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Review: 8403 Family Home

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (118 member(s) have cast votes)

8403 Family Home

  1. Poor (4 votes [3.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.39%

  2. Below Average (5 votes [4.24%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.24%

  3. Average (33 votes [27.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.97%

  4. Above Average (46 votes [38.98%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.98%

  5. Outstanding (30 votes [25.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.42%

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#1 Rufus


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:19 PM


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It seems the trend of mini-modular houses, which we first saw in last year's 7633 Construction Site and 7641 City Corner is set to continue.  It is also nice to see the return to Lego City of the humble dwelling, which of late seems to have been farmed off to the minifigure-less Creator line; let's take a good first look at this brand-new offering from Lego City.

Official picture courtesy of Brickset:

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Name:  Family Home
Number:  8403
Theme:  City
Year:  2010
Parts:  382
Minfigs:  3 (+ 1 canine)
Price:  £29.99 from Smyths Toys

Shop@Home Says:
Nothing Yet!  8403 is not yet listed on any of the dozen or so countries I tried.

Links  ...   Brickset   ...   Bricklink

The Box - Front

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It looks like the blue-outline City box is here to stay.  This one shows a nice diorama of the house against a faux-town background, laid out American-style in blocks.  It's quite a large box for the price, measuring W 478 x H 280 x D 60 mm, or exactly the same size as the heavier (and £5 more expensive) 7937 Train Station.


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It's a fairly busy rear, and again in keeping with recent city sets, shows off the modular construction and many play features.  But Hey! can you spot what's NOT there?  It won't be sadly missed, I'm sure!  :wink:

It's worth zooming closer in on the bottom right panel:

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Here we see the modular construction at work - sections of both 7633 and 7641 can be interspersed with floors from 8403, in some sort of mix-and-match building experiment which to my eyes doesn't look too successful.

What might be an advantage, if Lego chooses to continue this line, is that streets can be built up relatively cheaply, without having to save up for the Cafe Corner/Greengrocer line.

The long top features a spread-out view of the figures:

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The grey triangle at the dog's feet is the apex of the gable of the house, where it has 'carried over' from the front.


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Out of the box fall four numbered bags, a green baseplate (16x32), three large dark bley plates (6x16), a small sticker sheet and a single instruction manual.


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If you compare the instruction cover to the box front, you'll notice it's (relatively) taller, so there is room for the whole house to fit on.

The instructions are simple, with only about 2-4 parts per step, no call-outs, and easy colour differentiation:

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You'll notice we're already on step 25 - and page 44 - and still only on bag number 2.

There the usual parts inventory, which we've come to expect (picture is link to Hires):

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There's an error in the inventory - there is only one of the flower sprue:

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Otherwise, there are adverts for other City Sets, and the Airport line, and the back page again invites you to Win! Gewinne! Gagne!

Decal Sticker Sheet

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The small sticker sheet features two solar panels, the house number, and the sun-city designs that would adorn the skateboard, if I had a mind to apply them.  The solar panels are nice, though I wonder if the same effect could have been achieved with bricks (eg. grille tiles).

The Parts

Bags 1 and 2 make up the 'ground' floor of the house, the garden features, and the figures:

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Parts of note include three half-arches in dark brown, and eight 2x4 tiles in bley.  It's nice also to get a tree.  The only printed parts in these bags (figures aside) are an 'error-message' computer screen and a letter.

Bags 3 and 4 contain parts for the upper two floors:

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Of note here are the four 'Prince of Persia' arches in white, and two more 2x4 tiles, this time in black.  The two printed parts we'll come to later.

Leftovers after building:

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No surprises here.  Why do they put 4 flowers on a sprue, when there are only three stalks?

The Figures

We get three figures and a dog, clearly representing a happy family:

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The kid sports a freckly smiling face, and a hairstyle just like his dad's, but ... ginger?  My knowledge of gentics must be a little flawed.  Or he's adopted.  Note he also wears the Hoodie torso first seen in January's 3177 Small Car.  Dad (whose head print I don't recall seeing before) has a manly Weekend Beard (I approve of that!), and a torso widely available on LDD, last time I looked; Mum has a star-spanlged sunvest that I don't think suits her look, sporting as she does EVIL HAIR.

And from the back:

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There is printing on mum's and son's torsos only.  None of the figures have reversible heads.

The Build

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We start with what I'll optimistically call 'the basement' - an area which serves to raise the ground by a brick.  Notice that there are two 6x8 plates used here, when I'd have though a fourth 6x16 plate would have done the trick.  Still, I'll be an old man before I stop asking why these things happen.

Next, we build the ground floor:

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Construction is extremely simple at every stage, and is helped by the wall panels and large window pieces.  Note the yellow 2x1 brick with side studs:  this holds a computer screen on the inside, possibly representing a burglar alarm or thermostat or other home gadget, and the tile for the house number on the outside.

The awning is completed neatly from eight 4x1 bow pieces.  

Looking inside, we can see some furnishings, which define this room as a kitchen/diner:

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I love the simple sink and oven.  Note how the grille tiles on the studs beneath look just like a hob.  Genius!

The ground floor is finished off by adding the garden features:

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We have a tree-house, some picket fence, a green recycling bin and mailbox.  The lamppost upholds the latest modern design, like City Corner, and will give our streetlamp repair truck some more work to do.  Fire hydrants too are in this season, and judging by the heavy Fire presence in Studsville they'll be needed.  Plus it'll give Pooch somewhere to go.

The sun-lounger deserves special mention:

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Nice!  Just five pieces.  The black wheel-arch contrives to sit at an angle, allowing the occupant to relax back and soak up the rays.  It doesn't attach to the ground like this though, and is meant to sit loosely on the studs of the veranda.

The First Floor is designed as a lounge area.  Construction is very similar to the ground floor, but with a second window pane instead of the door.  Note the two 1x8 plates with a brick-wide extension which serve as handy guttering; praise here for the imaginitive use of pieces.

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Here, the furniture consists of a sofa, a table/lamp and a chair replete with glasses; there is also a computer station.

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The computer with its printed tiles deserves a closer look:

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We've seen the 'error-message' computer screen both downstairs in this house, and also in the limo of this year's Helicopter/Limousine set, and the yellow truck; however, I for one haven't seen this computer keyboard before.  If you look closely, you can make out the QWERTY keyboard, each key printed!  Nice touch.  I'm sure EB members will be quick to point out if it has featured elsewhere.

The Attic floor is a slightly more interesting build, having lots of dark bley roof parts:

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A small bed and another table lamp are the only furniture in this rather cramped space.  The solar panels consist of the two black 2x4 tiles arrached via hinges.  I'm not sure where the fireplace is that feeds that chimney; perhaps it's in the missing 'back' of the house.  :wink:

The Complete Set

Here we have it: a three-storey town house, complete with basement (beware low headroom); patio, with sun-lounger and awning; picket fence, tree house and a garden wall with an arch leading who knows where (possible a parallel dimension in which all houses have a rear wall):

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Our Happy Family enjoy the balmy summer: Dad teases Pooch with a saveloy; Mum carries a letter that she keeps forgetting to post; son Ginger annoys the world on his skateboard.  (Funny how every Lego kid has a skateboard?  Must be something to do with the Skateboard shop only a short ride away on the 244 bus.)

Thoughts on the house itself:  it's an interesting mix of styles; the overall shape would fit nicely in a town centre in the UK, but the modern full-length windows give it rather a European look, at least to my eyes.  The side garden is perhaps a bit of a clash: you'd expect this to be a terraced house, with a back garden; still, it wouldn't be too much trouble to MOD it to your liking.

The side profile is narrow, as you might expect given this is actually half a house:

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This angle shows off the pleasing effect of the PoP arches under the guttering.

Let's take a tour of the features:

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Dad has a cuppa at the kitchen table, whilst Mum obeys the old stereotype by washing up a frying pan.

Later, Dad relaxes on the sofa, sipping a glass of wine, whilst Mum surfs the internet and Ginger pretends to be asleep:

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Mum:  'Darling, which of these pairs of shoes should I buy, the red ones or the gold ones?'
Dad:  'Sssh, Love, I'm trying to watch the World Cup Final*.'
Mum:  'I know, I shall buy both.'

* NB. TV not included in set (it might be in the imaginary rear half.)

Earlier, they had enjoyed a relaxing day in the garden ....

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Mum soaks up the sun; Dad undercooks the sausage and Ginge spies on the neighbours in the treehouse (though I'm not sure how he got up there).

A note to UK readers:  that sausage on a fork strongly reminds me of this:

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For the uninitiated:  Grange Hill was a TV drama about a dysfunctional (ie ordinary) secondary school in North East London that ran in the 80s and 90s; the earlier shows featured a 'comic strip' opening sequence and the infamous flying sausage above.

Finally, Mum remembers to post the letter:

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... but in her own mailbox..?  


There you have it, a run-through of the latest offering in the City range.  Personally, I'm delighted at the appearance of a new family home; non action-based sets don't come around very often, though I suppose they are necessary as somewhere for fires to start, and for burglars to burgle.  I'm also pleased to see the continuance of the mini-modular building range, which despite its flaws and incomplete look does allow for inexpensive town expansion.  Lastly, the addition of well-designed furniture is likely to be very well-received.

Design:  8/10  Despite its mix of styles, this is an attractive house.  To me it's somewhat reminiscent of a mini-modular rendition of the classic 80s Holiday Home, and if you're tight on space, it has all the housey features with a reasonably small footprint.  I'd rather spend a little more and get a 'complete' house, with a back wall, but at least the open back keeps the price down.

Build:  6/10  There isn't much for the AFOL in the build: it's big blocks and 6x1 brick on 6x1 brick all the way, although the furniture and in particular the sun-lounger brought a smile to my face.

Parts:  6/10  As a source of white blocks and grey roof tiles, this could be useful, but I don't think you'd necessarily buy this set for the parts, unless it's to add extra floors in the new mini-modular building craze the box predicts.

Minifigs:  7/10  These are nice figures; despite what I said about Dad's torso, I owned neither his nor Mum's before I bought this set, and I think Dad's head may be new (again, I'm more than happy to be corrected here).  I'm also a little tired of the men's haircut, which seems to be very much the fashion, but it's nice to see it in ginger.  I appreciate the dog - it's only my second - but a different colour would be nice.  Maybe a black labrador?

Playability:  9/10  Nearly full marks here; there is lots of scope for arranging the figures to do interesting things; I had quite a lot of fun taking the photos for this review.  There is also plenty of opportunity for integration with other sets, whether to expand a display or to give the other sets a focus: the bus has somewhere to go; the lamppost repairman has another lamppost to worry about; the fire and police finally have citizens to protect.  However, I daresay this is a set that will appeal more to city-building AFOLs or FFOLs that you average 10-year-old boy.

Price:  8/10  This is reasonable value for £30; it certainly feels like you're getting a lot for your money, and I suspect some will buy a few of these to make a little street scene.

Overall:   73%.  I'm not sure the score does it justice.  I actually really like this set; I thouroughly enjoyed building it (and especially enjoyed reviewing it), and it felt - like with City Corner - a refreshing change.  I do hope Lego continues with the mini-modular line, and brings us more places for the City residents actually to live.

I hope you enjoyed the review.  Comments and criticisms, as ever, welcome; please do let me know your thoughts on the set.


To finish, there are consequences to spying on the attractive and scantily-clad neighbours:

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Edited by Rufus, 13 July 2010 - 11:23 PM.

#2 Iain


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:29 PM

Great review - this is a very nice set, I would have loved this when I was 10 but I'm not sure yet if I will add it to my collection.

Some of the details in the review and the close ups are excellent so many thanks for posting

#3 Rick


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:45 PM

Charming little house with lots of nice details. Excellent and entertaining presentation Rufus, but there is a reason you carry that gold batch. :classic:

#4 Mr. Elijah Timms

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:52 PM

Wow-- great review!  Certainly seems like a great set and then some.  Anyone have a confirmed USD$ price?

I too was confused with the non-matching kid when the set was first leaked, but looking at it now I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a conscious decision by Lego to promote adoption;  They very much seem to take a forward thinking response on these socially responsible issues, and in the very same set we're seeing the solar panels being introduced as well, perhaps to not-so-subtly encourage wise energy usage in children and families.  Surely they could have included black hair for the kid but did not;  I don't see it as an accident or after-thought.  At that rate, good for TLG.


#5 greenmtvince


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 08:30 PM

Regards to the genetic oddity of the kid, perhaps it's a designer in joke: the kid is the proverbial "red-headed stepchild."   :laugh:

#6 prateek


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 08:44 PM

Great review. This set is okay, but as you said, it's good that Lego is stepping away from action themes a bit.

#7 Plastemaurer


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 08:55 PM

Great review and an interesting set.

Btw. the 1x2 keyboard tile is also featured in 10213 "Shuttle Adventure".

This post was added only to increase my postcount.
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#8 Derek


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 08:59 PM

Thanks a lot for this review! It's very detailed and thorough and will definitely be a deciding factor when I eventually contemplate buying this set.

The set looks nice, but has that missing "Wow!" factor that it had the potential to have. This type of set has been long awaited for the City line and it is slightly disappointing.  :sceptic:  

View PostRufus, on 12 July 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

I think Dad's head may be new (again, I'm more than happy to be corrected here).

That head has been in 55+ ( *oh2* !) sets since 2005 according to Bricklink.  :tongue:

I'm really getting sick of it...Lego has shown us they can make some very nice face prints with the Collectible minifigure series- I just don't understand why they can't add some of that variety to their actual sets... :hmpf:

View PostIgnited_Impulse, on 20 September 2010 - 01:51 AM, said:

Dude, you've got a Final Fantasy sig and you're on a lego forum....arguing about elves. Try not to think you're some cool guy because you don't play D&D
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#9 Sisco


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for the review! For one, I'm excited about this set. It's one that city builders have certainly been waiting for. I know I have, seeing as I'm starting work on my city.
As for the kid with the red hair, think about genetics for a moment. Maybe one of his Grandparents had red hair? Great grandparents? Maybe he dyed it red?
Maybe it's one of the designer's kids.
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#10 Rufus


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the comments!

View PostRick, on 12 July 2010 - 07:45 PM, said:

Charming little house with lots of nice details.
'Charming' is the word.  I wish I'd thought of that!

View PostMr. Elijah Timms, on 12 July 2010 - 07:52 PM, said:

I too was confused with the non-matching kid when the set was first leaked, but looking at it now I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a conscious decision by Lego to promote adoption;  They very much seem to take a forward thinking response on these socially responsible issues, and in the very same set we're seeing the solar panels being introduced as well, perhaps to not-so-subtly encourage wise energy usage in children and families.  Surely they could have included black hair for the kid but did not;  I don't see it as an accident or after-thought.  At that rate, good for TLG.

View Postcralegoboy, on 12 July 2010 - 09:11 PM, said:

As for the kid with the red hair, think about genetics for a moment. Maybe one of his Grandparents had red hair? Great grandparents? Maybe he dyed it red?
Maybe it's one of the designer's kids.
It is an interesting move, but I'm sure it was only done for variety.  I doubt the target market will care, or even notice the hair colour oddity  :laugh:  They might, however, ask their parents about solar panels.

It's also possible Mum has dyed her hair black.  Personally, I suspect she's wearing a wig :wink:

View PostPlastemaurer, on 12 July 2010 - 08:55 PM, said:

Btw. the 1x2 keyboard tile is also featured in 10213 "Shuttle Adventure".
Thanks for the info!

View Postdarthperson, on 12 July 2010 - 08:59 PM, said:

That head has been in 55+ ( *oh2* !) sets since 2005 according to Bricklink.  :tongue:
:oh:   *oh2*

#11 lightningtiger


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the review 'Rufus' - what a sweet build ! :grin:
I feel it's a blend of panel and brick build, also I agree the sun bed is AWESOME - I see lots of these now popping up in heaps of MOC's in future. :grin:
An old school connection setup for the solar panels with the hinges and a very castle/pirate inspired tree house/fort  - COOL !
I can'r wait for this one to be available in Oz !
I feel that little space up stairs along side the bedroom could be turned into half of a bathroom - what do you think ?
Thanks again 'Rufus' and keep on bricking everyone ! :sweet:

#12 wooootles


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 11:19 PM

Wow @the details they were able to pack into that tight floor area.  The interior bits are just great.

As a town collector, I'd be stupid not to snag one of these, even if I don't fool around much with 'classic' style anymore.  It's just a nice set with great/new pieces.

#13 TheWarden


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:50 AM

I haven't bought a Town set in probably 15 years.... and I really, really want this one.

I think that speaks volumes. Not sure exactly what appeals to me, but it's cute, picturesque, a decent size and variety of bricks, landscape, fun. It just has a lot of homeliness.

Outta words. I really like it and hope to pick it up.
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#14 TheBrickster


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:56 AM

Outstanding review Rufus! - Great high-quality images.  I think this definitely deserves some front-page attention!  Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

EDIT: this quaint little home really has some Classic Town charm.

In looking at your rating, I think 73% is a low overall rating.  Maybe if you added an additional factor, "Classic Town Charm" and rate PARTS a little higher, it would boost the score to the 80s.  I think it deserves much higher.


A tree house, green trash can, fire hydrant, mail box, all in the same set!  How cool is that? :wub:

#15 Svelte


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 02:25 AM

Thanks for a brilliantly funny and crystal clear review of this much-anticipated set, Rufus! :wub: Like others, I really want to love this set but it just lacks that :oh: factor which would kick it into the next level. I think we've just been spoiled with too many beautiful Creator Houses and Modular Buildings. If they'd expanded the Apple Tree House with its lovely dark blue roof and tan windows, given it figs and a proper interior, and included some of the play features like the treehouse, I probably would be a zillion more times thrilled.

As it is... I'm trying to pinpoint my lack of enthusiasm and it's really down to the colour scheme. Red, white and bley is too prevalent everywhere else in LEGO City to really say 'suburban dwelling' to me. It's especially clear in that modular pic from the back of the box which shows how roughly interchangeable they all are:

Posted Image

Fire station? Hospital? Pizzeria? Shopping centre? Townhouse? They all kind of look the same. Rather than worrying about Ginger's genetic heritage, I'd be more concerned about getting an architect for LEGO City who wasn't colour-blind. I like the idea of a modular system, I really do, but the expression needs refinement.

Thanks again for a very enjoyable review Posted Image

#16 jonwil


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 02:57 AM

Thanks for the review.
This has sealed the deal for me and I WILL be buying this set when it hits .au :)

#17 dabulls03


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:01 AM

Excellent review 'Rufus.'
A agree with Svelte about the dull color scheme. Anything but bley, white and red. Overall it is a nice set that stands out from the usual City line up. I can't say that I'll pick it up though, as I don't collect City sets.

As for the genetic confusion, I believe it is possible for two parents with dark hair to have a child with red hair, as long as both the parents have a recessive red hair gene, and they both pass that gene on to their child. :classic:

Also the QWERTY keyboard has been featured in numerous City sets in the early 2000's and late 1990's. I remember one of the first Police HQs featuring several of the printed tiles.
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#18 Jargo


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:20 AM

View PostRufus, on 12 July 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

Posted Image
Of note here are the four 'Prince of Persia' arches in white, and two more 2x4 tiles, this time in white.

White? Black surely. Hate to be a pedant but in your otherwise great review that stuck out like a Megablok minifigure.

#19 KielDaMan


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:40 AM

Magnificent review Rufus! Excellent presentation and crisp-clear pictures. Posted Image

Onto the set: I like this one since we're getting once again a civilian set which TLG has been giving us lately. It's always nice to get a whole set of family (plus a dog), and the small details of the house (couch, computer, solar panels, bbq, etc.) are surprisingly nice. But what I don't like is how the house was built, it's kinda cramped and too tall. Maybe they should have just done something like the Beach house which is aesthetically better IMO.

#20 SWfanny


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:13 AM

NICCCCCCCCCCCCCE review though Rufus :thumbup:

Just saying, but this set is too easy to build and the pieces are not too much... NOT GOING TO BUY if the minifigs were old to me! :cry_happy:  of course, it is a great hit if the building was not single sided! :hmpf_bad: That is why a really like Creator structures.Although it is not bad for me to make SM animations! :laugh:

Edited by SWfanny, 13 July 2010 - 04:13 AM.

#21 def


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:14 AM

This is a fantastic review, you really are a master reviewer!

I like the look of this set, but I may pass.  I prefer the Creator houses, and was a little disappointed by the City Corner set.  Depends on the price when it comes out around here.


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#22 Batbrick


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:57 AM

Fantastic review Rufus. I love the series of Creator houses, but the recent ones, while great, haven't captured my interest, mainly because of the window and door colours as well as that of the main bricks. With that said, while I won't be buying this one for the same reasons, I really do like the look of it. The white and red, and blue overhang works nicely, and the garden additions such as the barbeque and lay-back chair are quite neat ones I'll have to steal.

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#23 Cardinal Brick

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:06 AM

Excellent review Rufus, I really like this set and I think that the price is fair and like you I might get one or two of these to help fill out my own Lego city.

Can I ask where you got it from as I've yet to see it about yet?
Posted Image    Posted Image

#24 Anio


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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:17 AM

The review show the model very well.
But I totaly disagree with Rufus.

IMO, this is a very very poor set.
The home is very very ugly. As it is too blocky and white, it is sad.  :sceptic:
Design : 4

The build is even more poor. Only block bricks. No SNOT etc. In short, nothing impressive. :hmpf:
Building : 3

There are many small interesting parts. IMO, all the white bricks are not very interesting.
Inventory : 6

The minifigs are ok.
Minifigs : 7

I think the playability is quite good. Same for the price.
Playability and Price : 8

The model is IMO not attractive. TLG already has released homes which are much better than this one.
Overall : 5.

PS : the overall mark as an average of the previous criterions doesn't make sens.
IMO, the overall mark must be used by the reviewer to valuate his final feeling on the model.

#25 WhiteFang


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    Posts: 17046
    Joined: 31-December 07
    Member: 2351
    Country: Singapore

Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:18 AM

Thanks Rufus. I am so glad you have choose to do this review.  :wub:

I know many don't like the simplicity or the open-back concept but this whole design and idea is the essence of Classic Town spirit in certain aspects. I will love to have a few of these and change the colour scheme for some of the houses and you are ready to own a whole residential street of such houses. I think this is a great set for my taste. It comes with a nice furbished interior and the cute little tree house at the garden is also just lovely. I am looking forward to get mine once it's here.

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