14 August 2017

The early bird catches the fish

Coming 1st September 2017, LEGO® Ideas 21310 Old Fishing Store has 2,049 pieces - the highest number ever for a LEGO Ideas set - and will retail for £139.99 / US$149.99 / 149.99€. Sven Franic is here to tell you all about the colours, parts and minifigures you will find in this stunning fan-designed set.

I remember the day the LEGO® Ideas review results arrived with the news that the Old Fishing Store by fan builder Robert Bontenbal (RobenAnne) would be made into a set. A lot of us hoped for it, but never thought such a large project would be deemed feasible by the LEGO Ideas team. A particularly attractive feature was the colour scheme in Sand Green and the inclusion of so many accessories and animals, most notably the seagull which was only briefly featured with one of the characters in the 2013 collectible minifigures series 10.

Colours 

Robert expressed how the colour scheme was a very important aspect of the design process; he apparently even created a mood board to determine the colour schemes while sketching the initial design. 



The whole set is filled with earthy and mossy tones with faint differences in shade. Under dim light, Olive Green and Sand Yellow [TLG] / Dark Tan [BL] could easily be mistaken for each other. While this might give you a slight headache while building, it gives the model a super-realistic feel as you can create the impression of gradients.

If we take a look at the elements colour chart, Reddish Brown is definitely the most prominent colour, with Medium Stone Grey [TLG] / Light Bluish Gray [BL] just behind, used for most of the utilitarian SNOT bricks. Earthy tones like Sand Yellow, Olive Green and Sand Green share space, while bright colours like yellows, blues and reds are almost completely absent from the inventory, not even used for the hidden structural parts of the build.



The building looks mostly Sand Green from the outside. Sand Green is a great choice as it is reminiscent of lightly faded green varnish commonly used for wooden houses.



Parts

As mentioned, one of the other most anticipated features of the model was the inclusion of the seagull mould (Element ID 6208794|Design ID 13371. The old Element ID is 6029299 and the BrickLink ID 12891pb01).
 At first I was sceptical about it getting into the final set because the same seagull was previously announced in the official set description for the LEGO Creator 10243 Parisian Restaurant, only to be absent in the final release. One can only assume this was due to technical difficulties in getting a collectible minifigure element into a set which was produced (at the time) in a not fully operational factory in China purposed for the collectible minifigure theme.
 However, here we are almost four years later, and the Old Fishing Store not only includes the elusive bird, but gives us three of them!

The mould seems unchanged from the original animal that came in the CMF line, still made out of a medium-soft rubber. The reason behind a different choice of material over the standard ABS material is unclear. Some say it is due to the mould separation process which would warrant an impossible or too elaborate and expensive mould to produce this shape in hard plastic. Another theory is that some pieces would be too fragile or pointy and pose a risk of injury. Apart from the slightly compromised clutch power, I personally don’t mind rubber LEGO pieces, especially if they are as nice as this one.

The set also comes with a 32 x 32 stud baseplate in Brick Yellow [TLG] / Tan [BL]. The inclusion of baseplates used to be common practice with almost all sets containing static structures, but are given much less importance today. In an interview for Zusammengebaut, the design director for LEGO City Ricco Rejnholdt Krog explained: “We think the play experience is enhanced without having the baseplate because it opens more functionality when everything is not locked down”. He then goes on to demonstrate some modular functionalities of a City set which would be lost using a baseplate.

While this explanation makes sense for most sets marketed to younger kids, there is also speculation that the production of baseplates is uneconomical because they are vacuum formed which is an expensive process for large surfaces. It is possible the production of baseplates has been outsourced to another company, but this has never been confirmed by any LEGO representative.

The Brick Yellow baseplate in the Old Fishing Store doesn’t make the structure look compacted into a square or restricted in any way. The building is so rugged with intentional unevenness from all sides that the straight edge of the plate doesn’t appear extrusive. The colour of beach sand compliments the rest of the build and emphasises its seaside environment.

The variety of elements in Sand Green was slightly greater in Robert’s initial design, but Adam Grabowski, the LEGO designer responsible for adapting the building to in-house standards, optimised this colour’s element variety. I was hoping for a long due re-release of 1x1 tiles in Sand Green, but the building walls were cleverly restructured to accommodate only 1x2, 1x3 and 1x4 tiles. Not that I am complaining, as the latter two sizes are still quite rare. Apart from the three sizes of tiles, the only other Sand Green element is the relatively new 1x2 jumper plate (6184432|3794).

Another thing I was sceptical about in the adaptation process from fan design to official model was the building technique for making the model look rugged. As a fan, you can get away with having tiles and plates hanging on just one stud, unsecured from rotating. It is not uncommon for such MOCs to feature elements which are not fully pressed down, but such building methods wouldn’t pass the strict regulations LEGO sets have to fulfil. Not even structures secured on all studs are immune from being disqualified. The chief designer for Creator Expert, Jamie Berard, once explained how they put the finished concept models to an oven-test to find clutch power weak spots in structures. Sometimes elements go flying off and then it is back to the drawing board. To my surprise, the Old Fishing Store maintained most of the building techniques featuring tiles connected to single studs, manually positioned at an uneven angle. While building or handling the model, you will probably move a lot of the tiles out of their intended position, but it’s no big deal since this building thrives in randomness.


Since the set is a late release for this year, we might be slowly depleting the new elements and colours intended for this year’s run. There is one brand new re-colour which is exciting to see. 
The 1x2 Profile Brick now available in Olive Green. (6202628|98283)
I was never a fan of these bricks as I thought of them as cheating, but they have grown on me ever since I realised how great they work in combination with regular bricks to create walls with a distressed look. This is exactly how they are used in the set, and 22 pieces are included.


A very useful piece first seen in white in the last Collectible Minifigure series makes a scarce appearance here with only one used to hold a lamp. (6186681|20482) Thankfully, a spare one should be included with your set.


Another re-colour shared with the upcoming 70620 Ninjago City is the crowbar (6186698|29585) in Black. Unlike the Ninjago set where a number of them are cleverly used to form a rooftop, the Fishing Store uses them as… well crowbars.


A slightly rare element having only appeared previously in the 76052 Batman Classic TV Series is the window shutter in black. (6143430|60608) You get 16 pieces, or 8 windows' worth.



A timeless element that has been with us since 1967, Fence 1X4X2 (6202676|3185), was previously featured in Reddish Brown only in 10241 Maersk Line Triple E but is given a new Element ID for its re-release in the Fishing Store.


The set is just packed with different accessories. The LEGO Group has produced a surprising number of sea-related items through the years and they all come together in this set. It is a lucky time when a lot of the elements are still in production from the LEGO City Coast Guard theme. Some new elements work really well to create harpoons or the buoy made of an element first used for balloons. The only thing I am not sure about is the inclusion of TNT for fishing purposes since that is a very controversial and usually illegal practice.



The set is also home to many animals. There are, of course, lots of SIlver Metallic [TLG]/ Flat Silver [BL] fish elements, which are closely inspected by a Dark Orange cat. In an attempt not to completely spoil your surprise while building, I won’t tell you where the huge black spider is hiding. Then we have the Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG] / Bright Light Orange [BL] crabs which adorn the store tower. The Medium Stone Grey chicken doesn’t represent a real animal in the set, but the element does fall into the category. The red lobster first seen in the LEGO Batman Movie collectible minifigure series makes a re-appearance in this set. I know there was some talk about lobsters not being red before cooking, but apparently there are rare sightings of red lobsters in their living state and this was obviously convincing enough to keep the colour. And finally, the three seagulls which we already talked about earlier.

Stickers and printing

The set comes with a number of new printed elements, but this doesn’t mean there are no stickers. As we have heard numerous times from LEGO designers, stickers are a positive experience for many children. Adam Grabowsky who worked on adapting the set with the original fan designer said they carefully chose which elements should be printed and which stickered so that even if you decide not to use stickers in your model, the set would still look fine.

I personally think most of the stickers are surplus, not because I don’t like stickers, I just think the model is detailed enough without them. Particularly redundant in my view are the stickers that give tiles a scratched wood or metal effect, especially since there are two printed tile elements to create the same effect. The working hours notice, the newspaper clipping and the boat rentals sign are all nice though.

The 1x4 flat tile in Medium Dark Flesh with the wood grain and nails pattern was introduced in the LEGO Angry Birds sets and soon adopted by other themes. This is not the first element with a similar type of pattern, but The Old Fishing Store includes another wood pattern tile that is new for 2017, in Sand Yellow, and a 1x3 size for a change (6177892|63864). This appears in two other 2017 sets at present. The two printed tiles are used collectively throughout the build to give some variety to the weathered appearance.

The shop sign (6205749) is printed and as Adam explains in the instruction book, the name is not coincidental. For some reason I keep reading it like it is French as Antuanne, maybe because the whole store reminds me of a similar one I spotted in France. 
The set comes with a large variety of printed tiles. Almost as if anything that was currently available and could somehow be associated with the theme was used. The boat picture seems to have found its most appropriate use so far.
The 1x2 tiles in Brick Yellow [TLG] / Tan [BL] (6205746|3069) which make the bait hook boxes are printed and are so cool they warrant special mention. They are likely to stay exclusive to this set.

Minifigures 

The set comes with four minifigures donning some cool new prints.



The sailor comes with a light knitted sweater print on a Brick Yellow torso (6205345) and his cap (6179574) is borrowed from the same collectible minifigure that the seagull comes from. The cap is a very detailed print featuring a pearl gold stripe. The printing is crisp for what appears to be a complicated printing application, and it comes sealed in its own bag.

The salesman or fisherman comes with Olive Green overalls printed over a Medium Stone Grey torso (6205344). The overalls continue down to the legs which are dual-moulded Olive Green and Black (6207113). His head print with sideburns is also new (6205341). 



The fisherlady, customer or whichever role you want to give her has a new printed fishing vest with hooks and pockets printed over a Brick Yellow torso and White short sleeves on dual-moulded arms in White and Bright Yellow [TLG] / Yellow [BL] (6205335). Her dual moulded legs, which seem to represent Earth Green [TLG]/ Dark Green [BL] boots over Sand Blue pants, are also new (6207109)

.

The child minifigure is made up of all standard, seen-before elements.


Conclusion

Does the Old Fishing Store meet the high expectations? It is currently one of the most awaited sets in the AFOL community, and perhaps in the LEGO Ideas theme ever. It is the largest approved project by piece count, and this comes right after the previous breakthrough 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V earlier this year. Your fat AFOL fingers will probably get stuck in the narrow space with high walls, but it still makes a great display model. It doesn’t fit the Modular Buildings range right off the bat, but with a bit of creative planning, anything is possible.


With the last LEGO® Ideas review period of 2016 right behind us, we now know that RobenAnne’s other submission “Boat Repair Shop” won’t be joining the fishing store, so this will likely never be part of a larger theme, at least not one you can buy in a box.


I think both Robert and Adam did a great job designing and adapting such an unusual structure. The deliberate roughness with the correct colour choices create an orderly chaos which results in probably one of the most realistic looking models ever produced as a set by the LEGO Group.




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14 comments:

  1. Nice parts review Sven, I was drooling at some of those photographs! I agree that building a structure entirely with profile bricks can seem like texture overload, I tend to use them interspersed with other bricks as you suggested (it's also a cost saver too in some respects). I'm loving the muted earthy colour scheme and those wooden printed bricks...so pretty (swoon). :-)

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    1. I also like their use as a cinder block or brick foundation on some models. They can definitely be overkill if you try to use them as all the brickwork on a large, primarily brick structure, but as eye-catching detail on a structure that uses multiple types of material they work just fine.

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    2. Thanks Elspeth. Yes this is same approach I would take with golden, silver parts or anything that draws attention. You want them to just accentuate the build, not be made out of it.

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  2. I love the inclusion of a box of TNT. They must be doing some real red-neck fishing out fo the shop.

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  3. Nice review! This looks like a great set with lots of detail and excellent colors.

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  4. I just love this set even more now that I read this and I want one. I especially love the way the LEGO designer basically went to their racks of pieces and grabbed everything vaguely related to fishing or nautical/marine that they would be allowed to put into the set.

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    1. Lol true.. and that's teh way these old fishing shops are decorated in real life. Glass floats, netting, bobbers, etc. all over.

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  5. Pretty sure the 1x3 wood grain tile in dark tan was previously available in #70907 Killer Croc Tail-Gator earlier this year

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    1. That is what I get for assuming I know all the new parts, and not double checking. Thanks for pointing it out.

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  6. I cant wait to build this set, it absolutrly ticks all the bices for me. But i will build it on a blue baseplate as i see this building by the shore.

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  7. The set is wonderful and I will be getting it. So many great colors and parts.

    I liked the use of the sand green 62361 mudguard in the original set as a twisted board and wish it had stayed in the set.

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  8. Olive green, olive green!!!!!!

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  9. Great review and a great set to build and own! I just completed it myself!

    BTW, I actually got the new 2x2 Lego News tile (3068bpb1105) from 60154 Bus Station instead of the old Lego News tile as seen in this review aswell as in the instructions! Anyone else got this?

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    1. Actually, in my bus station is the old lego news tile 3068bpb0431, so it seems like TLG has somehow switched this two versions of news during production of these tho sets - i am curious which one will be in mine fishing store

      Captain Sound

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