One of the most expensive Lego City sets, the Ocean Exploration Ship set costs an eye-watering £125. At 63cm long, it’s impressive in size – but sadly that’s about it.
One of the newest sets to enter the long-running City range, it’s part of an ocean exploration sub-set. To go alongside it is an Ocean Exploration Base, an Exploration Submarine and a Mini-Sub, but while those all have prices more in keeping with Lego’s Definitely-For-Kids sets (£55, £25 and £9, respectively), the ship takes a huge jump up. Sure, it’s big, and it comes with an array of accessories, but I’m not so sure it’s in any way worth the asking price.
LEGO City – Ocean Exploration Ship
- RRP: £124.99
- Number of pieces: 745
- Release date: June 2020
- Time to build: Around one hour
What’s in the box?
Opening the box, you’ll find seven bags of bricks, the instruction booklet, a sticker sheet and two huge pieces of boat. These pieces become adjoined, and make up the bulk of the model.
You can see the contents of the box in the picture below.
Since it’s aimed at younger builders, constructing the Ocean Exploration Ship isn’t a tall order. You have a huge base to work with, in the shape of the big plastic boat. It’s a very simple model, though there are some nice details in the cabins, which get built under the main deck. There are some nice details here, such as a coffee machine, a seating area and a fish tank (stickered, of course). You can see a close-up of the details in the image below.
Perhaps the most fun parts to build of the LEGO Ocean Exploration set are the ancillary pieces: there’s a small shipwreck, a submarine and a helicopter. The little shipwreck is particularly neat, though it’s just a shame there isn’t more detail to it.
The whole build takes around an hour, all in. Probably less for experienced builders. There’s no real detail to sink your teeth into here; the most consuming part of the build is constructing the sleeping quarters and deck, but even this is fairly simple.
Play or display?
Without a doubt, the LEGO City Ocean Exploration Ship is a play set. It’s not a particularly nice model to look at, display wise; not compared to pirate ships of the past. It’s rather barren for the most part, and takes up a huge amount of space. It’s not at all practical to have out on display.
On the other hand, there’s a lot here to play with. There’s a working crane, which can lower and raise a cage into the water; a helicopter and submarine; a dinghy; and a shipwreck, all of which make for nice play elements. There’s a lot of visual stories to be told here, thanks to the eight minifigures included. There’s a helicopter pilot, three divers, and four boat crew members:
The set also floats, which is rare for a LEGO boat of this size! We’re not sure how practical it is to take into the bathtub though, since it’ll take up most of the room in there. But it’s a nice touch, for sure. Sadly, there are stickers on the side of the boat, which is an impractical choice: we can’t imagine these will survive many dunks in water.
Best of all, though, are the sea animals included. There’s a stingray, and an absolutely giant shark, which is undoubtedly the highlight of the whole set. The shark is display-worthy, without a doubt. We’re just not sure the rest of the set is.
Value for money?
Sadly, we don’t think that LEGO City Ocean Exploration Ship offers great value for money. At £124.99, it’s one of the more expensive LEGO City sets out there. And at 745 pieces, it lacks the detail that we’d expect to see in a set of this price point. Sure, it’s huge, and it has some nice features, like the working crane and the huge shark, but it’s a lot of money for a playset.
If it’s ever reduced to half price somewhere, it’s not a bad deal. But we certainly wouldn’t recommend paying full price for this one.