Way back in April, I reported on a sale at the LEGO Store involving 20% off on City Square and other sets. I was thrilled over the sale because this was one of the sets that I have had my eye on since it was released about a year ago. My main interest in it is the LEGO Store and LEGO truck builds, but there are a few other gems in this set as well. Unfortunately, with work being what it is, I was unable to build this set until recently. You can watch the summary of this review on YouTube in under three minutes by clicking here. Otherwise, get comfortable, this is a long one!
What you get:
This set is pretty big. There are 1683 pieces in the box divided into 16 numbered bags, and two un-numbered bags. There are an astounding 14 Minifigures, in addition to a dog (husky), painted tiles (representations of LEGO boxes, newspapers, a pizza, computer screens, pressure gauges, a videotape), sausages, coffee mugs, a pretzel, a red scooter, and a red bicycle. I always look for window pieces, and this set has no shortage.
The Value: 4.5/5
The usual retail for this set is $229.99 in Canada. This means that you are paying about $0.14 per brick. This is a higher cost than with some other sets (the Brick Bank for example is $0.09 per brick, as is the Ghostbusters Firehouse). Now, I got this set on sale f0r $183.99, which brought the price per brick down to $0.11. At regular price, I would say the value of this set is about a 4/5. On sale, I give it 4.5/5.
The Build: 4/5
There are a lot of small builds that come together to make this set. I like that because you can choose to build only a small part of it in one sitting, or share the fun with others and distribute the instructions. If building on your own, plan to give it the better part of a day. I like getting a full day’s work out of a set, so this gets full marks for length and enjoyment of the build.
Next, lets consider the main components of this set. First is the auto shop. I don’t really like this one. As you can see from the picture, I did not put the stickers on it because I am planning to repurpose the pieces. I found this portion of the set to be very lack-luster. The building has no rear wall, as is often the case in sets aimed at a younger audience. I don’t mind this generally because it gives me the challenge of making it modular. However, there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about this building. It was left largely empty to act as a showroom for the cars in the set, but it ends up just coming off as boring. There are two play features: sliding glass doors on the main floor, and a well-built lift for servicing cars. There are lots of windows to repurpose. This is the weakest component in the set, and gets 2/5 (only because it has lots of windows that I happen to need).
The LEGO Store build is awesome. It is also open in the back, but again, I plan to make it modular, so it doesn’t lose much from me there. It has a fun and detailed store front. Don’t expect Creator modular calibre, but it is still fairly nice. The interior has great details including the Minifigure station and the Pick-A-Brick wall. The shelves are also stocked with LEGO City sets. I really like this building, it only loses a little due to the open rear. 4/5
There are a lot of vehicles in this set. The helicopter is nothing special, but it is not bad either. It is pretty standard, but I do like that it is a news helicopter for a change and not something to do with police or firemen. There are three cars: a red convertible, a hatchback (though the hatch doesn’t open, it can fit two Minifigs), and a sort-of sports car/pick-up. The convertible is my favorite, but the other two are nicer than the cars I am used to getting with the Creator sets that I generally buy. The tow-truck is very nicely done with a working tow cable. But, the true piece-de-resistance is the LEGO truck complete with LEGO boxes inside, and a dolly to move them! The final vehicle is the tram. I was not originally planning to keep this one built, but after actually putting it together I have changed my mind. I like it a fair amount, and will use it perhaps as the tram that goes around my future zoo or something of the like. All of the glass panels open upwards to allow you to put Minifigs inside, and the central car is meant for housing bicycles. When rating the vehicles, I would say helicopter 3, convertible 4, hatchback 3, pick-up 3, tow-truck 5, LEGO truck 5, and tram 5. Overall that gives the vehicles an average of 4/5.
The last smaller builds are the hotdog cart, the tram stop and the coffee shop. These are all great little add-ons. I will use them in my city, though the coffee shop will probably merge with my existing café. The tram stop has ticket stations, a modern glass roof, and there is a tree for added greenery. The coffee shop has a little coffee machine inside, and a blender. There is also a pick-nick table outside, and small newspaper distributor build. I like the detail in these. Collectively, I would give these 4.5/5.
The Minifigures: 4/5
14 Minifigures is a lot. You get 12 townsfolk, plus a spaceman and a knight for display in the LEGO Store. There are unfortunately two ape children in the mix. I say this because I hate the children Minifigures. They look so disproportioned with their stumpy, unbendable legs and overly long arms. I always feel a little ripped off when they get thrown into a set and counted as actual Minifigs. The stumpy legs are fine for dwarves and hobbits, but keep them out of the non-fantasy lines in my opinion. There is a mechanic, a car saleswoman, a hotdog vendor, two LEGO employees, a tram driver, a helicopter pilot, a pizza deliver boy, a tow-truck driver, and a barista. The barista is my favorite as her detailing is somewhat unique. The LEGO employees are also pretty novel. The rest of the Minifigs are more standard in issue and detail. With the exception of the ape-children, they are all nice additions to any city. Overall, I give them 4/5.
Fun Factor: 4.5/5
Not much to say here. There is so much in this set and so many Minifigs that there is a great deal of entertainment in terms of play for younger fans and placement throughout your city for older fans. Not to harp on about it again, but the only not fun part is really the auto shop.
Overall: 85% (83% at full price)
To get the most for your money, wait to get this one on sale. If you do, you are getting a solid set with great features and lots of Minifigures. The only downside is the auto shop and the ape-children. But, you will get a lot of good parts from dismantling the auto shop that you can use elsewhere in your own projects. The LEGO store and truck were the best parts of this set for me, but the trolley was a pleasant surprise, as was the tow-truck.
Once again, you can check out the summary video for this review on YouTube by clicking here.