The LEGO Creator Expert modular buildings are quickly becoming my favorites. I’ve only built 3 including the Detective’s Office outlined below, but I find the details and techniques used to be very interesting and educational. Once I build up my collection of bricks and figure out where to store them, I’m hoping to build my own custom modulars.
The Detective’s Office is a bit of an odd name for this set. If you look at the Brick Bank, Pet Shop, Green Grocer or Palace Cinema, those sets are named after the focal point of the set but here we see a big “neon” sign for the pool hall and Al’s barber. The detective’s office is subtle and appropriately indicated only by the printed windows on the second floor.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A true gumshoe wouldn’t want to advertise too much, right?
In The Box
The set features 6 minifigures: Detective Ace Brickman, Al the barber, a dart player, a pool player, a police woman and a mysterious lady in red. They’re not really all that remarkable, but round out the set nicely. Oh, also there’s a cat. The characters and rooms have a variety of accessories as you’d expect including several secrets. Brickman’s office has several clues, a brick-built lamp, filing cabinet, a magnifying glass and a hidden wall compartment.
The set is made up of 2262 pieces, so you know you’re going to be in for a fairly lengthy build. None of the modulars are complex builds, unlike the Ferrari F40 or Millennium Falcon but some of the details do take time.
The barbershop has 2 new elements that made their debut with this set – scissors and a large reflective mirror – which is not really a lego piece.
Building The Set
As with all the modular sets, you start at the bottom and build upward. In this case you’re building on a single 32×32 stud baseplate in a medium brown and covering the front 8 rows of studs with “sidewalk” and accessories like the sewer grates and lightpost. As you begin the buildings, you will build in the first secret, which is a tunnel under the stairs between the 2 buildings which could be used for smuggling candy.
The pool hall is a very satisfying build. The way they designed the pool table itself with pockets is genius, and you get a couple of pool cues for the players. You also get a printed dart board and a trophy cabinet. It wouldn’t be a pool hall without a ceiling fan lazily turning overhead so there’s one of those built out of “snowshoes” we’ve seen before. The fan doesn’t turn on it’s own, but is free spinning.
The barbershop has mannequin heads in the window modeling 2 of the latest hair styles and a nicely articulated barber chair for the police woman to have her hair done. The large mirrored piece of cardboard completes the look very nicely and is held in using other pieces in a way that may surprise you.
Upstairs on the second floor (reached by a set of stairs from the alley), you can reach Detective Ace Brickman’s office and the shared bathroom. For a small bathroom, LEGO designers packed in some nice details by building an old-fashion chain-pull toilet. There are a few too many windows in the bathroom for my taste.
Brickman’s office really brings the feel of an old detective’s office like from a Sam Spade novel. It’s small and the desk features a classic looking brick-built banker-style lamp with a green shade. Every good detective needs a safe, but also a less obvious place to hide sensitive information, so LEGO has created a hiding spot behind a photo.
Continuing up from the second floor, you’ll arrive on the roof where one of my favorite features in this set lives – the watertower. When I first saw it I thought it was a great addition, something you’d see in early 20th century New York and the look was spot on. So, how did they achieve this? There’s a set of small tank treads wrapped around a cog. The 1×4 brown tiles attach perfectly to this creating the vertical slats! Ingenious.
My other favorite is the POOL sign. I like the way the plates and tiles connect to form the sign over Al’s and the on for the Pet Shop, but this POOL sign takes the cake because it’s so big and clean and entirely brick-built again.
By now you can tell I’ve got very few negative things to say about this set. I love the details and the way the designer captured the period (prohibition) feel without making it appear out of place in a modern city/town.
I’d have liked a couple of more minifigures, but that’s probably just me since I don’t have a collection of them to populate with. There’s some great mods out there of this set enlarging it or adding lighting and it looks great! The LEGO Creator Expert Detective’s Office set will make a great addition to my LEGO city when it starts to take over my office.
- Building Experience - 9/109/10
- Parts - 9/109/10
- Playability - 10/1010/10
- Value - 10/1010/10