Monday, 12 August 2013

Lego Treehouse Review

Set: 31010 3-in-1 Treehouse

RRP: $49

Pieces: 356

Build time: 1 hour or so for the Treehouse

Released: mid-2013

My Lego purchases tend to be very minifigure driven. As a result, I don’t pay much attention to the Creator theme. The miscellaneous mini-vehicles they produce are quite impressive to look at, but aren’t really within my spheres of interest. However, every now and then they’ll produce a more typical Lego set that could fit comfortably within the City theme, and some of the ones released this year have really grabbed me.  

What differentiates Creator from other Lego themes is that the pieces included in each Creator set can be built in not one, but three ways. Cool as this is, it’s also where my main gripe with Creator stems from. Readers of my age will probably recall that once upon a time, most Lego sets functioned as a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 kit. As I recall – and anyone is welcome to correct me on this, as I’m doing my best to recall a period going back 20 years or more – most Lego kits would depict the primary build on the front of the box, and then 1 or 2 other builds on the back of the box. You’d only receive instructions for the “main” build, but the others tended to be sufficiently simple that you could work them out just via looking at the pictures.

Of course, one can certainly argue that the kits and minifigures are frequently of a higher quality than those of 20 years ago. But it still annoys me a little sometimes, particularly when I’m looking at kits that go for $50+.

But I don’t like complaining and I’m getting well off track. So today we’re going to look at the Lego Treehouse – my first Creator kit.
The Minifigure
The minifigure that comes with the set is okay; it’s a little boy in a red cap, with a plain blue shirt. He does the job, but I’m a little disappointed with him. He just seems a little bit too generic. Maybe a print on the front of the shirt or something would have been good?
Nonetheless, I’ve given him a name – Adam Brickston – and Adam’s accessories do give him an edge he wouldn’t otherwise have. The treasure map is great, and the walkie talkie is pretty cool. The wagon is nice, but I can’t help but think it’s a little unsanitary to carry around a pizza in it, without a box, plate or any other form of container.
There’s also a buildable dog. It’s a nice touch, but I think I would have preferred one of the German Shepherd-style dogs that appear in some of the police sets. The upside is that this one does look less intimidating than your average police dog.
The Build
I have been a fairly anxious person for most of my life, though this has begun to change within the last couple of years. So it was with some interest that I read this article on Surfing Pizza a couple of months ago. Among a number of other things, it mentions that Lego can be a great structured activity for those who experience anxiety disorders.
Reading this got me thinking, and made me reflect on how much I had enjoyed Lego as a child, and still do as an adult. Indeed, building Lego is a process that does help me relax and unwind - even though I don't think I have a full-blown anxiety disorder. I think I also like Lego because I know that – unlike many other areas of life – if I follow the instructions as outlined I will get the desired result, regardless of any other problems in my life. It may sound simple, but this is actually very soothing. Certain sets may be challenging for my skill level, but I am yet to meet any that have come close to defeating me.
In general, I tend to prefer the more fantasy-oriented Lego to their more “realistic” counterparts.  However, I felt that this particular set straddled the two realms nicely; it’s realistic enough that it could sit out the back of one the Creator houses, but it’s also something of a kid’s dream treehouse – the sheer size of it, coupled with extra features like the telescope and the treasure map hiding spot, make it an ideal base for hours of shenanigans.
There’s three different builds to this kit, but the treehouse itself is the one I bought it for. The other two are perfectly fine – and I’ll probably get to building them eventually – but they just don’t grab me in the same way. They also look a little more like adult’s buildings, which don’t sit as well with the included minifig. I don’t know if they have official names, but they appear to be something like a two-storey playhouse and a waterfront shack.
If/when I get around to building them, I’d like to review them too – so stay tuned on this page.


When I first saw this set, I liked the story possibilities of it – specifically, that it’s a hub world for the other Lego I own. Galaxy Squad, Atlantis, Batman, etc – it’s all a product of this particular kid’s imagination. This sets up some intriguing possibilities for zany crossovers in the future, so keep your eye out for photos. I know I had very little respect for licensing rights in my own childhood playtime – Adam may be much the same. 

(I’m well aware, of course, that this is a bizarre reason to buy a Lego set - but there's few sets that lend themselves to photos like the one above.)



The minifigure gets a 5/10. He does the job, but he’s a little bland. The build I give an 8/10. It was very enjoyable to see it all come together, and it also leaves more possibilities for the other two, should Adam ever need to take his imagination on vacation. I’m exceptionally pleased with this new treehouse.    

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