Review: 60015 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...
(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!
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...).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Bag 3 finishes the body of the plane and adds the wings and tail.
The model at the end of bag 3:
The final bag, number 4 finishes off the plane by adding the pontoons.
The completed plane looks nice enough from the outside, but the interior (or lack of) is a completely different story.
The photograph below shows the entire accessible interior of the plane:
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 complete set
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:
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!