Ten years ago, before the Winter Village line even existed, the LEGO Group released a set which, at the time, felt completely out of left field — 10173 Holiday Train. Produced before the days of trains running on Power Functions, this delightful curiosity was largely overlooked. Then came the Winter Village line. Since it exploded onto the scene collectors have been salivating for a remake of 10173 to run through their ever growing roster of seasonal buildings. Happily the wait is over, meaning it is time for first impressions of 10254 Winter Holiday Train and how it compares to 10173.
2006 was a wonderful time to be buying LEGO sets. Coming off the brush with bankruptcy, the LEGO Group had slashed profit expectations in an effort to reclaim market share. As a result sets got both bigger and cheaper. 10173 reflected this trend and was bigger than 10254 in almost every way — as can be seen in the following comparison table:
10173 Holiday Train (2006)
|10254 Winter Holiday Train (2016)|
|Price (Adjusted for Inflation)||83 GBP/107 USD /96 Euro||70 GBP/100 USD /90 Euro|
|Number of Cars||6||4|
|Number of Minifigures||7|
10173 seems to have the upper hand when size and value are considered, but how do the actual models appear to stack up against each other? Let’s look at them car by car.
Engine & Tender
The engines and tenders bear a lot of similarity to each other. They share the same colour scheme (which isn’t surprising due to the Christmas motif) as well as very similar sizes. That being said, 10254’s engine is far sleeker and more handsome. It benefits greatly from the various new pieces that have been released since 2006 such that 10173’s engine looks quite blocky by comparison.
Passenger Car & Caboose
Moving on from the engine, this is where 10173 Holiday Train most soundly beats the new 10254. In lieu of a full passenger car the new model combines the passenger car and the caboose from the first release into a single car that is smaller than either of those. With that being said, the new caboose is very attractive, especially thanks to the dark blue roof. MOCers and modders will be picking up multiple copies to make a longer train.
Toy Car and Christmas Tree Car
Here again, what was once two cars is now a single model. It appears to include a play feature, in which the Christmas Tree rotates as the train moves. While a cool idea, the price for this feature looks to be bare wheels — which stand out like a sore thumb in between the formal covered train wheels on the caboose and tender. The look of this is disappointing, and the spinning tree would have been worth sacrificing to correct this eyesore.
As with any attempt to update an existing LEGO set, there are both drawbacks and improvements, but fans of the Winter Village series are unlikely to be disappointed with 10254. While smaller than its predecessor it seems to be, with the exception of those disappointing wheels, an aesthetic improvement in every way. LEGO designers were wise to include track (which is likely a large part of the reason the car count went from six to four), as a loop around the base of the tree can be made right out of the box. The LEGO Group appear to be back in the saddle after the disappointment of last year’s Christmas model.
10254 Winter Holiday Train will be available to VIPs at the LEGO online shop from September 15.