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Hey folks! I just recieved a package yesterday with a set I longed for a long time and thought I put a review together. I was always a sucker for underwater themes and this submarine is one of my favourites, the Hydro Search Sub. It’s a member of the Aquazone theme line where Hydronauts and Stingrays were fighting for the crystal under the sea. I bought the set used without the box so unfortunately I can’t show it to you.

Now let’s see what this set can offer to us…

Set Information

Set number: 6180

Number of Pieces: 273 (Some websites mention 289 parts but in most places I found 273)

Number of minifigs: 4

Year of Release: 1998

Recommended Age: 8-12

Original Price: 50 USD


I begin with the minifigs because they are awesome, mostly because of their kickass scuba equipment but the printing is great too. We have 3 hydronauts (aka the good guys) and a captive stingray. First I thought all 3 hydro faces are identical but I only noticed the differences when I browsed through these pictures :blush: . Also their torsos are different too, but none of them comes with back printing.


Now this what makes these figures outstanding, the full chrome scuba helmet, it’s not the simple silver chrome but a bluish one and it’s in perfect condition after 16 years. :wub: :wub: :wub:


Here are everybody with helmets, the stingray fellow has a nice mold too, especially the back of the helmet has some really great sculpting.



Now let’s move on to the set and see the interesting parts. First of all we get a bunch of trans green pieces, which plays a huge role in shaping the color scheme of the Hydronauts.


We have some special parts as well and I realised that I haven’t included a trans green part in the prevoius pic, sorry for that.


And I was really happy to see that there are no stickers in this set, loads of great prints and not even a little sticker… good old times. Also we have a special print, that 2x2 black tile with the circular shape has a bit rougher texture and it lets the suction-cup to attach to it.


After a pleasantly long build the submarine is finished and ready to search the bottom of the ocean for crystals. The full vehicle looks very great, it has a spectacular and unique shape with lots of areas. 4 cockpit, a prison cell and some hidden storages.


Here is a shot of the „cage” for the captives, it has enough place to store 4 minifigis easily (maybe you can push a 5th one in there too).


Also there are cockpits on both sides at the middle of the sub with control panel to do water-searching-science stuff.


And also there needs to be a pilot for the detachable submarine. It also has a little control panel but it’s quite minimalist, there is nothing in it just a box behind the pilot.


Play Functions

As I said the back section has a detachable submarine which is the main play function of the set, but it has lots of funny things. Let’s see the bigger sub first. It looks empty without the small one IMO.


On the back when the little sub is away you can immediately notice an opening hatch which contains a bit of equipment for the figures. I think it’s a dual reflector for the figs to see in deep waters.



The back of their helmet has 2 studs where it connects.



Moving away from the back there is another hidden place which hides a crystal, yaaaaay!


Now let’s move on to the other part of our sub. It looks a bit bulky and it gives a cute shape to it, I think it looks great when it’s separated. It also has another 2 reflector sets, so every Hydronaut can have one. It stores 2 spearguns too which can also put to minifigs hands.


And at the back there is even place for the diving flippers (The big sub has 2 too on the front).


And another great function, there are flexible tubes with sunction-cups at their ends which connect to the trans green boxes and can transport them. They work perfectly and hold the boxes well.



That quite sums up the whole set, I’m sad that I don’t have the box with those silly alternative builds on the back, but that’s not gonna work down the scores. The submarine is beautiful with loads of special and interesting pieces, great figures and plenty of play functions. It also has that inimitable old-school feeling with the blocky shape all around the vehicle. There are a few flaws of course, at some places the ship is fragile and a few parts always come off if you don’t hold it properly, other than that I can’t say anything bad about it. Maybe the price, I only found info about the original price on Brickipedia and 50 dollars sounds like a lot of money for a near 300 pieces set.


Build: 10/10 The build was fun, classic parts, the BI was short but there were loads of things to do at each step (I missed that, and without the needed parts in a little box at the steps you always have to pay attention carefully, I miss that too…)

Design: 9/10 The whole submarine is beautiful with great color scheme, the only minus is for the fragility at some points.

Price: 8/10 I got it for 40 dollars but without box and 3 parts were missing (in spite that the store I ordered it from stated that it’s complete…) but those are easily replacable through bricklink, and that’s not the set’s fault and still, I think it worth it.

Playability: 9/10 Loads of storage places, accessories and openable areas, also sucker-cups and detachable little sub, there is plenty to do, only the little fragility brings down the score here too.

Minifigs: 10/10 I gave it max, in ’98 you didn’t bought the Lego set for the figs (which nowadays is too common with the weak vehicles and sets, mainly in licensed themes), but they look awesome. Great torso and headprints ahh and those chrome helmets. :wub:

The overall score is 46 out of 50 which is really good, I can recommend this to anyone, especially to somebody who is crazy for the classic underwater sets like me. :grin:

I hope you enjoyed the retro review, comments are welcome, thanks.


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I've personally always hated the later 90s underwater/space themes (since this is basically a Sci-Fi theme, just underwater). The color theme I suppose is ok, but the ship itself looks so blocky and chunky, with bits thrown on here and there as if at random. The end result to me is an ugly mess.

I guess it's just a matter of opinion, since some people adore these sets. I did like the Aquaraiders, and the Aquasharks and Aquanaughts are alright too, but the Hydronaughts and Stingrays just look like a mess to me.

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The stingray fellow helmet is awesomw, Could do a Dead Space Brick flick with it.

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I am not sure exatcly why but to this date this is one of my favorite sets I have built!

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Thanks for the great review. The minifigs are awesome, and you got love all those printed pieces. The ship kinda reminds me of the Avengers plane with that large downward sloping piece.

Underwater themes are great, aren't they? Atlantis is one of my all-time favorites.

Cheers, Joe

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Thanks for the review, I remember looking at this set in the catalog and dreaming :) I always wanted to build it in black as a space ship, with trans light blue glass. I still do :) and I think all part would exist for it today.

Anyway, excellent review, lots of details you can't see in the old catalog.

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I love this particular set, although I'm not a fan of Hydronauts in general either. It feels very roomy and has enough space for 6 or 7 minifigs inside, and the printed parts are great. I removed the pneumatic hoses on mine though, which look ugly and can't be easily hidden.

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Thanks for the review. I've always loved the old under water sets! I was never able to get them new off the shelf :(

I'm buying them when I can. :)

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While it certainly doesn't seem to look like a model one would believe to be real, it does appear to be a very fun set, so that's... more or less the reason what makes it rather appealing. Lots of stuff to do ine one little ship, so ya.

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Thanks for the review. I've always loved the old under water sets! I was never able to get them new off the shelf :(

I'm buying them when I can. :)

Yeah a new one costs a fortune now sadly :sceptic: But bricklink is full of good quality copies of them, although I don't like it when you don't get a box with it, the box completes the set and these old ones had those alternate builds on the back (which were mostly silly looking but sometimes there were real treasures).

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