28 January 2024

LEGO® Friends review: 42605 Mars Space Base and Rocket

Posted by Eero

A Space subtheme – or should that be supertheme? – has been spread across several lines in January 2024 sets, and LEGO® Friends get their fair share with sets 42605 Mars Space Base and Rocket and 42603 Stargazing Camping Vehicle. I've posted my review of the latter on New Elementary's Patreon and social accounts, but first let's look at the Mars base, which features a unique design with two large quarter-dome modules along an airlock; a semi-realistic design with some amusing details. Step aboard!


Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

42605 Mars Space Base and Rocket
US$79.99/ £79.99/ 89.99€/ AU$149.99
981 parts
Released 1 January 2024

Set 42605 on LEGO.com

The parts of interest

 New moulds

  • 1x Panel 6 x 5 x 3 1/3 Curved Top in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet/ Trans-Purple (6472651 | 5065) - currently unique to this set


  • 1x Aircraft Fuselage Curved Forward 6 x 8 Bottom with 2 Pin Holes in White (6472515 | 5123) - unique 

Recolours

Reddish Orange is one of the new LEGO colours of 2024, and this set includes a decent bunch - although none of them are unique to this set.

 
In Reddish Orange:
  • 3x Brick 1 x 6 x 4 with 4 Pinholes and Cutout (6468285 | 49699) - in 3 other sets
  • 3x Tile 1 x 2 with Groove(6469086 | 3069) - in 2 other sets
  • 3x Plate Special 1 x 2 [Side Handle Closed Ends] (6468361 | 48336) - in 7 other sets
  • 1x Support 2 x 2 x 10 Girder Triangular Vertical - Type 4 - 3 Posts, 3 Sections (6466717 | 95347) - also in 60434 Space Base and Rocket Launchpad
  • 3x Tile Round 2 x 2 with Hole (6471811 | 15535) - in 3 other sets



  • 6x Panel 1 x 2 x 2 [Side Supports / Hollow Studs] in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet/Trans-Purple (6475046 | 35378) - unique
  • 1x Brick Round 1 x 1 Open Stud in Satin Trans-Purple/Opal Trans-Purple (6464814 | 3062b) - in 9 other sets (Space supertheme power cell)
  • 1x Windscreen 6 x 6 x 1 1/3 in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet/Trans-Purple (6508202 | 5475) - unique

Trans-Purple is nice a energetic colour, and it's nice to have more parts around. I was surprised to note that the panel is new. The satin round brick represents a power cell, found in many Space supertheme sets - so it's new but not rare.



  • 2x Equipment Camera Handheld with Central Viewfinder in White (6476587 | 4724) - also in 60431 Space Explorer Rover and Alien Life
  • 1x Plant, Leaves, Round 2 x 2 x 2/3 with + Axle Hole and 4 Leaf Extensions in Bright Yellowish Green/Lime (6210415 | 15469) - also in 60429 Spaceship and Asteroid Discovery
  • 2x Panel 3 x 3 x 2 Quarter Round in White (6508091 | 3535) - unique
  • 1x Plate Round Corners 6 x 6 x 2/3 Circle with Reduced Knobs in White (6475043 | 66789) - in 2 other sets
  • 6x Tile 3 x 3 Curved, Macaroni in Medium Lilac/Dark Purple (6472509 | 79393) - unique
  • 1x Brick Round 2 x 2 Dome Top with 3-Eyed Alien print in Bright Yellowish Green/Lime (6469018 | 106345) - also in 60429 Spaceship and Asteroid Discovery

The 6x6 "Mario" plate makes an excellent space wall: the studs remind me of heavy rivets. 

Rare parts

The rarity of the parts in this section is not entirely coherent, as it was calculated before the inventories of January 2024 were available. As a general rule, these parts appeared in 1 or 2 sets before the January 2024 wave. 
 

  • 2x Panel Curved, Quarter, with Bars at Each End in Transparent Clear (6444502 | 87375) - in 2 other sets as of end 2023

  • 2x Brick Round Corner 10 x 10 with Slope 33° Edge, Axle Hole, Facet Cutout in Medium Nougat (6442140 | 58846) - also in 76961 Visitor Center: T. rex & Raptor Attack

  • 1x Tile 3 x 3 Curved, Macaroni in Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange (6453948 | 79393) - in 2 other sets
  • 2x Plate Round Corner 2 x 2 with 1 x 1 Cutout in Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange (6444576 | 79491) - in 2 other sets
  • 2x Plate Special 1 x 3 Rounded with 3 Open Studs in Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Grey (6446028 | 77850) - in 8 other sets
  • 1x Tool Ice Axe [3-Rib Handle] in Silver Metallic/Flat Silver (6438518 | 18738) - in 2 other sets
  • 2x Plate 1 x 3 in Bright Green (6462578 | 3623) - also in 71426 Piranha Plant
  • 4x Brick Curved 1 x 4 x 1 2/3 in White (6508109 | 3573) - in 4 other sets

Sticker sheet


This set features moderate amount of stickers. The tardigrade on #9 is especially nice. I think it's the first tardigrade on a LEGO set. The video call with Nova on #4 is a reference to 42603 Stargazing Camping Vehicle, which features Nova taking contact to Mars and has a similar sticker featuring Olivia.

I did not apply all of these stickers, as some of these parts are more useful without - and some of the stickers are more useful on some other pieces. But there are no real "sticker issues" with this set; in other words, most of the detail that can be brick-built is brick-built. The chopping board of #6 is a borderline case, but I quite like it. 

Here's the official render with all stickers applied:


©2024 The LEGO Group

Mini-dolls in Space – with a Cat!

This set features three space-dolls: Olivia, who was one of the old main cast, Aveline, who's likely in command of this mission and thus sports a Medium Lavender suit, and Julian, who's not special at all. 

They have a feline friend, who's been stuffed into a spacesuit, using the chubby cat mould. I know that my cats would instantly forget how to walk (as a means of protest) if I stuffed them into a spacesuit, but this one looks jovial enough.

The spacesuits are unisex, as real spacesuits are (based upon looks) – although these lack the marshmallow shaping and are quite tight-fitting. Except for the cat's, of course. 

Aveline's head is the new Umber Brown colour. It's close to Dark Brown and I didn't initially notice the difference, but is lighter. 

Elspeth took this helpful picture:

This shows all the skin tones used for mini-dolls so far. On our Patreon, you can see more comparisons of Umber Brown and Sienna Brown including all the TLG/BrickLink names.

Here are the new and unique mini-doll parts among the Mars base mini-dolls:

  • 1x Minidoll head, Aveline in Umber Brown (6466390 | 106035)
  • 1x Minidoll Head, Julian in Light Nougat (6466389 | 106034)
  • 1x Minidoll Body, Boy, With Medium Lavender Spacesuit Pattern in White (6474755 | 73161)
  • 1x Space Trousers with White Boots in Medium Lavender (6466394 | 106039)
  • 2x Minidoll Body, Boy, With Reddish Orange Spacesuit Pattern in White (6474285 | 73161)
  • 2x Space Trousers with White Boots in Reddish Orange (6466388 | 106033)
  • 3x Minidoll Space Helmet in White (6460332 | 5149) - new mould
  • 3x Headwear Accessory Visor [Large with Trapezoid Top] in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet/Trans-Purple (6472517 | 49480)
  • 1x Animal, Cat, Chubby with Space Suit, Dark Tan/Bright Light Yellow Face print in White (6466395 | 106040)

 
The new space helmet works with mini-dolls only, as it grips tightly around their thin shoulders. This is just as well, as minifigures have dozens of space helmet styles. The visor is new in Trans-Purple.

The completed base

The set's name explains it: A Mars base, and a rocket ship which is not based on any real shuttle but is somehow reminiscent of them. The Dark Purple of the base is carried on by the Trans-Purple of the shuttle, and both have Reddish Orange highlights for contrast. Nice! 

The set also includes a Trans-Bright Green space boulder and a lime, two-piece alien. The Martian's design is similar to the one in LEGO® City sets, so this is the same Mars after all. But are the mini-dolls and minifigures from the same Earth?

The shuttle has room for all the three mini-dolls; the cockpit fits two. I like the shuttle's colours, but its proportions are not very beautiful. Fortunately, this is not the only way to display it.

The back features an open area with a utility platform and computer headquarters. This conflicts with the idea of the airlock separating the base from the airless planet surface, but I don't mind; making it fully enclosed would have required a very large set (and price). The front side with its domes looks closed and convincing enough. 

The Mars rover folds up and can be stored into the middle section of the shuttle, along with the propellor drone. Against common misconception, such drones work in the thin atmosphere of Mars; a similar machine named Ingenuity made by NASA roams Mars airspace, in fact.


The middle module can be added to the base, adding a research room and an additional bedroom to it. This image features the rover folded inside the module.

The airlock is a cool, well-functioning yet simple mechanism: add the doll to the platform, close the heavy iron door and roll the airlock in by turning the gear; this opens the inner doors as it moves.

The base features a little space toilet - this is a LEGO Friends set, after all. It can be rotated, via the solar panel, for some privacy.

The food quarter is nice and cozy; the ball joint tomatoes look especially fresh and alluring.

The shuttle's central module features a working table that can be turned down into a bed; the tardigrade sticker would be applied to the black cheese slope, but I saved it for other use. This mechanism is prone to breaking when turned, despite some unusual structures designed for it (LEGO Technic bricks with a friction pin and 3L bar under the joints).

A coffee machine is another classic found in many playthemes; this one has a strong 1970s aesthetic that contrasts amusingly with the clean space tone. The bed segment Aveline is sitting on folds into a small table. I like the use of Bright Light Orange with Dark Purple here.


The multi-screen unit features some ominous footage from the Red Planet...

Conclusion

In general, the shaping of the base is wonderful. I like all the rounded forms, and the quarter-domes feel fresh, with a good choice of pieces used for their Dark Purple rims. The cat-dome is a funny detail, though it sadly doesn't close air-tight (fortunately, the cat has a spacesuit). I wonder if a half-plate offset on the dome hinges would have been possible to close it satisfyingly.

Also, those dome module bases are heart-shaped; a subtle but amusing detail.

I think the model looks superior with the shuttle's central module connected into the base. Not only makes it the base look more spacious (pun intended), but it also gives the shuttle better proportions; the curved sides of the cockpit continue to the rocket module.

Modularity is a key aspect of the Space supertheme, and the modules can be connected in various ways.


The instructions show some alternative layouts to the base; one is shown above. You can also switch the modules between LEGO City and LEGO Technic sets.

To put it simply, this set is well-designed. It has good piece uses and shaping, nice and unique colour scheme, and plenty of playability tucked in moderate space. There is a lot to do. 

My points of criticism – the lame proportions of the full shuttle and the fragility of the table/bed inside – are minor. The price of US$79.99/ £79.99/ 89.99€/ AU$149.99 for 981 parts is good, and the array of new and rare parts is decent. I can recommend this friendly space adventure.

Get set 42605 on LEGO.com

READ MORE: New elements across the whole of the LEGO Friends January 2024 assortment

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5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. As far as bad Mars-themed films go, nothing beats 'Mars Attacks!' or 'Mars needs Moms!'

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  2. Very cute set!

    I'm not so sure that this set is necessarily on the same planet as the City space sets. The City space sets seem to be based on a fictional extrasolar planet with alien animal and plant life, while this set's stickered elements situate it firmly on the "real" Mars. The shared alien might be perceived as placing both themes on the same planet—but in this set it seems to have hitched a ride inside some sort of meteor, so might not actually be native to this planet after all!

    The new Umber Brown color is neat, being the darkest skin tone we have so far. Dark Brown probably would not work as well as a skin color since it's so dark that black printing for eyes and facial features probably wouldn't show up effectively—considering that, this new color fills a valuable niche.

    I love the space toilet in this set—toilets are always a fun and humorous feature but mundane aspects of life like that are also a major consideration for living in space. I would love if a future set would also include something like an exercise room, since maintaining adequate muscle mass in different gravitational states is a similarly important consideration.

    Finally, one thing this review left out is the cat's name! The instructions name him Jones, probably a reference to the cat from the (much less friendly) movie Alien!

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  3. Side note: the real Ingenuity helicopter's rotors got damaged either yesterday or the day before - it will never fly again.

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  4. Thank you forthe review! I'm color blind, and so usually leave comments on that subject to others. However, calling those domes(and other recent parts in this plastic) "Transparent Clear" is a joke, especially whenever you set them next to the previous trans clear. The tint and slight milkiness was pretty jarring the first time they tumble out of a parts bag. I'm sure Ill get used to it, but I don't like it.

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