I feel that Creator 3in1 sets bring us some of the best of LEGO play: from the quality of models, through to introduction to advanced building techniques and more. By encouraging the dismantling and rebuilding of different models, the builder is given insights into how the LEGO system works. Each wave brings us something new to see. Whether it is a disturbingly anatomically accurate Tiger, a variety of Viking locations, or a building in the city, the theme constantly brings its A-Game when it comes to demonstrating nifty building techniques, readily adapted for your own MOCS.
How does 31139 Cozy house, due for release in March 2023, go as far as reaching expectations? Read on to find out?
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Set 31139 Cozy House has 808 pieces and three minifigures. Each of the three builds is a doll house type design, open at the back, although two of the options are hinged, so they can be closed up. I was excited to see the alternate builds, as there is a version of an A-Frame Cabin (not to be confused with the LEGO Ideas A-Frame cabin, which was recently released).
On picking the set up, two things occurred to me: This set felt like it was densely packed. It felt surprisingly heavy, using as small a box as possible. There were 4 numbered bags and three instruction manuals.
Let’s start up by taking a look at the elements included in the set: The bag are designed to be opened in order for the first build. The others require all bags to be open!
Across the 4 bags, we have over 800 elements: we see a strong representation from green plates, medium azure and turquoise, as well as lots of grey masonry bricks – moulded to look like brickwork – as well as white bricks. there are three door frames and lots of window frames. There are also a few more brightly coloured elements to help open up the fray.
There is, as far as I can tell, one new mould included in this set: the 1×3 rounded plate (it might be due to appear in a few places in the next couple of months): The 1×2 version has been seen to be the cornerstone of much neat parts usage over the last few years, and it was only a matter of time before the versatility of a rounded end was added to plates of other lengths.
The most obvious recolour to me is the door, appearing for the first time in bright bluish green.
There are three minifigures included in the set, and their recommended configuration is altered between each model, to remind kids that it can be OK to shuffle the parts of minifigures around There are some relatively underused torsos on these characters. But this is how they appear in the first variant:
Our first ‘Cozy house’ is displayed as an open ‘box with a slanted roof.’ One section is only one storey (and attic) while the other is a little taller.
We start off by building a base out of the green plates, building up layer by layer until we have most of the ground floor built. We also add a little decoration to the ground here. we turn around to the interior, to find a pot of tomato soup on the stove, and in the bowls on the table. There are some spoons in the sink, as well as a great use of a transparent neon yellowish-green cone as a dish-washing liquid bottle. The colour matching is near perfect for that.
Attached to a hinge, we start on the ground floor of the other part of the house. This time we are building a living room, with a fireplace and a comfy orange lounge chair.
We add the next floor – first bringing a room with a single bed, cat bed and scratching post, in lavender. There is a printed tile hanging on the wall, as well as a chest of drawers. On the drawers is a desk lamp – it is these small, element-rich details that make this theme one of my favourites.
With each step, we get closer to furnishing the front yard, extending a verandah, and adding some greenery to the garden. In the meantime, we also decorate the roof with some 1×1 tiles, at 45º to the axis of the studs.
This angulation is actually pretty simple to achieve. It is certainly a precursor of things to come with the upcoming Rivendell, where there are over 400 1×1 tiles on the roof needing an optimal alignment. I’m pretty sure there must be a trick to make it nice and easy!.
We add another bedroom, this time with a double bed, a lower roof and another lamp.
We add a few details around the front: a wheelie bin, a post box and some chairs on the patio:
Here is a view of the whole house opened up, and closed up: one of the details on the shorter part of the house is the columns created using black candlestick elements. I have seen this technique crop up more and more in recent years, to creat tall, round columns that are smaller than you might get from 1×1 round bricks. I may not have placed the column completely accurately here, as it is on a slight angle, but it is another example of introducing familiarity with different aspects of the LEGO system that this set presents us with.
The second model is the smallest of the three: it is a tall, narrow building, with a kitchen on the ground floor, a study with a computer, and a lamp; Meanwhile, the front of the house opens to the lake, where the family and their dog are playing with their model yachts! There are a couple of small builds that get tucked away in the attic as well: a spaceship and a train engine (more of them later!) alongside some stored crockery (waiting for the Christmas roast?) as well as a box of… I’ll say knitting supplies, and some old documents…
There is some neat parts usage demonstrated by placing some snake elements above the uppermost windows: they really set the frame up! Finally, some plants on the side of the building the side complete the piece. It is possible to set this house up as two, side by side, although the styles feel a little discordant.
The final build is an A-Frame house, set beside a lake. The family have set up their fire pit and is busy cooking marshmallows. Meanwhile, junior has found a spotlight and a drill to play with…
This house has fairly limited living space, but includes an entry hall, a living room, with some old-school vinyl records, and one of the most disturbingly detailed bathrooms that I have ever seen in a Creator House… the cistern, the flush, the bowl, the floater, the brush, the pink toilet paper roll! There was a significant amount of care that went into this detail!
I love the little brick-built squirrel included here! The house can also fold up. and close – revealing the detail on the roof. And finally, there is a small power boat, with a brick-built motor.
All of these builds were enjoyable, but I’ll have to admit, I found the first build to be the most satisfying, probably because it contained a few more small detailed builds within the house. The lamps and the dishwashing detergent in particular.
One of the highlights in this set is the collection of small side builds, representing microscale versions of LEGO sets from across the years. I am hard press to pick a couple of them though. We also see some somewhat simplistic animal builds:a cat, dog and squirrel
I often find the Creator 3in1 sets exciting builds: I am never quite sure what is going to happen next: what piece of furniture will be incorporated, what little detail will be added, what form of animal life will be tucked in on the roof, while no-one is looking. Each build is satisfying and, while they may not all belong in a LEGO City layout, they provide terrific inspiration for anyone looking to build a house, full of details. I also love having some extra houses to go into a LEGO City. I am happy to give this set 4.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units.
As I said earlier, Creator 3in1 provides inspiration and education for developing builders, by showing you neat building techniques and asking you to pull them apart, and build them again. As I worked on this set, there were a few trends in building techniques that particularly grabbed my attention:
- the use of candlestick elements as an alternative to column builds – bringing us a finer gauge column that cylinder bricks – great for drains and thin tall trees
- the incorporation of the 1x1x2/3 ‘plate’ – alternatively, consider it as a 2/3 height brick. With the increased use of brackets in contemporary builds, this 2×3 element provides the space to allow a modified plate or bracket to be placed in a wall, while still making up a ‘brick- high’ unit.
- The use of larger platesplates, rather than sloped bricks, in roof construction, with the 2×3 shield element serving as the pinary technique for fixation off the panel.
- Use of the new not so new leaf element, particularly in conjunction with foliage elements, and pinning them down using stalks or the 1×1 round plate with the handle.
- Featuring newer elements such as the (year or so old) 1×2 brick with a single stud on the side (used in the birdhouse build on the side of the first house – a chance to play and experiment with this element that has been relatively rare. The 1×3 rounded plate seems to be making its debut in this set, and I am excited to see where it goes from here. The 1×2 version of this plate has truly innovated some aspects of LEGO building, as has the rounded 1×2 brick with 2 bars – as mentioned in the review of the Custom Car Garage
There are a couple of other sets in this current wave, and I am looking forward to taking a look at 31138 in a couple of weeks’ time. Just a ‘little’ icons set to get through first…
Cozy House goes on sale on the 1st of March 2023. If you are interested, why not check out these affiliate links to the online LEGO store (affiliate links: the rambling brick might receive a small commission for any purchases made).
What do you think of this latest Creator 3in1 set? Does it picque your interest? What are your favorite 3in1 type sets? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,