6563 Gator Landing (1996)
In the murky swamps outside Lego City, three outlaws struggle for money. Around their tiny headquarters, their operation covers land, air and water and is aimed at getting the money in or out without the cops noticing... or being eaten by alligators!
This 1996 set named "Goldsmugglers' Hideout" in the Dutch catalogue looked really cool to me at the time. I went out and bought it all from my own money (which was quite a thing at the time). It was my last set before my Dark Ages and because of that, is quite a special one to me. It is also why some of the parts are rather dust-covered: I had it setting on my desk for quite some time...
The box, courtesy of Peeron.
Item #: 6563
Name: Gator Landing
Theme: LEGO System / Town
On the back of the box, we find some alternate models you can make.
Parts & Pieces
Coming in at 232 pieces, this is quite a fun little set. Red and black dominate, but there's some grey and yellow thrown in there as well.
The most interesting building parts are probably the big rock, the plants and the bridge piece.
There's also some Technic bits you'll use for the airplane's floaters.
Apart from the minifigs, there are only four printed pieces in this set: the airplane's controls and three "100" bills (what's the currency in Lego City anyway?).
There are no stickers anywhere!
The instruction booklet is a little smaller than an A5 piece of paper and folds open on the short side. Instructions are clearly printed on a standard background. Obviously, this set contains several models and each set of instructions is preceded by a small picture of the finished model.
The last page features a photo of the finished set.
The back of the booklet shows some alternate models, replicated from the back of the box (although not all models printed on the box are present here).
Three cool looking guys accompany the set. The boat driver gets a lifejacket.
And without the life vest
Plenty of stuff for them to lug around as well:
There's also no less than two animals: an alligator and a grey parrot.
It's quite a fun set to build. With a building and three different vehicles there's some nice variation.
As you may have seen above, after the minifigs the first thing to get a numbered instruction is the alligator.
First model all done!
Feel all proud of yourself? Even if you have the attention span of a two-year-old, you can start playing right after your first model!
For your discretion, the horrific violence in the background has been photographed slightly out of focus
Next up, the swamp boat.
The smallest of the models, it's pretty simple to build.
Halfway through, there's this little light you put on. I'm not sure if it's meant that way, but if you want, you can take it off and let the driver use it as a flashlight.
The two suitcases you put in the back contain two coins each. Being rather picky, I always make sure there's a total value of 50 in each case.
With the cases, the oar, the pickaxe and the little light this model is the most accessory-laden of the bunch.
After a mere 9 steps, your boat is all done and at least one of your minifigs now has a way to escape that pesky gator... and come out a richer man too!
Moon that gator!
Our next vehicle will let the smugglers cover land: a nice sturdy jeep.
The build is again pretty straightforward. If there's anything anyone who's been building Lego for a while has probably built a hundred times it's cars. Not much new in this one. I really like that the headlights are studless though.
As you can see, this old four-wide model still has those lovely old doors and mudguards. Since I know some people here really dig those doors, here's a picture of just the doors especially for you doorlovers!
Wow, there's two of them!
The rest of the build continues as you'd expect. There's a little room left in the back, so this car's driver can double cross the boat driver and make off with those suitcases.
Ready to ride
Those nifty doors in action again
UK members fear not. It also comes as a right hand drive!
Next up: the smugglers' hideout.
You start by building the actual little house itself. It's raised over the water, which is kind of cool. There's not much room below, but if you want, you can always use it as a last-ditch hideout for your smugglers or another escape route.
What's underneath the house
The house is a nice little feature. There's a glass cup on the windowsill and a yellow chair inside.
Once you've come this far, you get to build the rock and ropebridge. They're a little submodel. Not much to it though: prop the rock onto the blue plate, add the little black platform and you're ready to put the bridge on and connect the two parts.
Building rocks made easy
"They'll never find me in here!"
The bridge connects the two pieces and with the addtion of a ladder, some slanted pieces to keep the bridge in place and a parrot, you're all done building the hideout.
The final model: ze plane, ze plane!
The biggest of the models is, as usual, saved for last. The seaplane the outlaws use to cover larger distances is the last model built.
You start by building the body. Two canisters go in the back, the outer one holds two brown studless 1x2 plates, the other holds the three 100 bills. Whether the brown pieces represent envelopes holding even more money or are just a diversion tactic is still up for debate...
Hah! Fooled you.
The real money is kept safely behind the pilot
Another little submodel is the plane's floaters. They're the last thing you build in the set.
The finished plane looks pretty cool with that long sleek twin tail.
It took me 45 minutes to build everything and take lots of pictures along the way. I imagine on a regular build you'll have this done in under half an hour. Despite that, the different models offer plenty of variety so it never gets boring. Quite fun to build, really.
By the time you're done, you'll have built a boat, a car, a plane and a house. That's a pretty good score for a set of 232 pieces. With 3 minifigs, you can come up with all sorts of scenerios, whether it's hiding from the cops, double crossing each other, or just trying to stay out of the jaws of that darned gator.
The hideout's tiny interior
"The cops are coming! But I'll be safe here hiding underneath our cabin..."
With everything finished, notice the well thought out color design. Each vehicle is made up of red, black and yellow, with yellow being the bottom color, black the vehicles' base color and red offering the finishing touches.
One could even go so far as argue the hideout follows the same pattern. ;)
The Final Tally
Design: 8/10 The hideout may be pretty simple, but the main attraction of this set is clearly the three different vehicles. They're each unique but thanks to the use of color fit pretty nicely together. Well thought out.
Parts: 7/10 Some large blue plates, a rock, a bridge, a plant and plenty of minifig accessories.
Minifigs: 6/10 I don't think these are too shocking, but they fit the set well.
Playability: 8/10 Several vehicles, plenty of tools and the ever-looming threat of a hungry croc! Plenty of scenarios to play out with this one. It may seem out of place in your town now, but remember in 1996 this was part of a "Leisure" line of Lego City. This must have been before Lego City became overrun with criminals and disaster.
Price: 8/10 Less than 30 dollars for this set is pretty good I think. It's only $7.50 more expensive than the Wave Cops set from the same year, yet it has over 100 pieces more (granted the Wave Cops set was a floating boat, which probably racked up the price of that set a little).
Overall: 37/50 The average comes out just under 7.5/10 (7.4 actually), which I think is accurate. For nostalgia, I might even rate it an 8/10. It's really fun to build, offers plenty of variety and playing opportunities and is just an overall cool looking set.
Edited by Rapseflaps, 05 August 2011 - 10:20 AM.