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My six year old is very into his Lego and received what seems like a multitude of Lego sets for his recent birthday. The biggest of these sets is the Lego City Space Shuttle. This is part of the Lego City range which contains a vast array of sets ranging from police and fire stations, to city harbours, mines and space stations. All these categories appear to come with a range of vehicles from emergency vehicles to camper vans and speedboats. My son has a few of the larger vehicles such as the fire engine and a large ship but, up until now, he has always seemed to need a lot of help with the construction of these.
* Construction *
As with all Lego, the most important element is the building. The Lego City Space Shuttle comes in two plastic bags, clearly labelled as 1 and 2. I think this is important, as the instructions clearly indicate which bag should be used first which means that a child doesn't have all the pieces laid out at once. This makes it much simpler to search and easily identify the pieces that they need. The instruction booklet is clearly laid out in the style that you would expect from a Lego set. The construction phase progresses through simple steps, starting with the astronaut and the Hubble Space Telescope, before moving on to the space shuttle itself. Assuming a child is already familiar with the concept of following Lego building instructions, the pictures are very simple to follow and no reading is required. My six year old was confident in building the whole of the space shuttle himself - it took him about 45 minutes from start to finish, and I only had to assist with a couple of the more tricky bits that required more dexterity than he possesses. I feel that Lego building is fantastic for encouraging fine motor skills and the ability to follow instructions to create the finished model, and this was definitely the right level of challenge for my six year old. It was complicated enough to give him a sense of achievement when he had completed it but, at the same time, simple enough for him to do by himself without getting frustrated. In my experience, this is a balance that can be difficult to strike for a child of that age.
* Finished Model and Playability *
The finished space shuttle looks very impressive. You can open the top of the shuttle and extend the Hubble Telescope on a long yellow arm, and then fold it back down again. You can also open the top to get the astronaut in and out, and position the astronaut on the platform to carry out his work in space. The only minor niggle I have with this is that it is difficult to extend / retract the arm that holds the telescope without knocking out other Lego bricks, although this is very easily fixed. In terms of playability, I think it is very much down to the individual child. Obviously if you have the Lego City sets that directly relate to this product (the three other sets in this range are the Lunar Exploration Vehicle, the Satellite Launch Pad and the Space Centre), the possibilities for creative play are going to be enhanced. On its own, the space shuttle looks good and will entertain my son for a few minutes, but it is not likely to keep him amused for a substantial period of time. However, he will also incorporate the space shuttle into other games, including making imaginary space stations from his sets of basic Lego blocks and base plates, or making it crash and sending the fire engine rushing to the rescue. I have my suspicions that it will be soon be piloted by Luke Skywalker instead of the astronaut and be rushing off to a galaxy far far away to do battle with the Stormtroopers.
* Cost / Value for Money *
The RRP for this set is £26.00 but it is currently available for £19.99 on Amazon. This is relatively good value for money in comparison with some of the other sets as Lego does tend to be fairly expensive. The quality is very good though and I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for.
* Final Thoughts *
I would recommend this product as my son really enjoyed building it. I felt that the relative simplicity of such a big set really boosted his confidence in building, and he was immediately asking to build something else without needing any real adult intervention. I do think the playability would be enhanced by additional sets around the space theme as the shuttle fits in less with the 'City' theme than any of the other sets we have, but it is a lovely toy in its own right. For me, the most important thing was the enjoyment and satisfaction that my son got from building it. In addition, as with all Lego sets, the blocks can always be integrated into a larger collection for freestyle building in future, which enhances the value for money of this toy. Overall, I would give it four stars as, much as my son enjoyed building it, I would still have some concerns about how much it will actually be played with, plus the telescope retraction issue is a bit annoying.
My son received a fifteen pounds gift voucher for Argos from one of my Uncles for his birthday this year and only got round to spending it a few weeks ago. We had a look on the Argos website as he was quite keen to purchase some socker boppers but they were out of stock and so he had to choose something else. He loves Lego and so the natural place to look was in the Lego shop on the site and he spotted the Lego city space shuttle set on offer for £14.99 instead of £26.99. This price seems to be quite an accurate one with the set costing £14.98 on amazon as well currently.
The set is part of the Lego city range which literally seems to cover all kinds of things from police stations, farms and such like. The space shuttle was actually the first space related item from the Lego city range I had seen and even as an adult I have to admit that it looks pretty cool.
The space shuttle set number is 3367 and it comes in a pretty large cardboard box which is blue in colour and so almost looks as though it is space! A large picture of the assembled space shuttle is present on the front of the box which I always think is a good idea as it gives you a real idea of what you are going to be getting for your money. In this particular set you are able to build the space shuttle complete with a satellite and you also receive a mini Lego astronaut as well to complete the set. A nice feature on the box is a small diagram and picture of a NASA space shuttle in which this particular set is modelled telling you where the crew would sit and things which is nice I think for a child to be aware of.
As always the instructions are provided in a colour booklet which really takes you through the building process step by step in a simple and easy to follow manner. It is a real pet peeve of mine that too many children's toys have instructions which are impossible for them to follow and so I am always pleased that Lego keep things clear and simple. At the end of the instruction booklet there are a good few pages of facts about space and astronauts which my son really enjoyed reading and I think this totally adds to the quality of the set.
We are told on the box that this particular set is suitable for children aged from five to twelve and I would say personally that perhaps a five year old would need a little help with building this one. My son is seven and is really good at building Lego and following the instructions so he was able to build this independently but it did take him around forty five minutes from start to finish.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the space shuttle when my son had completed it. Whilst I realise the price isn't exactly cheap all too often with Lego products you pay a fortune and end up with not a lot to show for your money but with this one, at £14.99, I feel you do get quite good value.
My son was very pleased with the completed space shuttle too and he always takes such pride in the end product which is lovely to see and probably why we seem to have endless amounts of Lego and Lego sets!
The shuttle is mainly white which is I guess how I would picture a space shuttle to look and so it does look quite realistic but almost like a plane too so it could certainly be used in pretend play as a plane. The shuttle has wheels attached and so you can wheel it along the floor but this is best done on a laminate floor or short pile carpet so that it moves properly we have found. What my son loves about this set is the fact that the roof of the shuttle opens to reveal the inner part and so he can actually get down and really play with this one. Of course he does have to be careful with it because Lego isn't going to take rough play at all and a few times he found the roof part came loose and he has to reassemble it but on the whole he has really been able to play with this one and so he creates his own space adventures using this and the astronaut provided.
The only real thing that has frustrated my son with this set is he didn't like how the roof just didn't sit right when the satellite was attached inside the shuttle and so he often takes that off when he has the roof closed as he thinks it looks better! This is perhaps what you are meant to do anyway as I believe you are meant to try and reach is with the robotic arm inside the shuttle!
This set I think does prove to be good value at the current selling price on amazon and it is likely to be well received by most little boys I think. With Lego you know that you are always going to get a good quality product and providing it is played with properly your child is sure to enjoy this one!
Thank you for reading my review!