After many weeks and numerous sets, it’s finally time to check out the last of the LEGO® City Summer releases in my final LEGO City set review of 2023. The LEGO City theme has really turned things around over the last few years, with the evergreen theme introducing new concepts and moving away from constantly churning out similar Police and Fire Rescue sets. Downtown LEGO City is a great example of this and also offers the largest LEGO City set yet, with an impressive line-up of minifigures and some great little details. So here’s a look at the Downtown LEGO City set.
Set Name: Downtown | Set Number: 60380 | Pieces: 2010 | Theme: LEGO City
RRP: £179.99/$199.99/209.99€ | Number of Bags: Bags x 17 + loose elements | Instructions: Paper booklets x 5 + Builder App | Stickers: Sheet x 2 | Minifigures: x 14
Availability: LEGO Stores, LEGO Online & General Retail
As one of the largest of the LEGO City sets, the hefty box is packed with 17 numbered bags of elements along with a number of ‘loose’ plates and panels. It can be built with others using the Build Together function of the LEGO Builder App or if you prefer to build the traditional way, you can also use the five instructions booklets included in the box. If you’ve built any of the recent LEGO City buildings or read any of my recent reviews of them, you’ll know they now include a new modular system. This includes both the roads and the sections which make up the buildings. It’s a system which offers plenty of customisation as well as making it easier to combine with other LEGO City sets.
The first aspect of this cross-set system began a few years ago with the new road plates and leads nicely into the beginning of the build. You start by building a section of road and a juice-selling truck. The road uses a couple of the newish road plates but these are jazzed up with the inclusion of a colourful pedestrian crossing. The road can be connected to other sections or surfaces using 2×4 plates.
There’s only one vehicle featured in the set and it’s a small three-wheeler, which doubles as a juice-selling street food vendor. This only has a connection to a past LEGO City set, with the juice seller featuring the same ‘fresh’ branding as the LEGO City Grocery Store set, released last year. I do enjoy these little continuations of ‘brands’ over different sets.
The rest of the build is focused on the main buildings. As previously mentioned the LEGO City theme has gone through a few improvements in recent years, this has seen a far more diverse offering of sets with many more buildings instead of an endless cycle of the same vehicles. It’s also seen most of these buildings built on a series of 8×16 or 8×8 plates. This allows the sections of the building to be configured in different ways. It also means you can add other sets to the mix. I liken them to shipping containers. Despite each section being built in a similar manner, the different parts of the building are really varied.
As I built the set, I was delighted to have a similar experience as I’ve had with the much-loved Modular Buildings. Some of the techniques used to build the various sections are extremely impressive. This is perfectly shown in both the Barber’s Shop and the Vets Office above it. Other rooms of the building also have neat little details such as the Comic Book Shop, which features a mini version of the NINJAGO set, the Temple of Spinjitzu and the helmet of a comic book character based on the Stuntz rider from the Dunk Stunt Ramp Challenge set. In the Hotel reception desk, there are flyers for City Pizza and the Ski & Climbing Center.
It’s not just the interiors of the Downtown buildings which impress, there are plenty of interesting things found on the exterior too. These are really simple but elevate the building to a level similar to the LEGO Icons modular sets. On the hotel section of the building, there’s a sloped green edging around the window and a tiled wall of 1×2 half-round plates. A similar pattern using NEXO shields is featured on the walkway between the two buildings. My favourite of these simple features is a studded wall, which looks just like a 2×4 brick/plate. Describing them makes them seem trivial but they really do add to the overall appearance of the building and inject some character to what is essentially the same base build for each section of the set.
Beyond the main two sections of the building, there are a few smaller sections which add even more detail to the set. These are all connected to the road plate and can be configured in different ways around the rest of the building. These smaller sections include a small park area, which features a lone tree and a bench, along with chain-linked fences. A special mention must go to the tree here, I like this design as it’s stable but still has the feel of bushy foliage. Across the road is a small kiosk selling pizza. I love the little brick-built pizza slice sign which sits above the stripy awning. This building also features a small billboard mounted to the kiosk, which is amazing a face-off between the dinosaur costume-wearing minifigure included in the set and the masked Stuntz rider from set 60359. The artwork is similar to that featured in Gaming Tournament Truck. Pizza isn’t the only tasty treats on offer, there’s also a tiny noodle stall in the square next to the building.
A bustling city needs a few faces to inject some life into it and this set includes 14 minifigures to do just that. They offer a mix of residents and workers, with all but one of the characters unique to this set. Some of the minifigures also feature unique torsos and there are some cool designs on offer. Although named characters have been ditched from the LEGO City sets, it does include one of the characters from the LEGO City No Limits. There’s also a minifigure who appears in the recently released Passenger Plane. Others include a barber who looks an awful lot like LEGO designer Carl Merriam. A hotel concierge, a vet and a great costumed character who has dressed up as a dinosaur warrior. A special mention must go to the little girl who is wearing a pair of kitty ears in their hair. This is a recoloured version of the same piece used in the Gabby’s Dollhouse sets.
Bigger is not always an indicator of better, but it certainly is in the case of this set. It’s a massive set, but not merely for the sake of it. The modular system is used to great effect here even though each section of the building is built on a similar base. It really does have the feeling of a modular building so would be a great introduction to those slightly more advanced sets. On the subject of Modular Buildings Collection, I think the set would look great next to those sets and the fact it can be configured in different ways works perfectly for that. The minifigure line-up is also quite fun, some of the new torsos are great and I’m sure that will crop up in future sets. As one of the biggest LEGO City sets, it does command a high price tag, one which isn’t too different to the Icons modular sets. But I really did have a similar experience of building this set as I’ve had with some of the modular buildings. That concludes my reviews of the latest LEGO City sets.
The LEGO Group provided this set for review purposes. The thoughts within this review are those of BricksFanz.com and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing the set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.