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Brick Breakdown: LEGO Winter Toy Shop

by admin on September 30, 2015

in Reviews & Comparisons

(Written by William)

In this Brick Breakdown series I review official LEGO sets, from the perspective of looking at interesting building techniques we can all learn from. Today we will be looking at the #10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop. You can also check out the previously discussed LEGO techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end of this article. 🙂

#10249 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop

Before we get started, it might be good to get one question out of the way. Why was this set reissued? It’s a question Jamie Berard (the lead designer for LEGO Creator) gets asked a lot these days. I have a friend who recently took a trip to Denmark, and had a chance to ask Jamie this very question in person. The long and short of his response was rather surprising. The reissue had nothing to do with a lack of new design ideas. In fact, according to Jamie, they had a new model ready to go. However management was not ready to put resources into it just yet. So Jamie talked with the people in charge and it all boiled down to this; there would either be no new LEGO Winter Village set this year, or they could rerelease one of the previous sets. The end result is a revised version of the #10199 LEGO Winter Toy Shop from 2009. The next logical question is; what changes are there in the revised version?

#10249 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop vs. #10199 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop

LEGO WINTER TOY SHOP – WHAT’S NEW?

Parts wise, there are noticeable changes between the original set and the rerelease, while keeping all the charm of the original. The most noticeable structural change involves the Christmas tree and the roof of the shop, but we will skip over those for now and talk about them later when we discuss the techniques used. Other really neat changes are the little toys.

#10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop Toys

First up is the new rocket ship. It’s a simple design that can be put together quite easily, but it has an instantly recognizable shape. Next is the delivery truck that uses the new black roller-skate pieces as wheels – very clever and looks good. More sophisticated designs are the biplane and the helicopter. Both take advantage of brand new pieces that were not available in 2009, and some very clever building-techniques. Other changes for the toys include the new teddy bear, instead of the small brick-built bear in the original set. Also, a crate has been added to store the light-strands and/or gifts. And the previously brick-built wreaths have been replaced with the new green life-preservers.

#10249 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop Details

As far as the minifigures, there is an additional minifig added to the previous line-up, and some of the designs have been changed. The most significant being new printed faces and bodies for the carolers. Also, the lady caroler who used to have two capes to give the illusion of a red interior lining, now only has one cape that is red on one side and black on the other.

#10249 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop Minifigures

You might think, that while these changes are nice, they still don’t add up to a $20 mark up in price. The original set from 2009 had 815 pieces, while the new set has 898 pieces. So there are a few more areas that got new parts that may explain the increase. For instance, there is a whole new strand of lights added. Also the tree, while looks quite similar, is designed differently using more pieces. Other examples of increased number of pieces include the ladder which originally features a 2×2 modified brick with two finger connections. This time the same shape was rebuilt with plates using four pieces instead of one. Some of the floor tiles have been swapped out as well, from 1×6 to a couple of 1×3 tiles. Oh, and before I forget, the bench has studs now so minifigures will not slip off. 😀

#10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop Minifigures

As for changes in colors, there are several small variations. For example the red lights on the tree were replaced with pink. The fixtures for those lights, as well as the door-knob and frog above the clock, are now all gold. The wheels on the toy train have become silver. The Jack-In-The-Box went from blue and red to blue and orange. The gray LEGO Technic pieces on the roof are now dark-green and the plates under the windows that were dark-red are now reddish-brown. And we already talked about the changes for the minifigures.

LEGO WINTER TOY SHOP – TURNING PLATES

Besides changes in elements, colors, and details there are also differences in building techniques. The original set came out before I started writing this Brick Breakdown series, so I never had a chance to talk about some extremely rare techniques, like turning plates. This technique is used in both versions of the set near the top of the Christmas tree, where a 2×4 plate is slightly turned. To understand what is happening here, take two 2×4 plates and two 1×1 round plates to conduct a small experiment.

#10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop Christmas Tree

Place a 2×4 plate horizontal so you have two rows of four studs. Now place the two round plates in the upper left corner and the lower right corner of the horizontal plate. Now take the second 2×4 plate (also horizontal) and then slightly rotate it so that the lower left stud attaches to the round plate in the upper left corner and the upper right corner attaches to the lower right stud. If you do it right, it should look like the top plate is turned about 45 degrees.

The new LEGO Winter Toy Shop also connects the lower branches using this technique. This gives each successive layer a much more natural shape while continuing to provide solid stability. In addition, these plates are built around a trunk that is made of 2×2 round bricks. The result is a realistic tree-trunk and convincing limbs when you look at the tree from the side. All in all, it is a much more complex, yet subtle design, and it provides you with many more examples of plate turning when compared to the original set.

LEGO WINTER TOY SHOP – SIGHTED VS. BLIND BUILDING

Probably the biggest change to the new version of the LEGO Winter Toy Shop is how the roof comes together. It is also what I feel is the worst change to the model. Ultimately, you do get a roof that looks almost the same, and maybe even a bit more seamless. The trade-off is that it is a lot more fragile than the original. In order to explain this difference you need to understand differing building approaches.

#10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop Review

And this is where sighted and blind comes into play. These terms refer to how much you are able to see the connections when you are putting something together. In a blind approach you rely on your sense of touch. This means you are free to build things a bit more on the sturdy side since you don’t need to see what you are covering up. On the other side of the coin is the sighted approach. This method may require using fewer elements or thinner pieces so that you can better have line of sight when you connect things together. Generally, it has the benefit of looking a bit better since you don’t have to cover up any bulky elements.

#10249 LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop Inside

Neither method is superior. Both have their major strength and potential weakness. A great builder will learn to use both styles and use each at the most appropriate times. The roof on the newest version of the LEGO Winter Toy Shop is completely a sighted approach. It has a much simpler connection system and looks great. I personally found the instability a point against the technique since I feel floors, walls, and roofs should be the most resilient and durable parts of a building. However, that’s just my personal preference.

LEGO WINTER TOY SHOP FINAL COMPARISON

Normally, I talk about how to apply the techniques you learn at this point, but I feel this Brick Breakdown has more to do with how the new set compares to the original. In short, this version does feel like a small but noticeable upgrade. For those who never got the original, this is an easy set to say yes to when it comes to adding it to your collection because it looks really sweet. If you have the original set already you might still consider picking it up for the upgrades it provides, but truthfully, most of what you get in the new set is minor differences. If you do end up having both sets, you might combine them to make the best version. For example, taking the old roof and putting it on the new set with the updated green LEGO Technic pieces. Other hobbies call this “kit bashing”. LEGO fans just call it building what we want. 🙄

Shop LEGO Winter Village Toy Shop

In the end, this set is great, no matter which version you get. I will admit that the new version feels a bit better overall, if you only want one. The minor issue I have with the roof is merely nitpicking an excellent design. However, for those who have the willpower to skip this set because you have the original, you aren’t missing out on too much. My final opinion is that this was a very good set to have a re-issue for this year.

Shop LEGO Seasonal Sets

So what do you think? How do you like the #10249 LEGO Winter Toy Shop? Do you have the original set already? Are you planning to get the new version? And did you learn from the interesting building techniques used in the sets? Feel free to share your own experiences and tips, or ask questions in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the other reviews in this series:

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Benjamin September 30, 2015 at 10:06 AM

I love how cool it is how they will already have set designed and ready for years to come! They have so many plans for the future. I really enjoyed the LEGO Brickumentary so if you haven’t seen it, well go see it!

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admin September 30, 2015 at 10:41 AM

Benjamin, we will talk about Brickumentary in a few days as it will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in just a few days. Yes, it is awesome. 🙂

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James September 30, 2015 at 10:20 AM

I’m one of the people that were livid when I heard they are reissuing an old set. Jamie Berard’s comments at the beginning of this article are interesting. I wonder if there was so much focus on producing new sets this year (Scooby Doo, Dimensions, Bionicle, etc.) that they didn’t have the capacity to produce a new Winter Village set. I say this not knowing how these set pieces are sourced, or how many new sets were produced this year relative to previous years. It just seems like maybe Lego over-stretched in some areas and had to cut back in others.

But this is a really good article. You almost have me convinced to buy this set, despite owning the original. Maybe if it goes on sale!! 🙂

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admin September 30, 2015 at 10:43 AM

James, yeah it seems like LEGO has been constantly churning out new sets and licenses lately, doesn’t it? I guess the Winter Village set just got lost in the shuffle. A good thing though is that the two small Christmas sets were are getting this year are exceptionally good. 🙂

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Daniel September 30, 2015 at 1:12 PM

I just started collecting in early 2014 and I have learned so much from your website. Thank you for your hard work in putting out detailed reviews and for keeping the fans up to date on LEGO news.

I purchased the new LEGO Winter Toy Shop as my first in the set, so I’m very happy that I was able to buy a re-issued old set. However, I completely understand the frustration with fans that have already purchased the set back in 2009. I would like to think the fans would appreciate the effort of the designers and LEGO to still release amazing sets monthly for us to purchase.

Maybe this can lead to a re-issue of some older modular buildings? I put my trust and loyalty to the LEGO designers to know what to release.

Great review and look forward to ones in the future.

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admin September 30, 2015 at 2:31 PM

Daniel, I’m glad you were able to get the Toy Shop. Doesn’t matter which one you get; both are very sweet. As far as the Modulars, if there would ever be a reissue, it wouldn’t be the same. The older Modulars, while look great on the outside, are empty on the inside. The direction of the newer Modulars is to have a detailed interior. I would doubt LEGO would go back to an empty inside section. However this means that the reissue would have to be significantly more expensive. Also, due to new elements, I’m many of the techniques used would be different. I just don’t see a reissue of the older Modulars happening, but you never know with LEGO. Maybe something like a special commemorative issue of the very first set would be possible? We can only hope. 🙂

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Daniel October 1, 2015 at 12:54 AM

That does make sense regarding the old modular sets not being reissued. I’m all about new sets though. I would like to see a candy/ice cream shop modular to add some crazy unique colors to the theme. Any thoughts on what the next modular set might be?

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admin October 1, 2015 at 12:59 AM

I like the new and more detailed Modulars as well. As far as the next set, there has been no news as of yet. Not even rumors. The only thing people speculate is that it might be a corner building. We should be hearing something soon though.

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Will September 30, 2015 at 6:52 PM

You know if my friend hadn’t talked with Jamie I wouldn’t have guessed the reason for the issue had a lot to do with resource limitations.

However just listing out some of the very specific series that needed special molds really shows how much things are stretched. Scooby Doo, MineCraft, Jurasic World not only have those molds but painted ones at that.

It would be fantastic if LEGO had the resources to a line purely focused on revising some of the older sets. As a collector it is so nice to have the option to get a set I might have missed. I know it is not great for those looking for their collection togrow in value, but I have too much fun playing with my sets to begrudge anyone in sharing the same type of experience.

In the end, the future of any series will depend on how well it sells. So if you are not planning to buy this one because you have the original version, try talking someone else who never got it. Because as you know it remains one of the more interesting sets out there.

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Julien October 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM

Thanks for this very interesting topic.
That shows with precision the differences between both and i might say that i own the first one, 10199, and i’ll buy for sure this new one because new the details are important for me and i really love this theme : the winter sets. When i saw for the first time in 2009 the 10199 toy shop i was absolutely fan and in admiration at the same degree that when i discovered the 6980 Galaxy commander under the Christmas tree in 1983 ! It was a magic moment for me. Thanks Le père Noël 😀

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floridabrick October 1, 2015 at 12:51 PM

How funny is Google Translate? 🙂

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Michael December 13, 2015 at 7:29 AM

Howdy William! Thanxalot to you and the brickblogger for this review! I am about to order this new 10249. I’m 53 years young and have a huge LEGO collection. I’ve been in love with LEGOs since I first touched them in 1970. My collection is centered on LEGO Trains. Of course this opens many doors for sets that go along with train displays. However, having been raised Roman Catholic Christian, and this holiday being the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, I have a special love for Christmas! I was very excited to see the “Winter” series begin with the first toy shop in 2009. We have collected each subsequent set and will continue to do the same. When I first went to see the Winter set for this year I suspected that we already had one with this name and after some quick research discovered exactly that. At first I felt a little disappointed and was curious how they compared. This brings me to the brickblogger for the very first time! I’m so glad to have read your review. It answered all my questions and actually left me feeling a lot better about this new set. So thank you very much, I found you through google and have saved your website to my favorites for future reading and reference. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!!!

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admin December 13, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Michael, I’m glad you found the review helpful. If you ever have any LEGO related questions in the future, feel free to ask. Enjoy your Winter Village, and Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂

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