The set: Small Cottage (31009) (3-1 set which re-builds into a windmill and a skaters house)
The price: £19.99
Bricks in the box: 271 (Cost per brick: 13.5p)
Time to build: 30 minutes or so for each of the three models, depending on age.
Age: 7-12 years
What’s in the box:
Opening the box, you’ll find the 16×16 base, two large bags of bits, and one bag of smaller bits. There’s also an instruction manual for the three builds from this set. The bags are not numbered so you have to open it all into a big crazy LEGO pile and work from there. Luckily, this isn’t too big a set, but you will have to dig around a bit to find what you need!
The mini-figure: The mini-figure in this set is a pretty basic chappie, with plain tan trousers, and a blue and white t-shirt. The face is single sided.
The first build is pretty cool. The roof is built up of sloped dark blue bricks, and once complete lifts off of the bottom of the house. The back wall swings open too, so play opportunities are available, even within the smallness of the house. Although it’s not quite big enough for the stormtrooper clan to get their gear inside!
Despite the small size, the house is packed with some cute features, such as the sliding doors and the mini BBQ.
The second model I built was the windmill. I think this is my favourite of the builds in this set, as I just love to sit and spin the blades! There are some nice details in this, like the four windows together, and the beer production on the inside (at least that’s what I imagine is going on!) I also really like the little steps going up to the door.
This house is pretty neat, even if ignoring the ‘skater’ part of it. I love models that open up fully using hinges, and it adds to the playability of this model that the minifigure can easily be moved around the inside. He has a great little fire, a desk with a lamp made out of a freaking sausage – couldn’t get over that for a while – how ingenious! and some lovely big windows to look through at his desk. (Note that I had to change the chair for this as I accidentally misplaced some pieces whilst demolishing the windmill!)
And of course a skater house makes a great family holiday hold out for the Simpsons!
Overall: This is a nice little set, which at just under £20 makes for a nice starter house set for any LEGO collection. The doors, windows and roof tiles are great basics to have around, and you could easily extend this house using your imagination and your own LEGO collection. The model instructions offered provide the basics in house building, from which you can expand. Therefore this isn’t such a model to keep built as instructed, but rather one to use as a starting point for bigger and better things. 3/5 for the models themselves but 4/5 for re-usability and play-ability.