Year after year, the LEGO city keeps expanding with plenty of houses, modular buildings, vehicles and, of course, fire & police stations. All that development is bound to attract legions of minifigures — it’s only a matter of days before the plastic trash begins to pile up. To keep up with this issue, LEGO has released several garbage trucks over the years, but what happens when baseplate streets become filthy? You need a good street sweeper, but the last street sweeper to appear in LEGO City was carted around by a minifig 12 years ago. That’s a long time for discarded 1×1 plates to accumulate alongside the curb. The wait is over because LEGO is back to keep the brick-built highways clean with set 60249 Street Sweeper. The set consists of 89 pieces and is available now via the online LEGO shop for $9.99 USD | $13.99 CAD | £8.99 GBP
A history of clean streets
Before delving into the review, it’s worth highlighting the lineage of LEGO street sweepers. They are as old as the LEGO minifigure itself. Set 605 Street Crew was released in 1978 and is the first example of LEGO street cleaning equipment. This modest 18 piece set allowed children to build a small push cart for collecting trash. Despite not being a vehicle, the set included shovel and push broom accessories which became staples in future LEGO street sweepers.
Twelve years passed before we saw the next LEGO street sweeper in the form of 1990’s set 6645. The garbage had been piling up in LEGOLAND, so LEGO called into service a 65 piece vehicle with two minifigures. Noteworthy play features included a hinged windscreen for seating a minifig, working doors, flex hose suction device, and a receptacle in the back that could be opened or closed. There was also a spinning brush that could be pivoted on a hinge; from here on out, the brush elements would appear in all LEGO street sweeper sets.
The next LEGO street sweeper was set 6649, consisting of 63 pieces and one minifigure. The basic shape of the previous iteration was carried over, with minor modifications such as curves on the rear. Other carryovers included the red stripe (albeit in different styles) and hinged windscreen. Other design elements were abandoned, such as the flex hose and functional doors. The rear receptacle was replaced by a set of four light gray taps representing spray nozzles, and the brush now pivoted on a ball-and-socket joint instead of hinges.
The last LEGO street sweeper vehicle released was the 63 piece set 7242 in 2005, and its overall aesthetic was similar to the previous two. It featured the huge windscreen and sunroof and ushered in the return of the flex hose suction attachment, but with a larger dish at the end of it. Unlike the older sets, this sweeper’s roof utilized click-hinge plates because the other hinges were no longer in production. Aside from bricks used in the model’s construction, the biggest difference from the older sets was the rear mounted red water tank – that and a minifigure with a detailed face.
The box and contents
The box is your standard LEGO City fare, complete with push tab on the back to get things started. Artwork on the back of the box is similar to that of the front, with the exception of viewing angles and a small minifigure action shot. I can’t say it’s dynamic, but it does a great job of illustrating the key play features, such as the use of motion blur to suggest movement of the brushes.
Opening up the box reveals a small instruction booklet and two unnumbered bags. At 89 pieces, the set is technically bigger than the LEGO street sweepers which have preceded it. It’s still a small set though and, as such, you can expect to spend more time building and less time searching for pieces.
When it comes to parts, you won’t find anything extraordinary here – no exciting colors or unusual elements. Unless you want to build your collection of white and green elements, one set is enough. I arranged a spread of what I felt were the more noteworthy elements, with the highlight being the two printed 1×4 bricks featuring the recycling symbol. That’s right; you won’t find any stickers in here!
There are bristled brush elements and push broom & shovel accessories. Unlike the older sets, this street sweeper comes with a trash can and banana standing in as street debris. Unfortunately, the can does not come with a lid, so there isn’t anything to contain the smell of rotting plastic bananas.
The set includes one minifigure, complete with printing on the front and back of the torso. While it’s a simple no-frills fig, it gets the job done.
Fortunately, the included accessories help to liven up an otherwise average street sweeper minifig.
Like any other LEGO vehicle, the instructions start you off with the chassis. One thing I noticed right away was the use of light bluish gray 2×2 plates with bows at the front and rear. These are meant to serve as chassis detailing above the axles, and are ever-so-slightly visible in the finished product when held in front of lighting. I appreciate such attention to detail, as LEGO could have just as easily covered the gaps up with plates.
With the chassis completed, it’s time to commence work on the body. Things start off with the trash receptacle in the back. The light bluish gray 2×4 slope serves as a means for releasing waste when the hinge is opened, and it’s all thanks to the miracle of gravity!
In constructing the rest of the body, I found the front end to be more visually interesting than the earlier street sweepers. Curved and studless surfaces give it a cleaner, more modern aesthetic. It also ditches the hulking inverted windshield in favor of a 4x4x3 windscreen. While I didn’t realize it at first, this is in fact a new element similar in style to the 4x5x3 windscreen introduced in 1999. This will open up new opportunities for City and space builders alike.
The build finishes off with the attachment of brushes to both sides, along with specially constructed brushes in the front. If the front attachment looks familiar, it’s because the same concept was used in the 2013 Ride-On Lawn Mower polybag set. That means this set hearkens back to the past in more ways than one!
The completed model
While the pieces in the un-assembled set were lacking, they were put to good use in this set. The finished vehicle looks slick and modern, and the white and green color scheme is a nice departure from the historically yellow LEGO street sweepers. Moreover, white and green are better representative of the recycling and refuse theme. Mixing things up with different sized brushes provides additional visual interest.
In older LEGO street sweepers, access to the interior cab was made possible with a hinged front windshield. The latest iteration also differs in this respect, opting for a removable top. Although this solution is simple, you will want to remove the assembly by lifting the windshield instead of the roof. Otherwise, your single assembly will divide into two like mine did! I prefer the hinged windshields in the older sets, but that could also be nostalgia talking.
You will find two key play features at the rear of the vehicle, with the most simple being clips for attaching and removing minifigure accessories. The other is the ability to load waste into the rear compartment. When you open the loaded compartment, gravity does its work and the waste comes tumbling down the slope brick inside. It’s a simple-yet-clever feature that was absent from previous LEGO street sweepers.
I’ve saved the best play feature for last, and that’s how the brushes on the front and sides move when the vehicle is pushed along. When I began the build, I was somewhat skeptical how functional they would be, given how earlier LEGO street sweepers had brushes that didn’t move fluidly on their own. LEGO rectified this with their latest set, and the brushes move regardless of the surface you are using. I tested it on both carpet and completely flat surfaces, and the brushes revolved without fail.
Friction causes the brushes to revolve. Even though the brushes on the front are constructed out of harder Technic elements, the assembly consists of two pivot points conducive to their movement. Pivoting each arm allows the Technic gears to sit at an angle, and the friction from motion generated at this angle causes the gears to spin against whatever surface you are using. I found it enjoyable to “zoom” the sweeper along the table.
Conclusion & recommendation
Compared to the LEGO Group’s past efforts, I feel that this is their best street sweeper to date. It draws inspiration from the past to create a more visually appealing and functional model, which is perfect for kids and us “big kids” alike. When it comes to part selection, though, the street sweeper isn’t doing itself any favors. For those looking for sets to part out into their collections, this set probably isn’t worth purchasing. However, if you want a reasonably priced LEGO City set that is fun to build and play with, the street sweeper delivers and should be right up your alley.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.