Lighting Up The Downtown Diner

I have always been interested in the idea of adding lighting to a LEGO build but it’s one of those things that I have never got around to because I didn’t really know how to go about it. It’s no surprise then that I immediately jumped at an offer from Light My Bricks to check out their kit for the Downtown Diner.

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The Light My Bricks kits will give you all of the components that you need as well as detailed instructions on how to install them.

The Components

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The kit contains quite a variety of parts. There is a battery pack, flashing lights, small white lights, cables in various lengths, strip LEDs, a replacement lamp post with the light integrated and even a range of LEGO elements needed to install the lights. You can see a full list of the components at the end of the article.

The lamp post is a welcome addition because it features the light and cable already installed.

The components arrive beautifully packaged in sturdy box. Each different type of component is separated out into different bags. I was initially worried that I’d mix up flashing and non-flashing lights but they are different lengths so it’s easy to tell them apart.

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Installation

The installation of the lights begins with adding lights to the front and rear of the car. For this section you will need to remove parts of the car to allow you to discreetly run the cables. You will also need to swap out 1×1 round clear tiles with 1×1 round clear studs. The extra space allows for the tiny lights to be installed underneath. The 4 lights are connected to an expansion board that is hidden away on the back seat. A single cable then runs out from the car.

The lights are then installed in the building in layers, starting at the bottom and working up.

The Diner level gets flashing lights added to the jukebox and one of the expansion boards added above the door. This is where a lot of the lights will all be connected. The battery pack is hidden behind the Diner and a cable run across to the expansion board. The long cable out of the car is also attached to this board.

The most building intensive part of adding the lights involves modifying the Diner Sign so it is further back from the front of the building. The instructions for this are easy to follow.

Once the sign is moved a series of LED strips are attached under the awning and then up and around in front of the sign. This section was the only place where I ran in to trouble. Every so often the instructions say to flick the lights on and check that everything is working. I did exactly that after installing the 5 strip lights and only the three underneath the awning worked. I double checked everything and noticed that one connector had a loose wire. I was able to push it back in with a toothpick and everything worked.

The lights in the roof of the Diner level are attached to the underside of the gym level. There aren’t really any features like the jukebox to specifically light up in the gym itself so we quickly move on to also attaching lights to the bottom of the recording studio to act as roof lights for the gym.

The next section features a few more feature lights – the arc at the top of the large vertical window gets two strip lights and the antenna on the roof gets a flashing red light. A small light is also added to the inside of the white domed roof to illuminate the recording booth. A strip light also provides additional interior lighting to the office part of the recording studio.

The actual process of adding the lights is going to vary a bit depending on your dexterity. I don’t exactly have the tiniest or most nimble fingers so I found putting things together very fiddly. The cables are thin, the lights are smaller than a single stud and the connectors that every part uses is tiny.

You don’t need to completely pull part the modular and build it with the lights added. There are parts where you will have to remove elements and then replace them but the end result doesn’t damage or alter your set. Most of the time you are just removing some parts to run a cable through or secure a cable under a plate.

The End Result

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I didn’t really expect it would make that much of a difference but adding the lights to this set is a really fantastic transformation. The lights enhance all of those little touches that the LEGO designers use to inject character and charm into the set. It amplifies everything.

The lighting on the car is simple but effective. The fact that there are 6 lights makes this quite bright, but as they are on opposite ends it isn’t an issue. The car is tethered to the vehicle but you get a decent amount of cable to work with.

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The flashing lights on the jukebox look great but they are a bit hard to see unless you are specifically looking in for it.

I really like how the lights under the awning provide down lighting onto the footpath. It makes the diner feel like a bustling night spot. The lights pointed at the Diner sign help with that look.

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I appreciate that the gym has two strip lights on it’s roof as it makes it quite bright. It is really easy to see all of the internal details with the lights on.

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The recording studio level is a bit darker than the gym, because it only features a small light in the separate recording studio section and a single strip light. I don’t mind this too much – I like to think it’s late at night and the manager is just working late.

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Value for money

The lighting kit for the Downtown Diner is expensive at $129.99. It is a quality product though, and a lot of what you are paying for is the fact that this is a single well designed kit specifically for the Diner. You get the right combination of lights, the cables are all the right length, everything is based on simple plug connectors. You are paying for the time somebody has put in to crafting the kit and also designing the instructions. The design time and effort shows as the end result is not a mess of wires everywhere; they are all very cleverly hidden away.

Hopefully this review and the pictures will help you determine if the kit is worth $129.99 to you. If you are interested you can purchase your kit here. There are also a number of other kits and components available.

Image Gallery

 

Here are the full list of components that you get with the kit:

  • 1 x AA Battery Pack (batteries not included)
  • 3 x Flashing Bit Lights (White)
  • 6 x Bit Lights (White)
  • 5 x Connecting Cables – 5cm
  • 5 x Connecting Cables – 15cm
  • 2 x Connecting Cables – 30cm
  • 1 x Connecting Cables – 50cm
  • 1 x 6-Port Expansion Boards
  • 2 x 8-Port Expansion Board
  • 11 x LED Strip Lights (White)
  • 1 x LEGO® Lamp Posts with LED installed
  • 4 x Adhesive Squares
  • 8 x Assorted LEGO® pieces for assembly

Bricking Around was sent this product for review purposes. Reviews always contain my unbiased opinion on the subject. Provision of review products/services does not guarantee favourable coverage.

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