The summer 2023 wave of LEGO® City sets is huge. 13 sets to be precise. Among those, we get the annual, more-science-oriented kits. Those five sets are a mishmash of arctic and ocean exploration, but I am not complaining. The selection includes some great animals, like the great white shark in today’s review kit. The Deep Sea Explorer Submarine comes with one of the awesome sharks that can eat a Minifigure whole. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this shark, but I always welcome more of them. The set is quite substantial as well, and you get a lot of figurines.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).
Deep Sea Explorer Submarine Specs
- NAME: Deep Sea Explorer Submarine
- SET #: 60379
- THEME: City
- COST: $139.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 842
- MINIFIGURES: 6 + 1 Skeleton
- OF INTEREST: 1 large great white shark, 2 regular sized sharks
- RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2023
Quick Review of the Deep Sea Explorer Submarine
- VALUE: 73% (Good cost/brick for a City set, but build time is low.)
- BUILD: 90% (Nice build with a story that makes good use of the sharks.)
- MINIFIGURES: 95% (A great number of well detailed characters.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Fun set if you’re into underwater builds.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 87% (Good set.)
|What I liked||What I didn’t like as much|
|-Nice submarine design.|
-Good use of the sharks in storytelling.
-The great white shark figurine.
-Great minifigs and accessories.
|-Sunken treasure story is old.|
-The mech doesn’t fit in the sub.
-The mech falls apart easily.
FULL REVIEW OF THE DEEP SEA EXPLORER SUBMARINE
The Deep Sea Explorer Submarine costs $139.99 in Canada and includes 842 bricks. Interestingly, that is more bricks than you get with the more expensive Arctic Exploration Ship (60368) from the same wave of sets. The cost/brick for the submarine works out to $0.166 CAD. That is a touch on the expensive side compared to LEGO® sets in general, which average around $0.137/brick in my experience. However, it is actually good for the City theme. City sets are always pricier per brick than most other themes, averaging around $0.185/brick. Considering both comparisons, the submarine has a satisfactory cost/brick which I rate at 78%.
In terms of build time, I assembled this set in one hour and 50 minutes. Consequently, each minute of build time costs $1.27 CAD at full price. That is expensive in my mind. City sets usually cost me around $1.13/minute, while LEGO® sets in general are around $0.849/minute. You don’t get a lot of build time for the price with this set. I rate that at 67%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value rating of 73%. That is satisfactory, and about what I’d expect for a full price City set.
The Deep Sea Explorer Submarine comes with two instruction manuals and nine parts bags. Eight bags are numbered, one contains a few larger elements. The build starts with the largest instruction manual as opposed to the smaller one like a typical set. You begin by building an underwater mech suit, followed by the submarine, and ending with a deep-sea drone. The mech suit is a neat idea, but the execution is so-so. It looks good, but the arms are too chunky and short to be very functional and it falls apart VERY easily when handled. Additionally, the sub has no storage space for the suit. The drone is alright as well, and fits in a storage compartment in the sub. With that said, both compliment the main build well.
The submarine is fairly impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite so large. The sleek lines and curves look great too. It features nice use of parts for sure. The orange bowed shell elements used on the sides are a great touch. That piece is generally rare in any color, and I didn’t have any before now. It comes in orange and white, which were previously only seen on a Friends ship. Recently, they also appeared in lime green in Ninjago City Markets. The use of a giant Technic car rim as the main propellor housing is also a nice touch. Additionally, the set has two functional robotic arms which can grasp objects.
This is the largest LEGO® submarine I have built.
The interior spaces of the sub are cramped… but they would be on a real sub too. The cockpit and main controls are a little boring though. They consist of a Star Wars droid torso. There’s sitting room for three Minifigures inside, one at the main controls and two others behind at two work stations. Behind the main compartment is another empty space with a clear hatch overhead. This space houses the deep-sea drone.
The second instruction manual assembles a shipwreck. I am a little tired of the sunken treasure storyline. This particular set features a pirate ship. In a future review, we’ll look at the Arctic Exploration Ship, which features a Viking shipwreck. Unlike the ship set, the animals included with the submarine are integral to the story. The killer whale in the ship set is just kind of there, and feels a little superfluous despite being an amazing figurine. Here, the sharks are part of the shipwreck build and have moving play features associated with them. The big shark lurks inside the ship on a sliding platform, allowing it to lunge out. The smaller sharks circle above the wreck. Despite the tired story, I like how the animal figurines play a part in the tale and don’t feel like they were just thrown in without thought.
I like how the sharks are part of the build and part of the story in this set.
Overall, I’m impressed with this build. I wouldn’t say the techniques are overly educational for a seasoned builder, but the parts usage is nice, and model looks great when finished. Additionally, the story is thought out, even if it is a little overused. I rate this build at 90%.
There are 10 characters to play with in this set. Not all of them are actually Minifigures though. You get six proper minifigs. Additionally, there’s a skeleton for the shipwreck, and three sharks. Of the sharks, two are regular size and the third is large enough to eat a Minifigure. The big shark really steals the show. I have one of those sharks from an earlier set. I’m so happy to have a second one now. 10 figs with 842 gives you 84 bricks/fig. That is average compared to the City theme, and downright excellent compared to LEGO® sets in general. I rate the figurine count at 89%.
As for the actual Minifigures, they are all unique. Four of the characters also appear in the Artic Exploration Ship, but they have slight variations here. Only one of the characters comes with a double-sided face, but all of them have front and back torso printing, and three feature leg printing. I like that any character with scuba gear also comes with alternate hair. In terms of accessories, I counted 38 including the sharks (see below). Overall, these are nice characters with a solid number of accessories to help advance stories and play. I rate the minifig designs at 100%. Averaging this with the character count score gives an overall Minifigure grade of 95%.
Minifigure accessories included with the Deep Sea Explorer Submarine:
- 3 sharks
- 4 fish
- 1 treasure chest
- 4 diamonds
- 1 skeleton
- 1 pirate hat
- 2 swords
- 3 pairs of flippers
- 3 scuba helmets
- 3 oxygen tanks
- 1 life vest
- 3 wrenches
- 1 crowbar
- 2 pairs of scissors
- 2 syringes
- 2 printed computer tiles
- 1 metal detector
- 1 camera
This isn’t really a build-together set if you’re an AFOL looking for something to assemble with your kids. The sub is one big manual, and the shipwreck is another. However, the shipwreck is far less substantial. The set could pass as a two person build if one of the builders is much slower than the other. Otherwise, kids will probably like this set. There is a lot of inherent play value with the big sub and the smaller builds that compliment it well. Plus, you get a Minifigure eating shark.
From an adult perspective, this is one of the nicest subs I’ve seen. And again, it’s big. If I was building an underwater scene, I’d like to include this. However, I presently have no plans for an underwater build. Therefore, I will likely recycle this set for parts in my collection. I just have nowhere to put a sub this large. However, if you’ve missed out on previous versions of the large great white, this is not a horrible price point to get one. Apart from one set in 2008, we’ve only ever seen them in large, expensive sets. The last time was the Ocean Exploration Ship in 2020. This submarine costs $40 less than that set did.
This is one of the nicest subs I’ve seen, though not much of a team build.
In the end, I was very entertained by building this set. I was also inspired to imagine deep sea builds, and how I might try to incorporate this sub into my current build plans. Sadly, I just don’t have the space, so I will take it apart. As a kid, I would have loved this set for sure. I collected Aquanauts sets, so this would have fit right in. It’s a very particular niche of a set though. I rate the entertainment at 90%.
OVERALL SCORE: 87%
The Deep Sea Explorer Submarine is a good set. There isn’t much that I don’t like about it. For a City set, it is a decent value. You get a large, detailed build that looks great too. Additionally, the character count is amazing, and you acquire a large great white shark. Despite being a fun idea, the mech was poorly executed though. Additionally, the sunken treasure story is overdone at this point and its time for some fresh material. As with many AFOLs, display real estate is limited in my LEGO® room, and I just don’t have space for an underwater build area, as cool as it might be. So, this set is a recycle for me. What do you think? Let me know in the comments or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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