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  1. Lego City. It's a dangerous town. It may seem all happy and colorful at first glance, but if you've lived there as long as I have, you'd know that it's a dirty cesspool of crime and corruption. It seems like there is a bank robbery, jail break, or fire every day. The police refuses to use guns and seems to be more concerned about getting haircuts than fighting crime, so they're not really helping. And ever since candy got outlawed, several smuggling circles have cropped up all over town. This city has gone to the dogs, and that's why I decided to become a private eye, to solve the crimes that the bumbling police force can't. It was a cold afternoon. I was sitting in my office, lost in thought. Only a few rays of light entered through the windows into the dark and dusty room. There were various letters and documents scattered across my desk. I was working on a case that I had been working on for months. I was trying to find a criminal who had been eluding authorities for a while. The wanted poster hung on the wall behind me, but the description on it was very vague and since everyone has the exact same face and body type in Lego City, it was nearly impossible to find him. I was getting hungry, so I reached into my own secret stash of cookies and started eating one. "Who could outlaw something that tastes so good," I thought to myself. In that moment, there was a knock on the door. I quickly hid the cookie under the desk and said: "Come in." The door slowly opened and a woman in a red dress and long, wavy hair entered the room. The dim light from the window glistened on her smooth yellow skin. She had a big smile on her face, but by the look in her dark, round eyes, I could tell that she was troubled. "Are... are you Oky Brickman, the private detective?" she asked hesitantly. "Yes, I am, ma'am," I responded, "please, have a seat." The woman in red closed the door behind her, walked across the room, and sat down in the chair in front of me. There was a moment of silence, then I said: "So, what can I do for ya?" She paused as if to think about how best to start, then replied: "Well, you see... There is a new Lego set coming out soon, 10246 Detective's Office, the 10th addition to the modular buildings series, and I am very interested to get it, but I am not sure if it lives up to the standard of the other modular buildings. So, I was wondering if you could review it for me and find out if it's worth the price." I was perplexed. This was not what I was expecting to hear, but I was intrigued. "I see," I said slowly, "that is quite a tough situation you're in." I paused dramatically, then I said, "Alright, I'll do it." "Oh thank you, Mr. Brickman! I will see to it that you get a copy of the set and will reward you handsomely if you succeed." She got up and left, and sure enough, one week later I received a package at my doorstep with the Lego logo on it... Set Number: 10246 Name: Detective's Office Theme: Advanced Models Subtheme: Modular Buildings Year of Release: 2015 Pieces: 2262 Minifigures: 6 Price: $159.99 USD S@H description: S@H Bricklink Brickset Box The box is about the same size as the other modulars, but it has a slightly new design. Note the new five-brick "Expert" logo in the top right corner as well as the three small images underneath it showing the back of the building, its sections, and its width. These are quite useful for seeing more views of the set without having to look on the back of the box, although they do take away some of the space for the box art. Like with the Parisian Restaurant, there are several small close-ups of the set on the back as well as a large picture with the Detectives Office displayed next to the last two modulars. I especially like the pictures of the pool room and the rooftop where Ace Brickman is peeking around the corner to spy on people. The rooftop picture is particularly humorous as it seems that Ace has climbed on the outside of the railing in order not to be seen. This detective will apparently do anything to solve a mystery, no matter the risk! This modular building is unique in that there is an actual story going. This set is set in the prohibition era, but since TLG doesn't want to promote alcohol, they replaced booze with candy, which is a pretty clever idea, even if a bit unnecessary considering this set is aimed at adults. I recommend watching the for this set to learn more about the story from the designer himself. The top of the box features a parts inventory and a 1:1 picture showing the newspaper vending machine for scale. On the bottom of the box, there is just a small version of the picture from the front of the box, a Lego Club ad, and the usual fine print. Nothing interesting here. As you can see, the right side of the box I received got a bit damaged on the way from Denmark unfortunately, but it's not too bad. Here you can see a picture of all the minifigs with various accessories. Quite a nice little scene that shows you what items are included in the set. On the other side, there is yet another instance of the box art with the name of the set in six different languages. It's interesting to know that the word "detective" is more or less the same in most languages. Contents Inside the box there are 18 bags of varying sizes, each numbered 1, 2, 3, or 4, with the larger bags having more, smaller bags inside of them. That's a lot of bags! The fact that all these pieces are split into only four sections is what makes this an advanced build, I assume. Unfortunately, the box wasn't the only thing that was damaged. The large bag with the number 2 and one of the small bags inside of it had a small rip right across the middle of them, so there were three loose pieces inside the box. Fortunately, nothing was missing, but it is disconcerting nonetheless and I hope this is an isolated incident. How this happened is a mystery that only a detective like Ace Brickman could solve. Also included in the box are the instruction booklet, an dark gray 8x16 plate, and a 32x32 baseplate in reddish brown which is the first appearance of this part in that color. That's right, no stickers! Following the example set by the Parisian Restaurant, all decals in this set are printed! Let's hope they continue this trend in future modulars. Here is a picture of a random instructions page. The part call-outs usually feature several different pieces at a time. There is a new feature where all the parts that are added during each step are outlined in red. Some may say that this makes the build less challenging, but I think it is quite helpful on such a large and complex model. I hope they use this feature in future sets, at least the big ones. Minifigures There are six minifigures in this set, all with the classic smiley head. First, there is Ace Brickman the detective. He comes with a fedora and a magnifying glass. His torso is J. Jonah Jameson's with yellow hands. Then there is Al the barber. Him and Ace are the first two named characters in the modular building series! He comes with the new scissors which also appear in some 2015 Friends and Elves sets. We have seen his torso in other D2C sets before, such as the Palace Cinema and Fairground, but they suit him very well. Next, there are the dart player and pool player. The dart player comes with a red baseball cap and cleverly uses Indian feathers as darts, while the pool player uses a 4L bar as a pool cue. Then there's the female cop who comes with her police hat. She uses the same torso as Ma Cop. I like to think that this is Ma Cop when she was young. And then there is the woman in red who doesn't really come with an accessory. As you can see, only half of them have back printing, and very minimal ones at that, but that's ok. Build The first section of the build focuses entirely on constructing the pool hall which is apparently called "The Highlander", so there are a lot of tan, gray, brown, and green pieces. This set is clearly inspired by film noir movies (hence my intro story), so it makes sense to start with one of the most common settings of that genre. Here are some of the notable pieces from these bags. We get two 4x4 domes in dark green and one of those little clip pieces in pearl gold. There are also a few printed pieces such as the two windows with the name of the pool hall, a new dart board, and one of those 2x2 tiles with a red star and a golden brick on it which appeared previously in the Palace Cinema (and an exclusive Legoland set). There is also a new round tile in white with a stud in the middle. There are two of these pieces in this set, both of which are used as table cloths, and they will undoubtedly be useful for sets and MOCs in the future. At step 6 of the build, most of the sidewalk and pool hall floor is finished. The mix of dark colors for the floor looks great and I like how they included dispersed studs among the tiles so that you can position minifigures around the room. Or maybe they just didn't want to include any dark tan tiles other than 1x2s and 1x6s. Ten steps later, the pool table, dart board, and trophy cabinet are constructed. The pool table is not quite as good as some MOCs I have seen, but I do like the SNOT technique they used and it looks decent enough. At the end of section 1, the pool hall is complete. Please ignore my building mistake on the awnings. I only realized after taking this picture that they should be built one stud more outward. This is the first time the Mixels joints have been used as decorative elements and they work quite well. Unfortunately, this is just a pool hall and not a pub, so there is no bar which is a shame, but I guess it makes sense with the whole no-alcohol thing. Some minifigures might be upset about this though. The bags with the number 2 contain the rest of the pieces for the ground floor. There are lots of nice dark blue bricks along with some gray, white, and black parts. You get two cookie and three swirly mint tiles in these bags which have appeared in Seasonal and Friends/Princess sets before. There are also three of those cupcake tops in dark pearl silver and a fez in white which are rare in these colors. I was happy to see that you get three of the new scissors piece in this set! The white rectangle on the right is the new mirror element. It's on a sturdy cardboard and has protective sticker. Now we begin constructing the barbershop. At step 31, the tiling is finished, and you can already see the barrel of candy hidden under the stairs. A few steps later, the interior of the barber shop is taking shape. There is a cabinet, a sink, an old-school barbers chair, and two manikin heads with different hair styles on them. Now we know where Luke Skywalker and Doc Ock get their hair done! By step 45, most of the barbershop is done, and it seems that young Ma Cop couldn't wait her hair done. I don't blame here; after all, this is the first Lego barbershop we've ever gotten! And as you can see in this picture, the mirror is fully reflective. It's not a sticker, so it just held in place by those grooved plates. It's the best mirror that we've ever gotten in a set and I'm sure mirrors like this would be very popular in other sets, especially ones aimed at girls. At step 57, the ground floor is nearly finished. Only a few objects are missing on the side walk which will be added later. After this section, the step numbering starts over at 1 for some reason. The barbershop looks great, especially the cleverly constructed sign with the scissors and the brick-built lettering. The little bench and the barber's pole are nice details as well, even though the stripes on the latter are horizontal instead of diagonal. On the back, there is a grate with some foliage and a trash can. Also, a partial roof has been added to the pool hall which is separately removable. In the bags for section 3, there are tons of great nougat-colored brick-bricks and bricks in two shades of light blue. If you're a collector of rare bricks, this is worth getting the set for right here. There are also several printed pieces here. There is the window with the Ace Brickman writing, a wanted poster which is so humorously vague that it could be about pretty much any minifigure, the usual Lego newspaper which is apparently still running the story about "the greatest LEGO hero ever", a street level map which first appeared in Shredder's Dragon Bike set (which is fitting since the map in that set depicted a part of New York City, which could very well be the location of the Detectives Office as well), a painting with a sail ship, a $100 bill, and several letters, one of which is the old-school kind with a heart stamp. We also get the paint roller handle in black for the first time and an unprinted white R5 head. The second half of the build begins with the floor for the 1st floor. Then you start constructing the staircase and bathroom. The R5 head is used as the toilet bowl. As C-3PO would say: "How perverse!" At step 28, the bathroom and hallway section of the building are finished. The paint roller handles have been cleverly used as curved lamp posts. Now we finally get to the most important part of The Detective's Office - the actual detective's office! At step 32, most of the furniture has been constructed, including a messy desk, a file cabinet, a safe, a coat hanger, and two chairs. There is also a flower pot on the fire escape balcony with three differently colored flowers. At the end of this section, the first floor is complete, minus the Pool sign which will be added at the end of the build. The detective's office looks great. It looks just like something out of a film noir flick or something like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The back is a bit plain, but there are still a few details to keep it interesting such as the flowers on the window sill. Then we add it to the building and the build is 3/4 complete. The last few bags contain the pieces for the kitchen, rooftop, and anything else that's still missing. Most of the parts are gray, but we also get a few more of those nice light blue bricks. We get three more newspapers and cookies in this section, as well as a printed clock. Also included are the 2x2 L-tile and round tile with center hole in red which are used for the letters on the Pool sign. There is also an inverted 2x2 dome in red and two more unprinted R5 heads, one in orange brown, and another one in white. The most unusual parts here, however, are four dark gray Unikitty tails and that stud with a hole that usually holds her horn in black. Don't worry, no Unikitties were harmed in the making of this building. With the new red tiles, you can spell all kinds of words! Mostly silly ones though. The build of this floor starts out very similar to the last one, except this one has an extra hole for the skylight. The numbering of the building steps resets again. I guess they wanted to have separate sets of steps for each floor. At step 15, most of the interior of the kitchen is done and the cat is already after those cookies! It's interesting to note that the banister of the staircase is built the same way as the one on the first floor. Nice consistency there. Four steps further into the build, the blue part of the walls is finished and topped off by a bunch of gray jumper plates. The rest of the walls is built at a half-stud offset to create the protruding arches. At step 30, the kitchen is done and the construction of the detective office's rooftop begins. Ten steps later, the third floor is finished. There is a very clever use of Hero Factory hands as roofline decorations. Once again there are flowers on the window sill on the back, and it's nice to see the watertower is brick-built using tank treads. Next, you build the roof of the kitchen. This is a fairly simple and quick build, although is still some neat SNOT building going on with the Unikitty tails. When we add them all together, we are almost done! It's already looking quite impressive. Once we add the Pool sign, newspaper vending machine, the tree, and the lamp post, the set is finally complete. And what a fine set it is! Like all modulars, the building stands quite tall and is gorgeous to look at from most angles. Looking at it from the front, there are many great details to look at. It definitely looks like the type of building you would see in one of the large American cities such as New York or Los Angeles which are typically the setting for detective stories. All the different colors make it look fun, but still realistic and aesthetically pleasing. The left side of the building, however, is admittedly not that nice to look at. there are two gray and two black spots on the wall that stick out like a sore thumb, but are necessary for the interior. However, if you connect this building to one of the other modular buildings, I suppose you won't see them anyway. The back of the building looks nice and colorful like the front. I especially like how the profile bricks add some nice texture to the walls of the hallways and detective's office. The right side of the building looks a bit better than the other side, even though there are some white, gray and black spots here too, but those can just be chalked up to flaking paint. Spare Parts After the build, there are quite a few pieces left over, mainly the usual bits and bops, plus the obligatory brick separator. Play Features Since there is a story being told, there are lots of play features in this set. It begins in the kitchen where the smugglers make the candy. There is an oven with a stove, a rolling pin, and a cupboard with a pot. The only problem is that the rolling pin is much too big for the small 2x2 tables in the kitchen, but oh well. Then, they can bring the barrel with the candy down to the back alley where they can open the grate with the foliage and push it into the barbershop. By the way, the instructions tell you to put the red hat into the trash can here, so perhaps this is meant to be a clue for the detective to find. In the barbershop, the stairs can be lifted up to play inside. Here, Al can open the secret passage behind his cabinet, take in the candy barrel, and open another little secret door under the stairs to move the candy to the pool hall. The stairs in the little alleyway between the barbershop and pool hall can be removed in order to easily move the barrel from one room to the other or to simply hide it there. Lastly, the minifigs in the pool hall can slide the black board under the trophy cabinet aside thanks to a clever SNOT technique and bring the candy inside through the secret hole. Brilliant! On the other side of the pool hall there are clips for holding the cues and darts. There is also a well constructed ceiling fan that uses snowshoes for blades and can swing to the side to access the interior. I really like the rooftop as well. It looks just like the type of rooftop you'd see on a building in New York or some other big city. In fact, I could easily picture some of the superheroes from NYC leaping across it, like Spider-Man or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so this set has some re-usability in those themes. The skylight can be fairly easily removed to look inside the detective's office. This is where the smugglers check to see if Ace is in his office or not. The newspaper vending machine can be opened to take one newspaper out. There is another one in there, but it's stuck to the back of the machine. The detective's office itself is not without play features either. There is a secret hiding spot behind the painting which can be swung to the side to reveal it. On the other side of the room, there is a coat hanger for Ace to hang his hat on and a safe to hide money in. There is also a fire escape ladder on the side of Ace Brickman's office which can be lowered by pulling a tab that holds it in place, but it only reaches down halfway and makes it impossible for anyone on the second floor to climb down when it's lowered. Not the best design, but I appreciate the attempt. In the hallway outside of Ace's office, there is a potted plant. Not really a play feature, just a neat little detail in my opinion. The bathroom is confined to a 3x4 studs space and isn't even fully enclosed, but they managed to cram a lot of details in there. Aside from the pull-chain toilet, there is also a roll of toilet paper and even a tiny sink. That's about it. Now that I have fully examined this set, it's time to write my report for the woman in red. Ratings Design: 5/5 - The building looks absolutely fantastic. It is very reminiscent of those old detective movies as it has many of the typical elements from those films. The colors are fun, but still somewhat realistic, and the walls have a nice texture to them. There are lots of clever details all over this set. Build: 5/5 - The building is so asymmetrical that the build never gets repetitive. There are some uncommon techniques and the fact that the bags are split into only four groups makes it challenging. And the new red outline for newly added pieces in the instructions are helpful. I had a lot of fun building this. Minifigs: 4/5 - The minifigures are nothing all that special, but that's to be expected. They do come with some rare torsos and hairpieces and there is a relatively high number of them, so as far as minifigures in modular buildings go, they are pretty good. Playability: 5/5 - This set has more play features than any of the previous modulars. I love the fact that they came up with a story for this set and designed the building and play features around it. This set has so many hidden compartments and moving stairs that it could rival any Hogwarts castle! Parts: 5/5 - Like every modular, this set has many bricks in new and/or rare colors such as light blue. It also has a brown baseplate, lots of those brick-bricks, and even some new molds like the scissors and that 2x2 round tile with only one stud. Plus all of the decals are printed! Price: 4/5 - 2262 pieces seems a bit low for the price considering the Parisian Restaurant had over 200 pieces more, but I'd still say it's a fair price for a model of this size. Overall: 5/5 - This is my first modular building, so I can't really compare it to any of the nine that came before it, but on its own it's great in my opinion. In fact, it made me want to start collecting this series. I would recommend anyone to add this to their collection right away, whether you already have the other modular buildings or are a newcomer to this line like me, especially if you are a fan of mysteries. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this special Academy review as much as I had fun making it. Big thanks to Lego and the EB ambassadors for giving me this opportunity. The Detective's Office is now available at S@H and Lego Brand Stores, so go and get your copy today! By the way, Homer Simpson is not the only minifigure who is upset about the pool hall...