Review: 40359 LEGO Store Picture Frame

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View image at flickr

You might recall that in December I took a look at all the sets that feature LEGO stores. Another one has just been released, 40359 LEGO Store Picture Frame, and is starting to become more widely available, although not that widely judging by the small number that are available on BrickLink.

I picked one up in Billund the other week so let's take a quick look.

The set consists of 170 parts and a stiff piece of card into which a 4x6 inch photo can be inserted.

View image at flickr

The card sits in a frame with a slot which connects two halves of a tiny LEGO brand store.

View image at flickr

The three sections are connected using Technic pins so can be separated easily.

View image at flickr

The two halves of the store join together to make a larger one, complete with sets on shelves, till, pick-a-brick wall and even a build-a-minifigure station.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

I believe the the store worker is unique although it uses a torso that has appeared in a couple of other sets, including the roller coaster.

View image at flickr

The rear is printed with a large LEGO logo.

View image at flickr

Overall, then, a decent enough model that does a good job of packing the attributes of a brand store into a small space.

It would make a nice souvenir from a visit to LEGOLAND or a brand store, but probably not worth going out of your way to track down.


The main reason for positing this review was to put my new camera through its paces. I've been using a full-frame Nikon D610 and 60mm macro lens for the last 4 years or so and it's served me well. But, it's big and heavy so I don't use it for anything other than LEGO photography.

So, I decided to trade in a lot of my Nikon gear in and downsize to a Panasonic G9 with a Leica 12-60mm lens. It appears the combination takes perfectly good LEGO photographs and will also be small and light enough to carry about on holidays.

The pictures above were taken at f16 at 25mm and illuminated using studio flash lighting but I think they might need to be turned down a bit. I don't think the white highlights are burned out, but it's close. There's no post-processing whatsoever, other than cropping.

One advantage of shooting with a smaller sensor camera is that the lens focal length for a 'normal' view is shorter (25mm in the case of micro four-thirds Panasonic) which has the side effect of increasing the depth of field, the amount of the subject that's in focus. Often that is undesirable but for close-up photos of LEGO it's definitely a good thing.

Do let me know if you have any comments about the photos.

27 comments on this article

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By in Singapore,

I like that the minifigure isn't the one with the oddly-proportioned face. And this might be somewhat of an unpopular opinion but I like the yellow shirt more than the black torso of previous store employees. It's also odd that I prefer the yellow, because the employees at the LEGO Certified Stores where I live wear black.

I'd pick this one up to get him as well as the additional LEGO set stickers to go with my 40305-1 but I'd have to get it at like 40% off or something to make it worth the parts, since I have no intention of using this as a picture frame (unlike 40154-1 which I might be the only person in the world who's using both as a house in my LEGO town and as an actual pencil pot, simultaneously... but nevertheless did manage to snap up at nearly 45% off).

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By in Portugal,

Dear Huw, thanks for the review. Very interesting pieces, nice fig, for me it would look nice as a small set, its hard for me to understand the inclusion of this type of printed card on a Lego set. Maybe I am getting too old...

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By in United States,

It’s funny how similar it is to other lego store sets. My local store is about as small as the sets depicts it as...

We need bigger better lego stores!

We also need a modular Lego store for the creator expert modular series.

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By in United Kingdom,

Disclaimer: I know nothing about photography, and this might be a result of confirmation bias, but...

The photos seem less 'sharp' than previously, but that might be just because you've told us that they're shot with different equipment. In particular, if you look at the photo of the store with the minifigure half-hidden behind the left-hand wall, there appears to be something strange going on with the focus & colours of the white & yellow parts of the wall and the yellow of the minifig. Does any of that make sense?

Anyway, the pictures still look great and better than anything I could hope to capture.

I hope someone with an eye for photography can leave a more subjective comment!

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By in United Kingdom,

Being closest to the camera, I suspect it's just slightly out of focus.

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By in Australia,

I do a bit of photography, using the similar equipment (My Olympus is from the same ‘system’).
F16 is probably a bit far. As you’ve noted, you have increased depth of field already with the smaller sensor, and ‘defraction’ will have started to reduce the sharpness. Try a few photos at different apertures to compare the difference and find a compromise between DOF and sharpness.

(As a guide, refer to:

https://www.lenstip.com/487.4-Lens_review-Panasonic_Lumix_G_12-60_mm_f_3.5-5.6_ASPH._POWER_O.I.S._Image_resolution.html

to compare sharpness vs aperture. Although this is not your lens they are measuring, the effects are the same.)

Additionaly, there is a 30mm macro that will give you a similar field of view to your previous 60mm macro, although I’m not sure that it’s necessarily significantly ‘sharper’ (I don’t own either lens to be able to give that option through experience).

The G9 also has a feature called ‘focus stacking ‘ that would be worth experimenting with. This will get you increased DOF by stacking numerous photos, in camera. I have this feature with my Olympus E-M1, and it works well, increasing DOF without the defraction issues, although it needs a tripod.

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By in United Kingdom,

Yes, you're right, f/16 is probably a bit too small on m43. I'll experiment.

I do intend to play with focus stacking but it does require more faffing about so it's probably not worth it for reviews such as this.

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By in United States,

Just picked this set up during my trip to Legoland California. Haven’t put it together yet but I have two great pics of my two lads to put in there. My six year old sitting under the LEGO Harry Potter sorting hat, and my two year old standing next to the brick built Master Wu. The missus should be able to put them side by side and at a size that’ll fit this frame. Happy memories of a great trip!

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By in United Kingdom,

^^Welcome to m43 Huw :-) My review pieces are shot with a Panny GX80 and a 12-60 Olympus F2.8 or Panasonic Leica 35-100 F2.8. It's a fantastic system for travelling light too. I find F11 - F13 is the sweet spot for LEGO, effectively giving F22-F26.

Cute little set. Will probably pick it up as filler at some stage

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By in United States,

Huw - I’m pretty sure my set came with a set of stickers listing all the different locations of the Legolands around the world. I’ll obviously be choosing the Anaheim sticker for mine. Did yours have the same set of stickers? I didn’t see them mentioned in your review.

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By in United States,

The photos look great, Huw. Thank you--you always take great photos of the sets. I hope you enjoy the camera.

And thanks for the review. It's a cute nice set. I saw this yesterday at my local LEGO store when I finally bought the Ideas TRON set.

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By in United States,

This is on my wish list. I'll be really happy to finally get a yellow shirt employee since that's what they wear at my local LEGO store.

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By in Canada,

They wear black dress shirts or black long sleeves UNDER yellow Lego aprons at the one I shop at.
Bought this and the Lego Store. Because the Lego Store Kit this time just had father son. Both made for fun builds. Still not a fan of stickers.

Question: ARE there employee uniform differences globally?

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By in United Kingdom,

^^

@GeordiePaul

I have the set and yes, it does have a sheet of stickers with some of the Legoland locations around the world.

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By in United Kingdom,

Yes it does have a sticker sheet but I think it's flagship/large LEGO stores rather than LEGOLANDs.

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By in United States,

^which stores are they? That might be interesting to know.

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By in United States,

@LegoSonicBoy:
That was one of the most bizarre promos they've done. It was a GWP, but it was never announced (at least not the original release). It was a LEGO Store employee, but it was only available with S@H orders (technically you _could_ place an order on S@H from the store, but...). And it features the UK uniform, but it was only available in North America. I believe all three of those issues were rectified the second time they released it, but you never know if they're going to revive an old GWP.

@Countess Brickula:
Really? I've been to the Michigan store and three of the Chicago area stores, and none of them have yellow shirts. I figured all of the US would use one style of uniform.

@ArielHairRaph:
Yes, absolutely there are different uniform styles in different parts of the world, but I've never seen any info on what they may be. All I know is that the four stores I've visited have a standard uniform consisting of solid black shoes, tan pants, and a solid black shirt w/ collar (I don't recall long sleeves being mandatory, and I think polos are allowed) that are the employee's responsibility, and then the store provides yellow aprons and nametags. The 5001622 polybag minifig is dressed in solid black with a collared shirt that has two grey stripes at the waist, no apron, and what looks like an ID badge. When it came out, everyone in North America who actually got the thing complained that the uniform was wrong, and responses from the UK quickly confirmed that it was actually based on their uniform design. But since I've only heard that these match the UK uniforms, I expect the rest of Europe does not share that uniform design.

The North American uniform has never been released as an official minifig, but they did have three different variants made for a managers convention. The first was the basic uniform with the apron, but it was quickly pointed out that the nametag was on the wrong side of the apron, and the apron has two stitched holes to allow the nametag pin to pass through without chewing up the cloth. The second minifig was the corrected version with the nametag on the minifig's right side. This version (and presumably the first version, of which very limited quantities made it into the wild) was produced in enough quantity that the managers could all take a bunch back to hand out to all of their employees. The third version was produced in much smaller quantities and only given out to the people who attended the conference, and it's a zombified version of the second minifig. None of these three minifigs were printed by The LEGO Company, and I don't know which of the various custom minifig printers they farmed the job out to, but whoever it is doesn't appear to be cranking them out, nor do any of their competitors appear to be copying them.

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By in United States,

The photos look great! Are those printed pieces on the walls, or stickers?

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By in United States,

Nice to see Antoc Merrick’s really nice color for that hair piece in another set.

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By in United States,

Maybe I just need to pay closer attention. I usually have sensory and nostalgia overload when I go into the store, lol. I'll try and pay closer attention to the employees next time.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Purple Dave

I have never seen any UK Lego store staff with yellow shirts, they all wear black Polo shirts.

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By in Singapore,

@DarthWalle: If you're referring to the LEGO set boxes, I believe they are in fact the same set of stickers as those found in the LEGO Store 40305-1.

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By in United Kingdom,

The location stickers, one of which can be applied to the card frame are: London, Paris, Orlando, New York, Shanghai, Berlin, Anaheim, Copenhagen which I think just about cover the flagship stores.

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By in United States,

Great timing on this review actually. I've got a copy on the way, (it's for sale at Shop @ Home for 14.99) along w/the Mini's and Dodge Speed Champions sets and the Marvel Bricktober Minifigures. Anytime I can get a LEGO store in Minifigure scale, even a small build like this, I'm a sucker for it. One of these days I'm going to tear into making a decent LEGO Modular for my city w/all of my little LEGO store sets.

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By in United States,

The Panasonic G9 is divine. Expensive compared to the other G series cameras but it's an amazing camera in a small package (small relative to the full-frame cameras).

I own one. It's a great choice. Thumbs up.

EDIT: You can also do focus stacking and merge multiple photos so it looks like everything is in focus. It's really awesome for macro work like you'd do with Legos.

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By in United States,

@Calv:
"The 5001622 polybag minifig is dressed in solid black with a collared shirt that has two grey stripes at the waist, no apron, and what looks like an ID badge."

Yup. I already noted that. Aside from the one claim here that a US-based store uses this uniform style (which everyone else seems to refute), I have never seen anyone confirm this yellow shirt as being based on a real LEGO Store uniform. I also have no idea what uniform style the rest of Europe uses outside of the UK.

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By in United States,

This looks lovely.

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