Set Name: Winter Toy Shop
Set Number: 10199
Number of Pieces: 815
Price: $US59.99, $AUD109.99, EUR59.99-69.99, GBP39.15
Year Released: 2009
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, S@H
The last Exclusive release of the year, the 10199 Winter Toy Shop, is a treat for Christmas and Town fans alike! Featuring an all-new tree design, an exclusive minifig head, and lots of wonderfully detailed mini-toys, this set is sure to be the centrepiece of many festive Lego layouts. But is this just a treasure trove of parts or is it destined to be a design classic? Read on and find out!
Mr WhiteFang Esq. requested I review this set, so this one is dedicated to him!
2. Box Art, Parts, Instructions
The front of the box shows the contents of the box in all their glory:
The back of the box shows beautifully detailed set close-ups and all the figs. I really like the wintry night sky - it definitely adds to the mood of a chilly festive eve:
Some close-ups of the action. In this one, the Toymaker picks up a cat by its tail, much to the horror of the little boy outside:
The Toymaker sweats as a glowing orb downloads PDF building instructions for the yellow 8169 Lamborghini Gallardo KP 560-4 directly into his brain:
'I sure hope the quality of yellow bricks has improved!' says an angry TFOL well-versed in hot topics on internet discussion boards:
Jane and John Minifig decide to give Lady Snow-woman realistic mammary glands - look at the way they're holding those 1x1 round white plates!
A beautiful and innocent scene in the wonderful Christmas village... hang on, what's that I see in the bottom corner!
OMG! For Lego box art, this is practically hardcore porn! I'm, not sure I want to know where the female fig's other hand is! You know the old man that gave the girl the present is like 'Heheheh. Score! But just because the box is blue, doesn't mean it's Tiffany inside, darlin'.'
There's just one instruction booklet. Sadly none of the brilliant pics on the box are actually inside the back pages. Boo! I really wish Lego would be more consistent about reproducing unique box art inside the manual. As someone with limited space, who tends to flatpack or toss out boxes, I would much rather keep an archive of the lovely box art somewhere logical like the instructions rather than see 6 pages of ads for sets we've all seen a million times.
A random instruction page, very helpfully showing the Jacki-in-the-Box build, for those who wish to build it at home :
There are 8 bags of parts, unnumbered:
About half of the bags, debagged. You can see how great the selection is - lots of small pieces in a variety of colours, and a good mix of basic bricks and plates, with just a few nice large specialty bricks (like the Belville arch). I love stashes of small, useful parts, especially 1x1 plates. We get those in dark red, red-brown, white, light bley, green, tan and dark tan alone! (close up pic here)
The rest of the parts. Ye shall never want for green plates again!
Pieces of interest include dark red curved bricks, black windows, lots of dark tan tiles, the round-ended white Technic pieces used as turbine tips in the 4999 Vestas set, yellow light sabres, trans-clear globes for the lamp, and the yellow Belville snowflake (unique to this set). My two personal faves are the bley double-sided inverse slope (so cute! I have an irrational love of that mould from its use in the Adventurers Egyptian sets for Anubis heads), and after the non-printed abomination in the 7637 Farm set, it's nice to see kitty return with eyes and whiskers!
We also have 4 classic pine trees, 2 of the the larger black 3 high windows, 2 purple light saber blades, 1 Belville arch, and the rope which can hold attachable clips:
All in all, a great selection of parts in useful colours, with nothing really out of place and some unique pieces.
The figs are a mixed bag. There are a lot of unprinted torsos and the same old heads, but some nice surprises as well, such as getting three female figs and three different colours of short leg (tan, purple, and navy blue). The saving grace is really the new 'O' is for 'Orgasm' face as seen in these two carollers. Also note the lady caroller has a lined cape (made by simply putting 2 capes on back to back):
We get 2 more generic civilians, but at least the Toymaker has the double-printed Farm torso:
And 2 skiers! You can see the little girl is a bit of a princess - her ski poles match her pants colour! I do like that tan hairpiece, too, since I never bought the 7627 Rogue Shadow or 8401 City Minifig Collection:
I wasn't expecting great things from the figs, but they are much better than I thought they'd be, with 1 new head and a colourful variety of pieces and accessories (eg 2 red neckerchiefs, different coloured ski poles etc). They are certainly better than the limited selection for the 10196 Carousel, at any rate , and better than most Advent calendars with their pattern of 1 chef, 1 fig from each Emergency theme, and a token female.
4. The Build I - The Great Outdoors
The first stage of the build is the outdoor seating area and snowman. It is interesting to see how the parkbench design has been tweaked - notice the 4x tap parts underneath to give it a bit more stability and an improved appearance? The white plate also holds 9 1x1 round white plates to act as snowballs! The snowman is OK, with the clip piece as a scarf an inspired design choice, but I don't know about the antennae for arms. It feels a little small compared to some of the Advent snow-beings. Still, this is a nice little vignette:
The lamps are beautifully designed and hold together well - a brilliant and simple technique!
The build so far! Already we have an impressive and rich wintry festive scene! You can see that the snowfight has already started!
5. The Build II - Tree, Ladder & Presents
Next up, we build the large tree and its surrounds.
The tree is built up of rotating green boughs over a central axle. Here's the axle section and base:
Here are the green bough sections, which are placed on top of each other at 90 degree turns to give a more organic look:
The completed tree is lush and leafy:
This sturdy ladder allows minifigs to climb up and hang decorations:
Now where have I seen this before? The Jack-in-the-Box design which kickstarted my 21 days of different avatars (I was intending for 24 but then Mystery Castle 2 started One day I'll post them all! ):
The teddy bear holding a flower and a gift-wrapped box:
Electric lights to hang on the tree - and yes, they are as prone to twisting and tangling as the real thing :
A little scene with all these elements together. Again, this makes a lovely standalone small vignette:
6. The Build III - Toy Shop
Now, to the largest part of the set - the Toy Shop itself! I avoided spoiler pics on S@H, other reviews, and in the instructions before building, so I was pleasantly surprised by the level of detail in the interior, such as the tiled floor and the chunky chimney. Here's a build shot up until the halfway mark, showing how the toys inside can be glimpsed inside through the frosty glass. Notice also the green stained glass above the door:
From behind, the dark tan floor is very nice and really adds a level of polish to the interior:
A close-up of the toys - a Train Tech special and a jetpack robot!
The unique decorative detail above the windows is formed via a somewhat complicated Technic assembly to which white roof plates are later attached so that they can be at right angles to each other. To be honest, I'm not sure it entirely works Sure, it's clever technique, but it's a touch too clever for such a small building - it takes up valuable space where a nice attic could have been included, for example. I would have much preferred proper roof slopes and a brick build rather than this not-particularly attractive and somewhat complicated approach. If it meant losing the dark bley Technic liftarm decorative detail, fine - it looks somewhat grim in dark bley anyway. (The small tower roof uses a similar but scaled down technique.) Here is the Technic frame which the roof attaches to:
And in position:
Two cleverly built curved walls are designed to fit underneath the Belville arch to form a continuous wall - they are attached by clips and bricks with bars in a method also familiar to anyone who has built the 10197 Fire Brigade. I assume the designer of that set, Jamie Berard, was involved with the 10199, either as principal designer (or at least doing a design pass) - since he is a new member here at EB perhaps he can tell us I do like this clever technique a lot more than the roof design
Voila! The completed Toy Shop!
Some alternate views:
The interior reveals the little workshop above the ground floor where the Toymaker bangs away at his creations. The ladder providing access to the ground floor is just the kind of touch AFOLs adore:
Here is the Toymaker's work bench and his latest creation:
My favourite detail is the blocky stone chimney - note the top vents are rotated at a jaunty angle to the rest of the chimney This is a really authentic-looking and lovely design:
This shows the set with the light-up brick activated - it certainly has a bright glow! It needs to be held down, but it isn't too hard to build a workaround to hold it in place - I presume it is designed this way to minimise battery usage. However for a permanent Christmas display, AFOLs might want to rig up something more permanent. Does anyone know what the standard battery life of these PF bricks is?
7. The Complete Set
All the parts of the set can now be integrated:
(Click here for an 1024 wide version)
The Toymaker attaches a carrot nose to the snowman:
This woman is helping decorate the lovely tree:
These carollers sing a tune whilst the white cat plays with the Xmas lights:
And inside the Toy Shop, a girl picks out a teddy bear as the Toymaker smiles benevolently from above:
I think one of the best aspects about this set is its potential for expansion and recombination. Click on the pic below to check out my 10193 Medieval Market Village/ 10199 Winter Toy Shop mash-up! I can imagine whole Christmassy villages built in such a style, with a mix of small shops and houses. I really anticipate seeing what the AFOL community comes up with in the lead-up to December 25 - I am sure there will be some impressive creations!
Spare parts are the usual mix of extra tiles, antennae and 1x1 round plates, as well as an extra 3-long length of tubing for the Jack-in-the-Box build:
8. Overall Rating
Minifigs - Many great parts and accessories to match - much better than I expected. 8/10.
Playability - Lots of figs and small items, and a lot of room for posabilityand customisation - 8/10
Design - Despite the claim on S@H that this fits a 10184 Town Plan layout, it doesn't really. The style of build is very different, and this feels more like a Gingerbread House than a 1950s service station or cinema Where this set really excels is in the fabulous Christmas tree, and the small details such as the train, Jack in the box and other toys. The shop itself is quite nice, but made up of maybe a little too many colours and with some fussy techniques such as the roof plates, where simple slopes would have been better. 7.5/10.
Parts - A great parts pack for small pieces and green plates, although I think the final Toy Shop has a little too much going on, palette-wise. 8/10.
Price - Great value if you're in the UK or US - not so much if you're anywhere else. This is at least $AUD10 too expensive, perhaps more. In comparison, the 10193 Medieval Market Village is $US40 more than this set, but in Australia the price difference between the two is also $40AUD , making the 10193 a much better proposition. We're used to getting more value from S@H Exclusives, not less. At least keeping it under $AUD would have felt a bit more comfortable. 6/10.
Final rating: A solid 8/10. A definite must-have for any AFOL's Christmas layout!
Thanks for reading!
Edited by Rick, 24 October 2011 - 06:55 PM.