefix in all sets. But I like to call it (Ocean Exploration), it is more accurate i think.
Somebody can write multiple reviews about LEGO underwater series, but before people do it, I will give a small preview of the current underwater theme, because we are going to review a set from it.
All the sets in this theme are marked as National Geographic Explorers, therefore, I wanted to believe that this label will mean that set details are fully worked out. Unfortunately, I can't say so. This theme is one of the smallest LEGO underwater themes, it's size similar to the second wave of Atlantis - 5 sets. But one of this set is polybag promo, and this set - 30370, IMO, is the only one in the theme, where I found no flaws, it is wonderful. But I'm not sure should it be count towards theme set number, because it doesn't appear in a general sale. But if you see it for an adequate price, take it. The underwater suit is pretty good, and the manta ray is awesome.
So, it leaves us with just 4 sets. Set that should be a classical starter one (60263), accidentally converted in Junior's "4+". Sad news. Very simplified build, shark, chest, IMO, this set could and should be skipped, of course, if you are towards ALL THEME SETS achievement, then you have no option.
Strange submarine 60264 with a glowing fish. Maybe someone will find it interesting, but for me, this set is awkward, especially when compared with 60092 from the previous City Underwater Theme. Of course, it has some advantages - rock, glowing fish, a couple of crabs.
Underwater base 60265, the hero of our review, it is very similar to last year's lunar station 60227. More details about this set later.
And traditional biggest set 60266 - Ship. Why do they always make flagman sets as ships, why not make the underwater base as flagman set as it were in Aquazone?
Last two sets are of particular interest, but fully the underwater return is pretty weak, despite the fact of National Geographic support.
LEGO has made a couple of educational videos, where kids ask questions and explorers from National Geographic answer to them. And this is seasoned with animated LEGO. In my opinion, LEGO could make it much better, something like Russian Kikoriki: Pin-Code, but anyway this is a great beginning, and it will be great if LEGO will continue to make more educational videos for kids. If you have your opinion about this kind of videos, please write in comments.
Also, there is a classical LEGO advertising, unfortunately, there is no reviewed set in it. It is based on 60266 and 60264.
But i think we moved too far away, so let's return to the review, and here it is - Ocean: Exploration base 60265:
The box is big, for almost 500 pcs it could be much smaller, but marketing says that big boxes are better, I don't like marketing :( Interesting what size the box of the biggest set, it is just 1.5 times bigger, will the box for it be twice bigger?
There was an underwater base in last series 60096, and it was positioned as the biggest set, but because of the plane, the base itself looked worse than the current set. (I was asking myself 5 years ago, what kind of person had a thought that a plane is a great addition to the underwater base?)
Box back shows playing features of these sets. Not so much. I think there were more in Lunar Station.
There aren't much in the box. Some packages with pieces, stickers and instruction book.
If you open the instruction book, you will find out, that there are 4!!! instructions manuals in there, around 125 pieces per book. Three books are for the station and another for leftovers.
Stickers are not bright and striking, so their absence in a finished set doesn't make a problem. I understand, that having modules numbered is great. But because the built set won't stay for long, I won't stick them to it.
At the end of the first book we finally can understand, why do they have National Geographic label on it - all living things inside this set have real prototypes and we can see their photos here. Recoloured manta ray, hammer shark, a treasure chest ... STOP. Treasure chest? How do we get it, on the first photo we see corals. Maybe there were treasures there before? I will cheer myself with the thought that at least there was a treasure, some time. And we do get corals in this set, so why we need this accentuation on treasures I don't understand.
Also now we can see what we will get when we finish the first step: underwater robot, minifigures, hammer shark, thrash. There is always thrash and garbage around here nowadays. Have you tried to explore coastal waters? These humans. Sad but true.
And TREASURES, how I could have forgotten about treasures.
And here is the first minus - many things that could and should be done with printed parts is done with stickers. I remember that in Exo-Force sets there were printed 1x2 tiles in each set. This good ol' times.
And about interesting improvements. This year City has got multiple named characters. One of them - Jessica Sharpe has appeared in this theme. But this set, unfortunately, doesn't have any named characters. But the man must review such minifigures, which he has.
Set has 5 minifigures. Two underwater ones have the same torsos, other torsos are different. Two girls, three gals.
There is no two-sided leg printed or hands prints. Even no two-sided faces. Why they haven't put them, they would help to show emotions. I like emotions. This is why this review is such dull and tedious.
We can see new divers suits (One doesn't simply make new underwater theme without new diver suit), and return of old deep-sea one with recolouring. And if the old deep suits can be found in three sets (there are two of them in 60264 ), new ones can be found in polybag 30370 and in two biggest sets (fortunately this is one of them). For me they look more like space suits from old sci-fi movies, then like diver suites.
White oxygen tanks attaching to the helmet same way it is done for firefighter helmets - it is good, but I'm pretty sure that red oxygen tanks would look much better. They hadn't put red spacemen in 70841 Benny's Space squad. So Red and white spacemen are left in the 80s. Benny often tries to return there. Black oxygen tanks were produced in the 90s and for last space police, but red ones weren't that lucky. Last times there were in Vintage Minifigure Collection (set 852331 and 5000437), but they are not too easy to find. This theme was a great chance to return red oxygen tanks, but it just wasn't meant to be.
See at this helmet itself. Who will think about underwater? But I think everyone will think about old sci-fi movies. But maybe it is confirmation bias. Write in comments on what you think about it.
And here we go. This is a small deep underwater guys pack. And even one astronaut, he should have water landed not so successfully.
There are two more colours for this suits, black in 70923 and sand blue in 76000, I haven't got them, and this is not a place for DC guys here. (Marvel WOOHOO, MARVEL WOOHOO)
And who is this pretty babe? This is [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammerhead_shark]Hammerhead Shark[/url]. Looks awesome. This is the first appearance of hammerhead shark in LEGO, so don't miss it. Who knows, maybe we won't see it again. Last time LEGO likes to make short-living moulds. Remember the mammoth, it appeared two years ago in just one set, and we haven't heard anything about him for a while. It looks like it has become extinct.
You know, the sharks are pretty cool, they have so many advantages, but my favourite in this set is new Manta Ray. He is so zazzy. Last manta ray was never produced after 1999 and it was black. It appeared in one of the most awesome themes - Divers and disappeared in the first edition of great Star Wars set 7161 "Gungan sub" (they hadn't added manta ray to new version of the sub). Maybe that theme and that set were great because of manta ray? The reviewed set is the only one in a series where you can get both manta-ray and hammerhead shark together. So think about it, I bet your LEGO aquarium need these fish. ^_^
So here it is, the most valuable benefit of LEGO dancing around National Geographic is the fact that we get new animals. And they are always very cool.
This set also has a kind robot. It must be an underwater Wall-E - it is very kind, and collect garbage. The good thing about the robot is his hands if we take the size and scale in the count, and the fact that it uses generally parts, it is a pretty interesting and solid build. Although I liked the version from 60091 more.
Completed set look pretty good. The yellow colour is typical for an underwater theme because it is seen in the water. At least some realism. Pipes and rock add some details. I like the thing that rock is working as base's base. The manipulator is good: good construction, good movements, but the hook on the end... It is not a good thing to hold something, and I don't think that underwater crane has so much usage. But I'm not expert in underwater works. Two manipulators cranes on bathyscaphe also leave questions.
You can see some thrash lying here and there (WHERE IS BICYCLE WHEELS, people, why you doesn't want to throw rubber in the water? Oh, I understood, it doesn't sink ), and corals. Corals that are built as x3 in instruction. That is strange, they could be built differently so that add some details to the set. But designers sometimes are lazy. But I could have made a mistake in a simple build x3. So my corals have same flower position, but not same flower colour. I will pretend that this is how I wanted it to be. Don't tell anyone.
There is a hiding crab down there. Crabs are always hiding. This crab has been in any water-related theme starting from the 00s. Interesting fact, in this set crab, is yellow, but 60264 has a more vintage a red one. And there a treasure chest under the rock ...
...and it could have blown my mind if instead of treasure there were some old boots, dusty plates, some thrash, but no, we got TREASURE. Again. How many times more we need to get treasures? And it could be gold or some energy crystals, but we got gems and some extra gems.
As with many other non Expert build buildings, this set should be looked from behind. In good ol' times, this problem appeared not only for buildings, but for robots and mechas, but recent mechas don't have this problem nowadays.
Oxygen tank and the vent are telling us about a gateway, but we couldn't put one in modules, they are too small, and base itself doesn't have a back wall. But anyway it is a huge step forward from last base 60096.
Before I will start to tell you about base modularity, let's take a closer look at a cargo. There are two oxygen tanks and some empty carts. Most likely they will be used to lift the treasures to the surface. This construction has been slightly unbalanced so it is always heel to one side.
The main plus of this set is modularity. We have a base and some modules attached to it. I haven't built 60227 yet, it has a similar system, and I'm looking forward to build it. Nobody will judge you if you take two 60265 and make an underwater base that will look fine from any side, with four modules and two bathyscaphes. There won't be too much problem to mod this set. So have to think about it. I will show some great example of such mod found in Reddit. Recommend this to anyone.
The station itself consists of two living modules. Modules are typical and except the interior build is the same.
The third module is bathyscaphes. It is slightly more narrow than living module and have two manipulators with hooks (why not make normal manipulators as in previous themes), it is also equipped with engines. And with something that looks like ballast, but its positioning leaves more and more questions.
As in all modules, bathyscaphe also has an opening window. It is logical for it, and illogical and strange for other modules. One difference between bathyscaphe and living modules is that they have no wall between the window and the main compartment. This has reminded be about [bkk]6175[/bkr] there was a similar solution, where the cabin was separated from the cargo compartment. In general, the bathyscaphe is struggling with a lack of details. 6442 had similar size and similar pieces count. But was much better looking, of course, it was mostly achieved using specific parts, also it hasn't got a requirement to be bathyscaphe and station module at the same time. I think the solution that is great for a space station, doesn't need to be the best for an underwater base. There is much easier to get module underwater, then to put it in space. So each module mustn't be a fully functional bathyscaphe.
All modules have a removable roof for easy access and play. You can't see this on this photo, but all roofs have a loop for a hook (to transport them on a ship) and some lights, to see the base underwater. Maybe it gives answers to why bathyscaphe has hooks, maybe it should work as a tugboat for other modules, but I'm pretty sure that there are many more adequate ways to transfer something underwater. But whatever.
One of the modules is for crew living. Table, beautiful lamp (pretty new part, appeared in 2018) and bed. Good orlop deck for one minifigure. Where should live other ones is unanswered. Maybe they should go to the surface.
Another living module is reserved for science/medical staff. You know, that egghead thinks. There should have been aquarium with a fish, but fish was on a sticker, so it is now empty. And I do not understand, why they need and aquarium on underwater base. They could just look at the "window". I bet there are many fishes out there.
As I said before, there is a cargo containment inside a bathyscaphe. It looks like a shuttle. You could put there two minifigures in diver suits. :)
And is it was with the base, bathyscaphe looks not good enough.
Set is comparable in size and parts count with 8077 from Atlantis. Despite these similarities, these two underwater bases are fully different in other things, ideas behind it, solutions that designer have got, and unfortunately details. Atlantis underwater vessel is less realistic, but I believe in it. Its base is more realistic, but I like the rock solution in the reviewed set.
In conclusion, I can say, that this set is pretty good, and it could be much better if we
When I was writing this review, I found a confirmation of the fact that two sets can be combined nicely in the reddit post by dkzr.
As you can see, firstly this makes the base more symmetric and fix back issues, secondly bathyscaphe now not the part of the station, but separate module, that can connect to the station module. Also, it has some additional signal lights. A great solution in my opinion.
Let's finalize everything. I like the set idea of cleaning the ocean. Maybe they should have concentrated on it, and leave treasures behind. This set has some flaws, despite this, it is pretty good, but I can't say so about the whole series. It seems that they make this theme for a checkmark, we need to create underwater theme every N years, so let's do it fast, we have some more important things to do. I'm sad because they could make some great and interesting return of the underwater theme. Maybe we should skip this theme and wait for another 5 years. Anyway, this set seems to be the best in this theme, so if you like underwater sets you should think about buying it. (I recommend buying at least two of them)
Save our planet, collect trash. Have LEGO and see you later.