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REVIEW: 10184 Town Plan


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#1 Speedy

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 03:45 AM

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I walked into Toys R Us yesterday, knowing full well a couple of Indy sets were half price, as well as the Speed Racer sets  :thumbdown: .  Low and behold, this beauty was on sale.  It's normally 20,000 yen, over $200 U.S, so when I saw it marked down to 10,000 yen... I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I'd been admiring it for a year, but just wasn't willing to put the cash out.  My wife was nice, and put it on her card.  I have to pay her back in a few weeks  :hmpf:

Set#: 10184
Name: Town Plan
Theme: Town
Year: 2008
Pieces: 1981
Minifigs: Octan - Eight in total: Blue Oil, Dark Bluish Gray Legs, Blue Hat, Stubble (10184), Octan - Blue Oil, Dark Blue Legs, Blue Cap (10184), Yellow Flowers - Reddish Brown Ponytail Hair, White Skirt (10184), Chef - White Torso with 8 Buttons, Dark Red Legs, Black Ponytail Hair (10184), Town Vest Formal - Top Hat, Black Vest with Blue Striped Tie, Dark Red Legs, Dark Red Hat, Moustache, Plaid Button Shirt, Light Bluish Gray Legs, Reddish Brown Male Hair (10184), Surfboard on Ocean - Blue Legs, Red Cap, Glasses (10184)
Price: 10,298 yen
MSP: U.S.$149.99, £88,09,


Peeron
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The box
There were three left, none in beautiful condition, but that's the lowest on my list of set requirements, a pristine box.  The cover is a recreation of a set from 50 years ago, featuring the grandson of the founder of TLG.  He's not the most handsome man to stick on a box, but it's appropriate to the theme of the set, a 50's style town.
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The back shows various vignettes of the town in action.  I particularly like the movie theater scenes, and the lighting on it.  It screams of fun.  I like the couple eloping as well.  As a guy who had a town hall marriage, I can relate.
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The sides show the features of the theater and service station respectively.
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The booklets



The Pieces
Wow, what a pile, too much to photograph at once.  There are a few loose plates, but otherwise, everything is put into four numbered groups.
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Once in groups, they look a heck of a lot more manageable.
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There are three long plates, a half plate, and a long piece that is cleverly used for a roof.
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The stickers are hit and miss.  I placed most of them on correctly (I'll get to that when they appear) and have a nice color scheme, and they have a good sense of humor about them.
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Some of the tools need to be punched out of this single piece.  A rarity for me, I don 't recall them being included in any other set I got.
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Build One: The service station
The Octan Oil man.  He's a standard head, and his uniform is simple, but seems appropriate for a fifties worker.
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I'll be showing the build roughly every six steps.  Here you can see the pivot piece is placed, and the counter is being built.  It has an odd selection for sale: apple, banana, croissant.  The tool bench has been built on the left side, with a vice and all.  Nice detailing there.
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A bit in, the garage door has been put in, with a some unique long clear pieces that are able to roll back like a real garage door  :sweet:
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At this point, the walls are basically up.  The front window uses some really interesting SNOT techniques to follow the contours of the window correctly, though it might be hard to replicate in a MOC.  Also, it is semi flat on top so that the roof will be able to be removed.  On the right, the car wash is mostly built, including a loose elastic to keep them in place after a car leaves.
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The roofs are placed, with a nice lip sticking out, and a three color design approximate to the Octan logo.  
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Lastly, the details are put in, the signage, the tools, and a tree.
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From the back, the station is open, and we can see how it looks as it pivots from here to the next picture.
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And voila!
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The car wash includes even a brush for the roof.  This set is all about detailing, isn't it.  Thanks to the plentiful windows, the set is fairly well lit.
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The door to the station is open:  Come in!
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Here we see the garage door opened and sitting along the ceiling.  Again, very nice detailing.
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The roof includes a skylight made of clear pieces.
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This sign uses ridiculous SNOT to make this shape, and it looks great... but they expect me to place a sticker on that  :angry:  If I was resigned to never use those pieces again, I might, but it seems a bit crazy to me, and I'm really disappointed they didn't create an oval plate for this set.
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And here it is, with the sticker, nothing special.
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Here's the car wash in action.  All clean!
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A fair amount of little pieces are left over, nothing I didn't have lots of though.
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Build Two: gas pump, cars, and fountain

Part two has three mini-figs.  Surfer guy, oil truck man, and newspaper reader.  The bodies and two of three heads are new for me (this is only my fourth town set  :sad: ).  I love the stubble on the oil man, and the plaid on the newspaper man.  The surfer is nice too.
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And look at the news!  Again, this set has a certain sense of humor, it's somewhat of meta humor, I guess.
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The gas pumps are simple, but detailed.  There is a special piece on the pump, the nozzle and hose are a single piece.  The stickers are fine, but I forgot to pay attention to where they attach, so mine aren't quite perfectly upright.
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The other special pieces are the metallic tops for the lamps.  They reflect the light beautifully.
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Surfer guy's vehicle is nice, subtly giving a fifties feel.  Little fins on the back are a nice touch.  
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It's boxy, but that's how cars looked back then, didn't they.
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The roof can come off for a summertime convertible  :laugh:
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The oil truck is a slightly more complicated build.  The particularly nice touches are the stripes along the side which call back to the roof of the service station and Octan's colors.  The hood as well really evokes the those early trucks.  
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The back has a spooled pump, but no winch to reel it back when it comes out.
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The fountain is a quick build, making an interesting use of battle droid arms to hold the back up.  The famed gold bricks appear, which may be good in some other MOCs, but are pretty concisely used as a monument to Lego here.  Could this be the reported "New brick in town"?  
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The water is done in a translucent blue to capture a watery feel.  It's a great piece I wish was used more often.
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Here is build two together.  They aren't so great all on their own, but they're an important addition to the set, adding a lot of texture to the town.
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And a melange of leftover pieces.
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<part one of two>

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#2 Speedy

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:06 AM

Build Three: the cinema
The cinema comes with two workers, a lovely lady and a frankly stern looking fellow.  Note the burgundy of their clothes matches the burgundy of the theater.  Great detail!
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The theater has nice tiling, and an interesting use of a hinge to create a 45 degree wall.
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A few steps later, the seats have been put in, the projector is installed, and the refreshment stand is open for business.
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I like the loose pieces used as popcorn, as well as the gumball machine on the right.
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Next, the ticket booth is put in, as well as the coming attractions.
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On the inside, the movie screen is showing tonight's feature.
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Turns out, it's a Western.
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"I need to see some I.D."
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The marquee sign is put together, but unfortunately I'm not going to put stickers over a number of pieces.  Again, the company really should have built special plates to put the stickers on.  That is the major complaint of this set.
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This plate on top is really interesting and useful.  It's a single piece to make up the roof, and it's only loosely locked in, making it easy to remove so you can place mini-figs inside.
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As the roof comes together, you can really see the coloring come to life.  Retro colors, and retro lines.
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And using lots of great SNOT techniques, the cinema sign goes up.
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Again, I can't use the stickers here unless I commit to never taking it apart again  :angry:
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And so it goes, it gets its stickers.
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The marquee stickers make it look a heck of a lot better.
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As do the cinema sign's stickers.  A shame it couldn't have been on flat 2x2 plates.
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Handy rails help keep the public in line.
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I like the catch phrase for this flick.
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I'm not sure I understand the catch phrase here.  I have too many Legos?
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And a shot from the back.  The top isn't so fantastic, but they went all out on the interior.
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And a bunch of leftovers.
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Build Four: town hall
This has the eloping couple.  I like the design, but I don't love it.  The woman doesn't actually have a great 'bride' quality.
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The foundations of the town hall is set.
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The steps and garden are put in.  The flowers here are a little flimsy, and fall off repeatedly.
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Monochromatic tiling  :wub:  It's the little things that make this work.
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The rails are an interesting use of battle droid arms.
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On the inside of the building, potted plants are put in, and a reception desk.  This is the most spartan interior of the three buildings.
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As the roof gets put on, more architectural details surface.  I like the grey over the windows and the inset over the door.
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Here, the columns go in.  The pieces are long individual builds attached SNOT-wise.
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And we're finished, with a lamp and town map added.
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And our happy couple on their special day.  If only he knew what was ahead of him for the next 30 years.
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Apparently, this is where we are.
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And a clean lamp lights the area.
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As mentioned before, a spartan interior.
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And the leftovers.
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The Final Verdict
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Design: 9/10  Even my complaints about stickers don't hurt this set much.  The design is impeccable; the details, the colors, the balance of the whole set.  A perfect set, without stickers.

Build: 10/10 Each building has its own technique and its own things going for it.  It goes a long way to breaking up build fatigue in such a large set.

Playability: 8/10 The service station is great, the theater is great, the vehicles great, but the town hall doesn't do anything.

Minifigures: 9/10 I'm sure most people buying this have mini-figs already, but the set could have thrown in a few more citizens, to buy tickets or watch the movie.  But the figures it does come with are all one of a kind.

Price: 8/10 I got it for about $100, so that's a good deal, but at its MSRP it's quite fair, not too special.  Though a great piece count (1921 pieces),  a lot of those are single studs and tiny bricks.

Overall: 9/10 While I hate to say it's a must have, it kind seems like it is :grin:  I'd been admiring this on the shelf for a year, and nobody else was buying because of the price, but on sale, there was no question of getting it.  A set aimed at adult collectors, heck, they even put an adult on the box!  The design and details would be wasted on a kid.  Go out and get this set if you can find it at the right price since it seems to be out of production.

Kill all humans!
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KILL ALL HUMANS!
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KILL! ALL! HUMANS!
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<taken from the Lego short film, Kill All Humans!>

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#3 Legoliner Pilot

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:30 AM

I got the Town Plan on Saturday and finished it today. It is really a great set to start your town off with and is a great compliment to already good cities. I voted outstanding.

#4 simonwillems

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:14 AM

View Postdef, on Sep 21 2009, 04:45 AM, said:

The gas pumps are simple, but detailed.  There is a special piece on the pump, the nozzle and hose are a single piece.  The stickers are fine, but I forgot to pay attention to where they attach, so mine aren't quite perfectly upright.
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That's an easy fix, especially with freshly applied stickers, here is what you do:

~Warm the piece up by breathing on it
~Place your thumb on the sticker
~Turn the sticker with your thumb, applying some pressure

Worked for me!

:classic:

#5 Rapseflaps

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:28 AM

Good tip. I'll try that next time I screw up one of my stickers.
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#6 Legoist

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:38 AM

Thanks for the excellent and long review!

I think the set has some strengths, particularly in the colours and the overall shapes of the buildings, and although overall I am not very interested, if it came out here on the local Toys'r Us for 100e I'd consider it. Definitely not for the 150e+shipping from S@H.

I noticed from your review that while some of the detailed building techniques are indeed interesting, others are in my opinion a waste of pieces (ex. the gas station sign and glass roof, the blue car...). It's a pity that there are so many 1x1 pieces in all sets nowadays.

#7 Lorentzen

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:46 AM

Thanks for this excellent review :)

I want this set very badly, because it reminds me a lot of "Back to the Future" which I was countless times when I was a kid.
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#8 Zzz

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 12:39 PM

Thanks a lot for the review! Love it. And I like the set also. It is one of these sets that you like a lot, watch it coming and leaving the shelfs, and then you are sad cause you didn't get it. And you got it for a fair price! Which Toys are us have you been to? (I might consider getting it now, for that price..)
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#9 Speedy

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 01:35 PM

View PostZzz, on Sep 21 2009, 08:39 PM, said:

Which Toys are us have you been to?
Japan, but it should go down in price anywhere around this time, the two year mark.  That's one advantage of these expensive sets is that if you wait, you should be able to get a hold on one for a good price per piece rate.

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#10 MetroiD

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 02:12 PM

First of all, nice review, thanks :]

View Postdef, on Sep 21 2009, 04:35 PM, said:

That's one advantage of these expensive sets is that if you wait, you should be able to get a hold on one for a good price per piece rate.

I'm not 100% certain if that still holds true for the Exclusive sets. My guess is different pricing policy in Japan (and sometimes in the US, like the times when the Millenium Falcon was reduced). I can't see the Green Grocer or the Cafe Corner being reduced though, or at least definitely not in Europe, and as far as I can remember, the Market Street sold at regular prices before it was sold out... after which point the prices went through the roof.

So I'd buy the Town Plan now if I get the chance... which I did (110 EUR seemed like a great price to me). Can't wait for it to finally arrive so that I can get my paws on it!

Edited by TheOtters, 21 September 2009 - 02:13 PM.

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#11 Speedy

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:03 PM

View PostTheOtters, on Sep 21 2009, 10:12 PM, said:

I'm not 100% certain if that still holds true for the Exclusive sets. My guess is different pricing policy in Japan (and sometimes in the US, like the times when the Millenium Falcon was reduced). I can't see the Green Grocer or the Cafe Corner being reduced though, or at least definitely not in Europe, and as far as I can remember, the Market Street sold at regular prices before it was sold out... after which point the prices went through the roof.

Buying through Lego, I think it's unpredictable, but a company like Toys R Us always liquidates after a certain time (I worked there for five years, I know!).  It's not guaranteed that something is in stock in your area, or even easy to detect (this set is not listed on their website, though it's still in store).  But, if it's in stock somewhere, they will transfer it to your area for you and give you a call when it arrives.  When I worked there (near 10 years ago) the computer could show the inventory for every store in the country (Canada) and would transfer to and from anywhere.

I'm sure you'd be a pain in the megablocks to do it, but if there is an older set, ask them at the counter what the price is, and what stores are showing inventory, and they could have a great deal for you.  I saw an old Castle set there at new years, maybe four years old labeled at about $50.  I didn't buy it, but years on, it was priced to sell.

I feel like an ad for Toys R Us here.  Their prices are crap, but if you work their system, they have their advantages.  So maybe this isn't on sale in your area, but keep your eyes opened for it  :wink:

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#12 MetroiD

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 07:16 PM

You're not like an ad at all, you're being a source of invaluable info mate, thanks for that.

Problem is, I live in Bulgaria and we don't have Target or Toys-r-us or even official LEGO shops, for that matter. S@H doesn't even ship to Bulgaria :cry_sad: , so we're stuck with a distributor that puts 20% on top of almost each set they try to sell and they would never even consider importing 10*** sets. Fortunately, there's a new LEGO-specialized store which imports sets, but they're still a tad bit overpriced and getting a deal is never an option...

Anyway, sorry for being off topic. Once again, cheers for the review ;)
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#13 prateek

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:15 PM

Great review! I love this set! If I find this at $100 I'd snatch it up too :thumbup:



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