The Creator 3-in-1 theme often produces fun buildings. The Surfer Beach House (31118) is no exception. The early images of the set intrigued me because they evoke memories of beach vacations. Consequently, this set makes a fun addition to any custom LEGO® city beach. Thinking of vacations and living vicariously through Minifigures is just about all we can do now anyway with COVID-19 travel restrictions still in place. In any case, today we take a closer look at this set and see if the initial images translate to good LEGO® set or not.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
SURFER BEACH HOUSE SUMMARY
- NAME: Surfer Beach House
- SET #: 31118
- THEME: Creator 3-in-1
- COST: $69.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 564
- MINIFIGURES: 2
- RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2021
SURFER BEACH HOUSE QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 72% (Good cost-per-brick, but not a lot of build time for the price.)
- BUILD: 85% (Odd hinged design and lack of interior details in an otherwise lovely set.)
- MINIFIGURES: 79% (Loads of accessories, but not many characters for a set of this size.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Good for adult beach builders, better for kids.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 82%
SURFER BEACH HOUSE (31118) REVIEW
The Surfer Beach House costs $69.99 in Canada. Additionally, the kit contains 564 pieces. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.12 CAD. While not the best value I have ever seen, it is certainly not shabby either. Comparatively, my average cost-per-brick across all LEGO® themes is $0.14/brick. For the Creator 3-in-1 sets, the average is $0.12/brick. Consequently, I rate the value-per-brick for the Surfer Beach House at 83%.
In terms of build time, this set took me one hour and 10 minutes to assemble (70 minutes total). At full price, the cost-per-minute works out to $1.00. Sadly, that makes this set an expensive build. By comparison, my average cost-per-minute of build time across all themes is $0.83. For the Creator 3-in-1 theme, the average is $0.68. Unfortunately, this set does not offer a lot of build time for the price. I rate the Surfer Beach House at 61%. Averaging this score and the value-per-brick gives an overall value rating of 72%. However, keep in mind that this is 3-in-1 set. I only built the main model. You get more build time if you assemble all three.
The main build consists of a two-story building. The ground floor features a surf shop, while the upper level is a small studio apartment or vacation rental. The building is not modular, instead it has a swing-open design. However, unlike most hinged buildings, this swings open in two places. Opening one wall give access to the surf shop interior. Opening the other wall gives access to the apartment. For certain, the design is a switch up from other 3-in-1 buildings. At the same time, I do not like it that much. Placing hinged buildings in a custom city is hard enough. If they swing open in two places, the inconvenience grows. This set would work just as well with one hinged wall. I think this design overly complicates the set.
Otherwise, I like this building. While I am not a fan of the sparse interiors, you can customize them more easily that way. The surf shop converts quickly into more living space, making this a nice two-story rental for your Minifigures. Additionally, the exterior looks great. It features lots of big windows in addition to differing textures. The bottom floor has the look of bamboo walls. The top floor is a brightly colored building that suggests plaster over wood by strategically placing textured 1×2 bricks in the wall. Additionally, I love the thatched roof above the veranda and the wooden boards proving shade over the balcony. Finally, an outdoor shower adds a great finishing touch. This is a nice set. However, it loses a point for the double hinging, and another half for lack of interior details. I rate the build at 8.5/10 (85%).
The Surfer Beach House comes with two Minifigures. Sadly, one is a stumpy child with unmoving legs. The adult character is essentially Harl Hubbs from the City theme on vacation. He has the same hair and same double-sided face. The kid also has two facial expressions, and both characters have front and back torso printing. Neither character has leg printing. In terms of accessories, the set includes two surf boards, a dive helmet, a pair of flippers, an oxygen tank, a crab, and a pizza box. I rate the character design and accessories at 27/30 (90%).
As a theme, Creator 3-in-1 tends to skimp on Minifigures. My average brick-to-fig ratio for the theme is 257:1, whereas my average across LEGO® themes in general is about 169:1. Two Minifigures in a 564-piece kit equates to a ratio of 282:1. Consequently, you do not get very many Minifigures for a set this size. It is even below average for Creator 3-in-1 sets. I rate the ratio score at 67%. Taking the average of this and the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 79%.
As I mentioned in the build section, I like the exterior look of the Surfer Beach House. I often rate the entertainment value based on how ready a set is to simply drop into my city. This set partially meets the bill. For my purposes, builds have to be modular. However, this set coverts easily enough. Additionally, it inspires customization and further building. While I do not have a beach yet, I can see several of these sets in a row in the future should I choose to build a beach. Changing the top apartment color on additional buildings gives a nice row of Minifigure vacation rentals. Additionally, it is fun for kids and easy to play in. It is more a KFOL set than an AFOL set. However, both will likely enjoy it. I rate the entertainment value at 90%.
OVERALL SCORE: 82%
As far as I am concerned, the Surfer Beach House (31118) is a good set, but not a great one. It comes at a good cost-per-brick but does not give a lot of build time at full price. Additionally, the Minifigure count is low. However, the exterior of the building looks great. I see a lot of potential for customization and use in AFOL beach scenes. I think this is one of the better 3-in-1 offerings in recent months. Consequently, I am giving one away in June 2021. You can get the full contest details using the link below. What are your thoughts on the Creator 3-in-1 Surfer Beach House (31118)? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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