Review: 10260 Downtown Diner (2)

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10260 Downtown Diner is an enormous set and is worthy of considerable discussion so we have decided to divide our review into two sections.

The first part was focused upon the minifigures as well as the building experience but now we are turning our attention to the completed model and I will also be summarising my opinions of the entire set.

The Completed Model

The Downtown Diner's distinctive Streamline Moderne architecture is immediately striking. I love the rounded window shapes and the bright splashes of teal and pink look magnificent, particularly against the relatively muted tan walls of the first and second floors. Teal returns in 2018 but appears to be used sparingly when the model is viewed from the front, being limited to the frame of the glazed curtain wall on the right hand side. In fact, almost the whole of the ground floor features teal walls which become more visible from other angles.

Modular Buildings have varied quite dramatically in size over the last eleven years. 10260 Downtown Diner lies somewhere in the middle of the range, measuring 35cm in height to the tip of the antenna and matching the roof height of 10251 Brick Bank very closely. Some have expressed concern that this model will not fit beside others in the range given its unique architecture. I would be inclined to agree, although it makes a welcome change from past designs. Personally, I think the model looks most impressive alongside 10246 Detective's Office as both buildings are very colourful and they are scaled together nicely.

The pavement outside features dark bluish grey tiles with a light bluish grey kerb so matches the other Modular Buildings perfectly. A white lamp post is also included along with some flower pots, a parking meter and a red mailbox. The flowers now feature five petals and are placed on new stalks with a pin underneath rather than the standard stud receptacle which should prove much more versatile. I also appreciate the inclusion of some exposed studs for posing minifigures as they walk past the diner.

View image at flickr

Stacks of trans-clear 1x1 bricks surround the entrance to the diner, representing frosted glass or tiny window panes. The door is printed with a sign reading 'open' on one side and 'closed' on the other as well as the name of the diner and an attractive metallic silver border. I like the pink door handle that matches the lettering on the roof and the teal frame looks marvellous, complementing the curved window and the white fascia that extends around the entire building at first floor level.

View image at flickr

The interior is absolutely packed with traditional features, including a black and white tiled floor, a long counter with a curved edge and even a candy machine! I think the limited space has been used quite efficiently as it contains many details, although the room does not look cluttered and there is plenty of space to place the minifigures inside. However, actually playing with the figures could prove difficult as the walls are fairly high.

View image at flickr

Perhaps the most iconic aspect of any American diner is the booth seating. That is recreated here using curved slopes and the red upholstery looks fantastic against the walls and floor, also coordinating with the colours of the bar stools. I like the curved light bluish grey and white table which matches the main counter and the booth includes a few condiments as well as a superb napkin dispenser. The pink stripe running around the walls is also very pleasing and four printed tiles, introduced for 10232 Palace Cinema, are fitted above.

View image at flickr

The serving area is equally detailed, featuring a large stove, a coffee machine and a counter with foot rails underneath. A couple of utensils are clipped to the rear wall over a small table for preparing food and there are two slices of bacon and a pancake already on the grille. It might have been nice to see the printed waffle tile make a return here but the plain 2x2 elements look good too. Soda fountains are also fitted to the bar counter and there is a delightful jukebox next to the stove which makes perfect use of curved tubes on top.

View image at flickr

An angled door allows access from the servery to the yard at the back of the diner. The lamp hanging above the doorway looks great and there are a couple of bins, one of which contains some yellow 1x1 round tiles, on either side of the door. Otherwise, this area is surprisingly plain at ground level but for the unsightly light bluish grey panels that form the back of the cooker. The cooker hood also extends to the rear which a bit awkward, although this is not visible from most angles and it looks brilliant inside.

View image at flickr

The first floor is accessed via a staircase to the left of the diner. This recessed area almost gives the model the appearance of a corner building when viewed from the front but Technic pins for attaching other sets are located on the side walls. I love the decorative fascia which continues around the side and onto the back of the structure, with beautiful teal and pink stripes lying between two white bands.

View image at flickr

An enormous sign advertises the diner from the roof of the ground floor. The pink lettering is much simpler than the designs seen in previous Modular Buildings but it looks wonderful, featuring a suitably bold colour scheme as well as a stylish font. Even the flat roof beneath the sign has been properly finished with some light bluish grey tiles and I like the brickwork texture on the first and second floors. Tan is an ideal choice for the walls as it looks fairly muted beside pink and teal so really draws attention to those brighter colours.

View image at flickr

A boxing gym is situated on the first floor and this includes a large boxing ring, a suspended punching bag and a weightlifting bench. I like the water cooler by the door but there are no cups stacked beside the machine which is a shame. The punching bag is attached to the wall using a ball joint with little friction so it will swing back and forth as a minifigure practices their boxing before entering the ring.

View image at flickr

The boxing ring features a red canvas and has plenty of room for two minifigures, although only one is included wearing gloves. The reddish brown ropes look splendid and a clock hangs from the wall for timing the length of each round, showing excellent attention to detail. A couple of dumbbell weights are held on a blue rack in the corner of the gym while the main barbell weight is supported by a frame above the bench.

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Wrought iron staircases are a consistent feature of the Modular Buildings range but this spiral design is perhaps the most impressive yet. I love the textured 1x4 panels which form the treads and the curved railing around the edge is absolutely fantastic, although an angled handrail would be more realistic. I do not think it would be possible to include such a feature using legal building techniques at this scale so the stepped railing is perfect.

View image at flickr

The tan brickwork continues up to the second floor on the front of the building but its uniform colour is broken up by reddish brown railings and a small balcony. I like the plants which add a splash of colour to this area of the model and the light bluish grey arches over the windows and door look superb, as do the tiny round windows set into the wall beside the balcony. A glazed curtain wall stretches across both of the upper levels and includes some decorative moulding near the top, resembling a jukebox.

View image at flickr

This is appropriate as removing the roof reveals a recording studio inside. The shape of these rooms is very unusual but there is still space for some furniture, including a red armchair and a table by the door. I like the rugs on the floor and a second door opens inward to access the balcony at the front. Another trans-clear door links the recording booth to the waiting area, giving the singer a good view of a golden record hanging on the opposite wall.

View image at flickr

The recording booth is quite small, as one would expect, but includes all the vital features. I appreciate the traditional design of the microphone and the acoustic insulation foam on the wall looks magnificent, making ingenious use of black 1x4 gear racks which are appropriately textured. However, the wall to the right of the microphone looks very plain so it is a shame that the foam does not continue on here.

View image at flickr

There is just enough room to seat a sound engineer on the other side of the wall and they can peer into the booth through a trans-clear window. The sound mixing board looks good and I like the enormous tape machine standing against the wall. A printed album cover is attached to the rear wall alongside a drinks cabinet that might be for celebrating the production of another hit or for calming the nerves of a brand new performer!

View image at flickr

A ladder allows access to the roof and features handrails which are cleverly represented by black handlebar components. The curved roof over the recording booth looks splendid too, especially in combination with the teal and pink stripes along the front of the building. A red and white antenna is fitted on top so the studio could double as a radio station if you wish and decorative parapets are situated along the edge of the roof, presenting an attractive facade to minifigures walking below.

View image at flickr

Skylights are a common feature of Modular Buildings and this one is comparatively simple, consisting of a black 1x4x6 frame on two hinges. The hinges alone are sufficient to support the weight of the skylight when it is open but a folding strut is also included. This is a great feature as you could imagine that a rival producer is eavesdropping on the recording studio or hold a party on the roof with music blaring from the floor below.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

A couple of the previous Modular Buildings have included vehicles. These are a fun addition for play but usually feel like the weakest aspect of the sets as they lack detail in relation to the main structure. However, official images of 10260 Downtown Diner gave the impression that this pink car, based loosely upon the 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood driven by Elvis Presley, would be more impressive than most and I think it looks even better now that I have actually built it!

View image at flickr

The proportions of the car feel reasonably realistic and I love the curvature of the bodywork. A single line seems to flow from the rounded headlights at the front all the way to the classic tail fins at the rear. The light bluish grey radiator grille also looks good and matches the style of a Cadillac quite closely but the white wheel arches over the rear axle are not ideal as the bodywork should extend downwards to cover the top half of each tyre.

View image at flickr

Nevertheless, I think the white accents are rather nice in the context of this model and the stacked tail lights look magnificent, as do the twin exhausts fitted beside the bumper. Directly comparing this model to a real Cadillac is perhaps unfair as I think it is simply intended to evoke the style of the manufacturer and in that respect I am very satisfied with it.

View image at flickr

The car is remarkably spacious so there is room to place three minifigures inside and you can even slot a couple of accessories next to the figure in the back seat. I like the tan upholstery which feels suitably luxurious and am impressed that the designer has found space for a handbrake next to the driver as well as a steering wheel in front. This is definitely my favourite of the vehicles found in Modular Building sets so far.

View image at flickr

Overall

Modular Buildings range have maintained a consistently high standard for over a decade and a great deal of expectation is therefore placed upon each new set. I am delighted to report that 10260 Downtown Diner does not disappoint in the slightest, offering a thoroughly enjoyable building experience as well as a spectacular final model and a superb selection of minifigures. The innovation we have come to expect of these models is undoubtedly present and it includes tremendous detail both inside and out.

View image at flickr

The diner's distinctive appearance has proven to be rather divisive which is understandable as Streamline Moderne architecture does not appeal to everyone. Personally, I appreciate the change and rather enjoy this style of architecture, although there is no doubt that displaying the model beside others may be difficult. Nevertheless, this is an excellent set and I think it offers good value at a price of £129.99 or $169.99 so I have no hesitation in recommending 10260 Downtown Diner.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

 

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37 comments on this article

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By in Philippines,

"pink car, based loosely upon a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood"

Very loosely, the rear lights and gigantic fins do not exist in that configuration on any real Cadillac. The fins make me think of Cadillacs for 1959 although the real thing had the twin lights arranged side-by-side and they were pointed.

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By in United States,

I have it but haven't yet built it. I feel like this model has polarized fans, and although some either hate it or love it, I'm somewhere in the middle. The building is gorgeous in many respects, but sticks out like a sore thumb with the tall teal tower. I won't be including this among the previous buildings. It'll have it's own self or something. I also don't like the new minifig heads. The detail, regardless of the theme, is astonishing on the ground floor, and the pieces are useful, too. I hope they go back to a more standard building next year.

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By in United States,

I am very interested to see how this set looks next to the Parisien restaurant as they both have the staircase next to them. I don't know if they would look cool together or if their styles of architecture would clash.

Great review and makes me want the set even more.

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By in United States,

@[email protected] I thought the exact same thing. They also both have an indention in the building where the building is meant to be seen on three sides. The Parisian restaurant has a fireplace, while the diner has a set of windows. I'll see what it looks like when I build mine.

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By in United States,

Nice review—good choice for abutting the Diner next to the Detective's set—colors and height do work better, and is more honest set-up than the box photo angle in showing that the wrap around roof ledge is more weird for abutting side-to-side than it is that this is not quite an ideal corner model, either.

Would have been nice to have more floor jumper plates given that they broke the mould for including them on the sidewalk.

I also think the wall plates used for the "stainless" back wall of the griddle would look better flipped since it is not unusual for a diner griddle to have space behind for sauce condiment squirt bottles — and it will help resolve (a little) the strange look of the wall from the back of the building.

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By in United Kingdom,

On the last bag and it is spectacular with great techniques used. Will display next to PR until I build Brick Bank, Detective Office, Assembly Square...

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By in France,

Initially i didn’t like it but the more i see it the more it grows on me. The back does look very plain though. I would have thought a garbage bin or something else could have been included. The back of the cooker does look really unsightly. Hopefully this can all be MOC’d. I’ll get it with the 60th anniversary set hopefully

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By in Germany,

I am very sad. Because I don't collect modular buildings and this set just looks awesome ;-).

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By in United Kingdom,

I love it. The style, the figures, the recording studio (ROCK ON!), everything. Especially the car. Looks like roughly speed champions scale, would look interesting alongside maybe the model A hot rod. It's just a shame it's not as big as the assembly square, but it would certainly stand out at least as much!

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By in United States,

The teal is a feast for my eyes ;)

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By in United States,

Both a great review and a delicious set, I will be passing on this one for others as I am making my own dinner MOC.

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By in United Kingdom,

I like that the album cover is clearly influenced by the cover of Elvis' debut album (which was later also borrowed by The Clash for London Calling)

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By in United States,

Teal is back!

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By in United States,

Great set and review. I don't think the bars underneath the counter are foot bars, though. With them stacked I think it is representing polished stainless tubing or paneling which is a very common design element in these types of diners.

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By in United Kingdom,

Although I have room for one more modular in my setup, I think I'm gonna leave this for a year and see what the next design will be, and how they will all fit together. Maybe I'll have to start a new street....

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By in United States,

Currently on Bags #4 and it's been a pretty fun build. I was surprised at some of the steps and details so far, especially the diner portion. Looking forward to trying to squeeze it onto my Modular City table!

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By in Australia,

Great review! I really like how you split it into two, made a much more enjoyable read.

Whether one likes or dislikes Streamline Modern architecture, most people should be able to agree that regular "traditional modular architecture" is way more versatile and useful. Buildings like Assembly Square, Brick Bank, Detectives Office and Town Hall can be found in Europe, America and also New Zealand, Australia and even some Asian cities, such as Hong Kong.

Streamline Modern however is quite limited to retro diners and perhaps some buildings from that era in America.

The "teal tower" or "jukebox tower" in the Downtown Diner ruins the set completely. I think if the diner itself had had the Streamline Modern architecture and the rest normal, I personally would have liked the set way more and I think it would have looked better next to other modulars. (Putting DD next to DO was a great idea, looks superb).

Because of the tower, and also the very retro theme (not necessarily a bad thing) DD is too retro/old for a modern City layout and too modern for a traditional modular layout.

I think the 2019 modular (a corner building) will answer all the "big questions" about Downtown Diner. If the next modular is also Streamline Modern and how many more retro modulars are released. I would love to see a retro gas station and/or car dealership, but a whole street of Streamline Modern buildings would look stupid, ugly and very unrealistic (I doubt there's whole streets in America with this type of architecture)

The designer made a hint to a possible future hotel in the designer video, perhaps Lego will make a 50s American motel with a station wagon piled high with luggage. I personally would prefer a more upmarket Ritz style hotel and a return to normal modulars in the near future.

Lego can do retro buildings maybe till 2020 if they want to but please go back to normal modulars after that.

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By in United Kingdom,

Truly refreshing and inspiring set, bravo! I’ve just played through it in LEGO Worlds too, it’s available as one of their free downloads now, enjoy!

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By in United States,

Why all the wasted space in the back??? Someplace to park the caddie?

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By in United States,

I'm bothered by the lowercase "n" in "DInER...

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By in United States,

For anyone thinking about where to place the diner in your modular city I have found it best to the left of the detective’s office and to the right of the Parisian restaurant, in order to appreciate the side details of the two when displaying them

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By in Australia,

@Jman007 I will try the diner next to detectives office. Good idea to show off the side details of downtown diner and Parisian restaurant, although the styles would not look right together.

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By in Germany,

Don't understand what the big deal about the teal colour is. To me it looks (at least on pictures) exactly like that colour we got in spades on early Friends sets.

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By in United States,

Is there any way I can get the car loose? I like the set but I have very little pocket money (we’re not all adults here!)

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By in Hungary,

I think I will use DD as a corner building, however there will only be a 32x32 baseplate city square to the left of the DD. On the other side of the square I might put a real corner building, maybe the Brick Bank or the Grand Emporium. And maybe a third modular on the third side of the square, that would be an ideal place for the Town Hall, or a forthcoming grand hotel.
But I can wait with it, since I have unopened boxed modular buildings to be built prior to the DD (like Fire Brigade, Grand Emporium, Pet Shop, Town Hall, Palace Cinema, Brick Bank, and Assemly Square)
I think an ideal place of this building would be on the left side of a block including Detective's Office, Fire Brigade and Palace Cinema. In my opinion 4 modulars together form a nice block.
My blocks will probably look like this:
CC-GG-PS-BB; 32x32 city squre maybe with the TH behind; DD-DO-FB-PC; crossroad; GE-AS-?-PR.
Or I don't know... :)

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By in United States,

It seems like many of the car's trim parts should have been a metallic grey rather than light gray. Bumpers, grill, exhaust pipes, tail lights.

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By in Australia,

@glassmanistl

Ok, so there is a street with buildings like this one, except this is Streamline Modern not Art Deco. Detective's Office was art deco.

This definitely has a 'coastal American' feel, almost Paradisa. Maybe its just the palm trees in the background.

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By in Austria,

I'm not too fond of the colour scheme but I like all the curves. They're like everywhere. Overall, I think it fits quite nicely into my street. It doesn't stick any more out than say the Palace Cinema.

I haven't actually checked with the other modulars but the backyard feels larger and emptier. Anyway, that's where the car goes, which I don't care much for. On the upside, the curved awning continues in the back and the staircase is pretty nifty.

The tiled facade is way more simple than I expected. I like the way the side windows are constructed; not so much the brown fence pieces for the front windows.

What's bothering me the most are all the loose parts in the diner. Glasses on the counter, pancake, camera. What were they thinking?

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By in United States,

They goofed with one important feature: A BATHROOM! I cannot wait to see who's going to add one!

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By in United States,

I like this one. The fact that it looks stylistically different than the others doesn't bother me since all of the modulars have a "downtown shopping district" sort of feel.

In my city there's an area that used to be pretty rundown but has since been revitalized over a couple decades. Part of the appeal is people bought old abandoned buildings & renovated them into something new.. (ie: This was a defunct newspaper printer, but now it's a funky retro cafe..) & in their new form many of them stand out from the others intentionally..

That's also the reason I actually like the grey panels on the back of the bottom floor.. To me it just reads as an old building being re-purposed.. As in, those used to be windows, but now it's where they vent the grill..

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By in United States,

@Brickchap: Detective's Office is not Art Deco. It's closer to elements of Italianate or Chicago School American urban design.

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By in Australia,

@quixtotequest

No, Detectives Office is definitely not Italianate and not really Chicago School, its already been agreed by many fans that it is Art Deco.

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By in Germany,

I feel reminded to the ideas project of a diner:
https://ideas.lego.com/projects/1c67f97c-a24d-4c8f-af8d-65026dfdecba
It has a similar design in some places ( which isn't really unexpected giving the look of a typical diner) Also it contains a finned car. I am unsure if the idea for this diner originated with the suggestion from pix027 for LEGO ideas.

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By in United States,

@Brickchap— I said urban elements of the first Chicago school and some Italianate. It's a fusion of American urban approaches of the late Nineteenth century. The cornices and Pool Hall lower façade treatment hearken to elements of both Italianate and First Chicago School—but the rest of the facades are not Italianate. But it is certainly not Art Deco. Doesn't matter how many people agree (fan or not) if they are wrong.

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By in United States,

I think they messed up and got this one and the Brick Bank backwards. The Bank would have benefited from being a straight module, not a Corner. This one would have been better as a corner.

I think concerns about a mix of styles may be overdone, although your opinion may depend on whether your point of view is European or North American. Seeing a building like this alongside the earlier modules is perfectly normal in the US and Canada. It may be a bit more jarring in the more uniform and architecturally regimented areas of Europe. While I wouldn’t put it up against the Parisian Restaurant or the Grand Emporium as the color choices mixed with style change will look weird, the Diner will look fine up against pretty much anything else. It works really well with the Palace Cinema and the Detective Office.

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By in United States,

Just not a fan...I think the 50's style architecture is very limiting in a city. It is like a total one off. I wonder if this is the new look we are going to get for the next 10 years, I really hope not. The previous modulars can be found almost anywhere and blend in with Lego City builders so easily. I have not bought this set and most likely won't. I also find it interesting that it never went to a backorder status when it first came out, and I pretty much gauge the popularity of a set by that, and if it sells out on day one at my local Lego store, which it did not. Now maybe Lego has fixed their issues with supply and demand since the Saturn V or MF for example, but I doubt it. I just feel this set is not that popular and I hope Lego learns something from that.

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