Add Life to LEGO City with Creator 3in1: 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop [Rambling Review]

Earlier in the year, I spent some time looking at LEGO City, and how things were different to the LEGO Town of old. In part, that is because there are fewer buildings that are not garages, police stations, fire stations, or crime scenes, compared to the olden days. Houses, cafes and other businesses: LEGO Friends has had them for years, and we have started to see a shift in the nature of LEGO City in 2022: a new school and a green grocers are amongst this year’s new additions. But, of course, for the better part of a decade or more, additional houses and businesses have been appearing in the Creator 3in1 range, giving us lots of additional buildings to flesh out our town. I was therefore excited when the possibility to review some of this year’s creator 3in1 sets came my way. Recently, we looked at the Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent. Today, I would like to present 31131 Noodle Shop. This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group, but all opinions are my own. These sets will be release in Australia and Europe on June 1st, and August 1st in North America. The set has 569 pieces and will retail for 69.99AUD/44.99 USD/44.99€/£39.99

The noodle shop draws in a number of colours that have been in short supply, except in expensive sets – light nougat and olive green, and demonstrates a variety of building techniques and ornamentation – perfect for developing your MOC skills, while adding any nature of businesses to your town. As well as a noodle shop and apartment, there is a games arcade and also a cafe/apartment/bicycle repair workshop.

Let’s take a look at the parts: The set comes with 3 bags of elements, virtually all of which are used in the titular Noodle Shop. And, almost unknown for sets in creator 3in1, there is also a small sticker sheet. Forthunately, these are simple to apply, and add a little extra decoration to the set.

While there are a significant number of medium stone grey plates, there are a significant number of light nougat elements (44 bricks) and olive green (24 bricks). We see several cutout curve slopes, as well as a variety of brackets and clips. Three wheels go towards making a tricycle. Let us Explore the builds.

The Downtown Noodle Shop

This build is carried out according to the numbered bags, while the other two builds are less ordered! Bag one starts off putting together an ice-cream trike! With its brightly coloured, multis-cooped cone over the canopy, this is bound to be everyone’s favourite street vendor to see on a hot and sunny day. We have a number of cones, as well as a couple of soft serve dispensing nozzles. A sticker on a black 2×2 tile gives us the menu of flavours. The figure is a cook/chef, with a well-used torso, and dark tan legs.

As we move onto the ground floor, we see that the noodle shop is hinged, such that it may be two buildings side by side or one closed building. The first bag brings us olive green walls and a staircase rising to level 2 and the noodle shop’s server. There are several bowls on the counter, as well as a chopping board with more noodles or other ingredients, waiting to be chopped up and cooked. there is an open window at the end of the server, with some decorated (stickered) curtains hanging over the window. White lanterns hang outside, and we see a mun board fro the noodle. shop (another sticker)

We also have some sauce bottles on the serving bar. In the other half of the build, underneath the staircase, we have the stove, oven and sink. A broom and spanner are stored near the door

We finish the bag off with the floor of the next level. From here we start to use those beautifully coloured light nougat bricks – building up the also as we add a window box into the apartment. Above the noodle bar, navy slopes lead to a decorative row of plates, before the windows rise up, with a bright and dark green canopy over the top. We add a bright noodle sign to one end of the building, cunningly constructed using a wing plate, some grills and some sticks on clips! The other half features a small room with a solitary vase, while the other has an apartment including a large leather armchair, a reading lamp, and a radio.

Finally, we add the roof to one side, as well as the roof furnishing on the other. We also build in an 8×8 plate with a vending machine as well as a street sign. And we can’t go past that brick built puppy!

Before we move on, lets take a glance at our minifigures. The torso and legs chop and change between builds. the lady’s head also features a hearing aid. I should also mention that we get a couple of sets of the chopsticks which debuted in Monkie Kid, earlier this year.

The Arcade

Next, I built the Arcade: it is the simplest build, building up the walls on 3 sides, incorporating a few clips on the wall for a claw machine, as well as building in a cycling game. a videogame is in the doorway, and seems to be quite popular.

There is a little greenery around the front door, while the roof has a large window, for additional ambient light. On top of the building, we build a game controller, in conjunction with some left arrows, implying a rewind, or retro experience.

I do appreciate the way that the minifigures were shuffled for the alternate builds, and we also built a new dog for this part of the build.

It is refreshing to see a LEGO arcade not just stacked up with traditional game cabinets The use of different levers as controllers for the games was interesting to see.

The Bicycle Workshop

We have seen plenty of bicycle retailers in LEGO Town and City over the years, along with plenty of garages. As such, it was great to see a place where residents are able to get their bicycles serviced around the town

There is a small kiosk – perhaps a news stand, but perhaps a cafe – there are certainly colour and design cues here taken from the modular ‘Parisian Cafe’ I love the way the olive green is used for the kiosk – with stairs leading up to a small apartment above the bike workshop. The lamp on the verandah, in a stroke of genius, is built upside-down. There is a ladder that leads up onto the roof. there we find a sun lounge, and a tasty sandwich.

Inside the workshop, there is a workbench, a vice and what appears to be a set of drawers holding those small inexplicable bits that you find in workshops and garages the world over. Oour bike fixer has a spanner to help put things together properly. He is currently trying to fix the main part of the transportation bike, which is missing its central drive unit. I hope there was a good story behind what happened here!

In Conclusion

So, which is my favourite build? I love the architectural detail, as well as the brick- built signage of the hero build.

While the internal details of the arcade and workshop also caught my eye.

It’s a tough call, to declare one to be my personal favourite!

Ultimately, this set brings us all the things we expect from a 3in1 set: a variety of builds (even if they are all buildings), a couple of minifigures (and it is great to see the woman with the hearing aid in a set costing less than $200AUD). We have lots of neat furniture and other minibuilds. There are animals: birds and dogs, plant and lamp ideas and more. For $70AUD/$45USD I think this set offers reasonable, but not outstanding value.

Every version of the set has a story, and the set is not so expensive as to preclude buying more than one. For the beginning builder, there are great architectural details on the small scale in each of the build: from the signage; the rooflines, and more each set has its place.

Another detail for these street-level buildings: these are built upon a plate, and then have a tile added to the edge. This leaves a non-paved footpath as being a plate below the level of a road plate, but I do not think the set suffers for this.

The colours – particularly light nougat and olive green – are subtle, but by bumping up the saturation and vibrance used in these photos, the buildings suddenly pop! Overall, I give the set four and a half out of five Arbitrary praise units (4.5/5). The cost of Henry is not as dramatic as the Viking Ship, and I found the builds became increasingly endearing as I went between models here. Yes, it’s a Creator 3in1 building, but it is a Creator 3in1 building that brings something to the table. I appreciate the way it acknowledges the Chinese diaspora around the world while providing 2 other buildings that would fit in just about anywhere. I really liked it.

I’d love to know what you think of this set. Is it one you are looking forward to? Or one you will walk by? I suspect this set will do better than expected, and may well be back-ordered before too long. Why don’t you leave your comments below, and follow the blog by joining our mailing-list. And until next time,

Play Well!

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