60191 Arctic Exploration Team contains only 70 pieces and is among the smallest of the Arctic sets being released this summer. Nevertheless, it features three superb minifigures as well as a couple of interesting new elements which have been created for the subtheme.
The price of £9.99 in the UK or $9.99 in the US therefore seems reasonable to me, although the majority of CITY Starter Sets come with four minifigures and it is somewhat disappointing to see fewer on this occasion. Even so, I remain optimistic about the quality of this set based upon previous examples of a comparable size.
Each of the three minifigures occupies a different role within this set. The first drives the snowmobile included so wears a medium azure motocross helmet which has not appeared in this colour before. I think it looks fantastic and the large goggles feel quite realistic. This character wears a dark blue and flame yellowish orange uniform with some pockets on the front and a hood at the back, both of which look great.
A female explorer accompanies the driver, sporting a medium azure beanie hat and a corresponding jacket. The flame yellowish orange belt around her waist is impressively detailed and features a white device which might monitor oxygen and temperature levels or simply serve as a GPS locator. I like the explorer's blue-tinted goggles as well and this element only appears elsewhere in the two largest Arctic sets.
This figure comes with a pair of flame yellowish orange snowshoes that match the accent colour of her jacket. The shoes feature an attractive embossed pattern and can fit underneath a minifigure's feet or be held in their hand, as demonstrated below. A dark bluish grey circular saw and a camera are also included.
The photographer is perhaps the most appealing of these minifigures. He wears a brand new ushanka hat which looks absolutely magnificent, featuring a textured fur lining and ear flaps on either side. I like the dual-moulded combination of red and tan plastic, particularly since this version of the hat is only available elsewhere in 60194 Arctic Scout Truck.
Medium azure dominates most of the 2018 Arctic explorers but this character only wears gloves of that colour. I like the design of his padded coat but printed pockets on the legs would have been a welcome addition to the figure as they appear rather plain at the moment. Nevertheless, this is an excellent minifigure on the whole.
Siberian Huskies were introduced in the 2014 Arctic range and have subsequently appeared in several more sets. I love the mixture of white and dark bluish grey plastic which creates a wonderful finish and the printed face is similarly impressive. The husky also includes a distinctive curled tail, much like the real dog.
The Completed Model
Snowmobiles are a perennial feature of LEGO sets based around Arctic and Antarctic expeditions but there is considerable variation between designs. This example is most similar to 2014's 60032 Arctic Snowmobile but seems a little more skeletal, replacing the single large track towards the rear of the model with two smaller ones. These are represented by black Technic liftarms which look alright, although modern twin track snowmobiles are rare.
However, this configuration permits a second minifigure to sit behind the driver which is useful. The trans-light blue windscreen looks marvellous and is consistent with other vehicles in this range, much like the medium azure and orange colour scheme of the bodywork. A 2x2 curved slope printed with the Arctic expedition emblem completes the model.
A separate trailer can be connected to the rear of the snowmobile via a ball joint. This simple structure includes two clips for accessories and a dark bluish grey crate to store any frozen specimens that the explorers might recover. It could also be adapted to seat the third minifigure if you wish.
The explorers are searching for frozen specimens of prehistoric animals and this simple ice formation includes one such creature. It consists of just twelve pieces but looks good, featuring a combination of white and light bluish grey slopes as well as a trans-light blue panel. This can be removed with ease to reveal a frozen insect inside.
While the rodent, sabre-toothed cat and mammoth are probably the most appealing of the new animals in these Arctic sets, I am also very pleased with this insect. It is printed on a trans-light blue 1x1 round brick and resembles a modern dragonfly so I wonder whether this creature is based upon the ancient Meganeura monyi, an extinct species of insect which had a wingspan of over 70cm!
I have developed high expectations for CITY Starter Sets over the last several years and 60191 Arctic Exploration Team is definitely a worthy addition to the range. The individual minifigures are all excellent and I think the snowmobile and ice formation epitomise the entire subtheme remarkably effectively, even featuring a tiny insect frozen in the ice.
However, the presence of only three minifigures feels disappointing, particularly in relation to previous Starter Sets such as 60171 Mountain Fugitives. The husky is a wonderful alternative to a fourth human character but an additional explorer, perhaps dressed for mountaineering, could probably have been included too. Nevertheless, I would undoubtedly recommend this set to those looking for a flavour of the new Arctic collection.
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