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