After running this blog for a year and half (time flies), I just realised that I hadn’t done a review yet on any of the LEGO Creator Modular Building Series. Considering that my first purchase as an AFOL was the LEGO Creator Detective’s Office (10246) seems I’ve done LEGO and myself a disservice! Well what better way to break this drought than to jump straight in the deep end and build/review the 10 year anniversary Modular – LEGO Creator Assembly Square (10255).
However, this grand old girl deserves more than just a couple of snaps and a review! That’s why this time round I’ve decided to incorporate my other love – LED Lights! Thanks to the clever team at Light My Bricks (LMB) I have taken this review to the next level with a sprinkle of LED magic!
But first let’s take a journey back in time to 2006 to be precise when LEGO decided to poll AFOL and TFOL (Teen Fans of LEGO) to ask them what they really wanted to see next from The LEGO Group. LEGO took the responses under consideration and further enlisted the help of fans to tweak and finalise the first ever LEGO Modular building in 2007 – Café Corner (10182). After the success of the Café Corner LEGO decided to keep the new series going and LEGO has released a new Modular each year ever since (with the exception of the LEGO Factory release of Market Street in the same year as Café Corner) .
- 2007 – LEGO Café Corner (10182)
- 2007 – LEGO Factory Market Street (10190)
- 2008 – LEGO Green Grocer (10185)
- 2009 – LEGO Fire Brigade (10197)
- 2010 – LEGO Grand Emporium (10211)
- 2011 – LEGO Pet Shop (10218)
- 2012 – LEGO Town Hall (10224)
- 2013 – LEGO Creator Palace Cinema (10232)
- 2014 – LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant (10243)
- 2015 – LEGO Creator Detective’s Office (10246)
- 2016 – LEGO Creator Brick Bank (10251)
- 2017 – LEGO Creator Assembly Square (10255)
Now after our little trip down memory lane it’s time to get to grips with this 10 year anniversary modular set. Straight up she is beast coming in at a total piece count of 4,002 LEGO elements and retails at AUD $399.99 / USD $279.99 / GBP £179.99. Note – prices are based on the LEGO online shop. Of course with the large element count she comes in a super sized box as well. The box art carries the standard Creator Expert labelling, as seen with the more recent modular outings and the iconic exploded graphic of the set showing all the various modules on the reverse.
Bags bags bags everywhere – 33 bags numbered 1-6 (minus the internal small bags) to be precise! So many it was hard to take a picture of all the contents. but it isn’t all about the bags the set also includes 1 x 32×32 stud baseplate, 1 x 16×32 stud baseplate, 1 x 8×32 plate and finally the all important instruction booklet or thesis!
If you were wondering why 1-6 then the first page of the instruction booklet makes it clear that the build is broken down into 6 main stages – about 1.5-2 hours per stage depending on your speed.
Stage 1 (3 bags) – Time to lay down the foundation with the 2 x baseplates. Interesting point to note is the variation in the green baseplates. I have noticed this a bit lately and I can only guess it’s associated with multiple factories/countries and slight colour variation creeping into the process. Happy to hear from anyone who may now the reason for variation?
No minifigures in the first bag, but we get to build an interesting little Victorian antique pram. I like the clever technique and use of brackets to help build and represent the iconic curve. The pram has ample room for the baby minifigure to stand or lay and the scale works well with the standard minifgures. Without doubt a great update on the pram seen in LEGO Green Grocer (10185).
Unlike the LEGO Pet Shop (10218) the two baseplates are combined in the build with no mechanism to separate and reconfigure. The laydown of the boardwalk/shop floors are very detailed and even have odd 1×1 plates, so that minifgures can be dotted around the build and not just free standing.
Stage 2 (7 bags) – First of our minifgures make an appearance with the Patisserie chef and a rather relaxed pink shirt wearing fella (either a chilled out coffee drinker or the Florist). Detail is ok and standard affair with other LEGO City and Modulars.
Now I have to admit this next small detail was a bit disappointing (only issue in an otherwise awesome set). Part of the first buildings windows require 12 x modified plates (1 x 1 with Clip Vertical) and being a bit OCD I would expect LEGO to use all the same type. However, when I lined up the elements I noticed that I had 5 x type b and 7 x type d. What makes it worse is that each element is doubled up for the build, so with a split of 5 and 7 you can’t even balance out the difference. I know it’s minor and in the final build you can’t see them, but hard to shake this small oversight.
The first building covers a lovely little Patisserie and uses some great techniques, like the bay windows using garage door panels side on, a brand new angle door frame for the main entrance and a smart SNOT technique utilising 1 x 1 round tile with pin to hold up the inverted semi-dome for the bartizan tower.
Inside the Patisserie is decked out well with a big brick built oven and door which captures the heavy cast iron look. Baked ware is spread around the shop with an array of sweet goodies in the counter/back wall, but the pinnacle of the assortment is the main display Wedding cake with three tiers (topped off with a couple of little brick built minifgures)! The Patisserie is also screaming with references (easter eggs) to past Modulars, Wedding cake reference to the outfits in LEGO Grand Emporium (10211), married couple in LEGO Town Hall (10224), white croissant in LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant (10243) and finally the candy source in LEGO Creator Detective’s Office (10246).
Leading on from the Patisserie is the bright and colourful Florist. The Florist gets the its first reference to past modulars with the trans green and clear colour coordination of the LEGO Creator Brick Bank (10251).
Inside we have a brand new colour variant (newer parrot mold) in marble blue and yellow. The nice thing with the marbling effect is every Parrot made will have unique markings. Why parrot?! well more easter eggs this time the LEGO Pet Shop (10218). Flowers are scattered throughout the shop with flower bouquets utilising a 1x4x1 lattice fence element as the holder.
With the Florist quite small the flowers naturally spill out onto the boardwalk with nice detailing in front of each main shop window. The reverse of both buildings are plain in comparison to the frontage, but covers functional items such as stairs to the next floor.
Stage 3 (5 bags) – With just over 3 hours of building under the belt finally time to start with the Coffee shop and a hard earned caffeine laced coffee! To serve up our dose of horribly overpriced LEGO coffee is our next minifigure – The Barista (not Barrista as was pointed out to me when I first posted – though cost of coffee in Perth you sometimes wonder!?). While she has made an appearance previously I’m a big fan of the design with a stylized LEGO coffee cup logo on a brown apron.
A little lap dog rounds up the minifigure/animal offering in bag 3. I’m guessing this little guy has his eyes on some of the yummy cakes in the Patisserie!
The main build in bag 3 covers our last ground floor building the coffee shop and is clearly referencing LEGO Café Corner (10182) with the yellow/white awning, corner door (utilising a turntable) and sun burst sign above the door. However, LEGO Creator Palace Cinema (10232) is also referenced with the entrance floor mosaic. I’m also a big fan of the simple table and seat design that surround the outside of the coffee shop.
Detail and design inside is very intimate with limited seating and mid century European decor and colour scheme.
The rear of the shop reveals an additional entry/exit and little green courtyard. The area is reached through the little alleyway that cuts between the Florist and the Coffee shop and also contains the side door to the rear internal staircase.
The final elements of bag 3 complete the vine laced alleyway iron roof and Florist upper walls to match the same height as the Coffee shop and Patisserie. The design is clever as the LEGO gurus have realised that due to the small footprint of the Florist it is hard to reach in with the high floor to ceiling walls. To assist with playability the top quarter of the back wall of the Florist quickly snaps on/off to allow easy reach inside. The last showstopping feature is the two large Rose motifs above the main entrance to the Florist.
Stage 4 (5 bags) – It’s time to go up and bring more businesses into Assembly Square. Next in the minifigure line up is a unique and brand new Dentist and an artsy Photographer. The Dentists sports a newly printed torso with a cool little tooth emblem (would you trust him with your teeth?!). The Photographer sports a casual attire and a big crazy mo.
Building wise first up is the Dentist above the Patissiere. Sadly for the minifgures the Dentist sports an open plan design for all to see what goes on in the chair! The nougat colour is a shout out to the colour scheme of the LEGO Creator Detective’s Office (10246). I also love the use of the new piece – 1×2 / 45 degree slope tile which is used to create the Dentist’s sink and the use of the light/pale aqua colour on brick built chair.
As I said earlier do you trust this Dentist (Joker not included)!
With your minifigure teeth whitened just a small walk brings you to the next business the Photo Studio. The studio is fairly plain, but this is purposely designed this way so not to distract from the main star of the show – the spectacular old fashioned brick built camera. Another small reference to previous modulars is covered with the printed tile portrait of the Bank Manager from the LEGO Creator Brick Bank (10251).
The two buildings represent a nice external contrast with the brick clad Dentist and the pastel rendered Photo Studio. The rear is more simple with the external staircase continuing to the second floor.
One nice touch as a closing remark for bag 4 is a private (AFOL directed) joke referenced on the side Dentist window – “Prevent Yellowing”
Stage 5 (6 bags) – Time to raise the bar and complete the left building with a first and second floor business above the ground floor Coffee Shop. A Ballerina and Musician (Muso) mark our next Minifigure entrants. The Muso is sporting a plaid shirt printed torso and slightly creepy receding hairline piece. The Ballerina is really cute and sees the tutu make an appearance again after first appearing in the CMF series.
Of all the build interiors the Music shop is my least favorite as it is rather plan with the only real highlight being the brick built drum kit. It is worth noting that the Music shop and Dance Studio above share the sames sand blue colour and window design as the LEGO Pet Shop (10218).
With Joker making an appearance it was only matter of time before Batman jumped in! On a serious note seing the printed detail on Batman’s (CMF Series) guitar it makes you wonder why we couldn’t have a few more guitars hanging on the wall with interesting details printed on? Even a few Muso posters?
The final floor is taken up with a Dance Studio with a lovely and interesting panio build and a large mounted mirror also used in Barber Shop in LEGO Pet Shop (10218).
The final finishing touches reveal the detail around the roof taking the same design elements from the LEGO Grand Emporium (10211) and a skylight bringing in natural light for our Ballerina.
Stage 6 (7 bags) – Kinda of sad as bag 6 marks the end of the build and completes Assembly Square after multiple evenings building and taking happy snaps! Our final two minifgures Mother (AFOL) and baby round up the minifigure lineup. The Mother sports a relaxed hoodie with some nice detailing. The baby marks its third appearance since release last year and is so bloody cute!
The main build covers the second level apartment above the Dentist and the roof terrace garden above the Photo Studio. The apartment is packed and has a massive table with a LEGO train set and shelves full of LEGO sets on display (not dissimilar to my lounge room at the moment!) and would be recognisable to most AFOL’s. If you look closely you can see all the little displays actually reference real sets. I listed what I know below:
- LEGO Café Corner (10182) + Printed tile to look like the box
- LEGO Factory Market Street (10190)
- LEGO Green Grocer (10185)
- LEGO Horizon Express (10233)
- LEGO Eiffel Tower (10181)
- LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper Van (10220)
- LEGO MINI Cooper (10242)
But of course you need somewhere to sleep and eat and the clever LEGO designers have thought of this and squeezed in a sofa bed, kitchen and toilet.
The adjoining roof top terrace garden is also a great addition and compared to the scale of other components of Assembly Square is very generous. Other than maybe adding a living plant or two (current dead plant has obviously been neglected by the AFOL!), the terrace is kitted out for entertaining all the minifgures with a nicely detailed brick built BBQ centrepiece linking it to the rooftop BBQ in the LEGO Green Grocer (10185).
A brick built ladder also grants access to the roof of the apartment and shares its roots with the LEGO Fire Brigade (10197).
The capping off of the last two buildings brings the final two references to LEGO Town Hall (10224) and LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant (10243) with matching roof styles. The main fountain and street lamps finally completes Assembly Square and the newest addition to the LEGO Modular family.
I have to admit I enjoyed every bit of this build and had waves of sadness when it was finally over. I’ve always been a massive admirer of the Modular theme and though this set is on the more expensive side it is well worth saving up to grab one – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
However, it doesn’t quite end there and as promised I’m adding some additional magic to this set and review. With this set being an anniversary celebration I thought it would be fitting to add some lighting options to bring the LEGO to life. After some pretty bad attempts at trying to add some LED’s and soldering I realized pretty quickly I needed some professional help. This is where the Australian team at Light My Bricks (LMB) comes in!
LMB took the complex componentry and packaged it all up in an easy to use kit specific for Assembly Square with step-by-step guides so that customers of all levels (myself being barely past stone age) could transform their LEGO creations into something truly spectacular!
Every step of the experience has been carefully considered even starting with the very professional packaging that the kit comes in. No expense has been spared with high quality magnetic flip lid to embossed Logo. This really feels like a well finished and professional product.
Anyway enough drooling over the box and time to open up and see what we have inside this little box of magic. The LMB kit comes with simple pamphlet with information about LMB and the user guide website. Contents are broken down into 9 bags and a battery box. Each bag is labelled and is easily cross referenced with the online user guide.
With the user guide up on your tablet or smart mobile it is a very straight forward process to work your way through the LEGO Assembly Square set incorporating the LED system. Each stage highlights what LEGO elements need removing to work through the tiny cables. Thanks to the size the elements can be replaced back over the location thus hiding the cables. While It can be fiddly it is well worth the patience.
While most cables are hidden the wall mounted outside lamps require some exposure of the cables. Overall it’s not that noticeable, but due to the Modular design the only way to avoid this would be to not include, but for me the lighting effect far out ways the cable exposure. It is also worth noting that while it seems like it won’t work, to kink the cable up and hold in place the LED within the trans yellow element with your thumb and wrap cable around the arm of the wall lamp. It took me a few attempts but I finally got the LED light to stay hidden in the trans yellow element.
As you systematically work through each lightning elements all cables return to an easy snap and click circuitboard. Each board is discretely hidden away out of sight in the Modular away from windows and doors.
Each floor of the Modular is finished off with ceiling lights utilising a LED ribbon that sticks (double sided tape) to the underneath of the next floor LEGO plates.
I have to admit I really love all the attention to detail that LMB has shown. With Assembly Square the Fountain and roof top BBQ is controlled with a multi-effects board that has three effects (flicker, emergency, pulse). The effect is great and really gives the feel of water movement in the fountain. LMB even went to all the trouble to print their logo and website on the board. Sounds small but all these little touches do highlight the care and attention put into the product.
One other key selling point for me is the battery pack. I’ve seen and researched other kits but LMB stands out with the superb quality, user friendly guides/configuration and use of battery packs instead of USB connector. The use of batteries is great and essential when your display is not near any power sources. Of course rechargable batteries are a must!
The process of carefully incorporating the LMB kit into Assembly Square took an easy 2 hours. This is definitely a job you don’t rush otherwise you may find yourself rebuilding Assembly Square after throwing the set across the room in a rage. Patience is the order of the day!
I think my kids sum up perfectly the moment I switched on the LMB kit – “Whoooa that’s epic!” Assembly Square is already in my opinion the best Modular I’ve built so far, but switching on the lights and admiring the set at night really just makes it magical and highlights all the various nooks and crannies of detail. You just can’t help but stare at the set!
Very hard to show any one picture that does the LMB kit and Assembly Square justice, so I just added all my happy snaps in the above gallery. However, my daughter made me promise to take a picture of the Ballerina in the Dance Studio.
I’ve you’ve gone to the effort to grab and build Assembly Square I highly recommend you consider LMB’s LED kit as it won’t disappoint (maybe a christmas present option for an AFOL loved one?). The kit retails at AUD $141.99 / USD $108.76 / GBP £82.85. Australian shipping is free for orders over AUD $150 and a flat rate AUD $9.99 for orders less than AUD $150. International shipping varies, but is free for orders over AUD $300.
Finally my closing thoughts on LEGO Creator Assembly Square (10255) are that this is a most buy for die hard AFOL fans of the Modular series and highly recommended for all other LEGO fans. The set is the epitome of all the past Modulars in the series and is a worthy anniversary set. Fast forward 10 years and I have no doubt that this set will be highly sort after and talked about.
As always would love to know what everyone thinks of this set and if the LMB kit is something that will grace your Assembly Square?
Final Rating: 10 out of 10