The majority of City Starter Sets offer good value for money but I often overlook them in favour of larger and more impressive models. However, 60171 Mountain Fugitives caught my attention as it includes many of the new pieces which have been introduced for 2018, perhaps the most interesting of which is the beehive.
Furthermore, the set should offer considerable play value as it features an even number of criminals and police officers to pursue them, as well as suitable vehicles for each. The US price remains steady at $9.99 but the cost in the UK has risen to £9.99 which is somewhat disappointing. In fact, I believe 60171 Mountain Fugitives might be worthy of the increase.
The Mountain Police subtheme has been likened to the Forest Police from 2012 and there is certainly some validity in that suggestion, although it makes a change from the standard selection of cars and helicopters one finds in the city. The minifigures certainly seem familiar, wearing dark tan trousers with printed pockets and a dark blue shirt. This colour scheme was reversed for the Forest Police and the designs on the male figure's torso are almost identical to those from the earlier wave, but for the new colour.
Nevertheless, I think these minifigures look superb. The female officer's protective vest looks fairly realistic and I like the printing on the back of the torso too. She sports a new dark blue cap with a ginger ponytail which is available here and in 60174 Mountain Police Headquarters at the moment, although the same piece appears in other colours elsewhere in the 2018 City range. It would have been great to see the new motocross helmet in this set too but the standard white crash helmet is perhaps more suitable for riding a quad bike.
The police are in pursuit of two criminals, both of whom seem to have escaped from prison recently as they are still wearing striped shirts printed with their prisoner number. The female crook is available in 60173 Mountain Arrest and wears a red plaid jacket, much like one of the minifigures from 60134 Fun in the Park - City People Pack, as well as a brown belt and a satchel for storing gold bullion or other accessories.
The grey and white shirt worn by the male minifigure was introduced in 2014 but his head is brand new. It features an angry expression with a gold tooth on one side and some bee stings, the reasons for which will soon become apparent, on the other! Both minifigures are equipped with shovels which seems appropriate as they are digging in the forest for some stolen gold but I always prefer to see differing accessories.
The Completed Model
Quad bikes seem to be a constant feature of City Starter Sets, although this one feels more appropriate than most given the mountainous environment and it is distinguished by a new black bullbar. This piece looks great and is attached using a clip so should be fairly versatile. It can therefore be used on many different kinds of vehicles and suits this quad bike nicely, protecting a small radiator grille and some blue bodywork at the front.
There is room to seat a minifigure behind the handlebars and you can clip the handcuffs included to the back. A dark bluish grey chain hangs from the rear too, allowing the quad bike to drag items around. I think the blue light mounted on top of a pole looks odd, although it makes sense that the police would wish their lights to be visible, particularly in a densely forested area that one might find on a mountain.
The crooks seem to be targeting a lone tree, the base of which contains their stolen gold ingots. These elements are moulded in pearl gold which was only reintroduced for the 2018 range after a seven year absence. The tree is incredibly simple but fulfils an important role and I like the hidden storage area which is covered by a leaf at the foot of the structure.
Once the foliage has been pushed away you can access the gold. However, the highlight of this model is definitely the flame yellowish orange beehive hanging from beneath one of the branches. It includes one stud on top as well as some nice texture around the sides and can slot over a standard minifigure head, hence the bee stings! Real bees' nests do not feature the concentric bands seen in cartoons or on this element but I do not mind the designers taking some creative license as this kind of shape is traditionally associated with beehives.
Any crooks who are able to avoid the falling beehive can try to make their escape on a floating log. This is also very simply constructed but I like the printed tile on the end which has only previously appeared in 10738 Snow White's Forest Cottage. The studs on top leave the log looking rather blocky but they are required for attaching minifigures and I am not sure how else this could have been accomplished.
I am very satisfied with 60171 Mountain Fugitives. It is fairly small but offers a great deal of play value for a set costing £9.99 or $9.99, as well as an impressive array of new pieces! The beehive is definitely my favourite of those elements and could be very useful for other creations, particularly if it is cast in an alternative colour at some point.
This should therefore prove to be an appealing set for those who wish to add a few new parts to their collection and I am pleased that the most desirable pieces have not been restricted to expensive sets on this occasion. Furthermore, the potential for story telling is excellent, due primarily to the inclusion of four minifigures and a couple of little vehicles.
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