You can always guarantee that there will be a level of anticipation when it comes to the release of a new LEGO Ideas set. After all, by definition at least 10,000 people must have been sufficiently motivated to log in to the LEGO Ideas website, vote for a project and fill in a brief questionnaire in order for an Ideas set to ever exist in the first place. That having been said, has there ever been a LEGO Ideas set which has been as eagerly anticipated as 21310 Old Fishing Store? Not by me, certainly; there have been a number of Ideas sets to date that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on, notably 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 and 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V, but my enthusiasm for the Old Fishing Store exceeded even those. I’m therefore delighted to be able to bring you a review of the set ahead of its official release on September 1st.
Box & Contents
The front of the box (above) features an image of the completed build superimposed on a coastal scene. The image is framed and presented against a backdrop of weathered sand green planks, with a fishing rod, reel and float thrown in for good measure. The top of the box features a full inventory of the 2,049 elements contained within the set, although this is partially obscured in my review copy by damage inflicted by the hapless courier who delivered it. The back of the box (below) offers, amongst other things, an exploded view of the completed build plus a number of smaller panels which highlight some of the interesting features of the set.
The box is secured by tape seals. Box contents include sixteen numbered bags of elements, a tan 32 x 32 baseplate, and a single instruction booklet sealed in a bag alongside a small sticker sheet. The perfect bound instruction booklet is a substantial 276 pages from cover to cover. In addition to the building guide the booklet contains brief interviews with Robert Bontenbal, who submitted the original Ideas proposal for the Old Fishing Store, and Adam Grabowski, the LEGO designer who turned Robert’s design into a retail set. There’s also a 3-page inventory of elements and advertising for the LEGO Ideas website and a few of the currently-available Ideas sets. The inclusion of a sticker sheet (below) is unusual for an Ideas set; the sheet contains a total of 11 stickers.
The set contains four minifigures. The Captain (below, centre left) has what appears to be a new torso featuring an Aran jumper print. His cap, which has a Black Visor and Gold Braid Pattern, has only appeared once previously, as a part of the Series 10 Collectible Minifigures Sea Captain, while his head print with its grey beard, eyebrows, sideburns and stern expression has featured as a part of four different minifigures to date. The Fisherwoman (centre right) also appears to have a new and exclusive torso print, featuring a fishing gilet with multiple pockets and a couple of fly fishing hooks. Her dual-moulded sand blue and dark green legs also appear to be new, although her smiling headprint and her reddish brown hair featuring a ponytail have previous appeared as a part of many other minifigures.
Similar to the Captain and Fisherwoman, the Fisherman (far left) sports what appears to be a new torso print, in this case the top half of a pair of olive green dungarees or waders. The print matches up nicely with new dual-moulded olive green and dark blue legs at the front and back; it’s just a shame that the olive green print doesn’t also extend out to the sides of the torso. The head print also seems to be new, although the dark bluish grey cap has previously graced well over 100 minifigures. Finally, the Child (far right) has a dark azure torso with a print featuring a hoodie worn over a lime and green striped shirt. This torso has previously appeared as a part of only five minifigures, but the head print, short light bluish grey legs and white cap have appeared much more widely. Below you can see the four minifigures from behind with their hair and headgear removed; all four figures have nicely backprinted torsos, although there’s no backprinting on any of the heads.
The build is broken into seven stages. Stage 1 kicks off with assembly of the four minifigures, after which the foundations of the Old Fishing Store are constructed. The tan 32 x 32 baseplate upon which the store is built has only ever appeared in eight sets, most recently 10251 Brick Bank, while tan 2 x 2 corner tiles are only appearing in a set for the third time. A number of olive green elements make a welcome appearance during the build; 1 x 4 bricks are only appearing in a set for the fourth time in this colour, as are 2 x 2 plates, while olive green 1 x 2 masonry bricks are appearing in a set for the first time, and olive green 1 x 1 bricks have only appeared in three sets to date. The foundations, which incorporate a hidden spider and web, are reinforced by various arch bricks including a reddish brown 1 x 6 x 2 brick arch and a number of reddish brown 1 x 8 x 2 brick arches which are appearing in a set for the first and third time respectively. The foundations also feature reddish brown 1 x 2 x 2 bricks with inside stud holder which are appearing for the fourth time in this colour. The lower aspect of the store’s walls are made up of a pleasing mix of olive green, light bluish grey and dark bluish grey elements. There’s a nice rock effect at the base of the walls which is achieved via the use of a combination of light and dark bluish grey slopes including 45 degree 2 x 1 triple slopes and 65 degree 2 x 1 x 2 slopes. The area beneath the raised main deck on the left of the store is blocked in with a number of reddish brown 1 x 4 x 2 lattice fences, only previously seen in 10241 Maersk Line Triple-E in this colour; the fences are backed by black 1 x 4 x 2 panels which are only appearing in a set for the sixth time.
The Old Fishing Store comprises a main building on the right together with a tower which emerges from an area of decking on the left. Stage 2 of the build commences with tiling of the decked area; this utilises some dark tan 1 x 3 tiles printed with a wood grain and 4 silver nails pattern which have only previously appeared in a single LEGO Batman Movie set, as well as a few dark tan modified 1 x 4 plates with 2 studs which are only appearing in a set for the fifth time. With the decking completed attention shifts to the main building. A couple of olive green 1 x 8 bricks are sneaked into the build at this point as part of an internal wall; this is noteworthy as this element has only previously appeared in one set in this colour. The floor of the main building is split into two levels which are connected by a short brick-built staircase; both levels feature tiling which employs a dark tan and dark green checkerboard effect. Pairs of 1 x 1 tiles are substituted for 1 x 2 tiles on a number of occasions, which is irritating for those of us who have a compulsion to ensure that 1 x 1 tiles are always neatly aligned…. A dark tan 4 x 6 plate is incorporated into a small area of decking in front of the main building. This element has only previously appeared in 3 sets in this colour, and it’s quickly covered over with reddish brown and dark tan tiles together with the first appearance in this build of a medium dark flesh printed 1 x 4 tile with a wood grain and 3 silver nails pattern, an element that has only previously appeared in five sets. More of these printed tiles are laid down as part of a ramshackle staircase leading up to what will be the main entrance to the store.
The interior of the store starts to get some fixtures and fittings during Stage 3 of the build, including a counter made up of reddish brown containers and topped off with rare dark orange jumper plates. We see the first appearance of stickers at this point in the build; it wasn’t so long ago that stickers were entirely absent from Ideas sets, so their appearance here isn’t welcome. Next the walls of the main building are raised by a few bricks, predominantly with light bluish grey 1 x 2 and 1 x 4 SNOT bricks which will allow them to be clad with tiles later, and a side entrance and window, both with uncommon tan frames, are installed. The rear wall of the main building is hinged and can be swung open to reveal the interior; the outer aspect of the wall is decorated with a pearl gold tap first seen in 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, together with a pair of what appear to be pipes embellished with a couple of 1 x 1 printed tiles which represent pressure gauges. Attention then shifts to the tower section. The floor of what will be the tower is tiled with dark blue and medium dark flesh 1 x 1 tiles; the latter have only previously appeared in a single set. A desk made up of a reddish brown chest complete with medium dark flesh drawers is then installed; the chest and the drawers have both only previously appeared in five sets. The time has now come to start cladding the outside of the building. This is accomplished by way of sand green 1 x 2, 1 x 3 and 1 x 4 tiles; sand green 1 x 3 tiles are only appearing in a set for the fourth time. Some of the tiles are mounted on a single stud; this allows one end of the tile to be raised or lowered slightly so that it appears crooked, thus providing a run-down or ‘distressed’ appearance. Four flat silver fish hang from the front of the store, and a fifth is suspended above the side door.
The walls of the building continue to the raised during Stage 4 of the build, and more interior furnishings are added. Reddish brown and olive green 1 x 1 round tiles, the former which have only previously been included in five sets, are used to top off reddish brown pillars around the perimeter of the building, and reddish brown spindled 1 x 4 x 2 fences are installed around the edges of the main deck. The fences are topped off with tiles, including more of the medium dark flesh tiles printed with the wood grain pattern mentioned earlier. Moving to the interior, a cash register featuring a printed 45 degree 2 x 2 slope is assembled and placed on the counter in the store, along with a number of other bits and pieces including a trans-black bottle, a nice-looking lamp incorporating a rare white round 1 x 1 tile with with bar and pin holder, and a light bluish grey 1 x 1 tile printed with a calculator pattern. A printed yellow 1 x 1 tile which looks like a Post-it note is placed on top of the cash register; this element is only appearing in a set for the third time. A white life preserver hangs from a dark tan modified 1 x 2 brick with studs on 2 sides that is only appearing in a set for the fourth time in this colour.
A pair of light bluish grey 1 x 5 x 4 brick arches are combined to span the back of the main building, while at the front a main entrance which utilises the same tan frame and reddish brown door as the side entrance is installed, together with a front window. The front door is stickered with an ‘OPEN’ sign, and a flat silver fish is hung over the door. Red and white life preservers decorate the outside wall to the right of the door; the red life preserver is appearing in a set for the first time ever. Front, side and rear windows, all with tan frames, are then installed in the tower; the rear window is fitted with a trans-clear pane which is stickered with what looks like old newspapers. Lintels are constructed over the windows, and more SNOT bricks are laid down to further raise the walls of the building.
One of the things which struck me about the set when I first saw it was the sheer volume of standalone accessories both inside and out, and many of these are assembled during Stage 5 of the build, although most of the interior accessories are only installed at the very end of the build. Accessories include a sizeable anchor, chests, crates in various colours including rare yellow and light bluish grey examples, boxes, barrels and old tyres. The numerous receptacles are filled with tools and other items ranging from minifig scissors and grappling hooks to flippers and sticks of dynamite. There are even a few crates containing lobster or fish on a bed of ice made up of trans-clear cheese slopes and 1 x 1 tiles. One of the chests is decorated with a couple of 1 x 2 tan tiles printed with a picture of a fishing hook which appear to be exclusive to this set, while one of the boxes has a lid consisting of a printed medium dark flesh 2 x 2 tile that is only appearing in a set for the fourth time.
With a host of accessories now assembled, attention shifts to additional interior decoration in the form of pictures and maps represented by printed tiles, dark medium flesh nets only previously available in a single set, fishing rods, chains, red toolboxes only appearing in a set for the sixth time, a float incorporating a red 2 x 2 dome bottom brick only previously seen in three sets, diving gear, a lamp constructed from uncommon bright light orange elements, and a ton more besides. It has to be said that assembly and installation of the myriad of accessories plus all the interior decoration is time consuming and fiddly, and it can get a bit tedious after a while, but given that the alternative is a sparsely furnished interior it’s undoubtedly worth persevering.
With the interior largely complete the remainder of Stage 5 can be wrapped up at a significantly faster pace. The walls are further raised, and the sand green-clad upper part of the hinged rear wall is quickly constructed and attached, after which the main building’s reddish brown gables are assembled in preparation for the addition of the roof.
Stage 6 of the build is predominantly concerned with construction of the roof of the main building plus completion of the sand green cladding. It also heralds the appearance of a dark orange cat which has thus far been restricted to fewer than ten sets, and a trio of rather excellent rubbery seagulls which have only previously been included in a single set. A ramshackle canopy is attached at an angle over the front entrance to the store, and a printed 2x4 tile announcing “ANTON’S BAIT SHOP” is mounted on the canopy. The main roof consists of two sections joined together by a combination of hinged elements including dark brown modified 1 x 2 plates with a horizontal clip which have only previously appeared in six sets and medium dark flesh modified 2 x 3 tiles with 2 clips which have only previously appeared in five. Each roof section is made up of a patchwork of plates and tiles of various types and colours, a couple of which are stickered. These are arranged on top of reddish brown 6 x 16 plates which are only appearing in a set for the fourth time. The roof is held in place by gravity alone and I had occasional difficulties placing it correctly. A small chimney topped with a flat silver round 1 x 1 tile printed with a silver circle, which is only appearing in a set for the seventh time, is mounted on the roof, at which point Stage 6 is done.
We’re on the home straight now, with only Stage 7, which involves finishing up the tower, to go. The tower is a very straightforward build, with the main point of note being the large number of sand green tiles used for the cladding – this set is a dream come true if you’re a fan of sand green tiles…. The tower is modular, with both the upper section and the roof designed to be readily detachable. The viewing balcony near the top of the tower utilises a reddish brown 4 x 12 plate which I was surprised to discover has only previously appeared in six sets. More reddish brown spindled 1 x 4 x 2 fences are installed around the edges of the balcony, with a pair of bright light orange crabs providing an unusual but appropriate decorative touch.
The tower’s elongated pyramidal roof is a patchwork of black, reddish brown and dark bluish grey 45 degree slopes. It’s topped off with a weather vane featuring a light bluish grey cockerel which is only appearing in a set for the second time ever in this colour. The tower, and indeed the whole build, is completed by the addition of a white flag hanging out front and the construction of a nicely realised pearl gold telescope which is installed on the balcony. The telescope incorporates a number of pearl gold elements such as a round 1 x 1 plate with flower edge and a Technic 2L round pin connector with slot which are rare in this colour.
As previously described, the entire rear wall of the main building is hinged and swings open to provide access to the interior (below). As you can see from the picture, I wasn’t joking about the huge number of accessories – there’s barely room to move in there! I suspect that most people who buy this set will do so with the intention of displaying it, but thanks to the inclusion of four minifigures plus all these accessories there’s no shortage of play value should you feel so inclined….
I thought that the LEGO Ideas theme had probably peaked with the release of the outstanding 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V set earlier this year, but a mere matter of months later I reckon that LEGO has managed to raise the bar even further. The Old Fishing Store is a superb set – interesting to build, wonderful to look at, and an excellent parts pack to boot, containing a whole heap of sand green tiles, SNOT bricks and rare elements. It’s also a pretty faithful realisation of Robert Bontenbal’s original LEGO Ideas submission. The level of detail is amazing both inside and out, although the downside of this obsessive attention to detail is that construction of the accessories and interior is inevitably fiddly and time consuming, and may therefore end up being frustrating for some. No more frustrating than assembling a typical Modular Building, however, and in fact I found the Old Fishing Store to be as enjoyable to build and at least as accomplished as a Modular, which is pretty much the highest praise I can lavish on any LEGO set…..
21310 Old Fishing Store will be available from 1st September at a RRP of £139.99 / US$149.99 / €149.99. Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a review copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.