Review: #10270 Bookshop
The latest addition to the LEGO Modular Building Series takes us back to classic architectural styles, giving us two intricately detailed buildings in one set. Let’s find out—is two better than one?
#10270 Bookshop — $179.99 (159.99€ / £149.99), 2504 pieces, 5 minifigures, ages 16+. That’s just $0.072 per piece, a similarly low price-per-part to previous sets in the Modular Building Series.
This is only the second set in the Modular Building Series to feature two separate buildings in one set, following in the footsteps of 2011’s #10218 Pet Shop. The set includes five minifigures, all of which are unique to this set (but none of them are very valuable, averaging $2.50 per figure).
#10260 Downtown Diner (2018) and #10264 Corner Garage (2019) are the most recent sets in the series, which feature a 1950’s Americana vibe. While I have a lot of respect for those two sets, they aren’t as appealing to me as more classical architectural styles.
That’s why I’m excited to see that #10270 Bookshop takes us back to older European-influenced architectural styles, in this model that’s actually two narrow buildings in one set. I’m particularly excited to see how all of the fine architectural detaining on the front façades are built! Let’s find out…
Aesthetically speaking, this set is closest to #10243 Parisian Café (2014), which is regarded by many as the finest model in the series. It’s also architecturally similar to #10218 Pet Shop (2011), #10251 Brick Bank (2106), #10182 Café Corner (2007), and #10185 Green Grocer (2008).
As noted earlier, not all of the sets in the series feature 18th and 19th century European styles… In addition to the late 50’s vibe in #10260 Downtown Diner and #10264 Corner Garage, you will find that #10197 Fire Brigade (2009) is dinstinctly American (with it’s red, white, and blue flag). You will also find that #10211 Grand Emporium (2010), #10246 Detective’s Office (2015), and #10255 Assembly Square (2017) reflect more contemporary urban styles.
The box contains the usual goodies: an instruction manual, two 16×32 Green Baseplates, one unnumbered bag, and numerous bags numbered for stages 1-8.
Unlike most of the sets in the Modular Building Series, this set features two distinct buildings, so you can treat it as two-sets-in-one, with bags 1-4 used for the Bookstore, and bags 5-8 used for the Townhouse.
Left Building – Birch Books
The first booklet provides instructions to assemble the set’s namesake, a one-story bookstore with balcony with a two story apartment above. The building’s exterior uses a lot of 312Medium NougatMedium Dark Flesh bricks, a color that has exploded in popularity in the past 8 years but still remains “uncommon” by my analysis (The color is available in 26/40 most common parts used to judge each color’s popularity.)
You will need the following to assemble the bookshop:
- Instruction booklet marked ‘1’.
- 1x – 16×32 baseplate in 28Dark GreenGreen (loose in box).
- 2x – 6×16 plates in 194Medium Stone GreyLight Bluish Gray (from unnumbered bag).
- Stage 1 contains one large bag (marked with code 406R0) and one small bag (with no code).
- Stage 2 contains one large bag (code 306R0) and one medium bag (with no code).
- Stage 3 contains one large bag (code 306R0) and one medium bag (with no code).
- Stage 4 contains one large bag (code 406R0), one medium bag, and one small bag (with no codes).
As I’ve grown accustomed with sets in the Architecture series, the first bag of a Modular building also involves carefully covering the sidewalk and building interior with lots of Tiles. The recently introduced 2×2 Triangular Tile is used to nice effect to create a dramatic landing in front of the building. Stepping inside, we have an elegant floor using 191Flame Yellowish OrangeBright Light Orange, 226Cool YellowBright Light Yellow, and 297Warm GoldPearl Gold tiles.
We also build the first few layers of the building’s foundation, a cleverly designed planter that uses Sausages around the edge, and a register to pay for your books.
Build time: 35 minutes.
In the second bag, we assemble the tall first floor of the bookshop, along with a beautiful selection of tall bookcases featuring a diverse selection of ‘books’ utilizing the full range of the LEGO color palette. The real highlight of the first floor interior is the spiral staircase, which re-creates the appearance of a wooden staircase with carpet on each tread by alternating 192Reddish Brown 1×5 with 28Dark GreenGreen tiles on top.
In addition to the richly detailed interior, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the ornate front façade. The front door is set back one additional stud from the windows, with both being covered by gentle arches. The arch over the front door is a SNOT assembly, achieving the necessary radius using 1×2 w/ rounded corners with tiles along the front. As if it wasn’t clear enough already, the building is clearly labeled with printed 2×4 tiles welcoming guests to “Birch Books”.
Build time: 35 minutes.
Before we start building the second story, we build a removeable module containing a small loft at the top of spiral staircase. The loft includes yet another shelf of brightly colored books and several more steps that will lead to the second story.
The second story includes a room containing a grandfather clock, tall lamp, and overstuffed black leather chair. The green spiral staircase continues up to the third story, and out back we find a small porch with seating for two.
The front exterior perfectly matches the style of the floor below, with the same molding on the left and right hand side of the building constructed using the relatively new 1×1 Double Curved (part 49307) piece in 194Medium Stone GreyLight Bluish Gray. Generous windows with an arched top make this floor stand out.
Build time: 35 minutes.
Not to be outdone by the lower floors, the third floor of the bookstore building includes the most intricate exterior detailing yet, with some advanced building techniques used to create the curved roof above the large central window. This was achieved using a small sub-assembly that slides in place behind the windows, with curved tile placed directly on the front façade afterwards.
Beneath the removeable gabled roof, we find a small bedroom with a black iron bed, and an aquarium containing a 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal chameleon. Bag 4 completes the first instruction booklet and the leftmost of the two buildings included in this set. My only complaint so far is that there’s an empty green backyard—they could have made the bookshop larger (or at least added some landscaping)!
Build time: 40 minutes.
Right building – Teal Townhouse
The right building is a two-story home, complete with a small basement. Notable exterior features include the bay window, gabled windows, and Art Nouveau railing leading up to the first floor. The primary exterior color is 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal, which was re-introduced in 2018. While the color remains rare based on my analysis, sets like this have helped this vibrant color gain popularity in a short time. (It’s already available in 17/40 pieces used in my analysis.)
You will need the following to assemble the townhouse:
- Instruction booklet marked ‘2’.
- 1x – 16×32 baseplate in 28Dark GreenGreen (loose in box).
- 2x – 8×16 plates in 5Brick YellowTan (from un-numbered bag).
- Stage 5 contains one large bag (code 306R0) and one medium bag (with no code).
- Stage 6 contains one large bag (code 306R0), one medium bag, and one small bag (with no codes).
- Stage 7 contains one large bag (code 306R0) and one medium bag (with no code).
- Stage 8 contains one large bag (code 306R0) and one medium bag (with no code).
It’s easy to fall in love with this first bag of the Teal House, as it is packed with small details. The first thing that I appreciated was the advanced building techniques used to create a stairway up to the first floor that’s positioned at a 45° angle—I was impressed that it attaches perfectly with no visible gaps. While the building technique is not as strong as I would have liked, the curvy handrails using Stem with Swirls (part 28870) in 26Black is a perfect match for the Art Nouveau aesthetic.
While it is too short for a minifigure to actually stand, they included a short basement beneath the main floor, with some excellent smaller details such as a work bench, mouse trap, and a small door so you can remove a folding ladder. Around back, I was very pleased to see a staircase down to the grass, and a cute little garden with a ripe pumpkin!
Build time: 30 minutes.
I was excited to build the first floor of the home, as it looked like some interesting building techniques (and relatively new pieces) were used to great effect to create the bay window. I was not disappointed by the technique, which utilizes a column of five candles (part 37762) to fill in the gaps between the three columns of windows. (Skeleton arms are used to hold the top of the columns in place!)
Also in front, we have some nice smaller details, like clerestory windows above the front door, and lighting sconces on either side. While 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal is an attractive color, it is quite overwhelming when the building is viewed from the side. That said, this building is meant to be sandwiched by buildings on both sides, and the bright color looks great when viewed from the front or the interior.
The interior also looks fantastic, with an orange couch by the window, attractive fireplace, tea being served at the small table with two chairs, and a functional cupboard in the corner. It’s a small room with no kitchen, but a cozy place to take your tea.
Build time: 45 minutes.
Bag 7 & Bag 8
The last two numbered bags finish the second floor of the home, thus completing this set! In bag 7, we build an elegant wood bed with brightly colored bedding, and a dresser with a lamp and a plant on it. The exterior detailing is up to the high standard of the rest of the building with two windows protruding from the gabled roofline.
In bag 8, we move on to completing the front façade. This involves adding a beautifully detailed shingle roof covering the gables, and columns on either side of each window with a white pediment on top. We top it off with a flat roof and a chimney (on the same side of the building as the fireplace two stories below.)
Afterwards, we build a second removeable assembly that will cover the back of the building. It contains a small patio, and a skylight above the staircase up from the first floor. While I like the plants and choice of wrought-iron railings on the patio (which match the railings of the front entrance), the back of the building is quite crude compared to the intricate front façade. Even though this is the less prominent side of the building, it’s crude enough to take away from the overall building experience, especially since it’s the very last step in the project.
Build time: 25 minutes per bag (50 minutes total).
Parts in this set
In the introduction, we noted that #10270 Bookshop costs $179.99 (15.99€ / £14.99) for 2504 pieces. That works out to $0.072 per piece, well below the popular comparison of $0.10 per piece. That said, we have come to expect a great price-per-part in the Modular building series, so we should see how it stacks up…
Comparison to the three other modulars that are still available to purchase:
- #10264 Corner Garage (2019) is $200 for 2569 pieces = $0.078 per piece.
- #10260 Downtown Diner (2018) is $170 for 2480 pieces = $0.069 per piece.
- #10255 Assembly Square (2017) is $280 for 4002 pieces = $0.070 per piece.
Existing parts in new colors
Excluding the printed parts (including the Chameleon, Bird, and minifigures), there are quite a few basic parts in new colors in this set.
- 3x – Stem w/ Swirls (part 28870) in 26Black.
- 11x – 2×2 Tile (part 3068b) in 226Cool YellowBright Light Yellow.
- 13x – 1×8 Brick (part 3008) in 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal.
- 6x – 1×12 Brick (part 6112) in 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal.
- 6x – 65° 2×1×2 Slope (part 60481) in 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal.
- 1x – 2×2 Turntable Base (part 3680) in 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal.
- 1x – 6×10 (part 3033) in 28Dark GreenGreen.
- 6x – Plant w/ 3 Leaves (part 32607) in 119Bright Yellowish GreenLime.
- 5x – 1×2×3 Window (part 60593) in 322Medium AzurMedium Azure.
- 1x – Plant Stem w/ 3 Leaves (part 37695) in 330Olive Green.
- 2x – 8×8 Plate w/ Round End (part 41948) in 1White.
- 14x – 45° 1×1 Double Slope (part 35464) in 1White.
- 8x – Plant w/ 3 Leaves (part 32607) in 24Bright YellowYellow.
The set includes 5 minifigures, all of which are unique to this set. That said, none of them are particularly valuable (under $2.50), and there are only three new pieces across all five minifigures.
Minifig Elements in New Colors / New Printed Parts:
- Boy – New printed Minifig Torso (Dark Blue w/ Medium Azure Flannel).
- Boy – Long Neck Scarf (part 25376), new in 119Bright Yellowish GreenLime.
- Woman w/ Lavender Shirt – Curly Long Hair parted in Middle (part 29634), new in 26Black.
As we have come to expect of the Modular Building series, #10270 Bookshop offers a great building experience and is a compelling finished model. I am especially pleased with the front facades of both of the buildings, which are some of the best in the series.
Starting with the Birch Books building, My first observation was that the actual book store is awfully small; just one story plus a small balcony. The birch tree out front is only okay; the exposed Technic elements are not especially realistic. Nonetheless, the spiral staircase is excellent, as are the storytelling details like the bird in the tree, the child’s toy airplane, the overstuffed leather chair, and beautifully designed bed. The exterior detailing is the real highlight, though, with a consistent styling across all three floors, and particularly intricate applied ornamentation surrounding the topmost window.
While it’s understandable that the small apartment above the book store has no bathroom or kitchen, the fact that the standalone townhome next door doesn’t have these features is harder to excuse. I can’t help but feel like both of the buildings would have benefitted from a smaller backyard and more interior details!
An array of minor missed opportunities kept it from earning our coveted Must Have rating, most notably the boring back façades, completely empty baseplate behind the bookshop, and the inexcusable lack of a kitchen and bathroom in a standalone townhome.
Nonetheless, with a great front façade, very good interior detailing, and nice price-per-part, it’s easy to give #10270 Bookshop our Recommended (4/5 star) rating. Using uncommon colors as the basis for both of the two buildings will make this an especially attractive model for folks looking to create their own models after building the set.