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LEGO Creator 31036 Toys Grocery Shop

This is my first time building a Creator building. There are many in the theme, but somehow i never got my hand on any of them. So how will the building be? Let's find out!

Box content

Once opened the bag, we found:

 

  • 4 x unnumbered bags of parts.
  • 3 x instruction booklets (One for each models).

 

See the full inventory of 465 parts.

Parts

This set offer three newly recolored parts:


Beside that, we can find a lot of regular bricks in sand green, a very useful and "rare" color:

Minifig

Contrary to all other sets in the Creator line, buildings usually have minifigures, and this set contains two of them, a mother and his child (i think).

The mother sports an elegant scarf and a jacket of some kind, over trouser that are probably jeans, judgin by the color and lack of prints. The kid instead has a wonderful t-shirt with a classic lego spaceman (maybe a reference to some known movie or such?). I'm pretty sure that i'd buy such t-shirt if i ever find it available in real life :) His face has a suitably innocent but mischievous smile and dots on the cheek.

The back show no trace of prints, but the woman has an alternate, terrorized expression, possibly caused by his son uncontrollably zapping around with his scooter.

All minifig parts has appeared before.

Building

But let's get building! We start with a large baseplate on which we attach some floor parts, and notably an hinge that immediately gives away the "feature" of this set: The building is divided in two hinged halves! Notice also that the two clips are of the new variant, more "hand-shaped".

We then proceed with a cash register and the first portion of a sand green wall:

We now build a newspaper stand which is made with two nice printed tiles: a map, which appared a number of times across many themes, and a copy of the newspaper "The LEGO news", the most read of Lego City, which is a bit rarer than the map. They are put in display behind a big glass panel, and the rest of the floor is then built, including the beginning of the second part.

There's a nice trick now: a plate is attached at aboud 45 degrees with another hinge

But what's cool is that the unhinged side is actually attached to the floor. It's not easy to attach a piece in oblique, you usually have to realize a pythagorean triangle to do that (ie, a right triangle where all three sides are integer). Like in this example (who said math is not important in life?):

In the case of this model, it's not a pythagorean triple, becouse the hinge and the connected stud are not "in line". I considered for a moment to go ahead and do the math, but then i remembered i was playing lego and nevermind. Anyway, maybe is a well known connection but i don't remember seeing it before.

But we are going off topic, let's get back to building! Next comes a great vending machine, possibly for soft drinks or similar, and then we build another section of the wall:

Wondering why the wall is jagged? Becouse we're attaching the stair:

As you see the stair part is innested in the wall and the black plates are visible from the inside, which is unfortunate. This way the stairs are three stud long instead of four, so if we appy the Euler triangle formula.. just joking, sorry :) I'll save Euler for another review.

Next up come some actual toys! The first one is "Totally not WALL-E from Disney", and is attached to a little shelf made with a reverse slope we attached earlier. Unfortunately, this way the robot is completely pressed on the wall, if there was some little space, it could have been rotated a bit and be more pleasing to view, but i can't find a way it could have been done, and indeed i'm just nitpicking. The other toy is a cute locomotive with nice green and dark red colors. It's similar to many we saw before (like in the City Advent Calendar), but still nice. It's the star of the show, being placed right at the shop window. We also complete the first floor with the aslant door and the rest of the walls.

The rooves are now filled with plates, and thanks to the angled plate you can now see that the door is not exacly at 45°, but still very close. A flowery balcony is also built, and we begin the room on the first floor as well, starting with two letters (love letter? toy orders from some afol? who knows). By the way, i remember having those exact printed letters when i was a kid, and indeed a quick search reveals that it's at least from 1992! Not bad for a printed part.

Now it's the turn of the balcony, which is made up of many black "spyglasses", and then connected with tiles. We also add two foldable panels: they can be used to close the gap on the banister when the model is closed. Security first! It's a nice touch, but i'd had preferred if they looked a little more like the rest of the railing instead of being flat tiles.

Next we continue the other side of the first floor (it's actually the same room as the other side when it's closed) and we attach two signboard for the shops. One is a newspaper (like the one we saw before), the other is actually a micro model of a car, cleverly attached with a clip. Nice!

In the next steps we quickly pull up some walls with a record 26 parts placed in a single page. Not bad! Sometimes when i build a model with my girlfriend, we do a page each and we complain when the other has a particularily rich page. This one would have made one of us mad! But that's not a problem since the next page is equally full of parts, with all the windows being built. That would have made us even :)

A couple of more detail, and the building is finished! Notice the roof, decorated with clips and "lamp holders" (do this pieces have a nickname?). Behind the tallest facade, there are two windshields forming a roof window. We also attached something new on the street level: a street lamp, a vegetable stand and another small vending machine, an ingenius bubble gum dispenser.

From behind you can access the four half rooms with ease.

The model looks great when closed, as well, from all side except maybe the back side where the two halves joins.

Alternate Builds

The first alternate build i have built is some kind of post office. The beginning of it is similar to the first build, in that two plates are joined with hinges. Some flooring is layed out and a couple of flower pots placed. Notice that the one on the right is offsetted by half a stud.

The walls are then erected, together with the doors. As you can see, the front window of the right side is built on top of the plantation, and so is not in line with the rest of the walls. How will it be fixed?

It's fixed thanks to the blue jumper plates, on top of whose is a 2x6 plate, restoring the alignement of the wall. I love this little tecnique, it help breaking the squareness of the build.

In the next steps the stairway is added, which actually have two extra brick-built steps. The roof is placed as well as some details: a nice two color bench, a mail box, and two wall mounted lamps.

The model is finished with the post office sign, and an observation point featuring a balcony and a telescope. A fun touch is the brick built bird with a letter in its beak! (but I hope that's not the only way this post office deal with post distribution). The street lamp is also cool.

Here's some more looks at the built model:

The third model is another small building (of course), a news kiosk.

It starts with the newsagent desk and chair, which are both unusually built: the chair with a bracket and an hinge (used decoratively), the desk with a small under compartment.

The floor is then enriched with more interior design (such as the plant under the dome and the cash register), as well as esterior detail, like the great looking ice cream fridge (becouse it's an ice cream fridge, right?), some greenery and a newspaper stack.

Walls are then built, and the first floor finished with a sweep of light gray plates.

The hightlight of this build is probably the roof, which is done differently than the other two. We place some black railing around the back of the roof, and some decoration in the front, with the use of the two new blue slope:

The front is then finished with a section placed at an angle, connected by an hinge. The result is the following:

I don't think it looks particularly good, but it's a welcome change in the building process. The model is complete, here's some view of it:

The back allow for easy access to the store:

While, when opened, the front makes a great street slice.

Conclusions

Well, the main model is undoubtely the best of the three, it has a good number of small details that makes it a nice looking set. I like the ability to open up, it makes it useful both as a whole building or as a "street side". The alternate models are a much simpler, they use a small fraction of the available pieces (indeed they're both one story tall instead of two), but are still recognizable and detailed just like the first one. If anything, the building gets a little repetitive, as the three models share many tecniques and some assembly. Of course they're three buildings so that's expected.

I'm not personally that impressed but that's probably becouse this is not really the theme i prefer. If you're into buildings (and can't invest on modulars!), or into peaceful, non-combat models, maybe this is your model. It would look great in a city diorama too. In the end i think this is an honest set, but only if you're into this kind of themes.

You can now buy this set for $39.99, £34.99 or check other store prices and sales history here.

8 COMMENTS

  • 2 years, 1 month ago legoloco (78)
    The "lamp posts are actually headlight bricks.;)
  • 2 years, 2 months ago TobyMac (41701) Inventory Admin ADMIN
    Nice review!
    Set looks nice, but a little small. Especially when you're used to modulair buildings. But then again, the price is much smaller to
  • 2 years, 2 months ago Bolbuyk (8529) MOC Designer
    Quote: "In the case of this model, it's not a pythagorean triple, becouse the hinge and the connected stud are not "in line". I considered for a moment to go ahead and do the math, but then i remembered i was playing lego and nevermind. Anyway, maybe is a well known connection but i don't remember seeing it before."

    It's a known SNARL-trick which is used regularly by TLG. The trick is: on the bottom you go x studs to the left and y studs to the front. On the upper part you reverse the x and y: so you go y studs to the left and x studs to the front. So you have to turn your upper part and it fits fine!
    In this case the x and y are 3,5 and 1,5.

    And thanks for your review!
    • 2 years, 2 months ago msx (14387) Blogger
      Good to know it has a name! In which TLG sets is the technique used? I've build hundreds in recent years and i don't remember seeing it. Might very much be my poor memory :)
      • 2 years, 2 months ago Bolbuyk (8529) MOC Designer
        There are to examples that come up:
        - Sopwith Camel on page 42 onward on booklet 1: the construction of the tail of the plane. Here x and y are 24 and 1.
        - X-wing UCS in the nose. Here x and y are 28 and 1.
        Also the windows of the house in the Pet Shop (x=2 y=1).
        These are all by using two hinges, but I am pretty sure they did somewhere with a stud connection and a hinge or with 2 stud connections.

        I used this technique in theaft legs of the scorpion walker. In this picture you can see how I applied it there. It's a helpful technique, because you can almost any angle you want by choosing x and y.
  • 2 years, 2 months ago Immo (3499) MOC Designer
    "A mother and his child"? ;)
    Nice review. Sets like this are not my thing, but are still pretty nice.
  • 2 years, 2 months ago GregoryBrick (308) MOC Designer
    Nice review, great photography. Thanks for doing it. I've posted an explanation of how the door angle was achieved here.
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