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LEGO Downtown Diner designer-video

by admin on January 3, 2018

in LEGO Modular Buildings

The #10260 LEGO Creator Downtown Diner, the latest in the LEGO Modular Buildings series, was released just a couple of days ago. I don’t have the set yet, however as soon as I do, I plan to review it in detail. In the meantime, LEGO released the designer-video with LEGO Senior Designer Mike Psiaki and LEGO Designer Carl Merriam. Both Mike and Carl share some interesting details about the development of the set, so let’s watch the video and talk about this a bit. 🙂

Previous LEGO designer videos introduced a new set by simply sharing some of its features and highlights. However, recently LEGO changed the format of these videos, and now we learn a bit more about what happens behind-the-scenes, as well as the designers themselves. I do like the new format, as it allows us to learn more about the process LEGO designers go through to bring a new LEGO set to life. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of showing off the set in more detail. I hope that in future videos LEGO will find the balance between showcasing a new set and letting LEGO designers share about themselves and their work.

I found it very interesting how much the set changed from the original concept to the final product. As Mike said, it all started with the idea of an Art Deco-style car dealership that later morphed into a diner by the suggestion of Carl. And they were also able to include at least one car, from Mike’s original car dealership idea. I’m actually looking forward to see someone taking up the challenge of turning the diner back into a car dealership!

Mike also talks about bringing back teal, a LEGO color that was retired a long time ago (or more accurately, “killed” by LEGO designer Mark Stafford). We talked about this here: LEGO Downtown Diner & The Return of Teal. Funny thing is that Mark Stafford tweeted this a few days ago about the set: “Looks awesome… shame about that weird blue-green color that looks like it should have died many years ago…” That’s highly amusing, if you know the history of teal (see article linked above).

It’s also interesting that at the beginning of the video Mike says that the LEGO Modular Buildings collection doesn’t have a hotel, right after showing the long retired #10182 LEGO Creator Café Corner (with the giant hotel sign), the very first LEGO Modular Building from 2007. This immediately made LEGO fans speculate that the next LEGO Modular Building might be a re-release of the #10182 LEGO Creator Café Corner. I know many LEGO fans would be very happy with either a straight re-release of both the Café Corner and the #10185 LEGO Creator Green Grocer (from 2008), or updated versions. Mike’s teaser, and some recent re-releases of large sets like the #75192 LEGO Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon and the #10256 LEGO Creator Taj Mahal, are starting to make LEGO fans very hopeful about the return of the oldest Modulars.

It is also worth noting that while most of the LEGO Modular Buildings were designed by Jamie Berard, the #10260 LEGO Creator Downtown Diner was worked on by other designers. Many LEGO fans are attached to the work of Jamie, so they may not like the change, however it is nice to get some unique and fresh ideas from other designers as well. Mike Psiaki is a very talented designer himself, as demonstrated by his portfolio.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the #10260 LEGO Creator Downtown Diner was released just a few days ago, and some LEGO fans already call it their favorite, or one of their favorite sets in the LEGO Modular Buildings series. If you would like to check it out in more detail, visit the LEGO Creator section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the #10260 LEGO Creator Downtown Diner? And what do you think of the designer video? And the possibility of the earliest LEGO Modular Buildings coming back? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related pots:

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob January 3, 2018 at 10:52 AM

I do wonder that if Lego does decide to re-release older modular buildings if they’ll also do a new modular building or will that be passed that year for the re-release model. Maybe not after what happened with the Winter Village toy store.

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Håkan January 3, 2018 at 12:30 PM

Re-releases generally seem to be quite rare…

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 2:44 PM

Still, they’ve done them and I’d welcome another chance at the first 3! Boy, would I!!!

I’d take them brick-for-brick or modified in ways and be happy as a clam whichever approach they took. And I say that as a person who spent a considerable premium for the first couple Winter Village sets only to see the Toy Shop and the train re-introduced.

I wasn’t sore about the re-releases at the time. I paid what I was willing to for what I wanted. I got what I wanted. So why should I get dyspeptic that someone else gets something that makes them happy as well? They’re freakin’ TOYS not the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

But… Lego will do what Lego will do and we’ll just have to see, right?

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:44 PM

Until recently… 🙄

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:37 PM

That’s a good question, and I’m not sure. I have a feeling that if they re-release older models, they won’t be straight re-releases, but more like buildings that are similar to the old ones. So, both those who have the original and those who are new to the series could use them. I can’t imagine LEGO releasing a modular these days that’s completely empty inside.

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DavidH January 3, 2018 at 10:54 AM

It was clear to me from the first time I saw this set that the tan part was an afterthought. It just doesn’t match the rest of the building. But this could happen in real life too. Buildings get renovated, upgraded, restyled. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but one good thing is that the tan part makes the Diner blend in better with the other modulars.

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 2:47 PM

I know, right.

My first thought was take the upper stories off and add a ground floor under them and plop it down next to the diner or some other building. But then I occurred to me that that Art Deco tower isn’t merely a marquee but incorporates portions of the upper story businesses.

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:50 PM

Yes, that’s the part that’s an issue. That Art Deco tower thingy is part of the building behind it. I was thinking that maybe that section could be made shorter, and just rebuild that tower in a more standard style. But the tan building is too plain on its own, so it might not be worth it. Just strip out the Diner, plop it in a parking lot and be done with it. The recording studio and gym could be put in pretty much any other building.

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:39 PM

That’s a good point about the tan section. I agree that it looks like an afterthought, but it does help blending the building with the rest of the street. Of course, the whole point of Art Deco is NOT to blend in. 🙄

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jabber-baby-wocky January 3, 2018 at 11:04 AM

Rereleasing older modulars brings up a whole lot of questions and headaches. Which ones? Should they be a re-release with no changes? Or make them match the more detailed new style? Will they be a second modular for those who already have the original?

I don’t think rereleasing the older sets is such a good idea. They are very different in style, and don’t match the newer, smaller sets that well. So, while they would please a few vocal AFOLs, they wouldn’t appeal to newer collectors. And if they make a set that is very similar, but smaller and more detailed, then it’s not the same building. They already kind of did that with Assembly Square, where the three buildins are sort of reminiscent of the first three modulars.

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:41 PM

All good points. I guess we will just have to wait and see. But the fact that Mike mentions the hotel seem to indicate that they are thinking about making one. Whether it is a re-release of the old set, or a completely new design is something we don’t really know at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year we get a hotel though. 😀

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Håkan January 3, 2018 at 10:02 PM

But hotels, just like Deco diners, also often deliberately attempts to ‘not’ blend in…

https://brickset.com/sets/41101-1/Heartlake-Grand-Hotel

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Håkan January 3, 2018 at 10:03 PM

Although there are always exceptions…

https://brickset.com/sets/3672-1/The-Motel

(Bought a bunch of cheap Fabuland figs at a thrift store recently, so I’m on a Fabuland wave…)

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admin January 3, 2018 at 10:14 PM

Gosh, I love Fabuland sets so much! They are rare here in the US, so I’m always jealous of European LEGO fans who can just pick up lovely sets like that at a random thrift store. 😀

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Håkan January 4, 2018 at 8:50 AM

Nah, not the whole sets, just loose figs, but still…

(All Fabuland houses tend to look alike, btw… Very basic builds…)

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admin January 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM

Yes, they are basic, with big pieces, but those windows, doors and roofs are so adorable. I call them hobbit houses. 🙂

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admin January 3, 2018 at 10:15 PM

Oh gosh… now you are making me concerned… 😐

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Hayato January 3, 2018 at 11:53 AM

Interesting video. Although I would have liked some more views of the set itself. I’m not a fan of art deco, but I appreciate the building techniques to achieve that look, and I like the interior. In my opinion, this set might have been better to be left one story, and released under lego city, either as a diner or a car dealership. It would have matched the style of the Town Plan set from a few years back. (I think that’s what it was called.)

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 2:16 PM

I agree that it would be better as a single story building. I don’t object in any way to the Art Deco style as it’s quite iconic for American diners (are there diners in other parts of the world?). This one fits that mold quite well with the exception of those cobbled on extra stories.

Secondly, if they were going for the classic American concept (again, where else are diners found?), it would be better stand alone surrounded by parking. I don’t see why this couldn’t fit into a modular village even though it might not employ the modular connections.

Perhaps this issue of non-connectivity/introducing parking has something to do with why they morphed away from the dealership thing. (I have yet to watch the video.)

I welcome it into the village tho with some reservations. I don’t have a problem with something breaking the mold. I just would have broken a different mold to stay more true to the origins.

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 2:30 PM

I should have been clear that I’d respect the origin of diners as adapted trucks/train cars.

The other question is respecting the origin of the modulars themselves. Some will prefer buildings that retain the 32×32-brick-plates-that-connect template. I can understand that but that’s not what I was referring to in this case.

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Håkan January 3, 2018 at 3:25 PM

I think there are diners around the world, but they have probably often been modeled on the American tradition…

In Sweden, I think it’s most common that diners are found on the road, in proximity to gas stations.

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 4:49 PM

Yes, that was common in the US too. First they were horse-drawn carts on wheels that were moved to where people were working. Then, when they became stationary, they were placed on busy roadsides often near gas stations and motels near or on the way to attractions and just outside city centers.

But they always were surrounded by parking and were a distinct part of car culture. Often car clubs would convene at diners to share a meal and enjoy one another’s modified and “souped up” cars.

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:51 PM

That’s fascinating! 😀

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admin January 4, 2018 at 9:50 AM

I just saw this today. A conversion of the Diner into a one-story building by the same person who designed that fantastic diner on LEGO Ideas: https://www.reddit.com/r/lego/comments/7o1hp3/wip_tried_to_improve_the_new_diner_interior_is/

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rainey January 4, 2018 at 1:24 PM

Now we’re talkin’!!!

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admin January 4, 2018 at 2:07 PM

Yeah! That’s the first I have seen, but I’m sure there will be more! 😀

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admin January 3, 2018 at 7:43 PM

Oh, yes, the #10184 LEGO Town Plan from 2008! That was a nice set, and you are right, it would be a great match to the diner! 😀

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rainey January 3, 2018 at 2:34 PM

I’ve watched the video.

I really enjoyed it but I have to agree with admin that there was precious little about the features of the set. Or about how the design developed. Perhaps they could do an additional one.

Still, it was very interesting to hear about their design process in general. I’d welcome more discussions of this sort between designers with different methods and muses.

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Legostuff71 January 3, 2018 at 10:13 PM

I alway find it Interesting that Lego does re-release various sets over the past couple of years . One: it gives collectors a chance to get it . If they missed it the first time. Two : it’s almost as the first couple of times were just ” rough designs” and the concept was there but , the design needed improvements. Of which Lego doesn’t figure it out until it’s out and on the sales floor. I guess we are the Guinea pigs in the sales world . If we like it they will keep making it and if we don’t . Back to the drawing board for Lego set designers.

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admin January 3, 2018 at 10:24 PM

Those are interesting observations. It definitely happens that LEGO tests things on us to see how they go. It’s fun though, and interesting. I don’t mind being LEGO’s guinea pig. 😀

As far as set designs, LEGO has been coming out with some interesting parts to make their models smoother and less blocky. So older sets often look a little rough compared to new ones.

Also, sometimes it’s about timing. When the Taj Mahal was first released, it was the largest and most expensive set. People weren’t used to spending so much money on LEGO. I clearly remember that the Taj was on sale for a long time. Stacks of them were piled up on clearance at the Orlando LEGO store. Still, people wouldn’t buy them. Now, after years of conditioning us with ultra large and ultra expensive LEGO sets, the Taj is getting a second chance, and we don’t even blink about the size and the price. And I’m fairly certain that it will sell much better than the first time around. 🙄

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Legostuff71 January 3, 2018 at 11:41 PM

Yeah I don’t mind being Lego Guinea pig as well. I guess that we have newcomers to the Lego universe and it’s all new to them. It’s like the Padawan meets up with the Jedi masters of the Lego collecting world. To watch the smile on a kids face when they get there first Lego set. Is priceless. I think we all get that feel when open a new Lego set. Being a child all over again and that a good thing. By the way, I am in the middle of building the NINJAGO city set . It’s a slow process but , then again it’s not a race. The details are so interesting.

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jjava January 5, 2018 at 1:48 PM

Aside from Jamie (at number 1 spot), Mike and Morten round out my top 3 favorite LEGO designers. I most enjoy sets that is functional and have great details.

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admin January 5, 2018 at 3:32 PM

Yes, they are really talented designers. Make sure you check their recent designer lists at Brickset, as many of them updated the list of sets they designed for 2018. 🙂

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