One of the reasons for my haul in the LEGO online shop besides the H. C. Andersen book freebie was “that other promotional set” one read about so much, the small LEGO Brand Store (40305). For a while it wasn’t clear how it would be available here in Europe at all, as it seemed that several weeks before they decided to make it a paid model, after all, it was given to some customers for free in Asian territories. LEGO‘s policies can be quite confusing when it comes to those things.
The set comes at a price of around 25 Euros, which is kinda okay, but not exactly cheap. Of course as always part of the game for me is reusability of the elements and since a lot of bricks I have scraped together bit by bit are white, it seemed a natural fit to add this set and benefit from some extra parts. It might only take one or two sets more and I can seriously think about trying to build a custom “big” Modular Building style house using these elements. We’ll have to see.
What also helps is that this model uses other very reusable parts such as the 16 x 8 plates it is built with, the windows or even the large transparent panel as a storefront window. Yummy stuff! Even the many yellow slopes and tiles could come in handy some day. On the other hand the limited selection of colors makes it look a bit boring and lacking in contrast. It wouldn’t have hurt if the second floor had been done in a different color like Medium Blue, Dark Green or any other color that goes well together with yellow (which most of them are, even something weird as Light Lime Green or Light Purple).
One of the unexpected bummers with this set is that except for the fake computer screen used on the cash register and the ATM machine there are no printed tiles. That’s really lame for a (self-) promotional set from LEGO themselves. As a minimum I would have expected the LEGO sign to be printed and even possibly included more than once, as in real LEGO stores the brand name is also plastered inside the shops.
To me it also would have made sense to have printed 2 x 1 tiles for the faux LEGO brick boxes themselves so they could be stuck onto 2 x 1 plates. This would also have made for a nice gag to sneak them in as wall images, postcards etc. in other sets.
Why am I saying that? Because, as you can see in the above image, my sticker and the instruction booklet had suffered some considerable crumpling. This can be attributed to the box not exactly being packed to the brim and thus allowing too much room for things to move and flop around.
Overall construction is pretty straightforward in a very simplistic way – you literally just stack up the walls with bricks and insert the windows. Since the walls are very narrow and often only consist of two units wide elements that don’t overlap/ interlock with other bricks, it’s easy to break them off over and over until you add the final row of plates or bricks spanning them all on top. Only then will it get reasonably stable, though overall this isn’t a masterpiece of engineering and needs to be treated carefully.
That’s also the reasons why all you sleuths that bought the set multiple times to build a bigger model will run into trouble. You simply won’t have the parts to create a stable enough body just using elements from this one. You definitely have to have some extra spares from another model somewhere, be that just a bunch of 6 x 1 bricks for bridging the separate halves. Also note that this set uses the “tilt & click” method employed by current Creator sets to snap in some Windows and the main door. That’s okay while the model stands still, but these parts tend to fall out easily while handling the model.
The interior captures the typical elements of a LEGO store nicely with some assembled showroom models in miniature format, a minifig tower, some bargains trays, a Pick a Brick wall and the boxes on the shelves all crammed into the small area available in a rather “no frills” way. There isn’t even a stair!
While the model overall is rich with hints and clues that reinforce the “LEGO store” theme, the novelty of it wears thin rather quickly in light of the simplicity of the construction. I never had the intention to keep it around assembled, but if I had, I would have grown weary of it quickly and probably disassembled just as well.
It’s not a bad model on its own merits, it just doesn’t fit with my way of thinking nor am I that much of a fanboy that I would put it in a special place and enshrine it in my LEGO showcase. Had it e.g. been built on a 16 x 16 plate for the ground flor like many LEGO Friends models are and been a bit more fleshed out, I’d probably see it differently.
Point in case: As a regular model it would be nice, as a promotional effort it’s a bit of a letdown and doesn’t breathe that “crafted with love” feeling that you would expect from something that is supposed to put a positive spin on the corporate identity. I still can’t get over that LEGO tile not being printed, if you get my meaning…