Review: LEGO House Pick-a-Model fish tanks

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We've looked at some of the of small polybags that are available exclusively at the LEGO House (here, here and here) and today I turn my attention to the pick-a-model sets that can be purchased in the shop there.

The pick-a-model initiative started in 2015 and has yielded 21 models so far. For those not familiar with the concept, they can be found near the pick-a-brick wall in brand stores and consist of a blister pack containing an instruction manual which you fill with the pieces needed from the wall, as directed by the parts list on the cover of the manual. A new one is introduced every 3 or 4 months.

I have heard that the generic pick-a-models are being discontinued in other stores, but location-exclusive ones like these, 3850033 Guardsman (Leicester Square) and 3850011 Statue of Liberty (New York) continue to thrive, it seems.

They are an expensive way to buy parts compared with by the tub so I've never bothered in the past but felt obliged to get these two given these are unique to the LEGO House store and contain some nice pieces.

The two models are, photographed with front panel removed:

3850060 Fish Tank

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3850061 Fish Tank

View image at flickr

As you can see there are some nice pieces in them, the 6x5 clear panels, the dark green sea grass, the black inverted curved slope, starfish and ice cream.

Normally one would pick the pieces yourself from the pab wall but when we visited the packs had been pre-filled. All the parts were in the wall, at least they were when the shop first opened, but needless to say the coolest parts were soon depleted; perhaps not surprisingly given the building was full of AFOLs. I would hope it's been restocked by now, though!

Instructions for both can be viewed at Brothers Brick.

Why fish in tanks, you may be asking... One of the coolest experiences in the LEGO house is the virtual fish tank. You build a fish from the huge selection of parts available, insert it into a machine to be scanned, add a face and other features digitally, then let is loose in a virtual fish tank to interact with other fish and objects in it. We'll tell you more about that in a future article.

Speaking of which, here are our plans for future LEGO House coverage:

  • Tomorrow, we hope to publish a review of the Architecture set 21037 LEGO House
  • Later this week we'll take a look at the history collection in the basement
  • Next week we'll cover the masterpiece gallery, the experience zones and the store before giving you our overall opinion of the house and the experience of visiting.

If you can't wait that long, Elspeth has written a nice piece over at The Brothers Brick.

12 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm a bit disappointed the promised coverage of the AFOL day hasn't materialised, and instead we're getting these piece-by-piece articles of the individual parts of the Lego house. Is that still coming?

Nevertheless, I do appreciate these articles, and it's nice to see what I'll get to experience when I do eventually visit. :) Thanks for the articles!

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By in United Kingdom,

Patience... there are only so any hours in the day :)

We decided to publish lots of small articles rather than one long one, to maintain interest for a few weeks and make it easier to write.

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By in Belgium,

These were my first PaMs ever, I did somewhat like the experience even though the shop was very busy on the testing day. ;-)

One great thing is that there are 1x1 trans-blue round studs in there, that led me to buy a cup. Others were buying multiple large cups of only those studs... Yay, water!

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By in United States,

These are fun! My OCD is kicking in with those plates not being pushed all the way down.

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By in France,

They are cute indeed. My 7 old daughter wants us to go to the Lego house just to get a chance to take them back home... I've promised that one day we will go to Denmark, see Lego House and Lego Park. Long term project for both French fans we are... I told her also to look carefully at the pictures, and see if we don't have all the necessary bricks in our spare parts... But for a few specific ones, but she's on her way creating her own fishes... I guess I'll check later if my SW sets on display are all complete! Thanks for review again.

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By in United Kingdom,

It'd be a shame if these didn't make their way out into the wider world.
They look great & I can see them ending up on people's desks as a wonderful decorative item.

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By in United States,

I've heard many people complain about the cost of these PaM "sets". Yes, it is more expensive than buying the individual pieces of the wall, however, it's close to the same price as a polybag I'd buy any day of the week.

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By in United States,

Adorable! Thanks for the pics. Awesome parts, and you can never go wrong with those clear panels.

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By in United Kingdom,

I was at Leicester Square last week, and the Guardsman was pre-filled; I was told this was because too many people were taking all the "good" parts. And I really wanted to give him a massive Busby too...

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By in United States,

If the things come prepackaged, why not just make some prepackaged ones (or even stick it in a polybag) and free up the space on the PaB wall?

Does LEGO not have common sense anymore?

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By in United Kingdom,

I do like the idea of official PAB models - I think I bought some pre-packaged ones once in Legoland Windsor, which were being given out in the park itself - oddly enough. Great parts selection in these fish tanks though - better than many others.

I can't pretend I'm not guilty of taking rare parts in the PAB. I've only done PAB 2 or 3 times ever in-store. One time there were trans dark red and trans dark purple gems in the wall - I promptly filled a large cup like the Smaug I am! I must like shiny things because on another occasion, I hoarded very many pearl gold 2x2 tiles to take away. I've not seen such good elements on any other occasions though.

I wouldn't half mind a good supply of the Windows from these fish tanks in my PAB cup, but the sets themselves would suffice. As many others have said they'd be a very good desk decoration.

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