Preview of 10243-1 Parisian Restaurant
Deciding to build the Parisian Restaurant was mainly due to the positive response it received in a Brickpicker forum topic. Many people chose the 10243-1 as their favourite Modular Building Series(MBS) set. I did not know a lot about it and what better way to build the set to see if those people had a point in picking this set. It was released in January 2014 and is still widely available at the moment of writing. The Parisian Restaurant is the ninth set to come out under the Creator subtheme following 10232-1 Palace Cinema. When looking at the brick count, with its 2469 pieces, it is the second largest modular building up to date, with 10224-1 Town Hall, 2766 pieces, having the most bricks. The set is priced by TLC at 159.99€/159.99$ (The prices for Europe vary from 149.99€ for France and Germany to 159.99€ for Belgium and the Netherlands. It is the third modular I will be building and the second to be reviewed. My hopes for this one are high, again mainly due to the comments it has received from fellow Brickpickers.
The Modular Building Series is a sub-theme of Creator and was introduced in 2007 and spans 9 sets at this moment. There are rumours that a Detective Agency will make its entry soon to be the 10th modular building. The prices of the buildings vary between 100 and 200 Euro. 10243-1 Parisian Restaurant has seen a price change for the low countries as said above, but for most other countries, it stays at the level of eg. 10218-1 Pet Shop and 10211-1 Grand Emporium. The theme is very popular with AFOLs and even though they are not cheap, the popularity increases every day. There does seem to be a notable change in the line up for the MBS. If what is generally is expected is correct, two Modular Buildings will disappear at the same time with only one replacing them. If this is just a one-off or the intention is to make the assortment smaller, is still a guess for many.
The Packaging is better designed compared to 10224-1 Town Hall. The background has a nice sky blue color with some real life house printed on it. The front also has the Creator series logo and the Expert badge on it that also was on the previous Modular. On the top right you can find how the back of the restaurant looks like. The front also shows us the height and width of the building. Comparing it to the Town Hall (50cm x 25,5cm), it does seem a bit small with its 30cm x 25 cm. That is 20 centimeter smaller and that does disappoint me slightly. With it having the second most pieces of all Modulars, I would have thought it to be larger. Then again, we still need to see what the actual build will be once finished and if it blends in with the rest of the Modulars I have on display. The back of the box shows us on the left side the different floors. On the top we can see the different rooms. At first sight, it does look good. It has many interesting features and especially the kitchen area seems to be a very detailed room. On the bottom to the right you have a display with other modular houses. It has the 10232-1 Palace Cinema and more important, the 10224-1 Town Hall. I find this important as it seems the set will be retiring soon. It looks very large compared with the other modular buildings displayed and this may have a positive effect on the price of the Town Hall on the aftermarket. In all, I like the design of the box. With the bright color, it is very inviting and the Expert badge does give it something special. It is much more compact than others I have had in my hands so far, especially then of its big brother Town Hall. I think it is a good evolution, saving on packaging material and shipping costs.
So after opening the box and pouring out the content on the table, you're left with something like this.
- 4 x # 1 bags
- 6 x # 2 bags
- 4 x # 3 bags
- 4 x # 4 bags
- 1 dark gray plate 16x8
- 1 ground plate light gray
I had expected more bags to be present in the box with that amount of pieces so again, somewhat disappointing. Not the wow feeling like with the Town Hall. Not scoring that well so far, but again, the medals are given at the finish line.
Build Part 1: Ground Floor
One thing that you can say about the first part. A lot of small pieces. I can imagine now how this is the second largest Modular Building Series set if you look at brick-count but small pieces are not always fun to build. Of course a building needs detail and that is what these small pieces are for. It takes usually longer to sort them too. The good thing about them is that you actually get quite a lot of extra pieces. I will add a picture of them later in the review.
The floors look much better than the other modular buildings I worked on so far apart from 71006-1 the Simpsons House, but technically that is not a Modular Building Series house. It's some work, but the tiles in the kitchen and the beautiful plank floor in the dining area give 10243-1 Parisian Restaurant an authentic feeling. The red carpet part is a great detail too and found in many restaurants of that kind.
I added the picture on the left to show what in my opinion is an error. It is the part that says Chez. Brilliant in my opinion but totally useless in this setup as you can't even see it when everything has been built around it (see picture on the right when finishing up part 1). Writing only chez on the floor is the equivalent of writing At while the name of the place is At Albert (chez Albert) so I don't see the added value in this creation. I know designers sometimes want to put some fancy LEGO-brick-made lettering in their creations, but you shouldn't put something in to.... put something in! Preferred imo would be a mosaic with 1x1 alternating gray and dark blue stones. It's just a small detail, and in no way does it make this first part less beautiful than it is, but for me, it is simply something that has not been well thought.
The little black chains are such an excellent detail. And so are the lamps that are on the dining tables. It is a very special technique involving a flat round tile with a hole in it that I have not seen before. The kitchen is very nice too, and will be discussed in part two of this build. Because you're working with so many small pieces, the duration of the build takes a little longer than usual. I'm an average builder. I don't build Lego to set a speed record.
Duration of the build: 53 minutes
Build Part 2: Ground Floor Finishing
Now we're getting there. Look at those beautiful green pieces you get in this part. This time not that many small pieces in it so I assume the build would go much smoother. This part is the finishing up of the ground floor. So far, 12243 made a fine impression. I am anxious to see now what it would give with the walls build.
Start the clock...
Looking at the front, you can see the immense detail. Some nice printed pieces like the name of the restaurant and menu card, no stickers at all so that's a big plus (most of the modulars are stickerless). As said before, the little chains are a nice addition in combination with the colorful flowers. The plants on the right side are quite special too. I had not seen that leaf piece before. The decorative ornaments next to the windows are not my favourite. I don't know what exactly bothers me about the front but it is simply too busy for me.
The back on the other hand is kept very simple and that is more how I like it. Here the eye-catcher is the blue trash container. Not only does it look good but it has various goodies on the inside. And like you find near many restaurants... a rat. The ivy is a good addition. The added flower brings a subtle color accent.
On the inside you have the dining area, with 2 tables and 4 chairs. The wine cabinet is a creative and esthetically pleasing piece of furniture. Colors are alright. I find the dining area relatively small. In fact the entire depth of 10243 should be a few studs more. Two tables on the inside of a Parisian Restaurant is too little. This is Paris, not Monaco where the weather is much better and people don't mind sitting outside.
Then there is my least favourite part of the entire build. The curtains... an absolute disaster. They kept on breaking (at least 10 times!) and then I put the pieces on wrong and... It was a catastrophe and I hope not to see this constructions again in future MBS.
Building the stair part was also not what it was supposed to be. It felt very fragile.
But thankfully, there is also the kitchen and when you look at that, you just nod and see it's fine! It holds so many details. I absolutely adored the dough roller they created, hanging next to the other kitchen utilities. The refrigerator with the printed (!) milk carton in it is simple but gorgeous. The dishes on the sink are a nice touch. The turkey and pie are nice pieces to have in your collection. The printed thermometer part is a nice add. You also receive 1 pot and a pan as cooking gear. And this of course al placed on the tiled blue and white floor. This is a very nice pearl and the designers did well on it.
The building of part 2 went very slowly and difficult. I had no real fun on it. It was even frustrating at times (curtains). The end result on the other hand is pretty nice. Duration of the build: 1 hour 34 frustrating minutes
Build Part 3: First Floor
The front of the first floor is very nice. The windows have a good building technique. Just a shame that the arch piece used above the windows is just not wide enough. The 'crosses' on in the top white part are very good and innovative ideas. I appreciated a front terrace for the Town Hall as it was a very nice building and sometimes, for certain occasions, the Mayor would want to speak to his people but in this setup, I don't see the added value. On the contrary, because of adding this, you make the room even smaller than it is. The back has a well worked out stairway. The door on the left is what you see in many city houses. You can't really call it a terrace but you can be outside. It's hard to find real outstanding points in this. It is very plain and combined with the ground floor, it works out well for me.
The inside of the studio is simple but well worked out. You have the kitchenette at your right with plenty of space to put in utensils. A dining area with one seat. On the right you have the leather chair. Too bad the seating area is light gray. I would have made it a darker sand color or the same as the rest of chair, otherwise great minibuild. There is a fire-place, again nothing to fancy but certainly an asset to the studio. My absolute favorite is the bed. It's not particularly difficult to construct. It folds up into the wall. Never saw one of those beds except for in the movies but it's ubercool. The underside is made of some sort of new piece making the bed entire smooth when clapped in the wall. The doors are somewhat weird. They are not in a straight line with the walls, but instead are more to the inside them making the available room even smaller. As said, I would have replaced the front balcony door with another series of windows. There is no need for 2 terraces in a small studio like this. This part was a more fun part to build. At least you had the feeling of advancing. Duration of the build: 1 hour 10 minutes
Build Part 4: The Roof
Again the green bricks and addition now the dark blue ones for the roof. Another great color which I look forwards to of seeing built. They seem to match quite well with the green ones.
The build so far has not been such a success and I was hoping that the roof would make it fun... and it actually did. The front of the roof is absolutely stunning. It shows the beautiful color combination with the white and gray. The ornaments are a piece of beauty and everything seems to match perfectly. The ridge beneath the ornaments are very special too. Both ornaments and ridge will be shown in detail in the building techniques section.Most of the other modulars so far have had a flat roof and this is a nice exception. I love how they played with the three dimensional roof tiles. Without any doubt, 102431-1 has the most beautiful roof I have seen in any modular thus far.
Over to the back, you can see the roof constructed in the same way as the front, with 3 windows in them and the flowers beneath. To the right you have the door and a plant in a special red pot. The pieces used here are pretty new and they work out well for this purpose. The chimneys are a welcome addition too. I have not seen them in Town Hall or Grand Emporium.
Because of the rather special construction of the roof, it does not open up like other MBS where you can just take the entire roof off. Instead you can tilt the backside of the roof, it is attached with hinges, to gain access to the attic chamber. The attic chamber itself is a studio for an artist. You have 2 paintings, an easel, and a color palette. It has a nice old-fashioned stove too. The door is somewhat weirdly placed. You can't take off the part above the door so it's difficult to make your minifigures 'enter' the studio. In all, it does look good for what it is meant to be.
I would also like to comment on the paintings. Before I bought the 10243-1 Parisian Restaurant, I looked at a review about it (Brickshow) and the guy commented about the paintings, that the painter really was not good at it because it were all squares. Well, just to point out, this way of painting is called Neoclassicism and one of the great painters of that style is Pieter Cornelius Mondrian. One of his paintings got really known because of the former L'oréal logo which I am sure you will recognize if you look at the actual painting at the left.
This has entire nothing to do with LEGO of course, but I simply needed to put this in it because of the comment of a collegue reviewer.
Wether it is nice or, not I leave in the middle. What is important, is that even a bunch of squares can be a work of art.
Duration of the build: 57 minutes
The most interesting building techniques are how the ridge on the roof is constructed and how the ornaments above the ridge are done. The ridge is really a piece of innovative thinking. No new pieces were used for it and it was constructed with Indian feathers. I don't know if the color has been used before but the end result is something not many could have constructed. Perhaps it would have een been better if the feather bricks were the same sort of blue used in the roof, but perhaps that would be overdoing it. It was the most interesting part of the build and I could surely think of using it in one of my own builds later on. Thumbs up for the designers.
The ornament used in the roof is also something really special. Here, there is the introduction of the sea shell, the white croissant, the mini slope and the short wheel arch. All relatively new pieces and they blend very well. At the left, you see half an ornament constructed. This building technique is less impressive than the ridge because of the newer pieces used, but the end-result is something wow. In fact, the entire roof area was of very high quality. This type of ornaments can be used easily in other builds too. The white croissant could have been used in the Town Hall too but I assume the reason why it has not been, is because it simply had not been designed yet. Nothing keeps you from replacing the current normal colored one with a pair of these. Only sad part is, there are only 4 included with the 10241-1 Parisian Restaurant. Overall again a very good job of the designers!
The minifigures all have the traditional yellow heads. A plus for me since I grew up knowing nothing else. All the pants are generic pieces that can be found in plenty of other sets. We have 2 females and 3 males.
The Scooter Woman: For this torso, again there is worked with the black areas and lines, creating somewhat a more curved body for the female. The black and blue combo works well. It has pretty good detail. Nice necklace and the opened up shirt at the top. Has back printing but nothing all too special. Can found in 11 other sets besides this one. The hair with pigtail is not such a common one so a compliment to every inventory.
The Artist: This Yoko Ono type of woman has a very nice torso. It is my favourite of this bunch of minifigures. It actually is a kimono with some good details. Some nice back printing too with the small dragon. It has been in 3 other sets besides this one. The wig has been around since 2006 and has been in 20 sets apart from 10243. That can be considered as an uncommon one.
Ring Guy: Has a fairly uncommon torso. I thought the Mayor of Town Hall had the same but not sure. I like it a lot. The striping, the little pen in the pocket. Very great detail and back printed. Always nice to add one of those to the inventory. The wig is actually a Luke Skywalker one so relatively rare in other-then-Star Wars-sets. The ring he's holding is a very nice detail!
The Chef: Has been around since 2001. Time for an update.
The Waiter: The torso has been around since 2006 and has been in 17 other sets. It doesn't seem to be a regular waiter's uniform but it is due for some updating too. The dark brown wig is very common. His accessory, the shield with the bottle on, and how he has to hold it just seems awkward.
- 9 pieces are strictly unique to this set. Note that they are all from 2014.
- 4 pieces are available in 1 other set besides 10225-1 Town Hall.
- 25 pieces are available in this set and 5 or less other sets.
Also notable is that there are 34 1x3 and 26 1x8 olive-green bricks present exclusive to this set. For a complete overview of the pieces, you can take a look at the Brickset inventory.
Value For Money
With a price of 159.99€ (NL,BE) or 159.99$ it hovers around the normal prices of a modular set. What you should keep in mind is that it has a lot of small pieces and that is why the Price/gram for this one is less interesting than 10224-1 Town Hall. The total pieces of set 10243-1 is 2469 while it weighs 2610 grams.
- Price/Piece comes to 6.44c/piece
- Price/Gram comes to 6.09c/gram
If you would look at the price/piece you would say it's great value, but with the price/gram included, it seems a lot less. Of course it remains a good value, but it simply shows you can't always judge good value by the price/piece scale. Very few reductions have been done on the 10243 so far so with a reduction of 10-15% on MSRP, I would consider this a good buy.
For display in a single setup, it looks good. It has nice colors, A great roof and some eye-catchers. For display in a multiple set-up it is too small imo. Not all houses should be big ones, but it seems tiny next to the Town Hall and the roof part is about the same height as Grand Emporium without the bill boards. The 10218-1 Pet Shop is even smaller, but there you have the full width used and it's deeper too then 10243-1. It is probably my biggest issue I have with this set. The size.
As for play set. The same goes. It are very small rooms to play with and agreed, I have larger fingers, but even for smaller hands, the attic or studio will be difficult to play with. Of course the MBS are not designed as play set but it would have helped should the building have been deeper and taken the entire width.
Like all Modular Building Series sets, this one will undoubtedly do well in the secondary market too. It is too early to tell since it has been released in January 2014. It does seem to sell rather well when I look at the Brickpicker forum. I estimate that it will do slightly better a year after EOL then 10211-1 Grand Emporium . TLC is in the middle of changing the MBS rules of EOL, so I think that will be the deciding factor of 10243-1's success.
I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I have writing it and building the set. Comments are always welcome!