EDIT MODE

So since we are approaching Christmas, let's get in the mood with the review of this year Winter Village, Advanced Model set: 10249: Toy Shop. This is part of a tradition of yearly seasonal cute winter village buildings dating back to 2009, including such gems as the 10235: Winter Village Market and last year wonderful 10245: Santa's Workshop. But as many of you already know, this set kind of break the tradition, as it is not a brand new model but instead a re-release of the first one of the series, 10199 Winter Village Toy Shop. Have we entered a loop of re-releases of winter sets? Or was it just a lazy year for Lego? Only time will tell, but surely many Lego enthusiasts expecting a new set were not pleased by this turn of events.

Anyway, this set is not exactly an identical reprint: many small details have been changed. For first, the minifigure lineup has been enhanced and expanded. There are now eight instead of seven, which is plenty to give life to your Christmas display, and they have all been redesigned with better prints and parts.

As for the set, many small details have been updated. Let's see if we can find all of them and the reasons behind the changes. Here are the two sets:

And here's the result of me playing "spot the differences" on the two models:

Starting from the top, you can see what is probably the most important change: the tallest of the two roofs didn't use to have the front facing tiles, and some unpleasant interiors were showing. Now they rectified the situation and made it the same as the other roof. I suspect they were able to do that thanks to the second change: all the garlands have been updated to a different piece, the life preserver. It has a narrower profile on the top, which let just enough space for the two tiles to be placed. The part itself, while available since 1999, was not printed in green until 2012.

Another interesting change is about the two "festoon" on the right side, made by two Technic Beam 5 x 7 L-Shape with Quarter Ellipse Thin. They're still there but have been updated to a nicer dark green. In this case, the new color have been introduced exclusively for this set, as it's unique here.

A curious change has been made to the awnings on the front and on the side: in the older version, the dark red stripes were longer; in the new version, the white ones are. I really don't see the point in the change. Perhaps they wanted a lighter overall color? Maybe they had more white bricks available to use than dark red? None of these options sound convincing, maybe some of our careful readers has a better guess.

Other minor changes include the door handle, which is now gold, the signage that is now printed, and the Christmas tree, which has now more transparent 1x1 round bricks, a redesigned based and yellow clips instead of gray.

The toy lineup has also been almost totaly redesigned.

If we want to dig deeper into the differences between the two sets, we can use Rebrickable's unique Set Comparison Tool, to learn that the new version has 82 more parts and 73% of the parts in the old set are maintained in the new set. I was expecting more, but the toys micro builds probably rise the count of different parts considerably, and minifigure parts are also counted.

Well, i guess it's time to stop comparing and start building!

Content

The set has some interesting and unique parts:

The jester hat appear in a new combination of colors, exclusive to this set.
As noted earlier, the green technic beam with the arc is also exclusive in dark green.
The new tiles with pin make an appearance here (more on these later).
Two different sizes of pine are present in this set. These are really ancient pieces: the small one was introduced back in '86, while the big one even in '73. That's 42 years worth of pines! I actually remember having them as a kid, and most of my legos back then were inherited from my uncle!
The cat is an exclusive part of this set, according to the databases. Strange, I feel I've already seen it.. maybe it's a different mold? Or maybe it's printed.
The snowboard is a new 2015 piece, and appear in dark blue exclusively here.

The Build

The build starts with some fine microbuilds: the snowman and some toy presents. As a fan of microbuilds, i might be biased, but i really love these things.

Also, in two of them you get to meet one of the most exciting new piece of this season, the mighty 20482 Tile Round 1 x 1 with Pin. This part is incredibly useful for micro builds and i'm sure many Afol broke in tears when they first saw it. It's currently exclusively found in six sets and in trans clear, but i'm sure it will appear in other colors and in many sets very soon. Two are included in this set, plus one spare.

The lamp post comes next, and it's a great looking one, with a wrought iron feel perfectly represented with some snot techniques, including the use of black skeleton legs. The transparent globe parts were surprisingly difficult to clip together.
The side model is completed with a simple bench and one of those cool ancient trees.

Next come the Christmas tree. The base has a nice hexagonal symmetry to it, enabled by part 64566 - Technic Plate Rotor 6 Blade with Clip Ends Connected.

The tree is then built with plenty of plates, arranged in layers each of which has a hole to slide the trunk in, and is rotated by an angle.

The technique by which the layers are rotated is similar to the ones we discussed in the review of 31036 Toys and Grocery Shop when we digressed into geometry: there are 4 1x1 plates at each layer and they are attached in "diagonal", like in the case A of this image.

The last layer "closes" the tree by using one of the new 2 x 2 round tiles with stud in center. The end result looks great

After adding the decorations, the tree looks superb and will take the place of honor in your wintery display. It's size is important too, as you can see by the minifig on the side. A ladder is also provided to pose you little people in the action of decorating it.

The last gifts are built next, which are a great jack-in-a-box, featuring a cool jester hat and "classic smile" minifig face; a present box, a teddy bear and.. a crate with a carrot. I guess that's for some naughty kid.

The Minifigs

Let's pause from the build before the shop itself to take a look at the numerous minifigs included in the set.

First we have the singers:

They look really good to me, i love the expressions, the singing faces with cheeks reddened by the cold, which have been greatly enhanced from the first edition (and are therefore exclusive). They're very elegant too, and the woman dress is also exclusive of this set. The woman has an alternate, non singing but still reddened expression.

Then we have three kids. None of the components are exclusive (except for the snowboard), but they're still quite nice. The girl is the only one with a back print, while two kids have an alternative expression.

The "parents" (or whatever you want them to be) are also very generic and made with very common parts. The man has a back print, while the woman an alternate, terrorized expression.

The last one is the toy maker, which looks good despite being another combination of very common parts.

Here's the whole group! Maybe they're nothing new but they are surely more than enough to bring your display to life!

The Build, reprise

The build of the toy shop itself starts with a big white plate over which a layer of tiles is added, together with a counter top and a fireplace space.

Two other microscale toys are built (a small robot and a train locomotive) and i love them too. They're both very similar to other appeared elsewhere: for example the already mentioned Toy and Grocery Shop had exactly that: a robot and a locomotive, both of similar construction. After all we are talking about toy shops!

The micro builds are placed on pedestal in the main room of the toy shop, and the wall are raised with the help of some arches

And then some more to close the window tops:

This image is perhaps the best to show the relative plain construction of the building: the walls are just regular bricks-over-bricks with no sign of any kind of cool trick or anything. The Workshop in this regard offered a much more intricate and satisfying build, with cool techniques for the pillars and windows. Fortunately, this doesn't detract much from the look of the set.

The tents are then added, together with the new printed sign

In the meantime, the stone chimney start to take shape in the back of the model.

Let's move upstairs where the front facade is built, with the garland. It looks a little plain, but that's just because we have yet to add the festoons. On the taller side, we create a small workshop which is equipped with hammer and pliers. One of those cute 2x3 brick with a LED inside are attached in this step. It will provide light for the small room, but not for the rest of the model.

Now the clever festooning is built up. I was surprised to find that these are not the classic 3x5 parts, often used in technic, but instead they're the bigger 5x7 cousins which I've personally never seen before. Anyway, some pin with stud are used to connect the front facing tiles.

Finally the roof is built with two connected halves. Interestingly, the roof is attached to the model only by one side, with just two clips.

Here how it looks in place:

The other roof is very similar, this time the tiles and the garland are attached to a small wing plate

We attach it, then the roof, and we're done! Our toy shop is finished in all his glory!

The back side allow easy access to the rooms

And here's the complete set, definitely a crowded, joyful vignette!

Conclusion

Just taking a look at it, i can conclude that this is another very cute Christmas model that you can't miss if you're building your seasonal Winter Village. Despite being a much simpler and less advanced build than the Santa's Workshop (after all it's six years old), it still looks just as colorful and cheerful.

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