Lunar Research Base (60350) Review
LEGO® Minifigures are soon heading off to the moon on board the Artemis I mission. Consequently, we are celebrating with Space Week! We’re publishing a new space-themed article each day this week. Today, we take a look at the Lunar Research Base (60350). In case you didn’t know, the Artemis missions aim to establish a base on the surface of the moon. That goal inspired this LEGO® set, and it had me at the first images of the box art. I love that dome on top of the building. Now, we’ll take a closer look and see if the set lived up to my expectations.
LUNAR RESEARCH BASE SUMMARY
- NAME: Lunar Research Base
- SET #: 60350
- THEME: City
- COST: $149.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 786
- MINIFIGURES: 6
- RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2022
LUNAR RESEARCH BASE QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 63% (Satisfactory cost/brick, but not a lot of build time for the price.)
- BUILD: 85% (Great brick selection and inspirational design, but lacks small details.)
- MINIFIGURES: 86% (Great minifig designs, but needs more of them.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (More playset than AFOL display, but it inspires custom builds.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 79% (Average set.)
LUNAR RESEARCH BASE (60350) REVIEW
Let’s get the jagged little pill out of the way first. Lunar Research Base is expensive. With only 786 bricks and a price tag up at $149.99 in Canada, you are looking at $0.19/brick. While City sets tend to average $0.18/brick, LEGO® sets in general are closer to $0.14/brick. Considering both these comparisons, I rate the cost/brick for Lunar Research Base at 70%. It is barely satisfactory in this category.
I built this set in one hour and 43 minutes. At full price, the cost/minute of build time works out to $1.46. Consequently, you pay a lot for quite little build time. This set does not have a lot of pieces, and the builds are not overly complicated, so it comes together fast. Whether comparing to just City sets or to LEGO® in general, the build time is just plain expensive here. I rate the build time value at 56%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value rating of 63%. Lunar Research Base is a barely passable value overall.
So, what do you get for $149.99? Some really neat pieces. While the set includes many interesting bits, 28 bricks appear in five or fewer other sets. Additionally, three of those come only in this set. My primary interest was the new “shell 6M with 3.2 shaft”. In other words, the four transparent pieces that make up the dome. Those are really what drew me to this set. I love that dome. It has so much potential in future custom builds.
Another piece I really appreciate is the new 2x2x2 drum. It is the piece you wrap a string around when building a winch. In the past, you passed a string through a small hole on the drum, and then tied a knot. This new drum incorporates a stud allowing you to simply clip on a string with knobs. It is simpler to assemble, but also much better for storage and reusing the string. This piece appeared in four earlier sets starting in 2021. However, this is the first time I have gotten one.
Lunar Research Base includes 28 bricks that appear in five or fewer sets.
Speaking of the winch, Lunar Research Base includes a familiar grapple that rises up to a drone using said winch. The grapple consists of four “2x7x2.5 Claw” pieces and a white elastic. Moving one results in the others moving as well, allowing the grapple to grab boulders. I quite like this design, even if I don’t have much use for such a grapple in my day-to-day building. Interestingly, it is not a new design even though I am seeing it for the first time. The assembly and parts first appeared in the 2016 Volcano Explorers City sub-theme. They resurfaced in the 2017 Garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON set from the Ninjago Movie.
The first few builds in this set are small. You assemble a lunar ATV, a rover, a drone, and a space shuttle. I left the stickers off on all of these builds because I will repurpose the bricks. The shuttle is fun for play, so that is an okay addition. However, a large set like this really only needs one small vehicular build. Choose the ATV, drone, or rover, not all three. The remaining bricks should go to adding detail to the main build. Personally, I would ditch the ATV and rover. Neither is particularly interesting as a build. At least the drone comes with an interesting winch set up.
Lunar Research Base includes too many small builds that sacrifice details in the main build.
As for the Research Base, the design looks amazing. The box images do not lead to disappointment with the build. The ground layer features a garage built into a rock outcrop (i.e., BURPs). The garage does not have a door, sadly. But you find repair tools inside, along with enough space for the buildable rover or lunar ATV. A corridor leads off on either side of the garage. One side houses a lab. The lab equipment is fun. There is a microscope, as well as a small, artificial environment for studying microbes (printed on a 1×1 round tile). The roof lifts off for interior access.
The second corridor acts as a gangway and airlock to access the Lunar Roving Vehicle (60348). The gangway lifts up off the ground, forming a ramp thanks to two hinged sections. I love that. It expands on play potential and links the sets together by more than just common theme. However, the gangway also represents a missed opportunity. It is too short to reach the entry hatch on the Lunar Space Station. I know the Space Station is meant to be in orbit above the Research Base. But some people might want to easily expand their base, and the Lunar Space Station is a logical choice for that. To connect the two, you need to raise the entire base up a little. It is not hard to do and presents a fun challenge. However, having the two sets connect right out of the box would have been better.
The Lunar Research Base connects with the Lunar Roving Vehicle set (60348).
The top level of the Lunar Research Base is a greenhouse along with living quarters. Personally, I would not want to sleep in a greenhouse. However, the interior is easily customizable. This section is the highlight of the set. I love those new quarter dome pieces. The entire dome lifts off the top of the base, allowing play access to the garage below. However, there is no ladder to stairs leading up from the garage. It is a minor detail, but a missing one none-the-less.
Overall, Lunar Research Base features some great new parts and fun designs. However, it lacks some detail and functionality in places. The set should include one drone or rover, not three. The additional bricks from the two other small builds could add detail elsewhere. The highlight of this set for adult builders is really the brick selection. The base itself also provides some inspiration for custom designs. I rate the build at 85%.
Lunar Research Base includes six Minifigures. All have front and back torso prints, and four have leg printing. Additionally, three have two-toned arms, and three have double-sided faces. Similar to the Lunar Space Station, the astronauts included with the Research Base are new designs for 2022. You acquire one orange spacesuit featured in the NASA/LEGO® Education team-up videos. The others are the white and blue design new for this sub-theme. Two characters come in blue coveralls with the space logo. These are really nicely designed characters for space enthusiasts.
Lunar Research Base includes a fair number of Minifigure accessories (list below). However, there are a few highlights. Firstly, I love the single celled lifeforms printed on 1×1 round tiles. It is a new element, currently available in four 2022 sets. But this is the first time I have gotten the piece and it has me fairly excited. Secondly, I really appreciate that all astronauts come with extra hairpieces, so they are not bald once you remove their helmets. Finally, the little “I Love HLC” postcard is fun. While not a new piece, it is amusing that the astronauts get mementos of home while away. Considering both the accessories and character designs, I rate the minifig design at 100%.
Lunar Research Base (60350) Minifigure accessories:
- 4 x Minifigure hairpieces
- 1x complete boulder with geode interior
- 2 x printed round cell tiles (1×1)
- 1 x game controller
- 9 x assorted tools
- 1 x metal detector
- 1 x Erlenmeyer flask
- 2 x mugs
- 2 x bowls
- 2 x spoons
- 1 x HLC printed tile postcard (1×2)
- 1 x carrot
- 1 x scissors
- 2 x microfigs
- 2 x printed computer panels (1×2)
- 1 x harpoon
Six Minifigures in a 786-piece kit is not a lot by City theme standards. The set contains 286 more bricks than the Lunar Space Station, but only one extra Minifigure. The resulting bricks/fig for the Research Base is 131. Our average for the City theme is 82 bricks/fig. With that said, the set still offers a good character count when compared to LEGO® sets in general. By that comparison, our average bricks/fig is 173. I rate the character count at 72%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure grade of 86%.
As a playset, Lunar Research Base is wonderful. It offers a great combo of interior and exterior play opportunities. Additionally, it connects with another set. I would have loved this set as a kid. From an adult perspective, it inspires more detailed builds. However, it is not really a display piece for me. I like the look of it, but I would rebuild this in much greater detail before displaying. Upon building it, I did find myself dreaming up custom lunar landscapes by incorporating this with my current brick selection. That was amusing for sure. If only I had endless amounts of time and space to execute those plans as well… I rate the entertainment for this set at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 79%
I like Lunar Research Base (60350) a lot for the interesting brick selection and inspiring design. I really want to delve more into space themed builds after assembling this set and the Lunar Space Station. It is just a question of time and space. I think many AFOLs will enjoy the unique parts though, especially the four pieces making up the dome. The set is a little pricey for the number of parts and build time you get, but what you get is interesting. As a playset for kids, the set is amazing. Space enthusiast certainly get a nice set here. I like Lunar Research Base, but I recommend waiting for a sale before picking one up. What do you think of the Lunar Research Base? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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