When it's released on 1st January 10264 Corner Garage will be the 14th modular building to be produced since the series started in 2007. They all have their own unique style and colour palette but they all take inspiration from a bygone era when buildings were more than just a steel frame and plate glass.
Like last year's 10260 Downtown Diner this one takes inspiration from 1950's USA but unlike the diner, buildings with garages like it probably don't exist any more.
Before I start the review, I should give a big thanks to the LEGO AFOL Engagement team for getting the set sent out in time for me to review it on the day it's revealed. The press release was distributed last Wednesday, the set was sent on Thursday and I received it on Friday afternoon. I had a family commitment away from home over the weekend so had to take it with me and build it while my wife and daughters were off watching Mary Berry rustle up something tasty at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham.
Anyway, after something like 6 hours of building, another hour or so photographing and post-processing and a couple more writing it, I'm pleased to be able to bring you this review so soon after its reveal.
Find out if all that effort was worth it and what I think of it after the break...
Box and contents
The box is about 58x47x9cm in size and shows the front of the building on the front and, on the back, it sitting at the end of a row of the currently available modular buildings along with details of the interior.
Parts are packaged in numbered bags, from 1 to 6. There's also a tan 32x32 baseplate, a couple of loose 6x16 plates and of course the instruction manual inside.
The perfect-bound 235-page manual contains 293 building steps. The QR code in the bottom right corner of the cover can be scanned from within the LEGO Life app but doing so now unsurprisingly results in a 'unknown set' error, so I can't tell you what it does. Show information and images about the set, presumably.
Here are the first few pages showing how the bags relate to construction.
There's no sticker sheet -- everything is printed!
There are dozens of recoloured parts in the set: sand blue windows, dark orange tiles and many more.
There are also two parts that are making their debut in this and other 2019 sets.
It's not immediately obvious what this 2x2 tile with hole is for because the hole's dimensions are non standard. It's too big for a stud and marginally too small for the base of a 1x1 round brick to fit in.
It becomes apparent later during construction: it fits on to the underneath of a 4x4 round plate so is effectively a turntable bottom. It's used under the petrol pump island.
This 2x2 tile with 1x2 plate bracket looks to be exceedingly useful. It's used in the back of the pick-up truck.
Six minifigures are provided to bring the set to life.
There are two mechanics and a dog who work in Jo's Garage on the ground floor. Maybe it's old man Jo who it's named after or maybe young Jo. If the latter, the boss is not afraid to get her hands -- and face -- dirty by the looks of it.
This cool figure rides the moped which is almost the colour of many Vespas. I'm not familiar with the torso but it was introduced this year in 60202 People Pack - Outdoor Adventures, which I haven't opened yet.
The veterinarian operates a practice above the garage and the small girl is a customer.
Finally, we have a man in knitwear who lives in the studio flat at the top.
Pick up truck
The ground floor of the building is constructed before this truck but I'll deal with it first. It's a typical mid-20th century American design and looks splendid in two-tone blue.
The hook at the back can be raised and lowered by turning the Technic gear on the top.
Ground floor Garage and filling station
Remember I said I'd built the set away from home? The first two photos, taken during construction, were done in a makeshift studio in my daughter's kitchen but hopefully serve to show progress of building the ground floor adequately.
As is always the case with modular buildings there are a lot of tiles to lay on the baseplate. However, it's not quite as intricate as on some. By the time parts in bags #1 have been exhausted the first few layers of the walls have been laid, along with the car elevator, which you'll see in action below.
Parts in bags #2 complete the building.
(Photos taken back at home now)
Bags #3 provide the remainder of the parts for the ground floor structure, the petrol pump and the awning above.
Just inside the door is a small counter with cash register, and on display in the windows, a wheel and cans of something.
A tool for removing and replacing tyres and a very neat toolbox occupy the back wall.
Vehicles placed on the elevator can be raised...
...by pushing the black box behind the building in. It's an ingenuous mechanism that works well.
The roll-up door works works very well, too.
A small wheel on the outside rolls it up and around the circular mechanism behind.
The old-style petrol (gas) pump looks great with the printed Octan 2x2 round tiles on the top.
Looking into the garage from the street.
The handle on the door on the left side of the building gives a clue as to what's upstairs. Dark Grey 1x2 rounded plates have been used to provide texture to the surrounding brickwork.
The sign above on the roof is, along with all decorated elements, printed.
The ground floor from above.
First floor veterinarians
The colour palette changes now to dark orange and sand blue for construction of the first and second floors.
A small balcony on the left is accessible via a door by the stairs. The bay window is the work of a genius. More about it below.
There are some interesting angles used in the building and on this floor in particular. Normally angled walls are connected using plate- or brick- hinges but in this set they are attached using the new 1x2 rounded plates which provide much more flexibility.
The floor is divided into two: a waiting room on the left and the vet's room on the right. A fish tank, which you can't see very well at all in these pictures, is mounted in the wall above the single-seat chair in the waiting room.
Here's all the equipment and furniture from the vet's room: An instrument table with microscope, an amphibian tank (there's supposed to be a frog in it but he hopped out when I removed it to photograph!), a desk with very cool lamp, and a operating/inspection table.
The printed window sign reveals the vet's phobia.
The bay window is built using two sand blue train windows on their side. There's a view of the second floor, below, that shows how they are connected. I don't think I've seen them used in this way before. It looks excellent.
Second floor studio flat
There's a well appointed living area on the top floor, occupied by the gent in the tan sweater.
There's a lot of intricate greebling below the windows which is a bit fiddly to line up.
It's an open plan space, with bed, kitchenette, toilet, sofa and an early television in a wooden cabinet. However the designer of the set is presumably too young to remember that CRT TVs have a huge great protrusion on the back to house the neck of the tube, because this one doesn't have it.
The main has a single bed with a very large headboard/frame at both ends.
Here you can see the inside the bay window. The train window assemblies are held in place by the grey telescope pieces at the side.
The kitchen area is fairly well appointed, with sink, worktop, cooker and hob. The door on the right leads to...
... the toilet, of course, which has a old-fashioned high wall-mounted cistern. Presumably the man washes himself in the kitchen sink given there's no shower.
The roof section repeats the greebling of the second floor and finishes it off with decorative finials.
Stairs on the second floor lead to a hatch to provide access to the roof for sunbathing and gardening.
The completed model
The building stands about 28cm tall to the top of the finials, so is a good height. The exterior is packed with small details that make it look interesting, in particular the pattern above the windows formed using 1x1 quarter circle tiles and 1x1 double-slopes.
Sand blue is a colour that doesn't get used as much as it should be. It complements the dark orange perfectly.
I also particularly like the muted Octan colours of green and red used for the garage which gives it an old-school feel.
The back is very plain, but then it's designed to butt up to other modular buildings on both sides.
Like all modulars, it's a thing of beauty, packed with interesting building techniques and parts usage both inside and out.
The fact it's a corner building, with a garage forecourt in front, has reduced the surface area of the actual building considerably but nevertheless I feel that what space there is has been put to good use. Perhaps the interior is not as detailed as in other modulars but I think what's been provided is adequate.
There is, however, one inexcusable omission: There's no car! The garage has a neat lifting mechanism, and a sizable forecourt, but the set is not provided with a vehicle to make use of them, other than the moped. The reasoning behind this is probably that last year's modular provides a perfectly acceptable vehicle that can be used, but of course not everyone will have that, and those that do might not have built it yet (ahem...)
Nevertheless, it's an outstanding model and one that fans of the modular buildings will want to add to their street.
The price of £160 / $200 feels about right for a model of this size with over 2,500 pieces and it refreshing to see a realistic £:$ ratio being applied for a change. In fact it reflects today's market exchange rate of 1:1.27 almost exactly.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. All opinions expressed are my own.