Set Review - Decorating the Tree 40058

I do not know why trees are so subject to my discerning and particular eye.  I am mostly an architectural builder.  But it seems a good tree is hard to find.  I found this particular set at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) marked down from $8.99 to $5.99.  At 110+10 pieces (minifig parts included) this would be a great deal even at full price.

I understand the exaggerated height of the tree for drama and detail's sake.  But it stands 27 studs tall, not including the star shooting out of the top.  Dad, in comparison, stands 13 studs tall.  If we assume he is 6' tall then we are looking at a tree over 12' tall.  That tree wouldn't fit in my yard.  Good thing it's not going in my yard... it's going in my living room!

I do appreciate all the little extras.  The gifts, the train, the ladder for dad to fall off of.  Not only that, but with all the extra pieces you can create a few small gifts including a vial of yellow liquid.  Maybe that one's from the dog?  Ew.  But the nice touch is that Belville princess wand for the star on top of the tree.  Much better than a creepy upside down starfish.  So. Not. Christmas.

And the dark green 1x1 plate with tooth at the top with no other dark green pieces is a little out of place.  I'd like to see this part in green someday but the tree would be better without it.  Maybe some green cheese to finish off the top instead.

The best part about this tree is using the 3-way technic plates to achieve other than 90° angles.  You'd think it would limit you to a 60° offset but because of the technic axle hole through the middle you can overlay that with a 90° offset.  The instructions were a little complicated to follow since the axle hole was not always visible.  I decided to take advantage of the 90° offset and add every level of branches at 15°.

So how does this tree compare to previous years?  A brief synopsis:

2002: 10069, well shaped but very plain.  No accessories.
2009: 30009, 3-way technic axles, nice ornaments.
2009: 40002, flat and bugly.
2010: 40008 and 40009, Cute little tree, precursor gifts.
2011: 40024, much closer to our review tree
2011: 3300020, just no.
2013: 30186, inverted slopes, mixed green/dk green (shown in picture)
2013: 850851, squee!

Result, four out of five angels would agree to sit on top.  Moving the star aside first, of course.

 Merry Christmas from Dag's Bricks!

LEGO Finds - Calendar Week 51

Big interesting haul this week.  Most of (but not nearly all of) Big Bentley DUPLO set.  All of (except the Zamor Spheres) two older Hero Factory models, Jetbug and Corroder.

LEGO Techniques - Window Inserts

TLG produces two main types of window inserts for their window frames.  The first obvious one is glass.  These are generally some transparent color, sometimes printed or stickered, and produced for every square window frame size.  They pop in and are almost always fixed.  The other type of insert could be called shutters.  While this generally includes most classic shutter types, it also includes a few other pieces.  These pieces mostly swivel about a pivot point, either horizontally or vertically.  One exception to this grouping is the slanted window and it's cousins.  They're having a bit of an identity crisis.  Are they a window piece or roof piece?  Why is their insert transparent AND moveable?  It's almost as if we've finally found a Darwinian transition species.

A bigger difference to be noted is thickness.  As minute as it is, there are two different thicknesses that can be found.  The window glass is generally 1.6mm thick.  This can be demonstrated by setting into a grill tile.  The 8mm width of the grill tile is broken into 5 equal parts, three grills and two voids.  8mm/5 = 1.6mm.  In thickness, two of these are the height of a plate.  If you were to create a one plate thick void with a tile directly underneath, you could insert two of these horizontally.

The shutters are a touch thicker.  Most are 2mm thick.  They don't fit into the grill tile but you can test their thickness another way.  If you stack 4 of them loose, they will fit right in between two bricks.  8mm/4 = 2mm.  These shutters will also fit within the groove of door rail plates.

In both cases, you should not expect that these pieces are perfect sizes of studs.  They are made to fit inside window frames which ARE perfect sizes.  A 1x4x3 window frame will have a piece of glass that is slightly smaller.  Generally there will be 1.6mm of wall and header, and 3.2mm of sill.  In millimeters, the window frame is 32mm wide and 28.8mm tall.  It can then be inferred that the interior would be 32mm - 1.6mm x 2 by 28.8mm - 3.2mm - 1.6mm, or, 28.8 x 24.  Perhaps I got lucky on this piece's measurement.  Turn it sideways and it'll fit into a 3x3 space.

Alright, how about 1x4x5?  This would be 32mm wide and 48mm tall.  We already know the 32mm will become 28.8mm.  The 48mm tall height now becomes 43.2mm.  This is 13.5 plates tall or 5.4 studs wide.  Not quite as beautiful.  A 2 stud wide window frame would hold a glass that is 16mm - 1.6mm x 2, or, 12.8mm.  Hmm, four plates tall.  How charming.