Sunday, 13 July 2014

Lego Creator set 10243 Parisian Restaurant mini review.

   It took a while with the limited time I have to build, but I've finally finished the Parisian Restaurant!
   From the Creator line of modular buildings the set consists of 2469 pieces with 5 minifigures for 132.99 GBP / 149.99 Euros / 159.99 US$. 
   The figures comprise a chef, a waiter, a girl on a scooter and a couple about to get engaged. (Aww bless!)

Front view of the restaurant.
Starting at the bottom, the restaurant takes up the whole floor with dining tables inside and outside and a well stocked kitchen. The outside tables are enclosed by a chain-link fence over well-tended plants and some nice potted flowers. Above the tables is a trellis with more greenery growing and hung with lights for romantic evening meals. The main entrance has a canopy and a welcoming 'Chez Albert Restaurant' sign with a menu on a stand next to the door. The architecture outside on the ground floor is actually quite complicated with many little artistic designs and touches which add to the overall atmosphere that old city buildings seem to have. 

Front entrance.

At the rear of the restaurant, a grey rat can be seen sniffing
around the dumpster!
The kitchen is the best one I have ever seen for a Lego set. Crammed with food and cutlery, kitchen utensils and a turkey that is WAY too big to fit in the oven, cakes and a neat little was basin along with a refrigerator, a clock, cupboards and a back door that leads to the rubbish bin and dumpster. The dining room itself is very nicely designed, with a large well - stocked drinks cabinet by one wall and two tables with window seats and a table lamp each. The drapes are a nice touch, even if they are big chunky Lego pieces sideways-on instead of fabric! 

The well stocked, but cramped kitchen,
with oversized turkey!

The proposal ♥ (With lots of wine close by...)

Up the external steps to the next floor where there are two more open air dining tables and a door that opens into some basic accommodation that is always found in a big city - not a lot of space for a lot of money! Again it is really well designed, with many little features in a small space. A fireplace, a standing lamp, a comfy armchair in the living area and a fold-away bed (another first for Lego!) A small kitchen and dining area completes the living accommodation along with a door that leads to a teeny tiny balcony under the stairs leading to the next floor and overlooking the dumpster!!

The apartment with bed in the lowered position.
The little apartment kitchen and dining area.
The top floor is an artists' studio with an easel, a palette and a small storage area for finished works. There is also a fireplace with an oven door-type thing on it, I'm not sure if this is a kiln or a way to heat the room and not have it filled with smoke! 

Artists' studio, not a lot of window space for an
artistic mind!
There are many nice touches on this model, simple things like drain pipes down the back of the building, a rat sniffing around the dumpster and hanging baskets on the middle floor dining area. 
The shape of the building is perfect for the Parisian setting and all the little design details like the shape of the roof  and the chimney stack is probably the best I've seen in Lego!

A girl and her scooter. The scooter is a new piece for this
year but only this set has it in red!
Yes it is expensive, modular buildings always are, but you get a lot of pieces and one of the nicest structures I've seen for a Lego city outside of fan-built creations. There are no new, unique pieces for this set but there are several pieces that have are in new colors not seen elsewhere. Add to that the fact there are NO STICKERS and you have a great set, large and full of play potential, though not recommended for 15 year-olds or younger (!!) I highly recommend this set if you've got the money to spend, there's loads and loads of fun time to be had except when you have to tell a 9-year-old that it's NOT a toy, it's an expensive model that is not to be played with......

Monday, 16 June 2014

60046 Helicopter Surveillance mini review.

Review time again, and this time I've got hold of (yet another) police helicopter.
   60046 'Helicopter Surveillance'  consists of 528 pieces which includes 5 minifigures, a pick-up truck, a hideout and a big helicopter for 49.99 GBP / 74.99 US$ / 59.99 Euros. It's not a bad price for a medium / large set though there are no unique pieces on offer.
   There are 3 police minifigures and two bad guys. The police have a couple of useful tools for their fight against crime including a camera and a speed radar, while the robbers have a crowbar and a sack to carry their stolen goodies.
Cops: Speed radar, camera and pilot. 
Bad guys: Henchman and mastermind.
   The robbers' hideout is very small but nicely made, with a lot of use being made of the 'brick effect' bricks. It is a suitably run-down building with a large sliding door so the pick-up truck can be reversed in to be unloaded. Obviously crime does not pay in Legoland. In every set that includes a robbers' hideout, it is always a run down, boarded up building. No luxury condos for these guys with their ill-gotten gains!
The little hideaway with big sliding door.
   The pick-up truck is small and simple with just enough room on the back to put a crate full of stolen stuff. There's not a lot I can say about it, except it's nice to see it has car doors!

The bad guy's pick-up truck, with their stolen goodies!
   Obviously the main item in the set is the large helicopter. It is a bit of a monster and has the largest internal space of any helicopter, police or otherwise, that has been available in the last few years.  It's a chunky looking thing with a radar sticking out of it's nose, large air intakes on either side and a good sized sliding door near the back. Inside the door there is a rope for abseiling police officers to drop in on the bad guys. There is also has a ramp underneath the tail boom that can raise and lower when needed, giving two access points to the cavernous interior. The cockpit is nicely arranged and looks more helicopter-like than many from the past few years.  I only have two complaints about it, the first is my favorite moan - stickers. Lots of them. 15 on the helicopter, including one on each rotor blade tip. My second complaint is that it's really a bit too bulky, I have trouble holding it, so a kid's small hands wouldn't be able to play with it very easily. Aside from that it's a good set with lots of play options and I would just about give it a thumbs up on price too.
The big, chunky helicopter.
Sliding door access to the large interior space.
Cockpit arrangement.
Justice - Lego style!

Friday, 23 May 2014

60057 'Camper Van' and 60058 'SUV with Watercraft' micro reviews.

A double review this time, two of the small to mid-size city sets both about having fun on the water!

60057 is a neat looking camper van that comes with two figures, the van and a canoe. The camper itself has a couple of nice functions. One side of the vehicle opens out for access inside, while the roof lifts off for even easier access. Inside there is a bed, small table and chair and a video screen on the wall. On the roof there are two storage areas, the front of the roof lifts off to reveal the first which is big enough to fit a minifigure inside while the hinged rear storage compartment has a hinged top and can store the oars and life jackets. The canoe travels on top of the camper.
  RRP is 17.99 GBP / 19.99 US$ and 19.99 Euros. The set consists of 195 pieces.

60057 Camper Van with canoe
Inside the camper van. 

60058 is a pretty good looking SUV hauling a trailer with two jet skis. The SUV has room enough inside for both figures but no storage room for their life jackets which would have been a nice feature. There are no operating features on either the vehicle, trailer or jet skis, so playability is more limited than on the camper van. Having said that my son preferred playing with the jet skis to the canoe, must be something to do with speed! There is also a small fuel tank on the trailer with (I assume) a hand pump to fill the boats engines. My main moan with this set is it's a sticker-fest, with four each on the jet skis and three more on the vehicle and trailer. 
  The price is the same as the Camper Van but you do get 219 pieces with this one.

60058 SUV with two jet-ski's
Both sets are easy enough to build and look good, but my preference would be for the Camper Van, a few less pieces but more in the way of interest, and I'm getting older so I'd go for the more sedate pace of leisure! 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

31025 Creator 'Mountain Hut' Micro Review

The latest Creator set with a minifigure comes in the guise of a small mountain shack with a very small mountain alongside! As usual with Creator sets, twenty pieces are used when one would have done the job.    The set contains 550 pieces for 34.99 GBP / 39.99 Euros / 39.99 US$ making it quite good value for money. There are no unique parts in the set but several pieces are in a color unavailable anywhere else, for that alone it's worth investing in!

Overall view. the hut can be opened out for ease of access
to the furnished interior. 
   The hut is quite a neat design with a nice 2-tone roof, a simple but effective chimney stack (with white 'smoke' coming out of the top) and a couple of small architectural pieces to enhance the overall look.
Inside there is some furniture, a table, a small cupboard and a fireplace with a stack of logs ready to throw on it. On one wall there is a picture hanging up while above the fireplace there is the skeletal trophy of a bulls head!

Inside. Sparsely furnished and nowhere to sleep!
   The 'mountain' only just creeps higher than the hut but manages to have a cave, a small waterfall and a snowy peak! The waterfall looks a bit clumsy but uses a nice variety of transparent bricks to give the illusion of falling water. Inside the cave there is a gem hanging from the roof, obviously nature has been at work for a long time here!

The waterfall and the gem hidden in the cave.

   There are also the additions of a bird, (possibly a bald eagle??) a small footbridge over the stream, a 4x4 quad, a small fir tree and a camp fire. 
   There's enough here to keep a young person interested for quite a while and, as always, being a Creator set there's a good variety of pieces and instructions to make two other scenes. 
   Worth having!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A 1978 Lego Town scene!

Firstly, sorry about the blurriness of some of the pictures, especially the red house. I just could not get the focus right, but I'm sure it was the camera at fault, not me! ☺

This is all the sets released in 1978 that I own, which accounts for about three quarters of all town sets released that year. Missing are four train sets and a few US-only and  European special releases that I didn't even know existed until I got the internet!

Christmas 1978. My parents got me a box full of Lego sets from a store catalogue. I didn't realise it at the time but a new type of minifigure had been introduced by Lego, these had faces, moving arms and legs and hands that could grip things. The main thing that attracted me as a child to these new sets was the road plates, set 300 'T Junction' plates and 301 'Curved' plates and 302 'Straight Road' plates. So, I moaned and hassled my parents until they promised I would get some for Christmas. I was expecting one or two sets, I got a box of nine or ten including the road plates and a bag of extra trees and road signs. Now, 36 years later, I still have all those original sets plus one or two others I couldn't get at the time that I managed to find on ebay or Bricklink. They are still my favourite!

After I had taken all the pictures and packed everything away I realised I had missed out a set, 600 'Police Patrol' a small police car with a police officer. D'oh!!

Overall view of the's a bit crowded!

376 'Town House with Garden' My first Lego building. 
It came with a furnished interior and was hinged so it could 
be opened and closed. One of my original Christmas '78 sets.

374 'Fire Station' including 672 'Fire Engine' on the far left
 and 602 'Fire Chief' by the 'No Entry' sign.
In the foreground there is the top halves of 673 'Rally Repair 
Crew' and 644 'Police Mobile Patrol'

377 'Shell Service Station' with 671 'Shell Fuel Pumper' in 
the foreground. The red car is part of the Service station set. 
This is a set I got from ebay, about 33 years after it was 
first released!

Road works scene with 625 'Tractor' on the left, 622 'Tipper 
Truck' in the center being loaded by 641 'Excavator'. 
You can see the rear of 670 'Mobile Crane' at the back. 
You can also make out the rear end of 623 'Medic's Car' 
heading off the picture on the left.

605 'Street Sweeper' is hard at work while being passed by 
603 'Motorcycle with Sidecar' followed by the police 
motorcycle from set 644. Set 620 'Fireman's Van' is heading
 in the opposite direction. The motorcycle and sidecar is not
one of my originals, I acquired it from ebay. This set, along 
with the little trucks were some of the hardest sets to find 
in the shops when they were originally available.

604 'Shell Service Car' arrives at 601 'Shell Gas Pump' to fill 
up while 642 'Tow Truck and Car' passes by.

674 'Forklift and Truck' on the left and 643 'Flatbed Truck' 
on the right are busily loading up. There is a better view of 
670 'Mobile Crane' in the center of the picture. The two truck 
sets were very hard to find in the shops, luckily both of 
these came in my original Christmas '78 selection!

640 'Fire Truck and Trailer' passes by 626 'Red Cross 
Helicopter' and 606 'Ambulance' There was a fire station in 
1978, the police got their headquarters in 1979 but the
 paramedics had to wait until 1980 before they got a medical 
centre and 1987 until the first hospital!! Obviously major 
illness and trauma were unheard of in Legoland!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

60021 Cargo Heliplane mini review.

Carrying on the cargo theme from my last post this is the heliplane, or tilt-rotor as I like to call it. The set consists of the aircraft, a small quad and logging equipment along with three minifigures all for 34.99 GBP / 39.99 Euros / 44.99 US$.
   The tilt-rotor is the main attraction with rotors that tilt (obviously!), a working winch with a hook and a small rear hatch under the tailplane that opens into a small cargo hold. It is a fairly straightforward build with the trickiest part securing the string for the winch which, with my ham fists is a bit of a struggle! It's a nice design and sturdy enough to take a bit of a bashing from small hands. The only little problem is my usual moan of too many stickers!

The tilt-rotor in helicopter mode...
..and in airplane mode.

The logging equipment is simple but looks good with a log storage crate and a log gripper for use when chopping the logs with either the circular saw or the chainsaw. 40 brown round 2 x 2 bricks are used as the logs which I think is the most of that particular part ever used in a city set. This means the logs can be 'cut' down to any length.

The logging equipment. As usual, one guy does all the work!
The other is having a coffee and waiting for his new quad
to be delivered!
Ahh, here it is, right on time!
I may have my quad but I still haven't finished my coffee!!

The pilot's torso is only found in this set and the Cargo Terminal with most of the rest of the pieces being fairly common, the exception being the aircraft front and windscreen which are only found in the Coast Guard helicopter (Set 60013)

Overall a very nice set with good playability and not too bad price wise.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

60022 Cargo Terminal mini review

I'm back! Finally! Computer fixed, wallet a bit lighter, me a bit happier!

It's been a while since I've posted a review so I thought I'd do the Cargo Terminal set 60022 that I was given for Christmas by my in-laws and only managed to build up about four weeks ago. It's quite a large set consisting of 657 parts which make up a cargo plane, a control tower, a forklift truck, a mobile conveyor belt and a small fuel truck, all populated by 5 minifigures along with 4 pallets of cargo. In the stores at 69.99 GBP / 89.99 Euros / 99.99 US$.

Box picture.
The fuel truck is a nice little thing, little being a good description. I don't think it would be able to hold enough fuel to keep a big jet in the air for very long! But it has a cute design and uses some less common pieces, though it is very stickered! The only operational part is the hose reel which is standard in many sets.

The forklift is of a suitably meaty design and it's nice to see bigger wheels at the front, as is normal for real forklifts. It has a hinged roll-cage for getting the driver in and out more easily and a tilting fork assembly with the forks themselves able to lower and raise with the help of a rubber band.

Next is the mobile conveyor, a quirky thing but it does it's job very well. The conveyor part can be raised and the belt is operated by turning a small knob to move the cargo upwards to the aircraft or downwards to the waiting forklift. It's a very sticker-heavy vehicle, having no less than 8 adorning all sides!

Forklift, fuel truck and mobile conveyor

The control tower is the usual Lego half-building, having no back to it for ease of play. The lower part of the tower is very simple and has nothing internally. The control area has only one control panel and a swivel seat, so obviously it's not a busy place! A couple of antenna on the roof, one of which can turn a full circle, complete the building. Very simple but instantly recognizable for what it is.

The small and cramped control tower!

The cargo consists of four pallets. Two of them have the parts to make up a little 4x4 off-road vehicle, while another has a (probably)  secret shipment of gold bars. The final pallet has six 'boxes' which include four of general freight and two boxes of Lego. Obviously the most valuable cargo is the Lego, followed by the gold...

The cargo including boxes of Lego!

The main item of the set is, of course, the plane itself. A lovely, large 4-jet engined beast in Lego's general color for freight - green and white. There are two hatches on the port (left) side, one in front and one behind the wing. The tail section is hinged and can be swung open to load wide cargo from the back. There is plenty of space for all four pallets but for some reason the section over the wings is blocked off  and is of no use to anybody!! The cockpit roof comes off to allow access the very nicely designed flight deck.
The only little design fault, apart from the unusable half of the plane, are the main undercarriage wheels, they're too close together giving the impression the plane could tip over at any moment. (It won't, it's actually very stable!)

Overview of the plane.
The cockpit with nicely detailed stickers and printed pieces.
The opening parts of the fuselage for cargo access.
Loading the very important cargo!
There's nothing complicated about the build and it's fun to do, apart from the many, many stickers which are always a pain (in my opinion!) It's expensive but there is a lot there and the play value is very good, my son played with it for days before I managed to wrench it off him, er I mean repossess it for the review....