NOTE: My computer has broken down, and everything on it - including the photographs and the almost-finished text of this review - has been lost. Before reading, please note that you should expect only half a review. I got as far as to the end of the ground floor.
Price: 1099 DKK/ 120 GBP / 150 USD
Number of Pieces: 2196
On Brickset: Brickset.com/detail/?set=10232-1
I strongly suspect I’m not the only Eurobrick member who recieved one of these big, brown packages in the mail during the last couple of days. After all, it is just only a week since Lego made the latest model in the modular line available to VIP members, and adding to the deal that this modular is a good deal cheaper than any of the previous installments (not counting Market Street) and comes, just for this month, with the option of free shipping, it ends up quite the attractive offer to a fan of the series.
It certainly was to me, anyway, and that’s how I’ve ended up the happy owner of one of these packages. Sweet dreams form the shades inside it; let’s have a peak at them!
If you live in Europe, you’ll also have received a polybag with a police helicopter in it. I like that Lego does this, because I’m too scatterbrained to keep track of what they offer at the moment, so it’s a pleasant surprise whenever they place an unexpected polybag in my shopping basket.
The S9 minifig wasn’t free, unfortunately, and really not related to the rest of the lot at all. I’ll try to keep it out of the review.
I have two modulars already: the Fire Brigade and the Grand Emporium. I got both of those relatively recently, so this is the first time I can afford the extravaganza of buying a modular on its day of release. I’m thrilled!
At first I was a bit puzzled as to why they would put the oldest of these sets in the middle – in the past, these setups on the backs of the boxes have always been ordered chronologically. But as I realise now, looking through the photos, it’s rather obvious: If you put the smallest modular (once again, rudely disregarding Market Street) behind the ginormous Town Hall, you might as well just exclude it from the photograph altogether.
The picture also serves to remind us that the Pet Shop was released two years ago. That’s right, in 2011. I feel just a little bit older after realising that.
We open the box, and out pours, not unexpectedly, a large number of plastic bags with bricks in them, a few large plates, a plastic bag with the instructions and a 32x32 baseplate in what I believe is a recolour: regular bright red.
I usually buy my sets for parts, and so, while I’m certainly no fan of it, I’m often not personally bothered by the infamous DSS. This is a modular, though, and I’d trusted Lego to know enough about the general AFOL aversion to stickers to keep them out of the line where, as a general guideline, AFOLS get their will. Yet here they are, and the more brilliant the designs on them are, the sadder I get thinking about them having to be exposed to my imperfect sticker-adding abilities. But more on that, come their actual appliance.
Also included is the 2013 version of the brick separator. I wonder whether this particular recolour wasn’t inspired by the poster for The Brick Separator above.
At this point, I should probably add that these pictures were taken over the course of two afternoons and two evenings, and that consequentially, some of them are taken with a natural light source (that would be the sun; off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other natural light sources that are available to me), while some of them are not.
THE BUILD: PART ONE
As is the case with most big sets recently, the instruction booklet is split into three sections; one for each floor of the building. The first one, conveniently, is the ground floor. Let’s see what in those bags!
Wow. That’s a lot of parts.
I personally base a lot of my Lego shopping list on the Eurobricks reviews. More precisely, I base them off the part squares that people photograph for the reviews, and so I’m always happy to see that someone has put in the effort of arranging them just so strangers on the internet could benefit. But up until now, I didn’t realise just how much effort that was when we’re talking about a large set.
A lot of effort. Or time, I guess. Either way, I hope you’re happy.
Included is a virtual infinity of regular 1xY bricks in dark tan, quite a lot in light grey (’bley’), and a not insignificant amount in dark grey. There’s huge amounts of tiles, as well, mainly in 2x2 and 1xY formats, although a couple of black 2x4 tiles appear as well.
The rest of the pieces are a fair assortment, ranging from arches through window panes to technic pins. And of course, there’s the new pieces.
’New pieces’ is a phrase which here means ’Pieces I don’t already have’.
The trans-clear 1x1 round tile (or the ’studless stud’, as it has cleverly been named) has already been in 14 readily available sets throughout 2012 and 2013, as well as many sets of secondary availability, like polybags and store-exclusives.
The brick star tile is the only exclusive print in the set. In fact it’s the only exclusive part in it at all, and the Palace Cinema includes eight of it. It’s very decorative, and I predict that it’ll have a high price rate on Bricklink, both because of its rarity and its versatility.
The 1x2x5 trans-clear brick has only appeared in 2011’s 5770 Lighthouse Island, which has four of it. This set has two, so they’re still pretty neat to have.
’But wait,’ I imagine you commenting, ’didn’t you say that you already had two Modulars? Then surely, you already have the lamppost which PaB calls a Fabuland Standard’.
Well, yes. Yes, I do. But that’s not this one. It appears that TLC has, simply for the sake of effing the ineffable itself, decided to make a new, almost completely similar mould for this iconic piece.
With my limited photography skills and the bad lighting, it can be hard to tell, but if you look close enough, you’ll see that the new version (on the left) has deeper dents; it’s more obvious at the bottom of the piece. It also has only four indentations instead of the usual six. It’s probably for stability, though the Fabuland lamppost is already one of the most reliably stable pieces I can think of.
There are four minifigures included in the bags labelled with the title of the only Beatles album in my house. The first of these is, as declared by the designer herself in the pre-release design video, the Minnie Figure who is mentioned on the sign above the front doors.
I don’t personally think it’s a very interesting figure, though I’m always glad to see the classic minifig face.
Next up is her driver.
This guy apparently runs the movie theatre all by himself. That must be quite a lot of work. His torso is taken from a random fish in a Spongebob set, and I was surprised to see that it was originally yellow, as it is here (fortunately; anything else would’ve thrown the whole figure off), since I thought all the background fish in Lego Spongebob were a default lime green. I guess you learn some new, oddly specific fact every day.
Oh, and then there's reporter! My personal favourite of the bunch. I like pretty much every part involved, and they go together just fine. Specifically the use of the Indy fedora as a the kind of hat you’d keep a press card tied to is a nice idea.
I posted a photograph of him a little longer up the page, so I'll try to keep this as uncluttered as possible and not post the same picture twice.
What do you say we start the build now? I’ll just go ahead and start building, and take a photo for you whenever I have a comment I think you’ll care reading.
Step One. The instructions tell me to begin with the car, so I’ll do that.
Step Two (don’t worry, I’m not going to stop at every step). Already, we’ve used a 6x6 plate and that peculiar half-tile half-plate thing, both of which I’d specifically presumed were for the building itself. That’ll teach me to stop presuming, I guess.
This is where the trademark D2C quality starts showing. The front of the black limousine is built using two of these new SNOT pieces facing in different directions.
The completed limousine. I personally think this beats the firetruck from Fire Brigade, though I’m still a bit bothered by it breaking conventions – the Modulars are traditionally easy to store, since they’re all confined to a simple square areal. When a vehicle is included with nowhere to put it, storage becomes a tiny bit less simple.
But enough about that. The vehicle is a nice model in its own right, and I strongly disagree with those who say that it appears to be a last-minute addition. It does use a couple of methods that even I, who am by no means an authority on cars, Lego or otherwise, recognise from other sets, but it seems pretty thoroughly designed, and is very sleek on the whole. It does come off as slightly bulky towards the front, but that’s a slight, slight detail from my point of view. Besides, as I just said, I know nothing about cars, so who am I to presume that cars from back when cars looked like this didn’t actually look like this?
Remember that I mentioned not having any trans-clear 1x1 round plates before now? Those with sharp eyes will have noticed that I lost one of them, and thus the car is lacking a side mirror.
The best thing about the car, of course, is how easy it is to ride. So easy, according to the instructions, that even a child could do it.
(From the back seat, no less).
...AND we’re going!
Did I mention that I’m two degrees of Kevin Bacon away from the designer of this set? I am. It’s designed by the designer Astrid, who was also the leading designer of last year’s Town Hall.
The obsessive-compulsive part of me likes this arrangement. Initially, I would’ve placed the brick-star tiles facing towards the corner, since people would then be queueing in the same direction as the stars. I guess it makes sense to have them facing the opposite direction (as the instructions say), though, since the set is supposed to be seen from the corner.
Step Thirteen. All of a sudden, the instructions tells us to throw in all but two of the light blue pieces, and true enough, it does notably brighten up the interior of the building.
Don’t hang me up on this, but didn’t I read somewhere that Astrid was one of the lead designers of Friends? I can imagine so, judging from this set; one of the strengths of Friends is the way its buildings are made with basic bricks in calm colours, reserving the new moulds and eye-catching colours for the decorations. That’s what the designers did here, too, by covering the desk in light blue, a colour that’s always been a bit of a fan favourite. One of my favourites, anyway.
Step Fourteen. What is this, I wonder?
Step Fifteen. Oh, it’s steps. Very neatly made, too.
Step Twenty-three. I just wanted to say that I appreciate the ornamental use of perfectly regular pieces. It feels somewhat classic.
At step twenty-six, we’re supposed to add the first stickers. As mentioned before, this bothers me. But I’m pleasantly surprised: The fact that the stickers are applied on glass panes means that a bit of light shines through, adding a cozy ambience for the moviegoers to enjoy.
I suppose I’m not giving you the best view of the movie posters here, but have a look anyway. The three movies being advertised are Forever Sorting (a romantic movie featuring Dianne Plate and Clark Brixter), Mystery on the Monorail (I think Eurobricks have a great part of the responsibility for that movie ending up here) and The Brick Separator (a horror/monster movie). There’s a great detail on the latter: Two of the designers have signed the set by printing Lego-fied versions of their names on it. The poster credits Astrid Greybrick and Jordan Montelegone.
Step 28 and 29 each adds one of these doors, which are, to be honest, slightly astonishing. Not only do they fit the corner Modular format, they make it look easy – which I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it’s not; personally I think it’s a mathematical challenge of about the same difficulty as, say, dividing something by π in your head. Chances are that someone on the internet has already thought of this solution, but I still thank the design team for giving us this new way to build corner doors.
Another little bit of brilliance. You can probably guess what’s supposed to be attached here, but even so, it’s not something I’d have thought of, and certainly not something you’d see in just any set.
Step Thirty-nine, the penultimate step of the ground floor (the last step adds the lamppost). A lesser set would use normal bars of some kind here, I suppose. Naturally, a real D2C goes for the more creative alternative, which in this case turns out to be harpoon guns. It seems to me that as well as beatifully detailed conversation pieces, every Modular is also a sequence of small, amusing engineering ideas.
We’ve finished the first floor! It looks absolutely acceptable, don’t it? There’s a bunch of built-in ingeniousities, about enough bright colours to make it interesting, and details on the pavement to make it appear less blend. The top of the building appears a little empty, but if you’ve even looked at the box, you already know that that’s going to change during the next few phases of the build.
EDIT: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I've lost the photographs which I was building the narrative around. I'm sorry, but I have no way to finish the review. =(
Edited by Multiverse, 02 March 2013 - 09:30 AM.