Hidden Side features several haunted buildings which transform when inhabited by ghosts. The smallest of them, 40336 Newbury Juice Bar, has become available at LEGO.com and seems fairly interesting given its promotional status and the resultant limited size of this model.
Moreover, two superb minifigures are included and the transformation function looks effective in my opinion. Hopefully this model will therefore match the wonderful standard which has been established by 70422 Shrimp Shack Attack and 70425 Newbury Haunted High School.
LEGO has produced two renditions of each central character and this version of Parker L. Jackson only otherwise appears in significantly larger Hidden Side sets. This minifigure is therefore appealing and I think it looks magnificent, featuring colourful patches across both sides of the torso which seem reasonably appropriate for a teenage character.
The bright light yellow green hat appears similarly distinctive, particularly in combination with Parker's lavender hair! This dual-moulded element looks brilliant and I like her double-sided head too, featuring smiling and frustrated expressions. An attractive vibrant coral mobile phone is provided with this figure, displaying a marauding ghost which has been revealed through the Hidden Side app.
Residents of Newbury are found in numerous Hidden Side sets and I am pleased that another such character, named Rocky, is available here. The minifigure consists entirely of existing parts which is somewhat disappointing, although I like the reddish brown hair piece and the head has been chosen well. Its alternative terrified expression seems absolutely perfect for Hidden Side.
Despite appearing in several past sets, this reddish brown uniform includes lovely detail and remains fairly enticing in my opinion. The tiny name badge and coffee emblem both look nice and I appreciate the simple printing on his back as well. However, an exclusive torso for working at the juice bar would undoubtedly have been preferable.
Unfortunately, this minifigure has been possessed so includes an intimidating trans-neon green head with a spring yellowish green hair piece. Neither element is unique and I think another hair piece may have been more suitable for Rocky than this example, although the textured detail on this component looks outstanding. Rocky does not include a soul artefact accessory, unlike the other Hidden Side ghouls.
The Completed Model
Newbury appears dilapidated throughout the Hidden Side range and the colourful Slush Ice juice bar therefore seems incongruous, although such bright colours are appropriate for this kind of outlet. The model measures almost 10cm wide so appears substantial for a promotional item and I like its curved shape which is consistent across the whole kiosk.
Flame yellowish orange plates form the counter and the same colour appears underneath the awning which looks perfect. There is ample space for Rocky to stand inside and the serving hatch is splendid, featuring golden pillars with metallic silver highlights on each flank. Furthermore, the drink dispensers are nicely detailed, making good use of stickers, but little decoration is found within the bar.
Several 1x2 inverted curved slopes form an awning above the counter. Its striped design looks great but these magenta and dark green pieces would probably be more effective beside a structure which features more muted tones. The contrasting black roof looks reasonable though and I like the tropical 'Slush Ice' sticker which is applied here.
Turning the model around reveals some 2x2x5 curved panels which are situated at each corner. They have only appeared once before in 70620 NINJAGO City so their return is welcome. Furthermore, two additional stickers are placed above the dark blue windows, suggesting that something sinister resides within the juice bar!
That becomes exceedingly apparent after lifting the roof and revealing a monstrous face. Two printed eyes are placed beneath dark blue eyebrows and the same spring yellowish green teeth are available in several Hidden Side sets, exhibiting brilliant consistency. Stickers depict its cavernous mouth which seems suitably frightening but there is little jaw articulation and no Hidden Side app integration, unfortunately.
Furthermore, I think the position of this monstrous face could be improved. It currently emerges from behind the juice bar which looks alright from certain angles but seems awkward from either side. The hinges could be placed further forward, thereby allowing the face to appear above the bar. However, I appreciate how the designer has hidden this function as there is little external evidence of the ghostly possession.
LEGO has produced some excellent promotional sets recently and 40336 Newbury Juice Bar should certainly be considered among them. It appears remarkably substantial and including two minifigures seems very generous. In addition, the transformation function is perfectly concealed and works nicely, even though its position looks rather awkward.
However, this juice bar feels inconsistent when compared with larger Hidden Side buildings. The vivid colours are inappropriate for Newbury and I believe a traditional coffee kiosk might have been suitable instead, potentially featuring subtler decoration. Nevertheless, the model remains quite enjoyable and I think it offers an enticing impression of the broader Hidden Side theme.
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