Saturday, 27 April 2013

10218 Pet Shop mini review (at last!)

Yep, I've finally finished it and got around to reviewing it! I do like to savor the bigger sets, and I'm always at work so I don't get much time on them!
2032 pieces for 120 GBP / 150 US$ gives a very decent price-per-piece, though a lot of pieces are very small so it's a bit of a false indicator. For instance, it takes 33 small pieces just to make the 'PETS' sign. 
For your money you get two separate buildings, four minifigures and six animals. 
The minifigures include a man, a woman, a decorator guy and a girl. As seems to be usual with Lego non of the individual parts are unique but the complete combinations haven't been used before. The girl rides a green bike which is fairly rare, having only been used in 3 other sets from the past couple of years.

The people.
The animals include a cat, a dog, a fish, two parrots and a mouse (or rat, I can't decide!)  There are also two frogs, but these appear to be ornamental / architectural rather then pets. The parrots, cat and dog all have print on them to some degree which makes the fish and mouse/rat look a bit plain in comparison, but that's just a minor whinge from me! I'm a bit surprised they didn't have a snake in there, maybe it's because there is a definite lack of room in the shop.

The pets.
Onto the buildings. Both make use of standard bricks in neat or unusual ways. From porch roofs to shop signs, there's a variety of techniques that show a lot of thought has been put into them to create something a bit different and interesting. 
Firstly the house. The bottom floor is raised  to accommodate a low cellar / coal storage area and a trap door inside the building allows access. The front door is reached by steps which always remind me of old Victorian houses in the middle of cities. Furniture includes a sofa, coffee table, hat stand and some flowers in a vase on a stand. My favorite part is an old-style telephone. Made out of four standard pieces it  looks perfect! I always admire the designers who come up with ingenious ways of using pieces that were designed for something entirely different, the telephone ear/mouthpiece is a light saber hilt from the Star Wars sets!
There is a neat spiral staircase to the next floor which is obviously being decorated. A paint pot, a paint roller and tray is a bit of a giveaway. Aside form the paint stuff there is nothing else in the room. Another spiral staircase leads to the top floor which is empty apart from a couple of 'boxes'. There is a door that leads to a small roof garden.

The house, with the decorator only just starting to paint!

On to the pet shop itself. Basically the same dimensions as the house but very different internally. The frontage has the shop and an arched entrance to a stairwell that leads to the floors above. The shop has a small aquarium (way too small for the fish, the poor thing can't move in there!!) and two cages, one each for the cat and dog. There is a hole in the base of the wall by one cage where the mouse/rat can scuttle in and annoy the cat. There is also a check-out desk with an old style cash register, again fairly well rendered with five standard pieces. 
On the floor above there is a nice little kitchen with a coffee maker, a sink unit, a cooker, table, chair and a nice little fire place. It's quite surprising how much there is packed into a small space! A flight of stairs lead to the top floor - a small bedroom with bed and a lamp. In fact the top floor is only half a floor, the other half is the double height kitchen. A skylight on the roof tops off a very impressive building.

Pet shop, kitchen and bedroom.
The two building can be attached with each other or kept separate, and of course hook on to any other building in the modular series. There have been complaints within the Lego fan community that this set doesn't fit in well with the other modular buildings, but I think it adds a bit of variety. How many cities have all their buildings 'fitting in' with all the others? Cities evolve and they never evolve evenly!
As with all modular sets, this is expensive, but I consider it worth the price. Lego's first pet shop is a great addition to the modular line, and something that's been missing for a long time.

The finished buildings.

Friday, 19 April 2013

New old stuff!

Just a quick post to show a couple of older sets I managed to get hold of over the past month or two. 
  The first is 6437 'Beach Buggy' from 1999. I managed to get this with the box and instructions and is the first time I have owned this set. I stopped collecting in the late 1990's when Lego started to 'dumb down' their sets to appeal to slightly younger customers.  Sadly all that happened was the alienation of the existing, and aging, fan base. The beach buggy only has 28 pieces, the base and front of the vehicle consists of two parts whereas a few years earlier there would have been probably 10 - 15. There's nothing special about it but I'm still happy to have it. The life-ring on the back makes me laugh, it just sticks out looking a bit ridiculous, and reminds me of a toilet seat!
  Next is 6631 'Steam Shovel' from 1985. This is a set I had originally and sadly sold either on eBay or on a car boot / garage / attic / junk sale. No box with this one but it does have the instructions. Slightly smaller than the beach buggy but containing 48 parts. For me this was Lego in it's heyday, great but simple City  models and they always found a new idea to bring out each year. 
  Back to the present day I'm finally putting the finishing touches to the Pet Shop modular building and will review it soon.

6631 and 6437 - from two different City era's.

Monday, 8 April 2013

60008 Museum Break In mini review

Welcome to the first ever Lego City Museum! Okay it's a small museum and, apparently, very easy to break in to. Thankfully Lego City's huge police force just got bigger with four more officers, oh and a couple of bad guys!

The box.
This is a medium sized 563 piece set that comes with 6 figures, 2 vehicles, a helicopter and of course the museum. With a retail price of 49.99 GBP / 69.99 US$ it is fairly good value for money for the amount of pieces you get. 
   Starting with the minifigures, there are no unique parts, though some are new for this year and appear in other sets. The four police officers comprise of a helicopter pilot, a police truck driver and two 'SWAT' type guys who I think look really cool! You get a few tools with them; a radio, a torch and, of course, handcuffs.
The two bad guys don't have any unique parts either though the smooth / slimy master criminal guys hair is a first for City sets, having only appeared in Super-Heroes and Star Wars themes. Their tools include a crow bar and a rope.
The good and bad guys. I really must learn not to chop
people half out of the frame!
Onto the vehicles. The bad guys van reminds me a bit of a scaled-down 'A-Team' truck, only in grey. The back opens up so they can stash their ill-gotten gains with plenty of room. The front of the truck has a part that, again, is not a unique one but is the first time seen in a City set. The police truck is a bit more of a challenging build. There is a cab that seats two people with access from the roof - no car doors, and a back that opens to throw in the robbers, though it's not a big space so I would imagine they would get uncomfortable in there! The bars on the outside of the truck are for the SWAT guys to hang onto for rapid deployment in a serious situation.
  The helicopter is pretty good shape for a small one and has a light brick to act as a spotlight. It works very well though it makes the front view look like a hamster with cheeks stuffed full of seeds!
The vehicles.
The museum building is really nice but, as I said earlier, is way too small. It has a very nice facade with pillars and two statuettes on top. Again these are not unique but it's the first time they have been used in the City line. The banners and clock add a finishing touch. Inside there are the treasures including a gold plate, sword, a painting, a rock crystal thing and a gem in a protective cover. The door has a laser security alarm that can be swung down for 'on' and lifted up for 'off'. There are two skylights on the roof that can be opened for ease of access for any criminals in the area!

The museum front.

The museum exhibits.
This is a nice set. It doesn't take too long to build and has hours of play value (my son is proving it as I'm composing this post!) It's a pity the museum is so small but there's enough there to keep the entertainment value high. Of course there's a fair few of the dreaded stickers but the end result looks good. Those are my only grumbles with this set. Well worth getting, until maybe Lego do a modular museum.....