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REVIEW: 7533 2011 City Advent Calendar


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Poll: REVIEW: 7533 2011 City Advent Calendar (40 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you rate this set?

  1. Poor (8 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  2. Below Average (14 votes [35.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.00%

  3. Average (8 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  4. Above Average (6 votes [15.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.00%

  5. Outstanding (4 votes [10.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.00%

Is this advent calendar better than the 2010 one?

  1. Yes (7 votes [17.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.50%

  2. No (24 votes [60.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 60.00%

  3. They are equally good/bad (9 votes [22.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.50%

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#1 SilentMode

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:00 PM

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This is the Mode, coming out of a community hiatus with another review. I will try to keep this one clean and relatively quirk-free, but no promises.

Previously on Lego City: Advent Calendar Chronicles... We followed the trials and tribulations of a family on British welfare, living in a quiet house in the suburbs, whose youngest child Timmy was about to celebrate a psychedelic, sausage-aroma filled Christmas. This year we're venturing further into the woods, taking a more relaxed and wholesome adventure with the winter police.

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2011 City Advent Calendar
Set 7553
# of pieces: 232
# of minifigs: 6
RRP: GBP 17.99 / USD 34.99

Links: Brickset

I was in Bluewater minding my own business, when I suddenly spotted this set on the shelves of the Lego store. Thinking it's a bit early to have an advent calendar released, I decided to find out what exactly was inside. My initial concern was with the weight of the box: for £17.99 it felt a bit too light.

The Box
Back of the box, encouraging all the kids who receive this set to add a few more items to their Santa list.

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On one of the sides of the box: some information to appease those concerned about Chinese plastic.

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Pointing out the obvious.

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As with the previous year's advent calendars, the parts list is a literal collection of all the parts in the box, with no numbers and much smoother renditions.

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Undo the tape at the sides of the box, and it expands into the calendar and a small wintery play/display area. You'll notice there are a couple of spots for some of the things we'll be building.

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The Contents
For the benefit of anyone wanting the day order to remain a surprise, look away now...
Spoiler

All right, here's what you get inside the calendar.

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A customary Christmas tree. I'm pretty sure this one is smaller than the one in last year's City calendar, but it's another chance to get hold of an increasingly uncommon green cone.

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A makeshift camp fire, complete with a Pearl Dark Grey Metallic Silver fish suspended on a whip. As I found out later, the whip is probably meant to represent a fishing rod, rather than something to cook the fish with.

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Two simple snowmobiles, same build with exactly the same kinds of parts. One is in orange/grey, the other is blue/white.

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A sled to go with the blue/white snowmobile, complete with a large crate. What will go in it?

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A tiny catapult that launches "snowballs", this year represented by white round bricks. A similar model was in the Kingdoms advent calendar last year, I think.

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For the police station, two kinds of desk. One is for your hard-at-work pencil pusher; the other seems to be an investigative desk of some kind.

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A special delivery for the potential skateboarder in this year's City minifigure set - you know, the expensive one with the green bike and yellow construction hats.

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A very ingenious model of a safe: this one uses two small crates for both the walls and shelf, with a 2x4 plate serving as a door that clips on. You'll be pleased to know the gold bars are of the shiny (but sadly not chrome) type.

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Up in the mountains, where the terrain is slippery and the criminals aren't afraid to go off-road, there's only one vehicle that will do the job all year round: an electric police buggy golf cart car. More seriously this comes in three parts.

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Probably the headline model in the calendar is of this façade of a mountain police station. This comes in four interlocking parts, each representing a wall.

The Minifigures
There are six minifigures in total in the calendar, as mentioned above, and here they are.

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The first of two criminals in the set, nicknamed "Scarf" McWolf. He comes equipped with a snowball, initially mistaken for a Thermos. It's great to get hold of the grey jacket criminal torso.

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The second criminal, nicknamed stupid dead sheep shoes Duggins. He comes with a red crowbar and itchy fingers.

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The first of two policemen: this one is Jim. Jim's had an easy life so far, what with there usually being nothing to do and nobody to go after. Unfortunately his world is about to be turned upside down this Christmas.

In fact, things have gotten so bad in these parts, they've sent in the best of the best:

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This guy clearly doesn't take any you-know-what.

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This minifigure is a little special. Not only does he have a unique torso akin to the S5 Snowboarder, but the hood headpiece has a more detailed decoration than usual. Although he's pictured on the box with the makeshift rod and fish, he comes with an axe.

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You also get Jim's faithful police dog to keep him company. They (Lego) were even kind enough to give him a bone.

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Last but not least, a Santa Claus/Father Christmas figure - similar to last year's City clothed variety. He comes with a criminal's sack, filled with green and blue 1x2 tiles, and his own brand of fireplace.

Fun with the set

Using the lid from the box, I had a go at creating a scene using the models and figures in the set. I managed to incorporate everything except the desks.

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Spare parts
After building everything, we're left with this rather generous selection of spare parts:

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The verdict
I don't usually buy sets these days, and even though I'm a Town/City fan I wasn't overly excited about the Police theme in the advent calendar. But I think as a whole it has a good selection. Even if you don't like the models provided, there's a good choice of parts to use in your own creations. The highlight of the set for me is the hoodie minifigure, which stands out visibly from the rest of the set and looks the most desirable. I'm not sure what his actual role is, but I'll probably find myself collecting a few of those torsos. The safe and the police dog are also great.
I think the price point is slightly high, even though it's priced less than last year's calendar (at GBP 24.99), but I suppose it's justified when taking packaging into account. It might be worth grabbing one of these closer to the big day, hopefully when they're discounted.

Design: 8/10
Some rather good models for the number of pieces used. I'm not sure the skateboarder parts fit the Police theme, and it would have been something to see different heads (other than the stereotypical ones) used for the criminals.

Build: 8/10
No detailed instructions - just a picture of the assembled model at the back of each door - but everything's easy to build.

Parts: 8/10
A few hard to come by pieces (probably more so than the last City calendar) scattered among a number of useful parts.

Playability: 6/10
Probably the most playable aspects of the set are the snowmobiles. There's not much you can do with the rest without incorporating them into other sets or MOCs. At least there are six minifigures and a dog, however.

Price: 8/10
Less expensive than last year's offering at retail price. Taking the box into account, it's a similar price for another City set with the same number of pieces.

Based on these scores I'd give this set an 8/10.

Merry Christmas!

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As a side note...

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This is how the dog came packaged. I am not making this up.

Edited by SilentMode, 27 November 2011 - 12:28 PM.
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#2 Nightshroud99

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:16 PM

Ahaha funny review! I especially like Inspector Buford  :laugh: Seems, like a decent advent calendar. I will pick this one up.  :classic:
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#3 lightningtiger

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:40 PM

Excellent review with a touch of humour 'SilentMode', pity the set wasn't better.....sorry but un-inspired it makes this tiger ! :hmpf_bad:
The tree, meh...the police station....please lets hope next years forest police station is far better than this half cocked attempt ! :tongue:
I would have hoped for a simple city corner style structure and that's a bed for the prisoner to sleep on.....no jail door for a near sighted copper......oh, boy ! :sceptic:
Does the fire place go with the police station, I guess it does......Santa can bring the officer a 2011 police station instead....the crooks have to escape through a toilet.....here they can just walk out ! :laugh:
I'll buy one if it's going real cheap.....they don't so no I'll wait to next year !
Thanks for the review 'SilentMode' and Brick On ! :grin:

#4 Hewman

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:17 AM

Thanks for an excellent review. I think Lego have really dropped the ball with the "build a car over three days" and a "build a station over four days". An advent calendar is about a small bit of instant gratification and who wants to see half a police station built for several days as part of their display. The Advent calendars tend to be one of the few City sets I buy, but not this year.

#5 22kane

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:10 AM

Forget Christmas, I want it now! Great review. I was hoping someone would do one. I think I'm going to get two of them, and two Star Wars advents too. Again, awesome review, thanks.
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#6 dr_spock

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 06:21 AM

Thanks for the excellent review.  I'm not sure I am sold on this set.

#7 cimddwc

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:41 AM

Thanks for the nice review!  :thumbup:  And just as I finished reading it, a mail from Amazon.de arrived advertising advent calendars... Now while I think it's good to have a review as early as possible, I think it's too early to advertise them; but hey, the hot part of the summer ended around here last weekend, and who needs late summer and autumn, let's start Christmas season!   :hmpf:  Anyway, the mail featured the new Star Wars calendar, last year's calendars, and non-Lego ones. And a link to more which included this City calendar, too; both 2011 calendars are for pre-order for Oct 5, though.

Well, I'll probably get it sometime in December when it's discounted (or should I wait until after Christmas when a local shop usually offers the last ones they have left for 50%?), since there's not that much in it that's useful to me...

#8 illord

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:38 PM

Thanks for the great review, but i think this year I'll leave the calendar on the shop shelf. I'm a fan of city advent calendar but i'm very disappointed about this one. :angry:  
Too few and common minifigures and also the mini sets are not so great as the previous years. :hmpf_bad:
What a pity  :sceptic:

Edited by illord, 29 August 2011 - 04:39 PM.


#9 Mr. Elijah Timms

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:45 PM

Yikes-- I'd get that dog checked out.  Looks serious.

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#10 meyerc13

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the review, but it solidified what I already suspected - I won't be buying this one for my kids.  If I find it on clearance I might pick one up for parts, but a building spread over multiple days - sorry my kids don't have the patience and I wouldn't expect them to.  And then the other days include two cops and two robbers and another dog... our City is over-run with all three!

The ironic thing is that it will probably sell quickly, how many parents are AFOLs and would know what's in the box?  Next year might be another story.  If parents are disappointed by this one, next year they may decide to skip it, so here's hoping it's a better set that maybe will have a better chance to make it to clearance because of this dud.
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#11 SilentMode

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:01 PM

Thanks for the comments folks.

I definitely agree with the sentiments over the three-part vehicle and the four-part building. Although the train in last year's City calendar was also in three parts, the parts themselves were "complete" models (i.e. could be played with separately). Neither the police car nor the police station are models to look forward to building, least of all over several days.

I'd probably have liked this calendar less (and given it a lower score) if I'd owned more of the larger Police sets, because there's not much in the calendar you couldn't get elsewhere. They could really have improved on the criminals.
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#12 Arigomi

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:06 PM

This makes me wonder about the oddity in the Winter Village Post Office. That set has a minifigure with the same green parka hood but it is paired with a clashing gray torso.

For me, the highlight of this set is the green torso with uncommon printing.

The red scarf on the first criminal reminds me of the ascot Fred from Scooby Doo wears. Combined with the knit cap, he always looked a bit French to me. All he needs is a baguette to complete the look.

Edited by Arigomi, 29 August 2011 - 08:15 PM.


#13 Aanchir

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:21 PM

Something I would like to point out: The fish you call "Pearl Dark Grey" is actually 315 Silver Metallic, a new color which Bricklink has taken to calling Flat Silver. It technically replaces 131 Silver, Bricklink's most recent Pearl Light Grey color, but it is darker than 131 Silver was so the confusion is understandable. The current version of Pearl Dark Grey, 316 Titanium Metallic, is darker even than past Pearl Dark Grey parts. It's mostly been seen in Kingdoms and Hero Factory.

Anyway, are the minifigure parka and snow jacket in this set Bright Green (as opposed to regular green, a.k.a. 28 Dark Green)? If so, then the parka is almost certainly the same one as in the Winter Post Office, and is in fact much more desirable in this advent calendar set since it comes with a matching torso (rather than an unprinted grey one).

Overall, while I much prefer the "family" theme of last year's Advent Calendar (with all the brickbuilt toys) to the much-more-specific "Police" theme of this year's, I have to say I love how cohesive this is, especially with the fold-out display area! The snowball catapult is a great sort of mischief for the criminals to be up to without being too distant from the Spirit of the Season, the police station is very nice and rustic, and there is plenty for all of the minifigures to do.

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#14 SilentMode

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:54 PM

View PostAanchir, on 29 August 2011 - 08:21 PM, said:

Something I would like to point out: The fish you call "Pearl Dark Grey" is actually 315 Silver Metallic, a new color which Bricklink has taken to calling Flat Silver.

Anyway, are the minifigure parka and snow jacket in this set Bright Green (as opposed to regular green, a.k.a. 28 Dark Green)? If so, then the parka is almost certainly the same one as in the Winter Post Office, and is in fact much more desirable in this advent calendar set since it comes with a matching torso (rather than an unprinted grey one).
Funnily enough I was going to go with Metallic Silver first. In hindsight the fish is a lot smoother in appearance than pearl-coloured parts usually look, and it looks good.

It definitely looks like the anonymous guy is in Bright Green; the torso and headpiece are brighter than the tree, and looks similarly coloured to the Lizard Suit Guy.
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#15 captainsamus

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 11:10 PM

I think I'll be passing this year as well. I was pretty disappointed with last year's calendar, and this one seems worse in my opinion. I think the multiple day builds are nice in theory, but they just don't pan out in actuality. I much prefer what LEGO did with 2009's calendar where every 3 or so days was a theme. One minifigure, then 2 days of buildable accessories themed to go with the figure.

And at $35.00, it's just too expensive. I managed to get last year's at Borders for around $25 after coupon, and that obviously isn't possible this year since they're out of business.

The one bright spot in the set is the fig with the greed hood, but I'll be happy with the one in the Winter Post Office even if it doesn't have a matching torso.

#16 escortmad79

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:36 PM

Looks like I'll be getting a chocolate calendar this year!! This really doesn't wow me, it didn't when it was first leaked & it still doesn't!

MORE criminals & MORE police?! C'mon Lego, use your imagination a bit more!! Fed up with the seemingly never ending line of police & crims :hmpf_bad:

Think I'll give this one & the Star Wars one a miss!

Edited by escortmad79, 30 August 2011 - 09:37 PM.

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#17 Badger

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for the great review and the last bit was so funny :) Thanks again
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#18 The Cobra

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:28 PM

I voted "Below average" and "As good as last year".
Well, as bad as last year.
I agree with a lot of the above. We did not need two more policemen and thieves (we would hardly ever need them, but this year a new police wave was launched) and I miss the classic scheme 24 days = 8 figs and themes.
When I was not totally happy with the 2009 City Advent Calendar, I surely did not imagine what was to come these two years.
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#19 Aanchir

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:51 PM

View PostThe Cobra, on 06 September 2011 - 09:28 PM, said:

I voted "Below average" and "As good as last year".
Well, as bad as last year.
I agree with a lot of the above. We did not need two more policemen and thieves (we would hardly ever need them, but this year a new police wave was launched) and I miss the classic scheme 24 days = 8 figs and themes.
When I was not totally happy with the 2009 City Advent Calendar, I surely did not imagine what was to come these two years.
What was wrong with last year's? It was one of my favorites. The "Toys and Activities" gave it a very authentic holiday feel. Besides, I wouldn't want to get the same content in my advent calendars every year. Theming the advent calendar based on a current City subtheme seems like a good way of escaping that trend.

By the way, something I noticed that's extremely odd is how the calendar is police-themed but the inside image, on the part of the calendar where the compartments are, shows the Police, Harbor, and Space subthemes pretty much equally. Admittedly, when you think about it, a police-themed advent calendar is all that would make a great deal of sense for an advent calendar-- I can't really visualize Space or Harbour making for great holiday-oriented building content-- but I wish the inside of the box had been designed to match the contents more specifically.

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#20 fred67

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:06 PM

I missed this when it was posted, glad I caught it.  I got the calendar because I always do, but what crap.  Very disappointed.

Still a nice review, though, SilentMode.

#21 SilentMode

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:17 PM

I would love to see a Space-themed advent calendar - and I don't mean Star Wars. Mot sure how it would work in relation to Christmas, but it would be very interesting to see the end result. Here's hoping someone gets the idea.
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#22 The Cobra

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 11:29 AM

View PostAanchir, on 06 September 2011 - 09:51 PM, said:

What was wrong with last year's? It was one of my favorites. The "Toys and Activities" gave it a very authentic holiday feel. Besides, I wouldn't want to get the same content in my advent calendars every year. Theming the advent calendar based on a current City subtheme seems like a good way of escaping that trend.

By the way, something I noticed that's extremely odd is how the calendar is police-themed but the inside image, on the part of the calendar where the compartments are, shows the Police, Harbor, and Space subthemes pretty much equally. Admittedly, when you think about it, a police-themed advent calendar is all that would make a great deal of sense for an advent calendar-- I can't really visualize Space or Harbour making for great holiday-oriented building content-- but I wish the inside of the box had been designed to match the contents more specifically.

Last year the Calendar only had 6 figs; two of them were Santas, one of which taking a shower.
On the other hand, happy family with lots of Christmas presents was something different than the usual.

Still, I hope in 2012 they go back to 8 figs, 8 subthemes.
More of my thoughts about past City Advent Calendars can be found here: Best & Worst CAC 2005-2009
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#23 The_YongGrand

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:36 PM

I like the 2011 City Advent Calendar - it has the police patrol car (sorry, I do not want to wait until December to see all that!!) which is reminiscent to the 1992's Lego System's police car. Don't remember the code number, but that good ol' little car was used to be given away free when a can of Dumex milk powder is purchased.

The props are fantastic. I must get it! Too bad it isn't in SE Asia yet.

#24 NiceMarmot

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:53 PM

I'll probably skip this one. Reminds me too much of last year's Playmobil Advent calendar, which had a cops and robbers theme too. BTW, this year's Playmobil calendars are castle and dinosaur themed; at $19.99, I think we'll picking up one of those for the kids instead of this.
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#25 Ogre

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 05:18 PM

I'll get it, but only because I've picked up every City advent calendar since they started putting minifigs in them.
Otherwise, I'd probably give this one a pass.  It's WEAK.


View PostSilentMode, on 06 September 2011 - 10:17 PM, said:

I would love to see a Space-themed advent calendar - and I don't mean Star Wars. Mot sure how it would work in relation to Christmas, but it would be very interesting to see the end result. Here's hoping someone gets the idea.
THAT...would be awesome! :wub_drool:
Classic logo figures from various old themes (Classic Space, Blacktron, M-Tron), a couple of small multi-day ship and vehicle builds, then, on the 23 and 24, a build of Santa in a red spacesuit, in a rocket-sled, pulled by a couple of robotic raindeer!   :grin:

Okay, so that was just off the top of my head...but, still...

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