10232: Palace Cinema Review

Theme: Advanced Models
No: 10232
Release Year: 2013
Cost: AUD$199
Pieces: 2196
The Palace Cinema modular is by no means new. It was first released in 2013, and has been seen on shelves pretty steadily since then. After getting my first modular building in the Detective’s Office, I’ve been hooked on them and have made it my mission to get as many as possible, without breaking the bank (or my marriage!) so when this one was spotted in the wild at a better than retail price, I quickly snapped it up. 

It comes in a pretty massive box, bigger than the usual modular size boxes, and interestingly, the entire model doesn’t fit on the cover image – it’s had a bit of the top chopped off. I’m not really sure why that was the case – maybe to make it look more imposing? Inside the box you’ll find a large collection of parts bags, the instructions, some loose plates, and the 32×32 baseplate in red. Unfortunately there’s also a bunch of stickers to apply, which isn’t fantastic for a modular. The stickers are nicely detailed, and the movie posters especially are quite awesome. I love the fact that the brick separator is green, like the one in the movie poster! A great little detail, and a nice change from the usual orange.

Elements: 16/20
Being a modular building, it comes with a large variety of elements, some of which are new, many others that aren’t. Obviously, there’s the big red 32×32 baseplate that I’ve already mentioned. This a recolour, and a welcome one! I quite like it.

The 2×2 tile with printed brick star used in the pavement was first seen in this set, but has been seen since in 40115: LEGOLAND Entrance with Family in 2104, and 10246: Detective’s Office in 2015. There are a bunch of elements in dark red, medium blue and sand yellow, as well as some nice greebling parts like the mini sais, seen on the tops of the roof, the gold dish (gong) at the top of the front of the building, and many others. If you look at this set by itself, there’s a pretty nice range of elements, but to be honest, comparing it with some of the other modulars, the  inclusions here are pretty underwhelming. There’s not a lot that have the normal modular impact when you think “now that’s clever.” It’s a shame, but still not completely disappointing. 

The minifigures included are a child star, the chauffeur, cinema worker, photographer and a male and female guest. They aren’t standout, and the child star is a little strange, especially having a limo, as kid legs don’t bend, so she’s standing up in the car! It’s a little odd. I think an adult star would have been a better fit. I do like the photographer though, he’s pretty good. There does need to be more staff and patrons though. Luckily for the staff member, there’s only two people interested in the film!
Swooshability: 13/20
Modulars are usually intended for a display, with play not usually being a factor. Some can lend themselves to being a pretty great play set, like the Grand Emporium, or the Detective’s Office, but the Palace Cinema isn’t included in this category. Don’t get me wrong, there are ways that you can play with this set – minifigures are included after all, but it’s not one that will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Build: 17/20
The first section to be built isn’t part of the cinema at all, but the limousine. To me, it’s a nice inclusion, but I do have an issue with it, which I’ll get to in the next section.

Ok, on to the cinema itself! As with every modular, it all starts with some tiling. There’s a lot of it this time as it’s a corner block, and the pattern is quite nice. Once the tiling is out of the way, it’s time to get started on the building itself. The lobby is started first, and I like the ‘red carpet’. The counters are created, as well as an interesting pile of elements in the corner, which end up being a spiral staircase. This was a really clever way of constructing them, and one I plan on replicating somewhere else.

Windows and pillars are added as we continue skyward, and then come the first stickers. While I like the stickers, I had an issue with them. In order to make it look neat, you need to stick them in perfect alignment, as it’s being stuck to a clear panel, with a sticker on each side. I like that they’ve been stuck to a window instead of a wall though, as it looks like there’s a bit of backlighting. The movie posters are really great though, with some clever movie titles including Forever Sorting, Mystery on the Monorail (ok, not a clever name, but I like the poster), and my personal favourite, The Brick Separator. This poster has the LEGO versions of the designers names – Astrid Greybrick and Jordan Montelegone.

The next step is the construction of the beautiful brick built doors. These are amazing! I love them. And lastly, the top of the floor, and the clever (and perfectly shaped) harpoon lights. Genius! That’s the lobby done.

On to the second floor. After the floorwork and some barricading come the seats. The design is pretty unique, and as cinema seats, I think they’re great. The projector is next. It’s on a very simple platform, but the camera looks good. Next up is the walls. They pop up pretty quickly, and with a little bit of repetition, they’re in place. After the cinema screen and the vertical pillars at the front of the building (behind the sign), the diagonal window is created. It sits on a single brown flower piece, and is held in place with some small arches. It’s a simple build technique, and looks very effective. It’s capped off, and the second floor is done.
We’re almost there! The roof is the next section to be built, and this is where the repetition really hits home. The shingles, while beautiful, take a long time to put together, especially if you were like me and strict in getting the order of the colours right. The top of the ‘spire’ is created, and then it’s the last section – the sign. Brick built lettering, like in all modulars, and the lights, and fame stickers make this one of the coolest signs ever seen in LEGO sets. I think it’s brilliant. It’s cleverly designed, and looks great.

All in all, it’s a pretty varied build process. It’s not one of the most technical modulars I’ve ever seen, but there’s enough there to make it interesting, and seeing it come together is still exciting.

Design / Appearance: 16/20
Ok, the limo. It just looks weird. The windscreen is too small, and far too vertical, the bonnet way too big, and the wheels ridiculously small for such large wheel arches. I do like the shape of the front end, but the car just tapers off to nothing, and the wheels are just silly. I like the addition, but I think it could have been executed better.
While the exterior of the modular looks brilliant, the interior is rather lacking. The cinema floor is simple, but it’s relatively full. The lobby, however, is sparse. There’s so much potential for more in there! A bigger ticket counter, some displays, lolly stand, the list goes on. It makes it even worse knowing that there’s only one staff member for the whole building! If there were more staff, it might look a bit better, but it’s very empty.

I mentioned earlier that I like the projector, but the platform is a little strange. There’s no way for a minifigure to get up there, as there’s no ladder, and it just looks too simple for a modular – almost like an afterthought.

The shingles look brilliant, exactly like they would in real life. Some discolouration, and the way they sit at an angle is perfect. It matches really well with the spire as well. It’s been said before that the roof looks weird with nothing else on it, but I think it’s spot on. Lastly, there’s that sign. It’s amazing, and clips on neatly. Mine has a little bit of a lean to it though, almost like the clutch power of the clips has loosened a little, but it’s very minimal. I’ve since added some lights to mine, and it looks amazing. It’s almost done, with the sign lighting still to come in, but when it’s all finished, I’ll post a few photos.
Value for Money: 9/10
The value for money isn’t too bad, considering it’s not one of the greatest modulars. They’re still available from retail stores, including the LEGO Shop Online, and will set you back $199 for a new set, either from LEGO or secondary markets. A used set is of course cheaper, at around $170 for an average cost. For the new sets it works out to be around 11 cents per element, which is pretty good, especially for a rather popular set.
Collectibility: 9/10
Being a modular building, it means this set is highly collectible. On top of that, it’s a rarer corner building, so that bumps the rating up even more. It is however not one of the best modulars around, so it does tend to mean that not everyone is keen on getting it, but there is plenty of room to mod this building into what you’d imagine it should have been released as.
Overall: 80/100

I’m not disappointed, as it’s still a very respectable score, but I’m also not really surprised.  There’s loads of good points with this set, and unfortunately some bad ones as well. 

Next week I’ll be tackling another vehicle – the newest of the released large format vehicles – 10252: Volkswagen Beetle. This is sure to be a cracker!

Did you disagree with my comments about the Palace Cinema? Did you agree? Let me know in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “10232: Palace Cinema Review

  1. Hayo Reply

    I bought one Palace Cinema for my collection, just to make sure I at least have it covered. But it’s still in the box and I’ll keep it there until it’s officially retired. Maybe by end of 2017 this set will retire. We’ll see…

    • John @ BricktasticBlog Reply

      I’d love to hear your thoughts when the box is finally opened! It certainly seems like it’s about to run out when it pops up again on store shelves.

  2. Hayo Reply

    I bought one Palace Cinema for my collection, just to make sure I at least have it covered. But it’s still in the box and I’ll keep it there until it’s officially retired. Maybe by end of 2017 this set will retire. We’ll see…

    • John @ BricktasticBlog Reply

      I’d love to hear your thoughts when the box is finally opened! It certainly seems like it’s about to run out when it pops up again on store shelves.

  3. Hayo Reply

    I bought one Palace Cinema for my collection, just to make sure I at least have it covered. But it’s still in the box and I’ll keep it there until it’s officially retired. Maybe by end of 2017 this set will retire. We’ll see…

    • John @ BricktasticBlog Reply

      I’d love to hear your thoughts when the box is finally opened! It certainly seems like it’s about to run out when it pops up again on store shelves.

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