LEGO® Set Review: 4031 Fire Rescue
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Floating Boats / (Boat)

Fire Rescue (us)
Bateau de secours-incendie / Bateau-pompe (fr)
Schweres Feuerlöschboot (de)
Firefighter (uk)
Brandweerschip «De Vuurvechter» (nl)

Ages 7-12 / 349 Pcs
15 page manual. 1 models. 1993, North American catalog. ©1991, 1992
Price Range: $60.00 Canadian Per Element: 17.2 cents per piece
Special Features / Compatibility
Extra Elements
Decals: Yes
Scale: Mini-Figure
Errors:


Description

4031 is a really big ship-it's nearly a foot and a half long, three inches longer than a full sized AT expansion card (the only measure I have on my desk right now :) It has a big one piece red hull, and is a fire boat, the kind you see in the harbour spraying all water guns at once on civic holidays.

At the bow, which is less steep than 4021, the Police cutter, is a single water cannon, mounted on a spinning plate with a hinge piece for setting the pitch of the cannon. The cannons are yellow round cylinders with a wineglass/chalice piece found in Castle and the like. The front cannon is manned by a person standing or sitting. (I put in a yellow seat so it would be less tiring for the poor lego person) About four inches from the bow, there is the main structure of the ship, with a wide (8 dots) bridge enclosed in transparent light blue pieces. The roof and front windshield flips up so you can play with the captain and act out bridge scenes. Further back are a pair of smokestacks (blue) with a hidden little radio room below, sunk into the hull of the ship! That is one of the cooler features. Up top, across the smokestacks is a piece carrying two more watercannons (each on a spinner and with hinges to point up) and a loran/radar dish and an aerial. This is probably to maintain comm links to the shore, or listen for boats in distress.

Behind the structure is a really nifty dual watercannon turret with a seat for another fireperson. It's much like the front cannon, but with two barrels and the entire platform can be lifted up on a scissor like contraption. The cannon platform can lift two inches into the air and stay up. Further aft is a helipad with a really really really adorably cute helicopter, for recon. The helicopter uses one of those new see through canopies, has two rotor blades and a pair of watercannons for drenching fires from above.

There are four figures-a captain, two fire people and a pilot (with visored helmet) all in blue with black hats. The fire people have lifejackets, because the LEGO Group is pretty safety conscious.

The hull is really nicely designed-much like the 4021 hull, so, not to repeat myself, read the description of how LEGO designed that hull, as it's pretty innovative and well thought out.

Impression

This is a realllllly groovvvvvvy LEGO set. It's big, full of neato features, and really enjoyable-both building, playing and putting into your LEGO town layout. (every town needs a harbour!) In the words of a friend: "But it's fire RESCUE!" it's much better!

Actually, there isn't much rescue on it, it's more like, let's go find a big fire and put it out with all this firefighting hardware! I have transferred my 4025 crew to it, so now, the crew complement is a whopping 8 people, two shifts.

There is a story to this little LEGO boat buying splurge, because you're probably wondering why I have purchased two boats within two days... Here we go: the 4021 Police Patrol boat was purchased as a present for my birthday, so I got that on Friday. However, the day after, it was a Bay Day at the Bay (a large department store chain in Canada), and my mom had five Bay Card Dollars from some promotion, that had to be spent that day, plus another 8 cropped up from the Bay's incentive program. Ready to go and by Town People, the ten dollar set, I found myself going to one of the larger stores in Toronto, instead of the local suburban one. And I found a 4031, which is no longer part of the 95 Canada lineup (only the 4021 and 4011 are) So I took it, along with the 13 dollars of free Bay money, and bought it on Saturday. Now, it ALSO happened to be Scratch and Save Day too! So compounded with the free dollars, plus 10% off, the set (listed at $60) ended up, even after tax to be $50! So, naturally, I jumped on it, as I really wanted the 4031 model over the police one.

I like it a whole lot-I like all the LEGO sets I buy, mainly because a lot of "sitting at the dinner table, looking over catalogues, finding the best price and then squirming over getting the biggest discount" goes on with this poor student. However, at $60 plus 15% tax in Ontario (provincial AND federal tax), it's a good $70 canadian. That's a lot of money. That's like what I make in a day of work during holidays. And if not for a strategically placed birthday with a miraculously placed Bay Day/Scratch and Save Day, I would not have purchased both boats at all!

Ratings

Set Rating:Must-Have

The hull, if anything is a must. It's really sleek and gives the impression of a fast, powerful boat. It's even suited to be used as a container or tanker ship, because of it's size-but it's shape makes it too good to use as some cargo moving sloth. There aren't too many new pieces, some newer ones-and some creative uses of some. The watercannons for example, use wineglasses as the barrels, which is pretty neat-and the airplane windows found in Airport/Flight sets are used for portholes on the radio room and bridge, which look great. The bendable hinges found in the flexible platform mechanism are used in an intersting way. Outside of that, there is nothing, except the hull that you can't find elsewhere.

The pieces are, by themselves not all that radically different, but you do get a lot of neat pieces for your money.

Model Rating:Must-Have

You can do so much with this set-build tankers, container ships, passenger ships, attack cruisers, even an marine assault carrier. The fireboat looks great-it has a great combination of elements-like all the cannon turrets and the cool bridge. The helicopter is really neat looking, even cute...

The pieces are used quite well-a lot of them I would have never thought of in these applications. It's innovative, and a lot better designed than say, the 4021 cutter. But again, that's maybe because the police boat has only 185 as opposed to 349 pieces. The 4021 seems kind of boring in comparison to the Fire Rescue ship.

Playability Rating:Must-Have

Okay, for seven years old, this is extremely fun. There are so many "stations" to play, ie, a watergun turret, the bridge, the radio room etc. The most fun, by far, is the helicopter, because even if you're playing on the living room floor, you can go and scout out more fires with the chopper. And you can try landing the helicopter on the deck of the ship! Or at your fire station in your town! Okay, I'm trying to be objective, but I'm starting to take the helicopter everywhere I go.

The fact that every cannon is on a spinner means you can really pretend you're fighting fires. With my modified 4025 (old european fireboat) and the 4021, you can have joint ops, in search and rescue etc. As I wrote about in the 4021 review, all the boats go quite well together.

For us deranged LEGO fans, yeah, this is a boat (hehe) load of fun, and the second most fun set (Metroliner being the first). Actually, all the boats are a lot of fun. However, as mentioned with the 4021 review, it's difficult to say how well the average youngster will take to Lego anyway.

Elements

Display Tray

No display tray, top does not flip up.

Special/Unusual Elements

  • 1x big one piece hull (red/grey) roughly 16x4" *
  • 2x large doors (red) 4 pieces high, 3 dots wide *
  • 2x half octagonal (white) "wings"
  • 1x rotor piece/axle pin (black and grey)
  • 3x weighed pieces %

    New

  • marked with a * above, % denotes used in other boat sets

    Non-Plastic Elements

  • basically, the three weighed blocks, even though they are enclosed in plastic.

    Decals

  • two large stripe/fire department insignias
  • three number decals
  • one "L" logo for bow.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Calum Tsang 18 tsangc@ecf.utoronto.ca http://www.io.org/~tsangc/lego.html Town, Train, Boats, DACTA

    Warning: this review contains many similarities to the 4021 Police Patrol cutter review posted previously-I bought the 4031 a day after I bought the 4021 due to a stroke of luck.


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