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REVIEW: 10182 Cafe Corner


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Poll: On a scale of 1 to 5 (78 member(s) have cast votes)

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  1. Poor (1 votes [1.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.28%

  2. Below-Average (0 votes [0.00%])

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  3. Average (2 votes [2.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.56%

  4. Above-Average (12 votes [15.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.38%

  5. Outstanding (63 votes [80.77%])

    Percentage of vote: 80.77%

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#1 Inconspicuous

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:37 AM

INDEXED

Welcome to my final Review towards that gold medal! This one is an incredibly massive review, and the challenge was very daunting (It took me a few weeks). Have fun reading, and meanwhile, I've got a graduation party to attend!  :cry_happy:

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BASIC INFORMATION:

Set Name: Cafe (Café) Corner
Set Number: 10182
Number of Pieces: 2056
Minifigs: 3
Price: 139.99 USD, 249.99 AUD, 199.99 CAD, 149.99 EUR, 88.09 GBP
Theme: Modular Houses
Year Released: 2007

RESOURCES:

Brickset
Peeron
Bricklink
Shop @ Home
Brickshelf (when moderated)


THE REVIEW:


BOX:

Front:
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The front of the box shows a very plain scene in which the old man is cleaning up garbage while the two women sit around and enjoy the lovely day. The stack-able level feature is advertised as well as the finished dimensions. It's a little bland but this set is geared towards AFOLs anyways. An interesting detail is the other random building sketched on the sides.

Top Edge:
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The top edge features the gigantic parts inventory along with a 1:1 scale of a female minifig. An effective way to burn box space in my opinion.

Bottom Edge:
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The bottom edge features the minifigs and prominent accessories. The bottom edge isn't the first place I'd look when getting a set, and I think this deserves to be on the top edge.

Back:
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The back features a good number of shots of interesting details and slightly different angles. I find it very interesting that there's an alternate model for this set. Not only are they increasingly more uncommon, but who would want to disassemble and rebuild a set this massive.  :wacko:  Also note the stack-ability and connect-ability of the set. I think Lego is crazy to advertise this and not sell the middle floor as a service pack. No one in their right mind would buy the set for just the middle floor.

Box:: Thoughts: A little plain, but still pleasing. The details on the edges should have been mixed up, but it's great to see the alternate model emerge into the light again.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Front:
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Next up are the two instruction booklets. Each features the box art on the front, with the exception of the booklet's number instead of the piece count and recommended age limit. As I mentioned in the box section, the scene is a little boring, but for a display set, it's perfectly acceptable.

Minifig Page:
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The instructions begin with the 3 bag plan, the minifigs, and the baseplates. Each set of bags correspond to the floor contained inside. Since there are no capes or anything else fancy, the minifigs are very easy to assemble.

Random Page:
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A random page, showing the building up of the first floor. Piece call-outs are extremely necessary for such a big set, and sub-models get their own large boxes. I really like the color scheme, which is identical to the instructions of several Creator sets I have. It's very simple yet pleasing and gets its purpose done very well.

Parts Inventory:
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The parts inventory takes up an three pages, two of which are displayed in this picture. I find it funny that they can cram it into a tiny rectangle on the top edge of the box, yet it spans three pages in the even larger instruction booklet. Pic is a link to the Bricklink inventory.

Back:
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The back of each booklet here. It would appear you can't win anything by filling out a survey about this set.  :cry_sad:  Since the first floor is in the first book, by the process of elimination the next two floors are in the second book.

Instructions:: Thoughts: Excellent and pleasing colors, and the much-needed piece call-outs make for a fine instruction set. I find it odd that the second booklet is bigger than the first, something rather uncommon. Usually, the first booklet is bigger. It's not an issue for me, but it seems a bit strange.

MINIFIGS:

Front:
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Our lovely selection of minifigs for this set. The classic smiles give them the Classic Town feel. I find it strange that two have printed torsos and the other does not, but I think they all look fine. I particularly like the printing on the man's suit.

Bicycle:
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Also included the bicycle, because it is such a splendid piece and deserves to be with the minifigs. Before I got this set, I had only seen one, so I was thrilled that Lego included this. It really adds to that "above and beyond" factor that oozes out of this set.

Back:
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No back printing for any of them, but this adds to the Classic Town feel even more.

Minifigs:: Thoughts: Very simple but go well with the set. It could have used a few more, and I'm sure they're not too expensive to add, but they're overall satisfactory.

At this point in the review, I'm going to stray off my typical format, and instead of showing the pieces and build all together, I'll be breaking it into Bag 1, Bag 2, and Bag 3, each containing one floor.

BAG 1:

Pieces (unopened):
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Here are the pieces that compose the first floor of the building. Several bags are repeated, and the green baseplates are loose.

Pieces of interest:
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The first floor offers the most impressive selection of interesting pieces, with all of its rare dark blue and window pieces. The blue arches are just amazing.  :wub:

Build:
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The build goes up slow at first (the tiling is to blame), adding many pieces per step, but it picks up quickly. This is the section of the build with the least repetition. It's a little hard to see in the completed set, but you can clearly see here that the mosaic on the street spells out CAFE.

Interesting Arch Technique:
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A very interesting technique is used to create the entrance to the hotel area. The mini arches are actually attached to the bottom of the arch, and are locked in by being placed over a curved beam. Even though this is a very interesting technique, it actually has been used before (i.e., the neon lights in 6376)

Pieces/Build:: Thoughts: A very lovely selection of pieces in this floor. I had no idea that it would be mostly blue and gray, and in the final product these colors are drowned out by the brown and red. As for the build, this is the least repetitive floor, but the tiling is challenging for any Modular Building. Placing every tiny 1x1 tile in the mosaic is hard work, and undoing a mistake isn't easy. On the other hand, the SNOT Hotel sign is very fun to build. (more on that later)

BAG 2:

Pieces (unopened):
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This story is considerably smaller than the first and only has 6 bags. The two black baseplates were loose in the box, and I really don't think they needed to be.

Pieces of interest:
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This bag has fewer interesting pieces than the first, but still a good amount. The log bricks are always nice for patching up Western forts, and the stairs and railing are nice as well.

Build:
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A few in-build shots for the second, mostly brown level. In the third picture you can see a nice blue stripe, hidden from the outside. The windows on this level were very repetitive to build, and the level itself is rather plain, but it gave me time to ponder my life.  :tongue:  The repetition isn't that bad because only a few pieces were needed for each mini-model.

Pieces/Build:: Thoughts: This is probably the most uninteresting level of the three, and is a little bit of a filler in my opinion. The repetition isn't very fun but the red and brown with a hint of blue color scheme is delightful.


BAG 3:

[Pieces (unopened):
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Next up we have the third and final floor. This one is red and tan, and features some excellent techniques for the finale.

Pieces of interest:
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The interesting pieces from this level are more railings, red slopes, windows, and the lovely stone frogs and parrots. There are a couple more included than I've depicted, so no need to worry about there not being parrots on all sides of the "Bell Tower".

Build:
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Yay! More in-build shots to experience the journey through time. This one was a little repetitive, but much less than the last. I'll discuss the interesting techniques in the Completed section in just a bit.

Pieces/Build:: Thoughts: This level was much more fun than the middle, and used a handful of ingenious techniques. The colors blend really well, and this was a great finale to the construction. All the dark red pieces are wonderful.


COMPLETED PRODUCT:

The Entire Set:
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And the three layers are stacked! Our three separate worlds become that iconic image locked in our brains. It looks like the wait was worth it!

Civilian View:
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The grandeur of the building from a person's perspective. It looks much bigger from down here, and this is probably why Lego chose to take the box art from this angle.

Back View:
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The back is much plainer than the front, but still has some interesting things to offer. The layers are nicely distinct and there are a few vents on the roof. It's too bad that they're identical but this could be easily fixed. I'd like to see what this would look like with a clothesline on it.

Back View Zoom:

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Upon taking a closer look, we find that the brick quality and colors are inconsistent! I actually find in this case that it is ok because it gives a wooden plank feeling to the back. However, others might not agree.

Street Close-up:
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Next our attention is drawn to the street. The Cafe mosaic is unfortunately hidden by the street chairs, so it's hard to tell that it says anything. You can see that the lovely blue arch technique has been applied to form the Hotel entrance, which takes you up stairs to the next level. The angled wall techniques used on the door are magnificent and surprisingly sturdy. Additionally, the awnings can click up or down, depending on how you like the angle.

Opening Door:
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A superb feature not readily advertised is that the middle glass panel on the right side is actually an opening door! It is cleverly disguised but also set back a little. I like the fact that it's taller than a single piece door and uses clip techniques to open instead of the regular hinges.

Wall Decoration:
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Although the interior of the Cafe is empty, Lego did leave us a nice blue wall pattern. This consumes much of the blue of this set and complements the red nicely.

Hotel Sign:
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Also very noteworthy is the SNOT Hotel sign. This was ingeniously designed and extremely fun to build. Lego really nailed this one. To get a sense of how ingenious the techniques are, here's a sample of the instructions. LINK Not only are the letters formed by sideways plates, but the E is actually right-side up! Complex enough for you? Pic is a link to a larger one.

First Floor Bird's Eye:
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A bird's eye view of the first floor exposes the steps to the next level and the bleak blank interior. The doorway also includes steps down into the Cafe. For those of you still curious about the 'secret' door mechanism, it is exposed here. I don't like the fact that there are pockets around the stairs for the minifigs to fall in, and although this isn't a big problem it could have given more space to the soon-to-be-built interior.

Front Detailing:
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Now for a little close-up of the front detailing. The ski effect is clever but very unstable. The skis often fall out of line and the bar tends to detach completely.

Upper View:
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Next we will divert our attention to the top two floors of the building. Once again, the angled walls are brilliant and very sturdy.

Window Flaw:
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One flaw that I feel could have been fixed is that the windows are completely open! Now the heater will be ineffective, room cold, and energy bill high! As Svelte has kindly informed me, Jamie Berard, the designer of this set, said in an interview that it was difficult to design because there was no 3 stud-high window piece. I think Lego should have just created the piece then and there. I mean, this set has 8 of them already, and I'm sure many other sets could benefit from them too (Green Grocer could have used some, City, Creator, etc.).

Top Floor Roof:
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The texture of the third floor is created by a technique I like to call "vertical staggering". This gives the illusion that some slopes are a teensy bit farther out than others. This is extremely effective and visually stunning, not to mention well planned. On top of that, the windows can open, much to my surprise.

Second Floor:
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The inside of the second floor doesn't offer much except a blue stripe hidden from the outside. It would have been nice if Lego included a hotel desk or something small like the clock and heater in Green Grocer.

Staircase:
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The two staircases are nicely parallel and the gray/brown color change is pretty smooth. However, I think minifigs might have a hard time squeezing onto the second flight of stairs.  :tongue:

Third Floor:
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The third floor has the same bleak interior as the other two. The roof opening is much smaller than the actual room making it hard to adjust things inside. However, the roof is attached with just plates and tiles, so it slides in easily but stays put. Kudos to the designers on that one!

Staircase:
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The banisters are exactly the same again, and this time no more stairs to squeeze on.

Partners In Crime:
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Here's a little bonus shot of the two competitors! Cafe Corner looks much bigger, partially due to the angle, but also because it has two sides facing outward instead of one. It definitely looks like you're getting more value for your money, but Cafe Corner has no interior.

Back View:
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The backsides align very nicely and give more space to Green Grocer's backyard. I think it would be awesome to throw in another green baseplate and turn it into a backyard garden to grow vegetables for the grocery store.

Extras:
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These are more or less the extras pieces, but with a set so big I feel I could have easily been off one or two.
_______________________________________________

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Now for those Totals!

Design: 9/10 Everything fits together well and the result is simply stunning! Many ingenious techniques are used throughout. However, I would have loved more interior detail, and I find that the levels don't stay together very well.

Parts: 10/10 A lovely selection of brown, red, tan, gray, and much surprisingly blue. A decent variety including plates, windows, doors, slopes, and arches.

Build: 8/10 A decent amount of time is required but the result is very pleasing. The tiles for the street at the beginning are very tedious, the windows on the second floor bothersome, but an impressive arsenal of clever techniques provide refreshing breaks from these moments.
  
Minifigs: 8/10 Nice and simple, and it's great to have more females in a set than males, which is quite rare for Lego. It still could have used a couple more.

Playability: 7/10 For a display model, it's amazing. Playing... not so much. However, I like to keep in mind that this is an AFOL geared set and doesn't really need good playability.

Price: 10/10 A very decent piece/price ratio, and there are not too many little pieces either. A fantastic selection makes this worthwhile to a MOCer.

Total: 52/60 I really don't think that a rating can accurately judge this set. Since this is based off of looks alone, I think that the design category should be worth at least 20 points, which would make the grand total 61/70, which is a fair increase. In fact, the beauty of this set shouldn't be measured at all. Why do you think they ripped up Prichard's method of rating poetry in Dead Poets Society? Because such art can't be given a certain score. In order to truly assess whether you should get the set for yourself, don't look at the rating. Read the review a few times and come up with your own opinion. Give this masterpiece the thought it deserves.

Join us next time as we review 3450 Statue of Liberty, including in-build shots of all 80 steps!
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Thanks for reading!

-Inconspicuous ( :hmpf: alright WhiteFang, Inky)

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#2 ILikePi

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:51 AM

Wow, great review Inconspicuous, and congratulations on becoming a teacher in the Reviewer's Academy!  :classic:

I never knew that one of the windows on the bottom floor was a door - thanks for pointing that out! The past reviews of this set that I read had no mention of that.

The SNOT hotel sign is very nice, but by the looks of it, it could use some extra thickness to the sides of the O, the tail of the T, and the top part of the L...

I can't believe that the color consistency of the reddish brown bricks is that bad! :sick:
Although your suggestion that they are discolored like that on purpose to make the wall look worn down is a nice thought. :laugh:

Also, the patterns on the inside of the bottom floor are a nice addition.

And about that alternate model - in an interview with Jamie Berard (on BrickJournal?), he said that that model was built to show how much medium and dark blue there was in the set. :wink:

I can't wait to see your review of the Statue of Liberty set, one that I never knew existed until yesterday when I saw it in The LEGO Book! :grin:

Keep up the good reviews!  :thumbup:

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#3 Inconspicuous

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:54 AM

Thanks, Pi!

I thought that was what the alternate model was for! I guess I was right.

Oh and by the way, the Statue of Liberty was a joke. All 80 steps? I mean seriously.  :tongue:  It's actually a friend's and is visiting my house for a while. It's intended to be a parody of all the in-build shots that come with this review.

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#4 RampantDingo

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 02:15 AM

Fantastic review, unfortunately I won't be getting this set.  I have to save up for the imperial flagship.

#5 Svelte

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 03:34 AM

View PostInconspicuous, on Oct 8 2009, 11:54 AM, said:

Oh and by the way, the Statue of Liberty was a joke. All 80 steps? I mean seriously.  :tongue:

I didn't read that as meaning you were going to show every step; just select ones. Boo! Maybe you could 'accidentally' knock it on the ground while it's visiting your house. Then you would be forced to rebuild it, right? You might as well take some pics if you're doing that anyway... :wink: :laugh:

#6 Tom Bricks

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 03:44 AM

I never knew that the tiles said Cafe in them, I always thought they where random. Great review and keep up the good work.
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#7 Inconspicuous

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 03:57 AM

View PostSvelte, on Oct 7 2009, 08:34 PM, said:

I didn't read that as meaning you were going to show every step; just select ones. Boo! Maybe you could 'accidentally' knock it on the ground while it's visiting your house. Then you would be forced to rebuild it, right? You might as well take some pics if you're doing that anyway... :wink: :laugh:

It belongs to an old friend of mine. They want to sell it, so I'm going to get it ready for the Bricklink store. It took them 5 months to rebuild it, so I'm not sure that would be a wise move to "accidentally" knock it over. I am sad to see it go, for I remember helping them build it when the first got it years ago, but they have no need for it anymore and were interesting in the $500 price point it gets these days.

However, I may do a mini review, with no in-build photos. It is a rare set after all, and I have a feeling a review probably wouldn't end up on Eurobricks anyways. Why do I feel like Horace Slughorn getting Aragog's venom in The Half Blood Prince?  :laugh:

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#8 TheBrickster

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 05:17 AM

Very nice review In, with some very good photos.  I must say that I had not intended to buy any of the modulars, but after picking up this set, I was hooked.  While the Green Grocer has great interior additions, I like the outer design on this set a lot, as well as the colors.  A+ set, and the LEGO designer should definately be applauded for this design and concept. :thumbup:

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#9 The Cobra

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:23 AM

I voted "outstanding". No interior? Who cares, there is so much outside!
Thanks for a great review.
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#10 no_skill

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:34 PM

Terrific review of a landmark set!

I agree your pictures are fantastic.  What do you use for lighting?

Edited by no_skill, 08 October 2009 - 01:35 PM.


#11 Rick

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:44 PM

View PostThe Cobra, on Oct 8 2009, 07:23 AM, said:

I voted "outstanding".
None of the Modulars so far deserves anything less.

Great review of a great set. The quality photography is very pleasant to the eye.

#12 kris kelvin

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:46 PM

For me it`s best Lego set ever  :classic:

#13 BlueBard

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 03:41 PM

Wonderful review, really!  :thumbup:

Unfortunately my economic situation doesn't lend me to purchase this TLC's wonder and I've not seen one in real in my life (well, just one time in a Toy shop in Paris...) but as kris kelvin says I still consider it as the best Lego set produced ever  :classic:

#14 Big Cam

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 04:03 PM

Great review, you really covered al the basis and rooms.  As I said in the Academy, I really like your pics.  keep up the good work.

#15 thespurs200708

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:44 PM

The set looks stunning. It also looks like real good fun to build.

#16 catbricks

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:53 PM

I actually find that the extra door on the side interferes with one's ability to fit in a couple of tables inside - I plan to convert it back to a normal window...

#17 prateek

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:36 PM

Another great review of this great set! Unlike other reviews, though, you showed the "secret door" which I never knew existed. Kudos on that :thumbup:

#18 WhiteFang

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 08:37 AM

Hello Inky,

This review was actually done and submitted without my grading while I was on holidays. You are lucky to have escaped my grading.  :tongue:

Then again, I am pleased to read this review again, and certainly enjoyed it so much that I have considered very carefully to get one more of this to expand further. Even the bricks itself are very useful. In time to come, I am very sure this will be one of the legendary city modular building ever released.

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#19 Inconspicuous

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 03:43 PM

Wow.  :oh:  My first frontpage anywhere! (Except for that review of Volcano Island featured on the RA Anniversary Ad.)

I'm lucky to escape your grading. I wasn't so lucky with Svelte though.  :grin:

Thanks for this great honor!

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#20 Eskallon

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 07:24 AM

Hi there
I saw this review and it has made me want the set so much but it appears that it has been discounted from S@H so can anyone help me and tell me where I can get it. I am UK based so nothing from far away unless there is decent shipping costs.

Thanks
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#21 Rapseflaps

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:24 PM

I just finished building this.

Man, these modulars are insane.

The sheer amount of parts and details. And I haven't even gotten to the models that actually feature an interior yet...

I love the sidewalk stuff as well. I have Market Street and Café Corner sitting next to each other, and even though there's only 5 minifigs on the entire sidewalk, it still looks like the pavement of a busy, bustling city.

Now I'm wondering whether I'll build Green Grocer next or skip ahead to Fire Brigade and save the biggest set for last...
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#22 Carbohydrates

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:56 PM

View PostRapseflaps, on Nov 4 2009, 08:24 AM, said:

Now I'm wondering whether I'll build Green Grocer next or skip ahead to Fire Brigade and save the biggest set for last...
Though Green Grocer does run the risk of being discontinued sooner, it should still be a ways off and it is truly the crown jewel of the modular line in my eyes. I like the idea of going CC -> Fire -> GG.

#23 Rapseflaps

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:54 PM

View PostCarbohydrates, on Nov 4 2009, 05:56 PM, said:

Though Green Grocer does run the risk of being discontinued sooner, it should still be a ways off and it is truly the crown jewel of the modular line in my eyes. I like the idea of going CC -> Fire -> GG.

Well, it's not a question of order of purchase.

Both sets are sitting sealed in my room. I'm just wondering which to build first. ;)
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4012 Wave Cops  |  6689 Post Station*  |  6563 Gator Landing  |  6661 Mobile TV Studio*  |  6357 Stunt 'Copter N' Truck*  |  6355 Derby Trotter*  |  6264 Forbidden Cove  |  6983 Ice Station Odyssey**  |  6394 Metro Park & Service Tower*/**
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#24 Artifex

Artifex

    Posts: 1021
    Joined: 01-June 10
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    Country: Brazil

Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:20 PM

Awesome review! Thank you very much for it!

Although I know this set is meant for AFOL, I do miss some interior furniture... :(

#25 BrickNik

BrickNik

    Posts: 6
    Joined: 13-May 10
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    Country: UK

Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:43 PM

Great review and an awesome kit. Though I do agree it is missing the interior features that made the other modular buildings so fun to build. Now if only Market Street wasn't such a stupid amount of money to buy...
TB4244
"The Brick will be with you...always"




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