Review: 10263 Winter Village Fire Station

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The popular Winter Village subtheme began in 2009 so is now approaching its tenth anniversary and has offered an impressive range of different buildings during that time. 10263 Winter Village Fire Station is the latest such model and this set contains 1166 pieces.

LEGO has produced numerous fire stations so speculation that another one would appear in the Winter Village range did not inspire great excitement. However, its eventual unveiling was remarkably well received and I have certainly been looking forward to this set. It seems to represent a return to the antiquated styling of earlier Winter Village buildings and costs £84.99 or $99.99 so should offer reasonable value.

Minifigures

This set comes with six minifigures, three of whom are firefighters. Each firefighter sports a traditional black uniform which is inspired by from those worn at the beginning of the twentieth century, consisting of a double-breasted jacket with metallic gold buttons, a reddish brown belt and plain trousers. I like this torso very much as the Winter Village subtheme has always embraced historic designs.

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Unfortunately, none of these minifigures include alternative expressions but they look superb, featuring some interesting hairstyles and metallic gold helmets. The dark tan hair piece worn by one of the male firefighters is particularly notable as this component is only available in three other sets and therefore remains fairly rare.

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The fire chief features some impressive facial hair but his uniform is identical to that worn by the other two firefighters. Perhaps this minifigure could have featured a unique helmet or a printed badge on the torso to denote his superior rank, although that was certainly not a necessity in my opinion.

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10222 Winter Village Post Office contained a saxophonist so I am somewhat surprised to see another one in this set. However, the formal attire worn by this character is distinctive and he looks marvellous, sporting a pair of dark green epaulettes and a nice hat. The musician comes with a golden saxophone accessory, following its introduction in the eleventh series of Collectable Minifigures.

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Two generic minifigures complete this set, both of whom are dressed for their wintry environment. A lovely pattern adorns the front of the man's medium nougat jumper but there is no printing on the back of the torso which is disappointing. I like the freckled face though and he carries a white hockey stick as well as a 1x1 round plate with a hollow stud that represents an ice hockey puck.

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Similar freckles are printed on the girl's face and she wears a pair of red glasses, corresponding with the colour of her shirt. However, the most notable feature of this minifigure is definitely the scarf which has only appeared on three previous occasions. This is moulded with impressive detail but might have looked even better in a different colour as orange does not seem entirely suitable for the Winter Village.

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LEGO babies have become increasingly common this year, wearing bodysuits of varying colours. They all look adorable but I think this is my favourite as its teal bodysuit is decorated with a wonderful golden reindeer and some tiny snowflakes! The baby's head is moulded with a neck so matches other figures which have been produced this year rather than the earlier version which did not include a neck.

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Dalmatians ran alongside horse-drawn fire engines to guard and calm the horses during the nineteenth century and they are still associated with the fire service today. This dog has therefore appeared in two past LEGO fire stations and I am pleased to see another one here as they are fairly rare. Its distinctive black spots look great but the standard dog element is not a suitable shape for this breed, particularly around the ears.

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The Completed Model

While this set is primarily focused upon the fire station, several supporting models are included as well. This wooden bench is very simple but it looks good, bearing a close resemblance to the benches which have appeared in past Winter Village sets. I like the wrought iron lamp post as well, although it seems rather plain when compared with the designs from 10199 Winter Village Toy Shop or 10259 Winter Village Station, perhaps because there is no wreath.

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10216 Winter Village Bakery contained an excellent ice rink, constructed around two trans-light blue 8x8 plates. This rink consists of trans-light blue 1x2 tiles but looks equally impressive, featuring some decorative scrolls and a simple firefighter statue. The curved edges are brilliant and I appreciate the distinctive appearance of this ice rink when compared with the rendition from 10216 Winter Village Bakery, allowing you to display them together.

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Christmas trees of varying sizes have appeared in most Winter Village sets, as one might expect. This rendition marks a significant departure from previous designs, consisting of layered wedge plates which are fitted around a central trunk with studs on four sides. I appreciate this effort to build something new and think it looks alright, although other designs are more successful in my opinion. The smaller tree from 4000013 A LEGO Christmas Tale is probably my favourite.

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However, the trans-yellow snowflake on top of the Christmas tree is spectacular and I like the blending of green and dark green pieces. A few gifts are placed around the tree, including a model train, a blue cart and a wrapped present. The colour of the ribbon around this present does not match the bow on top which is slightly strange but that could be rectified easily.

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A wooden sled is also included. The pearl gold lhang swords which represent runners were originally created for The Lord of the Rings theme but they look fantastic here and the handle bar is positioned correctly for a minifigure to hold, as demonstrated below. There is space for a figure to sit on the sled, although you will need to remove the colourful present.

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Vintage fire engines are frequently associated with Christmas so this seems like a perfect addition to the Winter Village. Its simple design was subject to criticism when the set was unveiled and I think that is partly justified, especially when this fire engine is compared with the vehicle from 10197 Fire Brigade. However, the designer video revealed that Winter Village sets are often built as a family experience so the fire engine features simple building techniques to suit a younger audience while the fire station is more complicated.

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The pearl silver radiator grille looks superb and I like the trans-yellow headlights as well as the curved mudguards protecting the front wheels. The rear mudguards, on the other hand, are not as smooth as those at the front. Furthermore, I think certain areas the vehicle appears rather plain, especially at the centre where the chassis consists of a single 6x6 plate. There is plenty of room for minifigures though and the dark blue toolbox is a charming detail.

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A light bluish grey ladder is mounted on a turntable towards the rear of the fire engine and two hoses are fitted on either side. The ladder rotates all the way around and extends a short distance so it does offer reasonable play value, although a wheeled escape ladder would have been more attractive in my view, distinguishing this vehicle from the classic fire engines that LEGO have produced in the past.

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The number plate features the initials of the set designer, Lars Joe Hyldig, along with the set number and there are two clips where you can store a pearl silver wrench and an axe. This area of the model also includes a couple of stickers, showing a pressure gauge and a winding handle which presumably controls the elevation of the ladder. I appreciate these subtle details but do not think that stickers were required.

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The fire station is larger than I was anticipating, measuring almost 20cm wide and 21cm in height. Its dark red, light bluish grey and tan colour scheme looks marvellous and the snow has been effectively integrated, with small drifts above each window and around the edge of the roof. However, snow does not dominate the model and it could easily be removed, allowing you to display the fire station during any season.

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Many different snowman have appeared in LEGO sets but this version is unique, featuring a rounded body and a wonderful top hat. This element was created for the Penguin in The LEGO Batman Movie but looks great here and I like the orange cone representing the snowman's nose. Its arms look rather odd though. A red fire call box is placed on the wall behind the snowman and minifigures can enter the fire station through a door on the side.

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A pair of brick-built doors provide access to the garage area. The red tiles create a delightful wooden effect and the tan columns on either side of the doors look magnificent, incorporating some of the 1x2 rounded plates that were introduced at the beginning of 2018. I was initially concerned that light bluish grey arches would appear out of place among so many dark red bricks but they look fantastic once the model is complete.

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The fire engine can pass through this archway comfortably but the building is not deep enough for the entire vehicle so it protrudes from the back when parked inside. This does not bother me too much as the model would generally be displayed from the front, although some additional interior space would have been welcome.

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There are no steps inside the fire station so minifigures must instead reach the upper level from the exterior. The bright green holly wreaths look brilliant and I love the little doorbell outside the door as well as the snow on the staircase. However, this staircase does not include a banister which seems rather dangerous to me, particularly in icy conditions!

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Additional columns flank the windows on the first floor and a decorative cornice runs around the edge of the roof. This is formed using a series of tan clips and presents an intricate pattern, complementing the large windows on the tower which are similarly elaborate. These make ingenious use of some 1x4 fences and I like the silver bell on the roof, situated just below a flag showing the fire service's emblem.

View image at flickr

The interior is equally detailed, featuring an impressive tiled floor and some fire-fighting equipment on the ground level. A clock, two fire extinguishers and a golden fire helmet are found in this area, along with a reddish brown crate containing some tools. I like the textured bricks on the wall and the yellow tiles beside the doors look splendid, warning minifigures not to stand behind the doors as they open inwards.

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While the ground level is focused upon preparing for an emergency, the first floor provides somewhere for the firefighters to relax. The blue chairs look too bright for their environment but I like the kitchen area in the corner and the sand green rug looks fantastic. A red telephone is situated by the door and there is even a small bed with a bone for the dalmatian, demonstrating tremendous attention to detail.

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Minifigures can also sleep inside the fire station as a bed folds down from the wall. This design is very simple but it works perfectly and I like the stickers on the underside of the bed, showing the dalmatian with a rosette and a Christmas-themed calendar. Furthermore, the whole roof panel covering the first floor can be removed, thereby allowing easy access to the interior for play.

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The majority of Winter Village sets include a light brick but these have been absent from the last two models so I am pleased to see one here. The brick is situated on the roof and little attempt has been made to conceal it which is somewhat disappointing, although it does not appear too conspicuous as the bell provides some coverage at the front of the fire station.

An orange glow fills the upper level of the fire station when the light brick is activated. The interior looks very cosy and the orange light is equally striking when viewed from the exterior, especially around the tower where it is slightly more diffuse. Moreover, I like the how the pearl silver bell is silhouetted against the light brick.View image at flickr

View image at flickr

A golden fire pole connects the first floor to the garage area underneath. Minifigures can hold onto the pole and the floor is decorated with some dark blue and yellow tiles on both levels, alerting firefighters to the open area in front of them. There is no staircase to reach the roof areas but you could place a few minifigures up there, if you wish.

View image at flickr

Overall

10263 Winter Village Fire Station is an excellent addition to the Winter Village subtheme and has far exceeded my expectations! The fire station is highly detailed and its architectural style fits neatly with the other buildings in this series. I absolutely love the combination of dark red and light bluish grey on the exterior and the interior is furnished with everything one might expect to find inside a fire station.

View image at flickr

The supporting models are less impressive, although these have been intentionally designed using simpler building techniques which are suitable for a young audience. This is a clever idea and I hope to see similar promotion of family building experiences in the future. In addition, the price of £84.99 or $99.99 seems reasonable so I would have no hesitation in recommending this set.

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.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.

 

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32 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Very nice review once again, Cap'n! Love the set, though I'm saving my cash for LUGbulk. ;-)

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By in United States,

Those light brick pictures are beautiful!

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By in Germany,

It's alright I guess, but what really irks me about Lego is that they keep cutting corners wherever they can. The fire engine does not even fit in the fire station it comes with? C'mon now, that's just cheap.

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By in United States,

Nice review. I like it, but not enough to be getting it soon. I'll probably be waiting until it is 20% off or maybe when double VIP points are available.

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By in Switzerland,

Thanks for the review. I am pleased to see that on these pictures, the new version of the baby minifig's head appears, unlike on the official release pictures, where the baby face is shown in its version without neck. Can someone confirm that?

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By in United States,

After looking at the pictures and reading the review I've narrowed it down to why I'm not as excited for this set as previous WV ones. It's the unpolished feel of the fire engine and exposed lighting brick.

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By in France,

I’m a bit ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to the WV sets but i like this. There are some nice techniques and parts usage. I applaud the mix of expert vs simpler models so the family can all join in. Particularly like the firemen as well.

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By in United Kingdom,

Overall, I like this.
Although I will be looking for a discount on this set.

I do not feel that a "village" could justify a station this large.
I feel it should have been a combination station with a small shop at the side.
Either a barber shop or maybe a butcher's?

I would then have preferred a more detailed, more vintage engine.

The return of the light brick is good, but maybe a sound brick would have fit better with the bell on the roof?

Next year I think we can expect to see a Police station.

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By in Canada,

Thanks for the review.
I would prefer bigger buildings and less secondary things. It’s a little bit tough to have a nice display of all the winter sets.
(My criticism may be similar to what has been said about the big SW Hoth set)

Also, I have the impression that this set doesn’t fit well with other buildings, especially the roof style, and the relative lack of snow.
(similar to the comments about the diner not fitting well with other modulars).

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By in United States,

@Venunder: The definition of "village" can be a bit murky and can vary from place to place. In some places a village is a separate entity from a town, while in others it can be a community within the jurisdiction of a town. The school I'm at right now is right next to the village of Putney, VT, which has had its own fire station since the 1930s.

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By in United States,

Neat little classic Town style build for the outskirts of my larger Lego City. I'm satisfied with the overall package, but I do believe I will have to find a way to integrate some street baseplates and additional seasons. Thank you for the play by play review.

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By in Austria,

The design is alright I guess and fitting well to the original series, even though it's a fire station. However I can't help to think that it does look a little smallish.. and again the piece counts are exaggerated by many 1x1 plates!

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review! I'd love to see some pictures of this set next to the previous WV buildings to get a sense of scale.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Aanchir for most of the world and in particular Europe a village is a small cluster of buildings typically rural with a population of hundreds to a few thousand. In North America the definition has lost its meaning with some ‘villages’ with populations of 50,000

The winter village has always had a European vibe to it so Venunder has a point.

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By in United Kingdom,

All I can say is glad they have gone with something new and not a rehash like last year, not overly impressed with it though! Like others have said wait for discount price or some sort of deal before buying. ??

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By in United Kingdom,

From the picture it looks as if the Fire Chief DOES have a unique helmet.

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By in United States,

@jsworpin: Putney, VT has a population of only around 2,600 and is decidedly rural. And I'm not sure I agree with the assessment that "the winter village has always had a European vibe to it". After all, people have been saying the same thing about the Modulars for years, even though nearly half of them have been specifically American-inspired (Green Grocer, Fire Brigade, Pet Shop, Palace Cinema, Detective's Office, Downtown Diner). If anything, the fact that European audiences still see American-inspired buildings as outliers showcases how similar many European and American architectural styles were prior to the mid-20th century.

Speaking as an American, the only one of the Winter Village sets that are unmistakably European-based are the Winter Village Market, since Christmas markets are primarily a German tradition that never caught on in the United States to the extent it has in Europe, in the United States, and the Winter Village Post Office, since the postal service insignia it uses inspired by the one used in Denmark. But a lot of the other sets like the Toy Shop, Train Station, or Cottage could be interpreted either way.

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By in Australia,

I like the set generally, but I think it's a bit cheap that the building is so shallow that it can't even fit the fire engine inside without poking a fair distance out the back.

I'll still buy it though. I'm a huge fan of the Christmas village theme.

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By in Australia,

I think its funny they make it a creator expert set, and then they promote the fact that it has simple builds for kids?
I would prefer and much more detailed fire engine.
I don’t mind the mini builds in the sets as they help fill up the space in my village, and allows you to have the mini figs on display doing activities.
I love the winter village theme and hope they continue to make worthy buildings.
I do like the fire station design. But it could have had some more snow and I don’t like the pre mounded staircase, it’s lazy.
This set is a “toy world” exclusive in Australia and they never have discounts on WV sets so I’ll have to pay rrp

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By in Germany,

@ MissenMan: Last year's set was 10259 Winter Village Station.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ "I think its funny they make it a creator expert set, and then they promote the fact that it has simple builds for kids?"

I think you hit the nail on the head here, @Jhandford.

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By in United States,

Nice looking set, but IMO 99.99 USD seems a bit much given what is in the set, but Ill probably cash in some VIP points to get at least one. Cannot wait to see those who will inevitability buy a couple to make a bigger fire station.
Like the baby and the gold pole tubing out of this set as well

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By in United States,

For those of you saying that you'll wait for a discount, where do you ever see the Winter Village sets on discount? At least here in the U.S., they always seem to sell out early.

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By in Argentina,

No emociona... es un año de espera y la espectativa es grande... le falta mágia...

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By in United States,

@Dare_Wreck
Last year's winter village station is $64 (20% off) at both Wal-Mart and Target right now.

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By in France,

Nice as this set is, it's a bit too expensive for me. Looking back through the Winter Village series they seem to up steadily year on year.

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By in United States,

I’m really liking this. Definitely wished the fire engine was more advanced and better looking, and I think they should’ve taken away the Christmas tree. I do like the ice rink though...

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By in United States,

The fire truck may look small and simple, but that’s exactly what the first style of fire trucks looked like.

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By in United States,

Will definitely be getting this! Love the Winter Village theme. This would be great to expand on also.

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By in United States,

Hmm. I don't like to think of my minifig's houses catching on fire in the middle of Christmas.

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By in United States,

Great review, I love your attention to detail both in text and photos! I, however, am disappointed in this set because it seems so out of place in the winter village, plus it's not very festive, and worse yet is that "fire engine" which looks ridiculous to me, especially the way it sticks out of the building. I don't intend to buy this set unless I can get a deep discount and some freebies thrown in. Even then it would be a hard sell :(

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By in Netherlands,

amazing i love it

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