The Aquanauts are in search of precious deep sea crystals. Using their Crystal Explorer Sub, will they find what they seek? Or will they have a date with a menacing octopus? Join as we go deep sea exploring where no man has gone before with this fantastic submarine!
Set # - 6175
Name - Crystal Explorer Sub
Theme/Subtheme - Aquazone/Aquanauts
Year - 1995
Piece Count - 160
Minifigures - 2
Price - MRSP $33 US
Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Brickshelf
The front of the instruction manual features a lovely scene set in the deep sea. The yellow sub stands out nicely from the calming blue of the water:
At the rear of the manual we find the last step of the instructions. There are no piece call-outs in the booklet, so one must pay close attention for newly added parts every step. Colour differentiation however is perfect:
The set includes 160 pieces. They are mostly yellow, however there is also some black, some trans-orange details, and trans-blue windshields and hatches of various sizes. All the pieces provided are nice and useful:
Here is a close up of some of the more exciting pieces. The trans-blue pieces are wonderful, and many of them feature hinges so that they can actually be opened when attached! Handy! The set does not have any stickers, instead we are treated to some lovely printed pieces. We are also provided with a handful of nifty accessories such as a compasse, flippers, crystals, and weapons:
Included in this model, but no longer found in modern sets are two yellow 2x4x2 bricks with holes on either side. These pieces were used in 19 sets between 1992 and 1999 and were of course useful for performing the SNOT technique. In this case, some black pontoon pieces will later be attached to them along the side of the sub:
The set also included a large number of these little arm pieces with finger hinges. Unfortunately, this is evidence as to why TLC moved away from finger hinges in recent years - a lot of stress was put on them and they were prone to breaking after long time use:
Two brave minifgures are provided to man the sub. They feature wonderful printing on both their heads and torsos. There is nothing to be seen at the rear as back printing was not yet used. Despite these being the first aquatic themed minifigures produced, their design still holds up nicely today:
Here are our diver friends with their gear on. The Aquanauts had both trans-blue and black headgear. The back of their equipment featured clips that weapons or other accessories could be attached to:
Also included is a black octopus. It is quite compatible with other LEGO parts:
Construction begins on the large black 6x16 plate. This provides a strong base for the sub:
When the cockpit is added, it is also enhanced with a computer and steering wheels to control the various functions of the sub:
A pair of long hexagonal pontoons are attached to the bottom of the sub. This allows the vehicle to be pushed smoothly over different surfaces when playing with it:
Two arms are assembled using the little finger hinge pieces. One is host to a pincher hand, the other to a magnet:
The sub is really taking shape at this point. Most recently a trio of propellers have been attached at the rear of the vessel:
Here is an example of one of the sub-models put together during the course of the build. This is to be the front cockpit:
With the sub watertight, it is now complete. Some other trans-orange antennas, as well as the compass top things off:
From the back of the sub we have a better view of the housings for the propellers. The overall shape of the sub is not very sleek, instead it is actually quite bulbous - however this suits it fine as an aquatic vehicle:
I really like all the window pieces used to create the cockpit. Not only do they look really neat, but they would also provide excellent visibility for the crew. Here are a handful of close-ups from various angles for us to appreciate all the trans-blue goodness and provide a better understanding of the shape of the sub:
The hatch at the back of the sub can be opened. This allows plenty of space for the crystal container to be stored:
The two panels mid-ship can be opened revealing another large storage area. This is perfect for placing additional crystals or gear:
Just above the panels is a little control station. This is there presumably so that the divers can manually open the various hatches while working outside of the sub. There are also clips on both sides of the sub for harpoons and flippers to be attached to:
The front of the sub can be opened up for access to the cockpit. The construction of these front windshields allows them to be folded very far back which gives lots of clearance and allows easy placement of the figures. The two provided minifigures can fit in no problem as there is plenty of room:
The two arms are flexible and can be posed in many different positions. They can also be used for picking up objects such as the crystals, or latching onto the magnetic containers:
Here are all the contents of the set ready for action. The corral is a welcome addition to complete the underwater scene:
Pricing and value: At $33 US for 160 pieces, this indeed has a relatively poor parts to price ratio. Overall value does not seem as bad though when you consider the fantastic parts, and of course the final product which is in fact a respectable sized sub.
Design/Build: This set has a lot stronger submarine vibes compared to many other Aquazone vehicles which could easily pass as space ships. Construction is straight forward and non-repetitive. Plenty of hinged parts and cockpits are a treat in comparison to many recent sets which feature static windshields.
Pieces: The parts here are particularly useful provided you want to build other aquatic vehicles or else space ships. The many large trans-blue windshields are beautiful. The printed pieces are fantastic and exclusive to only a few sets. The two minifigures are standard Aquanauts, however they are still nicely detailed and hold up well even compared to newer generations of deep see explorers.
Playability: It's a blast to recreate underwater adventures. Will the Aquanauts find the crystals or will the octopus get them first? The sub is built strong and lends itself well to swooshing around. There are plenty of hatches and compartments to open and play with. The arms are great for collecting those crystals, and the propellers are fun to blow on to get spinning. Overall there is a lot of play potential here.
Verdict: 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub is one of those definitive aquatic sets. It has a classic sub design and appealing colour scheme. It looks great on display either by itself or with other sets in the theme and it's also a great deal of fun to play with.
As always, comments and questions are more than welcome. Cheers!
Who do you think gave birth to the Atlantis Squid Warrior!? That's right - ME!
Edited by WhiteFang, 12 April 2010 - 04:01 PM.