LEGO® City Missions: Building Creative Confidence [RoundTable and Review]

Back in the early days of LEGO® minifigures, the majority of sets that we had to play had a modest part count, and could be pulled apart and rebuilt in less than an hour: there was plenty of source material for alternative builds, either from the suggestions on the back of the box, or using an ideas book, such as #6000 – which documented the adventures of Mary and Bill, initially in a Town-based adventure, but takes a detour through the worlds of Classic Space and Castle…

Sets were built, played with and rebuilt. Hardly anything was kept together for a significant amount of time.

Flash forward 40 years, and the way some kids play seems to have changed: sets become display pieces in some households, gathering dust until the owner enters their dark ages, before moving on to sell them on the secondary market.

In part, I can understand this: sets have become a bit more sophisticated over the years: more pieces, more complicated building techniques, and we have already invested a couple of hours in building the core model. I encountered some examples of this recently as I worked on the new Creator 3in1 sets – Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent, as well as the DownTown Noodle Shop: pulling these sets apart and building the alternative models took up to 2 hours, depending on the models.

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New Story-Based LEGO® City Mission Sets Revealed

Today, The LEGO Group have announced a new type of LEGO City Set: LEGO City Missions. Following the basic themes of Water Police; Mission to Mars and Wildlife Rescue, the online building instructions, in the form of an online storybook, provides challenges for the builder – encouraging problem solving, and expanding the play available. This takes me back to the days when the Fabuland set Instructions used to be primarily a story book, to take the child on their journey.

For AFOLs, we might also regard these sets as providing awesome parts packs for related themes, including Space. To say nothing of a selection of new animal moulds – including a city scale hare, are well as a baby crocodile (seeing this element move from Marvel minifigures, through to the City range.) Perhaps we should say nothing about the vibrant coral frog.

Read on for more pictures, as well as the press release:

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Taking a Test Drive with the 60348 Lunar Rover [Hands On Review]

The new LEGO City Space sets are drawing heavily on the LEGO Group’s Classic Space Heritage, as well as design mockups for the Artemis Program – the NASA’s planned return to the moon in 2024. As I discussed in my review of 60350 Lunar Research Base, the theme is drawing design cues from Space sets of the 80’s, along with a reimagined Classic Space Logo.

Today, I’m taking a look at the 60348 Lunar Rover – AUD49.99 – which I picked up at a local toy retailer. It is now available through LEGO.com and other retailers. The model is inspired in part by the Habitable Mobility Platform (HMP) proposed for NASA’s Artemis program and it also draws on the traditions of Classic Space rovers from the 1980s. It is the least expensive of the City Space sets currently available.

The HMP is a pressurised rover, with the ability to travel some distance from the proposed Lunar Base Camp, without forcing the crew to spend all their time in bulky EVA suits. Essentially an RV for the astronauts. As such, it should be possible to drive the vehicle in shirt sleeve comfort.

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Is This The Return Of Classic Space? 60350 Lunar Research Base: Hands On Review

It has been a little over 40 years since I fell in love with the idea of LEGOLAND® Space. Those initial sets put forward a future where people were collaborating in exploration, mining, and seeking out new worlds. All while improbably controlling vehicles with a steering wheel, and only installing cabins on to craft cabable of inter-planetary travel. All while drinking coffee in a base with the main control room open to the vacuum of space or whatever hostile atmosphere the team were facing this week.

0350: Lunar Research Base: The subject of today’s review: Is Classic Space making a comeback?

After Exploring Classic Town, I have been planning a series on ‘Whatever Happened to Classic Space?’ to arrive over the next few months. A lot of the answer depends on how you define Classic Space. While some might limit the definition to sets that include the logo with the shuttle orbiting a planentoid – others might use the definition of sets released before the arrival of Futuron and Blacktron in 1987; Others might feel that to use colours other than Blue, light grey and transparent yellow might be pushing a friendship.

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Whatever Happened To Classic Town IV: Welcome to LEGO City

When Minifigures arrived on the scene in 1978, we were presented with three settings: Castle, Town and Space – The Past, The Present and The Future. Through the 1980s, these themes developed in their own ways, fairly independent of each other. During the 1990s, we saw the themes diversify in different ways: Space brought us a new hyperfluorescent faction each year; Castle changed a little less frequently, but introduced an increasing amount of magic. In the meantime, Town diversified: no longer the sole home of contemporary lifestyles, we saw different themes split off, containing subject material based on the contemporary real world: Divers, Paradisa, Outback, Race, Space Port, ResQ, Team Extreme, and Sports. The ‘core material’ – which we first saw back in 1978 – police, fire and construction – became increasingly juniorized. Having been further dumbed down for younger builders with the introduction of Jack Stone, and other 4Juniors sets, we saw a return to more mature material with LEGO World City.

However, both the 4Juniors and World City themes featured alleged models of modern vehicles that bore minimal resemblance to the real-world equivalent. After the LEGO Group’s financial crisis, a number of themes were discontinued, and the company set out to return to its core business. A revitalised town theme was introduced – but things were on their way to being a bit bigger; expectations were greater: Town just wasn’t going to cut it anymore: we were presented with LEGO City.

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LEGO® Stuntz Demolition Bike: Much More Fun Than I Expected.

Stuntz, the latest subtheme of LEGO® City was officially released on 1st of October. This theme brings flywheel powered motorbikes to a world of monster trucks and jumps. At this point, we have limited availability on shop shelves. However, I was able to pick up 60927 Demolition Stunt Bike. This set has only 12 pieces, including a minifigure and a motorcycle only. Let’s take a quick look at this set, and see what it has to offer.

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Whatever Happened To Classic LEGO® Themes? Part I: Prelude

The last time I was having a chat to adult visitors at a public exhibition (remember those?), something came up on more than one occasion: LEGO® Themes these days are not what they used to be. It used to be pretty simple – you’d build the set (and it was probably Town, Space or Castle. Unless you were a bit younger – then it may well have been a Pirates set) – and you’d pull it apart and build something else. It might be one of the alternate builds on the back of the box, it might be something completely different. It may not have even been related to the original theme.

These days, many sets thrive on 3rd party IP, and the majority of the in-house, story-driven themes are tied in with either an animated series or an overly complicated app.

For those of us yearning for a simpler time, in a world where things have become increasingly complicated, things are looking bleak! Unless you want to go straight to the 4+ sets.

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Things Are Getting Wild in LEGO City. [Hands on with 60301/60302]

A few weeks ago, we got our first preview of the new ‘Action theme’ in the second half of 2021: Wildlife Rescue. The images were exciting because they revealed several new animal moulds: Lion and Cub; Elephant and calf; new monkeys, as well as the reappearance of other favourites: a recoloured crocodile (with a new, partially hatched egg); and a new print for the snake mould which debuted in 2018.

We also saw some recolours of the new 8x16x2/3 ‘road plates’ – seen earlier this year, printed up as a zebra crossing. How smoothly would these large, very rectangular elements integrate with an African wilderness?

I was fortunate to pick up 60301 Wildlife Rescue Off-Roader and 60302 Wildlife Rescue Operation a few days before the official release date of June 1 (Most of the world. The Americas will have to wait until August).


Rather than review these sets specificially, I would like to look at the animals in-depth and some of the specific landscaping details included. We might look at the minifigures, some of the printed elements included, and some other nifty details along the way.

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What Are The Most Popular LEGO® Themes? Annual Report Review

Every year around this time, the LEGO Group presents its annual report: taking in all aspects of the company. The document always includes a small paragraph or two on which themes performed strongly in a given year.

While the metric used to define this performance has not been presented to the public, it gives us a good idea of the sorts of material that pepople are buying, and which themes are strong sellers. Prompted by some online discussion, I have gone back to 2011, and tracked down the strongest performing themes for the last ten years, as referred to in The LEGO Group’s annual report. What we found out may not come as a surprise at all. Or perhaps it will?

Join us while we look through the last 10 years – we will look at the themes directly referenced in the annual report, look at some of the highlights, and maybe even evoke some mild feelings of nostalgia along the way..

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The Word on the Streets…[Vale LEGO City Road Baseplates]

Over the last few weeks, we have started to see images of next year’s sets, and there are some changes afoot for LEGO City. The images, revealed by a Dutch retailer, and republished throughout the LEGO Fan Media, show a new design of LEGO Road based on a new modular plate system, rather than the traditional baseplate. I’ll look at the new system later, including a best guess simulation, as well as a new use for your old plates. But first, let’s remind ourselves of what we have known over the last 40 years or so.

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