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I don't see any technic pins?
In my own opinion, the pricing should have been flipped around with Santa's place as the most expensive set in the line. Considering it is the essential centerpiece of the theme, it should have been the grandest in size by principal. But instead, only the Toy shop and Bakery are cheaper, with the Post Office equal to it. Doesn't really make sense in that respect.
But of course, I concede that economics, marketing and personal budgets certainly skew the pricing model and thus the design of the set.
I don't know their sales numbers, but it would not be surprising at all if the sales of WVM were less than expected. So it would appear that LEGO chose to hear the "$99" portion of the statement more than "hodge-podge" and designed the next set according to that.
Especially if lego agrees with reviews about the sets being a bit sub-standard, it makes them look foolish.
Plus, as I said, the price point is a little irrelevant for the review of the set. If it is a workshop, it should be a workshop. If it doesn't really work as a set, then the reviewers should say it (and some have). Of course the reason that they have skimped on parts is to get it cheaper, but that doesn't mean the set should get better reviews. It may get better "value" marks in reviews, but if it is lacking, it is lacking. I think the sleigh is nice (and would have worked well as an independent set), the building is OK but tiny. Having the elves making stuff outside is just plain odd though.
LEGO is not an eBay seller. They're not going to respond to negative reviews with equally negative replies. They want their products to produce a positive experience. They also seem willing to right a negative experience, within reason.
If I have to choose between the quality of a set or its piece count/cost ratio, I would prefer quality. I don't think TLG agrees with me...at least on this particular set. Ironically, one has to pay almost $1/piece for the new Series 12 CMFs released by TLG. It's all so confusing... :-)
I might as well throw my 2p worth in here. Everyone last year was complaining the set was too expensive. Everyone this year is complaining it should be more expensive.
Personally, I think the only thing wrong with it is the name. If they'd called it "Santa's House" people wouldn't be moaning so much.
I would have rather have a bigger set for $99 than having to buying something else to get me to $99 and the free Elf Workshop.
I personally think people are asking for a little too much. Yes the Santa's Workshop #10245 should be bigger than the Winter Village Cottage #10229 but really they give you parts of the workshop and the rest is left to your own imagination. It wouldn't be cool if we had sets with everything completely detailed and that cost heaps of money that would break the bank. I personally am happy with the sets LEGO has to offer the only thing I don't like about their sets are the minifigures driving the set it's not about the builds anymore. I'm happy that they respect the AFOL community and produce sets such as The Dark Knight Tumbler #76023 and Mini Cooper #10242, that's what LEGO is meant to be and I'm happy about that.
Meanwhile, the far more critical AFOLs will have to shell out a bit more to complete their set with the exclusives. It's kind of a middle ground if the exclusives actually end up fulfilling the voids (which seems somewhat unlikely.) Like I said, just a theory.
This is the first year of doing a winter village set up for me, I've been really lucky and managed to acquire all but the post office and Market (which I intend to get soon) at RRP or less throughout the course of the year and a few of the previous promo sets at a good price and I can see this set working really nicely as a 'centre piece' for the village - as I'm still looking at it as a Santa's Grotto photo experience (Mall Santa type thing) rather than meaning to be the actual North Pole. Think about it, stick a couple of the Market stalls around it and it makes it a winter village hosting an event, then the 'half finished' look that a lot of people have complained about starts to look more right...it's a set/backdrop for the event rather than an actual workshop.
I have been collecting the WV scenes and they are fantastic. This year will be my first winter display. I only have the Post Office, Market, Cottage, Santa's Workshop and the Toy Shop but I think they will look great together.
I am not going to complain about the set or the price, I have bought bigger and more expensive sets, so this was nice to have. I also added another reindeer and a snowman to my set. Next month I will get the next part to add to it.
The saying is always the same, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Some of us love it and are happy to have it.
I'm also waiting for BF. I wasn't planning buying Santa set, but I'm going to change my mind. However, I need some additional encouragement and I will wait for 2nd promo set (first one I already have).