10703 Creative Builder Box is a LEGO Classic set released in 2017. Unlike most Classic sets which encourage you to build anything you can imagine, this set, and more importantly its selection of elements, is laser-focused on buildings of various kinds. No creatures, no vehicles, no other objects. Just buildings. Which, for a city builder, sounds great on paper. Does it provide a good foundation to get started building a LEGO city? Let's find out.
Before I start, I should note that this set has apparently never been released in North America. I have no idea why. It's available everywhere else, though.
Comprehensive reviews of LEGO Classic sets are few and far between as they're not popular among AFOLs, and in particular only one other written review of this set exists on the web, so I hope this review is just as useful to readers as that other one is. To that end, I've tried to make it accessible to both parents and AFOLs.
This style of presentation is new to LEGO Classic sets in 2017. The suggested models that can be built using the included instructions or instructions found online are featured more prominently than the bricks themselves, and they're even color-coded.
As this is a set focused on buildings, the box is adorned with a "Many Doors & Windows" flair, and on the back you can see exactly what sorts of doors and windows are included. The full list of elements is still present, but this time it's found on one of the sides of the box instead of the back.
There is a handle on the top of the box, which unfortunately is only good for carrying the box from the store back to your home while it's still sealed. This is because the box actually opens sideways, and not from the top where the handle is, which makes trying to carry it around with all the bricks inside after a building session a Bad Idea™.
Now, normally I would shrug this off as poorly thought out packaging design, but what makes this seem bizarre is that the comically and impractically tall 10704 Creative Box, released at the same time, does open from the top; the top flap has a hole that the handle fits through so you can totally lug that box about with the top flap securely in place. Why they didn't do the same with this, a box that's actually a practical size to carry around, is beyond me.
Long story short, don't be fooled by the handle on 10703 Creative Builder Box — you will need another container for your bricks after you've opened it!
The box contains 6 main bags of parts, 1 of which contains all the doors and windows separately from the rest which are sorted by color group, a lime green 6x16 plate, a reddish brown 6x12 plate, and building instructions. The color groups are:
- Reds, browns, dark orange and tan
- Oranges and yellows, including flame yellowish orange
- Greens and blues
- Pinks, lavenders and purples
- White, black and both light and dark grey
Unsurprisingly, basic bricks command a large majority of the selection of elements. There are a good number of 1-wide bricks, for example, as well as a handful of 2-wide bricks. These bricks and other included elements are well-suited to either minifigure scale or microscale buildings, as you will see in the suggested models below.
As usual for LEGO Classic sets, this set includes a brick separator. Notably for me, this is my first ever new-style orange brick separator! I have a handful of the older dark grey ones. The new one is so compact in comparison! Great for kids and those with smaller hands such as myself. I look forward to amassing a collection of these in the years to come.
New, noteworthy or rare parts
Many Doors & Windows
All of the doors are of the same 1x4x6 form factor and will fit any door opening that is 4 studs wide and 6 bricks tall. The doorknobs are just 1x1 studs that you attach separately. The doors included are:
- 1x medium blue door with 4 holes in yellow frame
- 1x trans-clear door in bright pink frame
- 2x trans-light blue door in white diagonal frame
- 1x gunmetal grey bars in dark grey frame, that technically is a window as it cannot open and close once attached but is made into a portcullis for the knights' castle
The windows included are:
- 2x dark green 1x2 arched window with black latticework
- 2x green 1x2x2 window with trans-yellow pane, a combination that only appears in one other set, 70903 The Riddler Riddle Racer, and a window that has since also appeared in 60198 Cargo Train
- 6x medium azure 1x2x2 window with trans-light blue pane, a window that only appeared in one other set, 75824 Pig City Teardown
- 3x dark blue 1x2x2 window with smoked pane, a window that first appeared in 21304 Doctor Who, and a combination that has since also appeared in 60197 Passenger Train
- 3x red 1x2x2 window with solid white pane
- 6x white 1x2x2 window with trans-clear pane
- 4x white 1x2x3 window with trans-clear pane
- 2x white 1x4 window with yellow panes
- 2x white double-thickness 1x4 window with trans-light blue pane
- 1x tan arched window with spokes
Of course, there's nothing stopping you from mixing and matching different doors and window panes to different frames! Pulling them apart and putting them back together repeatedly can get annoying with how tight-fitting they are, though.
Shame that this set only comes with a total of five doors, though. Then again, a large number of the windows are squandered by the microscale models, so I guess that evens things out somewhat. Having said that, the doors that are included are great — medium blue is one of my all-time favorite LEGO colors, and you can never have too many trans-clear doors either.
And I'm glad that LEGO included as many white windows with trans-clear panes in one box as they did. For making one small-to-medium-sized house or apartment in minifigure scale, these are plenty, along with one or two of the doors.
The one part mold that is brand new to this set, and also appears in 10255 Assembly Square and 10260 Downtown Diner, is the diagonal door frame which attaches the same way as a facet brick. I have nothing against sophisticated offsetting techniques, but I think this is a great way to make it easy to get started with diagonal building of features without an unnecessarily high barrier to entry. Best of all, this set includes two of these diagonal frames with trans-light blue doors — one is used by the shop, which you'll see below. I already have a use in mind for the other one.
New or rare parts
The doors and windows that are new or rare have been covered above. Here are the rest, clockwise from the top left corner:
- 4x bright green 1x2x2 brick, new and mostly only obtainable via this set — only one other set has it and it's the massive 70620 NINJAGO City, and it only has one, and they make you put a sticker on it!
- 2x medium lavender 1x2x5 brick, last seen in 2015, in 41061 Jasmine's Exotic Palace
- 4x dark orange 1x3x2 curved brick, first seen in 2014, in 71006 The Simpsons House and since appearing in this and the 1000-piece 10705 Creative Building Basket
- 4x flame yellowish orange 1x3x2 curved brick, which we just saw in 10404 Ocean's Bottom
- 2x lime green 1x3x2 curved brick, which isn't new or uncommon but I figured I'd throw it in anyway since it's one more color of the same shape of part in this set
- 1x lime green 6x16 plate, first appearing in this set and 41313 Heartlake Summer Pool and now also seen in 41335 Mia's Tree House and 41455 Unikingdom Creative Brick Box (two sets I'm interested in)
- 2x dark blue 2x2 brick with curved top and 2 studs in the center, which we also just saw in 10404 Ocean's Bottom
- 2x white 4x4 facet brick, first appearing in this set as well as 41314 Stephanie's House and 60141 Police Station
- 2x light grey 1x2 brick with vertical handle on end, new in 2017 and already in a fairly large number of sets
Brickwork bricks/masonry bricks
Despite their irony (which I actually couldn't care less about), I'm a really big fan of LEGO brickwork bricks because their texture adds a lot of visual interest to otherwise plain walls. That's why every one of my reviews of sets containing them has a subsection dedicated to them.
10703 Creative Builder Box comes with a whopping 8x sand green 1x2 brickwork bricks, a massive jump from the 2x light grey ones from 10404 Ocean's Bottom. Only 76085 Battle of Atlantis and 21205 LEGO FUSION Battle Towers contain more of these bricks in one set (14x and 12x respectively). The latter is retired and the former is licensed, so 10703 Creative Builder Box is now the most cost-effective way to obtain these bricks in larger quantities (aside from buying them individually, of course).
Hilariously, the brickwork bricks in this set are all used in the knights' castle just like how the ones in 10404 Ocean's Bottom were used for the undersea castle! Plus, these ones are sand green, so it'll be interesting to see how they interact with the light grey stone columns and arches.
Please note that while I will be using the minifigures from 10404 Ocean's Bottom for storytelling and demonstration, this set does not come with minifigures or minidolls. You will, presumably, BYOM.
The first model in the instruction booklet is rated easy building, getting kids started with very simple stacking of bricks and window pieces to create a recognizable microscale model.
"Skyscraper" isn't exactly the most precise name for this, but you can clearly see what it is: a skyline that roughly resembles a street of apartments and/or skyscrapers. The small windows in green, medium azure and dark blue are used to good effect here to represent large segmented blocks of windows (or just really large windows, really). You can think of the bottommost window of each building as a distant view of a door.
I like the use of trans-light blue elements to represent a skyscraper that is mostly glass on the outside, plus the combination of dark azure, medium azure and light royal blue.
I also like the small topiaries at the front façade of the blue building. Those are made by orienting a lime green 1x1 brick diagonally and stacking it on top of a reddish brown 1x1 round brick. Microscale lets you get away with using as few parts as possible and still succeeding at making recognizable objects.
As this is meant to be viewed from the front, there is nothing on the back, although I wonder why the instructions suggest placing white tiles there. Probably to keep the 1x2 bricks from tipping over too easily when stacking bricks on top of them (before you add the windows).
This Asian temple, rated as medium building, is not as grandiose as what you might picture when you think of Asian temples, but the sand green shallow roof tiles mounted on a green 8x8 plate are unmistakable and perfect, and frankly if you looked at this set's parts list alone without looking at any of the suggested models you'd be pleasantly surprised by how that green 8x8 plate ends up getting used. The pearl gold studs complete that Oriental look for the roof, and the use of shallow arches in tan for the platform is appropriate as well.
Those red windows with solid white panes aren't used as windows here at all — they're microscale wall sections! I like how this model teaches builders that some elements that seem specialized can be used for different things, in a way that is effective. The white 1x2 bricks with handles add a nice ornate texture above these wall sections that looks especially good when viewed from the side (see the last image).
There is an opening but you can't fit much other than perhaps nanofigures (minifigure trophies) inside. The interior is just 2x2 studs in size (not counting the white 4x4 frame on which the walls are sat).
This yellow house is rated as advanced building and is decidedly minifigure-scale. It's a quintessential small cottage with yellow walls, the most basic red roof made using traditional sloped bricks, a chimney and waterspout (think Itsy Bitsy Spider), a medium blue front door, two yellow windows that open outward to let some fresh air in, two small attic windows (that are just there for the looks), and a nice front (or side?) yard with a picket fence, a shrub with some flowers, and what I think is a mailbox in medium nougat by the front door. Oh, and a doormat, in flame yellowish orange.
You may have noticed the large number of yellow bricks in this set. Yes, they all go into building this small house — no spares! Unfortunately, LEGO houses of any reasonable size will require a lot of bricks, which is why the LEGO Creator house sets (which I completely missed out on) cost so much.
As you saw on the back of the box, the main feature of the yellow house is that it can be opened up like a clamshell. This is made possible by the hinge mechanism that's integrated into the chimney and waterspout using handles and clips.
The front door opens outward too and you can walk a minifigure or minidoll through it. Unfortunately, the interior is extremely cramped, with the floor area being only 4x8 studs. It's also empty, so it's up to you to furnish it. Here, I've added a pink and lavender couch, and a bed with flame yellowish orange sheets. And now the owner of this house can't reach the opposite corner without traversing over her new furniture!
The exterior appearance of this house though is beautiful from all angles. I especially love the way the hinge mechanism is so seamlessly integrated into the chimney and waterspout that you probably wouldn't even realize it's there unless you observe how the house opens up!
This house could easily be dropped into any LEGO city without any changes (unless you're really picky about interiors). It's just so wholesome and the exterior is complete and nice to look at.
Instructions for the shop, the knights' castle and the hotel can be downloaded from LEGO.com.
This delightful corner shop, rated as medium building, has a very attractive exterior, with a dark orange and flame yellowish orange pattern for the awning over the windows which, along with the door, have trans-light blue panes as a corner shop does. The door is at a 45° angle using the new diagonal door frame to illustrate, indeed, that this is a corner shop.
There's also an overhead sign represented by the yellow flag piece, and there's even a display outside with nondescript grocery items!
There isn't much interior space for minifigures to move around, and there isn't a cashier counter, but you can pose minifigs facing either shelf of items, which is something at least. The items are all nondescript, being represented by plain rectangular and conical bricks, so they can be anything you want them to be. Maybe cereal boxes and drink bottles!
In fact, the shop front of this is so charming that I'm almost inclined to drop it as is right into my LEGO city! It really is that good.
Despite its imposing appearance, this castle is rated as medium building and the build is pretty straightforward.
The colors used are interesting: there are blue and dark blue accents representing the medieval faction that owns this castle, as well as dark green windows, lime green bricks and the 8x sand green 1x2 brickwork bricks that somehow manage to work with the light grey stone columns and arches. I wonder if the lime green and sand green are supposed to represent some sort of overgrowth or weathering effect.
Our gallant knight returns and seems pretty excited about this castle! You can place minifigures on top of the castle's two towers as lookouts, which works surprisingly well. And as with the previous two buildings, minifigures can walk through the gates just fine. There is just enough interior space to place minifigures in there too, but not much more.
The castle from 10404 Ocean's Bottom might well have been based on this one as they're remarkably similar. They both feature a working portcullis that's even raised using the same type of handle. This one doesn't have a drawbridge though, since there's no moat (which does raise the question of how an undersea castle might have one...).
The only other advanced building model in this set, this hotel has a medium lavender, dark pink and bright pink color scheme, which might seem very feminine to most, but I just choose to see it as being of some colors that I really like.
The building itself is not quite minifigure-scale (compare with the hotel in 60200 Capital City for example), but it's nowhere near microscale either given the trans-clear door representing a nice big glass door — the windows are intended to be full-height compared to minifigs which makes the door pretty large itself.
I like the use of the dark blue curved bricks with gold studs on top of them to represent what might be overhanging lamps. The black roof provides a nice contrast to the bright colors of the walls as well, and I especially like how the striping continues through the sides of the building, as narrow as it is.
The tan arched window rounds off the two small rectangular windows quite nicely, and the pearl gold railings in front of this assembly could possibly represent a Juliet balcony (or false balcony) — although there is room for a minifigure to stand, they will look rather oversized compared to the rest of this area of the hotel, let alone the building as a whole!
Like the yellow house, the top floor is unfortunately devoid of any amenities — not even a single bed! The ground floor, on the other hand, has a lime green... thing. What could it be? Perhaps it's a lounge chair, or a check-in counter.
I don't think my LEGO city needs a hotel at the moment, but I really just like the exterior appearance of this hotel anyway.
Unfortunately, due to the large color palette that LEGO Classic sets are known for, you get lots of colors but very few bricks in each color. This means you won't be able to build full-sized structures with 4 or more walls (or anything more than a façade, really). But if you scale things down (not to microscale, although you certainly could do just that), or stick to façades, you can design some pretty interesting architecture.
A large portion of the selection of bricks in this set appears to be tailored specifically to the suggested models. For example, very specific numbers of yellow bricks (9x 1x1, 19x 1x2, 20x 1x3 and 5x 1x8) and red roof tiles (17x 2x4) are included just for the yellow house. This seems to frequently be the case with LEGO Classic for some reason, and is quite a bummer.
Nevertheless, the suggested models themselves are great, especially the minifigure-scale ones that are reasonably fleshed out (except maybe the hotel, but even that has a really good-looking façade at least) and could be placed in a LEGO city without requiring too much modification to "fit in".
If you're a parent, the quantity issue probably isn't going to be a big deal to your kid. This set promises "Many Doors & Windows", and while it could have provided a couple more doors in more colors, its selection of windows certainly is pretty good and I'm sure kids will have no problem coming up with wacky, unique architecture that just might give you a glimpse of what future buildings might look like!
If you're an AFOL looking for more bricks in specific colors, you could perhaps buy multiple copies of this set, or use the rainbow-colored bricks in this set for rapid prototyping and then buy the bricks in your desired colors via Pick A Brick or BrickLink.