Winter Vacation, with Lego

As a way of extending my Winter Olympics obsession for as long as possible, I built this Winter Vacation Lego Creator kit today:

Some joker set the slalom course on the roof!

There's a sort of sweet spot of Lego creativity for me. I don't like the sets that have lots of very specific parts that aren't very generally applicable to things you might want to design yourself (tie-ins with entertainment properties seem to have a lot of those). But I'm also not very interested in the other end of the spectrum, in the kind of Lego construction that treats ordinary bricks as generic pixels (or voxels really). Building to mini-fig scale really prevents that pixel method though; the scales just won't work together. I really like the Creator series of sets for this reason—they hit that sweet spot perfectly.

I'm especially interested in the buildings, which feature some clever techniques and are often on hinged bases so you can open them and inspect the interiors. Many of them are from the “Modular” series, meaning they're built with some common dimensions and can be connected with each other to construct a street scene or a town. Each set also comes with instructions for three variations on the theme, again emphasizing the versatility of the parts inside. For instance, the Winter Vacation kit also allows you to build part of a bobsled run, or a scene in which a yeti (the Creator buildings often include lovable brick-built animals) menaces a snow-bound cabin.

Here's one of my favorites from this series, the Lakeside Lodge:

Fishing, chopping wood, doing some astronomy, writing letters with a quill pen, at his cabin in the woods? I feel a tremendous kinship with this mini-fig.

Amazon is a good place to buy these sets. As a public service, I've compiled a table of some of the currently available ones, the parts count, price, and most importantly, the bricks per dollar ratio. This changes all the time of course, so get 'em while they're hot!

NamePriceBrick CountBricks/$
Poolside Holiday 31067$21.9935616.2
Modern Home 31068$24.0038616.1
Parisian Restaurant 10243$159.99246915.4
Brick Bank 10251$169.95238014.0
Winter Vacation 31080$27.9937413.4
Skate House 31081$31.9942213.2
Corner Deli 31050$57.824678.1
Lighthouse Point 31051$68.495287.7

At the moment, Parisian Restaurant is expensive but relatively good value. At the other end, Lighthouse Point is bad value, a shame as it's a very fun kit, with a working light and a brick-built orca included. It's interesting that there isn't an obvious discount applied to larger kits with more bricks. I note also that the number of bricks you get for your dollar can vary by more than a factor of two. I'm sure there are no surprises here for more experienced Lego builders but I would have expected a more obvious bulk discount and a smaller variation in the cost ratio, at least within the same series of Lego kits, although I'd expect to pay some premium for licensed products like Star Wars or Harry Potter sets.

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