Friday, December 7, 2012

Modular collection complete!

When I first came out of my dark ages, the modulars were not at the top of my list of sets to collect. The buildings were impressive and boast a great price per piece ratio, but I felt like I had missed several key sets already and I was not in the mood to track down the retired releases. It's amazing the impact a couple of sales can have on your way of thinking though, since after seeing discounts on the Fire Brigade and the Grand Emporium I quickly changed my mind and jumped into the fray. I could call that a mistake, but I prefer to think of it as one my better decisions as an AFOL.

I finished building the Town Hall in late November, capping off a process that started last spring to acquire the full line of modular buildings. Patience and obsessive deal hunting, along with a lot of luck, helped reach this goal. I wanted to take a few minutes to go over some of my favorite aspects of this great line from LEGO.

Town Hall - My most recently built set, the TH is an impressive and intricate building. It towers above the rest of the line and is packed with so many details. Some of my favorite parts of this set were the brick-built columns on the front porch, the skylight, and the lobby on the ground floor. Of all of the buildings, the interior of the TH is probably the most detailed. This was made possible by the use of an elevator, instead of stairs, to connect floors. The only real flaw I have found in the design is the front doors. They do not open very wide because of how they are positioned near the columns. It's a small annoyance, but one I feel could have been easily addressed by having them open inward instead of swinging out.

Pet Shop - It's actually two buildings in one box, which I think makes it one of the more interesting additions to the line. The Pet Shop itself is packed with fun animals and has some great interior details, including the apartment space up above. The townhouse building is probably my favorite of the two though. This portion of the set is a great urban-style home, with rooms spread across three floors. It's the one building I would love to have multiple copies of to help fill up my city street.

Grand Emporium - While the exterior build is somewhat repetitive, the effect is very impressive. The GE is the major retail space you would expect to find taking up a whole block in a city, and this set does not disappoint. The escalators, chandelier, and billboard on the roof all provide the rich detail that helps to make this set the shopping destination for your minifigure residents. Rumors are out there that this might be the next modular to retire, so I would not hesitate to pick up a copy if you think the line is something you want to collect.

Fire Brigade - I've raved about this set before as one of my favorite purchases of the past year. I think the design on the FB is very well done and I find it far more interesting than the fire stations that come out of the City line. The use of tiles to make the dark red brick facade is one of my favorite elements of the build. If you were only going to get one modular, I would probably pick this one. It's such an excellent set and I'm certain it will be viewed as a classic for years to come.

Green Grocer - The GG was actually the last set I picked up, but I built it before the TH since the copy I accquired was used and I wanted to verify the contents right away. I love the bay windows on each floor It implements a number of techniques to help create an excellent Victorian style building. The sand green color is also a favorite of mine. The price on this one continues to climb, so I imagine it's already out of reach for many collectors.

Market Street - Most people do not count this as an official part of the modular line, since it was a LEGO Factory exclusive and was designed by a fan. I have to admit that I had originally marked it off my list because the secondary market price was so high. The only reason I have it is because of a smoking hot deal off of craigslist. That said, it is one of the more unique buildings on my street and it has a certain charm to it. However, that charm is on the exterior only, since the interior of the MS is pretty much non-existent. I think most fans can safely skip this one, unless you are an extreme completionist and have some extra money to burn.

Sourced CC ready to go.
Cafe Corner - The set that started it all. The CC is an impressive build and the only real downside to it is the lack of any sort of interior, outside of the staircase. My copy is not 100% accurate, since part availability did force me to make a few sacrifices. Still, I love this building and it's one of the first sets people see when they walk into my LEGO display area. Sourcing out the parts for this one is getting harder and it is a very time consuming process. If you don't want to wait for another corner building to be released, you might want to consider how much your time is worth and just buy a used complete copy.


  1. I'm not jealous....I'm not jealous... OKAY I'M JEALOOOOUUUUSSSS!!! I'm missing the Pet Shop (shouldn't be a problem)and Market Street (Ah, yes, problem.) The problem is the horrendous price. People seem willing to part with silly amounts of money. I didn't actually consider NOT getting it at some point but I might have to pass on it since there's still hundreds of sets(literally)that I must *desperately* have!

    1. My Market Street was really just the result of pure dumb luck. Someone was offering it on Craigslist for just a fraction of the current price at the time and I managed to be the first person to get to him. I also just happened to have some extra cash at the time.

      Without that score, I would probably be firmly in the "not a real modular" camp to convince myself I don't need it.

  2. Very nice! I'm missing the Market Street, which does make me a little sad...


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