Time for another Lego 250 review. It’s beyond time we left all the licencing, and special themes, and special events, and bells and whistles and falderal and gewgaw behind, and concentrated on the core of Lego’s popularity. The base upon which all other themes stand. The gold standard. The theme that lit the flame of our childhood creativity and remains central to Lego’s plan for plastic domination.
It’s time we talked Lego City.
Okay, so we’re actually going outside the city limits a bit.
Quite a bit.
Okay, we’re going as far outside the city limits as it’s possible to get and still remain on the planet. Turns out, there’s only so many times you can re-release fire engines and police stations (not that anyone ever told Lego, mind) before the imagination clamours for new horizons to conquer. So, in recent years, the City theme has taken to to the forests, to the ocean depths, and in today’s installment, the icy wastes of the pole.
Turns out, the City: Arctic sub-theme is really quite… uh… cool. It’s chock-full of weirdly-shaped vehicles, bright colours (and as a dedicated lover of GARCs — Galactic Asteroid Racing Circuit, basically, insanely coloured, bright AF super-swooshable spaceships — you know I’m down for that funky groove) and the occasional HOLY SHIT, THIS ONE’S GOT A POLAR BEAR!
So Arctic Scout Truck does not disappoint. Firstly, the truck itself is a ridiculous combination of monster truck, half-track, and jet engine that looks fantastic, especially as the entire theme is built using a shade of orange that even the 1970s would have thought twice about.
One of these, and the opening scene of ‘The Thing’ is as short as “Don’t let that dog reach the–” SQUELCH “– Never mind.”
It’s an enjoyable build, too. The whole set comes in at just over 300 pieces, and yet the truck gives the impression of real solidity and size, in a design that lends itself to being recreated in blue and yellow for that bitching Classic Space diorama you just know I’m going to build when this is all ov-SHUT UP AND SHOW THEM THE FUCKING POLAR BEAR! IT HAS A POLAR BEAR, PEOPLE! A FREAKING POLAR. BEAR!
I call this creation, ‘Fuck you, Lost’.
Yes. It also has a polar bear. And if you think Inner Lee is losing his shit now, just wait until we get to the set with the woolly mammoth.
Inner Lee approves.
There are the usual quibbles about what we shall now refer to as the Younger Sibling Bits: the smaller, side build that you know you’re going to make your younger sibling play with when you’re told to share. In this case, it’s two rather lumpy and useless bits of landscape of the sort you’d table scrap out of the leftovers at the bottom of the family tub. And, like most City sets, the minifigs are somewhere in the vicinity of anonymous. But in this case, they are at least a version of anonymous that contains some distinctive clothing, and the set also includes a weird-ass sort of snowbikey-ski-thing that’s kind of adorable, so an effort has, at least, been made.
In fairness, the minifigs aren’t bad, and any set that has a motorbike–halftrack-ski-thing in it should have everybody’s stamp of approval.
Overall, Arctic Scout Truck is an example of what Lego does best: exotic locations a child can only dream of seeing in real life; crazy vehicles designed to inspire the imagination; an implied narrative that values exploration and curiosity over conflict; and a sense of fun that should make you want to pick up the set and play. (I mean, come on: even the bear is smiling).
Plus, you know, did I mention the polar bear?
A crazy truck and a freaking polar bear! What else could a boy ask for?
The League Table of Awesomeness