Review: 60015 Coast Guard Plane

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Coast Guard Plane

Before I get started, my apologies that it has been so long between the second and third reviews. I'm afraid real life and expensive data while I was abroad got in the way!

Anyway, down to business. Next up in my series of City Coast Guard reviews is 60015 Coast Guard Plane. While not strictly the next one up in terms of size, I am still waiting on replacement stickers for my copy of 60013 Coast Guard Helicopter - they arrived stuck to the inside of the box...

Set 60015 retails at £34.99/$44.99 and contains 279-pieces, giving it a PPP of 12.541p / 16.125c. The set includes a rather nice fishing boat, and a Coast Guard Seaplane (who'd have guessed!). This set seems to be the retailer exclusive of the sub-theme, at least in the US, though I'm not too sure where it's exclusive too! LEGO take what I feel is rather a strange approach to the retailer exclusives, denying their existence on the boxes and instructions of the other sets, even though they are available from LEGOshop.com. Exactly the same approach was taken last time, when the Coast Guard exclusive set was 7726, the layout featured in the back of the instructions just left out that set, as has been done here.

Enough of my waffle and onto the set. The box again features the standard city view, but this time looking at it across the sea. Notice the wind turbines in the distance, LEGO City has been investing in green energy! In the bottom right is a diagram showing that the 'Boat really floats'. I have to wonder how useful/playable this really is, since the Seaplane can't float...

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(Click for larger versions of all photos).

The back of the box shows a kind of storyboard/comic in which the fishermen discover their boat is taking on water, attempt to bail it out, and then float to the seaplane in a crate!

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Inside the box, there's four numbered bags of parts, two instruction booklets, a floating boat base, a helicopter tail and yet another creased sticker sheet (every time...).

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Bag 1

Bag 1 builds the Fishing Boat. Below is shown the parts selection, although there are some elements which are nice to have (bucket, grey hairpiece, green curved pieces, fishing rod), nothing is really jumping out at me as unique here. The floating boat base is the same as in 60005, 4642 and 4643, only with the top piece in reddish brown this time round.

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There are two crew members for the fishing boat, and both are pretty disappointing. LEGO have been a bit lazy here I think. They are adequate for the job, but all of the component pieces have been used widely before, with the exception of the grey hairpiece, which has only appeared in 75014.

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The finished boat is actually my favourite part of this set. It's small and basic, but is definitely a much more realistic fishing boat than 2011's 4642, which was more of a pleasure boat. This one is believable as a commercial fishing vessel, and will look right at home docked in the City Harbour. I don't really think there's anything else I can say about it which you can't see for yourself from the photos, which prove my point that it is basic, but more than does the job of providing someone to rescue. Now on to the rescuer!

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Bag 2

Bag 2 contains the parts to make half of the plane and the Coast Guard minifigure. There's nothing too special here either in terms of parts.

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The minifigure here has the same torso as one of the figures from 60012. I prefer this design to the light grey shirt which some of the 2013 Coast Guard minifigures wear, in that it looks more appropriate for pulling people out of the sea. Also, the shirt looks more suited to someone senior, either a captain or someone sat in an office somewhere! The face is nothing special, it's been around for years, which is somewhat disappointing, especially as the Coast Guard from 60011 has the same face! There's nothing to say really about the helmet, it is the standard design and is functional though boring.

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This is the state of the plane at the end of bag 2. As you can see, there is a 'cabin' for the pilot to sit in, and not much else! There is an awful lot of wasted space in the back which could have put to much better use if there was a way to access it. More on this later.

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Bag 3

Bag 3 finishes the body of the plane and adds the wings and tail.

Parts selection:

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The model at the end of bag 3:

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Bag 4

The final bag, number 4 finishes off the plane by adding the pontoons.

Parts selection:

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The completed plane looks nice enough from the outside, but the interior (or lack of) is a completely different story.

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The photograph below shows the entire accessible interior of the plane:

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Yes, the pilots cabin - that is it! There is no access of any description to the rest of the plane, which of course renders it pretty useless! The pilot can fly out to the vessel in distress but he is unable to do much when he arrives. Perhaps administer first aid or something like that, but as far as rescuing a boat/crew from a stormy sea, it's as much use as a rubber dinghy. There is no room for passengers, and certainly no room for a stretcher. I'm left wondering what the proposed function of the Coast Guard Plane actually is - the set description quotes:

Launch a search and rescue mission with the LEGO® City Coast Guard Plane! When a big wave floods the fishing boat, locate it with the Coast Guard Plane fast. Help the fishermen to stay afloat by bailing the water with the buckets until the rescuers arrive. Make a smooth water landing and pull the fishermen in before the boat sinks! Includes 3 minifigures: a pilot and 2 fishermen.

I suppose it might come in handy for locating the stricken vessel, but helping to bail out water is as much as the sole Coast Guarder can do. He could make a 'smooth water landing', but as for pulling in the fishermen before the boat sinks - pull them into where?

The useless Coast Guard...

The complete set

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All in all, this set could have been great. The boat is an excellent little model, but it is let down by the minifigures, and the seaplane, which is largely redundant. If the designers had taken a little more time to work out how to make the rest of the interior (which is currently wasted space) accessible, then they could have been on to something. As it is, it's only use is the 'Search' from 'Search and Rescue', and I wouldn't like to be the pilot having to explain to the crew of a sinking ship that they had to wait for assistance because he can't take any passengers in this rather large plane!

Here it is with 60011 and 60012:

60015 Coast Guard Plane

Have you purchased this set? What do you think of it? Am I being overly harsh?

Next up will be 60014 Coast Guard Patrol, followed by 60013 Coast Guard Helicopter when my replacement sticker sheet shows up!

30 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Finally something other than lord of the rings.

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By in United States,

I agree with your review wholeheartedly - the fishing vessel is fantastic.. the seaplane? Not so much. I don't have the set myself but a drop down ramp in the back of the plane at a minimum would have helped make the interior space usable. As it is they cant even store rescue gear in there. Ideally there would be doors to access the interior of the plane under the wings.

I've never been a huge fan of LEGO planes - the wing structure needed to be able to support the wings always take up so much room. 7734 had a quarter of the fuselage taken up by the wing structure.

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By in United States,

Best rescue plane ever. Very efficient use of space inside the plane, I say...

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review, the boat part looks like a very nice model, however that sea plane is rather disappointing and should've been made better in theory. Despite the fishing boat, I'll probably pass on this one.

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By in United Kingdom,

The wings & the top of the plane look really plain, I'm not trying to use that as a pun.

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By in United States,

Lego has come out with a lot of planes this year. I just wish they were more exciting. #31011 Creator Aviation Adventures looks pretty good so I may buy that. I just wish they would make something that really gets my blood racing. My son and I LOVE airplanes and the only plane we've purchased was Stunt plane because I got it for $5. And don't get me started on lack of floatability (is that a word)... how can Lego make the Dolphin Cruiser and not think kids are going to want to put it in the water?

Good review btw, thanks!

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By in United Kingdom,

I was not sure if to get the coast guard plane or coast guard helicopter. After seeing the space in the seaplane (room for probably 1 minifigure) I think I might get the helicopter. Even a small hatch or something would have been good at the back of the plane! It is only the boat which is making me think of getting the set.
Anyway, Good Review!

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks like a nice set, though lego planes take up a lot of room so i don't think I'd get this one.
Also are you going to review any of the summer Chima sets?

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By in United States,

Just a quick misstype- Under the first big picture, you typed "(Click for larger versions of? all photos)" The question mark is missplaced.

And nice review, Matthew!

And BTW, they (the rescued people) could always sit on the wings, in classic KFOL style. :-P

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By in United Kingdom,

This is not one I would rush out and buy. The fishing boat is nothing spectacular and too similar to the harbour model which was also not great. Shame.

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By in United States,

Great review Matthew! I'm still trying to decide if I should get this or the helicopter though...

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By in United Kingdom,

Everytime that I see the boat I think "Orca" from Jaws...

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By in Germany,

Thanks for the review! And I agree, the fishing boat is really nice but the plane is nothing but a recon plane and cannot be used for anything other than that. Honestly, there is not even a need for swimmers. I admit I really hate it when there is no space for figures in a big vehicle, like the "shuttles" in the SW line that hold like one pilot plus one other figure.
So I would say that the heli set is a much better choice (if one doesn't own the previous already). It looks bulky, massive and strong and I believe it can hold 3 + pilot if not 4. Sadly the winch mechanism takes too much space but there is still some left. Removing the winch (or changing it a little which is probably possible) gives you even more space. Also you can easily find it for 25% off (23€) in contrast to the non-negotiable price for the plane (40€).

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By in United States,

The blue jets of water are nice looking, but they do not justify the price of the entire model, maybe with some modification we can make the plane work otherwise…

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By in United States,

I don't think the minifigures are a letdown at all. Honestly, I hate when the LEGO Group is called lazy just for being efficient with the parts at their disposal. Why introduce new minifigure parts when you have ones that work perfectly for the set in question?

In this case, I think the Coast Guard minifigure looks quite appropriate for the task, and the "boring" sunglasses and crash helmet suit him quite well. Meanwhile, the two fishermen LOOK quite convincing as fishermen, and one has a Dark Stone Grey hair piece: one of only four Dark Stone Grey hair pieces in existence, and the first one to ever appear in a non-licensed, non-promotional set!

The boat is definitely excellent and looks quite excellent as a commercial fishing boat, though I have a bit of a soft spot for 4642 since it reminds me of the classic 4011 Cabin Cruiser which I had as a child. Not quite as great a set as 4011 was, but it still makes me feel quite nostalgic. In any event, this is a different type of vessel altogether, and it has some great features. I love the water spurting out of the hull!

The plane is a nice design but you make a very valid point about the wasted space in the back. I suppose there's not much room for an access point except for possibly removing the roof or putting compartments underneath the wings, and I'd certainly hate if it were easy to lose things in the back of the plane and have a hard time getting them out, but still I think a vehicle of this size ought to have a lot more playability. As it is, there's no cargo space, no space for passengers... not even a winch or other such play feature.

In general, LEGO City has done a good job lately with giving their various emergency personnel actual emergencies to respond to. For about three years now, LEGO City police have had actual crime scenarios to prevent, which is great since before there were rarely any crimes in the actual police sets besides "jailbreak". For the past two years, the LEGO City firefighters have had actual fires to put out: first forest fires, and now actual structural fires. And now the Coast Guard has plenty of rescue scenarios to act out (the only one in 2008 was a single surfer who was stranded in that year's largest set). Even the medical subtheme, which has not gotten a full wave since 2006, had a banana peel... or at least, a banana... for a civilian to slip on in 4429, and a bike accident to respond to in 4431.

Overall, I like this trend. It might mean the actual emergency vehicles have to be made smaller relative to the full sets, but let's be honest: a city full of emergency personnel with no emergencies to respond to gets quite boring. This way, we AFOLs get museums and banks and civilian vehicles in our city, and the kids get even more play value from the emergency vehicles they love. It's a win–win!

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By in Denmark,

@Aanchir I agree about the minifigures. I personally love generic city figures, and even though that silver sunglasses face has been around since 2004, I only have four of it and would like more. You should also appreciate the amount of civilians LEGO puts in sets now. When I was little, almost all of my civilians were soccer players, and my only woman was Pippin Reed from adventures.

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By in United Kingdom,

Quote one wag "Everytime that I see the boat I think "Orca" from Jaws..."

This was exactly what we thought when we saw the boat in Sheffield. It is very similar in appearance to the Orca. It just needs a large shark chasing it. :)

I might buy the set just for the boat.

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By in Denmark,

I bought this seaplane some time back and was really satisfied about both the plane and value for money. And the minifigure is about the same :-). Maybe its the same design-team that made both?
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=3178-1

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By in United States,

I am glad that they brought back the coast guard sets, but disappointed about the sets. I still liked the older sets rather than the newer ones. I still wish they would have included fish in this set and a few more minifigures. Lego has really shorted us of minifigures lately too

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By in United States,

Instead of the single piece at the rear couldn't it have been built with slope pieces and a back door for a ramp instead of wasting the space?

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By in United States,

Funny how the boat floats, but the rescue plane doesn't. Now the plane would need to be rescued :P

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By in Germany,

Thanks for this review. I was really considering this sets, but all my doubts have now been reaffirmed. If it was only the boat in this set I would love it and it would be one of my favorite city sets of the past year or so. I also dislike this huge cockpi pieces that you can't really put to any other use.
Well money saved for other sets!

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By in Greece,

Looks to me like a copy of the police plane from a few years ago. I don't mind the odd shaped piece but this one is just a front and back moulding with hardly anything in-between. And as the review points out, being able to land the plane on water is useless as it's not a rescue craft. Most spotter planes take off from a runway. Pontoons cause huge amounts of drag and limit the range of an aircraft.

Personally I'd avoid the helicopter too. My choice was the logging tiltrotor as it has the same interesting rounded front (suitable for a transport plane or helicopter) and actually has a hatch at the back (though unfortunately, not wide enough to take the quad bike).

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By in United States,

For anyone wondering, and there seem to be a couple above, the rescue helicopter is cheaper. And it has a pretty cool winch function that my kids and I all love. Is it an amazing "must buy" ? No. But it's playable / swooshable. And has the cool white shark too.

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By in United States,

@doodlebird, thanks for your opinion. Definitely leaning towards the helicopter now.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm thinking it should be quite easy to add a cabin if you raise the wings up a brick so they run flat across at roof level, then mod the engines so they're slung below each wing instead of midway. That would also make it look more like a real De Havilland Sea Otter. But yeah - they probably designed it the way it is for play strength - so little kids can crash land it without the wings and engines falling off all the time.

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By in Norway,

Well, the boat doesn't even float. Look at all that water sprouting through that hole in the floor!

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By in Netherlands,

It's funny, but in earlier LEGO days (I'm talking 20 years ago), planes were made out of mostly non-specialized bricks, and were pretty much internally usable all the way from cockpit to tail. Examples: 6356, 6482, 6396, etc. Maximum playability!

Now they're made out of huge specialized parts, but suddenly there is no way to use the room inside? Somewhere along the line, something went terribly wrong, creative-thinking-wise.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ totally agree. The planes from my 1985 airport sets comfortably seat loads of minifigures! Never liked these massive specialised plane pieces anyway - look far too juniorised. Great review - disappointing set

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