Number – 7346
Name – Seaside House
Theme – CREATOR
Year – 2012
Minifigs – 1
Pieces – 415
Price – Lost in Denmark; I was too excited to remember the price.
Links: Brickset, Peeron - not listed yet, BrickLink – not listed yet
Information from LEGO shop@home:
Not yet available.
I’m a big fan of the CREATOR buildings, we have them all, so when I first saw the pictures for this set I was very excited. The colours looked a bit odd to me at the time, but it still looked like a nice house and a fun build. In attempts to stay warm and dry at the recent Eurobricks Event in Billund, we ducked into the vast shop at the park and had a good look around. There was this set, sitting unassumingly on the shelf, with no fancy advertising campaign or merchandising spin-offs. Despite that, it called to me (it did! ) and I just had to have it and bring it safely back home. So, should there be a bit more fuss about CREATOR houses? Read on to find out.
The box front is very blue and yellow. The blue comes from the sea and sky background, and of course from the bricks of the build itself, displayed in its main form most prominently, and covering most of the space available. There are a couple of insets showing smaller pictures of the secondary and tertiary builds, with a rather large “3 in 1” logo to make it absolutely clear that there are three designs to build. The artwork is simple, unobtrusive and fresh; this is a Seaside House, so.. it’s by the sea.
The back of the box gives more attention to the secondary and tertiary builds, and takes the opportunity to point out a couple of play features of the various builds – essentially that each are modular in nature and roof sections are easily removable. The calming sea and sky backgrounds remain, and subtly emphasise the builds.
The top of the box, like all CREATOR sets shows a clear and detailed inventory of all the parts available. Here you can see exactly what parts you’ll be getting before you buy the set, plus in case you were afraid that the crab was somehow a monster giant mutant crab, you’re reassured that it isn’t and that it’s actually System scale.
The bottom of the box has the standard safety warnings and necessary production statements, however it is made more interesting by the addition of a small picture of the main build.
The sides of the box once again have smaller pictures of the various designs. The right side has the secondary and tertiary builds along with more advertising that this is a “3 in 1” CREATOR set, while the left shows the main build again with presumably the secondary build and a small advert for the LEGO Club. It’s nice to have the familiar LEGO yellow for the background; this is LEGO without frills which will always be loved.
There are three instruction booklets, one for each build, and they’re all quite weighty. They were loose inside the box; no cardboard or protective plastic here, however they have clearly made a couple of international trips unscathed.
The instruction booklet for the main build is glossy and shiny, and shows a good all round view of the set. The background is the nice sea and sky blue, but I like the further appearance of the LEGO yellow in a strip at the bottom.
Disappointingly, the back of the main build has the awful Gagne-child in all his shouty badness. Such a waste of glossy paper.
The last two pages in the first booklet are, as is now traditional, devoted to the parts inventory for the set, and I always appreciate its inclusion. The opportunity to advertise some more recent CREATOR sets isn’t wasted, especially as it’s a fair bet that if you like one CREATOR building then you may well be interested in the others.
Unfortunately, it seems that TLG blew the glossy paper budget on the first booklet, as this (and the third booklet) is printed on the same paper throughout. Once again there’s a clear view of the set, with no swooshing or whizzing, just nice calm sea and sky. The reassuring yellow is still here.
The back of the second booklet is an opportunity for TLG to advertise some CREATOR vehicles. After all, it may actually be the “3 in 1” aspect that the builder likes, so why not try to sell other “3 in1” sets? You’re reminded that they’re “3 in 1” before an advert for the LEGO CREATOR website which has further building ideas.
The third booklet is again printed on the same paper throughout, no glossiness here either, and once more the third build is displayed fully with the pleasantly subtle background. There are a few fluffy clouds in the sky this time, and the bold stripe of LEGO yellow has not been abandoned.
It’s waste-not-want-not with the back of the third booklet, as the back page shows the very last steps in building that variation. In fact I assumed that this was the third build based on this; I thought that TLG had figured that the builder would be a bit fed up of adverts at this point (or may not get this far in the build) and so hadn’t bothered including any adverts, and I’m glad they haven’t.
There are five poly bags inside, along with a couple of baseplates. No dreaded sticker sheet here, no large moulded parts, just regular LEGO. Sort of.
Firstly the baseplates, and there’s a very nice 16x16 baseplate in bright green which is very common, and an equally nice 8x16 tan baseplate which is a little rarer; it has only appeared in three sets previously, between 1997 and 2007.
The first polybag decants to give a good selection of smaller plates, window and door frames , a ladder, some nice brown stairs and a 2x8 red slope. All good, and those 1x4x6 window frames with three panes are actually rather nice, and present in a good quantity, although they've been found before in a number of sets, including the CREATOR set 4996 Beach House.
The second polybags keeps the treats coming. There’s quite a bit of medium blue here; loads in fact, including the 1x3x2 arches, which haven’t been seen in medium blue before. The green 1x3x2 curved top bricks have been seen once before, back in 2010 in 8864 Desert of Destruction which was a World Racers set.
This bag contains a variety of bricks and plates, and again at first glance there’s not much to see. There’s still some medium blue here, and the 1x3 bricks haven’t been seen in this colour before. The 1x2x2 medium blue bricks have only been seen in the 2011 Cars set: 8487 Flo’s V8 Café. The balustrades and window panes are always very welcome, too. The trans parts are a little difficult to see here, but we have two panes of glass for a 1x4x3 window, four panes of glass for a 1x4x6 window, and three glass 1x4x6 doors with stud handle. These can all be seen in action (so to speak) in the builds.
Yet more medium blue, unsurprisingly, but here’s another new piece – the 1x1 brick with vertical clip in medium blue. Oooooh. There’s also a vast quantity of medium blue 1x1 bricks and some plates and tiles. There are a few 1x1 trans clear bricks which are always welcome but they’ve been around for donkeys’ years, however the 1x2 inverted slopes in green aren’t that common. There were four in the Atlantis set 7978 Angler Attack in 2011, but prior to that they’d only appeared in two sets. The bright light orange crab is clearly not a giant mutant, and very welcome. The star of this picture, however, is a couple of unassuming light bluish grey parts, the modified 2x2 plates (brackets). They're brand new for 2012, and have cropped up in only two sets so far (which I haven't even seen). They’re quite handy, too, and they’re used in all three of these builds.
There’s a colourful assortment of 1x1 round plates and 1x1 tiles and cheese wedges. There’s a few Technic bits and bobs and some handy headlight bricks too. The pieces in this bag aren’t particularly new, or rare but we’ve been treated so far and all these parts are useful to have.
There’s one minifigure included with this set, and he has a nicely printed Gravity Games torso, but it’s quite a common torso that’s been in a number of sets. He has Ron Weasley hair, and a slightly sinister or leering expression - found in many sets, and his trans-clear mug is pretty common too. Overall he makes a nice combination, and CREATOR sets aren’t really about the minifigs. There’s no printing on the back, which is to be expected, really.
The Main Build
As you saw in the title picture, the main build is actually quite large, and includes a separate build with a palm tree. For now we’ll focus on looking at the building and its environs.
The seaside house (and I keep wanting to call it a beach house, because it is, but LEGO already have one of those ) is fairly small, but evidently designed for someone who wants to spend most of their time either in or appreciating the sea. The house is very much put into context by the sea, with its breaking waves and the short beach. There are a lot of colours here, but they work harmoniously, and the gradations from sea to sand to soil and then grass are well proportioned for the scale. The blue of the house is really lovely, even more so in real life, and the bright accents of yellow and red make this interesting to look at. It’s a split level house, and access to the upper floor is allowed by an outside staircase. The space under the staircase isn’t wasted, though, as there’s some intricate building here to form an outdoor shower.
Here’s a closer view of the shower, and there’s some great detailing here. You can see a tap and some soap, along with the red towel on the rail. The floor has nice tiling with the 1x2 grille forming a drain. It’s a cute little detail, and it’s fun to build too; it adds to the functionality of the house.
From the back, there’s still plenty to see. The grey plating that allows the upper level of the house to be lifted off is continued as part of the stairs, thus making it look pleasantly uniform. You can see the detail of the plants at the top of the stairs – simply made, but another detail to bring the model to life. The disappointing thing here is seeing the slight colour disparity between the medium blue 1x3 and 1x2 bricks versus the other medium blue bricks; it is very minor though. One of the nicest things about this view is that the large sloped skylight windows allow you to see all the way through the glass doors at the front, to the balcony beyond.
Here you can see this top layer removed and that it forms a self contained module. The skylight windows are formed using the red Technic bricks and Technic pins to allow the panel to sit at a 45 degree angle with the rest of the roof. From the large skylight, floor length window, plus the trans clear bricks around the door, not to mention the large glass doors at the front, this really is a light and airy upper floor. The blue 2x4 brick is supposed to be there. I assume it is perhaps a bed or something, but in situ it mostly looks like a blue 2x4 brick. Next to it is a small hole in the floor where a ladder allows access from inside the house on the ground floor. Having complained about minifigs’ inability to access parts of buildings in other sets, I’m pleased to see that here access is in no short supply at all. The ladder and the blue brick are the only interior detailing inside the house, and that is by now expected of Creator houses, but with so many details outside, it really doesn’t matter.
There’s so much to see from the front, there are just so many details here, which is fantastic. Our minifig (let’s call him Shane, he looks a bit Aussie, maybe) clearly spends his time by the sea building sandcastles, barbecuing fish and surfing. Looks like it’s fish for lunch and crab for dinner, especially if that crab’s planning to destroy his sandcastle, but if the crab doesn’t get it then the large breaker might. The addition of sea detailing is great. This set would have worked just fine without it, but it’s another element to add context and interest, and the design is simple but works so well. The balcony looks fantastic, and the colour harmony of white and medium blue is lovely. Adding in the torches again gives a rugged beach feel to the building and puts those new medium blue parts to good use.
From the left side you can see that the floor length windows are almost continuous on both levels, and that the balcony makes a covered porch at the front of the house. From here there’s a better view of the waves in the sea and the surrounding surf as the wave breaks. In the middle of the lower floor of the house you can make out a black 1x2 plate, which is actually a modified plate that allows attachment of the ladder on the inside of the house so that Shane can get upstairs without having to go outside. When I first saw this set online, I wasn’t convinced that the red roof worked, but actually it looks much better in real life. It energises the model, and makes it bright and colourful. There’s the cute addition of a small chimney, despite there not being an indoor fire, but it’s just another appreciated detail.
I mentioned the exterior details, and separate to the main first build is a little detail. It’s the first thing you build in the instructions, after Shane, and it’s a rather nice brick built palm tree. I’m very much used to palm trees from my various Paradisa and Trees & Flowers sets, so to have a brick built one is wonderful. It’s a great SNOT design, and the use of the curved green bricks gives it a lazy, relaxed feel. It doesn’t attach at all to the main part of the build, and so is moveable and placeable.
The sandcastle doesn’t have to be there, and it’s quite simple, but it’s a nice addition of tan parts and gives a playful feel to the house. Everything here is about fun and relaxation – beach life. This is far from complicated, but a welcome detail.
The barbecue is yet another design. There are barbecues in so many sets (especially CREATOR ones) too many to list really, but each time it’s a new iteration. This is a smaller barbecue than we’ve seen before, but it fits the scale of the house just fine. The handlebars and ‘wheel’ make it look portable, the party can go anywhere! Shane just needs to find somewhere else to take it, and someone to party with...
Brick built seabirds are back! I encountered them first in 5770 Lighthouse Island, where they were mean fish-ogling birds, but this seagull is supposed to sit on top of the palm tree and look pretty. There is still something serious and sinister about him, though...
Once the main build is, uhm, built, these few bits and pieces are left over. Not many, but a nice colourful selection that I’m not about to say 'no' to, especially the tiles and cheese wedges.
Onto the second build, however I can only assume that it is the second build, and I have no idea right now what it’s called. I’m struggling to come up with a name for it myself, as really it’s a taller seaside house.
Shane now has a small pier on which to stand and stare at the calm sea, with his only friend Crabby the crab. To attract the attention of passing sailors he has a nice red flag on a pole, and should that sailor need any sort of assistance, Shane’s ready with a life preserver. This taller house is more modern, there are electric lights now above the external doors at the front, and the balcony is part of the roof of the lower floor, although it still juts out a little.
Here it’s a little more obvious that this house is raised off the ground slightly, making a tall house taller. The blue waves have now become a canopy for the ground floor window, but I don’t understand the tiled railing. I assume that the plain brown plate looked a little dull, and there were 1x1 tiles unused, so they were placed there to make it more colourful and bright. It looks nice; I just don’t know what it is aside from a railing. The upper level of the house looks quite thin, and not as nicely proportioned as the first build. There’s an air brick present, courtesy of a SNOTed grille tile which breaks up the wall of medium blue. There’s still a chimney, but it’s different to that of the first build. This is something I have always appreciated; that when there are similar themed models within a CREATOR set, the small details are always made differently, and each time I see a different way of realising something in brick form.
The roof is far less steep than the first build, but the upper level (as mentioned) is narrower, so it has to be. This house is also kept light and airy by the ample use of windows and trans bricks, and there’s a floating platform outside the yellow door supported by the medium blue arches. You can once again see the line of grey plates that make the model modular as the upper floor is removed. Instead of a palm tree, there’s a bush outside the window.
Here’s a close-up of the shrubbery and it’s quite an intricate little build. And a little fragile, too. It’s SNOT based, around a couple of head light bricks, and the variably exposed studs and tiling add texture. The little splash of yellow in the middle is realistic and interesting. This was an interesting and enjoyable little build.
As mentioned, this house is tall and narrow, and as a consequence the stairs don’t quite reach all the way down to the beach, but the addition of the 1x4 brown plates allow do allow this. This integrates the house with the beach, and makes the stairs different again to those in the first model. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get out of your imaginary bed, and hop down the stairs straight into the calm blue sea? Shane must be a Scots Aussie (he has red hair...?) because next to his comfy recliner, he has his mug and what’s clearly meant to be a bottle of Irn Bru (or possibly Tizer – I may have lost readers from outside the UK at this point ) however the recreational theme is evident. Shane’s surfboard is left outside the front door, ready for waxing and there’s some pleasant greenery detailing on the balcony.
Here we go Shane, lie back, relax and listen to the peaceful sounds of the sea. There’s not even a seabird around to disturb the peace, and Crabby’s behaving himself splashing in the shallows. You can see through both the top and bottom floors of this house, simply because once again there are lots of windows. If you built a house by the sea you would make the most of the view, though. A Seaside House in any incarnation would have looked strange without lots of windows.
It’s not a huge surprise that there are a lot more pieces left over from the second build than the first, but I’m surprised there’s no barbecue or seabird included in this build. I guess there’s nowhere to put the fish (that would make sense) but again it’s odd that it’s left out. It’s still a nice model, though.
The third build goes in a slightly different direction. It’s still seaside, and it’s still a house, but this time it’s single storey with an additional building.
It’s a cute little boxy house, with a front door at ground level, and a welcome mat and some small plants around the front. The front door has a bright red canopy, and there’s a lovely blue and white window sill below the front window. There’s a more modern electric lamp, and another air brick providing detail in the roof. Small, but detailed. The house is built next to a small tributary to the sea, so there’s an adorable little bridge linking to the other side.
Outside the gorgeous glass double patio doors, there’s a nicely tiled patio (which makes me think of Spanish tiling) with a border to keep the sand out of the house. Crabby happily scuttles on the little beach near the patio. The water is so narrow that a bridge surely isn’t necessary – Shane looks like an outdoorsy type, able to leap it in a single bound, but someone (me, actually) has gone to all the trouble of building it, and really it’s very sweet. If it weren’t for the sand (and the crab and the palm tree) I’d be thinking of a Venetian canal.
On the other side of the bridge, Shane is standing in front of another building. It’s very much a beach hut, and it’s built onto the sand. The surfboard on the roof suggests it is some sort of commercial building. Just behind Shane you can see a counter, where the trans-clear cup is and there’s a strange contraption as part of the external wall of the hut. We’ll have to look at that more closely in a minute. At the closest corner is another shrubbery, this time with more flowers.
This is just a small brick built flowering bush using the inverted green slopes and yellow 1x1 round plates, but it does look typical of the flora one might find on or near a beach. Adding greenery to these beach scenes again adds a level of detail, and it’s a cute little thing.
Now here’s a deconstructed view of the contraption that forms part of the external wall of the hut, and it becomes clearer that it is, in fact, a slushie machine! Yays! I’m always happy to see coffee machines, but really a slushie machine is much more appropriate for a warm beach. Of course it could dispense juice, but that would be boring, so obviously it’s a slushie machine, no question. It’s a great little construction, and it suddenly makes sense of the hut – it’s a cool place to grab a refreshing slushie by the sea.
You can see how the slushie machine fits in, and there’s a large glass door to allow access to the inside of the hut without jumping over the counter. Greenery details have been added to the sign on top of the hut, which suit the sign really well. The sloped roof of the hut is formed by modified 1x2 plates gripping the 4L bar. It’s a bit fiddly to assemble, as it’s offset slightly, but overall it works well. On the other side of the water again, there’s another palm tree.
And here it is, in close up. It’s smaller than the palm tree from the first build, but not all that dissimilar. This time it looks more like a small yucca plant but it’s still really cute, and those SNOTed green curves work so well as leaves. Yet another enjoyable little mini-build.
Here you can see that there’s a nice little Tiki lamp outside the hut, which really fits the commercial beach feel of the slushie hut. The back of the little house only has one small plain window, but there has to be some of the medium blue bricks somewhere in the house. Again you can see the grey plates which allow the roof to be removed easily, and there’s yet another version of a chimney. The nice white base of the house is joined to the waters’ edge (and small palm tree) with another little fence piece, marking the boundary of the house.
Back round to nearly at the front, and that parrot’s looking at me funny. He’s kinda cute, if a little sinister, but we’ll come back to him later. The left side of the little house is floor to ceiling windows, and considering the opposite side is double patio doors, it makes the single small window round the back more understandable.
As mentioned, the roof comes off very easily, allowing access to the inside of the house. As is to be expected, though, there’s nothing actually inside the house to get to. You do have the access to place Shane in there, but there’s nowhere for him to sit or lie down, and nothing for him to do. Even outside the house, he can’t go surfing because we’ve just stuck his surfboard to the roof of the slushie hut, so he’s a bit stuck really, and a removable roof isn’t going to help him. It would have been more helpful to be able to access the inside of the hut, as that’s where one of the best details, the slushie machine, is. Unfortunately, gaining access to it somewhat necessitates deconstruction, as you saw with the photograph earlier. The removable roof’s on the wrong bit, really.
I said we’d come back to the parrot, and here he is. The build is essentially the same as for the seagull in the first build, but this guy’s more colourful; more exotic. A couple of tooth plates, 1x1 tiles and cheese wedges arranged around a four-sided head light brick and voila a sea bird. No matter how cute and exotic he looks, though, I still think he’s plotting the overthrow of the world.
On completion of the third build, a vast number of parts are left over, including a lot of the lovely medium blue. Even those lovely new medium blue arches are abandoned, as is the fish again. It’s surprising to see so many pieces spare after building a detailed model like the third build, and shows how creative the designers have been.
Design - 9/10 All three of these buildings, or rather scenes, as they are much more than just buildings, look great and are beautifully designed. Each one fits the seaside setting brilliantly, and the details within the scenes are just great. Each build has something different about it, so even though they’re all seaside buildings, they are very different from one another. Quite a feat considering they’re all medium blue buildings with lots of windows and red roofs. The main build is definitely my favourite, and I have to assume that the third build really is the third build as I like it second best (which has become a tradition now for me with CREATOR sets), however I’d still want the second build if it were to be released as a standalone set.
Parts - 9/10
We’re really treated to a fiesta of medium blue, and to have a load of parts that are new in that colour is fantastic too. Let’s not forget that there are a few rarer pieces out there and a new piece for 2012! Even without the newer pieces there’s a colourful range of bricks and smaller pieces. If you (were insane and) didn’t like the buildings themselves, this would still be a fantastic parts pack.
Minifigs - 8/10
Shane is a bit ordinary, and I’m still not sure his snide facial expression fits with the relaxed seaside vibe, but his surfer hair definitely does. It might have been too obvious to include the CMF surfer, but really he’d fit right in. I don’t think anyone buys CREATOR sets for the minifigs, so it’s not a big deal, but he could have looked a bit surfier. I actually think that Shane’s facial expression is smugness at living in such a nice house in such a nice setting.
Build - 9/10
There’s loads of building it is a CREATOR set with three builds after all, and each of the three builds here are huge fun. With each one there are also some smaller accompanying builds for those of us who need instant gratification. One might expect a lot of brick on brick for the buildings, but it really isn’t. The builds are broken up as other details are added, making each step interesting. Every so often there’s an “Oh I built an outdoor shower” or “Oh I built a slushie machine” moment, which raises a smile.
Playability - 8/10
The play features are ostensibly the removable roofs in each build. As I’ve already said, removable roofs aren’t all that exciting when there’s nothing inside the house whose roof you’ve removed. Fortunately there’s so much external detailing that the outside environment works as a play feature itself. The score here should perhaps be lower, but I do really like the set, and there’s still plenty for a minifig to do around the buildings.
Price - 9/10
I saw this, I grabbed it, I paid for it and I didn’t look back. I paid by card, but I bought other stuff at the same time, so I don’t honestly know how much I paid for it and have no way of finding out. But really, it couldn’t have been that much for me to not want to just have this. I don’t remember fainting at the checkout or having to breathe into a paper bag. The fact that I frankly don’t care what the price is, means it must be worth it. When the pricing info becomes available, I’ll edit it in, but in the meantime I’m still pretty sure I’ll be buying another one. CREATOR sets are always good value anyway, right?
It should be abundantly clear that I love this set. I very much enjoyed building all three of the models, and the plethora of medium blue is a feast for the eyes. The many details are lovely, and each scene is suitably different. The seaside feel reminds me almost of some Paradisa sets; in fact this could be Paradisa made medium blue (and without prams). When I reviewed 4644 Marina I was disappointed at the lack of blue sea, not to mention the gravity defying feats necessary to reach the upper café. Not so here, everything has a surface, and the water/sand/earth/grass are each represented. All upper floors have been made accessible to minifigs, too. However, similar to the Marina, this set would fit really nicely into the beach side of a town. It needs some other buildings around it, which could be the harbour sets from 2011, or the Paradisa sets from the 1990’s. It would also fit really well with the 5770 Lighthouse Island. Shane clearly needs some sort of company, though.
Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome. High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.