LEGO only produces one large modular building per year, which means that each release is the subject of much speculation and highly anticipated. The Detective’s Office (10246), which was designed by Jamie Berard, is no exception, and has been high on my wanted list since the high resolution images were released.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Detective’s Office is all about!
Before I get stuck into the review, I would just like to say a very big thank you to TLG’s Community Support team for providing a copy of the Detective’s Office for me to review!
The starting point is the box – it is big and heavy, as you would expect for a 2,262 piece set. On the front of the box is an image of the set itself, including the six minifigures (more on them later). The size and modular nature of the building is highlighted on the right hand side.
The box has the Creator Expert branding, and I think this is also reflected in the overall look of the building.
The rear of the box shows how well it fits it in with the latest modulars. It also highlights the main play features included and the extensive internal details.
I don’t have any of the older modular buildings built at the moment, so I’m curious what it looks like between some of the buildings such as the Green Grocer and Grand Emporium.
This is what is inside the massive box:
A couple of things I notice straight away is that there is a Reddish Brown base plate and there are a lot of bags (18 actually), but they are all numbered 1 – 4. There is also a loose 8×16 plate in Dark Bluish Grey:
It’s great that LEGO is including base plates in colours other than Green. While most of the baseplates end up being hidden by the modular building itself, it’s nice to have the variety for other uses, such as a farm yard in the case of this Reddish Brown one.
The instructions were in a separate plastic wrapping. There was no cardboard backing, but that didn’t matter in this instance, with no damage to the instruction booklet during transit.
You may have noticed I said ‘instruction booklet’ – there is just one thick booklet, instead of the 3 booklets common in previous modular buildings. I prefer this as it helps manage the numerous instructions booklets that you tend to collect alongside the LEGO bricks and pieces! It was quite easy to work with and stayed open easily on each page.
As shown in the random page below, the instructions include red lines around the area where the bricks are placed. I think these are appreciated by even the most experienced builders.
It’s no surprise that the back of the instruction booklet lets us know that we can win a set by providing feedback on the set that we have just built. There are a couple more languages listed than normal.
The top of the box shows all the parts that are found in the set:
At this point I would normally like to lay out all the pieces so that you can see exactly what is included. However, given the number of pieces, I am going to leave you to peruse a high-resolution image of the parts panel at your leisure.
There are four number 1 bags, with the two larger ones having smaller inner baggies:
Here’s is what they contain:
The inset shows the printed dart board tile that I missed when I first opened these parts bags. The highlights in the number 1 bags are:
- Round 2×2 jumper tile in White, which is new but not unique to this set as it also found in new Heartlake Hair Salon (41093)
- Dark Green dome pieces (BrickLink Part ID 86500), which appear to be unique to this set in this colour
- Green inverted brackets (99780), which is the first time this part is seen in this colour
- Printed 4×6 glass pieces, which are unique to this set
- Reddish Brown snowshoes (30284), while not unique or new, they are not that widely available
- Reddish Brown 1x2x3 windows (60593), also not new but not that widely available having only been in two sets previously
- All the 1×2 jumper plates, including the Green ones, are the new style with the inside stud holder (15573).
I think LEGO can probably give us a break from the brick separators. I don’t know about you, but I know I currently have a lot more of them than I know what to do with!
I love the printed windows and imagine we will be seeing those showing in a few MOCs featuring the “Highlander Bar” soon!
Jamie has done a great job with the brick-built pool table, which comes complete with side pockets! The construction for this is a little odd, starting with the pockets attached to the bricks with handles that sit on the floor, but the end result comes together nicely.
You can also see the gap in the wall between the pool hall and the barber shop. This image shows the sliding panel, which sits under the trophy cabinet.
The fan made with blades made from the snowshoes is not only a clever solution, but also looks good and is functional. Things that spin are always a winner (at least with my daughter) and I may have spun it a few times myself as well! I had an excuse – I needed an action shot for this review.
These shots show the two minifigures that are included in the number 1 bags – we’ll have a closer look at them later.
The new round 2×2 jumper tile is used as a table top, to hold the pool player’s mug:
The above image also shows the round plates for the front entrance. This is purely for show as they are static, but result in a semi-circular entrance with mat for the door.
The number 1 bags complete the pool hall part of the ground floor:
Another clever detail here is the way that the windows have been done – both the columns on either side and the Dark Green canopies above them. Doing the canopies this way allows for a 4-stud wide cover, whereas the quarter domes (like those used in the Grand Emporium) requires a space that is 6 studs wide.
The facade of the pool hall is 16 studs wide and therefore could easily be converted to a stand-alone building. Bar downstairs, pool hall upstairs?
From this angle, you can see that parts of the upper walls remain unfinished at this stage.
A quick look at the interior of the pool hall:
This brings us to the next set of parts bags:
Here are the parts from the number 2 bags:
The change in colour scheme is immediately noticeable, moving from Tan and Reddish Brown to the blues. The highlights for me were:
- Door frames in Bright Light Blue (60596), which are unique to this set in that colour
- Scissors, which are new but not unique to this set as they also found in new Heartlake Hair Salon (41093)
- Loads of bricks in Dark Blue, while not new they don’t tend to come in large quantities
- Corner tiles (14719) in Light Bluish Grey
- Lolly and biscuit printed round tiles
Here’s a closer look at the highlights in the number 2 bags.
I was perplexed with the piece of cardboard and almost threw it in the discard pile with the empty baggies thinking it was some sort of mistake. Those who have watched Jamie Berard’s video will likely know what it is already, but I didn’t watch the video until after I had competed the building.
I like to discover the details for myself while building, rather than via the video. This means I was also a little confused with what was happening with the barrel here:
Jamie explains that this little tunnel between the barber and pool hall is for smuggling contraband, in this case a barrel with biscuits and sweets.
The clever details don’t stop there, as you can see in the shot below, which shows the barber chair and hair washing basin. The chair is a recliner and on a swivel, which means Al’s customers don’t have to move from their chairs once they get comfortable.
There is also a secret external access point for sneaking the contraband into the barber shop.
Step 42 on page 55 shows that the cardboard is actually meant to be a mirrored surface. I had a little ‘blonde’ moment when I realised I could remove the backing paper from the cardboard to reveal the mirror!
The final mirror design is definitely the best I’ve seen in a LEGO building yet.
At the end of the second lot of parts bags we have finished Al’s barber shop, complete with a cute barber’s pole:
Al is outside the shop trying to get the police officer to have a hair cut. She should go with him, as she desperately needs a fringe – the centre part is not very flattering on her. More on her hair later.
I like the SNOT construction of the bench seat that the officer is sitting on. It looked like the minifigures may not sit that easily on it, but she has proven me wrong.
And we have also added a roof overhang at the back of the pool hall. The top part of the interior wall of the pool hall however remains unfinished at this stage.
A couple more features to point out before moving to the number 3 bags, namely the:
- Stairs that swivel out of the way to provide easier access to the interior
- Cabinet that hides the hidden external access point.
Also, while there is only one instruction booklet, the builds for each set of baggies are separated by advertisements, which are normally only found towards the back of instruction booklets. There was an ad for the other modulars badged as Creator Expert sets (Palace Cinema (10232) and Parisian Restaurant (10243)) at the end of the steps for the number 1 bags, the Creator Toy and Grocery Store (31036) following the steps for the number 2 bags (see below) and Creator Islands (an application for your mobile device) after the steps for the number 3 baggies.
There are five number 3 bags, the larger two with their own smaller baggies inside them:
Again a noticeable change in colour, this time the Medium Dark Flesh and lighter shades of blue:
The parts that stood out for me in this lot were:
- Lavender round plates with flower edges (33291), which are new although not unique to this set
- Lots of 1×4 ‘brick’ bricks (15533) in Medium Dark Flesh, which are also not new, but which haven’t been widely available
- 1×2 plates in Bright Light Blue, which have only been in one set previously, this being the Minifigure Birthday Set (850791)
- 1×2 bricks in Bright Light Blue, which appear to be unique to this set
- Two paint roller brush handles (12885) in Black, which are unique to this set in that colour
- Several printed tiles, with the “Wanted” one being unique to this set.
We also get a unique printed glass piece, this time for the detective himself:
The build starts on the right hand side with the Medium Blue and Bright Light Blue colour scheme. The 1×3 Medium Blue bricks are a different shade to the other Medium Blue bricks. There is commonly some variation in colour, but this is more noticeable than normal. I’ve tried to capture it, but it it’s not coming up that well – you’ll have to take my word for it!
The blue side houses a toilet. This appears to be a public toilet as it can be accessed directly from the ground floor without having to go through a door (other then the toilet stall door itself). It is an old-fashioned pull flush toilet, with a high cistern.
The other half is the detective’s office, starting with a very busy, messy desk!
This was also an interesting part of the build as most of the furniture was build before any of the walls were built. It makes it easy to show you the details, including the comfy visitor’s chair, filing cabinets and hat stand, complete with Fedora.
Here is the front of the completed middle floor:
The outside balcony area has a ladder on the left hand side, held in place with a quick release. When placed on top of the ground floor, the ladder can be released like a fire escape ladder.
The back is relatively simple, but still interesting with the variation in colour from left to right.
There are a couple of interesting play features in the detective’s office, namely the spinning fan and the hidden recess behind the painting.
Here is the office from the other angle, showing the safe on the right hand side and what looks to be an unfinished brick column above it. I double checked, but there was nothing else that I was supposed to do with that column.
This brings us to the final parts bags, of which there are five (plus a couple of inner baggies):
And the parts from those bags:
There were a number of parts in this lot that are unique in terms of the colour, even though the parts types themselves are not new:
- Corner tiles (14719) in Red
- Round 1×1 plates with hole (85861) in Black
- Round 2×2 tiles with hole (15535) in Red
- 1×3 tiles (63864) in Reddish Brown
- Truncated cone (98100) in Dark Orange
- Unikitty tail (15429) in dark Bluish Grey
- Hero Factory fists (93575) in Dark Bluish Grey
There was also another 2×2 round jumper tile in White. A close up of the more interesting parts is provided here.
These parts are used to build the final level and roof:
The blue part of the building gets another level, with the facade from the middle floor flowing through to the top. The front is finished off nicely with the half-stud offset Light Bluish Grey arches followed by the roof trim using the UniKitty tails. The build here is deceptively simple for a very sophisticated look.
There is a roof with skylight and water tower above the detective’s office. This side of the building also uses an unusual piece – the Hero Factory hand – to create the roof trim.
There are three 1×1 round bricks in Trans-Yellow used in the construction of the hand trims. However, they are not visible in the end product. It makes you wonder why they weren’t just provided in Dark Bluish Grey, unless I did something wrong (and I don’t think I did).
The interior of the top floor houses a small kitchen, with stove, cupboards and a rolling pin!
Here we can see that the cat is eyeing off a plate of biscuits which are on a little round table that also uses the new round 2×2 jumper tile:
The Red, White and Tan thing is meant to be a table with a bowl on it. I’ll leave you to make up you’re own mind about it, but it looks a little odd to me. I do, however, like the way the balustrade have been done. These are brick built (rather than using a spindled fence piece) and involve a couple of black taps facing inwards. I may borrow this for one of my future buildings!
The parts from the number 4 bags are also used to build the “Pool” sign, the newspaper vending box, tree and lamp post. Here’s a closer look at the sign:
The sign is double-sided, which is achieved using lamp holder plates (4081b) to reverse the direction of the plates.
The newspaper vending box holds two newspapers (or three if you remove the boat stud (2654) from the back of the front cover):
The vending box is effectively built upside down and attached to a jumper plate on the ground using a round tile with hole. This is a simple, neat way to reverse the direction of a build.
Putting the three floors together:
Here are the minifigures that are missing from the above image:
All the minifigures have the standard grin pattern, which I always find very nostalgic in the modular building sets. They are also all wearing plain pants, none of which are particularly rare. So, I’ll focus on the shirts and the headgear when taking a closer look.
Let’s start with the dart thrower:
His companion in the pool hall is the pool player:
I couldn’t find the pool player’s torso pattern (Blue jacket with Dark Red shirt) in the BrickLink database, so I am going to assume that this is new. His Black spiky hair is not new, although it is not so common.
Al, the barber, is up next:
The striped shirt that Al is wearing is not very common having only been in a handful of minifigures previously. He’s obviously been around for a while as he is sporting Light Bluish Grey hair in a pattern that has been around since the late 1970s.
In the official images, Al is seen talking to the police woman:
I suspect she is talking to him on official police business, but she should be talking to him about getting a hair cut. As I said above, the centre part is not very flattering and she really needs a fringe, or at least a side part. The elaborate bun appears to be the same Dark Brown one that we have seen before on Padme. Despite the number of criminals in Lego City, this is only the second time that this female police shirt in Medium Blue has been seen since Ma Cop from The Lego Movie.
Next up is the other female mini figure, who is described by LEGO as ‘the mysterious lady in red’. Before reading the full description and seeing Jamie’s video, I assumed she was talking to the detective about having her husband followed …
Interestingly, the mysterious lady in red is also wearing a strappy top in Red that has only been seen once before in The Lego Movie. She also has the same hair as Sharon Shoehorn, albeit in a different colour (Medium Dark Flesh), which has also only been seen in the The Lego Movie. Does it feel like The Lego Movie was the source of inspiration for the female minifigures?
Last, but not least, is the star of the show – Ace Brickman, detective extraordinaire:
That brings us to the bits that are left over once all the building is done:
There are quite a few spares, which you would expect from a set of this size. The thing that stood out for me was the scissors and the printed tiles, although there are plenty of other goodies amongst these spares, such as the Lavender and Magenta flower petal round plates.
I was surprised to see a spare 3L Light Bluish Grey bar and was tempted to flick back through the instructions to see where I may have missed it. However, everything is holding together just fine, so I’ll just assume it is a spare.
Here’s a few shots of the completed build to finish up:
One thing that you can see in the above image that I didn’t mention previously is the design of the lights above the barber shop sign. These are attached to the building using the Black paint roller handle pieces and, in my view, look really good.
What I found with this set is a lot of clever little details, like the brick built pool table, the means for the sliding panel between the two sections of the lower floor, the barber chair and wash basin, pull flush toilet, hidden recess in the wall and water tower. However, I also found a few instances where things appear to be unfinished, such as the exposed studs on the inner wall of the pool hall, on the column behind the safe in the office and above the centre rear window in the middle floor.
Overall, though, I really love this building. It looks great and has lots of play features. I enjoyed the build process as well because it wasn’t always immediately apparent what was being built, which kept me guessing as I was going along. Furthermore, the techniques used and details included provide plenty of inspiration for MOCers. It is also a great parts pack and I think it is worth buying a couple of sets for that reason alone.
Thanks for reading! C&Cs always welcome!
Head over to the Flickr album for the high resolution versions of the above images and also for the images that didn’t make it into the review.