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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Town : Divers : Deep Reef Refuge

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 6441 - Deep Reef Refuge

Rating: 4 Stars
Pros: Great parts; playable; strong main model; lots of sea creatures
Cons: A little overpriced
Contents: 433 pieces including 5 mini-figs, 2 sharks, 2 manta rays, and a dolphin
Price: Originally $59.99
Reviewed: 26-Oct-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler

6441 Another manta ray joined the party. There were now, officially, too many sea creatures outside; over twice as many as there were human scientists trapped inside the underwater lab. Until the mini-sub came back, they had no way of getting out save by scuba and nobody particularly fancied becoming shark kibble.
"This," exclaimed Dr. Fishlover, glaring at his research assisant, Fiona. "This is why we do NOT throw our sandwich rinds out the window!"

As of this writing, this wonderful little set is on sale for thirty bucks at kbkids.com. Go get it!

This is an all around great set; it has great playability, a wide variety of pieces, and excellent selection of both stock and esoteric bricks. The *FIVE* mini-figs come with both scuba gear and baseball caps, so they have something to wear after taking off their helmets. I wish Lego would start making air-tanks and back-packs clip onto the mini-figs neck, rather than having us decapitate the poor little guys. The set divides evenly into four parts, so I'll review them one-by-one in no particular order.

First, let's examine the sea floor. It's a large, tan base-plate with rocky outcroppings and seaweed, littered with nautical bric-a-brac. The nautical bric-a-brac includes a steering wheel, an anchor, some fossil tiles, gold coins, a chain and so on. The fossil tiles are preprinted with two fossil-type images: one red, one blue. When you place a fossil under the X-ray machine, (apparently in Legoland, X-ray = blue light) you can reveal the secret contents of the ancient and mysterious fossil! Or you can just kind of look at it, that does the same thing. The fossil thing is kind of hokey, but it doesn't really hurt the set.

Next, there is the mini-sub, which is quite similar to the mini-sub that shows up in a couple other Divers sets. This brings me to yet another tangential rant. The individual Divers sets all look good, but they really seem to have a LITTLE too much in common. The exact same mini-sub shows up in 6442, and very similar, slightly shorter ones are featured in 1782 and 6560. Then, a yet-shorter version shows up in 6599, 6559, and 6557. I know Lego themes often have repetitive elements, but these are just a little too similar. Despite that, the mini-sub is an excellent little model. The arms are very articulate and the design has both sturdiness and functionality.

The boat is nice, but nothing to write home about (although writing Adequate.com about it is another story.) Once again, illustrating the theme's repetitiveness, the boat is quite similar to the one that we see in 6559 and 6557. I can't think of much more to say about it, unfortunately.

This brings us the underwater lab, which is really the set's central piece. It hordes most of the rare pieces, including the big angled corner bits, the slopey-porthole bits, the big round clear bits, and the bits where two walls made out of those angled bits intersect. Okay, so I suck at describing pieces. Just go look at the picture really carefully, okay? One of the nicer features of the lab are that it opens up three different ways, so it's very accessible. It also has racks to store most of the scuba gear, the previously mentioned X-ray machine, and a microscope/computer station.

To sum up, this set is really pretty excellent for both playability and selection of parts. The divers theme all-around seems to be a class act, although I can't see anybody really being a completist here due to the somewhat repetitive sets. However, that repetition won't at all spoil your enjoyment of this one great set.

27 readers have rated this set as 4.28 out of 5 stars.
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