2020 has been an exceptional year for LEGO and choosing what set to spend your limited budgets on has never been more important.
While the most notable (and expensive!) sets have been dominated by LEGO’s adult-focused 18+ line, and the bevy of outstanding LEGO Ideas sets (like Sesame Street!), LEGO have also introduced some higher priced point sets into evergreen themes like City.
One such set is 60271 Main Square, a 1,517-piece LEGO City set with an equally bombastic price – US$199.99 / AU$279.99 which puts it squarely in Modular Building territory.
Naturally, high price tags elicit high expectations, and Main Square raised a lot of eyebrows when it was announced.
LEGO sent me a copy of the set to review, so let’s get right into what LEGO was thinking with this set.
Thanks to LEGO for sending a review copy.
Name: Main Square
Set Number: 60271
Pieces: 1,517 pieces
Price: AU$279.99 | US$199.99 | £169.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK] [Amazon]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: LEGO City
Release Date: 1 September 2020
Did you know, LEGO City now has named characters and their own streaming TV show – LEGO City Adventures? Sets featuring LEGO City Adventures have started showing up as part of the City core theme – you’ll notice them by the character features on the front of boxes.
As a father to a young daughter, I’ve watched a few episodes of LEGO City Adventures, and they’re not terrible – in fact they’re kinda good. The animation is surprisingly crisp and doesn’t look like a PS2-era game, and the humour is passable – with all the crap available on Youtube, it’s one of the better LEGO cartoons produced.
It does help give these named characters some context, and the build experience was slightly improved as I could semi-relate to the locations, vehicles and minifigures.
That said, unless you have a kid that’s obsessed about LEGO City Adventures, it feels like an unnecessary hoop to jump through to fully appreciate the set.
One of the Main Square’s main draws is that the set is designed to ne “Built together”. Each bag, and manual are completely self-contained builds, allowing families or groups of people to assemble the set simultaneously.
I really like this, and wished more sets had this feature – it’s very family friendly and opens up the option to stagger the build out over a few building sessions while still allowing you (or your kid) to play with the incomplete set.
One of the things that I like about the set is the sheer number of minifigures included – 14 minifigures, or 15 if you include the statue. You really feel like the Main Square is densely populated, and you’re given a good mix of named and generic characters that boosts the playability of this set.
From left to right we have the city’s Mr Fix-it-all handyman Harl Hubb, Freya McCloud, the city’s Fire Chief, and protagonist police officer Duke Detain who is known for his catchphrase “the easiest way is rarely the best way”.
I do like the details on Harl Hubb’s torso and legs, and Freya comes with a printed mug (for her Hot Cocoa) with a burning marshmallow which is the most adorable accessory of 2020.
Freya has a GREAT dual-sided face, which has her (unfortunately) with a face-full of hot chocolate that pays homage to this scene in Season 1 Episode 2.
Next we have Poppy Starr, the resident uh, pop star of LEGO City, a limousine driver, Snake Rattler, a bad guy with a suitably bad name, and a Tram Conductor.
Here’s a look at their back prints and Poppy’s alternate face.
Next up, we have a bunch of generic LEGO City inhabitants – except for the boy, which I believe is Freya’s nephew who received a twirly propeller hat that causes kids from all over LEGO City to fly haphazardly in the sky.
These guys might have names but I haven’t watched enough of LEGO City Adventures for them to register in my head.
One of the most notable minifigures included is this woman, who has a hearing aid printed on the side of her face. This is part of LEGO’s efforts to promote inclusivity within their core ranges – in this case, to help kids that rely on hearing aids to see themselves represented in the set.
A fantastic move from LEGO to normalise the use of hearing aids.
Last but not least we have Mayor Fleck, who is always seen in his Corn Costume. Why? No one knows, and some things are better left as mysteries.
Was he a Kernel in the Army? Does he enjoy exploring in a Maize on weekends? Did he get elected on a platform of lending an ear to the people of LEGO City? Does he retreat into his suit because he’s a sad husk of a man?
Or maybe he enjoys Corny Puns? 🤷
Beneath his suit, lies a wizened old man, and a great torso which has a sash with the title #1 Mayor on it, on a matching dark green suit.
The colour of Mayor Fleck’s Corn Costume is a darker shade than Series 17’s Corn Cob Guy, which is really interesting, and it’s nice to get a different variation to the Corn Cob Suit.
And that’s it for the 14 characters included in the set – it’s great to get this many minifigures in a set, even if most of them are largely generic City designs.
On to the build, which we’ll explore segment by segment.
Bag 1: Harl Hubbs’ Wagon, Police ATV and Snake Rattler’s Motorcycle
Bag 1 is a motley collection of vehicles, setting up a chase scene between Snake Rattler, Duke Detain’s Police ATV and Harl Hubb’s Wagon-thingy.
Duke Detain’s Motorcycle makes great use of the new Motorcycle design that feels like a vintage throwback to the older 1980s motorcycles with the prominent headlight, suspension and exhaust. Even the red and black, and the dirt bike wheels feel like an intentional nod to the classic LEGO motorcycle.
Pretty standard City-stuff, except for Harl’s wagon, which is packed to the brim with all matter of paraphernalia, including a mop, toilet seat and popcorn and even a stick of dynamite. What kind of handyman relies on dynamite?
Bag 2: Freya McCloud’s Fire Helicopter
Bag 2 gives us a bright red Fire Helicopter piloted by Freya McCloud. It’s a pretty stock standard Fire Helicopter design, with twin blade rotors and a small compact design.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the tail design is printed on – with the numberes 60409, which I can’t for the life of me figure out what it’s a reference to. Someone’s birthday? An unreleased City set containing Freya?
The Helicopter also has a net attached to it, which is handy to scoop up cats stuck on trees, but I’m not sure carrying a mug of hot chocolate when you’re piloting a helicoper is the smartest thing to do….
Bag 3: Limousine
Bag 3 is where things get slightly more interesting with a black Limousine. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Limousine in LEGO City, with the last being a white version in 60102 Airport VIP Service from 2016.
There’s nothing really innovative about the Limousine, and I don’t quite like the blocky part of the roof at the back – a smoother, curvy taper would’ve been so much better.
Bag 4: City Diner
Firstly, yes, let’s get the sign out of the way – it should be City Diner. But I think Diner City is a lot funnier as a name, and I’m sticking to it, despite it being an obvious mistake from me – I’m going to own it!
The City Diner is my favourite part of Main Square – purely because I love commercial structures and buildings, so an old school burger diner is right up my alley.
It’s small, but I do love the generous use of transparent curved windows, and of course the brick-built burger that floats above the sign.
The interiors are pretty cramped, with a very small diner table, and an equally tight kitchen area.
Bag 5: Park
Any self-respecting City is all about outdoor spaces and green lungs, which is where this little slice of greenery comes in.
Bag 5’s park is a great little build, and unlike the other builds, is pretty generous with space, not having to cram too much into its 16 x 16 plate.
The trees are pretty sparse, and could use a bit more greenery, but the pops of colour from the hanging flags really tie it all together, giving it a bit of a festive mood.
The grey statue atop the fountain is the focal point of the park – depicting Horatio Humphey Hubbs who famously fended off pirates with his hands tied behind his back.
And no, it’s not a statue glorifying criminals in LEGO City, or celebrating the subjugation of handcuffed criminals.
Bag 6: Concert Stage
To entertain the masses and distract the LEGO City masses from the obvious crime problem is a concert stage for Poppy Starr. The design is pretty basic, but I like the massive amplifiers and lighting setup.
With so many minifigures, it’s actually quite easy to put on a convincing concert crowd to soothe Poppy Starr’s ego.
Bag 7 – 9: Tram Stop & City Tram
This is where the build gets supersized, with a bright yellow tram and a tram stop. Coming from Melbourne where trams are an inseparable part of city life, I naturally have a soft spot for trams, so this was quite pleasing to build.
But before we get into the tram, let’s talk about this blatant and misleading bait and switch.
On the box art, the Tram is depicted as a monorail, which really, is just toying with the hearts of people that really want to see a monorail come back.
It’s cruel, misleading and LEGO’s intentions are pretty suspect here.
The tram stop is a relatively basic platform – I do like the warning strip on the edges, and the furniture such as the tram timetable, what seems to be a ticket machine, and vending machine/lockers filled with Vita Rush – the beverage of choice in LEGO city.
The tram is a great size, with plenty of room to be stuffed with minifigures, in case you wanted to relive rush hour and the sensation of being crushed by people just wanting their commute home to be over.
It has little wheels on the bottom, which allows it to lazily roll on flat surfaces, and can bend to manouvre much like a real tram.
Trams are a relatively rare fixture in LEGO City, last seen in 8404 Public Transport Station and 2015’s far superior City Square set but for those who missed out on those, it’s a great way to add more public transport options to your City.
Bags 10-14: City Hall
Last but not least, we have City Hall, the largest structure of Main Square. While it’s quite tall, and dwarfs all the other builds so far, the building experience is really tailored towards younger builders, utilising plenty of large elements for the structure, and not many interesting techniques employed.
The design is okay, and I don’t quite like the repeated sections on the left and right, but as a central structure, it does its job.
There’s a balcony for Mayor Fleck to address his subjects, much like Saruman’s Window in Orthanc. There isn’t any door or access, so don’t ask me how he’s meant to get there.
On the top floor is a small clock tower, and a door which leads to an empty room which is a pretty bizarre design choice. I know it’s meant to act as an stairwell, but it comes across as some sort of dungeon or solitary confinement reserved for Mayor Fleck’s foes.
On the inside is Mayor Fleck’s office, and on the ground floor lies a few golden artifacts/ornaments. Tucked away in a display protected by a whirling laser fan is the key to the city, which grants Mayor Fleck power to subjugate those who live in LEGO City, and something for Snake to steal.
What I liked:
- Build Together system, which allows you to assemble the set alongside other people
- Has plenty of minifigures
- Has regular buildings that you’d expect to see in a LEGO City
What I didn’t like:
- The pricetag is just ridiculous
- It’s not immediately who the target audience is for this set
- Monorail bait and switch on the cover of the box
- This set is just poor value
Final Thoughts: This is not one of LEGO’s finest sets, and arguably one of LEGO’s rare misses in 2020.
Let’s state the facts – that it is firstly a US$199.99/AU$279.99 aimed at kids aged 6+. It’s also marketed as a D2C set, as it’s only available from LEGO.com or LEGO Stores, so there’s a sense of exclusivity that they’re trying to build here.
What LEGO have done here, is pretty much break their entire pricing model for a City set, which boggles my mind.
It feels, in many ways, like a bunch of smaller LEGO City sets thrown in together, which is evident from the ‘Build Together’ drawcard where you literally assemble 8 sets of varying sizes.
The thing is that Main Square isn’t a bad set, but it is a bad set for most people.
As I was building and reviewing the set, I struggled to think of the customer that LEGO had in mind when designing this set – which led me to my conclusion – this is the most niche set that LEGO has ever produced.
Who is this for?
1) A rich parent or grandparent that only buys big gifts for special occassions Christmas or birthdays, and wants to make an impression with a massive, yet age-appropriate LEGO set for a 6 year old.
2) A thrifty parent who wants to avoid having to buy multiple LEGO sets throughout the year, and uses the bags in Main Square to spread out the build over the course of a few weeks/months, so that the kids have something to look forward to, or as a reward for good behaviour – ultimately culminating in a large build.
3) A LEGO City Adventures superfan.
And that’s all I could think of.
The story of 2020 has been one of choice – we have so many great options for sets at each and every different pricepoint that it’s now more important than ever to buy the right sets.
This set, as niche as it is, is not the right set for a vast, vast majority of people, whether you’re a parent, or shopping for a younger kid.
There are so many better alternatives out there, like Pirates of Barracuda Bay, a modular building or even the 60233 Donut Shop Opening set which gives you nearly the same value proposition as this set, at half the price.
Don’t get me wrong, the set is a lot fun for kids thanks to the sheer amount of stuff you get – vehicles, minifigures and buildings that it’s a great playset, and my 4 year old thoroughly enjoyed playtesting it when we had it in her LEGO pile.
But for AU$279.99 / US$199.99 it’s not worth the money at all, and there are better LEGO sets you could buy that are either better value, or much more fun and appropriate.
Unless you belong in any of those 3 categories I listed, this set is not for you – so go buy something more awesome like Pirates of Barracuda Bay, or better yet, buy a few smaller sets and combine them for a much better gift.
Thanks for reading! Hope you got something out of this review, even if its really to dissuade you from buying this set. I doubt a lot of people have been considering it though – as it’s one of the lowest rated sets on LEGO.com with only 2 stars out of 5, from 21 reviews.
Let me know what you think of 60271 Main Square, and what you think went through LEGO’s mind when it decided to release this set at this price point.
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Special thanks to LEGO for providing this set for a review.