Big shout out to tigerkiddo for their review of this set last year.
If you haven't already, check out my reviews for two other Winter sets, and see what you think.
Winter Village Bakery
Release year: 2010
# of pieces: 687
# of minifigs: 7
RRP: GBP 49.99 / USD 54.99
So far the Winter Village Post Office is my favourite set of the group, with the much anticipated Toy Shop suffering from a sharp price increase. How will the Bakery fare? Let's find out.
~ The box ~
The back of the box is similar to those of the other sets, displaying the cast of figures as well as the goings-on around the Bakery.
To my surprise, this set also comes with a light brick! I honestly didn't notice until I took pictures of the box.
And let's get the joke about French piles out of the way. (You'd think, this being a Bakery set, they'd include the cream this time.)
The parts in this set were brought to you by the above listed countries.
Sadly the Winter Village Bakery also suffered a sharp price increase as of this month. It was previously GBP 44.99 (if I remember correctly), and at one point it was even less expensive than the Toy Shop, at GBP 35.99, in a Lego store.
If I thought that was the worst of it, this sight really flipped my lid. 687 pieces?! That's almost 200 less than both the Toy Shop and the Post Office, which really concerned me given the new price.
Let's calm ourselves down...
On the long side of the box, as usual, is the list of parts in the set, along with two figures shown to represent the scale. From the outset the Bakery follows the trend of including one particularly attractive woman (sadly broken by the presence of Mrs "Two Cloaks" Prescott in the Toy Shop set).
~ The contents ~
With only 687 parts compared to the Toy Shop's 815, we'd better have a good selection. Let's take a look:
The box for the Bakery is about twice as big as its contents. Inside is the instruction manual, eight unnumbered bags and (surprisingly!) a small DSS (dreaded sticker sheet).
From the outset there are a lot of different colours involved in the building of this set; nothing particularly stands out as being prominent.
The light brick hides among the larger pieces in one of the bags.
This manual is the only one out of the three sets I've reviewed that doesn't come in its own bag, with a cardboard support. Very surprisingly it's remained relatively crisp...
...and so has the DSS, which was also unprotected.
Let's have a look at these parts...
We're going to be working with these large plates: three 6x10s, two 4x10s and two 2x12s in White, with a number of supporting plates. Bottom right shows a Reddish Brown 4x8 plate (still haven't perfected my lighting).
Things get interesting here: we have a number of Medium Dark Flesh bricks, including this 1x1 with a vertical hook, which almost look good enough to eat. I've also shown here the few included Green elements.
Just look at all this Dark Red goodness. LOOK AT IT! I don't think I've ever seen this many Dark Red elements in a set before.
If tiles are your thing, the Bakery set has these to offer. The 1x2s in Orange really stand out, but I'm particularly keen on the Light Bluish Grey 2x4s.
The stars of the show
Let's talk transparencies first. One of the biggest talking points about this set is the inclusion of two 8x8 plates in Trans Medium Blue, but we also have a 1x6x5 wall panel in Trans Clear, which tend to appear only in the most expensive of sets. We also have some very useful windows for the 1x4x6 door frames.
Two baguettes, a croissant, an apple and two Bright Light Orange ice cream parts are very welcome food parts included, as well as a camera and an ever-elusive 100 bill. A brown "Elsa" hairpiece comes in very handy, and for lovers of the snow we also have a Dark Blue parka hood.
A closer look at the heads shows that one of the female heads is the same new variant I had with the Toy Shop. The other head is less appealing but double-sided; the other side shows a "shrieking" expression.
We also have a jester head, where one side has a crud-eating grin, and the other sobs like a so-and-so.
Before you even think of building anything, sit and take a tongue-lashing about battery replacement, in no less than 21 different languages.
~ The minifigures ~
The Winter Village Bakery tries to make up for lost points by including two middle-aged women, and making both of the kids male.
"Watch and learn, kids - this is how you chirps women."
So now we get to the good stuff: building the models.
~ The models ~
The magic number four strikes again, as we have four separate models to build.
Model one: the tree stall
This stall could be many things, but in the Bakery set it's a stall where Christmas trees are sold. 100 of whatever currency you decide gets you a kid-size tree; 200 gets you a respectable man-sized tree - as is indicated by the sticker applied to the sign (which I didn't use).
Not a difficult build at all, and a design that could be converted to almost any use you can think of. Use it to sell cups of hot cocoa and cakes, or convert it into a dodgy stand for playing Find The Queen.
Model two: the horse and cart
The two double-sided slope parts (shown under "the stars of the show") go into making this very simple yet effective cart, using the locking hinges to create the sides.
A simple garland design (á la Toy Shop) hangs from the back of the cart.
Just before the horse was added, along with a ridged black brick (to represent a harness or something), I was rather concerned about the presence of both a whip and a small axe on the cart.
Given the dog-whipping shenanigans present in the Winter Village Post Office, I guess the theory was that, if the whip wasn't effective in getting the horse to move, you'd take that axe and...
Ohhhhhhhhh, the axe is used for chopping down trees.
This model comes with the other handyman, responsible for picking up the trees that customers buy, along with the kid in the blue parka. The kid has a gift for the hungry horse.
"Here horsey horsey! Take the delicious apple!"
The kid was never seen again.
Model three: the frozen pond
This model was the one that really stood out when I saw it displayed in various shops; I'd always wondered how the ice was constructed, and whether a special plate was being used or not - it didn't look like any Lego colour I'd seen before.
For anyone wondering the same thing, I've broken it down for you here:
The bench is pretty much constructed in the same way as the one in the Post Office set.
No ice skating scene would be complete without a kid laughing his butt off at someone who fell into snow. The little bugger has even filmed the whole thing and uploaded it to YouTube.
Note the use of 1x1 plates with "teeth" to represent skates, and the 1x1 transparent plates underneath them to position the figures on the ice. These bits are rather fiddly and can make positioning the female figure (having moving legs) very tricky, but they do the job. Remember, this set was out before the Series 4 minifigures.
By the way: does anyone else think those lights are hanging dangerously low?
Model four: the Bakery
Ladies and gentlemen, the fight for the heavywinter championship of the world...
At this point there's going to be a huge chunk of instruction manual to get through, but as long as you have your parts arranged in some kind of order you'll be fine. (Oh yes, be sure to do that before you start work on any of these models.)
Like with the other sets, we basically start off with the ground detail and wall foundations. The Bakery has a nice Tan and Medium Blue tiled floor, with the outside steps substituting Tan for Dark Bluish Grey.
Things have really started to pick up. With creative usage of 1x1 round plates (including the flower plates), we've got a delicious assortment of cakes and pastries on display. The baguettes have gone into a basket next to the oven.
Behind the counter is a secret stash of pink cakes, which can be placed there or taken out at your discretion. They're not secured in place, so be careful when transporting this set or moving it around.
The oven comes equipped with a wooden paddle (which thankfully hasn't gone anywhere near the horse, that we know of).
The combination of Medium Dark Flesh and Dark Red begins to work its magic, building up the walls to the Bakery. Now we know where they go, what will those hooks hold? We've also added one of the large trees.
You can see the big transparent wall element acting as a window pane, with the hole facing outward.
Added to the building is the heavy wooden door, a lamp and the ceiling to the ground floor. The outside of the building, with the help of SNOT bricks, is also decorated with large garland designs.
Looking good, eh?
The rest of the instructions focuses on building the roof.
The light brick is attached to the section of roof above the cake display. It's attached using a similar mechanism to the Toy Shop, but unlike that model it's not in a fixed rotation, nor are you forced to activate the light while fitting it.
The first section of a snow-covered roof is added; this is created using a simple combination of white plates and hinges, leaving a large gap for something.
The second section is added, along with some protruding building sections with windows.
One side of the Bakery has a very small loft, home to a single brown box. Perfect for a hiding place!
And finally our trademark lamppost is added to the building. This lamppost also has a sign hanging from it, with the help of a six-way SNOT brick (one stud on each side).
~ The leftovers ~
After that rather pleasant build, we're left with this assortment of stud-sized pieces:
You know, I don't think I've seen a single Technic piece in this set. There isn't even one to aid in pushing the light brick's button!
The instruction manual also has these pages at the back, mostly advertising very large sets that may still be available.
inset: How astronauts should look.
~ Lighting! ~
The light brick basically illuminates the cake display in the shop window. You can adjust the angle of the brick to get the mood you want, although again it would be helpful if you could keep the light switched on.
~ Fun with the set ~
The bit some of you have been waiting for. What's going to happen this time? Will Sabe make another appearance? Will the Secret Service come to take away the light brick from the Bakery? What will the Jailbait have to say this time? Let's find out.
Val (the fleshie girl), in the absence of her partner, is being propositioned by some overconfident guy.
* HYSTERICAL SCREAMING *
"Okay, what have we got?"
"His name's Max, 13, spokesperson for the Lego Club. Was found buried up to his waist in a pile of snow, assuming whilst skating."
"He must have been there an awful long time for him to turn white like that."
"The coroner puts the time of death at around four weeks ago."
"You know, it shouldn't be possible for someone to turn completely white when submerged in snow; normally the subject would turn a very light blue. This subject would have had to have been exposed to bleach for this to happen.
"Look at the way his face is tensed up - there's no way he could have suffered hypothermia."
"So you're suggesting this is a homicide, staged to look like an accident?"
"Makes sense. How could anyone not see those red pants?"
"...I was just skating, and I saw those red pants just lying there, and then I figured... oh my gawd! (Is the camera on?)"
"Have you ever seen this boy skating on the pond before?"
"No, I've never seen him before in my life..."
"Are you absolutely sure?"
"Hold on, it's Garcia. What you got for me, baby girl?"
"Something that's hot and..."
"Uh, nothing Hotch - we're just playin'! Anyway, what's happenin'?"
"I looked into the origin of those red pants, and I must have alerted the fashion police because both my computers just went down. I'm trying to get things back up, but someone obviously doesn't want me finding anything out."
"Keep us posted, some kid's about to steal some cakes."
~ The verdict ~
"Sentence first," The Red Queen once said, "verdict afterwards."
All of the models in this set are attractive and very well designed, but for me the snow-covered roof on the Bakery lets things down.
I found it much easier to build the models in this set than either the Post Office or the Toy Shop, even though there was still the issue of unnumbered bags, numerous small parts and colour interpretations. The lower part count probably contributed to this.
The choice of Dark Red and Medium Dark Flesh parts makes this very attractive, but probably also pushes up the price. Otherwise there's a good selection of other parts, particularly food items, the transparent parts and round plates. The light brick is again a nice-to-have, but almost completely unnecessary.
I'd argue this set is more playable than the Toy Shop as is, but it's a display set that lends itself to being extended - particularly the frozen pond. The horse and cart unfortunately loses out to the Post Office's van.
I penalised the Toy Shop because of its sharp price increase, but the Bakery deserves a bigger penalty as it's now the same price as the Post Office.
Based on these scores the winner... and still heavywinter champion of the world is the Winter Village Post Office, as the Bakery scores a respectable 7/10.
My thoughts on the Winter Village Bakery:
From the outset I'd always preferred the Toy Shop, and I couldn't figure out why the Bakery was (mostly) more expensive. I was even unenthusiastic about finally purchasing it to do a review, getting back and opening up the box to reveal the contents - right up until I began building the cart.
As things progressed, I realised this was actually a really enjoyable build - certainly compared to the other Winter sets. I'd seen this set on display so many times, and particularly when I got to the frozen pond I had a breakthrough moment, as I figured out how it was put together. (It was very mesmerising seeing this model under a shop's specially constructed lighting.)
In the context of Toy Shop vs. Bakery (which isn't an even fight to begin with): I feel the Toy Shop is a more attractive building, with the bonus of a large tree that's ripe for decorating. The Bakery has the more interesting additional models, minifigures and parts. Everything in me says that the Toy Shop is the superior set, mainly because of the building - but the Bakery has an edge in being more cohesive and enjoyable to build, which makes sense as it came out a year later. (I haven't forgotten the frustration I felt when the instructions for the Toy Shop "forced" me to switch the light brick on during construction.)
In the end, I now have the trio of Winter buildings, and I can no longer imagine having any of them without the others. In fact, I'm impatiently waiting for next year's instalment.
Thank you for listening to me babble.
Edited by Rick, 23 October 2011 - 08:59 PM.