60168 Sailboat Rescue is among the smaller sets in the latest Coast Guard wave but appeals to me a great deal as it includes a unique sailing boat, the like of which are rarely found in CITY sets. Pleasure craft have definitely become more prevalent recently but yachts with sails have remained consistently elusive, until now.
The set is priced at £19.99 in the UK so competes with 60165 4 x 4 Response Unit which offers excellent value for money. However, the distinctive subject matter should work in favour of this set and I hope it will prove sufficiently popular to justify further models of this kind in the future, assuming the sailing boat is as impressive as I am hoping it will be.
This set includes two minifigures, the more interesting of which is the sailor in my opinion. His black hair piece has only appeared in six previous sets and is intricately textured while the head features a simple frown on one side and a frightened expression on the other. I like the dark azure hooded jumper and a red mug completes the figure, indicating that he had been enjoying a leisurely cruise before getting into difficulties out at sea.
Thankfully, a member of the Coast Guard has come to rescue the sailor. He wears a blue cap and trousers which nicely complement the sand blue jacket on the torso. The Coast Guard's life ring symbol is featured on both sides of the torso, although it is partly obscured at the front as the collar is turned back to reveal an orange jumper underneath. You can also choose to cover the torso entirely as a pair of yellow life jackets are included, although I prefer to put these aside as they extend the neck to an awkward degree.
The Completed Model
The Coast Guard vessel is constructed around an orange hull so matches the boat found in 60165 4 x 4 Response Unit which we reviewed a couple of weeks ago. This allows it to float but I would be reluctant to do so for fear of damaging the stickers on each side. Nevertheless, it is a fun feature and I appreciate the effort which has been made to distinguish this craft from that which appears in 60165. The rotating searchlights fitted to the hull are not present on the other boat and the A frame towards the stern is also quite different.
However, the most significant feature is definitely the enclosed cabin. This includes a large trans-light blue windscreen which was introduced in 70905 The Batmobile, although there the element appears in trans-yellow. It looks very sleek but seems out of proportion when compared with real boats of this kind as most feature a smaller windscreen. However, the present configuration allows the skipper a wide field of vision as he approaches the rescue site so in that respect a large windscreen seems sensible, particularly since he is the lone crew member.
The roof is decorated with the Coast Guard symbol and can be removed to reveal the steering wheel inside. A little more internal detail would have been welcome but there is room for a minifigure to sit at the controls and you can store equipment, in this case a red megaphone and a radio, on either side of the cabin. It is accessed through a curved hatch which looks a little odd, although it further differentiates this craft from others which have been available in recent years.
Two more stickers are applied to the A frame supports and there are navigation lights situated on top. Twin outboard motors propel the craft with spinning propellers and each one is mounted on a hinge so you can raise them out of the water. They look fine but I think a little more mechanical detailing would have been beneficial.
I was drawn to this set by the sailing boat which occupies roughly a third of the total piece count. Leisure vessels are not hugely rare but this one is quite unusual, featuring a single mast with a large sail as well as a rudder which you can really steer using the tiller! The white hull allows the boat to float but is decorated with a sticker which could be damaged by contact with water, as on the Coast Guard rescue craft.
The mast is simply constructed using a couple of rods which are plugged into Technic elements at the base. The sail is attached in three places and hangs very naturally, even at the top where the plastic sheet is not secured. One side is printed with a vivid lime green and green pattern so matches the design on the hull and this shows through the sail quite well, although the same printing on both sides would have been even better.
Not only can you rotate the boom to change the angle of the sail but it can also be toppled using a click hinge, as though a collision has occurred. This is a fun feature and you can still rotate the sail even when it has collapsed, perhaps knocking the sailor overboard in the process. Impressive though the sail is, I would have liked to see a headsail included too as that is generally a more common configuration than this single-sailed design.
The deck is furnished with two benches and a functioning tiller. The upper deck towards the bow features a green sun lounger, shown in the image above, as well as two black rails which are attractively curved to match the shape of the hull. A pair of white sloped panels give the impression that a hatch leads to some interior space but in fact there is very little room at the base of the mast, perhaps just enough for a few accessories. Nevertheless, I think the yacht looks reasonable on the whole and it remains the highlight of the set for me.
The sailing boat appears to have collided with some rocks which are also present in the set. These are simply constructed using grey bricks and slopes but also include a few leaves and are built on a blue plate to represent the ocean. It is quite unusual to see an item of scenery like this in a CITY set but it offers some additional play value, allowing the sailor to take shelter from the circling shark should his boat sink. This version of the shark was introduced in 2010 and features an opening mouth along with moulded gills and printed eyes.
I always enjoy CITY sets like this one as they are perfect for play but could also become part of a larger display very easily. The Coast Guard vessel and rocks are good but the sailing boat is undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the set in my opinion. The sail looks marvellous and I like the unusual mixture of green and white but there is some room for improvement, especially concerning the detail on the deck which does not match the standard set by previous vessels such as 60147 Fishing Boat.
Nevertheless, the UK price of £19.99 seems very reasonable and the yacht is a worthy addition to one's collection as it does offer something very different. I would therefore recommend this set, although 60165 4 x 4 Response Unit offers greater playability in relation to the cost so may be a better purchase for younger fans. More seasoned CITY collectors, on the other hand, will probably find more of interest here.
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