A few months ago, I was browsing eBay when I saw a winter themed LEGO set. At that time, I had no idea that LEGO had created an entire winter village's worth of sets to which they add one more piece each year. I quickly added all of the winter sets that I could find to my eBay watch list and patiently waited. Eventually, one such set went for a price that I was willing to pay...and with it, the beginnings of (yet another) LEGO collection!
My winter village begins with the Winter Village Cottage set (number 10229). The set contains 1490 pieces (officially) and was released in 2012. You get the cottage, an igloo, a small woodshed, and a snow plow. In addition, you get EIGHT minifigures including a nice mix of kids and adults (two of the kids get skis though they don't get poles to go with their skis).
For the purposes of the review, I tried to take a variety of pictures throughout the build. This is the fourth winter village set in the series - and it happens to contain the largest number of pieces!
Speaking of pieces, when you dump out the box you are treated to a whole bunch of plastic bags plus some loose plates and an instruction booklet (along with a sticker sheet - boo!) packed with cardboard.
Although the set gets its name from the namesake cottage, there are a bunch of other builds besides the main structure. I followed the instructions from start to finish so I began with the igloo seen above. The igloo's roof comes off in order to see the inside (of which there is a stove)! It's probably the most pimped out igloo that I've ever seen. I also like the owl on the top - that's a new piece for my collection.
After the igloo, the next thing to build is the snow plow.
Let me say it now, I love, love, LOVE the snow plow. The front of the plow is simply perfect - and the whole thing makes the winter scene look so much more authentic. You even get a broom for the driver (probably to clean the snow off his windshield after a snow storm).
Here's another look at the truck:
The final small build for the set is the woodshed. The woodshed contains a stack of wood on the outside and a small workbench (complete with tools) on the inside.
However, the real prize for this build is the brick built chainsaw.
Now that the small builds are complete, it's time to move to the main cottage.
As you can see from the above photo, there are plenty of pieces remaining for the cottage (and this is only the first set of bag's worth)! The build begins similar to the modular buildings (like the Pet Shop or Fire Brigage) in that you do a bunch of tiling.
In the case of the cottage, the tiles represent a kitchen floor and a rug in what will become the living room.
It should be noted that you don't actually get a base plate for the cottage. Instead, you build the cottage up on a pair of large white plates. I would have preferred to have a base plate (so that the base would be the same height as the modular buildings) but I can only assume that the other Winter Village sets are also built up on plates.
After doing the tiling (which was a bit monotonous, especially in the kitchen), the build quickly became a lot more interesting. In fact, you can see that the first floor of the build also included some outdoor elements like the light pole (complete with holiday decorations). The set comes with two pine trees (one large and one small) which also helps to further cement the wintery theme.
At this point, the bags numbered 1 are now exhausted. You do get a fair number of spare parts though - including a brick separator (something I really could have used when I was a kid)!
The second half of the build completes the cottage. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the second half in progress but that's mostly because it's building the roof (which is nothing more than a lot of white bricks and plates). The only thing interesting about the roof is that you build each piece individually and then snap them into pre-placed hooks on the cottage. It was a different way of creating roof pieces (and the end result definitely looks like a cottage with a roof full of snow)!
The final touch is the string of lights which you put on the top of the roof - the perfect final bit to a wonderful winter scene! I can only image how great my winter scene would be if I owned all the previous Winter Village sets!
While I definitely like the look of the outside of the cottage, the inside holds the vast majority of the interesting bits. You get a living room (with a fireplace and stockings) plus a small build for an easy chair and Christmas tree. You get a full kitchen (complete with cupboards and a pan) and you get a loft for the young boy figure. The boy's loft has more gifts and a simple bed build (reminiscent of the bed build in the Pet Shop set).
It's tough to see in the above photo, but the kitchen not only has plenty of cupboards but it also has a stove and a sink (complete with a rather large gold faucet piece). You do get one pan - you can see the handle sticking out in the cupboard closest to you.
I happen to love the kitchen but I think LEGO was hoping that the living room would be the main attraction for the cottage since that's where the light brick resides. As you can see in the photo, the light brick is placed behind the fireplace which makes for a really nice effect when you light up the brick! I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much from the light brick but it ended up being a great addition to the set. It sort of makes me wish I had more light bricks for myself just to mess around with in other builds!
The final bit of the cottage is the loft. You do get a cat but you don't get any way to actually get to the loft (no stairs, no ladder)! I guess that's where the "pretend play" kicks in.
As a whole, the Winter Village Cottage is a great, great set. You get a ton of figures, a couple of trees, an owl, a cat, an igloo, a truck, a sled, a woodshed, and a beautiful (and fairly large) cottage. For the price ($99 as of the time of this review), the set can't be beat! Don't forget, you also get about 1500 pieces for that $99...another good deal by pretty much any measure of price-per-brick!
The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Play Value: 9.5
Kid Value: 8
Adult Value: 9
For the price, you can't beat this set. You get a ton of figures and a bunch of different pieces. There's plenty of fun stuff for kids to play with - and plenty of loose mini-builds for adult collectors to arrange as it suits them. Of all the sets that I've built (and reviewed) for this blog thus far, I think this set has one of the highest play values...and amazingly, it's just as a good for adult collectors. The only improvements that I could see being made would be to have stairs (or at least a ladder) in the cottage for the boy to get to his loft and for the front door of the cottage to actually be able to open (the roof overhangs it much too far keeping it shut). I also think a $99 set shouldn't have stickers but that's more a reflection on my stickering skills than anything else (hint: I stink at putting on stickers nicely).
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