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Lego 31036 Creator Toy and Grocery Shop Thanks to EuroBricks for making this review possible! For years, Lego has offered a house of some sort in the Creator line each year - with the standard Creator 3-in-1 instructions, that's given us a very wide variety of housing. In 2014, they added a business option with their 31026 Bike Shop and Cafe set. This continues into this year's Toy and Grocery Shop set. These shops are smaller than the very detailed modular buildings, but that should help them fit in better with the other City sets, and this also lets them get into more kids' cities with their lower pricetag. Name: Toy and Grocery Shop Set Number: 31036 Pieces: 466 Price: $39.99 Minifigs: 2 Theme: Creator Year of Release: 2015 Links: Bricklink Peeron Brickset The Box The front of the box shows the "A" version model out of the three, plus insets of the B and C versions. I like the sorta-European looking backdrop; it goes well with the styling of the buildings. Interestingly, the main model is shown opened up for play, while the two insets show those versions folded. The Box Top On the top of the box, Lego helpfully shows that with 3 of these sets, you can make a whole street. The Box Back On the back, you get to again see all three versions together, but this time, folded. It's a little creepy though with those clones running around :) The Manuals Yep, three actual, printed manuals. There's nothing indicating them as being A, B, and C models, but it's pretty obvious looking at the designs which is the "main" model and which are the alternates. The Contents Bags of parts and two plates. Nothing terribly exciting to see here.... The Minifigs Nothing new here, but two nice figs none-the-less. Well, Bricklink does say that both figs are unique to this set, but there's not any new parts to them. The closest thing to rare is the female head - it's only in this set, 2013's Dragon Mountain Castle set, a UK store grand opening set, and one of the 2014 Holiday freebie sets. The faces aren't that unique, but I guess this exact combo of two faces on the head is. I love the kid torso with the spaceman on it. The Minifig Backs No back printing on anything here except for an alternate female face. Sorry. I do like that her two faces are so different though. That's much better than when a head has a "scared" and a "more scared" face. The "C" Build Enough with the basics; let's build. I'm going to review them in the same order I built them, backwards. Since you can tell immediately looking at the 3 designs that they're going to use different numbers of pieces and so forth, I figured I'd build the smallest first lest it seem like a letdown. All three have some basic similarities - the two plates are hinged to give a building that opens for play. They also do have interiors, which you can see starting to form here. The "C" Build, Front It's a pretty quick build, so it's done already. Here's the front of the building with it opened up. Like this, it appears to be two separate stores, a newsstand and some sort of shop you can enter. All the printed tiles help give the newsstand a detailed appearance, but I'm not sure why they've got a $100 bill lying on the ledge... The "C" Build, Rear From the back side, the interiors are pretty plain. The shop half has a plant in a jar and a weird chair, and the newsstand just has a register. The "C" Build, Sides Here's the two sides of the folded building. On the hinge side, there's a bunch of windows in a disjointed wall with random colors. On the other, why did they put in a huge window when the set does include a trans-clear door that could have gone there? And you get a small patch of plants, like so many sets seem to have these days. The "C" Build, Extras That's a lot of leftovers there. And not just little stuff - multiple doors, stairs, etc. And unused sand green is always a little sad.... The "B" Build, 1 A pretty similar start, with the hinge and little garden and some tiles along the ground. The "B" Build, 2 Now we see a big windowed wall, some details like lights, and how it has the usual alternate model "weird part usage" - like a 1x4 brick with side studs being used over the doorway, even though those side studs will not get used. The "B" Build, Front The finished building gives us a nice little post office, with a letter-carrying bird on the roof. Hope that's not their normal method of delivery! Something about the colors just doesn't work for me though. The combo of white / light grey / dark grey / black / sand green plus tan is just too much. The tan window and door frames I don't like. The "B" Build, Inside On the inside, things are weird. The counter on the left is ok, but the light above the door (with a yellow clip? ugly!) is too big, and everything else over there by the door doesn't make much sense either. The "B" Build, Sides I like the front side here, except the colors are still too much. The bench, greenery, mailbox on the corner, and streetlight are all nice. The boy is a little creepy though - binoculars in hand PLUS a telescope on the roof of the post office? Why? The hinge side shows more of the weird colors you get in the wall, but that's going to be hidden when the set is open. Plus we even see that on big modulars at times, so it's not SO terrible. The "B" Build, Leftovers Again, a lot of leftover parts. It's obvious this was another alternate, but it'd be nice to see more of them used to make a bigger building. But let's move on to the model that DOES use them all... The "A" Build, 1 The first half starts like this. Maybe it's just my bias, but it already feels like a more detailed build. Bottles on the wall, the yellow and red awning over the window, etc. The "A" Build, 2 The other half starts off with detailed work too. I think that's a red vending machine. The stairs are also VERY solidly built. I also appreciate the effort to get that diagonal base where a door will be - it's such a nice touch to have sections of a building that aren't right angles. The "A" Build, 3 Not too much has been added, but I wanted to showcase the tiny toys before they get hidden by a wall. That robot and train are just fantastic little micro builds. The "A" Build, 4 Things are coming together quickly. The walls, windows, and doors get the first floor nearly done. I'm still not big on the sand green and tan combo, but I do really like the red and yellow awnings. The "A" Build, 5 It appears the shop owner lives upstairs, since we've got a bedroom forming here. The bed is a little plain, but the table and lamp on the other half are great. And my big fingers did not like putting all those railings on the balcony, with the telescope posts and tile tops. Knocked quite a few off before I got them all done. The "A" Build, Front And it's done. All the details make this set really feel like a mini-modular. The roofline has great greebling, and the shop contents, and on and on. It's not perfect though. The tiny car above the toy store door isn't nearly as good as the toys inside. And the kid's yellow scooter? The wheels aren't even on the ground, much less able to roll. The scooter looks decent though, so that counts for something. Well, at least as long as you are at this angle, since the boy's only got 1 foot on the 1 stud wide scooter. The "A" Build, Inside Most of the interior has been seen already. The roof though does a nice job of being interesting for a roof. A skylight, the edge rails, etc. And you can see there's not much "wrong color" in the walls. The "A" Model, Sides An interesting building when folded up. Very tall and skinny. You can tell it's not really meant to be displayed this way - it's meant to be open. The good - lots! I like the awning, the diagonal door, the flowerbox under the upper window, the folding gate on the balcony that lets it be used in open or closed mode, and the green / white / blue colors. The bad - well, the stairs end short of the upper door, I still don't really like the tan doorframes (I think black would have been better), and why don't the upper floors match up in size? The "A" Model, Leftovers Ah, that's more like it. Just a few small pieces left as spares. The Errors You might have to click through to the full-size versions, but I did catch a few weird errors in the manuals. First, in the photo of the newsstand, the map in the front corner is on there sideways. The map does have a clear north arrow printed on it. On the second image, the boy's feet are hanging off the edge. Just unusual to see an alignment error in the manual like that. The Comparison Here are this set and the modular Detective Office side by side. There's a huge difference - as you'd expect. But is the difference MORE than you'd expect? This set is 466 parts, $40. The DO is 2262 pieces and $160. 5 times the parts, 4 times the price. Looking at them side by side, I'd expect a bigger difference in both. The Conclusion So, what's my conclusion on this model? I love the main model, but the alternates are meh. It's a nice set for someone looking for a town building other than police and fire stations, but who isn't ready to move to the modular line. Compared to the modulars though, it seems overpriced. Part of that is because the huge modulars are actually a great deal compared to other Lego sets. I'm also a little surprised that it's so small, when you compare it to the City sets like a police station. Those are generally designed with much more open space, letting them be more of a playset. This one is small and cramped, so it'd be tougher to play in. It's not really a City set though. The Ratings Value: 7/10 - It's under the 10 cents a part mark, but that's largely due to having a TON of tiny parts. All those flowers and decorative 1x1 round studs add up quickly! Design: 7/10 - Good and bad on the colors, and there's a big difference between the quality of the main vs alternate models. Having so many leftover pieces is one thing when the Creator set makes 3 very different models (ie a boat, plane, and truck). When it's 3 buildings, it seems wasteful to have so many parts leftover. Minifigs: 6/10 - I'm not sure they both fit the set. I suppose the boy is going to the toy store and the woman is going to the grocery? But there's no storekeeper in either. The woman doesn't look like a storekeeper to me, so that's why I assume she's another shopper. I love the boy, but the woman is just so-so - except that I do appreciate the head having two very different expressions. But again, that doesn't fit the set. I can't see her scared face being used. Playability: 6/10 - The shops are detailed with registers and so forth, but it's all so tiny it'd be hard to play with the figs in it. Parts: 9/10 - Tons of windows and doors, plus nice sand green bricks. But some things (the large blue curves used on the roof for example) are weirdly specialized and would be hard to use in another building design. Overall: 7/10 - I'd recommend doing what I did - build the alternates first, then the main since that's how you'll want to leave it. I'd really like to see the price a little lower compared to other sets (again, the part count is inflated due to SO MANY tiny parts) and the finished building is tiny, but it's loaded with neat details.