Set Number: 10224
Name: Town Hall
Theme: Town (Modular Buildings)
Piece Count: 2766
Price: $199.99 US (7.2 cents/piece)
Set Description (from shop.lego.com):
Build the authentic 3-story Town Hall, the latest addition to the LEGO® Modular Buildings series! This highly detailed model features large entranceway columns, a coat of arms, a tall bell tower with clock and a large skylight that lets you see inside! On the ground floor, the large hall, tax office and auditorium have everything you need to run the town. Take the working elevator up to the secretary and mayor’s offices on the second floor, realistically furnished with desks, chairs, paintings and even a frog sculpture. Hold a meeting and address the town’s citizens at the podium! On the third floor, a spacious meeting room features a large conference table, chairs, globe and plants.
- Includes 8 minifigures: mayor, secretary, bride and groom, press woman, janitor and 2 children.
- Includes 8 minifigures: mayor, secretary, bride and groom, press woman, janitor and 2 children
- Accessories include a painting, desks, chairs, sculpture, lamp, conference table, globe, plants and bench
- Functioning elevator features space for 2 minifigures and ladder access to roof
- Bell tower features bench and maintenance ladder
- Roof features skylight with view of inside the building
- Address the citizens from the balcony!
- Collect and build an entire town with the LEGO® Modular Buildings collection: 10211 Grand Emporium, 10218 Pet Shop and 10197 Fire Brigade
- Measures 10” (25.5cm) wide and 20” (50cm) high
The time is now; time for me to stop lurking and time to start contributing. This may not be much; I can't say I'm a great photographer, or picture editor, or an experienced reviewer (or experienced AFOL, for that matter), but I hope that I can provide this great community some insight to this great new set.
The Town Hall was released on March 1st, 2012, and I picked it up the day after, after much debate. Like many, the price increase of $50 to $199.99 was a little tough to swallow. Then again, like many, I was tempted and eventually gave in because of the offer of double VIP points (from March 1st to 15th).
As you can imagine, the set comes in a big box. I believe the box is just slightly thicker than the boxes for the previous modulars, and for me it was tricky to bring from shelf to the check out counter (and I have big hands/long fingers).
Nothing too special as far as the box front; at least, not compared to the glitz and glam of the Friends sets. But that's not needed here; we just get a great shot of the front of the building, a smaller shot of the back, some dimensions and an illustration of how the levels of the Town Hall split up.
As my kids know very well, the back of the box is where the good stuff is found. Here we get a few different scenes set in the Town Hall, as well as a nice shot of the Town Hall lined up next to the Grand Emporium and the Pet Shop. And here we whisper a silent prayer for the Fire Brigade. May it remain on store shelves for as long as possible.
The top of the box highlights the various minifigures of the set, as well as some of the furniture. The side has a parts list as well as an image of the clock tower to illustrate the actual size/scale of the pieces.
Enough with the box! Let's move on and get inside! As has become a welcome trend lately, the instructions come in a plastic sleeve and with a cardboard backing. The set comes with 3 booklets, each addressing one of the levels of the Town Hall (with the 3rd handling the 3rd level and the roof).
The instructions themselves have a nice new feature (new to me anyway). In addition to the typical piece count for each step, the instructions now also highlight the pieces that have been added in the step. If you look closely, you'll see a red outline on the pieces added in the picture above. The outline changed between red and yellow depending on the colors used for the step.
The instruction booklets ended with the typical LEGO survey, as well as ads for a few other sets (like the VW Camper Van), and this wonderful print of the 3 most recent modulars for all to ogle over (and if not all, then at least those, like me, who don't have those other 2 sets yet).
On to the parts. I'll save you the trouble if you don't want to read through this section: there are a lot of them.
The bags are numbered from 1-3 to correspond to the 3 instruction booklets.
Also included is a 32x32 Tan baseplate (loose in the box) and an unnumbered bag containing all the large plates.
The large plates themselves are of some interest. You get six 6x24 plates in this set; two light bluish gray, and four white. According to Bricklink, it has been 10 years since LEGO last released this piece in a set.
I won't highlight each piece in each picture, but suffice it to say that I took a snapshot of each piece I found interesting, unique to the set, or at the very least hard to come by. Some pieces of note in the picture above include the printed shield, various printed pieces, the new 1x1 round tiles, and also the new vehicle Mudguards (the curve of the Mudguard is shorter on these new ones, found only in 2012 sets). The set also includes a good amount (12 + extras) of Bright Green 1x1 flower pieces.
But of course, what most people would be interested in would be the printed dish that represents the face of the clock tower. You also get a printed globe that was first featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean set The Captain's Cabin (4191).
You get a few (and I quote from Bricklink) "Slope, Curved 4 x 1 Double No Studs" pieces in this set. These have been around since last year, but this is the first time we've been able to get the piece in Tan, at least until the Sydney Opera House (21012) is released.
For the skylight, the set includes plenty of Garage Door pieces in Trans Clear and Black.
It was a pleasant surprise to me also to get a good chunk of Dark Green pieces in the set. The ones pictured are just the ones found in bag 1; you get a few more bricks and tiles later on in the build.
Finally, as we all know, we get a ton of lovely Dark Orange in this set. For me personally, this was one of the biggest selling points of the set (since I will eventually recycle these pieces for MOCs). Pictured above are just the Dark Orange pieces from bag 2.
Most of us don't buy Modulars for the minifigures, so I won't spend too much time here, but there are a few neat items to highlight. The first of course is the Popsicle, which isn't easy to come by. There are a couple Torsos of interest as well, namely the Mayor's and the Photographer's; both, as far as I can tell, similar to the Civilian Torsos previous only available from Alien Conquest sets. Finally, note the Dark Orange hair found on the girl. This is the same hair piece that Ginny Weasley (from a couple Harry Potter sets) used to call her own.
It took me approximately 7 hours over 3 nights to build this, but factor in the time to arrange pieces and take photos. I'm normally a pretty swift builder, but I slowed myself down for this set to enjoy the build, and also give a little something back to the community.
The shot above captures a very early stage of the build where you can see some of the extravagance of the set, even if only in the pieces used as part of the support structure. The White 2x2 Round Grille Brick and the two window pieces are eventually covered up by plates, and never seen again. How many of us can afford to do that in our MOCs? :)
Oddly enough, just a little bit further down the road, we have this oddity: a Black 1x1 Round Plate where a Dark Bluish Gray 1x1 Plate would so much rather have been. In the end, this section gets covered up when you connect the Town Hall with another modular, but it just seemed funny to me that LEGO was willing to put Grille pieces and windows in the supporting structure, but not a properly colored 1x1 plate on the side wall. Anyway, I digress...
Alright, time for a full disclaimer: I'm a relatively new AFOL (little over a year since coming out of my Dark Ages), and, besides the Town Hall, can only claim ownership of the Fire Brigade in terms of Modulars. That said, I've built my fair share of D2C exclusives (my favorite being Diagon Alley), so I do know my way around these larger sets.
Point being, I've experienced enough to know a dull build from an interesting one, and this one starts out very nicely. You start by building the steps up to the first floor of the building. Within the building, there are steps down to the little auditorium where the Mayor makes his announcements.
The back of the building, like all the other modulars, isn't near as interesting as the front, but the construction of the elevator shaft adds some intrigue.
The construction of the pillars is a definite highlight in the build. They come together really nicely, and the simplicity of it all makes yours truly wonder why I never thought of doing that first, but that's why they pay Astrid (and other LEGO Designers) the big bucks, and why I pay LEGO for these sets.
Book 1 finishes the first level, and we've barely used any Dark Orange, but the front of the building looks great. Forgive me for the misplaced Grille piece; a mistake made in the excitement. ;)
Book 2 starts up as expected: you build the base and start piling on pieces. Thankfully, those are the Dark Orange pieces we've been waiting for.
The build gets understandably less exciting here, but there's still moments of brightness when you construct the furniture...
And various parts of the facade.
Book 2 is the thinnest of the 3 instruction booklets, so this portion of the build was also the quickest. Alright... NEXT!
Book 3 has you building the 3rd level and the large conference room. The instructions are a little hard to decipher here in terms of where LEGO intends for you to place each of the chairs, but it really doesn't matter too much where you put them.
Aside from the little balcony and the interior, the 3rd level isn't all that different from the 2nd, but you do have a few 1x1 Round Tile pieces to add to the charm of the building.
Having finished with the 3rd level, we move on to the roof. Here, things start to spice up again. The skylight is very well constructed. The ends of the Garage Door pieces are guided in place by 1x2 Bricks with Grooves on the side, and held in place by tiles (making it so you can't lift the Garage Door up). With the curved pieces in place, the Garage Door doesn't wiggle and jiggle and holds in place quite well.
The roof also features some upside down SNOT work involving 2x3 Plates with holes and Curving Bricks as seen above.
This isn't anything too special, but it does have a nice look and teaches less experienced builders a new trick.
Moving on to the Clock Tower itself, we see yet more LEGO ingenuity. Note the white border around the clock face and the grille background. Again, nothing too special (outside of some well-calculated SNOT work), but little touches like this are what makes LEGO building so special. We also get to do some SNOT numbering like in the Fire Brigade.
A hop and a scotch
Is another notch...
And voila, after carefully arranging 2000+ pieces, we have a Town Hall!
The back of the building isn't quite as fancy, and in fact, is somewhat awkward with the gap in the wall for the elevator function. That said, in LEGO's defense, I can imagine the elevator being one of the best kid-friendly play features in any of the modular building sets.
Here it is; not the prettiest thing, but it serves a function and does it well.
And considering how the only other way down is to make this jump... Well, let's just say that the elevator has its place in our Town Hall.
The top of the building may seem dull on first glance, but there are quite a few features that make the construction of this roof one of my favorites. Note that the detailing isn't just in the front of the building, but even on the insides (same is true for the other levels, namely the window detailing). The skylight as previously mentioned is a great feature, and of course the Clock and Bell Tower is one of the hallmarks of this set. They even thought to throw in a tiny bench in the tower for the Caretaker to have his lunch...
Though he usually prefers to have it here. :)
As is true with most larger sets, it is hard to convey in pictures and word, the true beauty and value of this set. Is the piece count worth the price? Yes, especially considering the sort of pieces you get. Is the build worth the price? That is trickier, as the cheaper Modulars offer similar building experiences. But in the end, what you're getting here is a classic LEGO Modular Building experience, and still at a reasonable average piece price.
When it comes to Modulars, the question isn't so much "should I get this?" as it is "which should I get first?" You may want to go for one of the older sets before they run out in stores, but there's no reason, presuming you're a fan of the series and you have the money, that you shouldn't get the Town Hall at some point.
Keep in mind once again that my only other Modular is the Fire Brigade. With that disclaimer aside, I thought the build was very good, and rarely dull, oddly enough, partly because of the same thing that lowers the score for the design: the elevator shaft. Building-wise, that little gap made for some interesting construction, and it actually teaches a lesson in how you can make something stable without it having to be fully connected. Design-wise though, it also leaves a strange mark on the already typically boring back-side of the building.
I can't see anyone who has done their proper due diligence complaining about the pieces in this set. You get a TON of Dark Orange; a color that was hard to come by before this release. There are a good number of pieces that are currently exclusive to this set, and the price per piece is comparatively lower than the Pet Shop's.
In the end, I can see the community's love of this set coming down to the elevator. It adds playability and a unique building experience, but also adds an odd gap in the wall of the back of the building. I'm sure someone will eventually come up with some system that hides the feature a little better, but that may have not been in the cards because of the need to keep the piece-count and price in the range LEGO intended. The other major factor of course is the price increase, but I've found that it doesn't at all take away from the value or the building experience. That extra $50 is $50 worth of parts and good old fashioned LEGO design.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!