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Showing posts with label micro scale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label micro scale. Show all posts

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 3

Final day! With our time travel back to the OT it's been fun reminiscing over these vehicles and seeing what have been wortwhile changes (few) and repeats (too many). As of late I've been having a hankering for little droid bots as well. The mouse droid from the Death Star has been sitting on my desk for a while now. I think he needs some company.

Aren't I in luck! Day 3 is a squeeful little LIN Demolitionmech. I don't know what that is but look at its little antenna-wenna! I just want to eat it all uh... sorry. Well if I were to picky I'd say the treads were too big. But it's cute. Maybe it can make little origami cranes with that arm. Or lay mines? Yeah sure, that would be fine too. Adorable little miney-wineys. Shaped like cranes.

Day 20 (hey that's today!) brings us this little Imperial Probe Droid. Given the glut of 'probe' in modern alien pulp culture, I'm not so fond of that name. More importantly, this is a Viper probe droid, with the hanging down arm leg thingies. If I were to be critical there should be more than four appendages, a bettershaped "head", and an antenna on top. Luckily there's an extra antenna included; wish granted! The body would look better as a black travis brick instead of dark bley too. I like the looks of fig sw171 better but this is smaller.

This was a little bit of an eye-opening experience for me. Apparently, I love droid bots. Due to this year's advent calendar I searched back in the archives and started building a bunch of the smaller non-humanoid type droidbots. Let the squeefest begin!

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 2

Funniest quote I've seen so far this season: "Jango bells, Jango bells, Jango all the way". Sadly, there is no Jango this year. Nor is there much of anything new. The LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar seems to have timewarped back to the OT with comfortable characters and settings. But is it... too comfortable?

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 1

Ho ho ho and welcome to this year's scrutiny extravaganza of the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar! *yeah*. I've tried to break the relevant micro ships into several categories but the pickings this year are a little slim. This week will focus on new micro-ship designs, next week will focus on repeats upgrades and the final week I'll look at the little droids. Without further ado let the squeefest begin!

LEGO Set Review - Bricktober Toys'R'Us 40144

Well now I honestly didn't see this coming. Makes sense though, right? Back in 2010 We got a minifig size Toys'R'Us truck and storefront. So why not have a mini Bricktober store? Looks pretty good actually. Kind of ironic that it has the lowest piece count of any of this year's promo sets. Toys'R'Us where we give you the least amount possible for the most money possible. That was kind of how I acquired this set. Yes, I paid over MSRP for a couple of sets. But I couldn't price match because price matching and promos are mutually inexclusive in the TRU universe. I take solace in knowing that I still got the sets in question for under 10c per piece. I think that was TRU's goal anyway.

Back to the review!

The TRU store is simple, bright, and effective. Primary colors, heavy on the blue. I'll admit that someone knows something about color theory because it makes me want to miniaturize myself and walk in to browse around. Not necessarily spend, mind you. Like the train station it's a 10-wide module. I call it self-edification. Unlike the train station it has two 4x10 base plates and so doesn't offer the option to shrink it to an 8-wide building. I call that arrogance.

And by the way what is that clear... thing out in front? Is this a micro louvre? It does have a trash bin near the door which seems appropriate. Like the rest of the models, there was plenty of attention given to the rear facade. You can see a roll-up door where overpriced deliveries are made. You can often see employees out here having their prolonged smoke break. The truck is a nice departure from the usual cars. It might make more sense if it was wider as compared to the smaller cars, but then you'd have to embiggen several oif the other vehicles as well.

Part of the reason the piece count may be low is because of the amount of bricks used instead of plates. Given the color massing in some places, bricks easily accomplish what is needed. The efficiency is so good that rather than add another piece type of a blue 1x4 brick, they used the similar brick with 4 side studs. But the side studs are hidden inside the building. Since there's more monetary and build value in the SNOT piece, I swapped mine out for a boring old 3010.

Much as I dislike stickers I think they add something here. Obviously TRU wants their branding and printed pieces may have had more value but much like the prior set, stickers give the welcome option. I ultimately applied my stickers but these shot are sans decor for your viewing pleasure.

It's kind of a relief that Bricktober's over. Though rumor has it that I'm going to need to get into a TRU again soon to get the new off-roader (Hummer) polybag. I'll tackle that trauma when I get to it.

LEGO Set Review - Bricktober Bakery 40143

Why are my TRU purchases always so beset with setbacks? I called my local store to double check that they had last week's Bakery available still so that I could add a few bucks and get the TRU store free. (Not the whole store, but Bricktober week 4). After 10 whole minutes I finally got confirmation that not only did they have it but they also had enough stock of the filler set I was looking for. I thought I had asked them to hold some up front for me but alas they did not. Seemed the whole crew needed coffee and the store wasn't all that busy. Anyway, mission accomplished.

We were on our way to a family gathering so I figured I'd do the build at some point during that time. I decided to handicap myself even further by sitting on the back deck and build the model in my lap. I squeezed parts as needed out of a little tear in each bag - all 234 pieces. I only lost one little Reddish Brown 1x1 round plate down the cracks in the deck. An extra, thankfully. Besides, I've got a bazillion of them anyway.

To see the model on the box art is nice but to see the pieces in the bags is amazing! Such lovely colors! The built model is even more beautiful. I think it comes from a nice variety and usage of sand tones and dark tones. Sand Green, Sand Blue, Dark Sand Yellow (Dark Tan) and Dark Blue all contrast nicely. The Medium Azure and Yellowish Green flowers set the street scene off nicely. There's as many colors as a Friends set but better balanced.

I really like the offset facade. It appears that this is a bakery on the ground floor but two levels of apartments above. There are two obvious front doors to the building, each with their own colored welcome mat. The only waste of pieces I can find is the windows built into the sides. It looks nice when the building stands alone but they will obviously be covered when the modular buildings are attached. Not like you'll have actual people living in there anyway. Of course the rear of the build is well thought out too. Even without all the decor on the front it's just as pleasing to the eye. Texture!

The only thing striking throughout this year's mini models is the color of the 1x2 technic bricks for the connections. Last year the colors blended in very well with the model, this year they are much more noticeable. The conundrum is that the piece has not been made in a wide palette of colors. I'm not sure which tones TLG is running through their molds for this part currently but the Tan color is a little stark against the Sand Green. I may play around a little with some of the different colors I have.

LEGO Set Review - Bricktober Train Station 40142

Ahh, October. Full of leaves and pumpkins and overpriced Toys'R'Us sets. We're cruising through Bricktober 2015 and looking at this year's second promo, the Train Station.

Sort of.

There are several things wrong with this set. Primarily it's the shortest line ever. At 8 studs it's little more than the two cars that fit on the track. It takes more time to queue up than it does to ride it. At least that's the presumption. Sneaking a peek at the back of the box, there's no connections to be made unless the sidewalk spontaneously turns into track. The platform has two signs on it. Both ends of the line? "How far are you going?" "To the end of this fence." But at least the track is dark pearl grey, not just a normal grey!

Second, these things seem to be growing. Last year all of the modules were 6 studs wide and 8 studs deep. This year's hotel is 8x8. But it's a corner module so that kind of make sense, kind of. This train station is 10 studs wide.


The draw of the large modular sets is that they are all standardized to a 32x32 baseplate. This means they can be mixed and matched and still all set up nicely. Now in the real world, I understand that building lots can be different sizes. Most often (where I live) they are 50x100' but anomalies happen. Maybe they'll be 60' or 75' wide. So I get the aspect of injecting a little bit of realism. But this is microscale LEGO where the scale is no longer 1:1. Now we're about 1:480. There's not a lot of wiggle room for subtle variation while still staying within a larger uniformity.

Therefore, I decided to redesign my Train Station to be 8 studs wide. But now that I've built it and shot it I realize it still doesn't solve the problem of the shortest ride ever. I think I need to make it 8 studs wide and 10 studs deep so the train track is actually out in the right of way. Then maybe I can expand the track and make it travel all around the town.

But despite these problems there are a few redeeming things about the set. Namely, trans-clear, dark green and roller-skate, roller-skate, ROLLER-SKATE!

By the way, if you would, please petition Great Ole's ghost that I would be able to obtain the next two Bricktober sets. I'd hate to lose out on one and, well, you'd hate to miss a review.

LEGO Set Review - Bricktober Hotel 40141

It's that time of year again! Y'know when TRU runs their overpriced promo requiring you to buy a plethora of overpriced items and you figure out the best way to leave the store with a discount anyway. With this year's requirement of $80 $75 to get a $20 item, it's already a somewhat decent deal. You get $100 $95 worth of toys for $80 $75 so an easy 21% off. Depending on your math (or massage) skills, it can look like more. *(edit: apparently I overspent. I'll try to do better next time)

A brief analysis before I get into review. First, I had intended to walk into the store on Sunday, purchase last week's set, and walk out. But of course I was curious to see what else there might be. I waltzed over to the LEGO corral and browsed the shelves. Five Halloween Bat 40090 sets, 156 pieces for $3.99 each? Deal! Plus the Bricktober set I was buying, I was halfway to getting this week's promo. Browse for "clearance" deals, check the phone for part out value. Finally settled on a Star Wars Advent Calendar for $43.

With 156 pieces, the bat sets should be selling for $15 but the internet says they were $10 last year. The Advent Calendar usually sells for $40 but, well, TRU. Add in two Bricktobers (purchase and promo) and I had a value of $110. Sales price $83. That's almost 25% off. Probably won't be able to pull that one off again.

I was ecstatic to see the Bricktober sets make a comeback this year. I've still got last year's lineup sitting on my credenza; it will be fun to increase my street scene. I assembled the Hotel with my children. Each of us built a couple of pages until one of them raised a stink. Then the rest of us finished the set while she got personal alone time.

The detailing in the front gardens is gorgeous and it makes me wish for Mini Modulars II to come out. All the tiny little pieces and implied detail make me giddy. A small surprise this year was the single sticker on a paneled piece. I'm usually pittakionophobic but was all too happy to dress up the single panel with a name.

The most fabulous part of this build is not the detail, though that is incredible. The gardens are varied shades of green and floral colors including medium azure and dark magenta. There's even some sand green unicorn horns to act as shrubbery. There's a trellis out the side that is beautiful. The fountain and reflecting pond are incredible touches.

The most fabulous part is the design of this model as a corner module! At first I thought I'd have to put Bricktober 2014 on one side of the street and BT 2015 on the other. Now I can create an intersection for even more rousing dioramic excitement. I have some issues with what I think I see in the other sets but I'll camp on this for now.

This promo doesn't appear to be good online. You've got to actually take a breath and darken their door. I hope you find some bats.


Set Review - Microfighters Homing Spider Droid 75077

Whereas we now end our review of the Microfighters' 2015 season. Stay tuned next year for round 3 of Chibi goodness from a galaxy far, far away. Or, if we're lucky, maybe this August.

Much like the advent calendars, there's so much more ground to explored with these cute widdle crafts. Hopefully they don't kill them after round 3.5 like they did the planet sets. You know what would be really cool? An oversized chibified R2-D2 being ridden by Kenny Baker. Now that would rock my socks.

But for now, the Homely Spider Droid.

In a world of advanced technological warfare, we get a droid riding a spindly droid. I believe it was one of the Brothers Brick who called this out as madness. Sure, you get a great vantage point but you're also a sitting duck. Perhaps the droid isn't so much controlling the droid as he is hitching a ride to add firepower. To that I say, "Why not just add more firepower to the spider? Or a web?" It's a bummer to end this streak of reviews on a downer, but it really is.

Then there's the question of mobility. This set might almost be labeled as Technic since it's chock full of those fiddly parts. And despite the technical nature the legs, technically, suck. They don't move up and down. They just rock back and forth. It's almost like it's relying on the power of a cephalopod instead of an arachnid.

But the shaping of the hull is nice. You get eight 45° 2x2 3-facted corner slopes to help build the spherical shape. The design is a little gappy but well affected. Another interesting bonus is the single flick-fire missile where the pod's cannon would be anyway. Not only is it a single flick-fire but it is more well-built out than just a cone on a stick. It's a cone on a dish on a dot on a cone on a stick! Oh and a dark orange droid without any dots. Does dark orange mean he's rusted?

Set Review - Microfighters Republic Gunship 75076

IIRC, one of my favorite scenes in the second trilogy (was it EpII?) was when Amidala, Anakin, and Jar-Jar were set in the deathdrome with 3 very large and scary creatures. It was hoped that the prisoners would be made mincemeat in very short order. Instead, they bested the three creatures only to be faced with death by bunga-bunga. At the last second, tons of LAAT ships dropped down and there was an epic lightsaber battle. Then they all went out for ice cream.

I've mentioned before how the OT is what I grew up with and Eps I-III were interesting but less memorable. This ship made it past that barrier and is one of the more memorable ones, up there with X-wings and Death Stars. Maybe it's the unique shape and red and lime livery. Or the dual front cockpits. Or the festive banners (Eat At Dex's) that they often flew.

This craft has 105+10 pieces making it a great deal for pieces, if you like brackets (which make up almost 9% of the part count). It also comes with a new hat Clone Trooper. This one's got orange. I like orange. And orange juice.

Notable features include the dual front pod guns, the immense thrusters, and open side bay doors. There's even gunner's pods in all the right places including the side of the ship and the tips of the wings. The only drawback is that there is a single pilot's windshield. I really wanted the dual cockpit. Despite that I find the overall detailing very good and the ship is immediately swooshable. The one big shocker was the lack of a random clip hanging out there. Now I'm confused. But like, whatevars, right?

Set Review - Microfighters AT-AT 75075

Talk about squee. Chibi factor nothing. Add in some articulation and you've got lots to love. I've never owned a full size proper AT-AT so can't compare (or take adorable AT-AT/at-at pictures) but I can at least have a little fun with this one.

First off, let me just say that this set's a keeper with only two major flaws. (Three if you count a partially sand blue trooper). We'll get those out of the way before launching all the cute photos.

The back end. What? This is how LEGO left it. A little... unfinished. For such a stellar model there needs to be one more piece back here. Thankfully the set comes with a few extras for greebling.

Second is the head. The hinge connection used only allows up and down motion, nothing side to side. What a great opportunity this would have been to use the newer ball and cup joints! Especially since I still have none, dagnabbit.

I largely let my 3.8yo FAFOL build this. I gave him the parts and showed him the pictures. He did stellar. Once it was done he had loads of fun playing with it, especially once I showed him how versatile it was.

Of course sometimes little at-at has to do things like purge his extra oil.

Then there's playtime...

Nap time...

 And of course he can change into wheeled turbo mode, largely when it's not expected. Whee!

Little at-at sure does have some adventures eh? If I were that guy I would buy like a dozen of these and have all sorts of fun staging dioramas and making them play with each other and putting them into puppy piles. I may not be a big dog fan but I'd own an at-at-ling any day!

Set Review - Microfighters Snowspeeder 75074

I've always wondered about the intelligence of bright orange splashes on a white speeder, especially one that's supposed to hide in the snow from the enemy. Sure, if you go down, it would be easier to find you. But isn't that what radar is for? Or beacons? Or just follow the smoking fireball, right? If you have to eject, the orange jumpsuit would make you easy pickings for the enemy. Or a wampa.

The snowspeeder is a nice return to familiar territory. Star Wars. OT. Good times. (For a couple weeks here at least). I was pleasantly surprised by this build. Sure it's small. Sure maybe I don't have much exposure to the bigger sets. Sure maybe I don't have ROOM to build bigger sets. But I get some good exposure anyway.

What I liked:

The nose uses some wedges in a somewhat unique way to get that prong shape. I'm not used to voids in official builds. Unfortunately that has colored how I build MOCs as well. I try to fill every cubic LDU with ABS but usually end up with an ultra heavy display model. If it's for display I shouldn't be wasting all my bricks if it isn't even swooshable.

The blaster design is nice and solid with good greebling for such a tiny piece. The use of textured round bricks and technic pins makes it pop a bit.

The printed nose piece is the same one from the planet set snowspeeder. The price has come down a bit to a solid $1.50 now that the market has been saturated.

Technic gear racks for the rear grill.

What I didn't like:

Several minor points. First, the rear windshield seems like it should be a plate higher. It's even with the front which is correct, but it sits lower than the sides next to it and is way low on the pilot's back.

More clip plates on the back of this ship. What? Why?

Flick-fire missiles. *sigh*

The use of a dark tan 3L axle with stud in the back detracts a little from the overall look of the ship. Two better options come to mind. Either give me a couple of trans-orange 1x1 plates to cover it with (for booster flare) or use a newer 2L pin with axle. The 3L axle is used to go through two pin connections and then secures into an axle hole in the round 2x2 brick. This 2L pin-axle connection (or even the pin-2L axle) could have been done with a dark bley piece that would have blended better. The build sequence would have been a little different but not a problem.

Using a lever for the rear gun. It doesn't even go *pew-pew*. I used the extra lever to balance the greebs on each blaster and then took the pilot's handgun to use for the rear gun. Better.

I struck on a cool deal at Wally World. I bought 4 ships. Two were selling for $9.97, two were selling for $7.99. (another was selling for $7.77 but I had already bought it elsewhere). I got all four for $9 each. But wait, there's more! I used Ebates to earn 2% cash back on the purchase PLUS my Paypal credit card to earn another 1.5% cash back PLUS I used in-store pick up to avoid shipping fees on the $36 order. In total I got all four ships for $8.67 each which is like 13% off. If you're interested in swinging these kinds of deals for yourself, stay tuned for the release of my upcoming Seller's Guide ebook. You can even guide the writing by giving your input!

Set Review - Microfighters Vulture Droid 75073

I finally used the Toys'R'Us in-store price match feature. It was easier than easy. Even though I still own a flip phone (total Neandertal, I know) I was able to get to LEGO S@H and show that the actual price for the Microfighters is $9.99, not $10.99. No prob, and I'll take this here hot dog guy for $3.99 as well. Two days later, I was in a Bi-mart and they had a couple o' the Vulture droids for $7.99. Wrong price match I guess.

And at only 77+4 pieces, $10 is still a bit high. At least the set doesn't feel like it has any extra pieces. Except for the droid pilot. Really? Why would a droid need to pilot a droid? Maybe, just maybe, the droid is merely getting a ride on the droid. That doesn't explain the blue vestment on the droid though. The funny thing is, the droid doesn't actually stand on the aircraft anywhere. It's more like he hangs on with his one arm for dear life while shooting a blaster at nothing in particular. Since there is an extra of each arm type, You can customize him to be a sw300 or sw360. Or make your own unique droid with TWO straight arms!

So even though I'm paying like 12.5c per part and there's an unnecessary droid, this is still one of the cooler Microfighters. It actually has functions! If my 7111 were anywhere near accessible, I'd pull it out and compare the two. On second hand, that parts list tells me everything I need to know. On the original set, it was the "head" that swiveled back and forth to change from walking to flight mode.

On this set, both sets of wings are on their own independent rotational system. They can each flip down for walking mode or forward for flight mode. Since this is a chibified version, the height is about the same either way. This is the newer clone wars version (dark blue, not brown) and has a rather unique color scheme. Rather than being largely blues, it's mottled grey with 6 dark blue 1x2 tiles for trim. All the left wedges are dark bley and the right wedges are light bley. This is going to cause a disturbance on the force, at least in the secondary market parts distribution and availability.

Go to Bi-mart and pick one up. Don't live in the Pacific northwest? Well then go to TRU and have them price match. No TRU? Well fine, don't get one. And I'll keep my flip phone.

Set Review - Microfighters ARC-170 75072

Thank Great Ole that the Friends stuff is over. I don't think I can handle another round of preschool animals anymore. On to Star Wars, those crazy Star Wars!

Star Wars Microfighters is now in its second iteration and I have to say... I'm a little less than impressed. Bunch o' clone wars. I get it, younger audience and all. But I'll be chibied, this is fun stuff. Let's go in numerical order his time around and start with the ARC-170 Starfighter, whatever that is. Oh wait, I did this one as a mini a while back. To read my thoughts on the ship, press here. To read my thoughts on this set, scroll on.

I built the ship while watching the pilot for Daredevil on Netflix. Those items are completely unrelated except that I know for a fact, every time I see this little build, I will think of Daredevil. Something about multi-tasking and connecting neural pathways.

This chibi is actually slightly less impressive than the micro build. The engine intakes on the micro or dark red. On here they are white. There is a printed round 2x2 tile for the intake, but it's printed on white instead of dark red. Sure, there's a hairline of dark red print on the edge but a full color tile would have looked nicer followed by 2 white (not dark bley) round plates.

The main wing ends of the chibi build have grill tiles on them. Maybe it's an attempt at greebling but I don't see it on any official pictures elsewhere. The wing guns are very simple and I'd like to see another part or two used to add the secondary smaller gun. The rear of the build incorporates a 1x1 plate with clip. I have no idea why other than to imagine that maybe it's a spot to stow the blaster.

There are some cool new parts in the build! First, some of the 1x2 plates with technic hole down. As I mentioned earlier, the printed tile. The vent is generic enough to be used in train, city, and space builds. The helmet style has been around for about 5 years but the red and yellow stripe pattern on this are pretty cool. You could almost use it for a race car driver or any other more generic futuristic helmet use.

At 95+6 parts for $9.99 this set falls right in the expected dime per part range. I guess I couldn't ask for much more as it satisfies my Star Wars and/or micro cravings. That and it's flush with dark red which always makes my pupils dilate.

Set Review - ARC 170 Starfighter 30247

I've had some other projects going and this is getting typed up last minute. To save you from any endless drivel that could result, I'll keep this short.

I picked up the ARC-170... a while ago at... a retailer.  Or something.  Maybe it was a big haul of polys at TRU online.  Or maybe it was Target.

Rear view.  Never enough of these in blogoland.

 I was smitten by the white and dark red contrast.  Wait, I've said that before somewhere.  Well apparently it's working on me.  Especially the dark red plain minifig heads.  Nom, nom.  This looks like it lands somewhere between a Headhunter and an X-Wing.  Wookieepedia agrees with me.

Apparently I'm out of touch with legal connections for TLG designers.  The heads stuck studs first into a technic pin hole.  Is this okay now?   I thought the clutch was too tight and would deform some of the pieces.  Perhaps it's different with hollow studs.  I'm a little disappointed that the bulk of the engine isn't carried through the wings nor does the front intake (?) line up with the rear exhaust (??).

The stand for the bottom is a little annoying.  It's too short to allow the lower stabilizing wings to be extended to any appreciable angle.  Either two more plates or a trans brick under the front of the nose would be stellar.

Today being Cyber Monday and all, you could probably get a pretty good deal on some LEGO sets:

Set Review - Batwing 30301

Again with the Toys'R'Ours.  This one came out of the blue.  I found a 3 day only 15% off coupon, plus they were offering the Batwing polybag free on in-store purchases of $30 or more.  I've got a target set right now that I'm trying to amass so this seemed like a good opportunity.  I walked up to the register with $100 worth of LEGO in my hand.  She rung it up and told me that I qualified for the free Batman polybag.  "Well, alright, I'll take it!"  Next I presented my 15% off coupon.  Price came down to $85.  Finally I presented a $5 Rewards'R'less-than-the-other-guys and ended up knocking my purchase down to $80.  For $105 worth of MSRP stuff.  Not bad.

I had been lusting after the mini Batwing for a while.  Of course, the same was true of the Batmobile and Tumbler, but those are other stories.  I could never figure out where the Batwing was going to land.  There'd be web rumors here and there.  Target was a bust.  Finally I saw it as a TRU promo and had to act (despite my feelings on the retail chain).

And I must say, I'm impressed.  The cockpit reminds me exactly of the Jedi Interceptor.  The shape of the bat-symbol is well done, despite the angles.  I'm going to give it a pass since curves are not an easy task for TLG's designers.  The attempt was fairly well made.  What's really missing though is not as forgivable.  Much like a fighter jet, the Batwing should have a vertical tail (double in fact) rising behind the cockpit.  Two more stabilizers should be underneath.  A fender piece is used to start to simulate some of this idea, but it's really not adequate.

The major test though is whether or not this looks right in the spotlight.  As we all know, Batman ends his movies by flying off into the sunset (or the moonlight).  Just before the screen goes black, he pulls hard on the stick and heads straight up, silhouetting his craft against the heavenly body.  The bat-symbol is then burned into our retinae as the theater lights come back on.  Everywhere we look for the next several days, the bat-symbol appears.

Now that's marketing!

Set Review - Bricktober Town Hall 40183

At long last, Bricktober is over.  Well okay it's been over for a couple of weeks but I'm just finishing.  Maybe other bloggers have covered all the sets by now and are on to new material.  Fine, at least I don't have to deal with TRU for a while now.  They've been better than usual this last month but still, well, TRU.

It's amusing that TLG named this set Town Hall.  That name was already reserved for the Modular 10224.  Now when we get the Mini Modulars II, we'll have three sets going by that name.  Oh the confusion.  But it really is quite a charming little building.  The basic structure is the same as the modular but the color scheme is completely different.  Tan and sand green (or patina'd copper in this case) are fabulous colors for an old civic building.  The style is Federal and is clearly seen with the chimneys on either side of the building.  The dome on top is rather typical of many government buildings of the style.

While the design cues are much subtler on this one, there are some great touches.  The steps and colonnade are well done.  The clip plates give a nice bit of texture at the top of the columns.  Slide rail plates are used to great effect for more depth.  The frogs as statues are a nice touch if not oversized.  At least they're not fire hydrants.  But the most perfect detail is the lamppost out front.  It's a nice match to the theatre from the first week.  The double decker bus is a nice touch too, even if it's a little small in scale.

Wrap-up:  Are these overpriced?  Absolutely.  Are they well detailed?  Absolutely.  Would I buy them again?  Likely, but only if they were a little cheaper.  Maybe $12.99?  Maybe if they were a little bigger?  Maybe if they weren't tied to an overpriced chains promo week and could be had when I was ready.  And yet the secondary market has them pegged at nearly 50% beyond the MSRP with more sold than are available.  TLG must have done something right.

Set Review - Bricktober Fire Station 40182

Week three into Bricktober and more expensive, beautiful, tiny sets.  Last week I mentioned that my 6 year old daughter built the Pizza Palace herself.  In the same sitting I built the Fire Station.  I had built the cars for her so I challenged her to build the vehicles for me... from the box art only.  No instructions.  After some initial complaints, she concentrated and went at it.  She nailed it.

So while she started in, I went to work.  When I first opened the box I was greeted with a nice treat.  There were THREE bags instead of the normal two!  And the piece count was way better!  Here were 175 pieces plus 23 extras for darn near a 200 piece experience.  Lovely, lovely.

Of course, this set would have a precedent to meet.  Mini Modulars from 2012 contained the Fire Brigade which was a very nice build.  My only complaint would by the symmetry of it.  Boring.  But the techniques and final product were excellent.  Bricktober Fire Station would have some big shoes to fill.  We've already learned that the size is about 2/3 of the previous Mini Modulars and the part count is a bit less.

Immediately obvious from the box art is the fact that this build is NOT, in fact, symmetrical.  It has a nice 4 wide garage front protruding forward.  Rising up to the left and slightly behind is a 3x3 bell tower.  Very nice architectural massing.  Wait, didn't I say that with the Pizza Palace?  Well, here's another winner in that camp.

Again, the touches and details on the remaining four sides are not lacking.  There are windows all around and the bell tower is treated well too.  Behind the bell tower was a great opportunity to just lay a tile for the extra roof.  Instead, it got some slopes as if it were a real roof.  Very very nice.  I also like the roof of the bell tower.  This uses a rarely utilized technique of studs into bottom tubes.  Since the tower is 3x3, this is the perfect way to set a 2x2 pyramid slope on the very top.

But not all is perfect.  You may have immediately noticed that there is some sort of gigantic statue in front of the main door.  This is apparently a gargantuan fire hydrant.  I'm thinking this fire station belongs on Birdwell Island.  Although Clifford's use of it might just be the death of the rescue squad.  I reduced mine to 2 stacked round plates.

As for the vehicles, functionality is always cool.  The fire truck's ladder goes up and down and the helicopter's blades spin, thanks to a half pin inserted into the bottom side of a travis brick.

Next week, final installment of the (lagging behind) Bricktober minis!