October 1, 2023

LEGO® Arctic Explorer Truck & Mobile Lab (60378) Review

The summer 2023 wave of City sets is a mixed bag of sub-themes. We get some buildings to line your city streets as well as some science-themed offerings from two different genres. I’ve already reviewed the Skate Park, Arctic Exploration Ship and Deep Sea Explorer Submarine here at True North Bricks. Additionally, I took a look at the Car Wash in an Instagram live stream. Today, we delve into another of the science-related sets with the LEGO® Arctic Explorer Truck and Mobile Lab (60378). This was one of the sets that made my wish list from earliest pictures of the summer 2023 City wave. Let’s find out why!

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, that does not guarantee a favorable assessment. I will provide my honest opinion and rate the set according to the usual True North Bricks scale.

Arctic Explorer Truck Stats

  • SET #: 60378
  • COST: $99.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 489
  • OF INTEREST: One polar bear and two polar bear cubs
  • RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2023
Arctic Explorer Truck box contents

Quick Review of the Arctic Explorer Truck

  • VALUE: 56% (Expensive bricks and little built time for the price.)
  • BUILD: 85% (Simple but nice-looking design with interesting bricks.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 93% (Wonderful minifigs and accessories, consistent with other sets.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Fun addition to the arctic line, though not very original.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 79% (Satisfactory set)
What I likedWhat I didn’t like as much
The brick selection.
The design is aesthetically pleasing.
The polar bears.
The minifig characters.
The set is expensive for what you get.
The mobile lab is too high off the ground.
The concept has been done before.

Full Review of the LEGO® Arctic Explorer Truck & Mobile Lab

VALUE: 56%

There’s no way to candy coat this. The Arctic Explorer Truck is not a good value set, so let’s just get that out of the way first. The set costs $100 in Canada but only includes 489 bricks. Consequently, the cost/brick is a whopping $0.204. That is way up there, even for a City set. As a point of reference, my average for the City theme is $0.185/brick, while LEGO® sets in general are more like $0.142/brick. At $0.204/brick, the Arctic Explorer truck is not the worst value City set I have ever seen, but it’s not the best either. I rate the cost/brick at 67% if paying full price.

LEGO Arctic Explorer Truck and Mobile Lab polar bears

The build time is also nothing to write home about. I assembled the Arctic Explorer Truck in 58 minutes. For $100, that is not a lot of build time at all. That gives a cost per minute of build time of $1.72. By comparison, the average City set usually costs me $1.15/minute of build time. Meanwhile, the average LEGO® set is more like $0.88/minute. Sadly, the Arctic Explorer Truck fails my build time assessment, earning 46%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value rating of 56%. I’d say wait for a sale if you want this one. Finding it 20% off makes it a much better value.

BUILD: 85%

The overall design of this set is starting to be a bit generic as far as Arctic Exploration sets go. We get a mobile lab/housing unit as well as a snowplow-like truck on tank treads. If you are building an arctic scene with a serious research base camp, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You need quite a few little bunk buildings to house your minifig crew. Additionally, I like the design of these new vehicles. The use of slopes and curves gives it a nice, modern look.

The truck is pretty generic, City-theme stuff. The mobile lab features a small work bench and two beds. Additionally, you assemble a small landscape feature for the bears to stand on, but that also serves as an attachment point for the boulder. Incidentally, this arctic set features a return to crystal hunting. Inside, the boulder is lined with crystal, and there’s a removable gemstone. We last saw crystal-hunting in the arctic theme in 2014. The 2019 wave delt more with frozen body fossils of prehistoric creatures.

This arctic set features a return to crystal hunting not seen since 2014.

In terms of build techniques, I like the curves and lines of this model as I mentioned before. I don’t like how high the research lab is. While I am no expert in arctic exploration, I feel like the center of gravity is too high for a lab on skis traveling over rough terrain. I guess it won’t get buried as easily in a snowstorm… but I think it looks funny. However, that’s an easy modification to make. Otherwise, I think the selected builds go well together in terms of this set and previous entries in the arctic sub-theme. But AFOLs will not learn any new techniques with this set. It’s a simple but nice-looking design.

With that said, the set offers some interesting bricks. There is a new 3×3 corner plate and transparent 2×2 jumper tile that only come in select 2023 sets to date. Additionally, the Arctic Explorer Truck features an orange inverted bow and roofing element (shell), polar bear cubs, and white design plate that only come in this set. In total, there are 46 elements which appear as parts or color variations in fewer than 10 sets to date. This is a good set for interesting bricks, even if the build is pretty simple. Overall, I rate the build experience at 85%.


The Arctic Explorer Truck includes four Minifigures. Interestingly, they are all characters included with the Arctic Exploration Ship as well. Only the woman with the braided pigtails and hats features a different face with goggles. The character consistency is nice for story telling and play. Plus, you get a second copy of the ship’s captain. I can’t say why, but something about that character has placed him on my favorite minifigs of 2023 list. He’s got that intrepid adventurer look, I guess. I would have loved playing with that character as a kid.

In any case, all the characters feature the standard minifig parts. They all have front and back printed torsos, and three have leg printing as well. These prints are not readily available outside of this arctic exploration subtheme either. However, only one character features a double-sided face. The kit also includes a number of Minifigure accessories, not the least of which are the two new polar bear cubs. You get:

  • 2 polar bear cubs
  • 1 adult polar bear
  • 1 two-way radio
  • 1 yellow mug
  • 1 shovel
  • 2 ice picks
  • 1 large crate
  • 1 small crate
  • 2 fish
  • 1 magnifying glass
  • 1 camera
  • 1 crystal-lined boulder
  • 1 crystal
  • 1 laptop (opening book in white)
  • 1 winter hat
  • 1 fur collar ruff
  • 1 ice/rock saw
  • 2 pairs of snowshoes

The arctic captain is one of my favorite minifigs of 2023.

In addition to the four Minifigures, you also get an adult polar bear with some articulation. As such, I will count it in the character count… though the baby bears make a strong case for inclusion too. However, I don’t typically count smaller creatures without moving parts as figurines for this assessment. Five figurines in a 489-piece kit gives you 98 bricks/fig. Compared to other City sets, you are getting a satisfactory but not great number of figurines for a set this size. City sets usually give me about 85 bricks/fig. However, compared to LEGO® sets in general, the Arctic Explorer Truck fares much better. To give you an idea, the average LEGO® set usually comes with about 192 bricks/fig. Considering both these comparisons, I rate the character count at 86%. Considering the character designs and accessories earn an easy 100%, I rate the overall Minifigure score at 93%.


Do I like the Arctic Explorer Truck? Yes, I do. Do I love the Arctic Explorer Truck? No, I don’t. Like I mentioned before, the set concept is starting to be generic for the arctic sub-theme. Other than the baby polar bears, it doesn’t bring anything new to the story. We’ve seen vehicles and mobile labs like this before. We’ve also seen crystal hunting in the past. With that said, anyone building an arctic base will appreciate another mobile compartment like this. Additionally, this particular set goes well with the Arctic Explorer Ship as it presents a continuation on the same story with the same characters. I rate the entertainment value at 80%.


Fans of the arctic sub-theme are sure to enjoy the Arctic Explorer Truck. You gain another research/bunk module for your collection and the first ever polar bear cubs. I have always enjoyed the arctic sets, and surely would have bought this one too. However, I feel the set doesn’t offer anything new to the arctic exploration storyline. Sure, you get two exclusive polar bear cubs. However, the set has a bit of a been-there-done-that feel. Given the high price tag, I certainly would have waited for at least 20% before buying this set. Thankfully, the LEGO® Group sent it to me early. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,


The LEGO Arctic Explorer Truck features a return to the crystal hunting storyline.

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