review: Star Diamond City Police PT-2 Escort Vehicle (80311)

80311-box-frontAmong the numerous Chinese building block brands, Star Diamond seems to hold special distinction among builders and collectors as being a “quality” brand. In the interest of research, I decided to pick up this modest set. I was not disappointed with what I received.

“Escorfvehicies?”

This set appears to be clearly inspired by Lego 7245 – Prisoner Transport and its subsequent revisions, although there are enough differences in the construction of the Star Diamond vehicle to prevent it from being called a direct knockoff.

80311-contentsInside the box, you receive three bags of parts, a folded instruction sheet and a transparent sheet of stickers. Unfortunately, the instructions do not indicate where the stickers should be applied. A builder will need to rely on the box and the small photograph in the instructions to figure out where the stickers should be affixed.

80311-hingeThe parts quality is, quite simply, excellent. The pieces clutch well, and the plastic quality is on par with Lego. It’s hard to explain, but the plastic feels right. The window pieces are bright and clear. The tires are rubbery and have the proper feel to them. The one disappointment that I experienced with the set is this hinge plate. One of the “teeth” on the plate was misshapen due to an insufficient amount of plastic injected into the mold. The part works adequately, but the door that hinges to the plate swings a bit loosely due to the defect.

80311-escortThe escort vehicle is a pretty solid build, The Star Diamond vehicle is four studs wide, while the Lego prisoner transports have a width of six studs. It really doesn’t leave any space for storage of the minifigures’ accessories, but it will accommodate both the police officer and dissident prisoner. You will need to remove the roof in order to seat the figures, though.

80311-minifigs-1Speaking of which, here are those minifigures. The handcuffs on the dissident prisoner are made of a harder plastic than the plastic that Lego uses for its handcuffs. Snapping them on is simple, but removing them was a slightly hairier proposition. There is no back printing on the police officer. The stripes and ID number are duplicated on the back of the dissident prisoner. The hats are a bit larger than I would prefer. They will partially cover the eyes if completely pushed down on the heads.

80311-accessoriesThe handgun appears to be modeled after a Desert Eagle. The radio is more hollow than the Lego radio.

80311-minifigs-2Frowns are apparently characteristic of police officers no matter where you live.

80311-complete-1
“It’s off to the labor camp with you!”

Conclusion

With the exception of one part, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this Star Diamond set. It’s a simple (if somewhat derivative) build that I would have no qualms including with my Lego collection. While prices of Star Diamond sets preclude it from being considered a “budget” brand, potential buyers should know that they are purchasing sets comparable to anything the major brands have produced.

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