10 September 2016

This is big, Peter, this is very big

Despite having been released way back in January, I've still got a lot to say about the astonishing  LEGO® Ghostbusters 75827 Firehouse Headquarters! Indeed, many of its new and recoloured parts still remain exclusive nine months later, so sit back and discover what I found when sifting through its 4,624 parts.

New Parts

There's a new kind of 1x6x5 panel in town and it's pretty cool; it has a corrugated effect like you would find on a shipping container, for example. We already have many textured 1x2 bricks, so it's nice to have a new large piece with texture. It comes in Black here (Element ID 6128857 | Design ID 23405) and to date it is still exclusive in this colour in this set. Sadly, only one is provided. Other sets have it in Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] (Element ID 6132335) and Olive Green (6136741).

The new addition to the panel family, the 1x2 with two corners, is present in this set in Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/Light Bluish Gray [BL] (6138696 | 23969). This was one of the parts included in our new parts challenge, so you can find plenty of ideas for its use there. It already comes in six other colours, including my favourite,  Transparent!

The most obvious new elements in this set are the twirly fire pole and associated handlebars, which together make a play function that is lots of fun. A gentle nudge sends the attached minifig spinning rapidly to the bottom, and it is so fast and funny you'll want to do it again and again. The pole has 3.18mm connectors at either end of the spiral section which is 30 studs long, making the part just over 32 studs long overall. It is Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] (6135319 | 23421) which is the same colour as the two supplied in 76052 Batman Classic TV Series - Batcave, and it can also be found in Bright Yellow [TLG]/Yellow [BL] in 60110 Fire Station (Element ID 6139483). As for the handlebars, they only come in Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray [BL] (6137325 | 23422).

What use do these two specialised parts have outside of being fun twirly pole thingies? Being slightly bendy, I can imagine people using the pole in interesting decorative ways but obviously, being such a long part with connection points only at the ends, potential uses will be very limited. The handles looked more promising at first, but I was disappointed to discover the hole is too large to take a stud, and the internal ridges prevent a Technic pin being inserted. I'm sure it will be used for decorative purposes such as greebling, but even that is a challenge given the 3.18mm connectors are set at angles.


It surprised me to discover that this was the first ever set to feature a 1x2/2x2 inverted bracket in White (6097637 | 99207), but clearly everyone at LEGO Design been wanting them as there are already five other sets that use it. But that was nothing compared to my surprise at noting that this set featured the 1x12 plate in Dark Stone Grey (6133611 | 60479) for the first time! How have we survived eight years without it? It, too, can be found in five other 2016 sets.

The minifig toolbox accesory comes in Earth Blue [TLG]/Dark Blue [BL] (6135159 | 98368) here for the first time, and looks really smart in this colour. They have also included it in Ghostbusters 75828 Ecto-1 & 2. Another excellent accessory, the ghetto blaster, now comes in Medium Stone Grey (6138216 | 25202) and is still exclusive to this set.

Your average plain everyday old fashioned non-corrugated 1x6x5 panel gets a fresh coat of paint: Earth Green [TLG]/Dark Green [BL] (6126104 | 59345), exclusive to this set. There are five included. [EDIT: I was incorrect here; reader antp has pointed out this appeared in Earth Green in the 2010 Toy Story set 7599 Garbage Truck Getaway, which had seven.)

The window pane for 1x2x2 windows was cast in an opaque colour for the first time in 21304 Doctor Who, but those were printed on one side. Firehouse Headquarters contains six completely unprinted ones (6129749 | 86209), should you require that for some reason.

The 1x2 plate with one clip centred on the long edge originally appeared in 2013; now it is finally available in Black (6132731 | 11476) in this and loads of other 2016 sets. There's only one here but there are Ninjago sets containing three or four. I can't resist mentioning that you'll also find it in Bright Reddish Violet [TLG]/Magenta [BL] in 41116 Olivia's Exploration Car!

An unprinted minifig head comes in Transparent Fluorescent Green [TLG]/Trans-Neon Green [BL] (6109893) here and in Elves and Batman sets too. This isn't as exciting as it sounds; it has appeared in this colour many times with the previous mould of the minifig head (known as 'Blocked Open Stud' on BrickLink).

BrickLink calls it the 1x1 round tile with pin; TLG are more accurate with their naming for once by calling it the Plate 1X1 W/3.2 Shaft/1.5 Hole. Me, I call it the nipple and now it comes in Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] (6126113 | 20482). I've been promising to write about this part for over a year now! - happily it is being included in the next new parts challenge here on New Elementary so will hopefully get some of the attention it deserves. This set contains four of them and it also appears in 14 other sets.

Also in this colour are antlers (6132730 | 11437), and the single one provided makes a nice adornment over the main door. The part also comes in this colour in Ninjago and Elves sets.

Let's move onto the subject of brown doorways. I know you've been dying to hear about this topic, so you'll be glad to hear I have three parts to tell you about. Firstly there's a very special new recolour of an existing door part; the 1x4x6 with three panes and a stud handle. Up until now this part has always had an opaque frame with transparent windows but now it has been cast in two opaque colours; a Dark Brown frame with Reddish Brown panes (Element ID 6131828 | Design ID 60797). It's a beautiful result and I hope we see this in more colour combinations!

The 2x4x6 door frame comes in Reddish Brown (6132813 | 60599) here, with three provided, and also in 10702 Creative Building Set. And what better to put inside it than a 1x4x5 door in Reddish Brown (6126109 | 60616)? The fact this is a new colour for this old part surprised me, given that real doors are often made of wood. There are two, and they also come in Ninjago and Frozen sets.

But wait, I'm not done with Reddish Brown surprises: the 2x3x2 cupboard (6132732 | 92410). Three are supplied and you will also find it in three other 2016 sets. There are six Medium Nougat [TLG]/Medium Flesh [BL] drawers (6126118 | 4536) to go inside, which you will also find in those same three sets.

My final Reddish Brown offering is the solitary flotation ring/life preserver/lifebuoy with knob (6132812 | 30340) which at time of writing is exclusive to this set. I failed to photograph it on its own, so here it is in situ... or should that be in seat-you? Hahahaaaaa!

I won't discuss the minifigs but the three ghosts deserve pictures - they're a lot of fun! Only the Slimer has moveable arms.

Printed parts

There are two lovely printed 2x2 tiles representing printed publications: one with 'BRICK' magazine printing (Element ID 6135301) replicating the Time magazine cover from the movie and the other has a more generic newspaper design (6135300) - always useful, and the Gothic lettering means it won't look out of place in historical MOCs.

Correct me if I am wrong but I could not find any instances of TLG releasing a 1x2 printed hazard tile (6129504) before. There are two supplied here and it also comes in 71228 Ghostbusters: Peter Venkman, a really cute LEGO Dimensions Level Pack.

That's it for new printed parts but there are a number of other printed pieces that have only appeared in one other set to date...

The Bright Blue [TLG]/ Blue [BL] 1x1 round tile printed with a white star (6138208) was presumably designed for 76049 Avenjet Space Mission, and it's an extremely useful print to own.

The wonderful 2x2 round tile with dartboard pattern (6100582) from 10246 Detective's Office is present here.

Most of all, however, I love the cereal packet printed on a 1x2x2 brick (6104509), from LEGO Juniors 10684 Supermarket Suitcase.

There are more lovely decorations to enjoy, but as they are stickered parts I won't discuss them. You will spot many of them in the photographs however.

The build

Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of building a set that has been on shelves for months and been scrutinised by so many others, I will instead mention some of the things that caught my eye during the build.

After you examine this clever lamp, take a look underneath it at the detailing on this desk. It contains what looks like an illegal move: notice the 1x4 panel in the centre that has been attached by pushing its base vertically in between two rows of studs. This worries Janine.

That technique is called 'pony ears' by some AFOLs, in reference to the 1x2 tile pushed onto a horse head in the good ol' days of brick-built horses (like this example from my beloved 383 Knight's Joust). It's a technique that probably every kid who ever played with LEGO plates has done at least once, but TLG noticed that it "stresses the elements" and ceased to allow it in official sets. But the rule is not that simple; I've since been told it is illegal with plates but legal if you are using a tile, and I apologise that my memory fails to recall the reason... perhaps something to do with tiles being microscopically thinner, or the presence of the groove? Anyway, this is the first time I have noticed an official set using a panel for the technique. This perhaps suggests that the base of panels is the same thickness as a tile, especially given that panels do not have grooves. Anyone care to comment?

Another interesting aspect to the desk is that the seat is attached using two of part 32124 (called "Technic Rotor, 2 Blades" by TLG and "Technic, Plate 1 x 5 with Smooth Ends, 4 Studs and Center Axle Hole" on BrickLink), as Janine is pointing out. It is of course not used for any of its Technicy or rotory capabilities; it's because it is five studs long. Why, oh, why can't we just have 1x5 plates? It's a good question, and AFOLs don't tend to like the reason that I've been told. One of the things that TLG spend a lot of time doing is making sure the "build experience" is not frustrating for kids, especially younger ones, and getting confused between the lengths of similar parts is clearly a bugbear. That's why Technic axles have 1:1 scale diagrams shown in instructions and indeed why the new colouring system for axles has been introduced this year. So there needs to be a strong argument for introducing five-stud long parts, and the reason is of course that there are occasionally attachments that you can only make - or only make in a stable fashion - by using a 1x5 plate. But how occasional are these? Rather, I fear.

It's different to the situation with 1x3 plates because those can only be made out of a 1x2 plate plus a 1x1 plate, so the need for a 1x3 arrives rapidly. If you want a 1x5 plate, you have more alternate possibilities to exhaust first - they can be made from a 1x4 plus a 1x1, or a 1x3 plus a 1x2. Indeed, in the above instance of the desk, I think a 2x4 plate would have sufficed, but the designer, Marcos Bessa's solution is stronger (and more elegant, as the missing studs in the centre of the part make for a nicer space between the desk and chair). One day we may well see five-stud long parts, but we're not there yet.

This fireplace is very neat. It uses the new 1x2 double-cornered panel I mentioned earlier, and whilst two 1x1 corner panels would have sufficed, they wouldn't have looked so nice.

To the rear of the arched window piece, a Dark Stone Grey 2x3 plate with curved end has been used to match the shape and provide something to attach the fire piece to. This is one of those techniques where I stopped to think "did I know those parts matched? Surely I knew that", but to be honest, I don't think I ever noticed this before!

Another pool table! One appeared in 10246 Detective's Office but this design is totally different, and ingenious in a completely different way. This falls into the "spoilers" category for me - I don't want to break it down in case you haven't yet built it yourself - but study this picture of the underside and you will get a sense of the delightful complexity.

For 71006 The Simpsons House, Marcos Bessa made loads of excellent furniture which had no anti-studs on the bottom, the downside being that they slid around easily. Here he offers a lovely solution: two 2x2 jumper plates in the rug provide recessed studs for two legs of this table to sit in - at a jaunty angle! You don't need to be this clever/constricted in your own creations; a single recessed stud to hold one leg will do the trick.

And I can't let this toaster pass by without comment. It's unmistakable, despite containing just two parts and stickers. Bravo!

The completed model

This set feels more like building a MOC (albeit to someone else's design) than an official LEGO set, which has its positives and negatives. It is just incredible that TLG are releasing models of this size and complexity, especially with such rich architectural detail. I love creating architecture out of LEGO bricks, so the detailed three-sided facade was a real treat.

This, however, will probably be a downside to many. AFOLs can be quick to criticise repetitive builds, and there's plenty for them to fear here. As I said, it is like building a MOC - an experience that many purchasers will not be expecting or perhaps desiring. I myself was anticipating that this would be like building a Modular; it isn't. The fabric of a Modular, particularly recent ones, is much more varied and they are also smaller, so expect a longer haul with this set.

One aspect in which I am glad they are unlike Modulars is the way floors attach; with Modulars the connections are flat but with Marcos' complex design, Light Stone Grey tiles project upwards as you can see above. It's nice that the design wasn't compromised here.

There's a lot of fun to be had separating and reconnecting the floors. It's more complex than I anticipated, with two smaller sections that span two floors. Once the Chinese puzzle is back together, it all locks together neatly and stably.

Despite the architectural details, the exterior feels somewhat plain. There are a few exterior details to spice things up: pink goo erupting from the sidewalk, a very effective traffic light and a little bin made of 1x2 grille tiles. We've seen the latter before and frankly, they're just irritating. Especially placed rioght on the edge as it is here, where you knock it off pretty much every time you move the model.

Clearly, the vast majority of effort has gone into the interior. One side of the model swings open with two 'doors', with one door turning 180° and the other only 90°.

The Ecto-1 does not come with the set, but LEGO Ideas 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 does fit inside - if you remove the desk.

This is a tricky set to display. Here you see the rear side, which obviously needs to face a wall. And you can also see that the roof is plain and dull, so ideally you want this displayed up at eye level, so a shelf would be ideal, but you will need a deep one - 38cm (14"). On the other hand, all the fun is inside and so when friends come to play the "oooh ahhhh I want that" game at your house, you'll need to move it to a table where you can actually open it up, because of course it needs to be rotated to the side to open up, otherwise the 180° door would hit your wall. So you need to dedicate a lot of space to this piece.

There's no doubting this is an excellent build with stunning details, enhanced by the stickered pieces - many of which will be useful in other MOCs. It's got loads of great new parts and is a superb parts pack, if you want loads of useful Medium Stone Grey parts like small plates, bricks and tiles (172 1x2 tiles alone!) or SNOT bricks. Of course there is also a wide and voluminous array of Dark Red bricks and plates provided, the highest quantity being 1x4 bricks: there are 108. Special mention must also go to the 91 Dark Stone Grey 2x4 tiles; greatly appreciated by me!

If you are not a huge Ghostbusters fan, or not dying to build a very nice realistic four-walled building, or have better things to do with £274.99 / $349.99 / €349.99, don't feel like you're missing out by not owning this. It's an extraordinary set that I highly recommend, but not a must-have all-time classic.

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  1. Nice parts review :)
    One comment: the 1x6x5 panel in dark green was actually already used in a previous set, the 7599 from 2010, cf http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemIn.asp?P=59349&colorID=80&in=A
    Maybe there was a minor change in the mold and it got a different inventory part number in TLG? They seem identical there though:
    http://brickset.com/parts/4586385 (2010)
    http://brickset.com/parts/6126104 (2016)

    1. My bad, thanks for that. I cross-check against BL so not sure how I missed that. Will edit post

  2. Good review! I don't own this set but got to help build it with other members of BZPower for a live build at the entrance to BrickFair VA this year! It really is massively complex.

    One quick correction—you described the door frame as 2x4x5, when in fact it is 2x4x6.

    I love the look of the fire pole and would love to use it in gold in an Elves MOC, but not only is it hard to use in any but the tallest MOCs, but unfortunately, the design of the handle prevents mini-doll characters from using it. This year's Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster introduces a new 2x6 plate with a similar center section to the firepole handlebar, allowing you to build a larger spiraling structure, but again this makes the whole thing less compact and on top of that the part in question so far only appears in a mildly garish Bright Yellow.

    The printed 1x2 hazard stripe tile is interesting. I believe it's used in the Dimensions Ghostbusters level pack (which, like all Dimensions packs besides the Starter Pack, only uses printed patterns and no stickers), but unfortunately it is NOT used in this year's Ninjago Ultra Stealth Raider, which for some reason uses two almost identical stickered pieces instead. It was a bit of a disappointment to me when building that set.

    1. That actually is really odd about the 1x2 hazard tile. It matches the 1x4, which is usually (always?) printed, and they have the ability to pad print it without having to make new pads. The Dark Knight 3 set had 1x6 stickers, but those also had bullet hole marks in them, so it does make sense that they wouldn't want to make those a permanent printed version.

      I'd wonder if maybe they decided late in the game to exclusively use prints instead of stickers for Dimensions, but while the Ghostbusters packs came late enough in the run that the Ninjago sticker sheet might have been finalized before they released, the entire Series 1 was printed on the Starter Set box, so every single one of them had to have been finalized for production over a year ago.

  3. "The window pane for 1x2x2 windows was cast in an opaque colour for the first time in 21304 Doctor Who, but those were printed on one side. Firehouse Headquarters contains six completely unprinted ones (6129749 | 86209), should you require that for some reason."

    How come?? :) It can be used for so many things. A blank piece of paper came straight to my mind.

    1. The window glass is really only designed to attach to window panes. Minifigs can't hold it, and you can't attach it to a desk. 2x2 tiles solve both of those problems.

      For MOC purposes, you may find you prefer these for loose paper resting on flat surfaces, but sets do still have to be designed with kids in mind (even the sets that aren't designed with kids in mind, like this one).

  4. White 2x2 window glass may only be available in printed versions in Doctor Who, but you also get 14x dark-blue unprinted (and 1x printed) window glass to fill out the rest of the exterior walls.

    The pony-ears technique is illegal with plates because the studs prevent the plate from being inserted all the way down unless you shift it nearly 1/2 stud sideways to allow the ear studs to land between the head studs. However, it _should_ be illegal in all forms, as the head studs do bite into the ear tile (or panel, in this case), and cause lasting marks.

    The reddish-brown life preserver may still be unique to this set, but that won't be the case by the end of the month. Dimensions Fantastic Beasts Story Pack will include two of them.

    The two-tone door is probably reddish-brown plastic with dark-brown paint, as I believe the frames are always painted on the ones with clear panes.

    The ghosts are interesting because the pink and blue ones use the Ninjago Screamers mold, but the prints are both based on actual ghosts seen in the movie (after Dickless turns off the containment grid, I believe). Slimer is even more interesting because this version is Trans-Bright Green, while the Dimensions one is Trans-Green and looks very much like his glow was turned off. Why they chose to go the more expensive route and produce both parts in two different colors instead of just one makes no sense, especially since the trans-green version looks wrong.

    1. All very interesting - thanks Purple Dave!!

  5. In regards to the hazard tile, its possible the NinjaGo set was designed and finalized earlier than the GBHQ and Dimensions set but (because of how the NinjaGo release schedule was decided) the set wasnt released until now.

  6. That's a thorough review with beautiful pictures. I am thinking about buying this set too but it is very expensive, but definitely worth the money. It's great that you can park the Ecto 1 inside the building. I don't have any Ghostbusters set yet, do you think that the Fire Station will be a good entry point?
    I bought another huge set couple weeks ago, the Disney Castle, you can read my review of this amazing set on my new LEGO blog, if you're interested. :)