I am fan of the science-related sub-themes in LEGO® City. The Ocean Exploration Base (60265) interested me a lot in this year’s wave. The design is like the Lunar Space Station from 2019. I loved that set. Furthermore, I was into Aquanauts as a kid and never had the chance to get their underwater base. Therefore, Ocean Exploration Base checked several boxes for me. My expectations going into this build were high. Did the set live up to them?
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.
OCEAN EXPLORATION BASE SUMMARY
- NAME: Ocean Exploration Base
- SET #: 60265
- THEME: City
- COST: $109.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 497
- MINIFIGURES: 5
- OF INTEREST: 1 Hammerhead shark, 1 ray
- RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2020 in Canada (June 1 in Europe)
OCEAN EXPLORATION BASE QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 56% (This set is a bad value at an astronomical $0.22/brick.)
- BUILD: 60% (The design lacks realism and interior details.)
- MINIFIGURES: 97% (Satisfactory minifigs, loads of accessories and excellent brick-to-fig ratio.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 65% (This is not an AFOL set but kids will like it.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 70%
OCEAN EXPLORATION BASE (60265) REVIEW
Ouch. I got this set as free review kit. However, if I had bought this set, I reiterate “ouch”. Ocean Exploration Base costs $109.99 in Canada and comes with 497 bricks. Consequently, the cost-per-brick is $0.221. That is expensive even by City standards. Comparatively, my average cost-per-brick across all themes is $0.14. For the City theme, it is $0.17/brick. Ocean Exploration Base fails in this category, earning 53%.
This set took me one hour and 28 minutes to build (88 minutes total). At $109.99 CAD, the cost-per-minute is $1.25. Another “ouch”. By comparison, my average cost-per-minute is $0.83 across all themes. For the City theme alone, my average is $0.93/minute. Sadly, Ocean Exploration Base fails in this category too, earning 58%. Averaging this score with the value-per-brick score gives an overall value rating of 56%. This set is too expensive for what you actually get.
Much like the Lunar Space Station, the Ocean Exploration Base consists of three main modules. Additionally, the modules are re-arrangeable on a mounted platform. The first module features crew quarters. The crew quarters are only a single bedroom. Access to the room from the base hub is exceedingly small. Similarly, access to the bubble window space is small. You can play inside the module by lifting off the roof. I like the module. It looks great from the exterior. However, the access for Minifigures is not very realistic.
The second module is a control room. However, it does not feature many controls. There is a desk with a syringe and fish tank, as well as a couple of gauges. It is not much of a control room. Otherwise, the design of the module is like the crew quarters. From the outside they are identical.
The third module is a detachable submarine. I like the outside look of this sub. However, it does not have any realistic Minifigure access points. When attached to the main hub, you see a solid wall through the hub’s doorway. Additionally, the rear compartment of the sub does not connect to the cockpit. Another wall separates them. The only way for Minifigures to enter the cockpit is to swim. Finally, the rear compartment is completely empty. I like designs to be a little more realistic than this.
Pillars and a BURP elevate the main base hub. The BURP is just that, a big ugly rock piece with little embellishment. Additionally, it is open on the back side. The rear of the central hub is also open. I assume this design choice makes play easier. There is a wheel in the floor that does not do anything. I do not like this design. The wheel suggests a door, but there is no actual door. There is no airlock either. The design simply feels incomplete.
The final little build is an underwater drone. It is cute but is does not make up for the lack of detail seen in the main builds. Conversely, I love the Lunar Space Station. I still have it on display. It had minor details that needed fixing. However, modules featured detail and felt complete. Conversely, Ocean Exploration Base left me feeling disappointed. Admittedly, I went in with really high expectations. However, the set did not come close to meeting them. From one side, the exterior looks great. However, the open rear, the lack of detail inside, a plain BURP, and little or no Minifigure accessibility all lose points. I rate this build at 6/10 (60%).
Ocean Exploration Base comes with five Minifigures. None of them have double-sided faces. However, all feature front and back torso printing. Additionally, all have leg printing except one. The set also features a new scuba helmet design. I am a little disappointed that none of the divers come with alternate hair or hats. Otherwise, you get two minifig oxygen tanks, two pairs of flippers, a camera, shark, a ray, a crab, a bottle, a bicycle frame, a crate, a treasure chest, 10 jewels, a cup, a lantern, and a syringe. Based on the Minifigures alone, I rate the design at 54/75 (72%). However, there are a lot of accessories. Technically, those bring the design score up to 100%.
In addition to the five Minifigures, the set comes with two large animals. The new hammerhead shark comes in the kit. Additionally, so does the new ray. The shark features articulation, so it counts towards the brick-to-fig ratio. I will also count the ray based on its size. However, the ray is not poseable in any way. With that said, the kit contains seven figurines. With 497 pieces, Ocean Exploration Base has a brick-to-fig ratio of 71:1. Comparatively, my average ratio is 146:1. Therefore, for a kit this big, you get an excellent number of playable characters. I rate that at 95%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 97%.
As an AFOL, Ocean Exploration Base was a disappointment. Compared to the Lunar Space Station, you get a similar brick count, but it is 27% more expensive. Additionally, the space station was a more detailed and complete design. Sadly, I will not keep Ocean Exploration Base built. However, the set does come with nice parts. The modules can expand the Lunar Space Station even if they are yellow. Buying more than one of these kits also offers the potential for an awesome MOC. However, I find the price inhibitive in that regard. As an AFOL, I rate this set at 5/10 (50%).
As a kid, I would enjoy this set more. I was less picky about open back sides and more inclined to accept a lack of detail and BURPs. Some of my favorite sets had open-backed BURPs. As an Aquanauts fan, I also enjoyed underwater adventures. I would have had fun with this set in my youth. Additionally, I think kids today will like it. It is still expensive for what you get though and lacks details that make it fully playable (like Minifigure hatches). From a KFOL perspective, I rate this set at 8/10 (80%). Averaging this with the AFOL score gives an overall entertainment rating of 65%.
OVERALL SCORE: 70%
Sadly, I do not enjoy the Ocean Exploration Base (60265). After last year’s Lunar Space Station, this set really falls flat. It lacks a sense of completion and a lot of detail. The set is also expensive for what you get. The brick count is low, and the build time is not proportional to the price. Lunar Space Station is almost 30% cheaper and a superior design with almost the same number of bricks. If you are after the hammerhead shark, it comes in a much cheaper set as well. I am a little sad because I was really looking forward to this set. What are your thoughts about the Ocean Exploration Base? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
What do others think?
Brick Insights is an awesome site that aggregates LEGO® set review scores from around the web. Based on their statistics, you can see what other reviewers think of the Ocean Exploration Base (60265) below.
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