09 December 2019

LEGO® Creator Expert review: 10270 Bookshop - The techniques

Posted by Admin
The new LEGO® Modular was announced last week and Jonas Kramm was ready with the first part of his review, looking just at the new elements. Today, he builds the model! 

After my roundup of what’s in the new Modular Building set element-wise, let’s take a look at the actual build and the different techniques used here. First we will discover the bookshop, and afterwards, the Teal apartment next to it.

Bookshop Techniques

The first instruction booklet starts with the layout of the bookshop. It’s constructed on one of the two Dark Green/ Green Baseplates 16X32, which allow the two buildings to stand on their own, as with 10218 Pet Shop.

The floor of the shop is covered with the new 2x2 Tiles in Cool Yellow/ Bright Light Yellow (6286832) combined with Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold and Flame Yellowish Orange/ Bright Light Orange tiles. It’s a colour scheme that works very well here but unfortunately this floor will remain the only completely tiled floor in this set (apart from the pavement).

First small piece of nice trickery is the counter, which makes good use of Reddish Brown Door Rail Plates and Ingots. The 1X1 Stud on the desk is indeed Cool Silver, Drum Lacquered/ Metallic Silver, which is not new but quite rare in these times when more and more Silver Metallic/ Flat Silver gets used instead. Over the year 2019 it only came in two LEGO sets.

The next piece of furniture added to the shop is a bookshelf. To create the effect of some books sticking out, Door Rail Plates shine once again. This is a technique that also gets used for the other shelves in the bookshop.

For the stairs, the designer Wes Talbott stacked Technic Plates 1X5 (32124) – a simple but effective technique and thanks to precisely placed connections to the wall, it’s also sturdy.

Note the 1x1 Round Plates that make sure the steps stay in their position.

A detail that caught the attention of many on first sight is the arch above the entrance. It’s made of a few Plate 1X2, Rounded (35480) bent into a small arch. When placing the Brick W. Bow 1X8X2 in Medium Nougat/ Medium Dark Flesh on top, it’s quite satisfying to see how well it fits.

On the next storey we can find a nicely built armchair. Several Plate 1X1X2/3, Outside Bow make the rounded shapes very good. For the backrest a simple 1x2 Hinge Brick (3937 + 3938) is used.

Right under the roof is the bedroom of the book vendor, featuring a basic bed design. I especially like the use of the Elves Fence 1X4X2 on the bedhead. This piece not only makes for more decoration, but also allows the bed to be placed right against the wall which, because of its construction, has some studs on the side. We will look this wall next.

In the additional information about this set, Wes says that he took some inspiration from the houses in Amsterdam and the roof gables especially remind me of that architectural style. It’s quite remarkable how much the few Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray Tiles add to the aesthetic.

New SNOT converters in Medium Nougat/ Medium Dark Flesh would have pleased the fans hearts; instead the existing ones (52107) in Sand Yellow/ Dark Tan got used. But because these have studs on both sides, that special bed solution is needed.

The curved roof on the very top is actually less curved than expected, but the angled tiles continue the shape pretty well.

The trunk of the birch is made entirely out of Technic pieces in combination with White Dinosaur Tails (40378). It works well, even though the branch with the birds nest looks a bit inorganic.

Like we are used to with LEGO trees, it comes with very few leaves and tries to make the best out of it, but when you look at the completed birch from an odd angle it will look rather naked.

The bird nest is made of a Brick Yellow/ Tan Collar Fur (26066) for minifigures. Not a new technique for fans of the Wizarding World, as LEGO already used this piece as a nest in 75952 Newt's Case of Magical Creatures.

When stacking Technic Tube, W/ Double 4.85 Hole (62462) for the birch I realized that the instruction clearly shows to hide the slots of this mould by turning them to the back. Regardless all the official images of the set show them turned to the front, which makes a lot more sense to make the tree look more like a birch.

The bookshop is finished. On to the next instruction booklet!

Apartment Techniques

The residential building starts on its own baseplate with the walls of the basement. The first interesting detail is the stairs at the front. Halfway down they make a 45° turn, that gets held by a Hinge Plate 1X2 (19954). The construction is impressively gapless and makes perfect use of a Nexo Shield (22385) and a Tile 2X2, W/ Deg. 45 Cut (35787).

On the first storey is a beautiful bay window; an architectural element that’s popular in the Modular Building Series – we saw iterations previously on 10218 Pet Shop and 10185 Green Grocer. But this has to be the best version so far, thanks to the designer using the relatively new Candle (37762) to make pillars that fill the gaps. The top end of the pillars clip into a Robot Arm (30377).

Right above the entry, as part of the second floor, a Wedge Plate 4X4 is attached to the wall in a decorative 45° angle. Here the Dark Turquoise/ Bright Bluish Green recolour of Turn Plate 2X2, Lower Part (6293265) gets its chance to shine, and help with the connection. As the Turntable is very loose two Plate 1X2 W. Vertical Schaft (88072) on the sides fix the Wedge Plate at its angle.

That fits perfectly and I’m certain Wes or a certain other triangle-loving designer in the Creator Expert team has done the math here to make sure it does.

I was a bit surprised they used a Turntable here, because I had expected a simple Jumper Plate 2X2, like so.

As the Jumper doesn’t exist in Dark Turquoise yet I guess the colour-change slot was instead used for the Turntable, which in fairness adds a lot more sturdiness. Anyway I appreciate the new colour and hope for more Turntable variants!

For the master bedroom in the second storey we build a huge bed. It’s a rustic but beautiful design, especially the colours of the bed linen, and the subtle texture with four Quarter Tiles 1X1 make it pop.

The gables of the dormer window are aesthetically similar to the one above the entrance, only a bit smaller with the use of Wedge Plates 3x3 here. That also changes the connection point which is simple Technic Brick 1X2. And here is yet another time the White Candles come into use – 28 are included in this set in total.

I also want to point out the connection of the roof panels, which make good use of the open studs of the Technic bricks.

Bookshop Interior

As a fan of building interior scenes myself I prefer the jam-packed look, filled with details and things to spot. So when I think of a small bookshop I can’t imagine I'd be able to see any walls, as they would be covered with shelves full of books.

Consequently Birch Books is a bit too tidy and empty for my taste, especially the wall behind the counter which really misses having more books. Talking of books, Moby Brick is the only actual 'book'... a second one wouldn't have hurt. Despite saying that, I have to defend the choice to fill the shelves with brick-built copies as nobody would have had the patience to put all books back in the shelves after you tilt the model in the slightest way.

Having two houses on their own baseplates instead of having one building over the full length causes a stairway difficulty. Now each one needs its own stairs, which take up a lot of the interior space, and bricks from the contingent that could have been used in other ways.

Wes designed two different stairs and especially the green one looks great, but it also would have been great to build more than just the typical armchair / lamp / grandfather clock combination.

Same with the bedroom under the roof.

Apartment Interior

The basement of the Dark Turquoise building is an odd room. It’s not even close to being high enough for a minifigure to stand in, so it’s rather a storage room for elements that could be used for playing with the set, in particular the ladder. The old couple that are living in this house definitely miss a wine cellar, or at least a shelf packed with tins.

A nice touch is the mousetrap. Lucky there is no mouse in the set to touch it.

Again, the already-small interior of the living room has to make some space for the stairs. But I do like the details that fit such as the fireplace, which uses panels to make the room look as big as possible.

In the second storey we can see the massive bed has found its place, unfortunately at the expense of the chimney.

As with most Modular Buildings the backside is not a selling point and has nothing of the detailed look that the building has from the front. An interesting approach is to make the upper rooms accessible from the back and not the front.


The final model really is beautiful! I like the two different architectural styles and how they work together, but also technique-wise there was a lot to discover which made it a fun build.

When it comes to the interior I can’t really compare them to the previous models as I haven’t built many of them. But from an objective point of view I think they are fine.

Bookshop is one of the smaller Modular Buildings, but for me it’s one of the most beautiful. Despite the physical size it keeps up with the piece count, which mostly goes into parts-intensive techniques for the facades and details. But as a fan of detailed builds I do appreciate every piece that goes there and makes the results much more interesting and convincing.

If the purpose of this building is to look good on your shelf, it fulfils that worthily. When you care more about the inner values you will also find a lot to love, but might modify and add some things here and there. And if you care about new elements the first part of this review should have convinced you already!

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  1. Love this set!
    But a bit weird that for the tree they didn't use the new printed dinosaur tail from set 41164-1 Enchanted Treehouse:

    1. Yeah, the decorated version would fit very good!
      I can only guess that they didn't use it because of budged reasons or maybe because they wanted to keep the look more simple and classic.

  2. In the pictures of the house number assembly the roof above the bay window is visible, and there obviously is some upside down building. It's not that exciting a technique, but it would still be nice to see it in more details.

    1. This review wasn't detailed enough already?! :D

  3. Great revealling of the techniques! This does spot something I have not noticed before, however probably what attracted me most was the roof for the small bay, but that was not shown.