The fantastic folks in the LEGO community team have sent us, and other fan sites, 10243 Parisian Restaurant to review ahead of its release in January. It's not often we receive sets, and are able to post reviews, so far in advance of release, but I'm certainly not complaining.
When the set was announced at the beginning of October it generated a lot of interest and positive comments, with many regarding it as the 'best modular yet' which is saying something given the high standard of recent ones.
I received it on Wednesday and spent yesterday building the ground floor. This review then, will be in several parts. Today I'll cover the ground floor, and hopefully later today or over the weekend I'll get the other stories built and the review concluded.
As you will see, this is not a set to rush: plan to spend at least 6 hours building it. The ground floor took something like 3 hours to complete because the level of detail is astonishing.
The back of the box shows details from the inside of the model, and also the restaurant lined up with the cinema and town hall. (10224 + 10232 not included, it says!)
The bags are, thankfully, numbered 1 - 4. Bags numbered 1 and 2 build the ground floor, bags numbered 3 the first-floor, and bags numbered 4 the roof. There are three instruction manuals and NO stickers: everything is printed. The baseplate is light grey which is not usual for modulars, is it?
The set features four new parts. I've taken photos and sent them to our resident new parts expert, caperberry who will be publishing something about them later today on his blog New Elementary.
It's not usual for modulars to have new parts and I think we can be sure that they were not made specifically for this set, but will appear in other 2014 sets.
There are about 300 olive green parts in the set, including 209-bricks in sizes 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x6 and 1x8, so it's now a viable colour to use in your own MOCs which will please a lot of people.
The scooter is a new and arguably long overdue part. Here are its component parts. Using a bucket handle for the kick-stand is a stroke of genius.
This is what it looks like assembled, with one of the five minifigs riding it. Incidentally, she's wearing an oriental patterned top which is not one I'm familiar with but I guess it's from Ninjago.
The set features four other minifigs. The minifigs are never the reason to buy modular buildings but once again Jamie has given us five figures that are interesting and bring the set to life. On the right, we have who I guess is Albert (whose name appears above the door) himself, a waiter, and on the left, two customers. Note that in common with those in other modular buildings, they all have classic smiley heads.
Construction begins at the base of course, and it takes a good half hour to get to this stage given the number of 1x1 plates and tiles, which take time to align. Note the 'Chez' pattern in the outside seating area. This is just one example of the attention to detail that's gone into the set. Once the tables and chairs have been placed, you can't even see it.
Bags #1 completed. The kitchen and 'front of house' are taking shape and the outside seating area is complete. Two of the new pieces are evident in this shot: dark grey 2x2 round tile with hole in the middle and a 2x2 upside-down cone in dark red (ironically being used upside down here!) which together with a upside down bottle, make the table lamps.
The kitchen is packed with great features including a sink (note the drain pipe under it), cooker, fridge (taking shape on the right, with two piece of cheese in it, cupboards and drawers.
Note the 1x1 round tile printed with a 'cooker control' pattern.
'Front of house' can seat four people downstairs and three outside.
Here's a view from the back:
Bags #2 complete the ground floor. There are so many cool features: the 2x2 tile showing the menu, the printed 'Chez Albert' tile above the door, the use of a gate above the outside seating area with lamps suspended, and the Aloe-style plants in pots by the stairs. The white pillars between the windows and doors are very cleverly constructed and you will enjoy building them and seeing how they are made. Expect to see more close-ups of the details when I've finished building the set.
Inside, on the back wall, is this superb sideboard with wine bottles. It can't be lifted out from the model to be photographed; it's an integral part of the back wall.
The curtains, which fit neatly round the two tables, are very well done, and come complete with pelmets and tie-backs.
The back yard is well detailed. The black bricks hidden by a climbing plant are the back of the sideboard, but the plant does a good job of hiding them. The blue food recycling skip, full of bits of cheese, sausages and bones, is cleverly made. A green dustbin and rat complete the scene.
Here's a top view:
As I said at the start, the level of detail is astonishing and you'll get immense pleasure from building it and seeing it all come together. It's such a fantastic model and build that I'm running out of superlatives to describe it :)
Modular buildings have come a long way since Cafe Corner, which was just an empty shell, haven't they....
Now I'll get on and build the rest of it. Stay tuned for more!