LEGO City 60230 People Pack – Space Research And Development [Review]

Among LEGO universes, space exploration is the new Pirates. And the new Castle, too. Space is trending like never before. Quite uniquely, LEGO isn’t only revisiting historic moments, but also gives us a glimpse into the future of space traveling; this is what LEGO City summer 2019 sets are all about. The lineup consists of familiar concepts for ships and vehicle, but there’s one set that stands out from the rest, 60230 People Pack – Space Research And Development. The set brings a stunning assembly of 14 minifigures along with a bunch of accessories and equipment. It consists of 209 pieces and retails at US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99.

The box and packaging

The set is in an ordinary box containing three plastic bags, but only two building booklets. Since minifigures are equally distributed among the bags, it’s the most fun when assembling the set with a couple of friends.


New pieces

Although there are only about 200 pieces in the set, among those there are a couple of geode pieces, which are brand new for 2019 sets. You’ll find geode rocks of three different colors in the newest LEGO sets. Dark-tan and pink are the most common yet, and you will also find them in this set. To be honest, no picture does the pieces justice, as the mineral inside the rock looks just magnificent.


A couple of the pieces can be put side by side forming a “solid” rock. “Breaking” it in two is oddly satisfying; the contrast between the matte outer surface and the shining mineral inside the rock is stunning.

The minifigures

Unlike other LEGO City people packs (for instance, 60202 Outdoor Adventures), the Space Research and Development pack is devoted to a particular occupation — aerospace engineering and space exploration. All 14 brand new minifigures introduce children (and adults, too!) to the variety of NASA careers including rocket engineers, space biologists, and of course, astronauts.

Astronaut candidates

The long journey to the stars starts with the blue jumpsuit of an astronaut candidate. There are three brave future pilots in the set sharing the same torso design, which you can find in other LEGO City space sets as well.

While both male candidates have alternative facial expressions, a female candidate remains cheerful throughout the training.

The training is supervised by a stern trainer who definitely knows how to motivate the team. A pizza on a horsewhip is one of the most bizarre LEGO minifigure accessories I have ever assembled.

Although the astronaut candidates have to pass endless tests and exams, the set introduces just a couple of those trials. First comes a very simple but neat treadmill. A printed slope with buttons and indicators looks a little bit overladen for a treadmill, but it will come in handy for custom spaceship cockpits and panels.


A centrifuge is one of the most simple functioning devices you can build with LEGO pieces, and the set wouldn’t be completed without one. Even if you don’t like its design, this mini-build is valuable for tiles in white and a huge 6×6 round plate.


Aerospace engineer

While astronaut candidates are fighting for a slice of pizza, space engineers and mechanics are busy creating and testing new engines and thrusters. This is a job for another female minifigure with one of the best alternative facial expressions I have ever seen in a LEGO set. A disappointed look as she’s covered in dust and smoke looks absolutely fantastic and gives this minifigure a lot of character.

The engineers’ workplace consists of a model of a thruster and a computer along with a cup of strong coffee. Just like the equipment described above, these builds are small and sketch-like. And, of course, the engineer’s alternative facial expression implies a scenario of total chaos in the lab, which is very easy to play out!


Space biologist

Space is a perfect place for experiments in numerous fields including biology, hence we are getting a space biologist. The design of the minifigure resembles those from LEGO City 60204 City Hospital, but a magnifying glass implies that she’s a scientist or a researcher.

While still on Earth, the biologist is busy carrying out experiments using a low-pressure dome. NASA researches use similar equipment to grow plants like lettuce, but the LEGO-version includes some kind of a flower under the glass.


This build is fairly simple, yet has decent playability thanks to the opening dome, adjustable lights, and pieces discovered in the set earlier.

Drone engineer

In my opinion, a drone engineer is the coolest minifigure of the set. A brand new face design featuring red protective goggles and a mask, white protective lab overalls and a hair cap (which appears for the first time since 2012!) are responsible for yet another brilliant female minifigure. The remote control has a printed tile with trajectories and indicators pattern, which will suit any aircraft cockpit as well.

The drone itself looks so simple, it’s hard to believe it is high-tech in any sense. Obviously, the target price of the set doesn’t allow for more complex models. But thanks to many other accessories in the set, there’s a ton of play scenarios for every minifigure.


Space robot and its mechanic

Star Wars droids are cool, but have you met Valkyrie, NASA’s space robot? Here comes a LEGO version of one of the most advanced human-made robots ever designed. Just like its real-life version, the figure features a light-blue round circle in the center of its chest, but instead of a transparent visor here is a minifigure head in chrome gold.

The mechanic looks a lot like the welder from series 11 of LEGO Collectible Minifigures. Besides, this set is the cheapest way to get a minifigure toolbox in dark blue.

While still on the Earth, the robot is pretty useless, so you have to use your imagination to play out some scenes using it.


Astronauts

Throughout the history of manned space flights, astronauts have suited up in numerous versions of spacesuits. Depending on their purpose and functions, the spacesuits were colored in silver, orange, blue, or white. This set introduces three different types of spacesuits. The most unusual of the three is the blue one. It looks retro and futuristic at the same time, reminding me of the old Navy Mark IV high-altitude pressure suits. I’m not quite happy with how the white helmet goes with a light blue body and dark blue gloves, but this is just my opinion.

The blue astronaut carries a flag. Fortunately, the set includes a small piece of an extraterrestrial landscape. Depending on how strong the gravity of the planet is, planting a flag can be a lot of fun.

Next come a couple of brave astronauts in “pumpkin suits”. Unlike the blue one, these must be based on Advanced Crew Escape Suits (ACES), which NASA started to use in the mid-’90s. The suit looks fantastic with the new helmet piece and a transparent-blue vizor.

The female astronaut is very charming with her smirky alternative facial expression and a complementary hairpiece. However, you have to take the air tanks off her neck to put the hair on.

Her crewmate is the biggest comedian in outer space. He carries a huge alien head on a stick and, of course, his alternative facial expression comes in handy when the joke has success.

Both astronauts are followed by a TV-crew ready to capture their first impressions of their space journey. The reporter is a pretty ordinary LEGO City minifigure in a suit, while the cameraman is a very impressible guy.

TV-crews have always been a part of LEGO City play, and even though they aren’t space scientists, they significantly increase the set’s playability allowing for a gag with an alien’s head or reporting any of the scientists’ achievements.

Switching heads and any other minifigure accessories let you play out more scenarios, making each funnier than the last.

Finally, here comes a female astronaut in a classic white spacesuit, which resembles an Extravehicular Mobility Unit suit. Obviously, this one is designed for work in the open space. If I were to choose an accessory for the minifigure, a camera wouldn’t be my first pick for sure, but here we have one.

I must admit this version of a white spacesuit looks really great, and it goes well with a massive helmet piece. Another recent example of astronaut minifigures carrying the same helmet pieces is a couple of minifigures from LEGO Creator Expert 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. The minifigure design was one of the weakest points of the Expert set, so comparing the two sets in terms of spacesuit designs is particularly interesting.

When in full kit, the most noticeable difference between the figures is the lack of prints on the legs of the astronauts from the Lunar Lander set. Although both torsos have pretty much the same amount of details, it’s important to remember that one of the minifigures is supposed to be modeled after a real astronaut who took part in the historic event, while the other minifigure is just generic character of a modern space explorer.


Conclusion and recommendation

LEGO City 60230 People Pack – Space Research And Development set has so many strong points and features, it almost feels silly to criticize it for any reason. Of course, some builds are a little bit weak and the design team could have included a couple more minifigure accessories. But the purpose and the idea of the set are so great, the set looks like a perfect set to start for a LEGO space collection. No doubt you will build your own spaceport and spaceships, and this brilliant collection of minifigures can easily give inspiration for this.


LEGO City 60230 People Pack – Space Research And Development comes with 209 pieces and 14 minifigures and is available from the LEGO Shop Online for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99, as well as from third-party sellers and Amazon and eBay.

Check out the full gallery of images below.


11 comments on “LEGO City 60230 People Pack – Space Research And Development [Review]

  1. Ben

    I guess Lego couldn’t rustle up any black/african-american figurines? I understand yellow initially meant everyone; but as a father to a mixed race child, I would have liked my daughter to see black figurines working on a space project. Diversity matters, and Lego City is NOT diverse

  2. Håkan

    I’ve seen they’ve gone back to air tanks now. The City Space sets (and even regular Space sets) have kinda been swaying back and forth on that point, historically. I mean, they’re iconic, but not particularly realistic in actual space travel.

    Then, partly for nostalgic reasons, I like the air tanks, so I’m not really complaining.

  3. Legoinsel

    I have to point out that to me the light blue space suit is one of the best things of this set – and there is plenty to like here.

  4. R

    Other than this set being primarily minifigures, I’m still trying to find out how this set “stands out from the rest” (of the new space sets I assume). There are no unique functions, pieces, or minifigures (ok, so one in a blue spacesuit).

  5. Håkan

    @Ben

    Lego’s official statement is that yellow is a neutral, non-ethnic color, although some builders disagree. And they’ve basically stopped accentuating facial features to code the heads ethnically as well, since they’ve realized it could be construed as racist. They’ve released a few curly black hairpieces that are evidently coded black/ african, though.

    I’d guess you’d have to order black heads and hairpieces separately from Lego or Bricklink etc…

  6. Legoinsel

    I have to agree that Legos choice of using yellow for everyone is as inclusive as it can get. They have chosen it because it was universal. Or because they had too much yellow colour back in the day and used skintones only for fabuland.
    I have no idea which colour could have been used to have a general colour for everyone. Would you be angry if the basic skin tone of lego was green or blue?

    What if they included more darker tones for skin in basic Lego sets? What if somebody has a lighter tone? Where do you begin and where do you stop? The only possibility is to include heads for each minifig in 8 different shades and even then somebody might not feel represented in a good way. But what if Lego doesn’t want to resemble you or real life persons with their classic yellow heads? What if the message is that everybody is the same?

    When they started doing minifigs there was only the classic happy face. Do you think there were people saying I’m not smiling, this doesn’t resemble me?

    With all the hundreds of different hairpieces and colours and all the torsos almost every person can be created in Lego form. And there are diffenerent skin tones for hands and faces if you really want to make a difference.

    Inclusion fails when it means exclusion of something different. And I have no better idea for inclusion to say everybody is the same -neutral yellow.

  7. Ben

    @Legoinsel – I’m afraid I can’t agree with you there. As a big buyer of Lego, we have 8 black minifigures, roughly 8 minifigs of colour, more than 400 of “flesh tone”, and 400+ yellow. I can’t think of a single non-white child feeling represented holding a bunch of yellow folks (all of whom have caucasian hair).

    Wasn’t suggesting anyone be excluded. In terms of where one stops with inclusion, I think it’s after everyone feels equally represented. How hard would it be to release minifig sets with different skin tones? My firm belief is that Lego doesn’t think they would sell as well….

    Thanks for your comment – it was hugely affirming.

  8. Johnny Johnson

    Håkan / Legoinsel – I have to disagree with LEGO’s stance that “yellow is neutral and non-ethnic”, then; it’s literally the lightest color in the rainbow.

    Legoinsel, your comments are disheartening. LEGO can’t be inclusive because then they might have to be TOO inclusive…? Is that what you’re arguing? They can’t take a single step towards making a black kid happy, just because it’s impossible to make “everyone” happy? Weird that you follow that up with the example about the classic smiley face, because they’ve made a thousand different faces since then – nobody seems to mind that, but you’re using the way it USED to be as an example about not being able to “please everyone”. Very curious compartmentalization on your part.

    Just try to imagine being a non-white child and playing with LEGO, and try on some compassion for once. It seems that you’re able to see bright yellow skin as “normal”, and not seeing what effect that has on people with darker skin. I would use the word “privileged” to describe that, but I only mean in the sense that you get to get something out of a fun toy that many other people cannot.

  9. Legoinsel

    I’m a little bit confused because that is nothing I said.
    As I mentioned earlier – from the basic Lego colours, which one is the better choice for a general neutral skin tone?

    The part about 8 black minifigs and 8 minifigs of colour is simply a lie because I just looked at this years marvel sets and there are seem to be at least 9 minifigs, same as last years marvel sets. And there are several non-caucasian hair pieces. Sure there should be more but I guess the reason lego keeps yellow as their basic skin tone is that Lego doesn’t want to risk an uproar of all those stubborn hc Lego fans. And because of it being part of the brand. And to Lego, brand > product.

    I also meant that the right choice would be to include several heads for several minifigs to offer a variety for everyone. Please let me hear your idea for solving this problem. To include black minifigs next to yellow minifigs?

    I can’t imagine being a non-white child playing but as a child I had enough imagination to be a ninja, a native american, an islander, an indian guard and Emperor Chang. Some of them being horrible racist clichés of what they should be, but all being the same basic yellow figure.
    But I totally understand that it is harder for a non-white child to see themself as yellow although I never thought ‘why is the minifig yellow, I’m not yellow”

  10. Ben

    @JohnnyJohnson – you’re a rockstar.

    @Legoinsel – perhaps this will make more sense when you have kids, and their friends of colour start asking questions. i trust you’ll have a better answer then. Love and peace

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