71006 – The Simpsons House

Introduction

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Last week a package arrived from Denmark – the hotly awaited new licensed kit from television iconic animated show “The Simpsons”.  Rumour has it that this will be the only kit from “The Simpsons” licensing, although the individual minifigures are expected to be sold separately mid-year as part of the collectible minifigures range.  The box was quite big, rather larger than I expected.

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Upon opening the box and examining the contents, we have thee following:

  • Three instruction booklets, in a plastic bag with cardboard backing
  • Numerous baggies numbered 1-7
  • Stickers (ergh)
  • No base plate(s)

I’m not sure why I expected base plates, but it seems to be the most obvious thing missing from this set.  I’ll explain why as we get into the details – read on.  I managed to squeeze the build into my weekend, in three separate building sessions.  All up, the build took around five hours to complete building the kit.

Garage and Accessories

Build Session 1 – (Bags #1 & #2)

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The first set of bags builds up a series of accessories and Homer’s car.  The accessories include a BBQ, a letterbox, two deck chairs, a skateboard ramp for Bart.  Speaking of minifigures, Bart and Homer feature in the first set of numbered baggies.  In what seems to be the new direction by Lego, minifigures are peppered throughout the numbered bags now, presumably so that kits can’t be sold sealed but without minifigures. 

Bart and Homer are in bags #1, Ned Flanders is in bags #3, Marge in bags #4, Maggie in bags #5 and Lisa is in bags #6.

The second set of bags build up the detachable garage.  The garage is a fairly brisk build, with a couple of new unique parts which I haven’t seen in other kits – namely the new flat L-shaped tiles, as seen below.

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The garage features a number of excellent inclusions, including a workbench, tools and a removable overlapping roof.  The unit easily accommodates the car from the first set of bags, and later will clip onto the main house, and provide internal access,via the doorway.

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The Ground Floor

Build Session 2a – (Bags #3)

The second session (in two parts) focused on bags #3 and #4.  This began building of the main house, which as mentioned previously, seemed odd without a nominal base plate.  My companion on this building journey is my nearly-five-month-old son, Damian (pictured). 

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The ground floor (bags #3 and #4) take the lion’s share of the 2523 parts in the set.  Most of the part count goes to floor tiling, as the interior of the house is almost 100% tiled in all the rooms.  The initial two rooms on the ground floor (front of house) establish part of the kitchen and a room containing a piano.  This is a reasonable build, with a few advanced building concepts.  It’s interesting how the designers integrated greenery (via the use of green parts) around the base of the building.

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Build Session 2b – (Bags #4)

The second session (bags #4) builds the rear of the ground floor.  There are some great features established here, including a stairwell and the lounge room, including the famous couch used in the TV show’s opening credits.

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About half way through the building, the two parts of the building are connected using pivoting parts.  This joins the kitchen together (when closed) and joins the lounge room as well.  Features include the lounge, TV set (old style) a dining room table and four chairs plus the rest of the kitchen.

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There aren’t too many surprises in the build itself, and if you pre-sort the parts you can blast through this build fairly quickly.  Some sticker application is required – the tricky one being the lounge room rug, which I had to reapply after a failed first attempt.

Once this part is complete, the building can be closed together, and the remainder of the work is on the upper level.

The Upper Level

Build Session 3a – (Bags #5 & #6)

The third and final build session (parts a & b) completed the remainder of the building.  Bags #5 and #6 complete the front half of the upper level, and bags marked #7 complete the rear upper level.  In terms of time, it took me about 50 minutes for bags #5 and just over an hour for bags #6.

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The top level is by far the toughest part of the build due to the similarity in colours used.  There are a number of times where blues and pinks exist and are differentiated by only a few shades of colour.  Add to this, the fact that the instructions are a bit unclear at times (yellow looks a little orange, hot pink and light pink are very similar) all this adds up to requiring some serious concentration when building the furniture.

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The first floor contains Lisa’s room, a bathroom, the master bedroom (including a cot for Maggie), a hallway and Bart’s bedroom (bags #7).  Features include beds in all bedrooms, a shower, two bookcases, a desk, a bureau and a number of posters and pictures on the wall.  The entire level features tiles in all areas and the majority of furniture fits in perfectly.

Although the level doesn’t detach like the Creator modular buildings, as the building splits apart, and the roof comes off, you have no problems accessing most of the rooms and accessories.

Build Session 3b – (Bags #7)

The final session finished off the remainder of the top floor, which is a portion of Lisa’s room (she has a bigger room that Bart does?) and all of Bart’s room.  Unfortunately for us, there’s quite a number of stickers (boo!) particularly for the wall posters and frames leading down the stair well.

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The build is pretty brisk, it took me around 50 minutes to complete this final part of the build.  Establishing the base was fairly easy (no surprises), and the furniture was also quite straightforward.  I really like the 3D effect combining bright coloured parts to form books, a radio and so forth.

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Once you’ve completed the rooms, and the roof, it’s time to put it altogether.

The Finale

Well, we have a fine assembly of the iconic Simpsons family in Lego form, with Ned Flanders thrown in for good measure – maybe he is trying to reclaim the many items of his property “borrowed” by Homer?

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The characters are always a treat in 3D, and although the heads are a bit too big scaled to their minifigure bodies, there’s a lot of detail here and they are extremely impressive.  Even Maggie scales to “baby” size (compared to Bart and Lisa) and she even has a custom set of feet.  I can’t help thinking that Homer, Bart and Marge all look a bit depressed.

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Here’s a shot of the exterior of the finished house, and a close up of the accessories arranged outside.  The absence of base plates means there’s not anywhere to place the letterbox, the BBQ and the other features.

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Here’s the house in the open position.  As you can see, it’s reasonably easy to access all the rooms.  The final photo is of the figures compared to the scale of the house.  I think you’ll agree, the house is scaled perfectly to minifigure scale.

Overall an excellent building experience with great play potential (for the kids). 

Pricing

In Australia, as usual, we get high pricing with an RRP of AUD $329.99 whereas in the United States you’d pay USD $199.99.  There’s a massive pricing disparity between the United States/Canada and the rest of the world.  The reason for this is unclear, but I decided to review pricing in other regions for comparison.

Country Local Price Equivalent $AUD
Australia $329.99 $329.99
USA USD $199.99 $221.33
UK £179.99 $333.49
Germany (Europe) 199,99 € $301.69
Canada 229.99 CAD $231.79
South Korea 299,900 wan $312.20
New Zealand NZD $399.99 $370.64
Czech Republic 4999 Koruna $276.71
Switzerland 259 francs $321.44

Prices valid as at time of publishing (Feb 16 2014)

As a random selection of locations, only two had higher prices than the Australian RRP – New Zealand (who are by far the worst off) and the United Kingdom.  Other regions experience slightly lower pricing, but there’s still this massive disparity between the US/Canada and the rest of the world.

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