Review: 10254 Winter Holiday Train

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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.

Minifigures

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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!

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

10254 Winter Holiday 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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

Overall

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.

10254 Winter Holiday Train

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.

51 comments on this article

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By in Ireland,

I Bricklinked 10173 in its entirety a few years ago, and this set places me in a conundrum. At first I was rather dismissive of it, but it has certainly grown on me. It is less substantial than 10173 but tonally it fits well with the WV line - and I love that rotating Christmas Tree.

My other concern about 10173 is the scalability: as the rest of my village gets bigger, it will be harder to increase the size of the 9v track than it would be to build up the PF tracks for 10254.

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By in United Kingdom,

I confess to being underwhelmed by this set. Maybe it's because I made my own using the Constitution train as my base (to which I added power) and a bespoke passenger car based on the Emerald Night design. I'll probably end up buying this and merge the two.

Speaking of EN, Lego seriously needs to reissue that set or give us another display-quality steam train. You'd think that the EN set swapping hands for 500 notes would give them a hint.

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By in United States,

great review

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By in Canada,

Thanks for the review! Although I think I much prefer the stationary models this make a nice little departure and addition to the existing sets. I have yet to buy a Lego train and will likely get this although I am not sure whether I will bother powering it. I look forward to the review of that as well. It does seem somewhat pointless having a train without power so I may cave in the end and spend the extra money as it would be fun to see it circle the tree or whatever I end up setting it up around.

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By in United States,

I built a better version of this loco almost as soon as the pictures were released. I think a 4-2-4 is slighlty more realistic that a 4-2-0, as the larger loco at least has a real life counterpart in the C.P. Huntington, which is preserved at the California State Railroad Museum and viewable by the public. My version and it's accompanying LDD file is available here, if anyone want to one-up the set: http://www.moc-pages.com/moc.php/431731 and the final, real world version here: http://www.moc-pages.com/moc.php/432419

(Not trying to promote my idea BTW: just trying to help make the engine better. Great review BTW!)

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By in United Kingdom,

I have to agree that the set now seems rather small
It would almost have been better to lose the track and the stop, to gain an improved Engine and Caboose.
Or to boost the price by £10 to boost the size of the train.

I think TLG may be planning a Winter Village station for next year?
At least I hope they are.

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By in United States,

@Cortez I'm on the fence for the same reasons. I like this set, but want a steam engine a little more substantial. I would love to have EN but not paying what's being asked. We're really overdue for a new Creator Advanced train seeing as EN was 2009, Maersk was 2011, and Horizon was 2013. And I really thought it would be a steam engine since we haven't gotten one since 2009 (unless you count the Lone Ranger train from 2013 which wasn't even designed to be motorized).

I also eagerly await the power functions review of this set as I would definitely want to add that if I got it. Thanks for the review, it's an adorable little set and would be great to add to my WV collection!

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By in United States,

I think a lot of people might buy this train knowing they'll be adding more cars, expanding the engine (at least to a 4-4-0, my personal goal), or both! All the same, it's cute as it stands, a fine basis for further expansion, and IMO a very satisfactory addition to the Winter Village. Certainly on my pre-Christmas list!!

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By in United States,

Nice review; but it makes me really think about whether or not to buy this set. This train is way to small IMO; especially at its price, even with track. I get that the #10173 is 'large' with bigger rail car chassis and what not (with no track), but LEGO is saying they could not basically take the #79111 and use that for an engine template here (especially at its price point)? The Passenger car I think is what I have the biggest issue with (though the loco is not far behind). It is supposed to be a train, not a 'float' and should have had a bigger passenger car, OR they should have made it a 'cargo' train with a decent caboose (heck LEGO already has the design for one in the #10014 caboose they put out many years ago -AND it is red already). I get that LEGO wants to make things on the cheap and what not, but I think they 'out-cheapened' themselves this time, especially considering the price is 99.99 USD.

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By in Canada,

Seems those who are experienced with trains aren't too keen on this. Be interesting to see how those (my self included) who haven't delved into trains think of this. For me I would have preferred it already come motorized. Bad news for my wallet, as I can see myself wanting to purchase more tracks so that I can have the train travel through the entire winter village.

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By in United States,

Thank you for the review. I'm thinking this has settled me into not buying it. The train is designed cutely in terms of holiday colors, but is sized more like a kiddie train ride at an amusement park—not a steam locomotive that fits with the transportation of the citizens of Winter Village.

What a disappointment to have such dinky-sized platform and rolling stock; missing train wagon elements like #6583; and without using the mag linkages on the locomotive and tender. Not thrilled to have my WV now "incomplete" — and I always love the micro-sized gifts/toys— but I don't want to validate the poor value of this set as designed by buying it. And Lord, I know it is petty, but I hate seeing those out-of match tan technic pin-axles on the tree carriage and locomotive.

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By in South Korea,

Is it called "Winter Holiday Train" because "Christmas Train" is a bit too blatantly christian?

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By in Australia,

I *want* to like this train, since I love Lego trains normally, but the more I look at this, the less I want it.

It is very small (I like the final carriage as a caboose, but as a passenger carriage? It's woefully underwhelming). The platform is basically a plank with a lamp-post beside it. The engine I could forgive, but I think the colour scheme is a *mess*. The last holiday train looked like the designers had put blindfolds on before grabbing pieces at random from the black, white, green and red bins ... and for this train, they've kept that process but added the blue and gold bins.

And I think my biggest gripe against this train is that it just looks like a toy train. I know it *is* a toy train, but the other parts of the Winter Village looked like a small-scale Christmas themed town, and this train doesn't look like it's a part of that environment, it just looks like a toy train.

I'm probably still gonna buy this, but I can't say that I'm a huge fan, no. I think they've done better in the past.

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By in Canada,

@The_Jewy: I agree. LEGO has a policy of "no religious sets", but they make Christmas and Easter sets, which both are clearly religious holidays. I disagree with LEGO's position on religion and instead I feel they should make religious sets for all religions, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists (etc.). I personally would love a Nativity scene set, and seeing that LEGO won't make it, I'm going to MOC it.

@Venunder: I agree. I bet $20 that next year WV set is the train station. I am buying this year's set so if next year's set is the matching station, I'll buy that set too.

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By in New Zealand,

GB£70 = NZ$125.
US$100 = NZ$140.
Actual NZ price? $180.

Yep. Screwed again. That'll be another one to pass on.

Not a good year so far. I have $500 per month that I could spend on LEGO, but not at rip-off prices. As a result I've spent a tiny fraction of that when I've been able to get a significant discount.

Don't TLG realise that their business would be even *more* successful and *more* profitable if they adopted a fair pricing policy? Basic economics seems to elude them...

EDIT : I should add ... thanks for the review! Good to see direct comparisons made against similar earlier trains.

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By in United States,

Wow, the train's much bigger than I thought it was. 700ish pieces for $100 doesn't sound as bad anymore. That rotating tree is also genius. Not much of a train person but might have to get this.

Potential fix for the connection between cars: the original connection sandwiched between two of these (http://brickset.com/parts/4140326), attached with 1x2 axles, and with a 1x1 bush filling in the gap on the tender.

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By in Australia,

Does the link between locomotive and tender fall apart when the train is running/being pushed around the track?

I have wanted a train for my winter village for a long time and I have to say I was a bit disappointed when it was first revealed, but I still like it and will be getting one and modifying it. I want to extend the engine slightly so that the power functions will be better hidden, add a real passenger car and make the caboose look more like a caboose. Since I have no experience with trains it will probably take me a while but thanks to those generous souls who are willing to share their ldd files - thanks Murdoch17! - there are enough resources around for me to work it out.

From this new perspective I am now thrilled with this set as the basis for building the train I wish for - it is certainly better than trying to bricklink the original holiday train or designing one from scratch (for me). And my kids will love it no matter what, so I will probably build it as is this year and extend it as one of next year's projects.

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By in United States,

This model looks great! I feel like it could have been better had it been at a larger scale, but as pointed out by CapnRex101, it would have looked rather out of place next to the rest of the Winter Village themed buildings. Currently we are using 10233 Horizon Express as the train to circle our tree and we rather like it, so I don't think we will be replacing it with this one, but let that not be a testament against the model. It's just a matter of sentiment. Besides, this way I can put that $100 towards one of the multiple sets still waiting on my "To-get-one-day-but-too-expensive-for-now" list. :P

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By in United States,

Saw this at the Lego store today and just loved it, it looks so good! I do think the price is a tad high for what it is, but I will still be getting it. I don't have any train sets so I was excited to see this when it was announced. One of these days I'll have a proper winter village layout.

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By in Canada,

Looks great, already ordred mine. In a perfect world it would be larger and with better/more cars, but this is a good starting point for me to work on.

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By in United States,

@ggfile the "Easter" sets are all eggs and bunnies, hardly christian. What gets me is on the official description for this set, the rotating "holiday tree." Really??

It would be awesome to see a WV church, but that will never happen either. Still, this is a cute set and I'm still wavering whether to get it or not.

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By in New Zealand,

Block and Roll is spot on with the price comparisons, but he misses another key point: for the privilege of paying 31-44% over the UK/USA/Euro prices, we have to wait for several months before these sets appear in our shops.

Is it just me, but I have been trying to login to shop.LEGO.com for several days specifically to purchase this set, but all I get is notification that 'an unexpected error has occurred - contact customer service'.

I would really like to hear if there is some way of fixing this. I have used MS Edge and Chrome browsers, multiple computers, and cleaned out the cookies using C-Cleaner.

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By in Sweden,

This train set is cute, but for the price asked I would expect a much bigger train and power functions. So this is a pass for me.

@Block-n-Roll: It's quite funny how they try to gloss over these price hikes when fans complain at the official online store. Personally I have reduced my purchases significantly, and make a bigger effort to find discounted sets. I usually manage to get 20-50% rebates on sets I want, although I do have to wait longer to get them.

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By in New Zealand,

Something that CapnRex1010 missed out from his very thorough review is that the set comes with a spare red blind-driving train wheel without flange. A set of three red driving-wheels has only been seen in 7597 Western Train Chase.

Purchasing two of this winter train will give you two sets of red wheels; something I am wanting as part of my Mallard A4 MOC.

http://brickset.com/parts/4584104
http://brickset.com/sets/7597-1/Western-Train-Chase

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By in United States,

Nice review! I'm really torn about this. Like others I'll probably get it, but I do have the original and I'm not sure I'll like this one as much.

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By in United States,

The bench a lamp post are included because it's become an identifier for the winter village sets. Five of the seven (I don't count the Toy Shop re-release nor the original train) have a bench and lamp. It's not unlike the white lamp post in the modulars. On the Winter Village sets, however, it seems the designers are in competition for lamp style.

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By in Belgium,

Lovely looking set, but not worth the price range. Over here it's €104,99 :/

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By in United Kingdom,

Most cost effective way to motorise is probably to buy 60051 and you also get loads more track and hundreds of extra parts. I'm pretty sure that should have everything you need, and often (and currently) a third off at amazon. So £65 or so.

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By in United States,

Good review CapRex. Looking forward to your power functions update because that is what I plan on doing as well.

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By in United Kingdom,

@ra226 I made a Winter Village church for Ideas. Called it a "castle keep" to get round the rules. ;o)

https://ideas.lego.com/projects/88167

See "updates" for better images. Thinking of resubmitting it soon, with a slightly improved design and a much better presentation. Maybe even a YouTube video.

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By in United States,

@THE_JEWY: That may be a factor but it's probably not the only factor, since LEGO does have plenty of other recent products with Christmas in the name. It's worth noting that Russia and some other countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union associate traditions like the Christmas tree more with the New Year than with Christmas due to early 20th century anti-religious legislation. Another factor in the name might just be to better associate this set with the Winter Village series, which has always had "winter" in the name rather than "Christmas".

Anyway, this is certainly a nice set with a really festive color scheme and cute proportions. I especially love the toy train that goes around the tree! But I haven't collected any of the previous Winter Village sets and this set doesn't really compel me to start.

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By in United Kingdom,

I just ordered 60051 and train station 60050 from Asda George as it's spend £50 and get £10 off or spend £100 and get £20 off. So if you pick up in store, it's less than £87 for the pair. Or £60 for the train and £27 for the station. I just want to be able to motorise the Xmas train, but this is by far the most cost effective way to do it.

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By in Sweden,

I think it's quite lovely. The only thing I'd want to really change is to make the passenger car longer (as long as the locomotive at least) so it can fit a few more people and have a bit more detail to it.

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By in United States,

The review refers to a "guard van". In the United States, we'd call it a caboose.
Also, Christmas trees don't have "leaves". They have needles.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not familiar with power funtions at all - Does anyone know if you you could motorize this effectively with 8293-1?

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By in United Kingdom,

@PDelahanty - Pine needles are a type of leaf and I used the term 'guard's van' as I am British, although I acknowledge that this is obviously an American-style train.

@stecre - Unfortunately not. The AA Battery Box is too large for a small train like this one and it would require extensive modification to use the pieces in 8293 Motor Set.

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By in United Kingdom,

@CapnRex101 Thanks for the clarification. Such a shame there's not a combo-kit available with all the relevant PF parts for a combined-but-slightly-reduced price.

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By in United States,

@ggfile
Well, I can sort of understand why LEGO doesn't do religious sets. You'd have to come up with products for every religion, or you might wind up alienating/offending some customers. It also is designed to be for everybody religious or not. Plus LEGO doesn't mind if you build things that are religious with their bricks. The Brick Bible is on shelves re-telling the stories from Genesis to Revelation and it's apparently okay for LEGO since it was made by a fan with their imagination. MOCS of churches and cathedrals are also quite common.
Now as to why they have Easter and Christmas as sets they sell despite them being holidays that are Christian, I think it's because there's also a non-Christian part to it. For Easter you have things like the Easter Bunny, and for Christmas you have things like Santa and gift giving.

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By in United Kingdom,

@SimonJohnson Ooh, don't tempt me! Having seen all the detail in the review I'm really rather keen on this winter train... it really is very charming. I think that as others have said, being unfamiliar with Lego trains (and Winter Village) is an asset; if you collect either you'll naturally compare this to what's gone before. I'd have preferred it to come bundled with the necessary motorising kit, but I'm open to compromises...

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By in Canada,

Must buy for my family. I don't actually have any track, so that's really a nice bonus to get --- can run the Hogwarts Express and Ghost Train on it, too. Planning to put the track on a sheet of plywood and arrange the winter village (less the fair, didn't buy that) inside/around it. Tape or glue down some plates to put all the little extra bits on and really arrange it. The train is a perfect cap to the entire thing.

Didn't LEGO used to do their powered trains with a more simplistic setup? It'll be eighty bucks Canadian to buy the four power functions bits needed, and it seems foolishly high.

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By in Belgium,

Thanks for the review, I've already ordered it, haven't got the original and it would be fun to have a designated part that my husband can (read: is allowed) to do while I make the rest of the scene :-)

I like the colours but don't like the coat on the woman. When I saw it, I thought it was the Penguin one, but couldn't really believe it. It just doesn't feel very female (especially with the tie, like you pointed out). I wish Lego would make some more different female torsos.

Thanks for the review. I'm whistling 'Mistletoe and Wine' now, so it's definitely got me in the right mood.

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By in United States,

Cute set. I will likely get it. I was designing my own train last year, but put it on hold when I heard the rumors about this one. I will just get this and beef it out instead of starting from scratch (Lone Ranger train as a base).

The colors are neat, but definitely a bit too much variety. But that can be said about a lot of their sets. The Market Fair especially has a wide range of colors.

I would like it if they would keep a similar lamppost for ALL of the sets instead of a new version each time. It can't really be a village if nothing is consistent, can it?

The price is a tad high for what you get, but that's LEGO for you. I wouldn't expect anything else.

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By in United States,

The coupling between the engine and the tender seems like an attempt at an improvement only because, I've found, too often the magnets just don't hold well enough, especially with the power functions in place. So, kudos for trying but, not entirely aesthetic.

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By in United States,

$100 is a lot for this set (really $95 if you are Lego VIP) but I can justify buying it if I wait for Black Friday weekend, when I can get a small holiday set for free with purchasing this set.

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By in New Zealand,

@FlagsNZ : I'm not really too concerned about the delay in sets reaching us, I just wish we got fair pricing. No more, no less. And I'm disappointed that any correspondence on the subject with LEGO's "customer service" robots only elicits a copied and pasted stock reply, which manages to be condescending, patronising and insulting. It seems the company is so big now that they simply believe they can act this way without compunction.

@Dude45 : I can't remember when I last bought anything at full retail price. I normally only buy when there's at least 20-25% off, occasionally at 15% off if it's something I really want. But even with a discount, some sets are a definite "No way, José!" (yeah, I'm eyeballin' you, Death Star Parody Set.)

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By in United Kingdom,

Instead of spending £46.97 on just the parts to power up the train, set 60051 is currently £64.97 on Amazon.co.uk and has all the parts required to power up the train. I purchased 60051 in readiness for this set to come out and I for one cannot wait for the review on the powered up locomotive :)

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By in United Kingdom,

I got this the other day and really want to power it but do not like the look of the grey IR receiver replacing the green side of the train - are there other options to do this?

I have seen the S brick that looks smaller and bluetooth based if not official, looks like that could be built into the cab and hidden away!?

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By in United States,

I absolutely love the Winter Village series and I also absolutely love trains. Even more so I am a huge fan of anything at all that's Christmas related. But honestly I really don't like this set much. It's too small, too expensive, and has too many flaws. It's the only Winter Village set I'm not buying. :(

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By in Netherlands,

I already own this set, but I still have to build it. And I'm going to motorize it, I already have the parts for that at home.

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