Just in time for Christmas! Here's my review for LEGO 10245: Santa's Workshop!
The set was released in fall 2014 and comes with 883 pieces. I ended up purchasing the set directly from LEGO.com during one of their seasonal promotions. I have a love for the Winter Village sets (though I missed out on the early sets including the Post Office, Bakery, and Toy Shop).
I had hoped that the Santa's Workshop set would be a nice addition to my Winter Village scene. Is it?
Read on to find out.
We begin with the first set of instructions in which we get to construct the reindeer (only 4 animals pull the sleigh rather than the proper eight). We also get to build a fifth reindeer (a baby) plus we get a nice Santa minifigure. The first part of the build also includes Santa's sleigh (which looks really nice), a small North Pole sign, and a rather pathetically small Christmas tree.
I find the reindeer to be quite nice - and the sleigh is pretty much perfect! The North Pole sign is adequate (though I despise stickers)...but that little Christmas tree? You'd think Santa would have more Christmas spirit than that! The four 2x2 stacked bricks are the "backs" of the reindeer if you choose to unattach them from Santa's sleigh.
Moving on to the second bag, we get what I felt was the funnest part of the build - Santa's house (plus Mrs. Claus with a plate of cookies).
From the front, you can make out a nice stone sidewalk and a a great big door flanked by a pair of nicely built pillars. You also get a big 'ol clock in the front of the house (the same clock from the Town Hall modular building). The Santa's Workshop sign on the side of the building uses a sticker (boo!) but otherwise it certainly looks nice! I'm not a huge fan of the two red brick built candy canes (but it does make the workshop seem a bit more fanciful I suppose).
Looking at Santa's house from the back, you can see he has a big 'ol chair in the top floor surrounded by letters (presumably written to him from children around the world). You also get a pair of stickered bricks in the downstairs - one is a door mat while the other shows Santa and Mrs. Claus on vacation somewhere warm! It's a cute addition to the set but I don't think it would have a lot of use in other builds...
The third, and final, build is the workshop plus four elves and a toy machine. The elves aren't anything new but they all look great (with just enough variety in clothes and facial expressions to keep things fresh). I like the strand of lights on the top of the snowy roof, though I wish the clips were black rather than yellow.
Looking at the workshop in its entirety, you can see the two halve clip together at a somewhat odd angle. It does look nice in that it's different - but I couldn't help that the entire workshop was a bit too small. In fact, you can't even fit the toy machine in the workshop - the thing has to sit outside! The included workbench is also rather poor - in fact, the "free" Toy Workshop set that LEGO used as a promotional item in 2014 is much, much nicer! I think next year I'll try to expand this Santa's Workshop a bit and include the workbench from the promotional set.
From the front, you can see how the odd angle of joining the two buildings together works nicely. The building really does look good (and cold)! I love the green and gold combination - and there's plenty of nice shades of brown plus various grays to keep the entire thing looking homey - and definitely in line with the mythical vision of Santa's home!
Overall, the Santa's Workshop set is a nice set. I enjoyed building the main house (and the sleigh) but the workshop half plus the tiny Christmas tree left me a bit disappointed. I get that LEGO was probably shooting for a lower price mark than some of the other recent Winter Village sets...but in this case I think a higher price would have been preferred if it meant a more fleshed out workshop space!
I don't think that this set goes all that well with the other Winter Village sets since this one is more rooted in fantasy. However, it wouldn't be that difficult to take the "Santa's Workshop" sign off and repurpose the building to fit in your Winter Village. Or, I suppose, one could treat this as a "photo op" opportunity for the residents of your Winter Village and then you could leave it all in tact while still maintaining an air of realism!
The bottom line:
Play Value: 9
Kid Value: 9
Adult Value: 6
This is a recommended set - especially if you love Christmas! I think this set needs to be combined with the Toy Workshop in order to make a more proper Santa's Workshop (plus you get two more elves that way) but otherwise it's quite nice. The sleigh is definitely the star of the extras!
Merry Christmas all!
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