Officially, I'm on vacation from Eurobricks, visiting the Great White North, and lo and behold, l got a hold of one of the nicer looking 2010 sets, the not-creatively-titled-at-all Apple Tree House (thanks to Ricecracker for the pass along). Only because it's a 2010 set, I decided to do the review from my parents basement. The color on these photos isn't great, and I plan to reshoot it once I'm back home
I was anticipating this set, just because of its beautiful color. Can a book be judged by its cover?
Name: Apple Tree House
Price: $53 Canadian
MSP: U.S.$ ?, £ ?, euros ?
There are a standard three Creator booklets, one for each build, and the ads that come with each.
None of the pieces jump out at me as new, except the basketball net, which I haven't seen before. The base plates are a slightly brighter shade than the 'grass' ones.
This is at about step 15. It's not that complicated, compared to the other Creator sets I have, but it is minimal and elegant.
One clever thing, I thought, was the mailbox, the base of it is simply two L-bricks.
With the next 15, you've added the garage door, and a staircase to the second floor, and have pretty much finished the main walls.
Just after another 15 or so, the main part of the building is done, minus the takeaway roof. Most of the building techniques are either the same or variations on the Creator house series.
A few more pieces are left over and we get to....
The Finished Product
This is the money shot I guess. Lawn mower, apple tree, basketball net. On the right side of the house is a water tap.
The back is nothing special. It doesn't lend itself well to being a 'real' house.
With the garage door open, and a loose basketball by the net. There certainly are nice details, like the flowers and the house lights.
The lawn mower is simple, but effectively gives off that 'lawn mower' feeling. The tree has some loose apples. A flowered bush sits in the distance.
The roof pops off, but the spaces are tight inside, so I can't imagine putting many minis in.
Here are the other two builds, as I warned would come!
The second house is quite nice, a chalet of sorts. While the first floor is alright at mini-fig scale, the attic is useless.
Strangely, the window panes aren't used. They're supposed to be empty.
The garden is nice enough, but the lamp seems a bit out of place.
Access to the insides are through the roof. That piece dangling below it is supposed to lock it into place, but it really doesn't work. The roof slowly falls down.
Inside, there is but a fireplace. I suppose that's an important feature of a chalet.
This part is interesting, it's a shrubbery I think. Very irregular, and built into the wall.
The garden is so-so relaxing.
The house is decent for mini-fig scale.
And these are the leftover pieces.
The third house is also a nicely detailed one. A three-story one.
The floors separate for access.
Unfortunately, the inside is so small, it may as well be closed.
If it was micro-scale, I'd really like this design.
This set isn't really meant to be viewed from the back.
Nothing much to see here.
The yard is really nice! This has all you need.
Again, it is a little small for mini-figs.
Even at the picnic table, there's no room for food.
Slightly less pieces are left over here.
The Final Verdict
Design: 8/10 I like the overall look of this set. It's not an unbelievably good set, but it is very tasteful, and the blue and white really look nice together. I'd love to live there. The inside isn't particularly done well at all. The alternate builds, while looking nice, aren't particularly mini-fig friendly.
Build: 6/10 Really unexceptional. It was a deja vu of other sets, with very few 'Wow' moments. Not boring, or unenjoyable, but nothing exceptional either.
Playability: 8/10 The inside is cramped, the garage is just a little tight. There is just the new Lego equipment, like the lawn mower and the apple tree. The alternate builds help add to the playability.
Price: 7/10 Not terrible, but it should be less than $50.
Overall: 7/10 I like this and all, but not as much as I hoped to. It's a decent set that doesn't try particularly hard to do anything new. The overall design of it is nice though, and would fit in with most suburban Lego towns.
This is a good set that adds to any collection, but in the big picture feels fairly unessential. If you have no other Creator house sets, then I definitely would recommend it.
My rating is pending to change after seeing the other two builds.
I bumped it up a couple points, but the overall rating is unchanged.
Edited by def, 11 January 2010 - 06:18 PM.