About every year Lego sends their dashing explorers into a new adventure to the undiscovered parts of the world. Usually not quite for broadening their understanding of the world by scientific progress, but to find rare resources like crystals, gems and – of course – gold. The last two seasons have been pretty demanding for our adventurers: In 2014 they got cold feet and had to fend off polar bears, last year they were getting wet and threatened by sharks, octopuses and pesky pinchy crabs, so its no surprise that this year they decided to have it dry and warm. So volcanoes it is!
Initially I wasn’t really excited seeing my beloved deep sea theme being succeeded by volcano explorers. It seems just a weaker theme to me compared to the previous years. Of course from a play-point-of-view it offers quite a potential for action and mixing with regular city-sets. Volcanoes are quite destructive forces of nature after all and you can easily make up a scenario where they threaten a Lego city, forcing it to be evacuated and so forth. And of course it doesn’t hurts that they added some mysterious crystals to the mix, like for the Arctic theme too, to give the explorers another goal to pursue beyond fighting catastrophes.
Nevertheless, the sets don’t quite charm me. With mostly ground vehicles and helicopters they don’t offer something new or exciting like submarines or ice-breakers. It looks all quite off-the-shelf really. On the other hand, the minifigures are really well done and appealing. That’s why I bought this little starter set. Actually even two of them!
Included in the set are four minifigures with decent prints and accessories, like pickaxes a photo camera, protective gear, walkie-talkie and a detector for… stuff. It all looks very proper and just as you would expect volcanologists to look like. My favourite though is the woman in the lab coat. Her outfit makes her an ideal choice for all sorts of science-roles. From field-work to research in laboratories. Just perfect! I am also pretty happy that half of the minifigures in the set are females. That’s how it should be!
Also included in the set is a splittable lava boulder, a quad bike with chain to tow the boulder away and a little (very little) baby volcano with an eruption mechanism. The bike is very nice, the volcano not so much. It looks like a big mortar really, but it does what it is supposed to do, which is shooting stuff. Just like a mortar!
All in all, while I perceive the whole theme as rather weak, I like this starter set a lot. It offers very decent value for the money and a strong line-up of minifigures. In fact, with one or two of these you have already quite everything you need to start your own volcano expedition!