Review: Riverside Houseboat

The Riverside Houseboat was actually a set that my wife liked initially. She pointed it out to me, saying that it was really cute. So, I took a closer look, and soon I began to imagine how it would look really neat parked in the expansion that I am building for my Ninjago City. Now, here I am, set acquired and ready to review! As always, you can check out my rating system by clicking here if you are curious about how I generate scores.

Riverside Houseboat box art.

SET SUMMARY

NAME: Riverside Houseboat
SET #: 31093
THEME: Creator 3-in-1
COST: $49.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 396
MINIFIGURES: 2
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2019

Riverside Houseboat box contents.

SUMMARY REVIEW: 87%

VALUE: 86% (Good cost/brick, very good cost/minute.)

BUILD: 90% (Lots of nice details, but they forgot a propeller.)

MINIFIGURES: 80% (Generic, but decent designs, good brick:fig.)

ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Great addition to an AFOL city, okay for play.)

Bow view of the Riverside Houseboat.

REVIEW

VALUE: 86%

The Riverside Houseboat costs $49.99 in Canada. With 396 pieces in the kit, you are looking at a cost of $0.13 per brick. Based on years of collecting LEGO® sets, my current average is $0.14/brick. So, this set is by no means a bad value, but it is not the best value that I have seen either. I will rate it at 80% in cost-per-brick category.

Port view of the Riverside Houseboat.

The Riverside Houseboat took me a total of 71 minutes to build. At $49.99, that means a cost per minute of $0.70. My average cost per minute is $0.84 at the moment, so the Riverside Houseboat actually gives you a fair amount of build time for what you are paying. I also only built one of the three possible models that you can get out of this kit. So, if you built all three versions of the set, you would get even more build time out of it. Based on just the one build I did, I will give this set a cost-per-minute rating of 92%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick lands the Riverside Houseboat with an overall value grade of 86%.

Starboard view of the Riverside Houseboat.

BUILD: 90%

This is a 3-in-1 set, but I only built the main, advertised set. I have to admit though, the dock build that comes with it intrigued me, and I might try it out at a later point. In terms of the Riverside Houseboat, I quite like it. There isn’t much “house” to the houseboat, but it might suffice as living space for a few days out on the water. My favorite detail is probably the smokestack sticking off the starboard side of the boat. That actually hooks right into the little interior, wall-mounted kitchen. The exterior lanterns are a nice touch, as is the flag on the roof. One wall swings open so that you can access the cabin/living space inside the boat. There is also a little ladder off the back. The overall look of the boat is quite cozy. There is not much that I don’t like about it. I guess that if I had to pick something, I wish some form of motor build and propeller had been included.

Off the starboard quarter view of the Riverside Houseboat.

Overall, I rate the build for the Riverside Houseboat at 9/10 (90%). I like:

  • The cozy charm
  • Details
    • Ladder off the back
    • Lifesavers off the sides and bow
    • Smokestack
    • Exterior lanterns

I am not as crazy about:

  • The lack of motor/propeller build.
Riverside Houseboat cabin.

MINIFIGURES: 80%

Sadly, the Riverside Houseboat comes with an ape-child. Many of the Creator sets do, but they always leave a sour taste in my mouth. With the new medium-sized legs (which can actually bend) that were developed for the Harry Potter series, I really don’t feel these un-moving stumps are needed anymore. But, I digress… Based on overall design of the characters included in the set, I would give a rating of 19/30 (63%). They are both pretty generic, and come with parts we have all seen before. You get a few accessories as well, namely a camera, a coffee mug, and two fish. I suppose you could count the whip piece that serves as a fishing rod too. Those bring the design score up to 24/30 (80%).

Front view of the Minifigures included with the Riverside Houseboat.

Two Minifigures in a kit containing 396 parts means that you are looking at a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 198:1. That is not the best that I have seen, but it is still good. I would rate that ratio at 80%. Averaging this with the design score gives the Riverside Houseboat an overall Minifigure rating of 80%.

Rear view of Minifigures included with the Riverside Houseboat.

ENTERTAINMENT: 90%

From an AFOL perspective, I really like the Riverside Houseboat. I can imagine a number of fun photo-ops with it, and I will probably end up parking it as is in the docks area of Ninjago City. So, for my intents and purposes, I rate it 5/5. From a kid’s perspective, I think a younger version of me would have enjoyed this set, but maybe not as much as some more action packed ones. I think from the point of view of play, I would rate this set at more like 4/5. Overall, in terms of entertainment, I would say the Riverside Houseboat is a 9/10 (90%).

There is a brick-built pelican included with the Riverside Houseboat.

OVERALL: 87%

I think the Riverside Houseboat is a pretty solid buy. It is a good value in terms of the cost-per-brick, and you get a lot of build time for what you pay, especially when you factor in that you actually get the instructions for three different builds with this kit. The Minifigures are generic, but you get some nice accessories with them, and a good brick-to-fig ratio. I have already imagined a home for my boat in Ninjago City, but this set would look good in any coast scene, or cruising down a jungle river. I give the Riverside Houseboat a thumbs up, and my solid recommendation.

There is a brick-built crocodile included with the Riverside Houseboat.

How do you feel about the Riverside Houseboat? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, if you like the content at True North Bricks, I would love it if you followed me here on WordPress (click the “follow” option at the bottom of the page), FacebookPinterest, or Twitter for regular updates.

Until next time,

-Tom

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