If there is any indicator that the winter holidays are fast approaching, it’s the release of LEGO’s annual addition to the growing Winter Village collection. Each year at around this time, we see another charming set hit the shelves, and they’re arguably just as prized to collectors as Modular Buildings like 10260 Downtown Diner. This year’s holiday season brings us 10163 Winter Village Fire Station. The set has 1166 pieces, including 6 minifigures, a baby, and a dog. It’s currently only available for LEGO VIP Program members, but will be available to anyone starting October 1st, retailing for $99.99 USD.
The box and contents
The box size and background are very similar to many of the previous sets in the line. The “Expert” ribbon runs down the side, and a glowing light brick symbol immediately indicates there is a lighting feature. Like the other sets, the back displays a collage of enticing play features. But unlike last year’s 10259 Winter Village Station, it does not show the build complementing another model from the series.
The 1166 pieces come in 10 parts bags (not including the inner bags), yet there are only 3 numbered groups of these bags.
There are two instruction manuals: one small booklet for the mini builds, and one large for the fire station itself. The sticker sheet contains 10 individual stickers, half of which belonging to the truck, and half belonging to the building. One of the stickers displays a calendar marking the 24th: Christmas Eve for many people around the world. Sadly, the December calendar is not for 2018. It would have been cool to see this accurate.
One interesting thing about the instructions is that the pieces added in each step are outlined in green. This is something that we don’t remember seeing before.
Each year, LEGO generally includes a new style of Christmas tree and lamppost. This time around, the hearty little tree has a pretty clever design. Four stacks of angled plates are fastened perpendicular to each other on a solid core. The result is a really cool, full-looking tree.
The truck is a fairly simple design, and according to the designer himself, is intended to be built by a child and adult together. Enough room is made for the Dalmatian to ride as the passenger. The truck also includes a dark blue toolbox, which has only been featured in a couple other sets, coincidentally including the LEGO 75827 Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters.
At the end of the first book, there is a nice assortment of mini-builds and play features. There is a bench and lamppost, an ice rink (complete with minifig statue), presents, a sled, and of course, the tree and truck.
The second group of bags make up the entire first floor. It includes a side entry, which eventually houses the base of the firepole.
Throughout the build there are light grey masonry bricks for texture. It’s slightly unfortunate that they didn’t do this for the dark red portions of the building as well. Also throughout, there are little white tooth brackets that are a really good representation of snow.
Aesthetics-wise, the big red doors that open inward are a lovely touch. Their thickness and the way they line up perfectly with the end of the walls is quite satisfying.
The conclusion of the second set of bags gives us a nice open-backed first floor. The columns in front feature a nice use of the 1×2 rounded plate with two open studs.
Moving on to our third and final set of bags, we build the second floor as well as the tower. Like most fire stations, the living quarters are on the second floor. One of the details is a cute little kitchenette, complete with a stove, oven, and the all important coffee maker.
A truly simple yet wonderful use of parts is where the window sill (created with two 1×2 jumper plates) acts as a stopper/support for the bunkbed, which can fold up against the wall. Three of the stickers are used on the bunkbed, with one comprising the sheets on top. The other two make up the previously mentioned calendar, and a portrait of the Dalmatian, whose bed and bone lie underneath.
Another lovely use of parts is shown in the design of the tower windows. The white 1×4 ornamental fence pieces have only been used in one other set: the LEGO Disney 71040 Cinderella Castle. Here they are combined with the gorgeous dark red in a relatively simple side-build technique that looks incredible.
These windows are hinged together to comprise two whole sides of the tower. They are held in place by four 1×1 bricks with a stud on one side.
There are a massive amount of tan clips in this set, with a grand total of 58. They are featured around the trim of the roofline, including the tower. At first they look a little odd, but after the whole thing is capped off, they’re actually pretty neat.
The completed model
The moment you’ve been waiting for: taking a step back to look at the whole build! And it is certainly a pretty sight. The firefighter statue and pearl gold flourishes really polish up the ice rink. It’s also slightly reminiscent of the 10216 Winter Village Bakery from 2010.
The presents under the tree are pretty adorable, especially the train, which uses roller skates for wheels. The little sled for the baby makes pretty good use of the Elven warrior sword.
The fire truck has a pretty great resemblance to those from the 40’s. The hoses draped on the sides may seem a little odd-looking, but that is almost exactly how they looked in real life. As with many other LEGO vehicles, the license plate represents the designer’s initials, “LJ” for Lars Joe, and the set number.
The truck fits just perfectly through the snug entry. The only issue is that the truck has to be pulled away so the doors can open and close freely. With the truck inside and the doors closed, the back end sticks out pretty far. It’s less of an issue for playability than display.
Interestingly, there is no floor, so the vehicle has to jump a curb to get out. Nevertheless, it’s fairly smooth and looks nice.
The interior of the second floor is quite cozy. Aside from the previously mentioned kitchenette and bunkbed, there is a dining table and a serious-looking red phone. Presumably this is where the call comes in that lets the firefighters know it’s time to act! And once they get that call, they can shimmy down the pearl gold firepole (only seen in one other set), and dash to their gear on the first floor.
What about that light brick? It sits on top of the building, facing down into the upper level. They didn’t try to hide the casing for the light at all, but from the front, the bell somewhat covers it up. The inside is actually illuminated quite nicely.
This set is complete with a great cast of 6 minifigures. They include a hockey player for the ice rink, a saxophonist, three firefighters, and a young babysitter. Additionally, we have a baby and the traditional firehouse Dalmatian dog.
Beginning with the fire crew, two males and a female, we have three identical outfits. They are simple, but a decent example of an old style uniform. My personal favorite of the trio is the grey-haired gentleman sporting a lovely mutton-chop style mustache.
Each fig can also trade hair pieces for shiny, gold fire hats. The Dalmatian has only been featured in a few other sets.
A bit more variety and color is seen in the rest of the minifigs, who also have additional accessories. The sweaters on the boy and girl are welcome additions to the series, as well as the girl’s orange scarf. The only other time a saxophone was featured in a Winter Village set, it was brick built. While I like the saxophone player, I go back and forth on how I feel about the epaulettes on his shoulders.
The cute little babysitter is accompanied by an even cuter baby. The baby head mold has shown up in a couple different styles, the difference being the presence of a neck. Interestingly, the baby in the designer video does not have a neck, while our copy does. The best part, though, is the onesie. It has never been featured with a printed reindeer and snowflakes before. Adorable!
Conclusion and recommendations
Personally, I am a big fan of the aesthetics of this set. The tower is really lovely. It has its quirks, such as not having a floor. I’d also love to see one that was more of a complete build, versus a façade. But it seems like a pretty nice addition to the series. Sitting next to the rest, it fits right in to the collection.
For the 1166 piece count, the price is reasonable. There are certainly some nice pieces in the set, and even if I wasn’t purchasing it, I would certainly borrow a couple ideas for my own builds. If you’re a collector of the series, you may already be sold, regardless, but if you’re wondering if you want to buy one to build with your kiddos, I would recommend it. The open back makes for some great play opportunities, and even though it’s an “Expert” set, a parent-child duo could have a blast building it together.
10163 Winter Village Fire Station includes 1166 pieces and 6 minifigures (plus a baby) and retails for $99.99 in the US ($129.99 in Canada | £84.99 in the UK). The set is available to VIP’s now, and will be available on October 1st from the LEGO Shop, eBay, and elsewhere.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.