Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 3:32pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Today we're taking a look at possibly the largest set ever reviewed on BZPower! Thanks to the graciousness of LEGO, Forum Assistant Nuju Metru got his hands on 10255 Assembly Square, the latest set in the Creator Expert Modular Buildings series, and a model that celebrates ten years of these fabulous sets. We have video, pictures, and text to help give you the best insight into the set, so read on to see if it's something to put on your wishlist!
Hey guys, and welcome to BZPower's review of LEGO set 10255, the long-awaited Assembly Square! As always, I'd like to heartily thank TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff... I love my job and I love my free LEGO. Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and a text/image format - on this new Modular Building. Is it worth Assembling? Let's find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The very first thing that needs to be said about the Assembly Square box: it's gigantic. Like, I don't think I've ever gotten a LEGO set in so large a box. Even my second-largest set, the Tower of Orthanc from the LOTR line, isn't as massive in the box department. A lot of the impressive heft of the box really comes from its tremendous depth; as you can see in a below image, it's about 6 or 7 inches deep! This becomes important later, when the box is more than large enough to store all the separate stories of the set intact. As someone still searching for a beautiful place to display his Modular collection, I find this temporary storage rather useful.
The image on the box's front, like most LEGO product images, shows off the model quite well. It's an idyllic scene, with the sun shining up above; everyone's going about their day and smiling (no surprises there). Bragged about in the bottom left corner, right under the impressive 4,002-part count, are both the set's dimensions and its special status as the 10th anniversary Modular Building.
On the back of the package, this 10th-anniversary status is called to light again, but this time with some of Assembly Square's predecessors, namely the Brick Bank and Detective Office sets, alongside it. Above this composed street, find more than a dozen little details of the set highlighted in their own respective frames.
Here's a better shot to show off the depth of the box. If you can see, the size of the minifig 1:1 box is almost comically large for the little ballerina. Like most other Creator-line sets, the top of the Assembly Square box includes a complete parts list. Needless to say, on this one the list is staggeringly large and diverse. We'll examine more about the parts soon, fret not.v
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Upon opening up the box, out pour a few things: a second, smaller white cardboard box containing bags 1-3; bags 4-6, which aren't similarly insulated; two green baseplates, one 32x32 and one 16x32; and a single instruction manual with enough heft to knock out an elephant. I feel like my above picture hardly captures the sheer volume of parts... try looking at the baseplate in the middle for scale. Or think about the fact that my photo booth is 3'x3'.
Something I guess I'll note here, too: Assembly Square has FOUR THOUSAND PIECES. There aren't many LEGO sets of this magnitude in the history of ever. But Assembly Square isn't just huge: at current retail, it's a goshdarn bargain. Parts-to-price ratio is 7 cents per element, which is a full 3 cents lower than the "acceptable average" of 10 cents per element. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I'm guessing that it's partly to do with the fact that so many of the bricks used in 10255 are actually very small ones.
Here's the deal: I'm not gonna show you pictures of the build process. This is something I choose to omit in my reviews for several reasons, the most important of which is that I - as an AFOL and MOCer - delight in the discoveries that come with building a LEGO set for the first time. Even a smaller set can sometimes surprise me in terms of how it achieves a particular function or look, and I'd hate to have these surprises spoiled for me before I got to the set myself. So I practice the golden rule and keep these details from you, too.
And, of course, Assembly Square is in a whole different league than the average LEGO set I get to review. As one of the most detailed, intricate, and advanced LEGO sets currently on the market, there are countless small moments throughout the build process that delighted me. These are moments that I - and I mean, I'm gonna sound a little cult-y here - consider sacred, passed straight from the set designer to the builder.
Here's what you do need to know about the Assembly Square assembly: it took me, a speed demon, around five hours total; it was architecturally varied; it employed some of the most modern and ingenious building techniques I've seen in a LEGO set; it was perhaps my most enjoyable set building experience of all time.
How's that for a sell?
Just look at all those extra parts. I mean, come on!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Before we critique the set from every angle, let's take a look at the prodigious amount of new and interesting elements included in 10255. As I opened each new set of bags, I took a picture of the notable elements which popped up for the first time therein. Note that part counts specified below cover that piece's occurrences throughout the entire set, and do not include leftover bricks.
Bag 1: floor plan
- 2x2 angled corner tile, in dark grey (18x)
- 2x2 angled corner tile, in white (12x)
- 2x2 angled corner tile, in light grey (7x)
- 2x2 corner tile, in light grey (12x)
- 2x2 corner tile, in dark blue (4x)
Bag 2: first story, bakery/florist
- 4x4 angled doorway, in black (1x)
- 1x2x3 concave curved slope, in dark blue (6x)
- 1x1 SNOT brick, in sand green (4x) is this new? I dunno
- 1x1 SNOT brick, in dark green (2x) is this new? I dunno
- 2x2 printed clock face, in brown (1x)
- 4L Technic axle in the new, ugly red (1x)
- 1x2 plate modified with bar, in dark tan (2x)
- Bar holder part with horizontal bar, in black (6x)
- Anakin hairpiece, in dark grey (1x)
- Macaw, blended, in blue and yellow (1x)
- NOT PICTURED: 2x2 angled corner tile, in dark blue (4x)
Bag 3: first story, coffee shop/florist
- 1x4 interior arch lattice, in black (2x)
- HF claw part, in apple green (2x)
- 3L bar, in apple green (3x)
- Torch, in tan (2x) is this new? I dunno
- 1x1 rounded plate with bar connector, in black (4x)
- Bar holder part with horizontal bar, in light grey (4x)
- 1x2x2 arched window panel, in tan (4x) is this new? I dunno
- Chihuahua, in nougat (1x)
- 1x1 corner rounded tile, in tan with pie print (2x)
- 1x1 corner rounded tile, in tan (6x)
- 1x1 corner rounded tile, in black (4x)
- 4x4 corner rounded arch tile, in light grey (4x)
- 1x1 plate with downward tooth, in yellow (8x)
- 1x1 round plate with bar hole, in trans-orange (2x)
Bag 4: second story, dentist/photo studio
- Mixel ball with bar, in dark grey (3x)
- 1x2 BlockHeadz SNOT brick, in light grey (2x)
- 1x1 cylinder, in gold (2x)
- 1x1 cheese slope, in nougat (60x)
- 2x2 jumper plate, in sand blue (2x)
- Window fill part, in white (8x)
- 1x1 SNOT brick with studs on two sides, in tan (36x)
- 1x2 hollowed out slope with smooth top, in white (2x)
- 1x2x3 concave curved slope, in white (8x)
- 2x2 dish, in shiny silver (1x)
- 2x2 corner rounded arch tile, in light grey (6x)
Bag 5: second and third stories, music store/ballet studio
- 4x4 angled doorway, in white (1x)
- Mirror part (1x)
- 1x2 texture brick, in sand blue (50x)
- 1x2 hollowed out slope with smooth top, in dark grey (2x)
- Male pattern baldness headpiece, in brown (1x)
- Tutu, in white (1x)
- 1x1 "tooth" tile (46x)
- 1x2 sculpture brick, in white (25x)
Bag 6: third story, grill area/AFOL apartment
- Baby head, in yellow (1x)
- Baby body, in white (1x)
- Chicken, in white unprinted (1x)
- 3L axle in new, ugly yellow (1x)
- 2x2 round tile with hole in center, in tan (1x)
- Multidirectional stem, in dark orange (1x)
- Toilet seat, in brown (1x)
- Ninjago skeleton arm, in black (2x)
- 1x1 corner rounded tile, in light grey (4x)
- Nexo Knights straight spire spike, in white (1x)
There are also several printed parts in this set. Here are the ones I though most notable:
- 2x2 bridge picture
- Printed window with dentist stuff
- 2x2 clock, seen earlier
- 1x1 printed strudel, seen earlier
- 2x2 printed portrait of a fancy man
- 2x3 printed tile of Café Corner set
And here's the finished model! You come out the other side of the build with two very handsome buildings on the same baseplate. The dominant earth hues - tan, dark tan, nougat, sand green -along with refined dark/sand blues and stately white lead to a calm, composed color scheme. The eye is piqued by points of flashiness around the square, like the yellow striping in the café awnings. Even the accent colors seem coordinated, with the red rose bulbs reinforced by the red coffee mug sign and dark red window shades. Let's look at some angles.
The level of intricacy all around is, as we've come to expect from the Modular Building series, extreme. I so appreciate the 360-degree attention to detail in this build, from obvious things like the sculpting lining the tops of the roofs or the ingeniously-constructed signage, to subtler things like the uniformity of lamps on the back porches, or the "drawn shade" effect achieved on the photo studio's windows. Other of my favorite external details: the patterning of the pavement, especially around the fountain; the technique used for the bakery windows; the stone bulb at the base of the mini-tower; the contiguous fire escapes; the stained glass at the back of the florist; the shape and texture of the walls of the blue building.
I love things in this build that reminisce the Modular Building sets that have come before. The roof-door on the blue building comes from the Palace Cinema, the rounded roof in the middle from the Parisian Restaurant, the brick texture on the right building from the Fire Station... All 11 sets are represented here in details like this. It's such a wonderful homage to the rest of the series.
Frankly, I could wax poetic about the details of the exterior of Assembly Square for another few paragraphs, but we should probably move on to the interior design. It's hard for me to get pictures of these rooms, since so many of them have to be seen from above in 360-degrees to be fully appreciated (check out the video up there, yo!). So I've extracted some of my favorite mini-models from the set's insides, too. You'll see them with the particular minifigures.
Here's a look at the inside of the coffee house. A modern blue rug lies over a wood-tiled floor. Golden sconces sit in the wall. A plush-looking olive green couch matches the little chair. Pie on plates dot the scene. The barista's command counter is equipped with a coffee maker and a cash register. That's something to expect a lot of in the subsequent interiors: there's a strong theme of commercialism in this set. Six and a half small businesses (is the Photographer professional, or just a hobbyist? You decide!) fill Assembly Square, so you'll see a lot of cash registers!
In the barista's portrait picture, I've decided to highlight the coffee café's outdoor furniture. I like how simple and elegant the little café table is.
Here's the interior of the florist's shop. You can actually remove a section of the back wall to get easier access into the shop's inside, which I considered to be considerate. I like the diagonally-offset tiling, and the lifting section of counter to allow the florist to get inside. Once more, a cash register. You can't see in this shot, but on the back wall of this store are both a little stand for that color-blended parrot we saw earlier and a 1x4 railing piece attached in a SNOT fashion to the wall, which works as a four-bouquet rack. Clever!
The corner assembly of flowers, pictured here, is a lovely detail section. Subtle and delightful, that purple flower on top actually has a stem go down into its vase! It's attention to the tiniest details like these that give me as an AFOL a tremendous amount of joy.
The bakery has some built-in shelves carrying 2x2 round cakes against one wall. A boat's oar doubles as a pizza oar (or whatever you call that thing?). The glass-fronted counter, so simply and so effectively made from a windshield element, allows customers see an array of treats for sale. The oven door opens, and little pastries cover most table surfaces. Notice the small cash register (3 for 3 at this point), the clock mounted on the wall, and the small staircase beginning the fire escape.
The wedding cake, of course, is the piece de resistance in the bakery, and sits in the street-facing window. I so appreciate the use of that Technic engine part for its little beveling to replicate layers of the cake, as well as the golden icing and the adorable bride and groom statuettes on top there.
Moving on to the second story, here's a look inside the photo studio. This occurs above the florist's store. A sheet of photo paper appears cleverly to be rolled down the wall, with the "rest of the roll" fixed to the wall. Six 1x1 up-facing clips form the place where the camera can sit. Against the wall you can't see are a second lens on a table, and a portrait of a fancy man hanging on the wall.
The camera itself is one of my favorite mini-builds in the set. With an old-timey flash and accordion body, this machine is distinctive and clever. Notably, it couldn't have been built without several very new parts: those 1x1 rounded plates w/bar connectors, the 1x1 round tile with 3.18 connector up (the "inkwell" in black), the 1x1 bar holder with bar connection on top, and the little Mixel-ball-and-stick parts are all new as of the past year or so. One of many examples of how Assembly Square takes full and ingenious advantage of its new elements.
Here's the dentist's office. This is one of the best rooms in the set, in my opinion. Aside from the intricate dentist's chair, which you can see in its own separate image above, the office also features a nice little reception area with magazines, a counter, a telephone, a modern dark blue couch, and a potted plant. The sink and cabinets on the wall take the cake here, though; notice how the sink has both a layer of water in it and a drain hole! It's an unprecedented level of realism in the largely unexplored realm of LEGO sinks.
The dentist figure features a new printed torso, which matches the logo on the printed window. With his white torso and dark tan combed hair, this fig gives me some real Director Krennic vibes... sinister.
The separate blue building on top of the café features detailed interiors, too. The lower story is a music store, replete with guitars, a saxophone, and a drum set. To nobody's surprise, there's a cash register again! I found this interior felt a little under-developed, especially when compared to other rooms in the set, but I also can't think what the designer might have added to make the room shine more.
By virtue of its intended function - a dance studio with lots of floor space - the balcony and glass door at the square-facing corner, and the lovely mirror placed on one wall, the ballet studio feels more complete than its downstairs neighbor. The bulk and genius of the standing piano also make this more of a stand-out room for me. I adore the piano and its matching bench; little things like the three pedals and raised key-coverer effect make the piano pretty much perfect in my book.
Behind the bucket-roof on top of the photographer's studio is an outdoor barbecue area, complete with a wood-burning stove, cookware, a wonderfully integrated fume hood/chimney, and this adorable spiny plant. Built onto the wall is a ladder leading up to the adjacent rooftop.
The last room assembled during the build is, fittingly, the AFOL's apartment. Does such a meta-LEGO room like this count as shameless fan service? Yes, the best kind. This AFOL has her trains all set up on a big table, her Volkswagen models on a shelf, her modular buildings above the sofa, her LEGO Eiffel Tower in the round alcove, and a mint-condition copy of Café Corner resting by the door. Girl, that thing is worth several hundred dollars unopened! It should be somewhere safer!
In the enclosed section is a bathroom, complete with cute little toilet. The kitchenette looks great, and so does the blue checkered rug. Something I've neglected showing you until now: the baby's carriage! It's actually the first thing you put together, and makes effective use of some curved slope bricks.
Overall, in this review's most redundant statement: the set design here is spectacular. I have no real complaints.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
There are only really 2 "play features" in Assembly Square. The first, in the bakery, involves pushing a Technic axle behind the building, whereupon pastries in the oven will be pushed forward and out, opening the oven door in the process. The second one is in the AFOL apartment, where with some finagling the couch can become a draw-out futon. Beyond these, if you consider the removability of the stories from each other, the better to access these wonderful interiors, I guess that counts as a play feature too.
Most of the play value in Assembly Square is in role-playing or storytelling. This build captures a vibrant cluster of small businesses; play out your own scenes of LEGO commerce! Sky's the limit!
The other play feature is that this Modular Building can be attached next to other Modular Buildings. My photo tent was only large enough to show off Assembly Square with one other of its peers. But it's compatible with all of them!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, that's my piece. Let's tally things up...
What's to like?
- Titanic box can store the entire model's modules without disassembly, if you're into that
- Favorable price-to-parts ratio at 7 cents per element
- Build process perhaps the most enjoyable and satisfying in my extensive AFOL memory
- A positively staggering variety and quantity of new and interesting parts
- Exterior design of model is exquisitely beautiful
- Interior design similarly impressive, with lots of well-built mini-models
- Design employs its new (and old) pieces in innovative ways, putting them to good use
What's not to like?
- $280 USD is definitely a sizeable investment
- Music store feels underwhelming compared to the other rooms, on a minor note (geddit)
If it's within your means and you're an AFOL, I can't recommend Assembly Square highly enough. It was a treat to construct, it looks beautiful from every angle inside and out, and it pays lovely homage to the rest of the Modular Building series that came before it. Also the parts selection: ridiculous.
A more complete neighborhood.
We of course give our thanks to LEGO for sending us this set to review. Also, make sure you thank Nuju Metru for taking the time to put it together in the Talkback topic! While you're there, share your own thoughts on the set and ask any questions you might have. We should have some more set reviews coming up in the next few weeks, so make sure to keep checking back on BZPower for those and the latest LEGO news!
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