With 2021 almost upon us, what better way to ring in the New Year than with the 2021 LEGO Modular Building – 10278 Police Station.
For LEGO Modular Building fans, it’s been almost customary to start each year by ordering the latest modular, and the Police Station – with its tan, stately facade will be a great addition to your Modular street.
LEGO 10278 Police Station will be released on 1 January 2021 globally, and will be available from LEGO.com and your local LEGO store.
Let’s take a close-up look and tour in my review of 10278 Police Station!
Thanks to LEGO for providing this set for review.
Name: Police Station
Set Number: 10278
Price: AU$299.99 | US$199.99 | £169.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AU] [US] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO Brand Retail Stores, LEGO.com
Theme: LEGO 18+, Creator Expert, LEGO Modular Buildings
Release Date: 1 January 2021
So, confession time.
I have always feared that this day would come – so it’s time for me to make quite a startling confession which would probably knock some of my credibility as a LEGO blogger.
I’ve never actually built a LEGO Modular Building set – and 10278 Police Station, is officially my very first! Trust 2020 to be the year I officially pop my modular building cherry!
What!? How is that possible? Modulars are the quintessential AFOL experience. You’ve been blogging about LEGO for so long!
There’s kind of an explanation – I have nearly all the modular buildings, never missing one since the Grand Emporium, but I just never got around building them. I kept putting off building them, citing time and space constraints, and it got out of hand, and here we are – 10 years into my LEGO journey, with my first Modular build, and I have to say I’m hooked.
Here’s a look at the contents of the manual, which begins with a great introduction – the lead LEGO Set Designer for the Modular Police Station – Chris McVeigh, cosplaying as one of the minifigures in the set – or did Chris insert himself into the set to celebrate his love for doughnuts and berets?
On the next page is an introduction to the story contained in the Police Station – put simply, a newsstand operator has fallen on hard times and resorts to a doughnut crime spree to generate headlines.
It’s a bit of a sobering indictment of the state of the world where newspapers are no longer selling well because of social media/people getting news for free.
One of my favourite things about the manual is this chronological timeline featuring wireframe designs of all the modular buildings, beginning with the Cafe Corner on the left, and ending with the Police Station for now.
It’s a great little nod to the heritage and different “eras” of modular buildings that are so special for adult LEGO fans.
One thing I’m not a fan of(and you’ll know because I’ve mentioned this multiple times before) is the 18+ design, which just envelopes the box and manuals in this pitch black minimalist design – with a strip of greebling on the bottom of the bottom.
I’ll keep repeating it – it’s bland, uninspiring and a far cry from the bright, cheery art that we’ve enjoyed in the last few years.
Also, the death of the Creator Expert branding, which I still consider synonymous with modular buildings is just sad, and a massive mistake by LEGO’s box design team.
The current black 18+ design just looks like the set wallowing in a pit of despair.
The LEGO Modular Police Station comes with 5 minifigures – 5 cops, the Newsstand Operator and Doughnut Shop owner.
I feel like for a set this size, and with so much real estate, 5 minifigures feels a bit low, even though its the same number as last year’s Bookshop. I feel like an extra pedestrian or bystander would’ve felt just right.
I really like the design of these police minifigures, and I think it’s tremendously progressive to have the Policewoman be the highest ranking officer. Based on their faces, and profiles, we have a new cadet, fresh out of police school, and a grizzled veteran, with the most impressive and convincing Police Moustache.
Here’s the back printing, and only the Chief Inspector has an alternate face, with a squinty face.
Rounding out the cast is the Newsstand Operator/Doughnut Thief, and the victim of the crime, the Doughnut Shop owner.
The Newsstand Operator is outfitted in a red varsity jacket, and comes with a sling bag, a rod to steal doughnuts, and also an exclusive newspaper tile.
Here’s a look at their back printing.
Here’s a look at the newspaper tile, which has a great headline and photo of the doughnut thief. It pains me with the incorrect spelling of “Doughnut” – sorry Americans, you guys are definitely on the wrong side of history on this issue.
And here’s the completed model! The build was particularly enjoyable – and I now finally get the hype around modular buildings.
Hats off to Chris McVeigh and the team who worked on this – there were some really exceptional and innovative build techniques employed in the Police Station, and never once did it feel like a drag.
The Modular Police Station is really 3 buildings – the Doughnut Shop, Police Station, and a really narrow 2-storey sand-green building which feels a little weird as it has no entrances, and is more of an extension of the Police Station.
(shameless plug: you can check out a Speed Build video on my Youtube channel)
Here’s a look at the back, which is pretty plain. There is a series of ladders that lead all the way up to the roof which is nice, and some space at the back to make it seem like an alley.
There is a small crack in the buildings, with a weed/flower sprouting out of it. What could it be?
The architectural flourishes of the Modular Police Station are exceptional, and the techniques used to create the facade are simply sublime.
Using the back of jumper plates, tan pillars and the brick columns on the end are amazing, and I love how rich the texture of the facade is.
The printed police tile is a nice touch (no stickers in this set!), and the techniques used to create this arch, which looks simple from the outside but blew my mind when I built it to create the angled blue sections.
I love this little blue bird feasting on a doughnut on the window sill, and the old-style air conditioning unit hanging out the front, which dates this set.
It’s the same blue bird that appeared in the Modular Bookshop, so I’m wondering if these blue “Twitter” birds are going to be a staple in modular buildings.
The use of green “splat gears” for the bushes that flank the Police Station entrance was also very satisfying to build and to look at.
That said, nothing pales with this stunning vine that creeps down the side of the building. When building it, the techniques used are relatively simple, but boy does it give the structure so much personality, and is such a strong visual element that made me go “wow”.
The roof is pretty sparse, but I do like the water tank, which clever makes use of a grey Sensei Wu hat to get the look right.
On the ground floor is the Newsstand, manned by our criminal himself. It’s really simple, and I do like the use of two different types of newspaper paper colours, as well as the small flowers on each side.
What’s this on the inside!
Now let’s take a look at the Doughnut Shop building!
The doughnut shop is pretty compact, but it has everything you need and expect from a dispensary of sugary treats.
The packed rows of baked goods behind the counter are great, and there are some neat little touches such as the cash register, and the row of paper cups lining the wall.
On the upper floor of the doughnut store is a loft for the owner to live. It’s pretty large, which contributes to it feeling quite sparse.
There is a stove, sink and kitchen counter, a striped rug and a bed, as well as a record player.
It’s not the best room, and it misses that “homely” element that some indoor plants, or even some hanging pictures/art would bring.
Also, how painful would it be to have to climb a ladder to get into your apartment?
Next, let’s enter the Police Station through the front entrance!
On the ground floor, the entrance lobby has a desk manned by the junior police station, who has stacks of letters and a phone with a dial printed on a double cheese slope.
Apart from some details on the tile, the entrance is clinically sparse, which does fit the theme of a police station.
The stairs, especially the technique used to create them are incredible – I was really impressed by the use of facet bricks to create the shape, and the excellent triangular tiling use for the edges.
Attached to the left side of the Police Station is a small holding cell, with a toilet bowl uncomfortably close to the bed.
I guess prisoner welfare isn’t high on the Modular City’s political agenda.
The cell does hide a really clever Easter Egg.
The prisoner (s) kept in the cell have certainly been keeping busy – lifting the bed up reveals a crevice and a spoon hidden underneath!
Directly underneath the prison cell is a subterranean tunnel, dug by the prisoner or prisoners before him, which of course leads to the crack out the back.
It’s a great reference to your classic prison break trope of digging your way out of jail with a spoon, but my mind immediately went to The Shawshank Redemption and Andy Dufrene’s cunning escape!
On the second floor of the Police station is an interrogation room, complete with an old-fashioned wall-mounted tape recorder.
I also really like the shutters/blinds used on the windows, which is a really small, but impactful build technique.
And of course toilets next door.
Over on the side is a small storeroom filled with a selection of strange objects – from a crowbar, to a ruby, to mysterious mason jars.
In the designer video – the designers mentioned that the evidence is a reference to previous modulars, so my best guess would be the crowbar belonging to the Corner Garage, cap belonging to the Brick Bank’s thief, frying pan to the Parisian Restaurant, Cookies to the Detective’s Office/Brick Bank and the Ruby from the Grand Emporium.
They also mention (but not name) a current TV show referenced in the build – and I think the mason jars here are a crucial clue – my best guess is that it’s everyone’s favourite Police sitcom – Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the blue and yellow mason jars are a nod to one of the most memorable cold opens about Hitchcock and Scully’s matching mason jars.
On the top floor are office desks with a trypewriter and telephone – both have printed details which are always a fantastic surprise, and I also love the sand green lampshades on each desk.
Next to the desks is this brilliant evidence board, which cleverly uses the red rubberband element as string, connecting bits of evidence together.
Of course, this could also be a candidate for a TV show reference – from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s utterly hilarious Pepe Silvia Conspiracy scene.
On the other end of the room is a small nook in the walls, which is used as a studio to take mugshots.
There are more doughnuts here (snacks or evidence? you be the judge), and some yellow and black canisters.
These could be film rolls, or another subtle nod at Brooklyn Nine Nine’s black and yellow title card colours. I reckon they could be both.
Last but not least is this massive billboard that is attached to the side of the Police Station, bearing an ad for Soap Suds – which I feel is a reference to the Brick Bank’s Soap n Suds laundromat, which was a front to launder money.
Love the cheekiness of the money laundering syndicate to advertise on the police station.
I was also pleasant surprised to discover that these 2 panels were printed which is such a great way to end the build!
What I liked:
- So many ingenious, innovative and downright brilliant build techniques included
- A gorgeous facade that blends great architecture with a fresh colour combination of sand green, tan and lavender
- The build was an absolute blast
- Playfulness and story intertwined into this
- That vine creeping down the side of the building
What I didn’t like:
- Could use one or two more minifigures
- The 18+ box design is bland, uninspiring and bleak
- Some rooms like the apartment could be improved
Final Thoughts: Well, the Modular Police Station was a blast, from start to finish, and I’m really glad that this advanced review gave me the shove I needed to plunge myself into the world of modulars.
The build techniques that I experienced were honestly the highlight, with something new, exciting and fun in each bag. It never once felt tiresome or repetitive.
The end result is great, especially the architecture and facade which employs some really interesting techniques to create unique textures and features that give the entire structure a really memorable identity and personality.
I think the interiors were fine – I definitely wouldn’t have minded some more furniture, especially in the apartment which is easily the weakest part of the build.
The police station, I think struck the right balance between being accurate, while ensuring that there’s enough furniture in it to keep things interesting.
Stickers are generally frowned upon, but I would’ve loved more printed tiles to pepper the interiors with some wanted posters, which would be a great way to sneak in some classic LEGO references to historic LEGO baddies.
When the set was launched, I mused that a Police Station was an odd choice given the Black Lives Matter movement around the world, and felt that a set glorifying the Police could be misinterpreted by certain vocal parts of the internet, but I’m really glad that the Modular Police Station firmly maintains its position as a toy, with no guns or conflict in sight, just good old fashioned detective work designed to foil a doughnut-media crime.
This is a fantastic set to display, and I think will delight longtime modular fans, as well as those new to collecting and building LEGO Modulars.
I can highly recommend this set when it launches on 1 January 2021, and if you’re new to LEGO and want a slightly challenging, but rewarding build, I can’t think of a better set to recommend for early 2021 than 10278 Police Station.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this early review of 10278 Police Station!
What do you think of the 2021 Modular Police Station? Does it fit your expectations of what a Modular Building should be?
LEGO 10278 Police Station will be available from LEGO.com on 1 January 2021 onwards from LEGO.com or your local LEGO store.
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Special thanks to LEGO for providing this set for an early review!
Ulrike Hortmann says
Hi! I‘m writing from Germany. I am just building this set and read your review to understand the allusions to TV shows I have never even heard of. You cleared up some points for me, but some questions remain, like what do you make of that crown-like block which is kept on the ground floor underneath the stairs? Someone suggested another reference to Brooklyn 99, what do you think? And with those phones, the typewriter, the tape recorder, the air conditioner etc., what time do you think is the setting here? 60s? Early 70s? Thank for your input.
nice review! I’m thinking of getting this
Reorganizing Lego rooms? Never. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
To make more space for more LEGO!
Did you know that the modular buildings are the only modern sets that use the generic faces from the Lego Space theme?
Well they used to use the simple smiley face, but they shifted over to modern faces with the Downtown Diner.
I am American and I spell it doughnut, though I rarely have to write it. To me it feels like “donut” is shorthand or slang. I think the rubber band connecting clues and alluding to that scene, which is utterly hilarious, is an ingenious move by Lego. I feel like lego has been adding Easter eggs that have to do with other pop culture references without directly saying it, and I can deal with that. Keep going Jay! PS: Have you reviewed the Brick Bank? If not, please think about it!
By saying keep going Jay, I meant keep doing reviews, not keep hiding pop culture references. But either one is good. 😄
Haha thank you! I really enjoy unearthing LEGO Easter eggs, my favourite in the set is still the subterranean tunnel!
I actually haven’t reviewed the Brick Bank! I only have one modular built (this one), and am in the middle of re-organising my LEGO room, but once I’ve made space, I hope to get start getting into my modular collection 🙂
Justin R says
Thank you for the review! Love your detailed photos and all the hidden secrets in the set. The Police Station looks like a big upgrade from the Bookshop.
Your review was very useful and helped me make the decision to order on 1st January.
Keep up the great work!
Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the kind words!
Louise P says
I finished building this last night and I absolutely love it. I was a little disappointed in the Book Store, feeling that it lacks the detail of some of the earlier modulars like the Brick Bank and the Parisian restaurant but this was a return to form – for me anyway.
I’ve joined it to the Book Store and together they look great. My 7 year old wants to know if there is a whole Lego street… time to rebuild Assembly Square, Palace Cinema, Corner Garage, Downtown Diner, Brick Bank, Parisian Restaurant and Detective Agency. Any excuse to build Lego!!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and am glad you loved it! Yeah, the Police Station feels like a big step forward for modular buildings, with a great blend of interiors and exteriors. For me, the colour-scheme made all the difference!
I need to expand my modular street now that I’ve started on one, should I go backwards and build the Book Store next?
I think I’ll finally be taking my plunge into the world of the modular buildings with this set.
As a child I had many Lego City Police sets so this is a nice tribute to them.
Awesome! It is a great throwback to classic LEGO Police Sets, and a great model to showcase just how much LEGO has grown and evolved since people’s childhoods!
Tom Benda says
I wonder about a completely new slope or brick arch piece that appears on the facade and on top of some of the walls
Christopher Blackmore says
If you have all the previous modular buildings, unused, you are sitting on a rather good investment!
I’ll be waiting for the 20% Myer discount before purchasing.
Box is very unattractive to Miss 13, which is a shame because it’s a great looking set.
Our next build will be assembly square , we are a few behind as well.
Terrence Myers says
Nice review as always Jay
Baskin Robbins says
I wouldn’t consider you an average lego fan if lego is sending the sets for free
Baskin Robbins says
What I mean is, that’s pretty cool. You’re more than an average fan. You’re a super fan
Eh, I still consider myself pretty average – I definitely don’t do this for a living and I’m a fan of the brand even if I get sent review sets.
That said, thanks for the reminder, I think an updated bio spiel is due!
I agree with you on the box art. One of the joys for me as an adult is that it is a children’s toy but with another level of complexity on top. These more complex sets are what I dreamed of building as a child with my small collection of basic parts, and the old box art linked back to the nostalgia of my childhood favourite toy. Now it feels a little like I am buying a model kit from a specialist hobby shop, it is like they are marketing to adults who are ashamed of playing with LEGO. It is a small point as this building is fabulous and I will buy it, possibly my favourite modular since the Parisian Restaurant.
Yeah me too. The childlike nature of LEGO is what drew me and so many people in.
I can definitely see them thinking this will appeal to adults who might be embarrassed. It gets really bad when you see a whole load of 18+ sets stacked next to each other on shelves – it’s truly depressing.