I wrote a while back here on BF that I fully fell for the modular series of buildings. So much so that I spent more on three of the first sets than the cost of a 2003 Ford Mondeo (check ebay or Autotrader – high miler and you will get what I mean).
I am in the middle of doing a project in getting the full house together – that is 10 years worth of modulars all built and displayed at the same time. I have made progress, but it is difficult – primarily because the 32×32 base takes up a huge footprint for storage and display. I have a couple left to go and then the project will be completed, which I intend to document here on BF. Back in time, I was creating all kinds of street and town scenes with the inventory of bricks and elements I had and I was very proud of them – you could say that they were a kind my own modular series. Unfortunately, none were ever photographed as after a while they were taken apart and something else was built instead.
So forward a fair few years and with limited time to sit and create (due to a four year old who would get bored within minutes and demand a Disney related visual spectacle), to kick off 2016 I set aside time to build the tenth modular building in the series, 10251, Brick Bank. With all the farce surrounding the SW UCS sets and general nonsense with IP themes, this is a little bit of solitude and relaxation. Once of the big appeals is that these buildings are minifigure scale – so you could add them into any cityscape and it would not look out of place.
I know that Rich is a massive fan of the modulars and has shown off his MOC’ing skills with the upgrade to the interior of the Cafe Corner – I have not even got that far yet, but that is my intention as well at some point……..I think………(he says).
I did get very excited when the Brick Bank was announced as the 2016 Modular here on BF – and this had to be one of the big buys of the year. I was half tempted with the GBHQ, but thankfully I decided to steer well clear and opt for Brick Bank instead. I will look at the set through a bag by bag review.
Make a safe deposit at the Brick Bank!
Make a secure deposit at the highly respected Brick Bank, featuring an array of intricate details and hidden surprises. Easy-to-remove building sections provide access to the detailed interior, comprising a bank with an atrium foyer, tiled floor, arched windows, ornate chandelier, lockable vault and a transaction counter with security glass; a laundromat with printed window, tiled floor and 4 laundry machines; plus 2 second-floor offices with an array of detailed furniture, fixtures and accessories. The exterior of the building features a detailed sidewalk and an elaborate façade with carving and statue décor, decorative roofline, large arched windows, central balcony, clock and an accessible roof terrace featuring a large skylight. Collect and build an entire town with the LEGO® Creator Expert Modular Building series 10243 Parisian Restaurant and 10246 Detective’s Office. Includes 5 minifigures: a bank manager, secretary, teller, mom and child.
- Includes 5 minifigures: a bank manager, secretary, teller, and a mom and child.
- The Brick Bank features a bank, secretary’s office, bank manager’s office, laundromat and a detailed façade and sidewalk.
- Bank features an atrium foyer with wide, arched entrance, triangular-patterned floor tiling, ornate chandelier, oxidized-copper colored skylight, transaction counter with hidden alarm buttons and security glass, and a bank vault with safe deposit boxes and a large round door.
- Laundromat features a printed window, tiled floor and 4 laundry machines.
- Secretary’s office features a wall clock, desk, typewriter, cabinet with opening drawers, fireplace and an espresso machine.
- Bank manager’s office features a large desk with banker’s lamp and approval stamp, leather-look chair, printed portrait, statue and a cabinet.
- Accessory elements include a mug, document, camera, candy, blank white paper, chrome-golden coins, 1 chrome- golden bar and banknotes.
- Remove the building sections to access the detailed interior.
- Unlock the bank vault to access the safe deposit boxes.
- Visit the laundromat for a spot of laundering.
- Stack coins with the coin counting machine.
- With over 2380 pieces, this model will put your LEGO building skills to the test!
- Special elements include a printed prize check, printed ground-floor windows, a special printed portrait in the bank manager’s office, plus rare, sand-blue and dark-green bricks, and sand-green window frames.
- Collect and build an entire town with the LEGO Creator Expert Modular Building series 10243 Parisian Restaurant and 10246 Detective’s Office.
- Brick Bank measures over 10” (26cm) high, 10” (25cm) wide and 10” (25cm) deep.
So there are a couple of things that hit you straight off. Firstly the map is a spine bound book. None of this multiple booklet mumbo jumbo, just a solid book which can be referred to. This has always been my preference as it saves on space and everything is there in one go. And is easier for storage. (I will be writing about maps and storage in the future here on BF as it is causing me a right headache).
Next you note that the 32×32 base plate is sand coloured. My questions is why? All the other ones have been green and I have noted that it is near impossible now to procure this one under set number 626 and the replacement has had a multitude of complaints about the colour hue. Surely a grey plate would have been better?
The build itself is a four bag build which is good as I have now got bored of dealing with tons and tons of bags of parts. I am half tempted to old skool these types of sets by dumping all the parts in one container and taking it from there – but I know from experience that this will just prolong the build. There are lots of new colour palettes which expand the every growing range of bricks available – some readers will note from TBT musings that sets of yesteryear made do with just the 5 colour palette, so the range now is just huge. The dark green elements remind me of those from the Slave 1 Star Wars model, thus I call it Boba Fett green. The most obvious parts that are distinctive are the printed tiles for the floor build.
I am quite relieved at this as stickers are a pain in the backside and therefore to see printed tile elements is a welcome sight. You also have to wonder why LEGO don’t do the same for the City sets……..it will would save much grief for ODC people like me lining up the stickers ensuring a perfect it.
Bag One creates the foundation build of the ground floor for the bank building. Normally these ones are a tedious thing to with just endless repetition, but this one was enjoyable and relatively quick to do as well. It is straight forward with not too much in terms of difficulty and builds up a good foundation for the level of detail. Really interesting to see how much the modulars have evolved over time. There are the introduction of tapered flat tile pieces which form the floor pattern which are very unique, but also prevents the jutter from using 1×2 flat tiles to make a floor design. The basis slab of ‘money’ really stands out due to the colour of the elements used. You also get some gold coloured 1×1 round discs as well to replicate money coins.
Familiar techniques for things like the stairs are taken from older Modular sets and applied here as well – no point re-inventing the wheel. What you do notice is that there is an element of ‘play’ within the build – that is to say that the building is not just a static display, but there are ‘working’ elements to the model that add value. Some may question this – why to you want to bother when the build will just be put on display by AFOL’s – after all it is not aimed at the junior builder. I think it is cool – it is the level of detail I like to see, and also LEGO being able to demonstrate that they can do this because they can. It works for me – I am not going to be playing with it like a City set, but it is fun and increases the level of detail.
Bag Two starts to develop the building in terms of walls for the bank and the basis of the launderette. There were several things I liked about this model so far, even at an early stage.
- LEGO have again done away with sticker applying to the window pane glass elements. The tampo prints are very well done and again will save many a builder a lot of time, effort and swearing.
- Amongst the standard pantone of colours are some vivid half slope bricks in fizzy orange and sherbet yellow – they instantly hit you. One could even top off their ice cream with them.
- There are some glorious building techniques which further push the boundaries of the modular standard. OK, there is a helping hand from certain elements such as a 2×2 hanging style tile which does away with the multiple 1×1 headlight bricks that were used on past modulars to re-create the protruding stone brick effect. You will see many buildings in the City of London similar to this so it is accurate and correct that the bank should reflect this type of architecture.
As the build progresses with Bag 2 you get to create the delightful yet complex laundry/vault standalone piece. TBH, I was not fully sure how this all fitted in, but as you continue the build it becomes increasingly clear. It is a little gem and really does showcase how much the modulars have developed over time – a massive contrast in detail as opposed to, say, the Café Corner. More importantly, it is how it pieces together inside the building which is just as impressive. And it is not all new parts either – we see old friends like the car door and standard 1×1 clear lamps in use as well – elements that can be traced back to origins of more than 35 years ago. It is lovely, lovely stuff. The conclusion of Bag 2 sees the completion of the launderette walls and joins it up with the bank building skeleton.
Bag 3 completes the second floor of the building. This is where the set comes alive with the detail. Furniture is made with a small number of parts but are delightfully resplendid. My favourite item here is the coffee machine which is insanely sub zero in terms of cool. Again there is not a lot to the pieces to each of these furniture items and the techniques are not difficult at all, but sometimes you would not think to use bricks in the manner that they are used here. We also see the rest of the outside completed with windows and pillars making for a quick finish.
Finally Bag Four completes the build and the techniques jut become even more outrageous. The skylight – and update from that of the Grand Emporium – is a lovely bit of design and build and indeed looks very smart. The chandelier is fragile and again an update from the Grand Emporium. But it all works well and you simply have to marvel at the way it all comes together. The chimney is completed where to can bung a minifigure down it and into the bank ‘nicking all the wonga’. I love the tree outside with the fenced basket as a level of detail. What I am not bothered about is the created pulley – I don’t see the need at all – may be the designer got bored and added it in, but it is a tad unnecessary.
I have to say, I am not that fussed about the minifigures – they are there so that they serve a purpose, but there is nothing outstanding about them from my view. I appreciate some will be keen to know all the ins and outs but I think I will let the pictures here tell their story.
This is my first major build for 2016 and it is a highly impressive set to add to a modular collection. I have mentioned it before and will mention it again – the evolvement of these kinds of sets is quite significant with the level of detail – it is a little mental in parts. As a builder, you shouldn’t really be allowed to create some of the pieces and items that make up Brick Bank and gives inspiration to go on and make your own MOC using some of the techniques employed here. The palette of colours is strong and unique – it is really good to have some of these within your inventory. I am not at all bothered by the ‘play’ elements, but that in turn creates the level of detail that makes this set a very good one.
It should also be noted that this is fantastic VFM – 2380 pieces bring it around to 5p per piece – and don’t forget you get a sprinkling of of spare pieces which never go amiss within an inventory. This add to the value of the set and you know that you are getting your money’s worth.
In conclusion, this takes Set of the Year for me – at the moment. And I can see it keeping that title for a long time until the Technic 911 GT3RS comes along which I suspect will do a Barcelona and sweep all and sundry out of the way getting all the glory. But for now I am content in terms of massive builds and I can only wait until 2017 and the next modular to be released as part of this series.
Disclaimer: All our reviews are our own personal views, thanks to the LEGO ARP team for providing us with sets to review.