Lunar Space Station (60349) Review

Lunar Space Station (60349) Review

Lunar Space Station (60349) is one of the LEGO® sets released in early 2022 to coincide with the launch of Artemis I. In case you’ve been living in a hole, the Artemis missions mark humanity’s first manned missions to the moon since 1972. Of course, Artemis I has no human crew. It is more of a systems check before Artemis II actually takes human beings into space. However, Artemis I still has a crew… of LEGO® Minifigures. Consequently, True North Bricks is celebrating the launch of Artemis with Space Week. As today’s entry, we take a closer look at the Lunar Space Station set.

Let me begin by saying that this set has some major shoes to fill. I loved the Lunar Space Station (60227) from 2019. Incidentally, NASA plans for the Lunar Gateway Station inspired both the 2019 and 2022 versions of this set. In 2019, the set value was a little poor, but I loved the design. I acquired the new Lunar Space Station because the box art looks great. Additionally, I’m curious if it connects well to the 2019 model. Let’s see how it hold up.

Lunar Space Station (60349)

LUNAR SPACE STATION SUMMARY

  • NAME: Lunar Space Station
  • SET #: 60349
  • THEME: City
  • COST: $99.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 500
  • MINIFIGURES: 5
  • RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2022

LUNAR SPACE STATION QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 71% (Passable cost/brick, satisfactory build time on par with other City sets.)
  • BUILD: 90% (Fun build with lots of customization potential and connectivity with older 60227.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 86% (A good number of well-designed astronauts.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (Lots of play and customization potential.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 87% (Good set.)

LUNAR SPACE STATION (60349) REVIEW

VALUE: 71%

The new Lunar Space Station costs $20 more than its predecessor. However, it also includes 88 more bricks. At $99.99 in Canada, and with 500 bricks, this new station costs $0.20/brick. Interestingly, that is not far off from the 2019 model. In any case, $0.20/brick does not represent a particularly good value. By comparison, the True North Bricks average cost/brick is currently $0.138. For the City theme alone, it is $0.18. Considering both these comparisons, I rate this set at 67% in this category. At full price, the Lunar Space Station has a passable cost/brick.

Lunar Space Station astronauts.

This set took me an hour and 34 minutes to build. At full price, the cost-per-minute of build time works out to $1.06. For a City set, that is average. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, it is expensive. Comparatively, the True North Bricks average cost-per-minute across all LEGO® themes is currently $0.85. As such, I rate the build time at 75%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value grade of 71%. Overall, the 2022 Lunar Space Station represents a satisfactory value.

Rear thrusters on the Lunar Space Station.

BUILD: 90%

The Lunar Space Station includes five parts bags. The first assembles the small space ship. The design is simple, but effective. No doubt, the product makes a fun play piece for kids to swoosh around. From an AFOL perspective, it is overly simple. Similar to the 2019 model, this shuttle has no actual entry point for Minifigures to access the station once docked. Additionally, the station itself has no airlock at the docking port. The docking door opens straight into the labs. With that said, I do like the fanned solar panels and the sample storage container included. Additionally, this shuttle improves on the 2019 version by allowing Minifigures to sit straight up. My shuttle looks a little plain because I left the stickers off.

The new station looks neat. It has a large, windowed section including a lab and food dispensers on the upper level and two bedrooms below. The shuttle dock is on one side of the lab, while a corridor stretches off from the other. I love the arched windows of the main module. The box art depicting that section drew me to this set initially. It is a neat design employing “4x8x2 shell with fork” windshield pieces. Two arc up from below, and two from above on each side. They meet in the middle forming a “glass” arch. A 1×2 plate with slide on each side prevents the windows from rotating inward too far. It is a clever design with potential for wider applications. The set places the design horizontally, but you could adapt this same structure vertically as an observation deck in a city set up, for example.

The lab module features a beautiful, versatile window design.

Lunar Space Station lab module.

The corridor leading from the lab module is a dead end. The station’s thrusters and solar panels connect there. I wish designers had included some thruster or solar panel adjustment controls to that wall. A dead end in a space station is not really much fun. The thruster/panel section also has a play feature. The solar panels attach to Technic angle elements mounted on pins. As you push the panels down, the pins serve as axles, rotating the interior side of the angle elements up. Subsequently, the angle elements push up on a device of some sort inside the module. Finally, this device pushes a hatch open. I don’t know what the device is meant to represent. Perhaps a battery pack?

One thing I still lament from 2019 is that I did not buy a second 60227. When building the first, I envisioned expanding it with a second kit. The set retiring caught me by surprise, and I missed out. Interestingly, the newer 60349 features the same “1x6x4 1/3 with 4.85 hole” between modules. Consequently, you can connect 60227 and 60349 to expand the Lunar Space Station. However, you need to build more of the support pilons used in 60349 in order to line up the different sections. Rebuilding the central hub on 60227 to include an additional attachment point allows more orientation options for the different sections.

You can easily connect 2019’s Lunar Space Station with the newer one from 2022.

Which set do I like more, 60227 or 60349? 60227 still wins out for me. I like exterior rounded look of the modules more. Additionally, the interiors have more detail with really distinct functions for each module. With that said, I do really like the lab module of 60349. Additionally, I like the color scheme more on the newer model. I think it will be a fun project to join these two kits, taking the best features from each. If you have two of each of these sets, all the better! While I like the older Lunar Space Station a little more, I still love 60349. Space enthusiasts get a great kit with lots of play and customization potential. My complaints about 60349 are all small, nit-picky things. I rate the build at 90%.

The beds fold up to allow the lab module windows to close. The beds can only be open in play mode.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

Lunar Space Station (60349) includes five Minifigures. All of the characters have front and back torso printing. Additionally, three of them have double-sided faces and leg printing. Two of them also have dual-toned arms. If you followed the NASA and LEGO® Education collaboration, you’ll note that one of the astronauts in this set features the same uniform seen in the videos. I greatly appreciate that all the astronauts come with extra hairpieces, so they are not bald when you remove their helmets. In addition, all of the character designs are new for this 2022 space set lineup. In terms of other accessories, the kit includes a camera, wrench, boulder (with geode interior), two crystals, and a printed 1×2 computer tile. All the other computer screens and interfaces in the set are stickers. I rate the character designs at 89%. A few more accessories would make the set more fun.

Five Minifigures in a kit consisting of 500 bricks is a good character count. You get 100 bricks per character. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, the True North Bricks average is about 173 bricks/fig. However, City sets tend to include a lot of minifigs. In a straight-up theme comparison, Lunar Space Station fares a little worse. Our average for the City theme is 82 bricks/fig. Considering both comparisons, I rate the character count in this set at 83%. Averaging this with the design score gives a final Minifigure grade of 86%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 100%

I am fascinated by space and space exploration. Consequently, sets like this strike a chord with me. I loved the 2019 Lunar Space Station. I love this one a little less, but I do still like it a lot. As a kid, the Lunar Station would have provided me with hours of play and entertainment. As an adult, I am dreaming up ways of combining this with the 2019 model to make an even larger station. The model lends itself well to expansion and customization. My enjoyment of space and science-related sets also has me excited about the prospect. Yes, I am biased in that regard. However, this is the most subjective section of the review. I give Lunar Space Station 100% for entertainment.

OVERALL SCORE: 87%

In the end, this new Lunar Space Station (60349) earns the same score as its predecessor. The only downside is the price. Like many City sets, it is expensive for the piece count. However, even for a City set, the price is a little high. The value score is a little better than the 2019 version. However, that is due more to a change in our rating criteria since 2019 rather than a reflection of the set’s actual price.

Lunar Space Station hatch

Otherwise, the Minifigures are a little bit nicer than in 2019, but the ratio of bricks-to-figs remains about the same. Ultimately, I like this new Lunar Space Station a little less than the 2019 version. With that said, it does feature improvements and interesting designs the older version did not have. This is a fun set for both younger and older space enthusiasts. I love that it is readily expandible by simply buying a second copy of the set. I also appreciate that it connects easily to the 2019 station. Overall, this is a good set. But you might want to wait for sale before picking it up. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

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Lunar Space Station shuttle