The Lego modular buildings are some of my favourite sets. If you’re not aware of them, this Creator series has been around since 2007 and are a series of large (2000+ pieces) buildings designed on a standard sized baseplate so that they can all connect together to create a single street or city block. The Brick Bank is the 2016 release and the 11th modular building so far. It is also the 4th building to be a corner piece, so when Lego get around to releasing the 12th then it should be possible to build a perfect square city block. These are very collectable items because not only do they make a great display piece, but also because Lego don’t make them available for very long. After 2 years, they’re typically removed from sale and a new one arrives in it’s place. This means that the earlier modular buildings are currently available for anything up to £2000, making that complete collection unattainable for your average newcomer to the range.
The Brick Bank follows the tradition of the last few modulars of being slightly smaller in size than the earlier ones. Compared to the 10224 Town Hall that was 50cm high, this one is only 26cm, which is quite the difference. The lower £120 price tag compounds this problem, where Lego have decided to focus on detail both outside and inside rather than go for the higher cost / larger model that they’ve gone with before. I personally would rather pay more and get a larger model and keep the detail if that’s what it’s going to take.
The build process, despite being 16+ and being rated for Experts, isn’t that complicated. There’s a lot of tiling to do in the first set of bags (there are 4 sets in all), and some fiddly pieces as the process continues, but I’ve had some Technic sets or the 70810 MetalBeard’s Sea Cow that were aimed at younger ages that were much more difficult. A couple of times I misread the instructions and put something in the wrong place, but never anything that I didn’t notice a couple of steps ahead.
All modular buildings go together in stages, one floor at a time, and it’s a process I do enjoy. The detail inside this one isn’t as good as the excellent 10243 Parisian Restaurant, but there are some nice little touches throughout. The main part of the model is the bank itself, and the double doors for that take up the front of the model. Inside there’s a teller and some glass frontage, and some little tables for visitors to the bank. A large vaulted ceiling holds a chandilier that actually hangs from the third level of the model. At the back corner is a vault, filled with money, and with a well designed locking mechanism on the front and cage on the top made of what are usually doors for jails on the police sets. Upstairs, offices for bank employees house coffee makers, desks, and an important looking area for the bank manager. The back corner of the building has a laundrette (money laundering, get it?) which has a nice frontage with printed Soaps n Suds signage (no stickers are used anywhere in the build) and a wall of washing machines on one side and ATM for the bank on the other.
Since this is not as tall as some of the other sets, there’s really only two floors rather than the usual three, the third floor just being a very low roof and skylight structure. Like all modulars, it all splits apart easily for access to each floor for those that want to use it to play.
And speaking of play, one of the attached stories involves a young girl receiving a cheque with a photographer coming to take photos, but she’s actually looking to perform a heist. My 4 year old especially enjoyed lowering the photographer (complete with burglar mask and hat accessories) by a rope down the open chimney at the top of the building which comes out into a hatch above the vault. So there’s lots of imaginative possibilities for younger builders.
All in, this is another great set for fans of the modular buildings, whatever age you are. Even if this is your first one, any fan of larger sets would do well to pick this up, whether you’re going to use it for play or display. And at this price, like all the modular buildings (at least on launch day) it has one of the best price per piece cost available.