LEGO City – Doing it once again, but double the strength

LEGO City is no stranger to looking at a previous model and giving it a fresh makeover. If you don’t believe me, take a look at any police car set from now to 20 years ago. But over that time, LEGO have made a few particular sub-themes. Deep Sea Exploration, Lunar Exploration, Ice Excavation and Construction.  Some of these themes have been a once-and-never-looked-at-again kind of deal, but no more!

LEGO have taken their June 1st releases and made them refreshes of old sets. Are they just as good, better or a LEGO City flop? Read on!

Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 1st June 2023.

 

Carwash – 60362

First on the review is a very small and quaint car wash for your LEGO city! LEGO has done carwashes in the past as part of larger builds, but being able to dedicate a whole set to it this time around works for the better. I’m a huge fan of the Carwash sign with the soap suds, as well as the soap suds play feature – simply tip some ice-cream pieces off the top to pretend the soap is being whisked away! The car is nothing to write home about, but fits the standard 6-stud-wide car format.

It’s a simple set that does exactly what it says on the box, and is a must for any LEGO City.

Ice Cream Parlour – 60363

If you told me there was an Ice Cream Parlour set this time last year, I would not have believed the size that the build would turn out to be. The parlour feels like a set that LEGO went a bit extra in getting done right. Down to the committal to the colour palette. The Ice-cream on top is melting away in a blue/orange/purple combo, which is also carried across to the interior, small signage and even minifigure torsos for the employees!

The size of the build itself is a bit staggering, to say the least. But the amount of detail that backs it up makes it worth it. I do feel like the set could have been done with about 25% less of a footprint. Had similar amounts of detail, but I still really like it though.

Skate Park – 60364

LEGO has done some Skateparks before in sets, but I would believe that this is the first in a long time that has 100% focus on the skate aspect of it. Without having side builds like cars or shops. If you’re a fan of big curvy parts or the Stuntz ramps, well, I have news for you. There are a few of them!

The graffiti artwork around the building feels really at home and the figures are really dynamic too. I feel like you can take a look at the four characters and personify them easily. Ee do need to mention the resurgence of the prosthetic leg. Another way to add that to the collection. Big win.

Apartment Building – 60365

The Apartment building is the first modular building we’ll address for the 2023 wave and it is an actual modular build. The sections of the set can be taken apart and rearranged at will, allowing for more dynamic customisation to suit your needs. I’m glad we get LEGO City’s first 24/7 metro shop, as well as more of those bike lane prints coming back in mainline sets.

Aaron Newman, part of the LEGO Masters Alumni and now a designer at LEGO, was the person behind this set. I can’t help but notice the reference to his first LEGO set he had released, which was the Penguin Slushy van. A slushy machine inside the shop with the same logos and colour palette!

The Figures in this set are great too. With grandma sporting a new mould for 2023 for their electric scooter and bar piece.

As for the set overall, it hits a bit of a weird mid-point for me. It’s pretty, functional, and comes with plenty of figures. But feels like it falls a little short. The set is comprised of a lot of big LEGO elements that add up the price tag (part of that interchanging play feature), but feels like it could have been either one figure/detail less, or a few tiny details more. Most rooms are hollow-esque and feel like they need just a few more elements for kids to play with. A rooftop garden or a TV with a gaming console would have been just a few more parts to feel like the apartment building is lived in.

The City Centre set that we review below follows this same sort of trend, but the theme of shops versus apartment buildings is where this falls a bit flat. How do you make an apartment, interesting?

Winter Sports Park – 60366

Probably one of the most dynamic sets of the 2023 wave we are reviewing. The Winter Sports Park finally gives a ski ramp as a set rather than slews of Minifigure CMFs that are snow themed. The colour palette contrast of black against white works really well, and the colours dotted throughout (such as the rock climbing) aren’t outweighed by the rest of the model.

It’s very clear what the set is for. But the inside of the build had more detail in there than I expected. Coffee machines, climbing gear, computers and a new mechanism to boot! I found myself pleasantly surprised by when I was building the set, and then I started playing with it.

It’s clear that the set includes many different forms of snow transport to allow kids to try and see what gets the best jumps off the ramp, and then also gives us snowshoes and ice skates also!

I fear that many people may overlook this set for the price. But I really recommend people take an in-depth look to what is going on here. It really hits the nail on the head.

Arctic Research Ship – 60368

What a big boy! It’s with no doubt that people should expect this set to be hearty, and it delivers! This ship is well and truly ready for the exploration of the Arctic. Equipped with submarine drones, a helicopter, a speedboat and divers!

This set is also the first ever to include a LEGO Orca. Which is a huge mould made of two parts, the body and jaw.

If it were not for the Minifigure of the set looking like they were ready for the ice, I would admittedly not have believed that this was supposed to be an Arctic set. It’s very similar to a deep sea LEGO City line-up from a few years ago, but I’ll be honest, better.

This is a set that has the lost treasure for kids to find, a large and small boat for water play, and many ways to try and achieve the goal of Arctic Research. It’s a big dip into the wallet for some, but I really really like the potential this set has.

Arctic Snowmobile – 60376

Alternate name; Seal Battlepack. This set is an easy must-have for any LEGO collector, solely for the seals. They have never been made before, and look really cute in such a cheap set. The figure and their gear are great. The hair/hat combo and backpack, as well as a nice camera mould and snowmobile build.

I have no faults with this set, and I hope LEGO continues this trend of small sets with new animal moulds.

Seaforesting Boat – 60377

Perfectly paired with the largest boat set of this wave, the Seaforesting Boat looks like a set that would work well in any aquatic situation. The boat design is simple and neat, but doesn’t feel crammed when putting all the figures on the boat. The figures of the set don’t look Arctic-specific but easily feel like researchers scouting the seafloor.

Speaking of the seafloor, the seafloor build isn’t something I’m willing to overlook too quickly. It contains 7 underwater animals! A crab, two fish, a hammerhead shark, two turtles and a manta ray! The Manta is a new print, as well as the turtle being introduced in a new colour palette and new larger mould! I also love the use of the mop head in green for sea grass.

Also a must-have for this year. The animals really make this top tier.

Arctic Mobile Laboratory – 60378

This is one of the first sets that really made me question “Didn’t we get a set just like this a few years ago?”. And if you thought the same as me, yes, yes we did. This one, however, is leagues better than its predecessors. The machinery feels weightier, and the mobile base feels a lot more modern and high-tech with the rounded-edge design.

The figures of this set overlap a bit with the figures in other sets, making this a whole dedicated cast of characters out amongst the ice, but I really like the diversity of the cast we are getting in this one. I also do need to point out that all four of them don’t really fit on the inside of the base too well, especially considering that they have only two beds.

The polar bear mould makes a resurgence here, helping drop that Bricklink average price, and gives us two new moulded polar bear cubs!

Deep Sea Explorer Submarine – 60379

Do you like Sharks? We got Sharks!  The Deep Sea Explorer Submarine feels like a much-improved version of previous models, giving us a sleeker compact design. But with enough space in the body to be able to fit a drone and two figures. Not just side by side but with one at the helm, and the other on the computer!

The underwater mech feels a little odd amongst the bunch, as the cockpit isn’t really all that well contained, and the arms look a little goofy. It belongs in a set like this, but really brings down the sleek refined characteristic of the sub.

The shipwreck of the build is a strong highlight, giving us sharks on a spinning mechanism amongst an old ship hull. Some brick build jellyfish and a long unused giant shark mould. I’m glad that we have a Great White Shark here, getting us one step closer to making a discount Finding Nemo.

City Centre – 60380

Now this is a modular LEGO City hub! When I think of LEGO City Centres, I think of the past ones that have small facades of buildings. Cars and trams galore, and small builds that don’t feel cohesive enough to try and keep together on a City layout. This? This is great!

The colour aesthetic really screams a new age feel, not to mention the solar panels and wind farm on top, that is. We have an upstairs veterinarian, much like a previous Icons Modular. As well as food stalls, hair salon, DJ booth and phone store! It feels like it hits the notes of the Icons Modular line but makes it a smaller cohesive package comparatively. The food stalls are great, and the nerdy movie poster is fantastic!

This is the best City Centre set I have seen and had the pleasure of building. It’s an absolute win, and seeing how it works with the modular Apartment Building above, LEGO has really thought about how they can cram a lot of detail into such a well-laid-out space.

Demolition Site – 60391

It’s time to jump over to the 4+ side of town, or more specifically, the lack of it! It’s time to break down some old housing and get straight to work on some new ones!

These 4+ sets are a what-you-see-is-what-you-get deal. But I welcome another way for people to get construction figures! It has been long since we last got a construction range with all forms of construction tech, and giving it to us in a 4+ manner might not be the best way, but still a great one!

An easy way to ramp up basic construction figures (plus the site overseer is great!). This give parents a way to build-destroy-rebuild with their kids whilst introducing them to the more complicated LEGO system of play.

Look, it’s not the target for AFOLs at all. But for KFOLS, 100% win.

Family House – 60398

Want to actually be able to afford a Family House, Electric Car and pet in this economy? Well, here’s your chance!

The Family House set is a simple introduction set to a more modern style LEGO living. Complete with an eco-friendly car and charging station, solar panels, greenhouse and small economic footprint living. This little set might not be flying off the shelves from a marketing perspective, but it’s really cute and quaint for what it is. I can see this as being a nice happy medium for someone wanting a house like the A-frame cabin’s wilderness, but still feeling City-chique.

The figures in this set are a simple family with some nice hair moulds and face prints. But aside from those factors, there isn’t much more to what you see on the box. The build really relies on the aesthetic of the house with a city layout to be desirable to AFOLs. I feel like this is a set that many people will overlook. It’s nice.

 

Verdict

LEGO City is really developing itself into a more fully fleshed-out and desirable line as time goes on. I know that as a collector in the past, I would overlook LEGO City as being generic. The introduction of new and desirable animals, moulds and aesthetics make this a really strong theme. I normally would never consider setting up a LEGO City Layout in my house, but these builds make me want to do so.

Either that or find a bathtub that is large enough for me to be able to jump into and still play with my LEGO.


 

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