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REVIEW: 7641 City Corner

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (139 member(s) have cast votes)

On a scale of 1 to 5

  1. Poor (1 votes [0.72%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.72%

  2. Below Average (1 votes [0.72%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.72%

  3. Average (16 votes [11.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.59%

  4. Above Average (56 votes [40.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.58%

  5. Outstanding (64 votes [46.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 46.38%

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#1 Svelte


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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:25 PM


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Name: City Corner
Theme: CITY
Year: 2009
Pieces: 483
Minifigs: 5
Price: USD$59.99 (according to Toy Fair info), probably $AUD90-100 when released, GBP44.99 at TRU (which may indicate a lower 'normal' RRP)
Resources: Brickset

1. Introduction

Having heard about Eurobricks' own Classic Town Building Contest, it seems as if the Lego designers rushed to production a new set they hoped could compete with the online community's own stellar MOCs. The result? The amazing new 7641 City Corner! With its classical primary colour scheme, smiling City civilians, and focus on the everyday life and activities of the humble minifig, this set almost catapults The Lego Group back twenty years in time! Grab your skateboard, hop on your bike or buy a bus ticket and take a one-way trip to your local City Corner.

2. Box, parts and paperwork

Front of the box, showing all the parts of the set together:
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Back of the box, showing off all the play details. It reminds me very much of the similar art on the back of the 10184 Town Plan set:
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Close-up of some of the goings-on down at City Corner. It's like a mini-Ideas Book in itself!
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There are 5 minifigs in this set, including a female chef and a child:
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There are two instruction books - one for the bus-stop and bus, and one for the bike shop and restaurant:
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The DSS (dreaded sticker sheet) isn't too bad. Yes, there are a lot of stickers but they all apply to basic bricks and aren't tricky to apply - not like the hugely annoying sheets for sets like the 7682 Flying Wing (which were very confusing and difficult to judge for the big wing piece) or 7752 Count Dooku's Solar Sailer (which were applied over curved surfaces and appeared oblique in the instructions):
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The instructions feature an evocative piece of artwork featuring all of the new release sets:
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A page from the instructions showing how the pizza oven's opening door mechanism is constructed. This is the only bit of Technic in the whole set! :grin:
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The parts come in 5 numbered bags (with an extra bag of large plates and 3 8x16 base plates). These correspond to the order of the build:

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Regular readers of my reviews know that I fearlessly like to toss all the parts together - I am such a rebel! (This probably should be a question on the 'How Evil Are You?' quiz currently popular on the site :tongue:). As you can see, the colour scheme is (a) *very* primary (mainly yellow, black, red and white) and fantastically diverse for Town builders - look at all those great smoke (trans black) window and door pieces! This is practically a Creator building set in itself!
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I forgot to include these in the first pic, so here are the base plates and large plates:
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I have included the full parts list on my Brickshelf folder - Page 1 and Page 2.

While the parts look very classical, there's some interesting new stuff in this set.

First off, a 1x2 cheese slope piece!  :oh:  Who saw this coming? And, uh, why would you need it? The 10194 Emerald Night has about a zillion individual cheese slopes used as decorative details and they seem to work fine together. 1x3 tile lovers, start filling out your petitions now because if this can make it into production, any part can! (OK, OK, I am sure we will see more practical uses for this new piece in future :tongue:)
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The bicycle, which used to come assembled, is now three separate pieces (much like the old 2x2 turntable plate now comes as 2 pieces with assembly instructions in the manual). These parts are all listed separately in the inventory - see above. I never actually tried to disassemble the bike before, so I don't know how hard it previously was, but the box art of 7641 shows the bicycle repair dude even removing the rubber tires!
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Here is the new 1x2x3 window piece which was launched with the recently updated Pick a Brick selection:
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We get three of the fabulous new 1x6 window screens :wub: :wub: :wub: This is a great piece, and works seamlessly to produce elegant glass curvature, as we will see on the bus:
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Perhaps most excitingly of all, Lego's quality control department has actually listened to the widespread horror and revilement of the badly marked glass firstly produced for the 1x5x6 frames in 2007's Cafe Corner, and also for the 1x4x3 windows introduced in the Creator Beach House. The production marks which marred these pieces have now largely gone! :wub: :wub: :wub: Take a look at these comparison pics:

Comparison of the old circular marked-pane with the new smooth 1x4x6 pane:
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Comparison of the new glass (top) and the pin-pricked 1x4x3 glass from last year and still present in the January 7633 Construction Site Set:
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It's funny as the 7641 box art is wrong and actually shows the old glass pieces in use! :tongue: There are still some issues - the door isn't perfect, as below - but overall this is a vast improvement for MOCers! Thanks, TLG!
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There's also 2 of the new-style diagonally sloping windows with the tab (these are also available at PaB):
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3. Building the set - Bus Stop

This is a very simple little bus stop, using one of the new smoke curved windscreens. The red plate acts as a seat (although no minifig can actually sit that way). There's a trash can, signs, a flower in a pot and a simple but effective lamp-post design:
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I hope the designer of that fire hydrant copyrighted the design and is getting fat off the royalties, since it's been in the modular houses line, an Impulse set, the minifig collection, and it's now here:
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Overall, a simple little sub-build. You could easily make several of these and sprinkle them around your City layouts!

4. Building the set - The Bus!

I have included detailed build shots of the bus only as it is what many AFOLs are particularly interested in. I mean, we get cars and trucks and small wheeled vehicles every year, and people are familiar with how Lego puts them roughly together, but the most recent official bus has been an orangey fish-shaped thing from the Spongebob line so this is something new! :grin: It was personally interesting to me to see how the bus was designed and the images we have seen also don't really show you what it looks like on the side facing away from the camera.

Building up the base, the asymmetrical gaps for the front and mid-door and driver's area become apparent:
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The windows and chairs go into place:
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Spinning the frame around to have a glimpse of the other side:
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Doors and blank signage added:
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Another look at the other side:
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Access is provided through the top via a system of studs alternating with tiles:
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And voila! The completed bus!

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From the other side:
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Side elevation:
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From the rear:
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Close-up of the front:
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The use of the new double-cheese piece! As a panel behind the steering wheel? :wacko:
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Bus rear:
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Overall thoughts on the bus:

I love it! This new bus, the first proper City one in a decade, is completely true to Lego's design philosophy of simple techniques combining with a limited parts palette to produce something unique and effective. It seats several minifigs so scores on practicality; the new windshield piece combines seamlessly with the preexisting mold to produce a sleek, modern finish; the colour scheme and even the stickers are classic and effective.

Unlike a lot of Lego vehicles, it neither feels too small or too large. I think this is an effect of having the bus as part of a composite set made up of different parts, rather than a bus set being sold individually where the temptation is to make the build super-large and super-impressive to shift more units. (Think of the difference between the modestly-sized crane in the 7633 Construction Site compared to the standalone City Construction vehicles). This keeps the civilian flavour of the set as well as preventing old-skool AFOLs from going into convulsions at the unbearable thought of a 12 wide bus :laugh: (Yes, I'm looking at you Klaus-Dieter :wink:).

Here is a comparison shot with other current City vehicles (although this is not obvious from the pic, they are all aligned at the rear):
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The bus arrives at the stop. Feel that 80s vibe, man!
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5. Building the set - Bike Shop

Bicycle shops are one of the staple small buildings of Classic Town, appearing from almost the very inception of the theme. Many an AFOL has a nostalgic story about how the dog chewed up their prized yellow or blue bicycle. Thems were the days! This shop, while no classic, is simple and effective as an adjunct to the larger red restaurant building. Hopefully we see more of these small 8x16 buildings - they seem to be the 'kids' version of the more expansive modular houses system. (Unfortunately I didn't photograph the bike actually with the shop in this section so you will just have to use the power of your imaginations to pretend its there.)

First off, the minifigs. Nothing exciting here, although it is nice to see a kid. Do Lego bike helmets have holes in the top so if the minifig has an accident, the brains have some way to vent from the skull? Wait a sec, minifigs don't have brains! :wacko: This is probably one of those inhalation-choking-prevention things.
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Pepper McGreypants comes with a stickered skateboard (apologies for blurriness) with a cityscape design:
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The completed shop has a display with two caps, a skateboard, the (missing) red bike and a few tools for the repair guy to do his work. There's another street lamp here as well. A sticker reveals this to be shop number '1' (No imagination, I remember when houses were all randomly number 60 or 74 :grin:):
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A slightly different angle, showing the surveillance camera. Actually, you totally know that the 2008 Police Mobile HQ is parked just down the street and a crack squad of twenty police officers is feverishly examining the live feed off this camera to storm the building and 'take down' Pepper McGreypants if he gets the slightest twinge of sticky fingers:
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Rear view revealing interior. The skateboard flips up and down:
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#2 Svelte


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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:46 PM

6. Building the set - The Pizza Restaurant

Where I live, pizza joints don't usually occupy grand three-storey buildings, so obviously the pizza business is a lot more lucrative and renowned in Lego City than it is in real life. Here is the front view of the shop. The new smoke panels are thin so the colour is not as dark as many of the cockpits that also come in that colour. This is building '2':
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Closed pizza oven with door in down position:
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Turning the knob flips the door open so the pizza chef can use her enormous paddle to remove the freshly cooked treat. That sounds rude, but it's not, really! :wink:
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The restaurant on the second floor. Obviously no one in Lego City has hep B since everyone at the same table is forced to share a glass:
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The exterior:
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And the restaurant in position. All these floors are modular using the same arrangement of studs and tiles as the bus, so the creative builder could always add more floors! Notice the SNOT grille decorative detail:
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The top floor is well designed, and has lots of basic red bricks in 1xX format. All of these new modules do have the large panels as end-walls, but the additional normal bricks in the middle section compensate for this I think. I much prefer this style of modular building to the endless 1x2x5 long bricks which was the previous template for constructing buildings for, ooh, most of the last decade. You actually get a sense of making a building rather than assembling long lines of 1x2x5 bricks with some plates on the top and window pieces in between. The way the black roof pieces rest on the beams is clever and simple (as you will see when instructions are available) and considering the small area the designers had to work with here, they include an impressive amount of details with the windows, grille and contrasting angled roof tiles:
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Angled view:
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The empty back. No rodents, bats, owls or other animals in this restaurant! Even Green Grocer couldn't boast being vermin-free!
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Doesn't it look grand? I have to say, I like this building a lot better than the shopfront in the Construction Site set. It just seems to have more character somehow:
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The restaurant in action:
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And there we have it! City Corner comes to life as a bustling transport, retail and dining precinct! Pick up a prospectus today!
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7. More views and alternate angles

A bustling street scape teems with life!
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The reliable 244 drops off a commuter.
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The little shopping strip:
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The modular street can be arranged in different ways:
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And again:
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Open-backed charm:
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8. Odds and ends!

Spare parts (and there's another blue tile that fell on the floor that I didn't notice!). Yes, you do get an extra 1x2 double-cheese slope:
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Dr Inferno's workforce actually didn't stand out at all on public transport:
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Unsurprisingly, the Republic's insurance premiums went through the roof after this incident:
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9. Overall Rating
The overall direction of city sets in 2009, and of 7641 City Corner in particular, marks a definite turning point for Lego City. No longer an emergency-ridden badlands overpopulated with criminals, police, firefighters, and emergency rescue workers, in 2009 Lego City has returned to being a more soothing and peaceful environment. Down on the Farm, puzzled-eyed cows moo gently at their tan-fedora'd master, while a young girl takes riding lessons nearby; a young couple relax on holiday in their lime and white camper; a rich playboy calls for road assistance when his sports car breaks down; and you too can hop on a yellow bus, take a trip downtown, and wolf down a pizza in your very own local City Corner.

Playability: 9/10 - a multitude of different scenes and actions, such as riding the bus, cooking a pizza, changing a tire etc.
Design: 9/10 - colour palette is limited, but that adds to the charm. Excellent selection of window and door pieces, and varied figs
Price: remains to be seen, but this feels bigger than 'just' a 483 piece set - I think it will be good value. To me it felt more satisfying than the 7637 Farm set, even though that was larger (in size and price).
Overall: 9/10 - definitely a must-have for Lego City lovers!

#3 brickfreak99


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 03:06 AM

Great and entertaining review! And can you take a picture of the Shop Front from the Construction Site next to all the City Corner buildngs?

#4 ILikePi


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:04 AM

Ah, thanks for the review of this amazing set. When I first saw pictures of it from the Toy Fair, I thought that it wasn't a good deal for $50. But now, thanks to your review, Kanal-K1's review, and Doctor Sinister's review, I have changed my mind. I still might not be able to get it (because of all of the Star Wars sets coming soon), but paying $50 for all of those accessories (two skateboards, a bike, ten seats, two pizzas, two glasses, a brown briefcase, the three helmets, etc.) and the bus (:wub:) is a really good deal. You also get a huge amount of baseplates, most of which cost around $4 or so on PAB.

I voted outstanding because of the wide variety of useful parts (the trans-smoky windows and seats, baseplates, etc.) and the great design of the bus.  :classic:

I voted above average because almost everything in this set is great, except maybe for the weird shop stickers. They just seem too "old-fashioned" to me.

For those of you who are in the Reviewer's Academy, yes, I just copied and pasted this comment.  :tongue:

Edited by ILikePi, 25 April 2009 - 04:06 AM.

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#5 Erdbeereis


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:42 AM

Excellent review Svelty! :thumbup:

This really is a lovely set, and very reminiscent of Classic-Town I must say with the open backs and simple construction. Classic-Town fans must surely be thrilled by this set.

The 1 x 2 cheeses are interesting, I don't know that they are really necessary, but who knows, they may turn out to be quite useful. That bus is simply  outstanding. It has a great modern look, with some nice lines.

I can't wait to get my hands on this set, thanks again for the perfect review! :cry_happy:

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#6 jaredchan


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 05:09 AM

Great review!
I really enjoyed reading your review, it's very detailed and has covered every thing that I want to know about the set. Great bus, great windows, now I can't wait to get it!

P.S. I particularly love the line "Obviously no one in Lego City has hep B since everyone at the same table is forced to share a glass", :grin:.

#7 Alywin


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 06:43 AM

Very informative and helpful review.   Thanks.

The set is better than average, but too reliant on stickers... (although every set is like that nowadays). Putting the stickers on nicely is difficult to people bad at handcraft things like me...   Where have all the good old printed bricks gone....?

I am a bit puzzled at why not all the seats are put at the same side of the bus compartment to allow a better corridor within it, though the official design doesn't really ruin too much at all.
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#8 Lordofdragonss


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 07:08 AM

Great review and even better ending xD

This set is beautiful!
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#9 Eilif


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 07:54 AM

Fantastic. I can't find anything bad to say about the review or the set.  Very thorough job of showing all the great detail in this set.  

As for the bike helmet, most bike and skateboard helmets have holes for ventiliation.  Unfortunately, Minifigs can't perspire, so ventilation does them no good. When they get too hot (around 160 degrees or so)  they die.
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#10 WhiteFang


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 09:15 AM

svelte_corps, awesome, simply awesome for doing up this very detailed review for EB Community.  :thumbup:

This set is one of the best City sets so far, to create such a great classic rendition of classic town, by bringing in various stores that were existed many years ago, and now re-appearing as part of the City scenes. From the 5-seater bus, with a distinct matching yellow top, it's extremely fun to have a fleet of buses printed with various bus numbers, carrying the citizens around the town. Imagine the sheer fun we could have and possibilities, added to create a fun and lively envirnoment in the City. Furthermore, retail shops such as the Pizza and Bicycle repair shop which have not appear for a long time. It's so much better to see these kind of buildings re-appearing again.

I will love to get my hands on this set, and start building on it. Thanks for sharing and doing up this incredible review. This review has been covered in Classic-Town.net too.  :wub:

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#11 Freddie


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 09:22 AM

A great and informative review, and a pleasure to read! :thumbup:

I made my mind up long ago that I would get this set when it was released. Thankfully, I won't be dissapointed when I do get it, as this review proves. And I have to say that I really like the classic design of the set, which IMO is also very nostalgic in some ways, without holding back on the newer bricks and design philosophies.

#12 legotrainfan


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for this review. I find this set average, so I'm not going to buy it. Especially the style of the house looks quite simple, but I really like the oven to bake pizzas! What I also like is that this set comes with a wide range of different bricks. There are a lot of ordinary bricks plus many window glasses and frames for them. If I bought it, I'd buy it for the bricks.
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#13 eti


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:03 PM

Good review, it gives a very nice impression of the set.
When I first saw images of this one, I thought I had no interest in getting it. It was mainly those colors that put me off.
Now I see all the details and those accessories and I think it does look great despite the bright red walls... I am getting interested.

#14 TheBrickster


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 03:38 PM

What a fantastic review SC!  The pictures are so colorful and vivid.  This set is definately a step in the right direction for Lego that brings back some of the feel of Classic Town.  While very large, the bus is nicely detailed, and really stands out as the better component of this set.  I have a few mixed feelings about the rest of the set.  I can't quite explain it, but it seems to be lacking something, I'm not sure what.  Perhaps it's the detail?  The main building (pizzeria) is large, but its exterior is pretty simple.  No part of the design really stands out, other than maybe the nice sun roof windows.  The bicycle shop is kinda nice.  The sticker for the sign helps add detail.  

Thanks for bringing us a wonderful review, but I'm not sure that I'm a huge fan of this set.  Maybe after looking at modulars, it takes away some appreciation for this set.  It's definately a lot better than the construction site (7633).  As always, I'm loving the figs, esp. the skateboarder.  I'm going to go back through your review and look at each of the pictures closer.

#15 Asuka


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:00 PM

Thanks a lot for a splendid review of a splendid set, svelte_corps.  :thumbup:
It really looks like a fine combination of modern City and classic Town building style,
and it´s also great to see that TLC clearly improved their 'glass' production... well done, dudes!  :classic:

Edited by Asuka, 25 April 2009 - 04:15 PM.

#16 rriggs


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 05:09 PM

Great review! Thanks for that!  :classic:

For me, it's a shame that the bus isn't available separately.  I love my Lego vehicles but am not really bothered about most buildings.  This means the bus works out of very expensive for me as I have to pay for the pizza place and bike sho pthat I don't want too!  Why they couldn't release it as a set along the lines of all the trucks over the last couple of years I don't know!  :hmpf_bad:

That said, the bus looks great - I'll just have to figure out how to rebuild it for the UK.  Right hand drive layout for a start and I'll want to lose the centre door too!


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#17 prateek


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 07:35 PM

View Postsvelte_corps, on Apr 24 2009, 11:25 PM, said:

First off, the minifigs. Nothing exciting here, although it is nice to see a kid. Do Lego bike helmets have holes in the top so if the minifig has an accident, the brains have some way to vent from the skull? Wait a sec, minifigs don't have brains! :wacko: This is probably one of those inhalation-choking-prevention things.
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real life skate helmets do have holes in them
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BTW, great review, it has changed my mind about this set, I used to not like it but now I do :thumbup:

#18 Big Pete

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:21 PM

View Postsvelte_corps, on Apr 24 2009, 10:25 PM, said:


** Note: the set for this review was sourced through an EB member, but the breaking news as this review is published is that Dr Sinister has spotted this set at TRU in the UK! Start hunting! **

TRU Southampton had quite a few of this set today, as well as the new garage and sports car sets. :)

#19 CP5670


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:09 PM

This looks like the best set of the 2009 city line to me. The bus is easily the highlight and I'll be getting it just for that. I love the large windows everywhere on it and the various ads on top. The pizza place is also very nicely designed. The $60 price also seems reasonable given the size, more so than most of the other recent city sets.

Some of those stickers should have been printed, but I like how they have a generic look to them, similar to the old stickers/prints in the 80s and 90s. That would make them a lot more useful in MOCs. It's interesting that they used the train logo for the bus stop. Maybe it's supposed to be a generic sign for public transport and not specifically limited to trains.

The only issue I have is the small baseplates. A full-size road baseplate would have made it perfect.

#20 Cavannus


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Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:26 PM

I like this set, it is simple as the 80's sets were but with modern parts and design. Like others I especially like the bus and will buy the set because of it.

#21 BlueBard


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 12:56 AM

Wonderful review for a wonderful set, svelte corps! :thumbup: I think this City Corner set is going to become a classic one between the great hits of LEGO City/Town, not only because of the great look and new pieces but specially because of a long long awaited official element as the bus and the new civilian wave TLC is offering us, that make the nostalgic AFOLs remember the good old days...  :cry_happy:

Anyway, I was very excited the first time I saw the prelim pics of this set (and the bus!) and I rapidly incorporated it to my 2009 want list, but now I can see a proper review with detailed shots I've decided not buying it (don't kill me, 7641 fans! :tongue: let me explain myself!): in one hand we have one of the best City/Town sets TLC has released in the last years, I know, but in the other I find a serious lack of details in the buildings (interiors are not accurated at all like the bike "shop", the oven is a bit too simple, even for an official set...), the bus (I'm not a fan of the doors and I really think they could have used the interior space much better...), the baseplates (so small!  :cry_sad:) and in the MFs (no new elements at all).

I agree with all those saying that this 7641 is a "must have" and if you're beginning your LEGO City/Town collection it is an obligatory choice, but I really find it too childish (even for a set designed for children). I was saving a bit of money for buying it and incorporate it in the display I'm preparing (I'll post the LDD project anyway :wink:) but I've decided to spend it in another building project (I'll also post pics  :wink:)

I voted "Above Average" and if I would have it I'm pretty sure I would recommend it to anyone but for the moment I'm a bit disappointed with it  :sadnew: Sorry TLC!

#22 Doctor Sinister

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 01:09 AM

I've converted my bus from this set to right hand drive - to meet the Tabletown standard.

Here's a small traffic jam on my desk of the new sets I've bought over the last 48 hours, contains sets 7641, 7638, 8402, 7686 and 7639.

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You can find reviews for all of these in the Tabletown Forums.

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#23 BillytheKid


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:15 AM

I do like the way you made this review. Indeed a pleasure to read it.

I like the building itself. It takes minimal space to place it in a busy layout like I have. However, I don't the bus, cause it's 6 wide, those are the size of the trains :tongue: . That's why I choose average. And besides, those doors in that bus are too big comparison with the size of that bus.

#24 marvinblue


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:53 AM

View PostFreddie, on Apr 25 2009, 07:22 PM, said:

A great and informative review, and a pleasure to read! :thumbup:

I made my mind up long ago that I would get this set when it was released. Thankfully, I won't be dissapointed when I do get it, as this review proves. And I have to say that I really like the classic design of the set, which IMO is also very nostalgic in some ways, without holding back on the newer bricks and design philosophies.
Thanks for the awesome review!! Basically, Freddie has said it all for me!  :tongue:

This looks like a great set and can't wait to get one. It will look fantastic in my Town.
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#25 Svelte


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:27 AM

For those interested in how this set looks with the Construction Site shopfront:

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The building is smaller, but more detailed than it's larger cousin.

There have been some interesting responses to this review, with some people who I thought would love it not responding as favourably as I'd expected. Maybe Modular houses has ruined us all! :laugh:

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