Well this could turn out to be a big write up so I’ll split it into three manageable sections.
Part one…the base section.
My initial interest in this Creator Expert series was activated when I was looking for something new and different from the Technic models I’d been building. Trawling through some of the pre-owned sets available on ebay I noticed a Parisian Restaurant set for sale and the current bid was really low…so I put in my bid of £42 and was genuinely surprised when I won (and it was free postage) What I didn’t realise at the time was that it wasn’t a genuine Lego branded product, and when it arrived I was disappointed to note it was a Chinese knock-off (something I would always avoid if I knew) still we live and learn.
Oh well, it was a bargain and gave me something to do whilst banned from leaving the house without a valid reason. The process of construction was the same and it occupied my interest for a day or two, but more importantly, it introduced me to a completely new style of design which I found really enjoyable.
The first few modular buildings in the series were not only an interesting build but also allowed for some initiative to design the interiors, the Cafe Corner being completely empty inside. So let’s start there I thought, but there’s no way I’m paying £800 plus to get a pre-owned set. Originally released in April 2007 containing 2056 pieces it was the first in the modular buildings to be released. The set features a three floor building set on a street corner, a vertical ‘Hotel’ sign, opening doors and windows, outside café tables and umbrellas, a striped awning and three minifigures.
But why was it so expensive?
I reckoned it would be much better value if I was to source the bricks myself and at least they would be new and surely much cheaper.
What was that I said about live and learn…will I ever?
By the time I discovered the reason for the inflated cost of this set I’d already purchased all the inexpensive parts only to discover the cost was about to go through the roof if I wanted the build to be authentic…and for some reason it mattered and I was starting to think that maybe as well as being fun to do Lego might actually be an investment.
Anyway, for a time I searched and bartered and slowly managed to obtain enough pieces to start on the ground floor section which was quickly completed and it looked great…even if a bit small!
So here it is.
Everything on this section is correct as to the original parts list including the two dark blue arch bows (2339) under the stair, five double sided black frames (30179) The black six pane door (right 73312) the medium stone grey door (right 73194) and the medium stone grey turntable base (3680). I find it quite amazing that some of the unseen parts which could in theory be of any colour, or mould variation, are the more expensive to buy.
As can be seen in the photograph, the dustbin and all three minifigures are correct.
So now with the lower section built I started to look at designing an interior for the cafe whilst awaiting some parts to arrive from Italy and Germany. Now I’m not really a fan of some of the interiors I’ve seen online, mainly it’s because I like to make things appear as realistic as possible. Many of the examples look really good but the build appears to be crammed with as many different parts as is possible without considering that the minifigures need room to pass between seats (and each other) and the design doesn’t work properly. Okay, okay, I accept that once positioned the little folk don’t move around when we’re not looking but surely part of the fun is having a very vivid imagination…or is that just me?
Anyways, having seen the small amount of space available I started to think that (in my very humble opinion) it would be difficult to make a profit from just four tables and a takeaway counter. So…I built another base unit but this time extended it by another 16 studs.
They always say bigger is better and in this case I have to agree.
Once again all the parts are correct as to the original set itinerary with the addition of 2 extra double sided black frames (30179) A kitchen has been added and the interior has been fully set out.
Well, I can honestly say I really enjoyed this build (except maybe for the cost) and it certainly kept me occupied for some time. I can’t quite make up my mind whether the next step is to initially build the first floor as intended or just go straight for the extended version. We’ll see 🙂
As we’ve not been allowed to travel during the recent period of lockdown I found myself looking for something ‘constructive’ to do in order to keep my mind occupied and my brain stimulated, not to mention a much needed distraction to silence my ever present ‘worry monkeys’.
Initially I had considered the situation an ideal opportunity to write another novel, or maybe even attempt to complete the Adult Pantomime I’ve been promising to finish for the past few years. But my heart just wasn’t in it (not to mention a complete lack of inspiration) and for me ideas have to flow freely in a natural way and not be forced to the surface.
One of the major tasks which needed attending to was sorting out the accumulated plethora of artefacts and junk threatening to burst through the ceilings of the upstairs room…better known as the loft.
Well it would certainly prove to be a beneficial activity, as it may well have prevented the house from imploding, but stimulating it was not. However a trawl through the many boxes revealed a long hidden trove of the boy’s childhood toys, more specifically Lego, and this definitely caught my imagination…dare I say ‘what could be more constructive than Lego?’
As well as a rather large box of assorted ‘bits and pieces’ there was also several sets of the ‘Technic’ brand of models, which I seem to remember were quite intricate and challenging to complete. So in the guise of the need to check all the pieces were present and correct I set about this new activity with extreme enthusiasm and gusto.
First on the list was Technic set 8480 Space Shuttle, 1366 parts of total immersion and intrigue. In my usual ‘modus operandi’ it wasn’t just a case of putting together the parts but more a meticulous operation of assembling the perfect model in its best possible form. So to begin with all the pieces were separated into colour and type and thoroughly laundered in an ultrasonic cleaner, then dried and buffed (with a non-scratch lint free cloth of course) As the build progressed many visits were paid to the large box of assorted bits in an attempt to locate any missing pieces, and there were many. A small quantity of said parts which eluded discovery were quickly sourced via ebay (a very expensive way to buy Lego) and overall it probably took the best part of two weeks to finish the project.
But now I was hooked.
Now I freely admit that I can sometimes get carried away when a new project presents itself, but I could never have known that what started a bit of a time killer when we were ‘confined to barracks’ back in March 2020 would become a firm and favourite hobby.
To my surprise I’m not the only one, apparently, and there are a huge number of enthusiasts around the world who enjoy collecting, building, designing, writing and talking about what started off many decades ago as just a basic few types of brick in a limited number of colours to the complex ‘educational toy’ we have today. There are many small businesses which make money out of buying and selling both bulk supply and spare parts and initially I just couldn’t believe how expensive and collectable some parts could be. When I first discovered that my set 8480 (with its original box and instructions) and in good condition was worth close on £300 I was astounded
And so it began.
I can confidently state I’m definitely an AFOL and my collection is growing almost on a daily basis. I particularly like the modular building range and I intend to post some of my interiors mainly for an ongoing record of my collection…plus writing about Lego may actually help to distract me from buying it.