GWP: 40528 LEGO Retail Store [Hands On Review]

January 1 is just around the corner, and with it come over 100 new LEGO sets. Now, you might be happy to wait and see how they get discounted at your local retailers, but the LEGO Group seem to make a point of adding in a new gift with purchase for 1st of January to tempt you either directly into their retail stores (if you have LEGO Brand retail, and not just certified stores) or to place your order at LEGO.com.

This year they have released a new version of the LEGO brand retail store – 40528. It will be launched as a gift with purchase in the new year – with a $USD125;123€;£125 purchase. I am not certain of the exact timings of the offer, or the threshold in other markets at this time.

most importantly, the information received is unclear with regard to whether this will be a GWP on January 1, or just with future store openings! All will become clear soon, I am sure.

I believe it will be available from 1st January as a GWP, and quite probably at future LEGO Brand retail openings. Read on for my review.

The LEGACY

There have been a number of LEGO retail store sets released over the years, since 2012: typically as LEGO Exclusives, some have been offered as GWP with Store Openings, others on the shelves at LEGO.com and LEGO Branded Stores.

The new set offers a new and refreshing look, comes with over 200 pieces, and offers a very solid construction experience.

The new store has the iconic livery, a pick a brick wall, checkout counter, some models on display and a huge number of sets on the shelves. Unfortunately, the sets are dependent on stickers: I see this as great, because it means you can potentially update the set with minimal changes to the sets on display, and a fresh sticker sheet, but at the same time, the smaller ones are a little bit fiddly, and there is no handy tool like a brick seperator or a speed champions spanner to help apply them. That said, if you have just purchased $100 worth of LEGO sets to reach the threshold, you are like to have received at least one of these with your purchases!

The Elements

The Box and Instruction Manual both feature a new printed ribbon and wax seal, with a LEGO Brick stamped in it: this marking has previously been used for specific seasonal Gifts with Purchase (particularly related to the Winter Village), but with specific text on the seal. This is far more generic and suggests that the set is likely to be available in some shape or form for a while.

The elements themselves are fairly standard. Lots of white and grey, as well as yellow, and transparent elements to make up the large, floor to ceiling windows. The internal details lots of 1×2 tile representing boxes, as well as single studs – undoubtedly for the iconic pick a brick wall. Leaf elements are present in both bright green, and dark green.

There is also a sticker sheet, filling in the details for much of the store, including the iconic signage, as well as the sticker sheer.

The Build

The build is relatively straightforward: we start with the ground floor, setting up a base that is 16×8 studs. The in-store floor is tiled, except where various fittings are placed. Place a couple of sets behind the counter on the wall display, and we set up a pick-a brick wall on the left of the shop. There is a staircase leading up to the second story, build using a stack of 2×1 offset plates. As the floor is 11 plates ( a little less that 4 bricks tall, it is apparent that this store is slightly smaller than Minifigure scale, and as such, the absence of any Minifigure seems reasonable. That said, I think it is disappointing that this set does not include a Minifigure with a LEGO Employee torso. A large sticker on a 2×6 tile showing a minifigure in a hardhat dominates the rear wall of the lower level. There is even a ‘backroom, with a ‘complicated’ storage system under the stairs.

Before we build up the front wall, a collection of display items are installed: I think we see the new design of build-a-Minifigure station, unveiled at the Perth Certified Store opening. The older one is more square, and I suspect would have had a different look. We also have an orange tile on a black roller skate: I presume this represents the 42056 LEGO Technic Porsche 911. I can think of no other large orange set at present. You might choose to modify it with an dark azur (Bugatti) or lime green(Lamborghini Sian) tile if you wish it to be a more contemporary design. Finally, there is a large (by the store standards) version of the classic LEGO Wooden Duck – perhaps a nod that this set is being released in the 90th anniversary of the company. Is this a display we will look forward to seeing in the stores in 2022? We also have a large 2×4 brick.

I quite like the foliage running up the front wall of store, and outside the front wall.

As we build the detachable rear section of the upstairs, we add in many more sets on the shelves. The flooring is made up of a couple of 2×6 bright yellow tiles, and there are safety barriers to prevent unexpected gravitational mishaps with any customers.

I appreciate efforts made to add to the detail on the reverse of the model, including the window, and the (non-functioning) roller door over the loading dock (leading to the stock room)

Unfortunately the bold red LEGO sign over the front doors is stickered: I could see many people interested in a tile with the current LEGO Logo in multiple copies.

This is a set to display, not play with. It is smaller than Minifigure scale, and once completed, is it difficult to access some parts of the build: the joy is there to be had as you put it together. Many of the details from the stickers are barely recognisable from the front of the completed building.

Many of the sets depicted on the artwork are 2019-2020 releases, although they are still on the shelves for the time being. However, a yellow creator house has not been available for some time. It would have been fun to see some Monkie kid references (they seem to have cropped up in a number of the sets I have put together recently, including the Chinese New Year traditions, as well as the LEGO store in the 80036 City Of Lanterns. I can understand why only the in house themes: City, Friends, Technic, Creator, Ninjago and Duplo were represented.

I am a little surprised at the final design. While LEGO Stores have had a clearly defined look for some time, we have recently seen a new design used in the Certified Store in Perth. This includes a new design of the build-a minifigure station, as well as a new square design for the Pick A Brick Wall. This store seems to predominantly embrace the old ‘white and yellow’ style. this set could have been a chance to excite fans about the changes coming to LBR stores going forward. Instead, it is bringing us the tried and true retail experience that has had a fairly consistent look and feel for the last 10 years or more.

As a build, I found it solid and satisfying, although it is difficult to reveal all the fun details without fully dismantling it. The question that you are probably asking is ‘should this set make me want to buy something?’ For the threshold, it represents better value than some of the other GWP offerings in recent times, including Santa’s Front Yard, and the Coffee Cart. If you collect the Retail Store Models (whoever expected that to become a thing?), this one is a must-have, and will it really be that hard to cross the threshold to reach the purchase.

Will this set encourage you to buy some new sets in 2022? (note: affiliate link) How about make your way to a store opening?

Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well.

This set was sent to The Rambling Brick by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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