Attractive architecture has defined the beloved Winter Village andSanta’s Visit achieves continued authenticity. This impressive cottage features distinctive roof slopes while the shape appears unusual, separating this creation from Winter Village Cottage.
That realism is certainly appreciated, especially following two previous sets which focused upon fantasy. While those models were enjoyable, returning to the traditional origins of thecollection is welcome. This creation should therefore complement previous examples, or provide magnificent display value alone.
Box and Contents
Family construction experiences have been associated with Winter Village products since their beginning and the packaging forSanta’s Visit makes specific reference to this possibility. The continued 18+ branding therefore seems inappropriate, although I like the dark background and atmospheric snowfall, which matches the packaging for Elf Club House.
Nine numbered bags and two instruction manuals are provided, separating smaller accessories from the cottage. Chris McVeigh is identified as the designer, although limited information about the development process is present. Furthermore, the set contains four stickers, which are each applied inside the house.
Four minifigures are included, beginning with the residents of this charming cottage. The adults consist exclusively of existing components, although both characters are appropriately dressed for the season and their joyful expressions appear splendid. Moreover, these hair elements are reasonably uncommon, so their appearance here is appreciated.
Meanwhile, the child features a unique torso and double-sided head. Her cheerful and sleeping faces are perfect for Christmas Eve, while the teal pyjamas include a brilliant snowflake pattern. These decorative snowflakes and this colour resemble the baby fromWinter Village Fire Station, so perhaps both figures portray the same character at different ages.
Copious accessories accompany the family, including a printed envelope, teacups and unique cookies, which apparently take inspiration from those made by Chris McVeigh’s mother! Some wrapped presents and toys are provided too, such as a model rocket and a musical instrument which resembles a trumpet or cornet. These are simple, but cleverly assembled.
The most appealing minifigure is undoubtedly Santa Claus, whose appearance has changed frequently since 1995. This example appears particularly outstanding though, integrating dual-moulded boots with an updated torso. The white accents look wonderful and I love the metallic gold buckle, contrasting against the neighbouring colours.
Santa’s beard and traditional hat each remain unchanged from previous minifigures, although the head underneath is exclusive. This element appears friendly, but I preferfeatured on earlier depictions of Santa. Nevertheless, the newest depiction of this classic character is my favourite, particularly because of those dual-moulded legs.
The Completed Model
Before reaching the house, minifigures approach a snow-covered fence. This structure seems reasonably simple, although the combination of white and reddish brown elements is attractive. The exposed stones and mounds of snow atop each fencepost look splendid, while the mailbox captures satisfying detail. Additionally,is an effective colour choice for the 1×1 round brick inside the lantern.
LEGO has established a consistent aesthetic for Winter Village structures.Santa’s Visit continues such conventions, including steep roof slopes and comprising vibrant light royal blue elements. This colour is shared with Fiat 500 and looks great, particularly in combination with the white roofs. However, greater contrast against Winter Village Cottage may have been advantageous, since these might be displayed together.
The cottage measures nearly 29cm across which is surprisingly large, but seems proportional with previous sets. The details are consistently impressive too, especially around the entrance where two lanterns with trans-opal glazing are positioned. My favourite feature, however, is the wreath which is ingeniously fixed through the windows in the door. This construction method is unusual, but feels secure.
Green claws, originally developed for Wolverine, are fixed beneath the windowsills. They form surprisingly attractive foliage, with berries connected using green 1×1 round plates with hollow studs. The decorative bells look superb too, while the snowman is constructed using two round components and appears accordingly realistic.
The dark blue windowsills and bands beneath each roof look marvellous, complementing the light royal blue walls. The contrasting dark bluish grey chimney appears perfect too, matching pieces around the door and incorporating light bluish grey highlights. Moreover, this deciduous tree makes good use of Technic elements, seeming suitably sparse and including a birdhouse.
Beautiful foliage continues beneath the central roof, alongside additional berries. Once again, these stand out perfectly against the walls and white roofs, which feature curved corners. The exposed studs are effective here and swapping these snow-covered surfaces for other colours, reflecting different seasons, would be easy.
Winter Village models are traditionally open when viewed from behind, enabling easy access during play. This example is no exception, although its shape creates an unusually large open section. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with this configuration because the open sides provide an excellent view of the interior and can be concealed when displaying the model.
Despite its abnormal attachment method, the wreath appears reasonable when viewed from inside, blending with the reddish brown door. The reddish brown accents above this door are attractive too, while dark tan is an appropriate colour for the floor. I think the balance between furnishings and open space is also effective, leaving ample room for placing minifigures.
Santa Claus is evidently capable of entering houses through different means, but descending the chimney is definitely his favoured method. Fortunately, this house includes a fireplace and three colourful stockings are hung on the surround, beneath two candles. The structure seems absolutely charming and the stickered clock looks appealing as well, showing the time nearing midnight.
Of course, Santa can enter through the chimney, pushing the fire elements over upon landing! The space is relatively tight, although the minifigure seems unlikely to become stuck and could easily be retrieved because the upper section of the chimney can be detached for access. Logs, a small table and an armchair encircle the fireplace, with a present hidden behind that chair.
Another wrapped gift is secreted in the rafters, above the sand green light fixture. This seems notably modern within the cottage, hence I would have preferred something more traditional in style. The consistent colour scheme of the rafters is brilliant though, resembling wooden beams and providing adequate support underneath the roof.
The wooden dining table looks magnificent as well, featuring a red table runner and matching upholstery on the chairs. Their construction techniques are rudimentary, but the result is great and seats are provided for all four minifigures, should Santa Claus decide to stay. A decorative centrepiece completes the dining table, with two additional candles.
Chequered white and tan tiles distinguish the kitchen from the dining area. Tremendous detail continues in here, as sand green units correspond with the aforementioned light fixture. These are similar to the kitchen units found in certain Modular Buildings, particularly since the realistic sink resembles that found inParisian Restaurant and includes a pipe underneath.
The red food mixer is cleverly assembled and two 1×1 bows comprise a loaf of bread, which is immediately recognisable. Additional food or kitchen equipment would undoubtedly have been appreciated, but the most important details are present and I think the separation between the kitchen and the neighbouring rooms is successful.
No staircase is included to reach the upper floor, although that was probably the wisest choice because space is restricted. However, this child’s bedroom makes efficient use of the available room, containing a flame yellowish orange bed and a desk. This mezzanine configuration looks fantastic as well, differing substantially from previous LEGO houses.
Each roof segment is connected using Technic beams and the rear panel can move outwards, providing quick access to the bedroom. This child evidently enjoys space exploration, since a ringed planet hangs beneath her bedroom ceiling and this poster includes a rocket, matching the black and white spacecraft which was shown earlier.
Christmas trees have appeared consistently throughout the Winter Village range, although the designs have varied dramatically. The newest creation appears relatively bushy and comprises numerous slopes, producing authentic texture. Such construction techniques seem rather basic when compared with previous LEGO Christmas trees, such as the superb example fromElf Club House.
However, the reason for that relative simplicity becomes apparent after pressing the Christmas tree down, activating the light brick inside! The trans-clear plates situated among the branches and the trans-yellow jewel on top are accordingly illuminated. This function works well, without significantly compromising the external appearance or the structure of the tree.
The aforementioned jewel appears slightly awkward and another decoration would have been preferable, although this element illuminates nicely. The vibrant 1×1 round plates look great as well, suspended beneath several branches. Additionally, the tree slides smoothly inside the pot, but they are not actually connected. Instead, the Christmas tree rests on the light brick.
Santa’s Visit completely embraces the charming aesthetic which has continued across the Winter Village series, particularly resembling its earlier models. The light royal blue colour scheme and dramatic roofs appear brilliant for this wintry environment, with various traditional Christmas decorations and foliage further enhancing the external appearance.
The interior is beautifully furnished too, preserving the rustic atmosphere which began outside. Focusing attention upon the house has definitely proven effective, although the Christmas tree and fence are splendid accessories. In fact, I have no significant complaints about this addition to the enduring Winter Village series, especially since the price of £79.99 or $99.99 represents excellent value!
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group, but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.