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LEGO Creator Expert Santa's Workshop 10245 review

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Each year, Lego fans have always looked forward to the unveiling of Lego’s latest winter-themed build. Ever since they launched the Lego 10199 Winter Village Toy Shop build nearly ten years ago, Lego has since released an additional set in the holiday series each year. In 2014, Lego officially launched the 10245 Santa’s Workshop build. And thanks to the efforts of the Lego Community Engagement and Events Team, a few lucky users were able to get their hands on a copy before its official launching.

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2013’S Winter Village Market was actually the very first one of the Winter Village series that includes the now-famous Creator Expert branding. 2014’s build continues the tradition. The visuals that are displayed on both sides of the box are comprised of the usual Winter Village festivities. The set contents are proudly shown against a wintery backdrop. The difficulty of constructing this set is at least 12+. The set contains 883 pieces.

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Apart from the main shot of Santa riding in his magical sleigh filled with presents for children of all ages, the backside of the box includes several vignettes that are sure to warm up your heart. These include an image of Lego Santa sitting down, about to enjoy his cup of tea and sifting through his mail. There are also elves working on a toy production lines, while a shot of Mrs. Claus is also seen lighting up a torch. The entire imagery of the back side of the box was already enough to produce a nice and cheerful holiday vibe. This isn’t exactly a mean feat, since the build emerged in early September – A few months before Christmastime officially began.

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Contrary to 2013’s Winter Village build, the 2014 edition opens up by removing a couple of thumb taps, instead of tape seals. That’s because the box is slightly smaller as compared to the one found in 2013’s build. If you open up the box, you will see a sealed plastic sleeve that houses the instruction manual and a sticker sheet. There’s also three pieces of 18L hoses in a sleek black color, as well as nine bags that are filled with elements and labelled with 1, 2, or 3.

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Bags that contain the instruction manuals are usually closed through a sticky flap – This wasn’t really the right idea since the flap had the tendency to stick to the manual’s paper while you take them out of the bag, and could potentially result in tears or rips. This brand-new arrangement is so much better, although there’s now a bit of difficulty when it comes to trying to remove the manual out of the box. There’s also a sticker sheet included, as mentioned earlier, with a total of six stickers.

Two instruction booklets are included in the build. Both of them are sized A4. The first booklet is the slimmer and lighter one of the two, with 32 pages from start to finish. Apart from the building instructions, there are a couple of adverts for the Lego Creator official Website, as well as a bunch of other Lego Creator Expert sets and the Lego Club. There’s another ad for the Winter Village Market build. It’s slightly weird that Lego has decided to include an advert for their Winter Market Builds, especially since they are completely sold out from the official Lego Shop Home Website. The second booklet is thicker than the first one. Apart from containing all of the building instructions, there’s also an inventory of parts, spanning three pages, as well as more ads for three Lego Modular Building sets, info about the Lego VIP loyalty program, and how to send the company feedback.

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There’s a host of uncommon (read: highly interesting) elements located right inside the set, especially when you take a closer look at the bag’s contents. It’s a bit tough to identify which of these elements are new, especially when there’s no BrickLink inventory available. However, there are still a few parts that stood out, despite all of that. One of these was definitely the tanned brick measuring 1 x 1 which had reindeer eye printing, as well as the tanned and curved 2 x 2 slope that holds a reindeer tail printing. These are both new to this build. There are also a handful of additional elements, such as the golden elephant trunk and tail, the road sign attached to a black pole, and the dark tanned arch measuring 1 x 6 x 2. Also new are the flesh-colored 6 x 8 plate, and finally, the yellow paddle. Even though the teal-colored guitar has shown up in a bunch of previous sets, there are certain occasions where it has been decorated with several magenta scratchplates and silver strings, contrary to the drab, uncolored version in the 2014 build. The rest of the elements located inside the picture have also shown up in a previous set in one way or another – But not more than ten times.

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There are six minifigures that come with the set – Not including the brick reindeer. There’s the Santa minifigure, obviously, which looks a tad bit similar to the Winter Village Series build from 2012, as well as the Series 8 Collectible Minifigure version. This has also shown up in 2013’s City Advent Calendar. However, the Santa minifigure in this build is still unique since it’s the first time that he carries a red sack. People who have owned previous iterations of Winter Village builds were quick to point out that Santa’s sack also comes in a dark flesh color. Santa’s torso does not have any back printing too, and he only carries one expression.

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The second figure is Mrs. Claus. She wears a skirt that is comprised of a printed red 65-degree slope brick measuring 2 x 2 x 2. The skirt has a fittingly festive print on it, which has not been seen in past builds – There’s even an image of a holly sprig on it. There’s also a back print on her torso, and she wears a red cape. Mrs. Claus may look calm on the outside, but you can actually change her expression to an angry one. This makes it obvious on who wears the pants in this household.

The workshop is ran by Santa and his four elf assistants. Aside from their matching hats, each of these elf minifigures wears a different outfit from each other. They don’t have back prints on their torsos either. Their hats are equipped with a pair of ears, and look similar to the ones worn by the elf included in the Series 11 Collectable Minifigure lineup. Like Mrs. Claus, each elf has a dual expression – Ranging from delighted, to sad, to mischievous.

The build has three bags labelled with ‘1’. They include all of the elements that you will need to construct the five reindeer. Santa also has a sleigh here, which is filled to the brim with presents. There’s also a tiny Christmas tree, and a signpost that gives you directions to the North Pole. The assembly instructions can be found on the first booklet. Santa’s five reindeer are all tethered to the sleigh thanks to the two rigid 18L hoses that were discussed earlier. A third hose serves as a spare.

The reindeers are probably the main highlight of this build, since they all look amazing when built up. This also showcases some really amazing uses of Lego’s elements: One that people like the most were the usage of light tan torsos found in Battle Droid figures. These are wonderful for connecting the neck to the reindeer’s head. Apart from that, four of the reindeers also sport reddish brown mechanical arms, which could work as antlers. The fifth and youngest reindeer is slightly shorter than the rest of its companions, and only wears stumpy antlers consisting of 1 x 1 plates.

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The next portion of the build is comprised of the assembly of Mrs. Claus, and building the rightmost part of the workshop, which includes the clock tower. As with all of the other Winter Village builds, the exterior of the 2014 edition is filled with plenty of tiny details, along with embellishments. This includes the white and red candy canes located right at the front, alongside arches of many shapes and sizes. There’s also a tumble-down chimney. The tower is finished with a black dish measuring 4 x 4, which has been printed with a clock design last found at the Lego 10224 Town Hall build.

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The Lego 10245 is a classic Winter Village far that is just as good as is previous – And hopefully, future – Iterations. There’s loads of amazing detail, rare color combinations, and an interesting host of building techniques. These have been a continuous feature of the sets since they officially made their 2009 debut. The only criticism here is perhaps the insubstantial nature of the whole workshop. Even though the finished build looks amazing, it’s still very small, and the left side doesn’t even have enough furniture to fit in. It even lacks a roof. There’s still enough evidence that a giant part of the elements belong to the sleigh and the reindeers.

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