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Two looks at the Market Street

  by Joe Meno.
Last Updated  by Joe Meno.  

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A Look at the Market Street

Review by Joseph Evangelista
Photography by Joe Meno

Grab your basket of fruit and follow me down to the local market! Why? Because that’s where the excitement of a brand new Factory set is happening—it’s also the only place you can find a 9 lb squash for $3! At first glance the color scheme is simple; the architecture well thought out, and there’s even some cabbage in the fruit basket. The cabbage itself is quite scary though because it’s actually a new green headpiece from the Exo-Force sets. If kids are still as impressionable as they have always been – and I’ve seen nothing to the contrary thus far – we’re going to have a big problem in the coming years with kids running around with lettuce on their heads! From start to finish though, this set is fun to build. As with the Café Corner set, the interiors are empty, leaving room for your imagination to run wild setting up a bakery on the first floor and apartments on the top two levels. The only concern is that the stairs were built in the center of the building, which makes it difficult to build any real rooms. It’s not too hard to reconfigure the stairs to one of the walls, but it may take a few extra pieces to make them work properly. The really nice part though is that the main level of the building is above street level, forcing the minifigs to walk up a curved staircase to get to their destination.

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For the Chicago gangsters reading this, you’ll be happy to know there is a cellar with street-side access that can easily be turned into an illegal alcohol production facility, a secret meeting room, or a morgue. Sometimes things can get a bit scary with all that corruption, and people start pushing up daisies but, “that’s the Chicago way!”

In recent years the LEGO Group has been utilizing more dark grey instead of black in many of their creations. This is also the case here, and while it sometimes earns mixed reviews, on this set the black detailing above the archway along with the iron gates really helps to bring this set to life. Even better are the sections of stripped paint on the sides of the apartment which gives the set very much a “lived in” feel.

While at first glance the street seems like any other, this set proves that with just a little creativity it can become any number of different streets by switching a rooftop or moving around the floors of the building. Putting the set together is pretty straightforward. Be warned though! Messing up the pattern of the tiles on the street is very bad – I did it incorrectly the second time around and the prices all doubled at the market!

That said, there are a number of neat features that help enhance this set, which usually aren’t seen. From the unique awnings, to the rooftop ledges and clever balconies, and even the croissant on a stick – yes, sadly that took me a minute to figure out – this set will have at least one or two things you don’t usually see. Even if you’re an experienced builder this will be a lot of fun to put together and make additions to. The real surprise is that the number of female minifigs is more than the number of male minifigs… thus bringing the total count of female minifigs to two! (Reviewer’s own observation, no actual numbers were tallied for this) What isn’t apparent though, is how the minifigs are able to access the top floor balcony. Yes, there is a staircase that goes all the way to the top, but the penthouse suite is setup so that the door to the balcony is right across from where the stairs meet the floor, thus sending anyone walking back in from the outside to a frightful fall down the steps as they perform a classic cartoon “walking on air” routine. Maybe the minifigs in this sophisticated city have been using “the Force”. I still haven’t figured this one out yet, but perhaps they put it in the drinks at the Café Corner.

Whatever the case, Market Street stands out as a set designed for people who appreciate completion – four complete walls, two complete buildings, and one completely outrageous price for a one-bedroom apartment with a big hole in the floor! With great attention to detail, this set begs you to build the rest of the buildings on the street and put them out on display. The real enjoyment comes when taking a step back to look at the completed model and think, “I built that?!” Simply put, if I were a minifig, I can’t think of a better place to live. Speaking of which, does anyone know of a place like that in NYC? I’m trying to find an apartment there!


A Second Look at the Market Street
By Melody Krützfeldt
First, congratulations to Eric Brok from the Netherlands for designing such a wonderful set. It was a lot of fun to build and is a great addition to the Café Corner; both which have the potential to allow you to add even more buildings of your own or any other possible future sets. This series is designed by LEGO fans, and the Market Street set in particular, by Eric Brok.

The box art:
This time, unlike the Café Corner set, they do not show what it looks like if you have more than one set placed together with the original set. There are pictures of the set being designed using Factory.com (LEGO Digital Designer) and of the actual set built. The pictures also show you what the inside looks like with the staircases attached. There you can see how much room is left to build anyinteriors (there is no interior included). The front of the box sports a nice clear picture of the set and that you can turn and place the modules of the building in more than one way. The age shows 10+ which is OK, but children younger are also able to build this set, if they don’t mind spending the time it takes to build. The back of the box shows a quote from Erik, “I chose a square shape for the floors so the house could be rearranged in many ways.”

Another interesting thing about the back of the box is that some of the information for LEGO Factory (www.LEGOFactory.com/ is written in more than one language; German, Italian, French, English, Spanish, Finnish, Danish, Hungarian, Greek and more – but not for everything on the box. In fact, there is a lot of advertising for LEGO Factory. The sides of the box show images of the parts that are contained within the set, the size of the minifigs and accessories. The box size is: 47.5×28.5×9.5cm.

The instructions:
The instructions are presented as a single book consisting of 84 pages (including the covers). Personally, I find it more fun when there are at least two booklets as this allows for more than one person to help build the set. The steps are easy enough to follow.

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The Set:
The set weighs approximately 1,786g – contains two 16×32 ‘dark bluish grey’ baseplates, one instruction book, 17 poly bags and loose parts (did they run out of poly bags? ;)), three minifigs – yes, there is a female minifig in there too and two male figs. I do not know what Erik Brok looks like, but I can’t help to wonder if one of these male minifigs is meant to look like him. On average, it takes just over two hours to build, depending on your pace. It helps if you empty most of the bags into lots as you will find yourself picking parts from several bags for each step.

Some of the bags are fabulous! There are bags of just dark blue bricks and just medium blue bricks, and some are a combination of both. I never thought I would see a whole bag of just dark blue bricks! Yum!

The actual set is built over the two baseplates. This allows for many exciting alternative builds. It is a busy looking set with many features and a charm to both the eye and the busy street to which you can add it.

The whole Market Street is built modular, meaning you can take sections away without having to take the entire set apart. You can move sections around and change the levels into different areas of the building where it allows. The modular idea is fun, it isn’t original, but it works as a treat in sets like this, which allows you to have a different look each time.

You can also place the modules on either side (the bottom part of the set where the black Technic pins are placed) by exchanging the baseplates over. There are six modular parts here: the main building’s basement, the Bakery (I assume this is to be a Bakery?), the 1st living level, the 2nd living level, the under roof Market/alley way (not 100% sure if that is what it is meant to be!), and the roof top.

The way the module is designed is by using four 6×10 plates and allowing a ‘hole’ in the middle for the stair case/s – (The only issue with this is it makes the inside tiny if you wish to build an interior, or compact living in this case). For each level using this style means you can change the modules around to your desire and needs. It is ideas like this that make the overall set both enjoyable and playable.

The design of the building is nice but compact. The colours are great and different from many previous products TLG has produced in the past. It is great to see the company changing and allowing for such ideas to make the whole world of LEGO fun and exciting.

The Basement: This is more or less of what you would expect, although there isn’t a lot of headroom for a minifig to move around, but it still works. The windows on the outside look great behind the gorgeous little curved staircases leading to a nifty balcony. And once again the pins are in place to attach other buildings or to move this part of the building with the Market part.

The Bakery: I am going to call this a Bakery; I assume it is one due to the Croissant on the outside. While it doesn’t really look like your standard bakery (at least not where I am), it still has the potential of being one (see the interior article). The windows are offset giving it an interesting look, rather than flat and no character. The grilled bricks which can be seen over the whole building also add to the real-life charms and texture that represent many buildings of today. There is also a cute little annex over the door.

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The Living area, Level 1: For its size it is quite cute, compact and still has plenty of detail. A flag flies from the side and a door leads to a balcony for your minifigs to see the hustle and bustle of the Market Street coming to life. Above the windows is a fabulous idea for decoration. Once again, this adds to the charm.

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The Living area, Penthouse: I am not sure if this is meant to be separate from the level below it or not. If it’s meant to be separate, then it is a very small living space for a poor ole’ minifig. While the roof is adorable and there is plenty of detail, design and character, I am not so fond of how the terrace door is connected to where the hole for the staircase is. I feel that maybe it would have been better to have the door where the plates at least meet, for inside purposes anyway. For the exterior it is no problem.

The terrace has plenty of room and privacy for your minifigs to relax while drinking their coffee or reading the local newspaper. There is somewhere to sit and a plant in the corner.

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Market/Car Park/Alley Way with roof top: A part of this I like and a part of it I do not. There are plenty of details here: the gate, the lamp, flag, the wrought iron-look decoration, the fruit and veggie stall and more. There are two crates of fruit and vegetables filled with both lime and red cherries, apples and an Exo-Force hair piece that also acts as a lettuce! What a great idea!

On the pavement area there is also one flower, but I wish these sets had a little bit more greenery added to them. While a flower is better than nothing, it would be nice to see more foliage in any possible future sets.

Overall there are some great ideas with an excellent use of parts throughout the building. The windows and doors are OK considering the range that LEGO currently has. But I am still looking forward to the day that they design more up-to-date styles. A minifig truly has a wonderful life. I like this set a lot, it is fun, bright and vibrant.

www.LEGOFactory.com

www.LEGOFactory.com allows anyone (who can download the program) to be able to build using virtual bricks. The Market Street set was designed by using the program, and now you too can make, design and purchase your own buildings by using this program and the add them to your Market Street set or your new town layout. The parts used for the Market Street set will be soon be available (if not already by the time you read this).

If you have not used the Factory program before, it is not too difficult once you learn your way around. I find it a little frustrating at times, but try to bear in mind that it is still new. It has a long way to go and there is room for improvement in all areas. At this moment the parts are limited, and it would be nice to see some more ‘regular’ parts added to be able to create more fantastic buildings! For more ideas, refer to the website or our own LEGO Factory ideas and pictures within this issue.

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