REVIEW: 6441 Deep Reef Refuge
Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:56 PM
Divers Deep Reef Refuge
Set #: 6441
Year Released: 1997
Piece Count: 433
List Price: $60
The largest of the Diver sets was this gem, the Deep Reef Refuge. I remember visiting a Toys R Us store here in the US during the late 90s, seeing a huge plastic display with this set and others. I had to have it!
For playability, this set is the best. It includes an underwater lab, reef/underwater rock formation, a fishing/treasure hunting boat, yellow submarine, and lots of accessories. I've broken this review into four (4) parts since it will be picture heavy. The first part of the review is the box, instructions, and accessories.
PART 1: Box and Accessories
Check out this great box with wonderful boxart:
The top lifts open revealing special parts and this picture:
The back of the box shows some alternate models, all very nice:
The instructions show the same images (front and back):
The set includes two small sheets of decals for the submarine and reef:
Five figs are included within this set. I love the divers!
The set has some very nice accessories including spear guns, hand jets, a camera, and other items.
More items will be pictured in parts 2 & 3 of this review.
This set includes an abundance of underwater life including:
Two Manta Ray
One Smiling Dolphin
And a Glowing Eyed Octopus
End Part 1
PART 2: Fishing Boat
I really like the ship that's included within this set, one of my favorites in the Diver collection.
Take a look. I've always loved the blue and white color combination with trans. blue window:
On top is a printed radar/sonar that turns, a red antenna, and a printed flag:
The front end has a small compartment to store a few smaller items:
Here's a shot of the complete front section:
I love the control room complete with a navigation computer and treasure map:
At the back is a winch to pull up the fishing net:
The net seems to have snared an old ship's steering wheel. Perhaps treasure is near?
A side view of the ship with accessories:
And the ship at a different angle:
This little fishing boat also appeared in the Eurobricks thriller, Mystery Ship:
End Part 2
PART 3: Exploration Submarine
A really nice component within the Deep Reef Refuge is the exploration submarine:
It has a great little one-seater cockpit with printed 1x2s:
Here's a side-view. I love the port holes. On each side of the sub is a non-printed container for storing small ocean items and/or equipment:
The two rear window sections open allowing access to the sub:
One stud holds the window section in place:
Inside is another section for 1-2 figs and a great printed computer with fish read-out:
The back section has two black jets and propellor. Little details like the 1x2 red bar pieces for the divers to hold on add to the sub for great playability:
Watch out for the HAMMERHEAD!
End Part 3
PART 4: Underwater Lab and Reef
Once the divers go below the water, they can venture to the depths of the ocean floor to an underwater lab:
A large viewing bubble stands on either side of the lab:
From outside, one can see inside the lab:
In case of emergency or underwater connections with the submarine, two large hatches can lift open:
Two hinges allow the lab to be opened for playability:
The left side of the lab holds all the equipment for the divers:
And the right side, lab equipment including a working X-Ray machine:
The X-Ray machine includes three "undersea creature tiles" that are printed with blue and red colors:
NOTE: The blue does not look as visible regularly - the camera flash enhanced the color.
You can place the tile in the X-Ray machine:
And the trans. blue X-Ray piece makes the blue look white revealing the bones of the sea creature:
The underwater lab rests next to a large reef, a lair for sharks and sunken treasure:
Some other rock/brick formations:
See the exploration sub as it makes its way into the depths of the reef:
The undersea refuge is filled with aquatic life:
Will the exploration sub and divers make it to the undersea lab with the shark infested waters?
My favorite image, a picture of some of the Instruction Art showing the undersea refuge:
This concludes my review of Set 6441, Deep Sea Refuge; and as this is my last Divers set, also concludes my reviews of the Divers theme.
Hope you enjoy this and other Divers set reviews. I highly recommend them for their detail and high level of playability.
May your swimming pool and bathtub always be safe from sharks!
Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:34 PM
Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:35 PM
Posted 25 September 2008 - 03:57 PM
This is a great review of an amazing set. THis has got to be one of the best LEGO Town/City sets that LEGO ever released. The playability, design, and parts selection is top knotch. If only I had gotten one back in the day...
As befitting such a set, your review is extremely comprehensive. You really captured all the small details in the interior sections of the subs and bases. I can't find a flaw in the set or the review, except that the shark mentioned at the end of part 3 is not a Hammerhead.
Keep it up!
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Posted 25 September 2008 - 04:00 PM
Man, I loved the Divers theme. During the Dark Times of the late '90's, in the midst of all the "juniorization" garbage, Divers was the best theme TLC had going. Great ships, great mini-figs, and a really consistent look-and-feel across the whole line. TLC has done other underwater-based themes (the old Aquazone, Alpha Team, the recent Aquaraiders), but those other themes always had some sci-fi elements to them. Divers is the only realistic underwater theme that TLC has done.
Also, Divers was great for adding scenery -- big underwater caves, rock formations, foliage, etc. TLC is so vehicle-centric these days. Divers was very unique in that regard.
I still have most of my Divers stuff set up in my town (you can see a picture of it here).
Thanks again for the great reviews!
Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:17 PM
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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:37 PM
I really love this set. The little fishing boat is really nice, especially that printed flag.
As for the submarine, the colors are good and those porthole windows are nice. With the bubble cockpit it has a nice scientific look to it.
But my favorite part by far, is the underwater lab. It has so many small details that add so much to the set. The X-ray machine is really innovative. It reming me a bit of the mission projector in the new agents truck.
This great set gets a 5 from me and so does the entire divers theme. Thanks for the reviews of them Brickster!
Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:18 PM
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Posted 26 September 2008 - 07:27 PM
the set is nice and have a lot of playability. Many animals, vehicles and special pieces. I don't like stickers, but the stickers of fish for the burps and lurps looks very nice.
Posted 27 September 2008 - 01:32 AM
Posted 27 September 2008 - 06:25 PM
I really love this theme as well, I have three sets - two of the small ones that Brickster reviewed, and a larger set with a boat that had a divers cage and an underwater scene. This theme was really a gem in a lot of the manure 1997 brought - and I'm glad I didn't completely miss out on these sets.
I think that's a pretty fair comparison, however I would add that the recent Aquaraiders was far more realistic than Aquazone and Alpha Team Mission Deep Sea. The subs actually looked a lot like real subs, and the set also had realistic divers and even an actual shipwreck.
Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:28 PM
Mind you, that's a shark and a swordfish, not two sharks.
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Posted 28 September 2008 - 05:47 PM
By far, this is the most impressive Divers set, ever released. From the range of minifigs to a batch of useful aquatic accessories, and lovely sea creatures living in the deep blue.
The fishing boat is very nice and lovely with its blue and white color combination. The Captian's cabin, which featured a good range of navigation equipment and an useful radar to detect marine creatures. In addition, the end of the boat has attached to it whip some fishes? I meant wreckage.
The exploration submarine is cool with its yellow design and cockpit. It reminded me of the 7776 Shipwreck from Aqua Raiders. In fact, I find both themes matched each other very well. The difference could be both themes' different agenda. The Divers are a group of caring environmentalist or scientists whom cares for the ocean and marine creature.
Furthermore, the underwater lab offers very high playability. In fact, I find it very fun to play with its set up. One interesting feature will defintely be its X-Ray machine to scan micro-scopic marine creatures. In terms of LEGO collectors, printed tiles are more than welcome.
The underwater set up, is vast with its 2 sets of 16x16 baseplates to illustrate the ocean floor? The plants, ferns, burps, etc, are great to create a wonderful underwater scene, when all parts come together as one.
I must rate this set, a "5" and the overall Divers theme a "5" as well. I believe you understand how I felt the Divers theme and I really love it very much. It's most unfortunate that this theme was in my dark age.
Once again, incredible review by an outstanding reviewer.
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Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:39 PM
Posted 15 May 2010 - 10:04 AM
I personally loved the ship from set 6560 the best
but all the ships and boats were very good in this series, all brick built,
I was especially taken with the mini submarines in these sets,
Posted 02 October 2010 - 05:48 AM
Edited by Justin, 02 October 2010 - 05:54 AM.
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Posted 02 October 2010 - 01:18 PM
As long as it's here I now get a chance to see this review. I had not seen it in the past.
I have never seen the LEGO dolphin, or manta rays before, it makes me wonder why a cool series like this would get cancelled. It's far more interesting than the Atlantis Series.
I'm sure this is long out of your thoughts, but a great review Bricktser!!
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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:10 PM
This was a great theme, and in my opinion the best set in the theme. Of all of my sets from the mid-90s, this is my 7 year olds favorite, and he will get it out and play with it often. Some now rare pieces, old style shark (still my favorite of the designs), the manta ray, and dolphin.
The undersea lab is really the cornerstone to this set, but the boat design is very nice as well.
I had actually looked at this review not too long ago, glad to see others liked it as well as I did, and my son now does.
Edited by drevim, 26 July 2011 - 11:11 PM.
Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:31 AM
Recently I've been feeling a bit bummed that I missed picking up most of the sets from this amazing theme. Hoping to remedy this, I turned to Bricklink. Being a huge sucker for MISB sets, I was disappointed to find that this set, along with a number of others from the theme could currently only be found in used condition. I'll have to put my purchasing on hold for a bit until some new copies show up, but in the meantime its been nice to re-read this review!
While this set doesn't really have any complex functions, it still looks to offer loads of playability. I really love the number of vessels, minifigures, aquatic lifeforms, and other accessories that are included in this set. It just feels like you're getting so much content! I really wish prints had been used instead of stickers, but the set doesn't look too bad with them not applied. I imagine I'd give in and apply the stickers as I think the little fish and some of the other ones are quite charming.
I can only hope we get another theme similar to this in the future. It's a bit of a shame that so many current lines need the "conflict in a box" approach and are thus more action/fantasy sci-fi oriented. Sometimes it's nice to get peaceful sets where one can use their imagination for play instead of good vs. bad/giant monsters. Sure there are lots of sharks and other dangers present for the divers in this theme, but somehow it still seems lighter than many more recent action heavy lines. I guess it's all about keeping the kiddies entertained...
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