10254 Winter Holiday Train is the eighth entry in the popular Winter Village subtheme and marks a dramatic departure from the typically stationary models which have dominated the seasonal range until now.
Steam locomotives are often associated with the holiday season and LEGO has acknowledged this previously by the release of 10173 Holiday Train. That set is now very expensive on the secondary market so many fans were delighted to learn that a brand new train would be arriving in the Winter Village and I have been looking forward to discovering whether this set is worthy of such excitement.
Five minifigures are included but none of these include new elements which is slightly disappointing. The train driver wears a blue cap and overalls along with a red scarf while the conductor is more formally dressed in a grey waistcoat and hat. A pocket watch is printed on the torso and he is also equipped with a satchel which probably contains some tickets.
The head of the train conductor has only previously been used in two sets and I think it looks splendid here, with some carefully tended facial hair and a slightly impatient expression which likely reflects the character of the minifigure!
The three passengers wear appropriate clothing for the season and incorporate some rare parts. The older woman sports a fur coat first seen in 76010 Batman: The Penguin Face-off while her hair and double-sided head have only previously appeared in two sets each. I love the sleeping face and the torso is used to good effect, although the tie which is visible beneath the jacket is not ideally suited to this wintry character in my opinion.
Both children are made from common parts but these combinations look good and the fact that all three figures have freckles might suggest that they are all related, as suggested in the designer video for this set, which could inspire some fun play scenarios.
Most Winter Village sets feature more than five minifigures but I think the number of minifigures included in 10254 is ample as there are only two seats for passengers on the train.
The Completed Model
A small number of the 734 pieces in this set are used to construct a tiny station platform. This structure consists of a simple bench and a lamp post which is decorated with a wreath. The platform serves its purpose but looks rather paltry and I wonder whether it would have been possible to expand the model with a small ticket booth which could have matched some of the previous Winter Village buildings. Sixteen pieces of curved track are included and these form a ring with an inner diameter of 58cm so it should stretch all the way around the base of most Christmas trees.
A selection of presents and toys are included, as is often the case in Winter Village sets. These little models are some of the best yet in my opinion, with the highlights being a fire engine, a sailing boat and a tiny clockwork car! The spaceship is designed in reference to Blacktron but I cannot equate it with any particular model.
The entire train measures over 52cm in length and consists of four sections. Most of these are linked using the standard magnetic buffers and you could therefore extend the train quite easily to incorporate extra carriages if you wish. The overall length of 52cm is considerably smaller than that of 10173 Holiday Train but I think the level of detail is superior on this set and I much prefer the colours used as well.
The shape of the train locomotive is reminiscent of that in 7597 Western Train Chase but its colour scheme and construction are quite different. The model is relatively small but I think the buildings which make up most of the Winter Village subtheme would be dwarfed by a larger train such as 10194 Emerald Night so the size of the locomotive is appropriate in my opinion. I love the wreaths on either side and the red wheels are very striking, having only previously appeared in 7597 which was retired several years ago.
The funnel looks absolutely brilliant, with billowing steam emerging from the top of the spark arrestor and an attractive lamp on the front. This is my favourite part of the locomotive as it improves upon previous models quite considerably while the rest of the model feels fairly similar to many previous efforts.
I am not entirely satisfied with the design of the footplate as there is very little room to fit a minifigure inside and a large hole occupies most of the floor space. This is intended to allow wires through when Power Functions are added to the train but I think a couple of extra pieces could have been included to cover this gap when it is not in use. Otherwise, the level of detail is quite reasonable and I like the golden bars at the back which allow you to pose the engineer as though he is looking out of the side.
The coal tender is very small but incorporates some lovely details. White leaves are attached to either side and the green panels underneath form an attractive pattern which looks quite realistic. I like the gold accents as well but the brightly coloured lights which adorn the leaves seem out of place to me and I think a more traditional design would have been appropriate instead.
Furthermore, I am not keen on the rudimentary linkage between the locomotive and the tender. It falls apart very easily and looks as though it has been cobbled together in haste which is not what I expect to see in the Winter Village range.
The cargo wagon is decorated using an attractive combination of red, dark blue and gold which matches the locomotive quite well. It is dominated by the substantial Christmas tree on top and this also incorporates one of the major play features as rolling the train along the track will cause the tree to rotate along with a miniature train at its base. LEGO designers have attempted a huge range of different Christmas trees at minifigure scale and this one is among the best in my opinion as it includes some decorative lights as well as leaves in various shades of green.
Presents and toys can be stacked in the basket towards the rear of the carriage. There is not quite enough space for everything but the colourful selection of accessories looks very impressive beside the tree.
The mechanism which rotates the tree is very simple, as you can see in the image below. The front wheels are linked to a worm gear which turns an axle to which the Christmas tree is attached.
The final part of the set is a passenger car which also doubles as the guard's van. This is smaller than I would have liked but I love the dark blue roof and the golden lanterns at either end are also a nice touch. Dark tan window frames give the impression of a wooden texture and more white leaves adorn the sides, nicely matching the coal tender towards the front of the train.
You can access the interior by removing the roof as well as opening the doors at both ends of the passenger compartment. The interior is furnished with two reddish brown chairs as well as a small table and a lamp. It looks very cozy inside but a larger carriage would have been welcome as seating for two minifigures is not entirely satisfactory in my opinion.
It is possible to control this train remotely using Power Functions. 8879 IR Speed Remote Control, 8884 IR Receiver, 88000 AAA Battery Box and 88002 Train Motor are required and these cost a total of £46.97 or $54.96 which seems rather expensive to me. I do not currently own all of those pieces but they will soon be delivered and I will be posting a further article about powering the locomotive when they arrive.
10254 Winter Holiday Train is fairly impressive on the whole but it does not match the high standard set by many of the other Winter Village models in my opinion. The bright colour scheme is very appealing and I love the selection of tiny toys included but the design of the train offers relatively little innovation.
Nevertheless, this is a good set and I would certainly recommend it to fans of the Winter Village range. It will make an interesting addition to an established layout and offers a perfect introduction to LEGO trains for those who have not purchased one before. However, those of you looking for a more detailed and authentic steam locomotive might be disappointed.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.