Since 2007 LEGO fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of each new modular building. Last year we got the Assembly Square set – a celebration of 10 years of the range. This year we get what in a way feels like a new chapter with 10260 Downtown Diner.
When leaked images first surfaced of the set some people proclaimed it to be a fake because of not only how different it looked but the inclusion of detailed minifigure faces.
There’s a lot to discuss with this set, so let’s get stuck in to it.
Ground Floor – The Diner
I’d have to say that the build for this section starts pretty slowly. Modulars always have some footpath out the front that requires putting down tiles, but the diner features a fully tiled floor so there is a lot of tile work to do.
The shape of this layer has plenty of curves which makes for an interesting build experience. The two white strips around the top are comprised entirely of plates, tiles and curved bricks that are attached using SNOT techniques and elements. It’s the kind of building experience that I expect from a modular.
The interior of the diner features one of the cleverest uses for a truck part I have ever seen – two truck trays are used upside down to create a rangehood over the grill. When I tipped out the parts and spotted those I had no idea what they would be used for.
The construction of the lettering for the diner sign is probably some of my favourite lettering. While each letter appears distinct there is actually a lot of elements hidden just below each that hold it all together.
The top of the counter is a large section that is built separately and then clipped in on its side. It allows for an interesting design with the grey border.
The End Result
This part of the set is my favourite visually. The use of colour here is wonderful, with the teal used liberally throughout. The combination of the teal, white and pink look better together than I thought they would.
The tiled floor looks great and the black and white provides a nice contrast to the red of the booths and jukebox.
I find the pseudo-corner design interesting. Having the staircase to the left made the large curved window stand out more, but I am not sure how well the set works in a straight line now.
Level 2 – The Gym
While this level may seem a little sparse there are actually a lot of really great builds to be found.
The weight rack is built upside down and set at an angle. The way that it is designed actually keeps the weights fairly well secured without them actually being clipped in.
I also really like the way that the ropes around the boxing ring have been done. It’s not crazy weird parts usage but just one of those things were the end result looks good.
The watercooler is another great little build. The clear 1×1 round with shaft element allows for the clear dome to be added upside down to form the tank. It’s great how a single element can allow for inversion of the building.
The large front window is also built using SNOT techniques – only one side of the windows are actually attached.
The front façade is done in a way that I can’t believe hasn’t been done before – tiles placed on plates are attached to the front of the building. The inherent gaps between the tiles create a brickwork effect.
Perhaps the most impressive build on this level is found at the back in the form of a spiral staircase. The key to this is using a 1×1 round with hole placed in the lattice of a fence element, combined with a bar and a robot arm. 7 of these “steps” are then combined around a single technic axle. It’s one of those times where I thought to myself “I didn’t think you’d be able to do that in an official set”.
The End Result
The second level really manages to capture a small gym. I like the fact that it’s not a super modern gym with treadmills and exercise bikes. I think the mix of boxing and weights help match the era that you get from the overall set.
I like the way that the punching bag has been done in a way that allows for it to move around freely.
Level 3 – The Recording Studio
Often Modular Buildings can have a slight issue where each layer is essentially the same shape, so the build for the outer walls is the same. This set avoids this by slightly altering the shape of this layer with the addition of a balcony. It may seem like a small thing but it definitely made the build different to the previous level.
The other thing that adds some variety to this build is the fact that it the front right corner is walled off as the recording booth.
The builds spread around this layer are all decent but not overly complex. The red chair is angle brackets and plates; the cabinet is bricks and plates; the rugs are just tiles; the mixing desk and recording device are both nice but again not complex builds.
The large window on the front is similar in construction to the one on the previous level but this version features some additional plates and curved bricks on top to finish it off.
The front façade is again done with plates and tiles.
The End Result
The decorative elements on this level really add some realism to the setting. The waiting area looks great with the red chair, gold record, liquor cabinet and rugs.
The recording section also works really well with the mixing desk on one side and the booth on the other. The way that the soundproofing on the walls is done looks very authentic, even if it is only on one wall.
The highlight of the roof would have to be the large white dome. This is a separate sub-assembly that is then clipped in to a gap in the roof.
The only other interesting part of the roof build is the detailing along the front. The use of inverted tiles allows the other elements to be upside down while still giving a nice flat top.
The End Result
The roof is never the most exciting part of a modular. I like that this modular uses the roof section to finish off the large vertical window. I also think the detail work on the front looks good.
I was surprised after finishing the roof just how many elements were still left for the car. It’s a deceptively detailed build. There is not really anything ground-breaking or innovative to it, but it’s still an enjoyable build.
The End Result
I am a bit mixed on having a vehicle as part of the modular. It’s a great looking car but I honestly don’t know if I wold have preferred additional detail inside instead of using those parts on the car.
The diner’s trusty fry cook is an older minifigures with some great grey sideburns and moustache. The cap and chefs jacket are a nice combo. I don’t love the brown pants and think that maybe black would be better.
The look of this minifigure perfectly matches the diner setting. I am a big fan of the hair piece. The neckerchief is also a nice touch. This minifigures also comes with roller-skates, handy for delivering food out to the pink convertible.
This guy is fantastic. The combination of the longer, traditionally female, hair piece and the bushy moustache add so much character. The blue dual moulded legs work well with the red boxing gloves.
I really appreciate LEGO trying to be well split between male and female minifigures and it’s great to see that the body builder in this set is a female minifigures. She features a short sleeve green hoodie and pants. The green works well with the blonde hair piece.
The body builder features a dual sided face print, the alternate expression is post-workout with sweat and an exhausted look.
The Rock Star’s manager features a very stylish jacket over a light pink shirt, combined with purple pants. The combination works quite well.
The manager also features a dual sided face; one fairly neutral and the second is more of an angry or frustrated look.
An all-around fantastic minifigures. The slicked back Elvis style hair is perfect. His jacket is actually decorated with subtle silver dots that are hard to capture in pictures. In real life it makes him shimmer.
This minifigures once again features a dual sided face print. There is a grinning face and the alternate print is more or less a singing expression.
About those faces…
Yes, all of these minifigures feature detailed face prints. Some of them even come with 2 prints. There were plenty of people that didn’t like the lack of classic smiley faces. In an alternate universe this is the minifigures line-up;
Honestly, I think the detailed minifigure faces are much better.
I am not lucky to have all of the modular buildings, but I do have a few of them; 10211 Grand Emporium, 10232 Palace Cinema and 10197 Fire Brigade (I’ve also got 10224 Town Hall unbuilt in a box). I really wanted to see how the Diner fitted in with some of those older sets.
To be honest, I am not sure how well it works. I understand that cities have a variety of different architectural styles and a mix of old and new buildings but I feel like the Diner stands out too much. The thing is I don’t think the reason it doesn’t look that great is based on the style or the colours. The Palace Cinema and Fire Brigade are completely different but I think they work together.
What I think doesn’t work is actually the two levels above the Diner. There are two issues; first is the large gap to the left for the staircase; the second is that they are too far in from the street thanks to the space behind the diner sign.
If you look at the other modulars side on you have the street, then a fairly straight vertical wall. The Parisian restaurant is the slight exception but even that still has an essentially straight vertical profile. If you look at the diner side on you have the street, then the front of the diner, then in from that you have the gym and the recording studio. I think it breaks up the look of a continuous street.
It will be interesting to see the design of the next modular. The Diner could be the start of a new street with a new aesthetic. As it stands right now I don’t know how well it fits in.
Days after building this set I am still so conflicted. I really loved the build experience. Modulars are always a good build and this one is certainly no different. There are a lot of fun techniques and parts used in interesting ways. As somebody that enjoys the actually building part of LEGO I really found this satisfying.
My biggest problem is that the set exists in a line-up that has some fantastic sets, and I don’t know how well it works as part of that line-up. The set looks fantastic by itself, the style and colours all look really great. I just can’t help but feel that it’s a bit too different. I also feel like the gym and recording studio levels are too small. I really struggled to get good photos just because of how compact they are. If these levels were bigger I think it would alleviate some of the issues I raised in the street appeal section.
It’s probably an odd thing to say but I think a real test for this set will be what comes next. The new minifigures faces absolutely work, and maybe this set is the first in a new wave of modular that feature more colour and more diverse styles and appearances? I just don’t know at this stage.
This set is still great, but I think everybody needs to form their own opinion on how well you think it will work with your other modulars. That’s if you plan to put it with the others. Looking at the Diner as if it was a standalone set then it’s absolutely something I recommend.
Value For Money
Currently this set is only available from LEGO Online, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne and the Dreamworld LEGO Store. That means that you are going to be paying the RRP of $249.99 if you want it now.
I don’t think $249.99 is particularly overpriced. In terms of what you get for the price isn’t by no means a rip-off.
I think the biggest factor is that we all know that modulars eventually make their way to stores like Myer, and they will inevitably end up at least 20% off. At 20% off this set would be a very tempting buy – as I said, it’s a great standalone building. At RRP you have to really think it looks amazing. Hopefully this review has helped cement your own opinions.
This was a supported review, with the set provided by LEGO. Supported reviews always contain my unbiased opinion on the subject. Provision of review products/services does not guarantee favourable coverage.