Review: 10263 Winter Village Fire Station

The Winter Village sub-theme is a popular range of Creator Expert sets, with a new addition released each year. This year it’s the Winter Village Fire Station.

This is my first entry into the Winter Village, can this wintery setting win over a Queenslander who has never seen snow? Read on to find out.

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Build Experience

Christmas is a special time of the year for a lot of families – people take time of work and kids are home from school. It’s the perfect time for everybody to come together and build some LEGO. That is the approach that LEGO have taken with this set, with the build very deliberately split up across two books.

The first book covers the supplementary builds – the bench, Christmas tree, fountain and fire engine. It would be easy to pass the book around so that multiple kids could each build a standalone part.

The first of the builds is the bench. It’s a very simple build with a minimal part count. The use of locking hinge plates allows the back to sit at a nice angle.

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The second build is slightly more complex – the Christmas tree. The tree starts off with a white base and a nice solid inner core.

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The 4 identical sides of the tree are then created with a collection of angle plates and applied to the core. The star element is added to the top while small builds are added to the base. The mini train features some nice part usage.

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Next up is the frozen fountain and makeshift Ice Hockey rink. Putting the plates that form the base together I was surprised by the overall size. A layer of trans tiles are placed over the top with two layers of grey elements around the outside. The two layers of border not only adds to the look but it also helps cover up where square tiles meet rounded corners. The statue placement is slightly different between the instructions and the set photo. I went with the set photo version.

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The final of the book one builds is the vintage fire engine. From the pictures it looks very basic but there were actually a surprising number of parts that went in to it. It’s not a difficult build but it is the first instances of stickers being used in the set.

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If you are splitting the build up the fire station itself is the part designed for older kids or a parent to do while the younger ones work on the book one builds. The build is broken up across two sets of numbered bags, but forms a single build rather than two separate sections.

The number two bags form the bottom level of the fire station. The build sees you construct two sides of the station which are then joined in the middle, leaving a large opening for the garage. It’s not until those two sections come together that you get a good sense of the how big the finished model will be. The build is on par with something like a creator 3-in-1 set, with wall building broken up by bits of internal detailing. A liberal use of brick texture 1×2 bricks help break up the solid walls.

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The final part of the build is the upper level of the fire station. Again, the outer walls are nothing particularly ground-breaking but this build features a lot more decorative elements to put on. The kitchen is built as a separate unit that is placed in a corner and it has some effective parts usage to create something obvious with a small selection of elements.

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The upper level features a crazy amount of 1×1 plates with clip and I was confused as to why there were so many when I tipped the parts out. I was surprised to see them used liberally as a decorative element.

The tower part of the build features some SNOT work to allow the fence elements to be put in place on their side.

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The last of the stickers are also used on the upper level, including the fold down bed and calendar.

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Overall I found this build really enjoyable. Sometimes it’s nice to sit down with a set that fits in that sweet spot of not challenging but also sufficiently involved that it takes your mind of other things. It’s not going to take you a long time to build this set but I think you’ll find it fun.

Play/Display Quality

This is my first entry into the Winter Village theme, so it makes it hard for me to judge the completed model against the existing sets, and how well it fits in. What I can do is tell you what I think of this set as it stands on its own.

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I wasn’t immediately enamoured with the Christmas Tree when I first built it, but in the few days since I built it I have found that it’s grown on me slightly. The use of the plates creates some sharp angles. I think that becomes less pronounced when you step back from the building process to see it as part of the larger set. I do sort of wonder how the tree would look with gold 1×1 rounds instead of the yellow.

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The bench and lamppost section of the build is fairly minimal. The only thing I’d change is that I think it would look a bit more festive with the holly design from the front of the fire station carried across to this too.

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The frozen fountain is another fantastic addition to the set. Again, this isn’t particularly complex but uses the minimal parts really well. I love that it’s got plenty of curves, both in the actual shape of the fountain itself and also in the decorative gold elements. The inclusion of an extra gold helmet for the statue helps liven up the grey minifigure.

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I was a little underwhelmed by the execution of the vintage fire engine to be honest. I was initially comparing it to the fire engine in the Firehouse modular, which I think looks more polished. After building it though I did some digging around and the engine included here actually does a great job of representing what it’s meant to. What I thought was just poorly designed was actually deliberately designed.

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The main part of the build is obviously the Fire Station itself. It is larger and more substantial than the impression I got from the box. It’s obviously not modular size but it’s more on-par with a large creator set.

The bottom level is comprised of predominantly grey elements and I like the use of the brick patterns bricks dispersed throughout to add some texture to the walls. One thing that did bug me on the bottom level is that there are several places where headlight bricks are utilised to provide connection points on the interior walls. The problem is that it leaves multiple holes in the exterior walls. It just feels a bit odd and I can’t help but wonder if there was a way to avoid that.

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The brick-built garage doors look nice but they can be a bit fiddly to open and close. The opening is easily large enough for the fire engine to pass through allowing for play.

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Beyond the structure itself the bottom level features a few other interesting points. I appreciate that they did something different for the columns rather than just the standard single column element. The fire hydrant is just 5 elements but still recognisable. There is also a snowman on the ground outside but I’m really not a big fan of the design.

While there are a few things that I don’t love about the bottom level the upper level is much better. I love the splash of colour from the holly decorations; the new 3 leaf plant element is well used here. I also really love the use of the decorative fence elements on their sides to provide detailing on the tower.

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The inside of this upper level is also a lot richer with detailing. It features a compact but well-designed kitchenette, a dining area with swivel chairs, a fold-down bed and even a dog bed.

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The upper level also features a spot for the firefighters to slide down the pole. The shape of the station does make this a little bit too enclosed but if kids are looking to play with the set the roof can be removed.

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While I do like the upper level there is one thing that bugs me, and it’s the light brick. It feels like they finished creating the set and somebody suggested adding it at that point in time. It just kind of sits on the roof, with a hole allowing it to illuminate the upper level. I get that it’s supposed to represent a fire alarm but it doesn’t feel as integrated into the build as other instances where a light brick was used. I would have loved a mechanism that you turned to make the light flash or something like that.

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When all of the various sections are set out together you get a really great wintery scene. I like the ample use of curved white plates to give a more natural look to the snowfall on the ground and the use of modified 1×1 plates for the melting snow. Overall I think the set is great for display, either on it’s own or part of a bigger Christmas scene.

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In terms of play, if you have young kids there are a lot of opportunities to play out stories with his set. Simple things like the firefighters going up the ladder to put the star on the tree or playing in the snow with the Dalmatian.

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Minifigures

The set features 6 minifigures, a baby and a Dalmatian.

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Hockey Player

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The hockey play minifigure features basic blue pants with no printing. The sweater print on the torso is quite nice and matches the theme. The skates and hockey stick are nice accessories. The overall look is very casual, just a guy having a bit of a skate.

Babysitter (and Baby)

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The young female babysitter is presented as a teen thanks to the inclusion of the short legs. The legs are a fairly bland grey. The torso looks sufficiently wintery and the scarf is a nice accessory, although it might have been better in a different colour. The face print features a simple glasses and freckles design.

The baby element is still relatively new, so I am always glad to get a new version. This baby is wearing a nice green outfit with an adorable reindeer print.

Saxophone Player

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This saxophone player is very fancily dressed with black suit and green epaulets. The cap finishes off the look nicely. The face print features a nice bushy moustache. The saxophone accessory has been used before but I think it works. I can picture this guy playing Christmas songs and collecting donations.

Female Firefighter

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I always appreciate a mix of male and female minifigures so I like that there is a female firefighter. This minifigure features a fairly common hair piece and head. The torso and legs are common across all three of the firefighters. I like the 8 button torso print which looks sufficiently vintage.

Young Male Firefighter

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The same torso and legs as the female firefighter but a nice smirking face that comes across as almost cocky. Nice hair element that isn’t overly common.

Old Male Firefighter

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The third of the firefighters with the same uniform. I wouldn’t have minded if the older firefighter had a slightly different uniform to perhaps indicate that he was higher up the chain of command. I have absolutely no complaints about the face print though. The facial hair is epic.

Value For Money

Currently, the Winter Village Fire Station is only available from LEGO Online icon which means that you are going to full price. While I’d love for it to be $20 cheaper the options are currently pay full price or don’t get it – of those options I’d pick getting it. The accessory builds are great and a lot of character to the set. I also love that it’s easy to split up the build between family members.

The main building is more substantial than the impression I got from the official pictures. This makes for an enjoyable build that isn’t particularly taxing but still satisfying.

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There is a good line-up of minifigures as well as extra characters like the baby and dog.

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I’d love to get this at 20% off because I think it’d be a fantastic buy at that price. As it stands I think the price is okay. If the Australian free shipping threshold hadn’t been lowered it would be a tougher sell.

There is a double VIP point offer currently running until the end of October which does help with the price position.

Conclusion

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The Winter Village Fire Station really feels like a part of a small town, the sort of place where everybody knows each other, a close-knit community where people are just friendly. I may be an AFOL but I still love sets that have that special something that makes them seem ‘real’. I like a set where I can create a little world in my mind. This set pulls that off. On first impressions I didn’t really like that the set had several small builds as well as the fire station but now that I’ve actually built it I think they round out the setting a lot better.

The set isn’t perfect. There are a few things that I probably wouldn’t have done if it was up to me but nothing so major as to ruin the build or the end result.

If you love Christmas and winter scenes then this is a great addition to your collection.

This set was provided by LEGO at my request. The provision of review products does not guarantee favourable coverage. All views expressed are my own. If you liked this review be sure to share it.

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2 Responses to Review: 10263 Winter Village Fire Station

  1. Xavier says:

    Double VIP is not that exciting for me. I’ll wait for the carousel freebie promotion.

  2. Rex says:

    10/10 Review! Amazing pictures and a wonderful, enjoyable to read write-up. Thank you for this :) And I hope you get to see the snow one day soon, I love it :D

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