Monday, December 3, 2018

REVIEW: LEGO 40263: Christmas Town Square

The LEGO 40263:  Christmas Town Square was a special seasonal LEGO set released in 2017.  I managed to grab myself a copy of the set, but then promptly packed it away with the rest of my winter village only for me to rediscover the (unopened) box this year when I pulled my winter sets back out of storage.  That was certainly a fun surprise seeing as I had completely forgotten about purchasing the set.

For an original retail price of $9.99 USD, you got a 179 piece set complete with three different minifigures (two kids, one boy and one girl, with the stumpy legs and one adult female figure).  I love the various sweater / sweatshirt torso prints in the set, all of them are perfect for a wintery scene.  The legs have no printing on them but they are fine (other than perhaps the white legs - isn't wearing white after Labor Day a big no-no)?

The adult figure has alternate facial expression for those that are interested in such things. 

Personally, I don't find the majority of the alternate faces to be particularly interesting - though I could see if you liked to role play with your figures or perhaps create stop motion videos that having lots of different facial expression options would be appreciated.  For me, I generally pick one face and keep the figure with that particular expression for whatever scene it is that I'm creating.  Maybe back when I was a kid I would have switched faces more often (especially in the instances of happy / panic options or happy / mad options for villains).

Moving on to the build itself, it's no surprise that the 179 piece build went by quickly.  However, that isn't to say that it wasn't a fun or interesting build.  I'll start with the main attraction of the set:  the town Christmas tree.

I have to admit that LEGO creators are clearly very talented, it seems every holiday season they come up with one or two new ways to build up a brick Christmas tree.  This little set had a fairly simple build for the tree (a lot of plate stacking) but things get connected with a minor SNOT technique which gave an end result of a tree that is much sturdier than it might appear to be.

I should mention that I particularly like the golden gate pieces and the many masonry brick pieces that make up the fencing for the tree.  The two little wreaths are a nice holiday touch as well.

While I definitely liked the Christmas tree part of the set, the other little build-able options weren't quite up to the same high-quality levels.

There are three small little bits to build that I guess are meant to "flesh out" the remainder of the town square.  Of the three, I think one is good, one is barely okay, and the last is quite poor.  I'll let you see if you can figure out which is which first...

For me, the light pole / mailbox is the clear winner here.  The design is elegant, looks Christmas-y with the include wreath, and generally makes sense for a Christmas Town Square.  Also, you can't go wrong with getting more mailbox pieces in general - and the little letter "sign" is a nice touch!

On the other hand, I think the little snowman build is particularly bad.  I hate the 1x3 white plate that is supposed to represent the snowman's arms.  Who builds arms out of snow for a snowman?  At the very least, that should have been a brown plate to better indicate sticks for arms.  I don't mind getting another LEGO top hat from the mini build, but otherwise this was a waste of nine pieces in the set. 

In between the good and bad is the little baked goods stand.  For a small set with a limited piece count, the stand is adequate.  I like the pair of included cupcakes and the pretzel sign at the top of the stand lets you know what is supposedly for sale there.  Of course, there is no cash register (or money pieces) in the set..not is there even a place for the worker to stand behind the stand, at least not on the included 4x4 plate.  That said, the red and green awning plus the tiny green plant piece as decoration helps to make the stand passable.

That leaves us with one final build - and it's a small sled filled with gifts.

Normally, I wouldn't make a big deal out a small build like this, but I'd be remiss in this review if I didn't point out that for some reason, the blue box with the green top actually has a gift inside of it.

It's a small gold flat round plate, perhaps meant to represent a coin?  I'm not sure - and you have to get that coin positioned just right in order to close the box back up.  It's a weird little inclusion - but kind of a fun surprise when building the set so I'm not mad about it!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  4
Play Value:  3
Kid Value:  4
Adult Value:  10
Overall:  8

In the end, I found this set to be a joy to build and display, despite a couple of the smaller components having their own issues.  The snowman build is entirely forgettable (though you can sort of place the various white plates together to make a slightly larger, slightly more cohesive scene if you want).  The sled is perfectly fine and the Christmas Tree and fence is quite lovely.  For a cost of only $10 USD and three nice minifigures along with 179 total pieces, the value is definitely there for adult collectors.  For me, this isn't a display set - but it is a great Winter Village parts pack.  I'll be for sure using the mailbox bit somewhere within my own village as well as the Christmas tree.  The snowman and baked goods stand do have some useful pieces at least (including the pretzel itself) so all isn't lost there either.  While I don't think this is the funnest possible set for a kid to play with, I still would recommend it for anyone (kid or adult) who enjoys the Winter Village line of sets.

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