The first LEGO City Mining sets were released in the summer of 2012 and the subtheme makes a welcome return this year. 60184 Mining Team is the smallest of the four latest sets, containing just 82 pieces but many of the new parts which have been introduced for the Mining range.
A price of £9.99 or $9.99 therefore seems quite reasonable, particularly since this set includes four excellent minifigures. However, it is the selection of new pieces that interests me most of all and I imagine the set will prove to be quite popular as a result of those alone, much like 60171 Mountain Fugitives.
Each minifigure is wearing a different uniform so can occupy a variety of roles. Presumably the older man, identified by his grey beard, is the foreman and therefore wears a white buttoned shirt with braces and an orange belt. I like the identification card and notepad printed on the torso as well as the pockets on the trousers. These elements are new for 2018 and the legs have already proven versatile, appearing in several of the Mountain Police sets.
The second figure is dressed for a more physical role, sporting an orange sleeveless shirt and a pair of dark blue trousers. His torso is very muscular and the beads of sweat printed on the face are a brilliant detail. Both of these characters come with white mining helmets which are new in this colour and feature a trans-yellow light on top.
A third male minifigure seems to be the driver of the tipper truck. He is wearing an orange jacket which features the mining company's logo on the back and his own identification badge is pinned to the front. The female miner also comes with a badge and a device for detecting poisonous gases which is worn on the belt. I like her orange chest rig and the dark blue uniform looks great as a contrasting colour.
These minifigures are also wearing protective headgear but their helmets do not have lights fitted on top. However, the ribbed texture looks very realistic and the dark brown ponytail is moulded perfectly with the hard hat. The miners come with a selection of accessories, including a megaphone, a pickaxe, a shovel, a bundle of dynamite and a red mug.
The Completed Model
This set includes several little models, the first of which is a research station for investigating the gold nuggets as they are unearthed. I like its white, trans-light blue and grey colour scheme which feels very modern and the compartment beneath the analysis chamber is useful. The nugget component made its first appearance in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, representing Cole's Elemental Power of Earth, but is only available in metallic gold at the moment. Its uses are perhaps limited but it makes a nice change from the existing crystal.
A new spider was introduced for the Jungle subtheme last summer, featuring six eyes and a pair of tiny mandibles. Those were red but a different species seems to inhabit the mine as these are glow-in-the-dark white. I was pleasantly surprised at how brightly the spider actually glows and this is certainly a fun attribute, although a bright white spider is less versatile than a more realistic red or black one.
The miners are searching for gold trapped underground and all four sets in the range therefore include a rock formation waiting to be excavated. This one is very small but looks alright, featuring some light and dark bluish grey slopes along with a dark tan brick. A bundle of dynamite sticks is clipped to the side of the rock and a plunger is also included, suggesting that the miners have decided to blow this rock open!
Pressing on the dynamite sticks will cause the rock to explode, revealing a single gold nugget beneath. This mechanism is very simple and works perfectly, although the bright red Technic liftarm looks rather out of place among the grey and dark tan pieces. Nevertheless, this is a fun feature and you could expand the excavation site with some of your own grey bricks.
A light-duty dump truck completes the set. This is built from just 19 pieces so is fairly rudimentary but it includes a tipping bed at the front and tyres with deep treads which look as though they could traverse rough terrain. There is plenty of ground clearance which is ideal for play and the yellow bucket has plenty of room for carrying the gold or the accessories included.
The tipping function works nicely but the red piece underneath looks a bit odd. Perhaps it is intended to represent the suspension for the tyres, in which case this bright colour would not be unusual. The seat for the driver does not include a backrest which is a shame but the steering wheel is present and I think the vehicle looks pretty good with a minifigure in place, visually balancing the size of the tipper bed at the front.
The vast majority of City Starter Sets have been excellent in my opinion, providing great play value in relation to their low price as well as a pleasing taste of what the larger sets might have to offer. 60184 Mining Team is very successful in this regard, including all three stages of the mining operation as the gold is excavated and then transported to the lab for analysis. Admittedly, the research station is tiny but I think it is adequate in the context of this set.
I am also quite pleased with the minifigure selection. A scientist would have been a welcome addition to the roster but the characters wearing identity cards could easily fill that role if you wish. Moreover, the new gold nuggets are superb and I like the glow-in-the-dark spider very much so am pleased to see these appealing parts in such a small set. If you are looking for a flavour of the Mining range but do not wish to purchase either of the two largest models, as in my case, then I would certainly recommend this set.
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