LEGO Space has traditionally focused exclusively upon astronauts and their spacecraft but 60230 People Pack - Space Research and Development contains a broad selection of minifigures. These include scientists, engineers and media staff, as well as the requisite astronauts!
However, previous People Packs have featured numerous exclusive parts which seem lacking by comparison here. Many of these elements are also available in the other new Space sets. Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to expand my minifigure collection and hope this set will match the quality of its predecessors.
Seven astronauts are included, although they feature varied attire. My favourite is the exclusive bright light blue astronaut, whose uniform includes some metallic silver nozzles and a prominent emblem on the torso. The contrasting trans-orange visor looks wonderful and I love the new dual-moulded helmet, particularly when this piece is viewed from behind.
The second minifigure is equipped with extravehicular activity so wears a considerably bulkier helmet with twin air tanks. This versatile component was initially created for the Atlantis theme but resembles modern spacesuits, incorporating a metallic gold visor beside a red lamp. Unfortunately, the torso and legs appear fairly plain but I do like the orange highlights and think orange gloves may have improved the colour scheme.
Orange dominates the next two astronauts, both of whom feature intricately detailed attire. I appreciate the metallic silver details on their torso and legs and the subtle space exploration symbol is a delightful inclusion too. The same designs appear across the new Space subtheme but these bold colours work perfectly, striking an appropriate balance between realism and fantasy in my opinion.
Furthermore, these two minifigures wear the same new helmet as the aforementioned blue astronaut, albeit with trans-light blue visors rather than trans-orange. The moulded detail is delightful and seems to contrast with the simple air tanks strapped to the back of each astronaut. Nevertheless, I think they look superb together and welcome an element from Classic Space in continued use, albeit with minor alterations.
Hair pieces are provided for both astronauts and their respective double-sided heads are impressive, featuring smiles and cheeky expressions. However, the accessory is probably my favourite aspect of these minifigures, comprising a bright green alien head on the end of a stick! This rubbery piece was created for the Alien Trooper from the Collectable Minifigures and its return is pleasing.
Three additional astronauts are dressed for training, sporting blue uniforms with the space exploration emblem and a satellite icon on their jacket. Blue is a good colour choice as similar flight suits are worn by modern astronauts and this torso is only otherwise available from 60227 Lunar Space Station so its inclusion here is pleasing.
Astronaut training definitely seems exciting so the three minifigures include smiles. Unfortunately, the male characters are suffering the effects of considerable G-force exposure, hence one appears rather frightened while the other is evidently feeling unwell. Each hair piece remains tidy though, as one may expect of professional astronauts.
The female minifigure seems particularly interesting in that regard as her hair component is only found in four other sets. A rigorous personal trainer accompanies the astronauts. Her torso was designed for medical staff but seems appropriate for this character as observing the health of astronauts is integral to the success of their training.
Moreover, the trainer includes a combined hair and hat piece which looks brilliant, although this could have been decorated with the space exploration branding. The minifigure carries a black megaphone for directing the astronauts but her most interesting accessory is a whip with a printed pizza mounted on the end, seemingly to motivate the figures during their training programme!
Countless scientific disciplines are involved in researching space, including botany. This set therefore contains a botanist, whose medium nougat hair element has previously been used for Captain Marvel minifigures. The double-sided head features two extremely similar expressions which seems odd but I like this detailed torso, even though its design is interrupted by the light bluish grey legs.
Aerospace engineers work in sterile conditions while assembling spacecraft, hence this minifigure is dressed in clean room attire. I love her blue gloves and the torso decoration is great, including subtle creases across the front and back. The mask and wrinkled cap appear equally realistic and I am glad this excellent engineer is available outside 60229 Rocket Assembly & Transport.
Two further mechanical engineers are also included. They include a new dark blue and orange torso which has been cleverly combined with legs from the Mining subtheme. I like this colour scheme and the printed badges look marvellous, although the emblem is tiny so its design is difficult to distinguish.
Furthermore, each minifigure includes an exclusive part. The male engineer wears a pearl dark grey welding mask with a black visor, lacking the dark blue reflective details or any other decoration which has appeared previously. One side of the female engineer's head, meanwhile, is covered with soot. It would seem that something exploded in front of her but that her eyes were protected by goggles!
Space exploration has frequently been accelerated by media interest, hence two such minifigures are included. The first is a news reporter and features a confident expression which seems appropriate for this character. Furthermore, I like his tousled hair piece and the sand blue suit is excellent, having only appeared in three other sets.
A cameraman accompanies the news reporter and sports an attractive dark azure shirt with decorative leaf printing. His double-sided head includes a smile and a frightened expression which seems odd but works quite effectively with the alien head accessory! The cameraman is appropriately equipped with a large television camera while the reporter carries a black microphone.
The Completed Model
While the minifigures are undoubtedly the highlight of the People Pack, it also contains several small models. Treadmills appear in remarkably few LEGO sets and I am quite impressed with this rendition, despite its simplicity. A printed 1x2 slope forms the console while the focal running surface comprises 2x2 plates with two studs, forming a lovely texture. A stack of pizza boxes is included too but only the uppermost box is decorated.
Centrifuges expose prospective astronauts to the considerable G-force experienced during spaceflight. The model captures some important details but appears comparatively bland in my opinion. However, I like the rotating function and the extended floor section is wonderful, allowing you to grip the centrifuge without obstructing its motion.
The rocket testing stand shares the same white and blue colour scheme as the centrifuge. I appreciate such consistency but this rocket appears incredibly simple. Perhaps the cylindrical fuselage could have been decorated with an open access panel, revealing mechanical detail inside and introducing another splash of colour. Moreover, its ability to rotate on the stand seems decidedly unsafe!
NASA is currently developing an innovative drone helicopter for Martian exploration, known as the JPL Mars Helicopter Scout. This small drone accordingly seems remarkably realistic, featuring four slender landing legs with a spinning rotor on top. A trans-red 1x1 round tile forms the camera underneath and the technician is equipped with a printed remote control, showing three points of exploratory interest.
Another advanced robot, named Valkyrie, inspired the next structure. This humanoid machine appears on the packaging for 60230 People Pack - Space Research and Development and looks marvellous in LEGO form, incorporating the new space helmet, a golden minifigure head and chest armour from the Hero Factory theme. Its long arms appear slightly awkward but the docking station is excellent.
Terrain varies dramatically between different astronomical bodies, hence astronauts must experience traversing rough surfaces while wearing their heavy space suits. This mound is fairly simple but looks reasonable, particularly since it includes a dark tan rock with some beautiful trans-pink crystals inside! The same geode appears in four new sets so a rarer example might have been preferable, although it looks good and I like the wheeled analysis station.
Extended habitation missions will certainly involve the gathering of certain resources at our destination so developing plants for growth in space is extremely important. This botany pod includes a trans-clear dome which protects some vegetation and the colourful light bulbs look brilliant, experimenting with the effects of varied light wavelengths on the subject planet. In that regard, the pod is very realistic.
LEGO has now produced five different People Packs, all of which are impressive. 60230 People Pack - Space Research and Development maintains the established high standard, although its limited range of exclusive elements seems rather disappointing. Furthermore, I think a Mission Control flight director should have been provided, perhaps wearing a white waistcoat in reference to Gene Kranz.
However, this pack provides an excellent opportunity to experience the new Space subtheme without purchasing any larger sets and the minifigure selection is magnificent, despite lacking a flight director. The price of £34.99 or $39.99 matches past People Packs and feels reasonable given the quantity of minifigures included, although I would recommend 60234 People Pack - Fun Fair above this set.
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