I am currently sitting in my vacation villa on a stormy evening in Costa Rica. It is the perfect time to write as the thunder crashes outside. Going on vacation left me with a little bit of a blogging quandary. I didn’t want to just stop my regular posting schedule, because I actually quite like writing. True North Bricks has become one of my favorite hobbies. Vacations are all about taking time for yourself, and the things that you enjoy, so I decided that I would keep blogging from Costa Rica. But, what to do about set reviews? My initial plan was to pre-write some reviews, and just post them while here. But, that idea just didn’t sit well. I figured it would be much more fun to actually write a review, and photograph the set on the beach. It would be even better to review beach themed sets from the beach. The sets also had to be small, since I had to take them with me on the plane. So, I picked up two sets before leaving Canada. One will remain a surprise for next week. This week’s review is the Coast Guard Starter Set.
NAME: Coast Guard Starter Set
SET #: 60163
COST: $12.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 76
OF INTEREST: a shark, a surfboard, and a wind surf board
RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2017
SUMMARY REVIEW: 75%
VALUE: 66% ($0.17 per brick is starting to be pricey.)
BUILD: 90% (Nice little build, could have used some detailing.)
MINIFIGURES: 92% (Nice Minifigs, lots of accessories, great brick:fig.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 50% (Really bad build-time value, but enjoyable set.)
Costing $12.99 in Canada (which is currently C5603, in Costa Rican colones), and coming with only 76 parts, the Coast Guard Starter Set is sadly not a very good value. It comes in at $0.17 per brick, which is common for the City theme, but not great when it comes to LEGO® in general. While I have not gotten a new catalog since January, back then the average cost of a brick in the catalog was $0.12, and last year it was $0.13. I will give the Coast Guard Starter Set 3.3/5 (66%) for value.
I like this build. It is simple, yet effective and sturdy. The first section of the instruction manual has you put together the lifeguard stand. My initial thought on building it was that I really liked the look of the support struts and ladder design together. It is also really stable. My one issue with it is that the top platform only has one wall. The lifeguard on duty has limited places to lean, and could easily fall off while scanning around with the binoculars. But, you can fix that easily with some spare bricks. In my opinion, it should have three walls, leaving only the back open for ladder access.
The second build is the lifeguards’ buggy. It is also designed decently well, and serves its purpose. However, I don’t like it quite as much as the Jungle ATV that came out around the same time (click here to read my review). The sides of this one are a little bland. I will take off one mark for each of these builds for the aforementioned issues I mentioned. That gives each build 9/10, meaning overall, this build scores 90%.
There are three Minifigures in the Coast Guard Starter Set. You get two members of the coast guard, and one surfer (who needs to be rescued from shark infested waters). Based on the look alone of these characters, I would give them 31/45, which is 69% (you can read how I generate this grade by clicking here). But, you also get a number of accessories here that help boost the set. There are two walkie-talkies, a life vest, binoculars, a surfboard, a windsurfing board, and a shark. Those bring the design score up to 38/45 (84%).
With 76 bricks and three Minifigures, you are looking at a brick-to-fig ratio of 25:1. Normally, I like to include large animals in that ratio (in this case, the shark), which would bring it down to 19:1. Either way that you look at it, the ratio is excellent and earns a full 5/5 (100%). Averaging this with the design score earns the Coast Guard Starter Set an overall Minifigure score of 92%.
This set took me 11 minutes to build. At $12.99, that means that each minute of build time cost me $1.17. That is astronomically expensive in my books. In fact, it is the most expensive build time I have yet to encounter. Keep in mind that I also built this at a very leisurely pace. The Coast Guard Starter Set earns a poor 1/5 (20%) for build-time value.
As I mentioned in the “build” section of this review, I do like this set. When I finally get around to designing a coastline for my city, I will incorporate this build. I might change the little issues that bothered me, but it will still be recognizable as the same set. It gets 4/5 (80%) for enjoyment. Averaging this with the build-time score earns the Coast Guard Starter Set an entertainment score of 50%.
The Coast Guard Starter Set is a fun little build, and I do like the overall product. It comes with some nice Minifigures and a shark, and an excellent brick-to-fig ratio. The design of the builds is simple, yet still fun. However, this set is really expensive for what you are actually getting. In all my reviews, this set has had the worst build-time value. You are also paying the typically high price per brick seen in the City theme. If you have this set on your purchase list, you should wait for a sale. At 20% off, you would be paying a more average price per brick, though the build-time would still remain pretty expensive. 25-30% off would bring this set more into the value range that I would recommend.
How do you feel about the Coast Guard Starter Set? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time,