To B or not to B?

If, like me, you came out of your dark ages some time after the first modulars were released, you’ve probably pondered this question: Should I “BrickLink” the Cafe Corner (10182) (or Green Grocer (10185), or Market Street (10190), etc)?


The original modular buildings are just stunning, especially the Cafe Corner and Green Grocer.  So, for me, the answer was a resounding yes!

Or so I thought.

I made up the big spreadsheet to work out exactly what pieces I had and what I still needed.  I put together the wanted lists and started doing a lot of orders from BrickLink.  Each little package that arrived was a step closer to being able to build these buildings.

Unfortunately, some of the parts for the original modulars are quite expensive.  I didn’t rush out the buy these parts, and looked instead for alternatives.

The only exception to this was the 1×8 bricks in sand green for the Green Grocer.  I was lucky enough to buy these for around 50 cents a piece, if I recall correctly.  There is no way I would pay $3.00 or more for a single brick!  And you don’t have to.  For the Green Grocer, you can easily substitute 1×2, 1×4 and 1×6 bricks, which are available in abundance thanks to the Haunted House (10228).

In the end, I never did get all the parts for the Cafe Corner or the Market Street.  For the Cafe Corner, I made the following substitutions:

  • 3308 1x8x2 arch in dark bluish grey instead of dark blue
  • 3861 1x4x5 doors in plain white (not a great substitution)
  • 43888 1x1x6 pillars in dark bluish grey instead of dark blue
  • 60593 for the 2x4x3 windows with 60608 panes, in place of the 4132 windows with 4133 panes
  • 4460a and 4460b black roof slopes in place of the dark red ones
  • 60593 windows in place of the 1x2x3 panels


The missing parts are still on my wanted list, but I’m happy to wait as long as it takes to get those parts at  what I consider to be reasonable prices.


Because I realise that while I like the official modular buildings, I would much prefer to build an MOC!  I’ve only built the older modulars once or twice, and I broke them up almost as quick as I built them.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that when I first started putting together all those BrickLink orders.

It doesn’t mean I regret what I have spent to date on BrickLinking the older modulars.  I get satisfaction out of knowing that I can build them if I want (albeit with substituted pieces) and building these modulars taught me techniques that I can apply to my own modular buildings.

3 thoughts on “To B or not to B?

  1. I too came into the Modular builds late in the game.I missed out on the first 3 sets. I realy liked the Green Grocer but I did not want to spend the money on getting all the exact pieces. I managed to build it using a differen color scheme. But I did change a few things on it to make it more my liking. Only had to spend $20 on a few pieces to finish the build.

  2. Same here. We missed the first three as well. The rest we bought new as a set.
    Our favourite, Green Grocer, we managed to buy parts for from brickink without substitutions in the end. Market street we did as well, but we substituted the flexible hoses used for the balconies by light gray ones. To complete our series, Corner Cafe should be bought as well, but there are too many problems with the bricks to make it worth our while.
    So we pass the time by building MOCs from bought instructions (Needless to say we have all yours, and “Coveted Clutch” is already built, standing in our display in all its glory). And we started to design some ourselves as well. Nothing worth publishing so far, but we learn as we go along.

    Problem is, Neither my wife nor I get along with MLCad. LDD is just much more pleasant to work with. Problem off course, are to generate decent instructions for LDD files. We tried exporting to MLCad, but that has too many missing pieces in the end result. We try to build with available part-colour combinations, but still, the MLCad result is unworkable.
    Thanks for your tutorials on generating instructions with LPub, by the way.
    But, I digress… Bring on Parisian Restaurant!


    • I think patience might be the way to go with the Corner Cafe. TLG are releasing the Winter Village Market this year with the 1x8x2 dark blue arch. You never know, the dark red slopes might turn up in numbers in a set somewhere not too far down the track. I don’t think it will be the Parisien, though, as I visualise that having a black or dark grey roof.
      I build my Cafe corner with a black roof, but I’ve been buying a dark red slopes here and there with BrickLink orders. I find that the sellers who have more of them seem to charge a higher price.
      I use BrickSmith for creating the digital versions of my buildings. This is really easy to use, but is only available for Mac.
      I’m looking forward to seeing some of your MOCs!

Leave a Reply to Rob Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s