Rocket Launch Center 60351, Lunar Research Base 60350, Lunar Space Station 60349, Lunar Roving Vehicle 60348
Lego have released four Lego City Space sets that together give you everything you need to return to the moon. And this time it’s not just for a visit, we’re building a base on the moon and putting a space station in orbit as well.
The sets are inspired by NASA’s concepts for the Artemis program and this makes them very interesting as in a near future the moon base camp, the Lunar Rover and the other cool things will be real. My kids are talking about space in school right now and as we were building and playing with these sets we talked about the moon, astronauts and space and we all learned a lot.
For me, the sets also remind me about the Lego Space sets from the early 80’s. Back then there were also space stations, rovers, rockets, space shuttles and such.
I got these four sets from Lego through BrickCentral to do a review.
Rocket Launch Center 60351
The largest of the four sets is the Artemis: NASA’s return to the Moon 60351. Here we have the Space rocket with the launch tower, the launch control center, an observatory, two vehicles, a drone, seven Lego Minifigures and last but definitely not least a really cool robot that lights up if you press a button.
The space rocket is quite impressive, about 42 cm high. The different parts can be taken off to simulate how the parts fall off on a real rocket as it launches into space. It has three compartments that can be opened. One holds the astronauts, one holds a small vehicle and the last holds an Octan fuel tank. The launch tower has an elevator that can be raised and lowered and a launch bridge that can also be maneuvered. A nice detail is the fuel pipes that go into the rocket that will automatically detach as you launch the rocket.
The observatory building has a garage on the first floor and a telescope on top. The scope can be adjusted and the entire top part of the building can be rotated. Just like a real observatory. This is where my favorite Minifigure Wylde hangs out, looking at the stars and apparently also examining a sample of bacteria that I suppose they found on the moon.
The launch control center has all the computers, buttons and screens you need to launch the rocket into space. The coolest thing about this building is the large screen with a tiny rocket that you can move by turning a wheel, the screen tracks the rocket’s flight into space.
The Minifigures in this set are great. I already mentioned Wylde. This crazy scientist and his colleague Ravenhurst both have double-sided heads with different facial expressions, something I really appreciate as a Toy photographer. Other than these Minifigures we have two people as ground personnel, two astronauts ready to enter the rocket and one more guy that according to the backside of the box is the one taking care of the parrot. I’m sure he gets to go to space another time.
The retail price is 169,95 €, now that is a lot but considering how massive the Space Rocket and the Launch tower are, and all the other things included in the set it is understandable that the price is on the higher side.
I give this set 8/10 points. I can’t really say that there is something that I don’t like about this set, but I think the other sets are more aesthetic.
Lunar Research Base 60350
The Base Camp is my favorite of the four sets because in my opinion building a permanent structure on the moon represents a really big leap for mankind and as I mentioned this set is based on NASA’s ideas for how a Moon Base might be constructed. The base itself looks really great in my opinion. It has four different areas, a garage/workshop, living quarters, a science lab and another part where the astronauts take on their spacesuits before they go outside the base. Here you can find a really great feature of this set: the structure reaching out the furthest from the base can be raised and lowered from the ground. In a raised position the Lunar Rover from set 60348 can be connected to the airlock door. This concept is also based on NASA’s ideas.
The set also comes with a spacecraft that again is based on NASA’s concept. This spacecraft is the lunar lander that takes astronauts to and from the surface of the moon and the Space Station that orbits the moon, that is set 60349 Lunar Space Station that you can read more about further down. This lander looks very much like the concept images from NASA’s Human Landing System which makes it feel very genuine. Both me and my kids can confirm that it has a very good swooshability. A surprisingly cool feature of the lander is the flame that automatically folds out as you lift up the lander.
The astronauts also have a so called LTV, lunar terrain vehicle, a rocket powered drone and a small robot rover. The set also has a moon crater with a boulder. The flying drone comes with a large grapple that can lift the boulder, this grapple can also be changed for a hook.
The set has six Minifigures, three that wear spacesuits, two with their indoor clothes, and one pilot for the lander.
The retail price for this set is 119,95 € which I think is what you can expect from a set this size.
I give the Base camp 9/10 points.
Lunar Space Station 60349
This set is based on the space station that NASA plans to put in orbit around the moon. The station will work as a gateway for exploring the moon and also to explore deep space. So before the astronauts land on the moon they will first stop at the Lunar Gateway and from there they will take the Lunar Lander down to the moon.
The space station is actually larger than it looks from the art on the box. It’s also surprisingly heavy and sturdy, which gives it a very good swoosahbility, this is a big plus. It has plenty of space for extended stays. It has two sleeping compartments and a larger area for scientific work and eating and whatever more astronauts do. The station has a space shuttle that can attach to the airlock on the space station.
Another nice feature is the solar panel ”wings”, you can switch their position by opening a hatch and taking out a thing, perhaps it’s a battery? There is also a robotic arm with a clamp on the outside of the station that can hold on to things. This is a great feature that adds to the playability of the set, however I would have liked if the arm was more movable, with another joint for example.
The set comes with five Minifigures. Two with spacesuits, two with their indoor clothing and one with pilot gear.
The retail price on the Space Station is 74,95 €, to me this feels like it’s definitely worth it. When you hold the space station and feel it’s weight, to me it feels like you get a whole lot of Lego for your money.
I give this set 9/10 points. If the robot arm had been better it had been a full 10.
Lunar Roving Vehicle 60348
Just like all the other sets this one is also based on NASA’s concept. There actually already exist a prototype for a Lunar Rover and this one looks very much like that one.
The Lunar Rover is great for long range exploration of the moon. It has two airlock doors on the sides that can be connected to the airlock on the Artemis Base Camp 60350. A thing about this vehicle that I really have to mention is how fun it is to drive. The wheels are build in such a way that you can drive it in any direction without turning the rover. It feels really great. The roof can easily be taken off so that you can see the inside.
There are three Minifigures included, two with space suits and one driver with normal clothing. The set also includes a lunar crater with a rock.
The retail price for the Rover is 34,95 €. I think that is a reasonable price considering what you get.
I give this set 8/10 points. It’s a great representation of the actual Lunar Rover prototype.
Behind the Scenes
My first idea was to take pictures of these sets outside in the snow. I was hoping that the snow would look a little bit like the grey surface of the moon. However, it turns out that snow looks like snow. So desperately I searched for an alternative. I went to pet shops hoping to find grey aquarium sand but without luck. I considered using cement, it has the right color, however, the dust is harmful to your eyes so as I was planning to set this up indoors I didn’t want to use that either. In the end, I found the perfect solution, the right color and cheap, cat litter.
I poured cat litter on a large board in the garage. I hung a large piece of construction plastic above the setup to diffuse the light from the lamp in the ceiling. As a background, I have a black paper that I’ve aimed a blue light on. I’m also using a led panel.