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Review: 5987 Dino Research Compound

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Johnny Thunder and his team of adventurers are using their Dino Research Compound to study and protect dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the villainous Baron Von Barron and his henchmen Mr. Cunningham have some sinister plans of their own. Who will win, and what will be the fate of the dinosaurs? Join in as we take a look at a MISB copy of this exciting flagship set!


Set # - 5987

Name - Dino Research Compound

Theme/Subtheme - Adventurers/Dino Island

Year - 2000

Piece Count - 612

Minifigures - 6 (Johnny Thunder, Dr. Charles Lightning, Miss Gail Storm, Mike, Mr. Cunningham, Baron Von Barron)

Price - MSRP $80 US

Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Brickshelf


The set comes in a large box featuring an exciting picture on the front. All the contents of the set are shown off against an appropriate looking background. Relevant info is displayed, as is the Dino Island logo. This picture is re-used on the front of the instructions manual:


The back of the box shows off a variety of alternate models, as well as some comics featuring these creations:


This is one of those elaborate boxes which includes an opening front flap. The top portion of this flap demonstrates several of the play features in this set such as an opening room, a net launcher, a crane, a trap door, and a removable bridge:


Lifting the flap also reveals clear plastic windows for viewing some of the pieces within the set:


Slicing through the seals allows us to gain access to the contents of the box. Here we find the plastic tray containing a handful of parts, all the nicely sealed baggies, and the well preserved instruction manual + other booklets/catalogs:



Here in a random page from the instruction booklet. There are no piece call-outs, but there are many sub-models. Colour differentiation is perfect, so correctly identifying those light grays, dark grays, and blacks is absolutely no problem:


Towards the end of the manual is an interesting page featuring the different dinosaurs found within the theme. These images provide us with easy to understand facts about these dinosaurs, as well as what sets they can be found in:


The Pieces

The majority of the 612 pieces can be found within these ten bags. There are some additional parts that were loose in the box and that are pictured later.


Here we can see the parts that were in the plastic display tray (top left), very large pieces from one of the sealed baggies (top right), baseplates and other pieces that were loose in the box (bottom right), two nets and a few other large plates that were found in another one of the sealed baggies (bottom left). Clicking this picture will take you to a folder containing larger versions of each of the pics:


The set contains many basic but useful parts, this is especially apparent in the large quantity of 2x2 and 2x4 bricks (top left). Since the set also contains multiple modes of transportation, we also have many parts to build a car (top right), a plane (bottom left), and pieces that are used for the various modes of transportation as well as the compound itself (bottom right). Clicking this picture will take you to a folder containing larger versions of each of the pics:


The parts found within these four pictures are mainly smaller ones used as detailing or accessories. Clicking this picture will take you to a folder containing larger versions of each of the pics:


The set contains many useful parts such as an abundance of arches in various sizes, as well as parts that are just nice to have lots of such as the barrels (x3), crates (x2) boat hull, and vegetation:


The Adventurers series is famous for providing a boat load of accessories within each set. The Dino Research Compound is no exception:


We are given a handful of printed parts - the large rusted roof slope (x3), instrument clusters (x2), a photograph, and a gauge (there is an extra one too). Note:There is a license plate piece that is not pictured here:



Our Adventurer friends and foes. We are given four good guys (from left to right - Johnny Thunder, Dr. Charles Lightning, Miss Gail Storm, Mike), and two bad guys (the two at the far right - Baron Von Barron , and Mr. Cunningham). Most of these minifigures are common throughout the Adventurers theme save for Mike and Mr. Cunningham who are only in the Dino Island subtheme. All six of the figures have great printing on their fronts:


Here we can see the rear of the minifigures -there is no printing to be found:



The set contains four dinosaurs. First up is the T-Rex - it is made up of a torso, two arms, a jaw, and a tail. It has a high quality, solid feel to it and fits in well with other LEGO bricks. Studs on it's back and groves on it's feet allow it to be compatible with other pieces:


The Stegosaurus is made up of a body and tail piece. The detailing, such as the plates on it's back are great. It is of high quality as well, and compatible with other parts:


The Pterodactyl type dinosaur is a single high quality piece. The detailing on the head is very nice. Studs and clips allow it to be compatible with other LEGO parts as well:


The baby T-Rex is the final dinosaur. It is small but quite detailed. It is capable of sitting on a stud:


The Build

We can now start construction. First up is a small supply box. This can hold just about whatever you want, such as a backpack as pictured, and can be used on the zip line (more on this later):


A couple seats and paddles, as well as a chain are added to the boat:


Next up is the car. It receives an all-important steering wheel, and the yellow hinge brick that will be used as a play feature:


The car is built up some more. The engine is added, as is a small windshield, lance piece with chain, and a rear end:


The car is now complete. It has an ugly duckling quality to it that many will not appreciate. The roof can be tilted up to allow easier placement of a minifigure, and the lance with chain can be raised or lowered as a play feature to capture dinosaurs. Unfortunately there is no seat - the current design of the vehicle would not allow for enough headroom for a driver with one installed:


At the rear we can see the detailing such as the tail lights, license plate, and spare tire. Clips on the side of the car allow for accessories to be attached, such as the handgun as pictured:


The last mode of transportation on the agenda is the plane. Note the 4x4 hinge plate that will be used for the net release feature:


Looking at the bottom of the plane once it is built up more, we can see the panel on the hinge plate that was pictured above - this is used to keep the net in place:


The plane is now complete and ready for flight. Unlike many aircraft in the Adventurers theme that are bi-planes, this one only has a single set of wings:


Considering that this is only a support vehicle for the set, the plane is surprisingly big. Here we have a better view of the dual cockpits located behind/within the engines - each is equipped with a seat and steering wheel:


Work on the compound structure now begins. A supply box that will soon be hidden out of sight is put in place, as are the hinges for a prison area:


Stairs leading up to a trap door are added, as are bars for lock-up spot, and a mountain piece (LURP) :


The bottom level of the compound is now complete. The trap door feature is complete and has a roof over it (this roof can easily be removed for quick access). A small camp and supplies are appreciated additions:


A modular second story is started. The yellow see-saw piece will be used to make the net launcher function:


The second level is complete. The ladder leads up to this level which unfortunately is host only to the net launcher. There is definitely room for more details or equipment on this level - luckily the upper portion hosts a table with a sextant that goes along with the third floor:


The modular top floor gets a table equipped with a microscope, photograph to examine, and a mug. I especially like the photograph piece:


The top floor is built up some more and a barrel is added too:


A roof which hosts a radar dish is then built. This is another play function of the set and will be looked a in more detail further along:


With the roof containing the radar dish added, the top floor is now finished:


The last module is attached, completing the main compound structure:


A simple but effective bridge is built. This will fill the gap between the main compound and the side base area which will soon be added:


Construction on the side base begins. At the top right is the base of a tree which will be built onto a hinge to create a secret compartment. In the middle is a machine for reeling in the zip line, and at the bottom left is a barrel filled with who-knows-what, and a hook for holding the boat out of water:


The main additions to this area are the tree and crane. The tree looks a bit blocky, but serves as a great place for the Pterodactyl to nest. Various exhaust pipes and other accessories finish off the area:


The build is now complete and the three sections can be joined together:


Left over pieces. The gun is very easy to find a spot for in the set, as is the gauge piece. The trans-clear and trans-red 1x1 round plates will find a home beneath the tree:


Play features

The crane can be manned, rotate 360 degrees, and has a wide range of flexibility. It can be used to lift the boat out of the water, or to set it on the hook. The crane features a seat, a control panel, and some levers:


The tree is located on a hinge allowing you to store whatever you want in the secret compartment beneath it. In this case a couple of leftover pieces are used to represent precious treasure:


The zip line runs from the side base up to wherever to wish to place the other end on the compound structure. The provided supply box can then slide along the line for quick delivery of goods:


The rusted roof has some functionality as well. When it is closed, a radar dish is safely tucked away below it:


When the two halves of the roof are opened, the radar dish raises up. It is built on a hinge and turntable, so it can be pointed in any direction you please:


A base would not be complete without some sort of defense mechanism to get rid of unwanted quests. In this case Baron Von Barron will demonstrate the functionality of the trap door. Here it is closed:


Pull the yellow pin and Baron Von Barron (or whoever is located on the trapdoor) falls to the ground. While crippled from this embarrassing fall, the victim can then be locked up in the compound prison:


Here we have the net launcher. A net is folded up and placed on the seat. Press down on the other end to send the net flying:


If you are a good shot, the net launcher can be used to trap dinosaurs. Though the device sometimes miss-fires, when done correctly it can easily send the net flying a foot or so:


Complete Set

Here we can see all the contents of the complete set together:


Final Thoughts:

Pricing and value: At $80 US when it was new, this set was definitely a reasonable price. Ten years later, I am able to pick up this set for only $90 US. Thanks to the current strength of the Canadian dollar, this means I was able to acquire this set MISB for less money now than I would have been able to back when it was first released! The diverse contents of this set, and the joy that it brings easily make it worth the price of admission.

Design/Build: This set has a very genuine LEGO bricky feel to it. The main structure does a great job of giving the look and feel of an old rusted compound. It is a satisfying build made up of mostly common bricks and pieces. Putting together modules means that you will constantly be rewarded and have something to show for your build efforts. The bridge and side area help add even more diversity to the set, as well as make the final product look even more impressive due to the size of the occupied real estate. The car seems thrown together at first, but it's simplicity is eventually appreciated. The plane is an oddball for sure, with a very unrealistic design, but it's size and looks seem appropriate considering its nature as a complimentary vehicle to the set. Overall, the build is a lot of fun, and the look of the completed set seems perfect for the Dino Island theme.

Pieces: There are a lot of good old fashioned 2x2 and 2x4 bricks in this set. For the most part, the selection of pieces is relatively unexciting, but at least they are all very useful. The printed pieces such as the rusty roofs are great, and even the small photograph is a cute addition. There are many accessories which are always welcome too. The six minifigures are definitely appropriate for this set, though four of them are quite commonly found in other Adventurers sets. The dinosaurs are wonderful and fit in well - I prefer their under-scaled size to the large dinos that appear in the Dino 2010 theme as they have much more of a classic "LEGO feel" to them.

Playability: This set is really all about playability. You're provided with everything necessary (base, multiple vehicles, good guys and bad guys, dinosaurs) for unlimited adventures. There are plenty of working functions that are fun to fiddle around with and many accessories to complete the experience.

Verdict: Simply put, 5987 Dino Research Compound is a lot of fun. When I completed this flagship set and stood back, my first reaction was "Awesome!". I feel like a kid in a candy store with this kit - there is so much to take in and to play around with. Unfortunately, this set is often overlooked and underrated. This may be because many people like to build their set and put it on display - and the dino compound isn't exactly the prettiest thing in the LEGO world. However, for those who still like to "play well", Dino Research Compound will be a feast for your imagination and guarantee a good time.

As always, comments and questions are more than welcome. Cheers!

Edited by WhiteFang

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A superb review! :thumbup: Adventurers will always have a special place in my heart, and it was sets like this that helped "build" that. This set has everything: good guys, bad guys, vehicles, a base, and some excellent Lego-style dinosaurs. The car is simple and effective, the boat fits right in, and the plane has a cool look all its own. The base is very neat in a couple different levels. Lots of playability with the radar dish, the flying net, the crane, etc. Overall a very fun set reviewed incredibly well. :]

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I remember getting this set for Christmas one year. Oh, the memories. Adventures was definitly my favorite line as a kid.

This set is quite different from the usual LEGO flagship set in my opinion. The design is interesting and I remember the rust covered slopes were a very new piece to me.

Great Review by the way.

Excellent photo quality and commentary.

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Wow, this set looks like a lot of fun, and with some awesome pieces. I love it, and your review is great, so many cool features, I really missed out on some cool sets in my dark ages..

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Since the set also contains multiple modes of transportation, we also have many parts to build a car (top right), a plane (bottom left), and pieces that are used for the various modes of transportation as well as the compound itself (bottom right).

Great set, but you said modes of transportation twice.

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Thanks for the great review!

I remember wanting this badly when it came out - but looking at it in closer depth at the time, dismissed it as blocky and ugly. In retrospect, it's got a lot going for it - and is so incredibly Jurassic Park style that it's a shame I missed out on it.

However, apart from the T-rex, the dinosaurs always disappointed me with their rigidness - I would have liked much more functionality in them - how else are we supposed to properly re-enact those great scenes from JP?

An interesting thought, though, on the subject of dinosaurs:

T-rex and baby t-rex -> Jurassic Park II - hunters trapping the baby and breaking its leg to get at the mother

Stegosaurus -> opening scenes of JPII - the stampede

Pterodactyl -> JPIII on the cliff/cage/bridge area

Looks like TLG paid a whole lot of attention to the films, as well as the obvious character and scenery similarities across the line.

Those printed roof pieces are outstanding - got to check them out on Bricklink right now!

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Thanks for the comments and feedback everyone. I know the Dino Island subtheme is generally viewed as being the weakest of the Adventurers lines, so it's nice to see this set get some attention.

Great set, but you said modes of transportation twice.

Yes, two of those bags contained mainly parts for either the car or plane, while that last bag contained pieces for those two vehicles + the boat as well as the compound itself.

However, apart from the T-rex, the dinosaurs always disappointed me with their rigidness - I would have liked much more functionality in them - how else are we supposed to properly re-enact those great scenes from JP?

I agree. The T-Rex has number of points of movement (jaw, arms, tail), but it would be nice if the legs were pose-able. The other dinos are definitely lacking in articulation (the stegosaurus has a tail that can sway from side to side but the Pterodactyl and baby T-Rex nothing), though I can forgive this as they otherwise integrate so well with the set.

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:oh: Dinosaurs! Nice review. I like this set's structure. You don't find this type of building anymore.

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oh wow... this set is beautiful; unfortunately it came out during a period when new LEGO sets were banned at my house; so I never managed to get one. :cry_sad:

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I'm reading up all the reviews about Adventurers sets and I have really enjoy reading about them (and wanting these sets)!

Thank you very much for your wonderful review, especially on a Dino Island set because I think they have been really neglected.

Love the T-Rex :wub: Printed parts, no stickers!

I would love to get my hands on this set.

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How well does the zip-line work?

Using the positioning of the zip-line shown in the instructions (attached to the red table up on one of the higher levels of the compound), the crate will get stuck on one of the roof tops if you try releasing it from the highest point. You have to release the crate from about 2/3rds of the way down the zip-line for it to have clearance to make it to the bottom. There is a bit of friction as the crate goes down the line, but not enough to prevent it from reaching the bottom. You can however attach the zip-line to wherever you want, meaning there are ways to make it work better than the stock set up.

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This theme was my favourite of all time. :thumbup: Lovely accesories and sets, this the best of them all.

Super review. This has certainly swayed me into wanting to buy the set after such longing for the past seven years. :cry_happy:

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Now this takes me back - I remember getting this for my birthday and playing with it for hours. Adventurers is one of my all time favourite themes and this set is a prime example of why. Thanks for the fantastic review :sweet:

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