The #10251 LEGO Creator Brick Bank – scheduled for release on January 1st, 2016 – is the 11th building in the LEGO Creator Modular Buildings line-up, and the 4th corner building in the series. So how does the #10251 LEGO Creator Brick Bank measure up to the previous buildings? I had the pleasure to build the set last weekend, and below I will share with you my review and thoughts on it. So let’s begin with the official description for reference, then we will go into details. 🙂
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK DESCRIPTION: Make a safe deposit at the Brick Bank! Make a secure deposit at the highly respected Brick Bank, featuring an array of intricate details and hidden surprises. Easy-to-remove building sections provide access to the detailed interior, comprising a bank with an atrium foyer, tiled floor, arched windows, ornate chandelier, lockable vault and a transaction counter with security glass; a laundromat with printed window, tiled floor and 4 laundry machines; plus 2 second-floor offices with an array of detailed furniture, fixtures and accessories. The exterior of the building features a detailed sidewalk and an elaborate façade with carving and statue décor, decorative roofline, large arched windows, central balcony, clock and an accessible roof terrace featuring a large skylight. Collect and build an entire town with the LEGO Creator Expert Modular Building series #10243 Parisian Restaurant and #10246 Detective’s Office. Includes 5 minifigures: a bank manager, secretary, teller, mom and child. Brick Bank measures over 10” (26cm) high, 10” (25cm) wide and 10” (25cm) deep. 2380 pieces. Price: $169.99 – available on January 1st – BUY HERE
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – CORNER BUILDING: A significant feature of the #10251 LEGO Creator Brick Bank is that it is the 4th corner building in the LEGO Modular Buildings series, after the #10182 LEGO Creator Café Corner, the #10211 LEGO Creator Grand Emporium, and the #10232 LEGO Creator Palace Cinema. This is important, because LEGO fans can now complete a full city block with four corners.
Compared to the other corner buildings however, the LEGO Creator Brick Bank is quite different. The previous corner buildings are basically symmetrical on two sides, with the focus being on the entry at the corner. The corner is also emphasized with a tower (or in the case of the LEGO Creator Grand Emporium a sign), which makes the buildings look even taller and more important. In contrast, the LEGO Creator Brick Bank is quite small; about a brick shorter than the #10218 LEGO Creator Pet Shop – which was already considered small compared to the older modulars. In addition, instead of the focus being at the corner, here the entry to the bank is at the front, while there is also a small entry to the laundromat at the other side of the building. The corner itself only has one unique feature, which is the big black clock on the outside.
Also, because the LEGO Creator Brick Bank is not symmetrical on the two sides, it does make a difference which end of the street you add it to. You will either see the entry to the bank (which is basically like a frontal facing building), or you will see half of the bank and the laundromat. I have found that the building looks better with the bank facing the front, because of the orientation of the skylight and how the roof is constructed (there is a significant drop between the front half and the back half of the roof). The point is that this set breaks the corner modular mould in more than one way, and you will need to experiment with layout options to see what works best.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – OUTSIDE LOOK: I’m sure opinions about this are going to differ, but I like the split building approach of the bank and laundromat, especially that little apartment looking thing (which is actually the banker’s office) on the second floor. The decorations with the ice-cream scoops between the first and second floors, and the pulleys at the roof-line are really nice done. Also the re-colored bullions used as textured bricks for the first floor were a great idea. There is also a decorative piece over the bank’s entry with a pair of wings, and other special elements, and more decorations at the top using two LEGO Elves keys in light-gray. The bank windows and the laundromat door are beautifully printed. There are no stickers in this set.
The grooved round columns framing the second floor windows are simple but nice, but the grooved 1×2 bricks at the corner look very bad from the laundromat side. I’m not sure why the same round bricks weren’t used, as they would have been a much better option. I’m planning to replace them.
Other features on the outside include the little tree taking advantage of the newer flower stem, the clock – which looks excellent, and the bench. The bench have a nice design with those curved pieces, but I think it is way too big and tall for minifigs. I replaced mine with the same design as the smaller bench from the #10243 LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant.
The roof is quite interesting with the two-tier design. The upper tier is pretty much just the skylight, built with sand-green windows that suppose to represent oxidized-copper. The bottom tier features the top of the chimney that is large enough to accommodate bank-robbers. There is also a door that leads down to the offices via a staircase. I quite like the roof, but as I said earlier, it does influence the appearance of the set and which way it looks better – especially if it is displayed low enough that you can see on the roof.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – COLORS: I’m really impressed with the color combination of this set. The sand-green windows look great with the surrounding white walls. I’m a bit concerned about all that white though, as white tends to discolor easily – make sure you keep this set out of direct sunlight. I prefer the picture below of this set, where the white appears to be more tan – but there are already two other tan corner buildings, so white is an understandable choice, and it does look nice.
You can’t see this from the outside, but there is quite a bit of sand-blue sneaked into this set as well; 26 1×4 bricks, 8 1×6 bricks, 15 1×1 bricks, and 21 1×2 bricks with groove, plus 3 door-frames, and various smaller elements. LEGO designers know how much sand-blue and sand-green are desirable by adult LEGO fans, and it’s great to see both colors in this set.
The contrast between the white/gray/sand-green bank with lavender and pink flowers for decoration, and the dark-orange/brown apartment with a splash of yellow, orange and azure for the laundromat is quite striking and beautiful. It is my favorite feature of the set, and follows the #10246 LEGO Creator Detective’s Office, which also has a really nice and unusual color combination.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – INSIDE LOOK: The inside of the LEGO Creator Brick Bank is pretty similar to the #10224 LEGO Creator Town Hall, just on a much smaller scale. There is a two-story atrium with a gorgeous chandelier hanging down in the middle. As far as the chandelier, it is a shame that it is hard to see it once the set is assembled. You can basically get a slight glimpse of it through the front window, but that’s about it. The chandelier is attached to the roof section, so you can’t see it from above, like the ceiling fan in the #10246 LEGO Creator Detective’s Office – which is another brilliant design. And looking at the chandelier while holding up the roof is pretty awkward. Anyhow, I just feel it should have been highlighted more as it is so beautiful. The secretary’s and bank manager’s office looks over the atrium, creating a very nice layout.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – THE BANK: The bank takes up most of the first floor (lobby and bank vault), and the second floor has a small office for the secretary, and the bank manager. The secretary’s office features a desk with a cleverly built little typewriter, a cabinet with an espresso machine, and a fireplace. The bank manager’s office got a very impressively built desk with a banker’s lamp and approval stamp, a leather-look chair, a printed portrait unique to this set, and a small cabinet with a parrot statue.
I have to mention the lobby floor here separately, because it has a very special pattern with a new tile piece that we first saw in the LEGO Nexo Knights sets. This piece will really open up a lot of opportunities for mosaic builders with it’s unique triangular shape. Unfortunately in this set it doesn’t look the best because the special tiles are in light-gray and sand-blue, whereas the baseplate they are attached to is tan, so there is a little gap where the tan shows through. This could have been avoided by using a light-gray baseplate, but this is a minor fault.
The bank vault is so much fun! I will talk about the play-features of this set separately, but the vault is a major part of it. I will say though right now that the vault and the safe-deposit boxes are stuffed full of cash, chrome-gold coins, bullions, gems, and regular coins, and there is room to add even more. There is also a working (sort of) coin counting machine. The vault’s big round door can be locked with a simple mechanism. The security-glass for the transaction-counter uses a very clever technique with clear doors placed sideways. And there are also hidden alarm buttons for the tellers.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – THE LAUNDROMAT: The laundromat is at the back of the building, just on the other side of the bank vault, only separated by the chimney-shaft that runs through from the foundation to the roof. The laundry machines are a simple but brilliant design, and I really like the floor colors and pattern.
One thing my adult brain doesn’t like is that the wall between the laundromat and the bank lobby is extremely low – only about 6 bricks tall. This doesn’t make any sense and is a huge security issue for the bank as it basically has it’s back wall missing. My understanding is that LEGO designers do this so people with big hands can manipulate things inside the building. As soon as I finished building the set, this is the first thing I changed; I built up the wall all the way, but kept it removable with just four studs attached.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – BUILDING EXPERIENCE: This set was fun to build from the very beginning, in clear contrast to some of the older modulars which are pretty boring during the first hour of building. It took about five and a half hours to finish building the set, and it was fully engaging and interesting the whole way. For the sake of completeness I should mention here that there are five #1 bags, five #2 bags, six #3 bags, and four #4 bags in the set. Bags #1 and #2 contain pieces for the first floor, #3 for the second floor, and #4 for the roof and outside decorations. The instructions booklet is wrapped separately so it doesn’t get damaged. It is good quality and 170 pages. The building steps are outlined in many of the more difficult steps, which is something LEGO started doing with the #10224 LEGO Creator Town Hall. This is very helpful during building.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – PLAY FEATURES: While the LEGO Creator Brick Bank is an innocent enough looking set from the outside, it is actually full of mischief. On the surface minifigs are doing everyday activities like going to the bank and doing laundry, but in the background there is a whole money laundering/bank robbing operation going on, and there are also tie-ins with the #10246 LEGO Creator Detective’s Office. As you build the set you run into all kinds of fun clues and connections to these underground activities. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it is great. I started to see conspiracies going on even at places where LEGO designers may have not intended it… or did they? As I said; it’s fun.
The main play-area of the set is where the bank vault and the laundromat is connected. The bank safe/laundry machines section is all one part, and it takes 21 steps to build. It is the most sophisticated and involved section of the entire set, and can be removed separately. It is hard to explain how it all works, but if you want to see, at the end of the video-review below by JANGBRiCKS he explains and demonstrates the play-features in pretty good detail. Or if you want to be surprised, just wait until you can build it yourself.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – EXTRA NOTES: My set was missing two pieces; a white 1×8 brick, and one of the white round columns that goes on the side of the laundromat – both from #2 bags. I have only experienced missing pieces in two small sets (one from a LEGO Mixels set and one from a polybag), never large pieces, and never two from the same set. So this was quite a surprise. I hope this was just an anomaly unique to my set, and not an entire batch. Still, if you do get the LEGO Creator Brick Bank, even if you don’t plan to build it right away, I would suggest that you check to make sure that the two white columns are there. The 1×8 brick is easier to replace. If you do find pieces missing, call LEGO’s customer service and they will replace them for you.
There is a printed 2×4 tile that comes with the set, made to look like one of those giant checks contest winners receive. The “check” is signed by Marcos Bessa, the LEGO designer who worked on this set. Other special pieces include the triangular tiles we talked about before, the re-colored bullion pieces, the printed window-panes, the portrait tile, and 24 1x2x2 bricks with four studs on one side. Also, the sand-green arched windows with spokes only appeared in one other set so far (the #41101 LEGO Friends Heartlake Grand Hotel), so it is quite special – especially in sand-green.
This is just a personal preference, but I didn’t so much like the decoration over the bank’s entry. I replaced it with brick-built lettering as seen above.
➡ LEGO CREATOR BRICK BANK – FINAL THOUGHTS: While the LEGO Creator Brick Bank may not be as flashy as some of the previous sets (my favorite remains the #10243 LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant), it is a solid addition to the LEGO Modular Buildings line. I like the direction LEGO is going by adding some fun play-features to the sets without making them childish. This makes the sets more appealing to a larger age-group of LEGO fans. The fact that the set is smaller that all the other corner buildings is undoubtedly going to disappoint some people. The trend of smaller, but more detailed buildings – established with the #10243 LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant – seems to be the new norm. Some people embrace this new direction, some don’t – there are plusses and minuses to both the older and newer sets. I mostly prefer the newer ones.
The LEGO Modular Buildings are some of the best what LEGO has to offer. You really get the feel that LEGO designers put everything in them and they don’t cut corners. If you have gotten any of the previous sets, I know I don’t have to convince you to get the LEGO Creator Brick Bank, so all I will say is that you won’t be disappointed. It is awesome. And if you don’t own any of the LEGO Modular Buildings yet, I recommend you try them out. They are a real pleasure to build, and you will be faced with pleasant surprises at every step of the building process. These are not toys (although you can certainly play with them too), these are sophisticated models for hobbyists and beautiful display pieces. You will enjoy them. You can find the current selection at the LEGO Creator section of the Online LEGO Shop.
So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO Creator Brick Bank? Are you planning to add it to your collection? Which one is your favorite LEGO Modular Building so far? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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