Review: 10260 Downtown Diner (1)

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LEGO releases hundreds of products every year but I think the annual Modular Building remains the most anticipated of all, at least among adult fans. The range celebrated its tenth anniversary with 10255 Assembly Square last year and now makes a welcome return, bringing an entirely different kind of building to the street scene.

10260 Downtown Diner is unique among the Modular Buildings released so far, featuring an unmistakable Streamline Moderne architectural design which is defined by an abundance of horizontal and vertical lines as well as rounded edges. Such a dramatic change did not meet with universal approval when the set was announced but I have been looking forward to it very much, not least because the set represents such an interesting style of architecture.

This is an enormous set, containing 2480 pieces, so we have decided to publish our review in two parts. The first concerns the six minifigures included as well as construction of the diner.

Box and Contents

The model is displayed against sunny skies on the front of the box and a couple of palm trees can be seen in the background, befitting the distinctive American style of the diner. A pair of inset images show how the upper floors can be removed to reveal the interior as well as the dimensions of the model, which measures 25cm wide and 35cm in height.

Some fans have expressed concern that 10260 Downtown Diner will not match the previous Modular Buildings given its unique architecture. Nevertheless, the model is shown on display beside both 10255 Assembly Square and 10251 Brick Bank on the back of the box, among a collection of images exhibiting finer details from both the interior and exterior.

The box contains twenty bags, numbered from one to five, as well as a single instruction manual with exactly 200 pages. Fortunately, no stickers are included as all the decorated elements are printed, as we have come to expect of the Modular Buildings range in recent years. It would have been nice to see a little history of the Streamline Moderne style or an interview with the set designer, Mike Psiaki, but no such features are included.

View image at flickr

Minifigures

Six minifigures populate the set, the first of whom works as a chef at Jim's Diner on the ground floor. Presumably, this is Jim given his important role in the restaurant and he is appropriately dressed for working at the grille, wearing a white jacket and an angled cap. Jim's head features some dark tan facial hair and is very rare, having only previously appeared in 21310 Old Fishing Store, so I am pleased to see it again here.

The waitress also includes a couple of rare parts, perhaps the most notable of which is her black hair piece. This ponytail style was introduced, appropriately, for the Diner Waitress from the eleventh series of Collectable Minifigures but has only been available in black once before. Her torso is printed with a nice striped shirt and the waitress also wears a pair of red roller skates, evoking the 1950s era upon which this entire set is based.

View image at flickrThe waitress also includes a couple of rare parts, perhaps the most notable of which is her black hair piece. This ponytail style was introduced, appropriately, for the Diner Waitress from the eleventh series of Collectable Minifigures but has only been available in black once before.


View image at flickr

Two further minifigures are dressed for the boxing gym situated above the diner. The female figure has blonde hair and wears a lime green tracksuit which would be ideal for weightlifting or jogging. This torso first appeared in 60153 People Pack - Fun at the Beach, much like the blue and white striped shirt worn by the waitress as well as the boxer's dual-moulded legs. The head features a smiling expression on one side and a weary face on the other.

View image at flickr

Boxers are not usually associated with bold hairstyles but that is certainly the case here as this figure sports a textured reddish brown hair piece. I think it would look better in a ginger colour to match the moustache and eyebrows. Some muscle definition is printed on the front of the torso but there is no detail on the back, unfortunately. However, I like the red boxing gloves and his blue shorts look marvellous too.

View image at flickr

The final minifigures are working in the recording studio on the top floor of the building. The woman is dressed in a grey suit with a striking purple scarf and is shown at the mixing desk on the packaging so could be a record producer or the singer's manager. I rather like her dark orange hair and the double-sided head is perfect, featuring a smile for when she is happy with the recording and a frustrated expression for whenever things go wrong!

View image at flickr

A new head is used for the singer and this also includes two expressions, showing a charming smile on one side and an open mouth for singing on the other. His dark brown quiff seems to be a tribute to Elvis and the sequined jacket certainly seems like something that 'the King' would have enjoyed wearing, especially in combination with a pink shirt underneath. The singer comes complete with a red guitar which does not include printed strings, unusually.

Almost every previous Modular Building has included minifigures featuring the classic smiley faces but they have withdrawn in favour of more expressive designs for this set. The original smiles are undoubtedly charming so it is a little disappointing that they are no longer in use for the Modular Buildings range. On the other hand, these new faces convey a great deal of emotion so are perhaps more suitable for story telling and it should not be too difficult to find six of the classic smiling heads should you wish to replace them.

Construction

Construction begins at the base of the model, as is customary for the Modular Buildings. The structure is built upon a tan 32x32 baseplate and this stage of construction consists primarily of laying tiles to form the floor of the ground level and the pavement outside. I invariably find this very interesting as studs are scattered liberally among the tiles, the reason for some of which will not become apparent until later.

View image at flickr

The new teal parts are introduced very quickly, making up the walls of the diner. Over 100 such pieces are included, ranging from 1x3 and 1x4 bricks to plates and curved tiles. These will undoubtedly prove very popular, although I was disappointed to find some slight colour variation between the 1x3 and 1x4 bricks. The difference is very subtle but can be seen under certain light conditions so I am hoping this will be rectified for future production runs.

View image at flickr

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of constructing a Modular Building is the frequent change of focus. One step might involve stacking bricks to build the wall while the next concerns the assembly of some furniture. That is certainly the case in this set and the ground floor includes a particularly impressive selection of smaller models, the most notable of which is the diner bar. Click hinges are ingeniously used to join the counter to the plinth underneath, allowing the designer to include a curved edge that matches the external walls.

View image at flickr

The cooker hood is also very clever in its construction, using two light bluish grey tipping beds attached upside down. A couple of rare red 1x1 round tiles with vertical shafts are found here and 1x2 inverted slopes fit reasonably neatly on either side, although tiny gaps remain. Fitting the next layer of bricks over the hood is very satisfying and this assembly is remarkably sturdy when completed.

View image at flickr

Rounded windows are a defining feature of Streamline Moderne architecture and this structure makes good use of some relatively new pieces, including 4x4 curved tiles at the corner and 1x3 bow bricks. I was surprised at the relative simplicity of this window but the result looks superb, leaving absolutely no studs visible from the exterior!

View image at flickr

Conversely, the curved roof structure is deceptively complicated, featuring two layers of bricks placed sideways with a layer of plates and tiles in between. Black columns support the floating part of the roof and slotting each of the sections together is incredibly satisfying. Like the window below, no studs are left exposed once all of the bricks and tiles are in place, leaving a perfectly smooth edge around the entire roof.

View image at flickr

Modular Buildings often include some lettering which is constructed using a combination of plates and tiles. However, the Downtown Diner features unusually bold signage without any visible supports. I was therefore expecting these letters to be quite fragile but was pleasantly surprised. Each one is fitted to bricks with studs on the sides and they remain rigid, even when removing and replacing the upper floors which fit behind the sign.

View image at flickr

The next level accommodates a small boxing gym. Construction of the walls is very simple but does not become boring as some furniture for the room is built at the same time, including the boxing ring. This features a 6x6 tile representing the canvas which has only appeared in red a couple of times before. Furthermore, the water cooler assembly is rather clever as the bottle is fitted upside down using a trans-clear 1x1 round tile with vertical shaft.

View image at flickr

Windows were first introduced to LEGO sets in 1954 and an array of different elements and techniques have been used when building these important architectural features since then. Nevertheless, the designer of this set has found yet another interesting method for creating windows, using 1x2 panels and arch bricks to set them back into the wall. This leaves about a quarter of the width of a tile to represent the window ledge. The result looks fantastic and each window is held in place effectively, despite the lack of any stud connections.

View image at flickr

A number of studs, to which the facade is attached, remain exposed along the front wall at this stage of construction. It is surprising that this technique has not been used more often in past sets as it is quite simple, using rows of tiles to form a brickwork texture. The gaps between the tiles are more apparent than those between standard bricks, leaving visible mortar joints which look impressively realistic.

View image at flickr

Slotting each floor into place is very satisfying. The staircase from the pavement lines up perfectly with the door to the gym and the curved teal pieces along the right hand side of the building match those on the ground level exactly. Once again, very few studs remain exposed once the first floor is complete and I think that works well here as smooth surfaces and curved shapes are vital to this form of architecture.

View image at flickr

A spiral staircase is fitted to the rear of the model and allows access to the second floor. Wrought iron external staircases have appeared in several previous Modular Buildings but this design is distinctive, using 1x4 panels with a lattice pattern to form the treads. A single Technic axle runs through the core of the spiral, ensuring absolute stability for what initially appears to be a somewhat fragile assembly.

View image at flickr

Building the second floor feels familiar during its early stages. Most of the windows line up with those on the level below and the walls are similarly constructed using standard bricks as well as a few bricks with studs on the side. These include some tan 1x2x1 2/3 bricks with studs on the side which are new in this colour and could prove useful for other creations.

View image at flickr

This stage of construction also features a selection of innovative building techniques. I like the round windows beside the recording studio which look relatively simple at first glance. In fact, these are built using 1x4 arches placed both the right way up and upside down to form a circle. Trans-clear 2x2 sliders are then placed inside the arches, rather like the windows on the sides of the building. The windows do not fit perfectly so rattle around slightly but they look splendid and add some visual interest to this wall.

View image at flickr

The alternating brickwork course is consistent between the first and second floors, showing magnificent attention to detail on the part of the designer. It is pleasing to see some of the new foliage pieces in this set, including the flowers with five petals in three different colours, the bright green leaves and a couple of the new stalk components which are used in the flowerpots along the pavement on the ground level.

View image at flickr

A glazed curtain wall runs for the entire height of the first and second floors and this is enclosed by an attractive rounded frame at the top. 5x5 round corner bricks have only appeared in dark azure and red before now so it is pleasing to have another colour in this set. The curved shape continues onto the roof where clips are used to fit two 5x5 round wall panels, lining up seamlessly with the impressive window at the front.

View image at flickr

Clips are equally vital to the attachment of the decorative parapet along the front edge of the roof. This is constructed upside down and includes a row of 1x2 click hinges which create some delightful texture. Attaching the radio antenna to the top of the roof and completing the Downtown Diner itself brings the entire building experience to a perfect conclusion, although the final part of the set remains to be constructed!

View image at flickr

The last few pages of the instruction manual are focused upon the car. Its design is fairly similar to that of the vehicles found in 71006 The Simpsons House and 71016 Kwik-E-Mart, with a chassis measuring six studs wide and offset seating inside. This is a very effective use of space and I am quite pleased with the level of detail included as brackets are used to fit the front and rear bumpers.

View image at flickr

Inspiration for the car has been taken from the 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, driven most famously by Elvis Presley, so creating adequately flowing bodywork is of paramount importance. Pink 1x3 jumper plates with two studs have therefore been introduced for this set and are used to fit the tan headrests behind each of the front seats. The 1x2 plates with Technic pin holes on either side of the bonnet have not appeared in pink before either.

Overall

A great deal of expectation is always placed upon the Modular Buildings, not only in relation to their appearance when completed but also to their construction. 10260 Downtown Diner certainly does not disappoint in that respect as another innovative building technique is found on almost every page of the instruction manual. My favourites include the counter inside the diner, the wrought iron fire staircase, the windows on the side of the building and the curved roof structure above the recording studio.

The entire building experience is thoroughly enjoyable and I hope I have provided you with a flavour of that in the first part of this review. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.View image at flickr

Part two of the review focuses upon the completed model and includes my final thoughts on 10260 Downtown Diner. You can read part two here.

 

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39 comments on this article

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By in Norway,

Finally!:)

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By in United States,

The pink car is amazing

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By in France,

Thanks for starting this review! A question about the height: it's 35 cm tall with the antenna but what about the height without? Is the Downtown Diner as tall as the Brick Bank or taller?

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By in United States,

Looks like a really neat build! I wasn't sure about it when I first saw it, but every time I see it, this building grows on me a little bit. Already excited to be getting it, and by the end of the build process it may just end up being my favorite modular!

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By in Denmark,

I don’t think this is a modern building. To me it looks like a building from around 1900 which has been “modernised” many decades ago.

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By in United States,

This is my 9th Modular Building, and overall I am very pleased, but there are a few things I'm unsure of, perhaps this is better for the second part of the review, but oh well. I love the 50's style diner aspect and the dark turquoise colors that are used. I don't think I'm 100% pleased with the roof as I've come to expect some extra fancy designs, but it isn't terrible. The brick on the side I wasn't very happy with until I built it and saw how it all fits together. I think this could have very easily been a corner building and it is serving that purpose in my display ATM. Perhaps a custom 16 stud sidewalk+curb parking? I'm also unsure about the tan baseplate. I do not recall if green baseplates are being produced this year, but it just felt odd since there isn't the typical foliage on the backside of the build. It made me think of it being near the beach. Either way, it was a fun build, a good addition to my collection, and there were a lot of fun and new pieces!

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By in United States,

Such a beautiful set. The diner and the boxing gym look amazing. my favorite is the boxing ring and the gumball machine.

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By in United States,

This honestly is one of my top favorite modular buildings. I haven't gotten it yet, but after seeing more photos and reading or watching reviews, I am highly anticipating grabbing a copy. I think the design and style are brilliant! Way to go Lego for changing things up on us.

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By in Switzerland,

I really love the shapes and colors of this modular! This one is very different from the others and well designed... Nice review by the way ;)

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By in United States,

I thoroughly enjoyed this building experience, filled as it is with unconventional attachments, a vibrant color palette and creative use of parts, though I’m curious what others think of the departure from the modular building precedent of only using classic faces? I feel that the mixing in of new architectural styles is fun and realistic - most American cities are a jumble of architectural styles from different periods, and in my experience many European cities are too, so having a few different styles on the same street isn’t jarring to me. What is a little jarring is suddenly having a variety of facial expressions. What is it about the Diner that allows the citizens to express multiple emotions, grow facial hair, etc? Is Jim putting something in the food? Is it the power of rock and roll? Rather than concoct a Pleasantville-style narrative to explain how the Downtown Diner brought varied emotions to the little town of LEGOville, I think I’ll order some classic faces to bring cohesion back to my streetscape.

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By in China,

I WAITED SO LONG FOR THIS REVIEW!!! I refreshed the site a couple of times a day since the official announcement.
Great review, this is a Must-Buy for me! I love the 50' style and the teal colour. I have only 10 teal bicks from my childhood at home, so I welcome the comback. I'm only a bit sad to see the classic smiley faces go. They gave so much nostalgia to the series.

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By in United Kingdom,

Ok, I can't be the only one who really wants to put Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in the boxing ring...

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By in United States,

You didn't note the mismatching colors of different teal bricks as JANG has done in his review. Has the problem been corrected or overlooked?

And goodness, I'm not fond of that teal front tower fascia nor the cludgy front window lintels for fitting streamline moderne architecture— but that DINER sign makes me shudder worse. Otherwise, this has a few nice architectural additions to the collection even if it is a weird entry as not-quite-a-corner-building and not-quite-ideal-as-a-side-to-side-building.

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By in United States,

I got this set yesterday and it does not disappoint. Then again, I am a huge fan of both Art Deco and modular buildings, so this set was definitely for me.

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By in United Kingdom,

@sebitsena - The 35cm height is measured to the top of the antenna and 10260 Downtown Diner is just a single plate taller than 10251 Brick Bank when the parapets are lined up.

@quixotequest - I did mention the colour variation of the teal. The 1x3 bricks are a slightly different shade to the 1x4 bricks, unfortunately.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks @CapnRex101 for a great review, and apologies everyone for the delay in posting it.

We believe that LEGO is sending us a review sample but it, and other 2018 sets, have not been received yet so we had to wait until CapnRex101 could purchase it on the day of release and, of course, build and photo it, which isn't a 5-minute job.

I hope you think it was worth the wait.

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By in Sweden,

I got this for my birthday! Sadly it hasn’t arrived yet... I can’t wait

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By in United States,

What a beautiful set and as always, CapnRex, great review! Wonderful photos. I am fascinated at new building techniques when it comes to windows. Thanks for covering this.

I had just watched JANGBRiCKS' video review of the set last night. Maybe you could add it to your conclusion of the review.

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By in Norway,

Is the boxer's head double-sided? I want to make Dr. Watson and it's perfect if he can wear a bowler hat.

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By in United States,

Can't wait to build this. Definitely want to mod it a touch to make it a corner. Looks like alotta' fun to build!

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By in Denmark,

Looks like Peach Pit from the tv-series Beverly Hills.

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By in Indonesia,

The car looks like something from Lego City Undercover.
Great building as well :)

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By in United Kingdom,

I truly love this set. The style is awesome.
And can I just say no stickers! Brought a big smile to my face.

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By in United States,

This build exudes FUN and I certainly had fun putting it together. The pinnacle of the build is certainly the diner itself and it leaves no disappointment. A MOC expansion of this space would certainly be warranted: more booths (window-side, especially) along with posters and signage. Overhead, pendulum lighting could be added as well.

Great modular!

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By in United Kingdom,

Good job Chris! I really like the change of style to the architecture here. The colours are fab and the build looks really interesting. Will definitely be grabbing this when funds allow.

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By in United States,

Great review, Chris! I'm very impressed you got this review completed so quickly. I can't wait to build this.

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By in Philippines,

Sigh........ definitely another must buy...... time to bust the wallet again...........

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By in Norway,

I miss the classic smiley faces!

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By in Ireland,

When i needed to get stud pieces to customize the floors of the modular sets to pose my minifigs, this set doesn't impress me in that regard. The almost stud-less diner floor is so bad for sitting/posing your minifigs in it in general, same thing to the 'carpets' in the gym compartment, can they not give some red 1-stud pieces for us to stand/pose our minifigs properly?

The whole building is just dull in building techniques, the stairs and windows are cool and that's about it. Barely any unique pieces, and they cant even match the teal colour consistently. It is a disappointing set for me it looks like Lego took a few steps backward from detective officer, brick bank and assembly square, when those sets are overwhelmed by details and play/story features.

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By in Germany,

I will get the set someday, but I don't feel a great urgency to do so at the moment.
The mismatch of the teal coloured pieces isn't a new problem. My Detective's Office had the same problem with the medium blue pieces. The sad part is, a friend bought the Lepin rip-off, and his bricks have absolutely no problem with colour variations. How can a rip-off company produce better bricks than the original?

Other than that, I don't mind the change in architectural style, as my modulars are not displayed as a street row, but rather on separate boards in an IKEA Detolf display cabinet.
What I do dislike is the minfig faces. The OCD part in me will throw the ones used in the parts bin in exchange for classic smiley faces. Some traditions shouldn't be broken imho.

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By in United States,

Great review of a great set!

Interesting that the round windows are loose in the frames. When I was trying to reverse engineer the set from early pictures, I accidentally stumbled upon a solution that I thought the set itself used—using 1x1 plates with vertical clips on the sides between the arches, and wedging the studs of the boat studs around the clips. The result is quite secure, though in hindsight that connection might not be legal due to the height of a plate being slightly wider than the distance between two studs.

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By in United States,

@CapnRex101 - Good review, especially with your work on part 2. My apology for overlooking that you had pointed out the mismatching teal problem.

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By in Sweden,

I like that they’re trying something new here, but I don’t like the jukebox style architecture and think it would seem out of place with my other modulars. Maybe on its own in a separate part of my city it could work out.

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By in United Kingdom,

Any one else think that the boxer is the spitting image of Ron 'Anchorman' Burgundy?

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By in United Kingdom,

Is this the first time that modular building figures have more expressive, printed faces?

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By in Denmark,

Nice review!

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By in Germany,

@enamic5: simply answer, yes.
(Unfortunately imho I might add).

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By in United Kingdom,

@enamic5 - 10190 Market Street also included minifigures with expressive faces, although there is often debate about whether that can truly be considered part of the series.

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By in Netherlands,

I’ve Just finished mine, and am Very impressed. Yes there are more beautiful modulars, But this one has some very nice builds and looks the part as well, imho. The stairs at the back takes the prize for the coolest find.

Btw: mine doesnt use 2x1 clickhinges in the roof, but 4x1 double click hinges!

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