Monday, September 5, 2016

REVIEW: LEGO 60080 - Spaceport

When I was a kid, one of my favorite sets was LEGO 1682: Space Shuttle.  Now that I am back into buying LEGO sets, I knew that I eventually had to track down the newest take on the classic space shuttle, LEGO 60080:  Spaceport.

Now, before I go any further in the review it must be stated that this set was originally priced at about $120 US.  That's crazy expensive for what is only a 586 piece City set.  However, I was able to nab this set for about $70 or so on discount - and so my opinion of the set is much more based on the lower price rather than the full sticker price!

The Spaceport set comes with five minifigures including a female scientist (and my favorite of the entire bunch of minifigs)!  The blue shuttle tile is a printed piece which was also a pleasant surprise.  And, of course, it wouldn't be a LEGO City set without a red coffee cup making an appearance.

Like most people, I built the set in the order of the instruction booklets - so I began with book 1 which had me construct the small transport car, the "countdown" clock, and the small radar tower.  The countdown clock is fun for kids to simulate a launch - but the highlight of the first little bit for me is the car.

The car has three seats (one for the driver plus two passengers) AND it has hooks on the back to hold extra helmets.  It's a small, simple build but it gets the job done.
Next, we begin to build the shuttle transport vehicle.  As you can see, the base of the shuttle transporter is largely Technic pieces.  Once you put the first bit together, the entire bit is actually quite sturdy feeling.
The finished transport vehicle has eight wheels plus an offset cabin for the driver.  Admittedly, the vehicle looks kind of dumb without the shuttle on it...especially all that empty space in the middle.  However, once the shuttle is in place the entire contraption looks quite nice (more on that in a moment).

Next up, the shuttle itself!
Here you can see the fourth and fifth minifigures from the set - both astronauts.  Amazingly, both astronauts will fit in the finished shuttle, albeit only barely.  A trade off for that bit of realism is that the shuttle cockpit is woefully under decorated.  In fact, you only get a single printed slope piece for the shuttle driver which I find to be disappointing (it's not even a unique print).
Surprise, one of the astronauts is a female (another great move by LEGO).
As you can see, the finished shuttle looks quite nice.  I'm not a huge fan of the giant nose piece - it feels like "cheating" when you build the shuttle but the end result is probably worth it.
The inside of the shuttle (with the nose piece off) shows how the two astronauts fit in along with the satellite and the Canadian arm which can be used to launch the satellite.  Everything fits in quite snugly but also quite easily - a good use of space for sure!
The Canadian arm is quite small - but as you can see it has decent articulation.  The satellite has a pair of stickers on the "wings" to make it look more techy - and actually the set has stickers all over the place to help it seem more realistic.  That said, I think the vast majority of the stickers do add to the overall look so I recommend using them.
Finally, the fuel tanks.  The large center tank is made up of a bunch of huge pieces - and it's all held together with a bit of Technic know-how.  The smaller white tanks aren't nearly as interesting to build but they all look quite good together.

And finally, the finished product:

As I mentioned at the outset, this is a tough set to judge.  If you can get it with a substantial discount (like I did), then I would recommend it.  It was a fun set to build (though not particularly challenging as it is a LEGO City set after all).  I do like the selection of minifigures and the shuttle looks quite nice given its relatively low piece count.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  2*
Adult Value:  2*
Overall:  5*

The above score is for the set at regular retail price.  For the money, you could get many more pieces if you went for a different large LEGO set - and frankly, this set doesn't feel like it's worth $100+ dollars to me.  Therefore, it gets hammered pretty hard for Kid and Adult value.  That said, the play value is very high - two astronauts, a shuttle with removable fuel tanks, a shuttle launch vehicle, a small truck to cart the astronauts to the shuttle, and a countdown clock?  I'm not sure what else could have been included to up the play value any more!

If you get the set for a steep discount, then obviously those value scores go up considerably.  However, in the interest of fairness I try to rate all the sets I review based on the original price rather than relying on getting a deal somewhere!