LEGO Store - Exclusive VIP Limited Set 40178 Review
The last time that we saw a LEGO Brand store themed polybag was in 2013, with the LEGO Store Employee minifig polybag as an exclusive gift with purchase during store openings. And this is the 3rd LEGO Store build to be released as giveaways or specials.
The new LEGO VIP Limited Set 40178 first appeared in Shanghai and Korea around July - August 2017, and will be available at Shop@Home in the US this October with a purchase above $125 for VIP members.
For a polybag with 204 pieces, one would expect it to be packaged in a box similar to a seasonal vignette series. But alas, the only reason we can think of are costs prohibitions of being a limited run giveaway. The unique part about this is even the back of the polybag has colored prints featuring the set.
The seal on the polybag was slightly weak and may open up during shipping. Fortunately, the seller that I bought the sets from had individually packed them with bubble wrap. All of the orders I've placed arrived intact and sealed proper.
From the image below, the size of the set is quite large! If you recall the R2-D2 release - which was unusually large on its own, and this is even larger and more packed with elements. For comparison the top right Star Wars is the standard sized polybag for reference.
While it's smaller than the LEGO Store exclusive box sets (2012's 3300003 and 2014's Brand Retail Store 40145), the details packed into this set is pretty amazing with capturing the essence of a LEGO brand shop.
The polybag includes 4 unmarked bags, one sticker and an instruction booklet. Yes, and actual booklet in a polybag and not the usual folded paper instructions as one would normally expect.
Most of the larger parts are in one bag and form the store portion of the build. Plenty of tiny parts in this build, and it took my shaky hands about 45 minutes to build this little store.
Let me jump quickly into the sticker bit - a cringe factor for many an AFOL out there. I've built mine without the stickers, just to focus on the build itself.
No effort was spared to feature iconic sets and themes: 1) The Ghostbusters HQ, 2) Unidentified 3) Lego City 4) City Space Shuttle, 5) Coastal series 6) Hotdog Van. 7) and 8) seems to be Rescue police themed prints.
And of course, any respectable LEGO Store would definitely need a signage to represent Pick-A-Brick / Minifigure / Model wall! It would have been great if these were printed. But I suppose cost is a factor, given that this is an exclusive gift with purchase item with a limited run.
2017 Store Employee Minifigure
The 2017 Store Employee minifig has a new design on the torso.
The torso design has more detailing on the collar, helms, and most importantly, the LEGO logo is printed on the back.
Unlike the Store Employee polybag, it has no prints on the arm - the original Store Employee minifig had two white lines printed on the sleeves.
I personally prefer the 2017 Store Employee minifig - a more familiar minifig face, although the original had a new face print.
The only accessory that the minifig comes with is the iconic yellow bag (modified 1 x 2 with handle on side with a 1x2 tile with confetti print sticker).
The build - LEGO Brand Store
The first couple of pages deals with the build for the main part of the store, with some slight repetition for the walls. The building process was quite straightforward.
Most of the LEGO brand stores do have a yellow with grey outline flooring, and this element is represented in the flooring of the build. There's also a mini cashier counter and a storage box area of sorts.
The PAB wall features 1x1 round coloured studs with 1x1 transparent round tiles instead of the coloured round tiles used in the other 2 Brand store builds. This might be a better presentation of the PAB wall with its semi-transparent opening.
Technic 1x1 with hole is available on the walls on the left and right wall, allowing you to place the VIP card wall to either side of the store. Or you can easily expand this build and add in another mini store.
Overall, the build is rather sturdy and you don't really have to worry about parts falling apart or falling out of the build.
Olie The Dragon
The ionic Olie the green dragon is featured in LEGO flagships stores and Legoland all around the world and this little green dragon's whimsical look in the shop says it all - that it's ready for some bricking fun!
The version of Ollie featured in this build has some resemblance to the keychain version of Olie, with a pair of googly eyes.
I love that it's not just the head that is stuck to the shop, as with the Brand Retail store set. The dragon's head can be rotated left and right, thanks to the Plate 1X2 Ball Cup / Friction End part. This helps to give some interactivity to build, given that the rest of the items are mostly stuck in place.
The lines of the dragon's body are simplified with the use of slope parts, and with a tail sticking out from the other side of the wall.
It's a simple way to represent Ollie, but at one glance you can tell it's Olie the dragon being imaginatively playful at work.
The VIP card wall
The introduction of round 1x1 quarter tiles since 2016 provides more flexibility with curved designs in builds. Lettering in LEGO used to be mostly workarounds - for instance, using the 1x2 with hole brick to present P. The depth of the lettering that is usually much deeper as a result.
Lettering of the wordings 'VIP' looks much more refined in this build with the use of tiles and quarter tiles. And the VIP card wall looks more namecard-like with the rounded corner finishings. The bonus is the red mono-colored Minifigure! You could say we got 2 minifigs in this set which is a nice treat!
A handful of tiles and jumpers can be found on this wall. The concept is useful for anyone interested to start off learning about handing letter typography in LEGO.
The 2017 LEGO VIP build managed to capture the essence of the LEGO shop and its features - all with just 204 bricks!
Cons: The shop area is slightly squeezy - the extra space is barely enough for one more minifigure. And stickers - kids love them, but not AFOLS.
If you have missed out the earlier polybag for the LEGO brand store minifigure, this is set is definitely worth getting. The build is sturdy on its own, and with some modification it seems possible to be able to expand it to a larger scale.
The upcoming VIP promotions at Shop@Home for October includes this polybag, so if you are in the US, it would be good time to start planning your purchases.