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REVIEW: Fabuland 3675 General Store

FABULAND Review

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#1 Pandora

Pandora

  • Hide the Zebras!


    Posts: 3869
    Joined: 05-February 11
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    Country: UK

Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:30 PM

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Number – 3675
Name – General Store
Theme – Fabuland
Year – 1987
Minifigs – 3
Pieces – 103
Price – MSRP sadly unknown, bought for an undisclosed sum as a present.


Links: Brickset, Peeron, BrickLink


My love of Fabuland is a well-known fact, so it is no surprise really that I might receive some for my birthday a couple of months ago.  Fabuland is such a happy place, with such adorable characters, that I find I cannot help but smile when I see them.  As it was a present, I didn’t personally buy this set, but I might just have pointed out that it seemed like a great set to have, and thus set wheels in motion ready for my birthday.  :wink: This is also a second-hand set, not MISB, however it came with the original box and (most of) the original parts, so with that in mind I have tried to record here the experience of opening the box and building and playing with the set inside...



The Box


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The very front of the box is old, battered and faded, but you can still make out the extremely bright Fabuland colours, and the idyllic scene the Fabuland characters play out with the combined shop and post office.  This front picture gives a very good view of the set as a whole, as it allows you to see a little of the detailing at the back of the set.  The most delightful aspect of the box, though, is that this frontage is actually a flap that lifts up to allow you a preview of the parts inside.


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As you can see, the top lifts to reveal the Fabuland inside.  This was a huge excitement to me – having some of the pieces placed on display in the clear plastic container greatly increased my anticipation.  I began to see exciting parts, in the upper display, yet (even though they had been repackaged by the seller) I could also make out some tantalising glimpses of further Fabuland promises underneath.  In truth I simultaneously wanted to get the box open as quickly as possible whilst wanting to take great care not to damage this delightful design feature of the box.


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Here’s a better view of the clear tray which contains a somewhat random collection of parts, but perhaps most importantly for some also shows the Fabuland figures included in the set.  We’ll meet Freddy Fox, Hannah Hippopotamus and Boris Bulldog later, but underneath the tray you can glimpse some of the other LEGO also included.


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The inside of the box lid isn’t left plain either.  There is a genuinely cute picture of a little boy and girl playing with their General Store and reading the accompanying story booklet.  There’s also a pictorial indication that the recipient of this set need not fret, as the instructions are included.


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The back of the box shows a wide variety of alternative builds.  Some of these, like the boat-home in the top left seem a little bizarre, but most are adorable scenes of Fabulanders going about their daily routine.  The colour scheme remains bright and bold, and the pictures are absorbing to look at.


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The sides demonstrate another alternative build; here the designers seem to have deliberately engineered a tall and narrow townhouse with a balcony whose picture fits perfectly on the side of the box.  This may have been coincidence, but I appreciate that these areas of the box really could have been left blankly covered with the Fabuland green, and had a text box declaring that this set is suitable “from 5 years” rather than have Hannah say it in a speech bubble.


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After all that excitement, one might expect the remaining contours of the box to be calm and plain, but even the bottom of the box manages to squeeze in yet another alternative build, while the top of the box shows Freddy posing in a photo-story with Boris.  He seems to be shouting “Fruit” at Boris (who purely has a cameo role to deliver the post) which seemed a little odd until I realised that he’s advertising his wares as a greengrocer.  Or fruiterer to be exact.  Despite this innocent explanation, I still find the third picture along somewhat sinister...  


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So having contained my excitement long enough, the contents of the outer shell are extracted carefully.  Here you can see that the clear tray rests on top of a simple box in the Fabuland green colour.  The clear tray simply lifts off, and itchy fingers have free access to all the LEGO parts and the booklets within.



The Instructions


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Every Fabuland set comes with a story booklet, which often, for larger sets such as this, doubles as the build instructions.  The pictures of these instruction booklets are charmingly hand-drawn, and the colouring used is more pastel-shaded, and so slightly gentler on the eye.  I have recorded each double page spread below:


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The first few pages of the book give instructions on the build in story form.  Keen eyes must look closely at the accompanying pictures to ensure the parts are correctly placed on the baseplate, but the adorable characters describing how they build the store make you really not mind that too much.  In fact it really is quite fun to follow along with the characters as they build “their” General Store.  I’ve included pictures of the pages with the build as a reference, and also because, well, they’re just lovely to look at really.


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The remainder of the booklet contains another story of what happens to our FabuFigs when the store opens for business.  Again, it’s all hand drawn and adds detail and interest in one’s mind regarding the set you are building.  The very last page shows a group shot of all the characters from this generation of FabuFigs, and their names, no doubt in an attempt to make children want even more of these adorable animals.  If you’d like to see high resolution versions of any of these pictures, please visit my flickr page.  :sweet:


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The very back page shows a composite sketch of all the sets of this generation of Fabuland, and reinforces, by use of another picture of a boy and a girl, how Fabuland is intended to be unisex.  The composite sketch itself gives an idea of how this incarnation of Fabuland fits together, and brings life to the sets; making them part of an active world.


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There is another booklet with this set, and it’s the generic “let’s show you all the other LEGO you can buy, too” style of booklet.  The rather nice thing about is that many people’s favourite, the Forestman, takes pride of place in the picture, but Edward Elephant from Fabuland isn’t far behind, even if he does look like he’s kicking Classic Town dude out of the wall.


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I’ve resisted the urge to photograph every single page of this second booklet, however here I’ve shown the Fabuland double page spread.  Please click the picture for a high resolution view.  This picture’s purpose is really to make you (or the child reading) really want to buy more and more Fabuland.  And it works.  Once again, seeing these adorable animals having fun together in their adorable world just makes you want...moar!  in addition you can also see the types of Fabuland sets that were around at the time this set was released.


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The back shows the old harbour sets, and is thus mercifully free of the later added Gagne-Child.  Once again LEGO have the marketing sense to pose their minifigs and form a scene with their sets, and this is far nicer to look at.  It may seem irrelevant, as I can no longer order these sets from LEGO, but I find it nice to look at nonetheless and I’m glad it was included in the set, especially as it’s second-hand.



The Parts


Of course the sets are really about the parts, and the most important parts to me are the Minifigs, or rather the FabuFigs.


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Here are our adorable stars of the set.  These are second generation FabuFigs, so they are slightly different from their first generation counterparts, most noticeably with the eyes..  The eyes...  Aaargh, the eyes.  :wacko:  They aren’t so bad for Boris Bulldog, he still manages to look cute, but Freddy Fox looks slightly psychotic and Hannah Hippo looks like she has a serious anxiety disorder that makes her surprised at everything.  They are still undeniably cute, though, if a little mad looking, and look closer and you’ll see that Hannah has ladylike eyelashes, too.  The other difference from first generation FabuFigs is the printing on the front.  All three have a design on their torsos.  Hannah is a laaaydee and so has a sweet necklace printed on her top, while farmer Freddy wears printed overalls, and Boris has the postman motif on his torso (because...he’s a postman) along with some smart buttons, that you can imagine him polishing proudly.  The hats are not removable, which is a shame, and there is some slight wear to Boris and Freddy’s facial printing, but not too bad overall.  Boris only appears in this set, while Freddy also stars in 3683 – Amusement Park 1987, but Hannah features in three other sets!  These are: 3662 – Bus 1987, 3798 – Hannah’s Garden 1988, and 3622 – Rowboat 1988.  Please note that I am specifically referring to these second generation FabuFigs.  Very similar incarnations of these FabuFigs were seen in the first generation (Buzzy Bulldog springs to mind), however the first generation had the cuter eyes but lacked any printing on the torsos.


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From the back, the torsos are plain, and you can see Boris and Freddy’s moulded hair poking out underneath their hats.  This brings the realisation that Helen Hippo is bald!  But she’s a hippo, so that’s ok.  Plus you can see she has cute little hippo ears, now that you aren’t distracted by her manic gaze.


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There’s a decent sized green baseplate with this set; 32x24 to be precise.  Always useful to have around, and in proportions that aren’t so easy to find these days; there are a few lots on BrickLink, but they aren’t all that cheap.


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There are some larger pieces in this set, many of which will be classed “juniorised” by some.  The large bay window is one of them.  I really like that there are LEGO bay windows and if it comes in a part that has the surrounding wall included, I’m happy with that.  The colours are typical Fabuland colours (blue and yellow), and one could argue that they could have provided the window itself and the bricks to build around it, but that isn’t the point of Fabuland - it was designed for younger children, after all.


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There is another wall piece, also with a large window and also in the bright primary colours of Fabuland, along with a larger door (for access for the larger FabuFigs) which, like the Minifig scale doors, fills the doorframe.  I’ve resisted the word System here to describe Minifig scale, as Fabuland is System, however the scale of these details is different because the scale of the FabuFigs is larger.  The stickers were already applied when I obtained this set, and you can see that the window piece has the 75 sticker fortunately nicely placed and that it hasn’t worn too much with time.  There’s no reference to the Store being Number 75 on a particular road, it’s evidently just an arbitrary number, however I appreciate the detail.  The back of the window piece also has shelves, which is a useful quality as it allows for more detail to be added in to structures using this part.  It is certainly preferable compared to a hollow piece.


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The roof pieces in Fabuland are more than just slopes.  The base of each roof piece is 2x6x2, however they are composed of two parts joined together.  They don’t separate, so please don’t try.  In this set there are a handful of such roof pieces.  Not an overwhelming amount, but as they can cover a wide area, they are still welcome.  The surface of the roof pieces have a nice wood-grain mould to them, marking them out as such, whereas the slopes used in System sets to make roofs are left plain, allowing them to be re-used in other ways.


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There are of course regular System elements to the set; there is a little building required rather than merely the placement of larger pieces.  There are a reasonable selection of plates in various sizes, and again in the primary colours we associate so much with Fabuland.


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There are System bricks, too, again in a variety of shapes and sizes, and again in primary colours only.  The red and yellow 1x4x1 fence pieces are a welcome addition, but not particularly rare.


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The set comes with a large post box in blue and consisting of two parts – the base and the lid.  The design on the front is printed on and clearly denotes that this is where you should deposit your packages and letters if you want Boris to deliver them.  It’s a large part, and uncomplicated, but it easily denotes a post-box, and you could even fit a FabuFig in there, if you wanted to.


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This, as mentioned, is a second generation Fabuland set from the 1980s.  The trees in the second generation had apple printing as this does, which is a pleasant detail.  The trees in the second generation sets weren’t as widespread as those of the first.  The plain tree appeared in 10 sets in total, while this tree only appeared in this set, and 3 others; 3659 - Play Ground 1987, 3680 - Camping Caravan 1988, 3682 - Fire Station 1987.  I’m very happy to have it, although there is a temptation to want to place the red apple minifigure accessory in the holes denoted by the apples.


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To add to the outside detailing there’s also a bright and cheery petrol pump.  Clearly the Fabulanders are wise economists and realise that profits won’t be made with fruit or post, but by selling gasoline to the various inhabitants who have vehicles.  Unfortunately for a grown-up mind, this comes with the realisation that there might be pollution in the green fields of Fabuland, but put such thoughts from your mind, this was the 1980s where the words “catalytic converter” were only just becoming known in common parlance.  The petrol pump itself has a sticker on the front that the previous owner wasn’t too careful with, but the hose detaches and reattaches providing a feature to allow play in filing up tricycles and scooters with petrol and it hasn’t even been chewed.  It does also make sense in the set, as Boris himself has a car, as we’ll see later.  This part only appears in this set and the first generation 3670 -  Service Station set from 1984 (where there are two) and there aren’t very many available on Bricklink – certainly not complete ones with stickers intact.


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For more architectural detail there are these lovely light grey lamp posts, which are used as columns in this set.  The moulding gives them a Victorian feel, and they are certainly parts I would like to have more of.  Unfortunately these lamp posts are only available in this colour in this particular set.  The mould is still going though, as a white version was seen most recently in the 2011 Cars set 8639 - Big Bentley Bust Out.


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There are a good number of parts to add details to the outside of the store.  There are two Fabuland fence pieces, which are a little twee, with their heart shaped cut-outs, however it cannot be denied that they are actually intricately moulded pieces and also quite useful.  I have seen them often used in MOCs to denote bed heads, for which purpose they work well.   The bench is a Fabuland mould; it was only ever seen in Fabuland sets.  The white version (as we have here) was present in 10 sets altogether, the red version, however, was only seen in two Fabuland sets.  I actually prefer the white version, personally, and although there are System sets with pieces and instructions to build more traditional brown wooden benches, I like the detail of this piece.  Also included are two Fabuland flowers and three Fabuland flower-stalks, and a broom in Earth Orange, all of which are widely available.


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There are two signs included, to denote both the general store and the post office.  The actual LEGO of the sign is a fairly intricate part with the swoops and curls that connect the “sign” portion to the post, which is also detailed.  The stickers were applied by the previous owner, and unfortunately they got them the wrong way round.  The General Store sign stickers are supposed to be front and back of one sign, with the Post Office stickers on the front and back of the other.  It doesn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things, but I know we have eagle-eyed readers here at Eurobricks.  :wink:


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The interior of the general store also has furniture, which in itself also serves to provide walls to the shop.  This is the outer orientation of the dresser, which has a sticker applied showing the prices of various items that may be for sale here.  The addition of the sticker transforms what would have been a plain wall into a detailed part.


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The inside of this piece is a charming dresser.  I really do like how this is both a structural element and a piece of furniture, with shelves and a cupboard at the bottom.  I like the detail that even the shelves have brackets moulded in, although that may be just to make the actual LEGO piece more sturdy.


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Another charming thing is the attention to detail; the doors to the cupboard actually open.  I know this sounds silly, but they could have just been a block with stickers to imply doors.  It’s details like these that children notice, too.  It is another way of providing interaction with the set, and making it “playable”.


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There are two sets of 2x3x2 chests of drawers, and the draws themselves are removable; they actually function as draws.  The questions that people often ask about when they see a MOC are along the lines of “does it have an interior”.  Interior detailing is important to many AFOLs and having the means of providing some detail is great, although you have to not mind too much that they are in bright Fabuland primary colours.


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The draws are put together with some plates and 1x2 bricks (from the above inventory) to form another structural piece, which again is also functional.  The colours of the desk and shelves made me think very much of Sweden, and because they’re furniture, very much of IKEA, however these pieces of furniture are infinitely easier to construct than anything from IKEA.


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To go with the desk, there’s a red Fabuland chair, slightly larger than the Minifig chair, understandably, and with more curves to it.  The round base allows the chair to be oriented at different angles rather than just in the direction of the studs.


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Hmm, you can’t help noticing these mugs are pink.  Pink isn’t really a Fabuland colour, but this is what I got.  They are actually supposed to be one blue and one yellow.  But I got pink.  On the plus side, yellow and blue mugs are plentiful, but pink mugs are only available in Paradisa sets, and so are slightly rarer, so it isn’t the end of the world.


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Other accessories (there are lots here) also include a lovely red telephone, with its string still attached  :wub:  and a lovely bright blue Fabuland teapot, because there’s no point having mugs if you don’t have the means to make tea, let’s face it.


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In addition to stickers, there are also printed parts, and everybody loves printed parts, especially if they’re tiles.  We have a 1x3x1 red brick with printing to denote the top of a cash register, and some printed tiles to represent letters, for Boris to collect and deliver.  There are actually only supposed to be two printed letters; one 1st class and one 3rd class, but for some reason I received two 3rd class letters, but I’m really not complaining, especially as one of them is somewhat worn.  You can see that there are three tiles with fruit printed on them.  These are used to denote the produce that Hannah herself grows in order to sell, and they are used to denote the items for sale.  They are such a simple way of representing these items, but they’re still cute, and it’s clear what they represent.  Unfortunately, there is also supposed to be an apple tile like this one (image from BrickLink):

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but I didn’t receive it.   :cry_sad:  I’m sure the observant reader will wonder what on earth a Pirate treasure map is doing here.  I wondered too.  It seems to be a compensatory replacement tile, for the lack of apple.  So you will see Hannah selling a variety of fruit, and a treasure map, just in case any of our Fabulanders have dreams of taking to the high seas and plundering loot.


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Boris needs a little car to get around and deliver the post, and Hannah needs a little car to deliver her produce to the inhabitants of Fabuland.  Provided in the box are parts with which to build such a vehicle.  These are synonymous with Fabuland vehicles and have appeared in a number Fabuland sets, however some parts have also appeared in Belville, Disney and Paradisa sets.  The pieces are larger, the chassis itself includes the wheel arches already, and there is a piece with the headlamps and front bumper as part of the mould.  Again, some may call these pieces juniorised, however these sets were designed for younger children, and there is still construction required – albeit not very much, but arranging the pieces once gives the builder the opportunity to consider how else they may be arranged.  The chassis has been seen in a couple of Fabuland sets in various colours, and because it is a standard mould it also has the tow-bar at the back and the tow-bar connection at the front.  There’s no sense in that in this set, as there’s nothing to connect the chassis to, however in the 1985 set 3641 Car and Camper there are two parts to the whole vehicle and they connect in this way.  As that set was the first time the chassis was seen, it seems obvious that TLG would continue to use the same mould.  It does also mean the parts are interchangeable and adaptable; you could build a Fabu-Convoy if you so wished.




The Main Build
So as mentioned when I spoke about the accompanying booklet, the instructions are essentially a story which describe how the characters themselves build the General Store (and indeed, why).  I’ve taken a few pictures to illustrate a few stages of the building, and tried to recreate the scenes found in the instruction booklet itself.


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At this point Hannah and Freddy have built the cash register section at the back of the shop, and built the walls around the right hand side of the building, which is not a taxing task as the walls are the larger 2x6x7 pieces.  They have also managed to add a few System bricks and plates to form a porch with a balcony, making pleasant use of the red 1x4x1 fence pieces.


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By now Hannah and Freddy have added a roof to the initial part of the building and continued the walls round the left hand side of the store, which is actually the post office.  You can begin to see here that the furniture itself provides the boundaries for the store; the shelves that were constructed earlier (the IKEA shelves) actually form the left wall of the post office.  You can also see how further System bricks and plates are used to cover this left hand side.


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Having now added the roof to the post office (and deliberately decided to use grey roof pieces to make it different to the store), Hannah has decided that there’s no better time to try out the new balcony.  This is a faithful re-creation of a scene in the instructions – diagram number 17 to be precise.  I have no idea what Hannah is doing on the balcony, but at least she looks happy, which is more than can be said for poor old Freddy who looks either forlorn or puzzled at the IKEA shelves.


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So when our adorable friends have constructed their post office and general store, they also add in some additional detailing to the exterior.  There are some flowers, a tree and some fencing to add to the cute little garden at the side of the post office portion, and the charming Fabuland bench is placed in front of the grand bay window, so that our characters can sit and chat whilst watching the world go by.  The post box is also placed at the front, on the opposite corner to the petrol pump, so that Boris can zoom by and pick up the post on his way to fill up his fuel tank to ensure he can deliver his letters around Fabuland.  


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Moving round to the left side of the building, there’s a better view of the little garden with the built-up yellow flower (which is why there are three Fabuland leaf parts to two Fabuland flower heads) and the Fabuland tree, which is slightly less impressive side-on.  From here you can also see how the IKEA shelves fit into the structure of the building, and that they look built in (because, effectively, they are).


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From the back you can see better how the store and the post office are laid out.  You can also see that the previous owner of this set did indeed get the stickers on the signs the wrong way round, which is mildly annoying.  The post office maintains the mostly-blue-with-a-hint-of-yellow colour scheme, and although the shelves are somewhat bare there is a nicely appointed desk, complete with shiny red telephone.  :wub:  The mug on the desk of the post office is supposed to be blue, to match the colour scheme (as I’ve already mentioned), as indeed the mug on the counter of the general store is supposed to be yellow.  The post office desk has the lovely red Fabuland chair, jauntily angled at the desk, and there is a letter on the desk that clearly requires closer examination from Boris or Freddy.  It’s possible Freddy thinks there’s some money in it, naughty fox that he is, or perhaps Boris the official and officious bulldog has noticed some wires poking out, and one of the Fabulanders has in fact sent a letter bomb?  :look:
Here you can also see the counter next to the cash register and some of the shelves in the general store, and although there is a great view of the bright blue teapot, it isn’t easy to see how the shelving units are arranged.  This view allows you to see better:


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From this angle more of the general store layout can be seen, and the bright yellow colour scheme with red accents is clearly apparent.  What can also be seen is that unfortunately some of the shelf space from the window piece is lost and the interior looks a little clumsy as a result.  It really is unfortunate; the pieces are arranged this way so that the external walls are flush and the roof pieces economical, however it really doesn’t look so good on the inside.  I’ve arranged the “fruit” as described in the story/instructions (and here the part of an apple is being played by a treasure map) but it does leave the shop looking slightly bare.  There are lots of pieces placed on the counter next to the cash register, almost swamping the cash register itself, but still somehow I hoped for more.


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As we move around to the side of the general store, my adult logic starts to niggle annoyingly.  I want the continued suspension of disbelief, however practicality and function must be addressed.  Here you can see that the walls indeed do sit pleasantly flush, and that it would be a shame to lose part of the dresser’s back wall as it has the price list for customers on the back (also a sticker, and also applied by the previous owner) – a price list for things the shop doesn’t have for sale... Hmm.  Anyway, this price list is sensibly positioned next to the cash register, on the side where customers might walk past it on their way to the cash register... or at least they might if the post box weren’t in the way.  Oh well, the stickered wall certainly adds interest to this side of the building, and from here you can also see more of the balcony, which I feel forms a very pleasant architectural feature, especially as a roof to the porch.  I shall not dwell too much on the fact that there’s no clear way for our FabuFigs to get up there, I fear I’m destroying the magic as I type..


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The latter part of the story/instruction tells of how to build Boris’ car.  Indeed in the story initially it isn’t clear to whom the car actually belongs, but come on, it’s blue and yellow, it must be Boris’ car, right?  The construction is very simple, essentially adding the five pieces to the chassis, one by one.  The end result, though, is adorable.  It is a cute little open-top run-around, complete with headlights and a windscreen.


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And to demonstrate just how cute it is, Boris has kindly stepped in to model the car, complete with a letter for him to deliver.  You can see how well the car matches Boris’ own colour scheme and that of the post office, and that the proportions suit a FabuFig extremely well.  Boris just has to sit in the small box-seat and look cute, for there are no unnecessary trivialities like a steering wheel to worry about.  This is Fabuland; everyone gets to where they want to go.  


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So when we add all these adorable elements together, how does it look?  Here I have again tried to re-create a scene from the box; you can see the characters and the car as well as the other accessories, as the whole set is displayed.  The set comes to life when the characters and the car are added, and it looks like a busy and vibrant Fabuland general store and post office.   It’s not just a shell with a few figures, there are also enough details here to make it playable without being swamped with pieces.  There was no need to add the garden, or the bench or the broom, however these additions are pleasant and unassuming.  There are plenty of scenarios for children to act out, and plenty of scenes to re-create with the parts available.  Overall, I think it is adorable.  :wub:

Now a few people may remember that on the back of the box are a few alternative models shown.  Quite a few in fact, and some of them are... a little odd.  I’m a sucker for an alternative build so I’ve picked out a couple to re-create.  Here’s the first:


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Boris’ little postal run-around has been transformed into a sort of charabanc.  Freddy sits on the upper deck admiring the Fabuland countryside, while Hannah sits waiting for her ride.  

It seems to me as though Hannah is saying to Boris “There’s no way I’m getting in that crazy contraption” and Boris is replying “Just get on the damn bus, hippo!”

It’s a fairly simple construction, and the upper deck of the vehicle is supported by the windscreen at the front, and a few layers of bricks at the back.  Freddy is actually sat on the single red chair, so even if Hannah could catapult herself up there, there’d be nowhere for her to sit.  Such practicalities as these don’t matter in the minds of children, though.
This isn’t ever the most bonkers of the vehicles shown as part of the alternative builds on the back of the box:


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I present to you the backless house-car thingy.  I admit the name needs a little work.  It might be a caravan, or a Winnebago, I honestly don’t know.  There is the possibility that the area above the car portion might be intended to be a sleeping section.  However what completely boggles my mind is why a door is necessary when the whole of the back of the vehicle is open!  :wacko:  It is fairly sturdy, and even zoomable, but it really makes me think it should be a vehicle in Wacky Races; it bears a passing resemblance to the Creepy Coupe to my eyes:

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That said, it was quite fun to build, as was the other alternative build, and their bonkersness just adds to the Fabuland charm, really.





Conclusion

Design 8 /10  This is a cute shop, and I particularly like how is it separated into a post office and a General Store both by the colour scheme and the fact that the areas are mostly kept to one or other side of the door.  There has been attention paid to the elements that both the store and the Post Office might need to make them playable - the stock and the cash register for the store, and the desk and chair, letters and telephone for the Post Office.  Overall it is a pleasing structure, and I especially like the porch with its pillars and balcony.  The real disappointment, as I’ve already pointed out, is the slight covering over of the shelves in the general store.  It would have been great if the design could have included a way to have all aspects of the shelves visible, and still have the external walls flush with the roof still covered.  This is the only gripe I have with the design, though, as the rest is pure Fabuland joy to me.

Parts  9/10  The System bricks in this set aren’t really anything much, however the Fabuland parts are plentiful, with some being relatively uncommon.  The lamp posts are a very welcome addition to any collection, especially mine, but there’s a plethora of pieces I’m delighted to have.  Other stand out parts for me are: the multitude of printed tiles, the red telephone, the petrol pump, the postbox, the apple tree....  There are so many parts included that I’m spoilt for choice.  

FabuFigs 7/10  Talk to anyone about Fabuland figures and they’re referred to as FabuFigs, so no mention of Minifigs here.  This isn’t a huge set overall, so receiving three FabuFigs as part of it is quite a boon.  The hippo and the bulldog have always been higher up the adorability list, and Freddy Fox is still nice, if a little sinister.  As mentioned earlier, there’s nice printing on all the torsos, and the hats on Boris and Freddy are great, too; it’s just a shame they aren’t removable.  The biggest shame, though, is that TLG gave these cute and adorable Fabulanders monstrous eyes when they reincarnated them in this second generation.  The older eyes were significantly cuter and didn’t make the Fabulanders look like they’re strung out on Crystal Meth.  I love these figures, but unfortunately the eyes are a disappointment to me.  Why TLG??  Why???  The first generation eyes were soulful and cute, these are.... dreadful.  :cry_sad:

Build  9/10  The basis of the building comes together pretty quickly as the main structure is composed of the larger pieces.  Once those are in place, however, there is some “traditional” LEGO building, followed by the plethora of details that can be positioned “just-so”.  Following the story/instructions makes the build interesting and fun, and of course oh-so-cute as you join with the characters in building their store, so overall the build is lots of fun with plenty to add interest.  Attempting the alternative builds once more opens up new and interesting ways of combining the pieces; ideal for those not used to MOCing, and just fun to build in all their bonkers glory.

Playability  9/10  With the addition of the stories and so many little details, there’s oodles of playability here.  Boris’ car is extremely sweet and very zoomable, and it can be set up as a grocery delivery van, or a post vehicle, and can be used to fill up with petrol.  The other elements provide seemingly endless scenarios also, with growing the produce (as in the story) and selling it, not to mention posting and delivering letters and working at the desk with the telephone.  The cash register makes for an ideal play shop, so there’s plenty for children to play with here (and adults, too).  

Price  7/10  I find it very hard to comment on price for these sets.  There’s no information available in the usual source for how much this set may have sold for at the time of its release, and I honestly don’t know how much this set cost to buy this time (and I don’t really want to, it was a present after all).  Looking on BrickLink, at the time of writing there are three sets available; a used and incomplete set for £37.82 GBP (60.89 USD, 40.04 EUR); a complete used set without the box for £86.38 GBP (139.04 USD, 98.31 EUR); and a MISB set available for £210.98 GBP (339.57 USD, 240.09 EUR) so there is a huge variation in prices and what you might get for your money.  This is a used e-bay lot, which came with the box and instructions and only a couple of missing parts (which were replaced, sort of).  There are many useful items here, some relatively rare, and fortunately in pretty good condition, mostly.  For an old set like this, a reasonable price is really whatever that particular buyer is willing to pay; some may think the price is extortionate while others may think it is reasonable for the Fabuland goodies within.  I myself am happy to own this set, and even happier that it was given as a present.

Overall  82%

This is another nostalgic piece of Fabuland charm.  Not everyone loves Fabuland, but I do, and this set is so jam-packed with detailing and accessories, not to mention Fabuland parts for building houses and a car, that overall it is a great set with endless playability.  The accompanying booklet adds pathos to the characters and introduces them to you or to children who may play with the set.  The one big down-side is the FabuFigs, unfortunately.  The second generation eyes are just too much, just a bit too crazy, and sadly reduce the cuteness of the otherwise adorable characters.  However, if you have a few first generation figures in your collection, you can still make the set adorable, and the first generation figures will fit in perfectly.

Posted Image


Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome.  High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.


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#2 Mikeosaurus

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:12 PM

I must say I'm no fan of Fabuland or by association this set, but your review is awesome! Its very in-depth, and interesting to read regardless of how you stand on the theme. You also raised an interesting point I had never noticed about differences between the eyes of first and second generation Fabuf... Fab... Dang, I can't bring myself to say it, I'll just call them "Fabuland figures."

The alternative builds are erm... creative, especially that crazy house-car whatsit! :roflmao:
Anyway, this is a good look into the cutesy world of Fabuland. Great work Pandora! :thumbup:

#3 lightningtiger

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:34 PM

Thanks '3001/5' for this review, such a C&C set...that's CUTE & COOL....a perfect structure - a post office and store with fuel pump out the front....spot on for any village (if only Lego released one in the city arena :wink: - wishful thinking eh ? :laugh: )
Interesting to see Lego were trying out the panels plus bricks build idea back in the 1980's...so common now in city and kingdom's. :wink:
I think my wife would this kind of Lego....she would think it's cute too ! :laugh: (she's a blonde....I know it's a trial, but she's my wife :wub: )
Brick On with cute animal creatures. :grin:

#4 Rick

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:36 PM

I absolutely love this review Pandora. :wub:  You've provided an amazingly in-depth look at a real Fabuland classic in your usual informative but very amusing way.

I like that you present such a detailed view of the box. The 1980s boxes were great, because they showcased a set really well. All the interesting parts were prominently displayed in the trays that featured in the bigger sets and the back of the box was always a real treat with nicely presented alternative builds. The same goes for the instruction booklet. Your booklet looks in excellent shape and you made sure to archive it for future generations. The way the set is built by the characters themselves is simply adorable.

It really is a shame that LEGO decided that the Fabufigs needed to be changed halfway through the 1980s. The addition of torso prints is a nice touch, but... the eyes... the first generation figures were really cute, but some of the second generation figures look a bit creepy. The parts and the accessories included with the set more than make up for that though. The bay window, the grey roof pieces, the phone, the petrol pump, the bench... It really is amazing to see all the new parts that were introduced for Fabuland and the limited amount of sets they were often used in. I don't think that would be possible anymore today. The numbered stickers on the Fabuland buildings mostly correspond with the last two digits of the set number, so your 3675 set indeed gets number 75.

It's nice that you decided to have the Fabufigs build the store as they do in the instruction booklet. :sweet:  I fully agree with your evaluation of the large prefab wall elements. The windows and doors are great designs and they allow small children to quickly construct a building, but I really don't like the way they line up in corners either.

I also like that you seem to make a tradition of showcasing some of the alternative models from the back of the box. Wacky as they may seem, they would surely stimulate children's imagination.

Quote

However, if you have a few first generation figures in your collection, you can still make the set adorable, and the first generation figures will fit in perfectly.
:wub: I love that final picture. :sweet:

#5 Rufus

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:49 AM

Thank you for the wonderful review!  :wub:  And congrats on the shiny silver badge :wub_drool:  I've given you the RA logo which got missed :blush:

 3001/59, on 31 October 2011 - 09:36 PM, said:

The numbered stickers on the Fabuland buildings mostly correspond with the last two digits of the set number, so your 3675 set indeed gets number 75.
I didn't know that :look:  Thanks, 59!  :snicker:

 3001/59, on 31 October 2011 - 09:36 PM, said:

:wub: I love that final picture. :sweet:
You're only saying that cos you're in it :hmpf_bad: .  Oh wait, I'm in it too!  :wub:

#6 Darkdragon

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:29 PM

Great review, photos, text, but most importantly now I must have this set.

As a Fabuland set it is great, but as a Fabuland moc builder's parts pack it is amazing.  I'm actually afraid to look at the price on Bricklink because of so many hard to find parts in there.

#7 Aanchir

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:59 PM

Very nice review. I love how you were able to look at it from a child's perspective while still paying close attention to details both good and bad. The juniorization of these sets would be somewhat bothersome if there were some sort of standard I were expecting them to live up to, but as it is Fabuland seems merely designed to fill the gap between the Duplo and minifig-based System age range, and it is well-designed for that.

If only there were more reviews showing such keen attention to sets that obviously lie outside an AFOL's usual interest range! It always bothers me that sets from beginner themes like Jack Stone and its mostly-superior successor 4 Juniors get largely ignored or rejected when they also have their share of useful pieces and creative designs. Likewise Belville and other girl-oriented "dollhouse" themes, although some reviewers here have taken the plunge and reviewed certain Belville sets in detail. Duplo reviews are still almost entirely absent on Eurobricks, especially of more expensive and complex Duplo sets like the Castle line.

However, I have no animosity towards Fabuland for its disproportionate appeal among adult fans. Although I didn't live through the Fabuland phenomenon I certainly saw its legacy in parts like the columns mentioned in this review, or even the cauldron piece used in Fright Knights. Although nowadays the mold has been changed, my original Fright Knights cauldron still had "Fabuland" embossed on the bottom of the piece! That was some of my earliest exposure to this theme.

The theme reminds me of the video game franchise Animal Crossing in some ways, with its simple community dynamic and charming animal characters. And while I no longer have much time for video games in my life, I certainly appreciate the appeal of such a cute storybook universe. I wonder if TLG will ever have a similarly successful foray into this intermediate age range, of if they've just decided that the transition period between Duplo and System is not significant enough to get its own line of sets.

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#8 Pandora

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:46 AM

 Mikeosaurus, on 30 October 2011 - 09:12 PM, said:

I must say I'm no fan of Fabuland or by association this set, but your review is awesome! Its very in-depth, and interesting to read regardless of how you stand on the theme. You also raised an interesting point I had never noticed about differences between the eyes of first and second generation Fabuf... Fab... Dang, I can't bring myself to say it, I'll just call them "Fabuland figures."

The alternative builds are erm... creative, especially that crazy house-car whatsit! :roflmao:
Anyway, this is a good look into the cutesy world of Fabuland. Great work Pandora! :thumbup:
Thank you very much Mikeosaurus, I really appreciate your kind comments.  :sweet:
I guess if you're not a Fabuland fan, then you really don't need to worry about whether you call them FabuFigs or not.  :wink:
I really enjoy building the alternative builds for these sets, but I must admit I laughed a lot at some of the scenes! :laugh:

 lightningtiger, on 30 October 2011 - 09:34 PM, said:

Thanks '3001/5' for this review, such a C&C set...that's CUTE & COOL....a perfect structure - a post office and store with fuel pump out the front....spot on for any village (if only Lego released one in the city arena :wink: - wishful thinking eh ? :laugh: )
Interesting to see Lego were trying out the panels plus bricks build idea back in the 1980's...so common now in city and kingdom's. :wink:
I think my wife would this kind of Lego....she would think it's cute too ! :laugh: (she's a blonde....I know it's a trial, but she's my wife :wub: )
Brick On with cute animal creatures. :grin:
Thanks very much lightningtiger, :sweet: I would agree with calling this set Cute & Cool too, and like you I'd really love to see a modern version of this set in the city arena as well.  
For now, though, I'm very glad to have this set.  :sweet:  

 Rick, on 31 October 2011 - 09:36 PM, said:

I absolutely love this review Pandora. :wub:  You've provided an amazingly in-depth look at a real Fabuland classic in your usual informative but very amusing way.

I like that you present such a detailed view of the box. The 1980s boxes were great, because they showcased a set really well. All the interesting parts were prominently displayed in the trays that featured in the bigger sets and the back of the box was always a real treat with nicely presented alternative builds. The same goes for the instruction booklet. Your booklet looks in excellent shape and you made sure to archive it for future generations. The way the set is built by the characters themselves is simply adorable.

It really is a shame that LEGO decided that the Fabufigs needed to be changed halfway through the 1980s. The addition of torso prints is a nice touch, but... the eyes... the first generation figures were really cute, but some of the second generation figures look a bit creepy. The parts and the accessories included with the set more than make up for that though. The bay window, the grey roof pieces, the phone, the petrol pump, the bench... It really is amazing to see all the new parts that were introduced for Fabuland and the limited amount of sets they were often used in. I don't think that would be possible anymore today. The numbered stickers on the Fabuland buildings mostly correspond with the last two digits of the set number, so your 3675 set indeed gets number 75.

It's nice that you decided to have the Fabufigs build the store as they do in the instruction booklet. :sweet:  I fully agree with your evaluation of the large prefab wall elements. The windows and doors are great designs and they allow small children to quickly construct a building, but I really don't like the way they line up in corners either.

I also like that you seem to make a tradition of showcasing some of the alternative models from the back of the box. Wacky as they may seem, they would surely stimulate children's imagination.


:wub: I love that final picture. :sweet:
Thank you so much Rick!  :wub:  I'm glad you like the review, but I didn't doubt you'd like the set!  :laugh: (Scary eyed second generation FabuFigs notwithstanding.  :wink: )  
Thank you also for pointing out where the number "75" on the front of the store came from - it seems so obvious now!  The number of new parts created for Fabuland and yet used so sparingly is astonishing, I agree; for a line that wasn't really around all that long (relatively speaking) it seems quite remarkable indeed.  Seeing those parts still being used in modern MOCs indicates to me that their appeal endures, even as their availability reduces.  
I'm really glad you liked the last picture, and your cameo appearance in it!  :wink:

 Rufus, on 01 November 2011 - 12:49 AM, said:

Thank you for the wonderful review!  :wub:  And congrats on the shiny silver badge :wub_drool:  I've given you the RA logo which got missed :blush:
Thanks Ru!  :wub:  This was an awesome birthday present, so I really should also say thank you to you for getting it for me.  :wub:  
Glad you didn't mind me borrowing Rufus Rabbit for his cameo appearance too, but I had to have the bunny in there too!  :wub_drool:

 darkdragon, on 01 November 2011 - 04:29 PM, said:

Great review, photos, text, but most importantly now I must have this set.

As a Fabuland set it is great, but as a Fabuland moc builder's parts pack it is amazing.  I'm actually afraid to look at the price on Bricklink because of so many hard to find parts in there.
Thanks very much darkdragon, I really appreciate your kind comments.  :sweet: I'm very happy to have this set, but I also feel very lucky to have it, too.  As I mentioned in the "Price" section, there aren't that many lots on BrickLink, so striking lucky on ebay (as happened here) may be a good alternative.  I agree with you, I do think there's a fantastic array of parts in this set, in addition to the main build being tons of fun.  :grin:

 Aanchir, on 01 November 2011 - 04:59 PM, said:

Very nice review. I love how you were able to look at it from a child's perspective while still paying close attention to details both good and bad. The juniorization of these sets would be somewhat bothersome if there were some sort of standard I were expecting them to live up to, but as it is Fabuland seems merely designed to fill the gap between the Duplo and minifig-based System age range, and it is well-designed for that.

If only there were more reviews showing such keen attention to sets that obviously lie outside an AFOL's usual interest range! It always bothers me that sets from beginner themes like Jack Stone and its mostly-superior successor 4 Juniors get largely ignored or rejected when they also have their share of useful pieces and creative designs. Likewise Belville and other girl-oriented "dollhouse" themes, although some reviewers here have taken the plunge and reviewed certain Belville sets in detail. Duplo reviews are still almost entirely absent on Eurobricks, especially of more expensive and complex Duplo sets like the Castle line.

However, I have no animosity towards Fabuland for its disproportionate appeal among adult fans. Although I didn't live through the Fabuland phenomenon I certainly saw its legacy in parts like the columns mentioned in this review, or even the cauldron piece used in Fright Knights. Although nowadays the mold has been changed, my original Fright Knights cauldron still had "Fabuland" embossed on the bottom of the piece! That was some of my earliest exposure to this theme.

The theme reminds me of the video game franchise Animal Crossing in some ways, with its simple community dynamic and charming animal characters. And while I no longer have much time for video games in my life, I certainly appreciate the appeal of such a cute storybook universe. I wonder if TLG will ever have a similarly successful foray into this intermediate age range, of if they've just decided that the transition period between Duplo and System is not significant enough to get its own line of sets.
Thank you very much for your comments Aanchir, you raise some interesting points.  :sweet:
I have enjoyed doing the couple of Fabuland reviews so far and certainly intend to do more in future as these sets, as you say, haven't really been replaced with equivalents.  I think it's a bit of a shame that such an adorable and actually quite significant part of LEGO's history and legacy is essentially fading away, so while there are still some boxed sets around (MISB or used) I'd like to record them as best I can; they won't be around forever, unfortunately. :cry_sad:  As you say, there are a few parts which started out in Fabuland that are still in use (perhaps in an altered form now) in modern sets.  I wonder too if there will ever be an equivalent replacement, however my ideal solution would be just for them to bring back Fabuland, preferably with first generation figures again, but I know that will never happen!  :laugh:
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#9 Niku

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:35 PM

Wow it has really nice pieces.
Very good review.

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#10 Big Cam

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:36 AM

Pandora, you're reviews are just stunning. Honestly, your pictures are so clear, bright and just perfect. Some of those shots could be seriously be advertisements for Fabuland if they were being made today.  

The set is fun, like all Fabuland and you get 3 figs, which tickles my fancy, and I love those roof pieces.

I love your reviews and I need to start my Fabuland collection sooner than later.

:thumbup:

#11 durge74

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:40 AM

Nice review! Fabuland is still one of my all time favourite themes! I too have done a review on this set you can see it by searching my posts with my many other Fabuland set reviews. This set retailed for $49.50 Canadian Dollars in 1987. Long live Fabuland and hopefully someday LEGO will give us Fabuland Fans a LEGO Legend Fabuland re-release.

#12 andhe

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:19 AM

What a wonderful review! Thanks for a fantastic 10 minutes of transporting me back to my childhood of flicking through lego magazines longingly.

I have/had the fabuland paddle boat which I always saw as the runt of my lego sets... But you have opened my eyes to the greatness of fabuland!

#13 Callum

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:50 AM

Nice review - takes me back a lonnng way!

Just a note, When I collected Fabuland back nearly 30 years ago (!), the Bulldogs hat could be removed? was this changed for generation 2?

Also the roof tiles could be disassembled.

#14 Plastic Nurak

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:33 AM

FABULous review for one of the most FABULous sets ever :wub: .
Strangely, when I was a child, the main reason for which I wanted this set was the presence of the rare grey roof pieces.
I agree with you about the eyes :grin: .

Quote

I like that you present such a detailed view of the box. The 1980s boxes were great, because they showcased a set really well. All the interesting parts were prominently displayed in the trays that featured in the bigger sets and the back of the box was always a real treat with nicely presented alternative builds. The same goes for the instruction booklet. Your booklet looks in excellent shape and you made sure to archive it for future generations. The way the set is built by the characters themselves is simply adorable.

I agree with Rick :wub: .

Edited by Plastic Nurak, 08 November 2011 - 02:36 AM.

THANKS, MADIBA

efferman said:

but anyway we are all lego Users. i dont care which nationality the people have.

Stupid questions hater

*/hating himself when asking something stupid*/

#15 Pandora

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:06 PM

 Niku, on 04 November 2011 - 08:35 PM, said:

Wow it has really nice pieces.
Very good review.
Thank you very much Niku, I really do think there are some great pieces in this set.  :sweet:

 Big Cam, on 05 November 2011 - 02:36 AM, said:

Pandora, you're reviews are just stunning. Honestly, your pictures are so clear, bright and just perfect. Some of those shots could be seriously be advertisements for Fabuland if they were being made today.  

The set is fun, like all Fabuland and you get 3 figs, which tickles my fancy, and I love those roof pieces.

I love your reviews and I need to start my Fabuland collection sooner than later.

:thumbup:
Thanks Cam!  That's a whole heap of praise!  People need to start opening their hearts to Fabu. :laugh:

 durge74, on 05 November 2011 - 02:40 AM, said:

Nice review! Fabuland is still one of my all time favourite themes! I too have done a review on this set you can see it by searching my posts with my many other Fabuland set reviews. This set retailed for $49.50 Canadian Dollars in 1987. Long live Fabuland and hopefully someday LEGO will give us Fabuland Fans a LEGO Legend Fabuland re-release.
Thank you very much durge74, especially for the pricing information (which I couldn't find anywhere).  I would adore a re-release of Fabuland, really adore it, however I do fear that it might somehow not be quite as good as its previous incarnations if TLG did.

And yes, long live Fabuland!  :laugh:

 andhe, on 05 November 2011 - 11:19 AM, said:

What a wonderful review! Thanks for a fantastic 10 minutes of transporting me back to my childhood of flicking through lego magazines longingly.

I have/had the fabuland paddle boat which I always saw as the runt of my lego sets... But you have opened my eyes to the greatness of fabuland!
Thank you very much for your lovely comments andhe!  :sweet:  It's great to know you enjoyed reading the review, I really appreciate knowing, thanks!  :sweet:

 Callum, on 08 November 2011 - 01:50 AM, said:

Nice review - takes me back a lonnng way!

Just a note, When I collected Fabuland back nearly 30 years ago (!), the Bulldogs hat could be removed? was this changed for generation 2?

Also the roof tiles could be disassembled.
Thank you very much Callum.   :sweet:  I think the Bulldog hats could indeed be removed on some of the first generation figures, as can be seen very nicely here in darkdragon's review of Buzzy Bulldog, however some of the first generation Bulldogs also had glued-on hats.  The reason that lurks in my mind (and I have no evidence to back this up) is that there were fears over child safety in the United States and TLG were required to ensure the hats were firmly glued on.  As you will no doubt know as a collector yourself, the hats aren't exactly smaller than some of the other Fabuland (or indeed other LEGO) parts so I'm not sure how much difference this made, however as I say I have no evidence to back this up and I'm very happy to be corrected.

As to the roof tiles, I tried very briefly (and carefully) to separate mine but they didn't seem like they would separate easily or safely, so I'd rather take your word for it! :laugh:

 Plastic Nurak, on 08 November 2011 - 02:33 AM, said:

FABULous review for one of the most FABULous sets ever :wub: .
Strangely, when I was a child, the main reason for which I wanted this set was the presence of the rare grey roof pieces.
I agree with you about the eyes :grin: .

I agree with Rick :wub: .
Thank you very much Plastic Nurak, I agree it is a FABULous set!   :sweet:  It is just such a shame they didn't keep the older, cuter eyes. :cry_sad:
And most people agree with Rick when it comes to Fabu!  :wink:
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