Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Lego Review: Creator 3in1 Modular Winter Vacation (31080)

Creator is great at slice-of-life stuff, frequently accompanied by a healthy dose of the fantastic. Most of the sets would look great in a full-blown City set-up, but they also work as standalone dioramas for your desk. The Lakeside Lodge that I bought a couple of years ago is a great example, and this one probably exemplifies it even more effectively.

Today though, we take a look at the Modular Winter Vacation. The primary build of the set – seen in these photos – is essentially a chalet. Originally developed in the Swiss Alps, you can now find them dotted all over snowfields around the world. In real-life, its angled roof serves a practical function; snow naturally slides off, preventing build-up and reducing maintenance in the process. Sadly, in real life a couple who can afford to rent or own it would likely be extremely high maintenance.  

However, Lego is free of real-life WASP-ish social concerns and so the minifigures included in this set look friendly enough. There’s a guy and a girl – presumably a couple, though you can insert your own narrative here – equipped with skis and a snowboard respectively. You can make either of them bust out a sick 1080 if you want. Neither of them warrants a lot of comment; they’re both dressed in appropriate snow gear but they’re not particularly exciting. Though in a nice touch, the guy also has a frightened face printed on him too, which is great if you want to send him down the sloping roof of the house.

The chalet itself is great fun to build; a deceptively simple design that looks quite impressive, effectively creating the illusion of fallen snow and a cosy cottage. There’s two exterior elements too; a snow-capped tree and a bench for lunch.

The interior isn’t as great, but it looks generic enough that it could be a place to stay, a cafĂ© or perhaps even an equipment rental store. For myself, I’m sticking with accommodation, particularly as that’s how it looks from the front.

On the roof, there’s also an area for the holidaying couple to sip on schnapps, beneath the light of a lantern. An owl also perches on the balcony, presumably drawn by the heat – and here we move to an unusual point.

Towards the end of building this set – actually, pretty much when I got to building the owl – I stumbled upon a subconscious reason as to why I may have wanted this set in the first place. Sure, it’s pretty cool in its own right, and the build featuring the Yeti looks really fun. But I think an underlying reason I wanted it was because the main build looks a lot like the way I used to picture Whitley Strieber’s cabin in Communion. Those of you who’ve read the book or seen the movie will also know that owls play a significant role in the narrative, which makes its inclusion particularly poignant. As you can see in this link, it doesn’t look much like the real thing. But I first read the book around ’98 or ’99, and I don’t think I ever saw a picture of his cabin until ’10 or ’11.

There are two other ways to build the set – a bobsled launching point, and a public toilet being attacked by a Yeti. I like both of them, but my main issue with them is that they’re sort of devoid of context on their own. Ideally I’d buy three separate copies of this set and build them all together, but in the meantime I think I’ll just maintain this build for display.

Even without the (admittedly tenuous) Communion connection, this is a really fun set. It doesn’t have a lot of other sets to go with it at the moment, but hopefully there will be more snow-themed sets in the near future. It’s an area that could have plenty of potential and hasn’t been widely explored outside of the of the Arctic-themed City sets a few years ago. Highly recommended.

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