I had a lot of fun building this set for a review. It was an excellent excuse to gather all my “blue-collar” minifigs and put them to work for the photographs. This included construction workers, mechanics, a carpenter, a welder, and painters.
The set itself is a hefty one, with three builds, all with movable parts for lots of playing opportunities, and three minifigs. The Volcano Explorer subtheme is a pretty cool one that gives budding geologists everywhere a physical manifestation of what this job might look like (though admittedly with a much cooler shine; just like every budding archaeologist won’t become Indiana Jones, not every budding geologist will become a LEGO Volcano Explorer). But more than that, it gives some really neat builds that are easily repurposed for other imaginative play.
This set specifically features a supply helicopter, a grabbing crane, and a rock-breaking machine, all of which can be used in conjunction with other, non-Volcano themed sets. The green color scheme of this subtheme means many of the builds can be reimagined as military vehicles, but the crane can be used in construction play (as we’ll see below), the rock-breaking machine can be used in science play, and the helicopter can used as a rescue helicopter instead, with its retractable winch. The possibilities are endless, really.
The box, before I tore it open.
All the good stuff inside the box (not counting all the minifigures on the right who will be helping me with the builds).
My very capable team. We will meet each of them along the way.
Brian the bulldozer driver gets all the pieces from the first bag ready for our team, while Emmet the Master Builder and Kevin the contractor call out the instructions.
Jane the sledgehammer wielder is pounding in the first blocks on the rock-breaking machine.
William makes sure the arm of the rock-breaking machine is welded correctly, while Suzie and Jack make sure the rivets are in tight.
Painters Eldin and Felicia put the final touches on the rock-breaking machine.
The rock-breaking machine is now ready for use by the intrepid volcano explorers! And it looks like they have their first volcano rock ready to go!
Meanwhile, Bob the carpenter and Jane start building the grabbing crane.
Pepe and Kenickie, my two mechanics, put the wheels on the crane. Pepe normally works on motorcycles, and Kenickie normally works on vintage cars, but they couldn’t wait to work on this project together. Go Grease Lightning!
Next come the treads over the wheels.
Meanwhile, Suzie and Jack start work on the crane’s cab.
William welds some important pieces in the cab while Pepe and Kenickie make sure the cab sits on the treads correctly, and can spin around like it’s supposed to.
Eldin and Felicia pain the arm of the crane.
William welds the claw onto the arm of the crane, while Felicia paints on some final details.
And the grabbing crane is finished. I think we ought to put it to work immediately.
Brian is joined by Sarah, the grabbing crane driver, to put the first pieces of the supply helicopter together, the main build of the set. Once again, Emmet and Kevin call out the instructions to our team.
Suzie and Jack start by jackhammering some things into place (this is not how jackhammers work, I know, but you shush; I’m using my imagination).
Bob saws a piece to just the right size while Jane hammers in a couple of pieces into the chassis of the helicopter.
William starts welding some walls into place.
Pepe wrenched the winch in place, while Felicia paints in some details.
William welds in the side window.
Jack and Suzie put on the roof of the helicopter.
Eldin and Felicia paint a bit more of the helicopter while William welds the tail together. The helicopter is about halfway done, so let’s take a union-mandated break!
The very hungry crew eats their delicious food (some are still waiting in line), while the helicopter pilot looks on expectantly. He’s probably annoyed they haven’t finished his helicopter yet.
With the union-mandated break over, Brian and Sarah crack open the last of three bags and get the remain pieces of the helicopter together. William has already started some welding work on the cab of the helicopter as Emmet and Kevin call out the final set of instructions.
William welds the glass into the cab. This is very fine work and William needs a lot of concentration to do this.
Eldin and Felicia paint the cab before it’s attached to the main build.
Pepe helps attach the cab on the top while William welds the side.
Pepe and Kenickie put the wheels on the helicopter and start work on it engine.
Never having encountered a problem her hammer couldn’t solve, Jane starts whomping on the helicopter’s tail.
Kenickie puts in the cargo door on the back of the helicopter.
Pepe puts on the rotors as Jane hammers them in and Felicia paints the tips.
And the supply helicopter has been finished.
An action shot with the winch carrying a very hot lava rock!
As I mentioned in the introduction, the three builds are great for imaginative play as they can be used in various different scenarios beyond the volcano exploration. Pair it with some scientists in lab coats, some construction sets (like I did), or even some action-y sets (like Ultra Agents) and kids will be playing with this for ages.
Every build has movable parts: the rock-breaking machine’s arm moves up and down to actually break the lava rocks in half so the minifigs can find the crystals inside; the grabbing crane grabs the rocks (as well as various other things) very well, and is super fun to use, and the cab opens and closes to seat the driver (Sarah, in my scenario); and the supply helicopter has two sets of spinning rotors and a cargo door that opens and closes. The cab has to be taken off entirely to seat the pilot however, and while it’s pretty easy to snap on and off during play, I still would have preferred it to hinge up and down like on the space sets.
Still, this is a very fun set with very fun builds, and three minifigs to operate each build at the same time. I was personally very happy to see a female minifigure operating the grabbing crane in this set, which is too often seen as a “male” job. You can operate whatever heavy machinery you’d like, ladies, and don’t let anybody tell you differently (unless you haven’t gone through the proper training, then yeah, don’t do it).
The above LEGO set can be found at all LEGO Certified Stores, Toys “R” Us, plus other leading departmental and select toy stores.
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