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Shell Service Station
Published 3 months ago
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The build is ~98% exact. I had to modify gas pumps (a 2-part MOC assembly in place of 1x2 "digger bucket arm holder" bricks, plus rubber hoses to sub a thick string cord), slightly redesigned a roof sign (to incorporate the existing "Shell" 1x4 brick), and used another tree.

=MISSING PARTS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/rb00166/string-cord-thick
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3317/brick-special-1-x-2-with-digger-bucket-arm-holder/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3470/plant-fruit-tree/

=MISSING DECALS=
1. https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=377.1stk01 (Stickers)

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This set no. 377 'Shell Service Station' came out in 1978, and it was the first modern-looking "Lego gas station"—presented ever since in virtually every generation of LEGOLAND, Town, and City. It was also among the first wave of Lego models to include contemporary minifigures and a road baseplate.

The 'Shell Service Station' only came out in Continental Europe, UK, Australia, and Canada—since Lego's licensing agreement with Shell Corporation excluded the North American market until 1986.

In the UK consumer catalog, the 'Shell Service Station' was a part of the "LEGOLAND" series with a whopping 23 new sets—most of them were minuscule, though, with just a small vehicle and single minifig. The concept was "collect-them-all and use road baseplates and supplemental bricks to design your own Lego land." Even with a modest inventory of only 90 bricks and two figures, the 'Shell Service Station' was actually the third-largest in that collection.

(Curiously, the Lego Company applied that same logic years later, circa 1997, at the end of the Classic Town's lifespan. They "juniorized" all Town sets with a blanket age restriction of "5+" and rolled out a line of smaller, simplified "collectible" sets; the theme became "City Center" in '99-2000.)

=POSITIONING IN THE CATALOG=
Worth noting that the late seventies' Lego catalogs were utterly different and far less organized, as there weren't yet clearly defined separate "themes" (or "Systems" as Lego initially described them). This particular "LEGOLAND" collection was just stuck among some supplementary boxes and random accessories—between Nursery Bricks for 1-3yrs and Advanced Basic Sets for children from six.

Lego catalogs were noticeably addressed to parents, adults exclusively—laid out almost like a typical "traveling salesmen' literature," albeit quite colorful. The Lego Company hadn't yet discovered its marketing "secret sauce"—a stupendously simple (but astoundingly powerful) idea that it's far better to publish catalogs for kids, not parents! With fewer words but more comic strips, goofy character names, bright photos, LEGO MANIACS shoutouts, etc. As long as the Lego booklet is entertaining and engaging for a young audience, kids themselves will convince/beg/plead with their parents to buy what they want. And far better than any professional copywriter could with cumbersome and yawn-inducing phrases about giving "girls the possibility of opening the model to play inside," etc.

Can't say I'm such a big fan of a shouty, screamy "Boom! Pow! Wow" Lego publications style, but it was, certainly, a huge overall improvement versus this dry, almost academic 1978 introduction:

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==THEME'S OFFICIAL CATALOG DESCRIPTION==

NEW. Here's how to build a whole LEGOLAND®

These small collector packs are fun for all children. Add the new roadway plates too and you can collect and build an entire LEGOLAND. Watch it grow week by week as you add each new item. <..>

Now even the tiny LEGO mini figures have moveable arms and legs and can carry things in their hands.

Source: https://images.brickset.com/library/view/?f=catalogues/c78uk (page 9/20)
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=ABOUT THE BUILD=

The gas station stands on a light gray 32x32 baseplate with a "9-stud straight road" mold, debuted with this model. The building itself is barebone: unglazed windows, a door, a primitive coffee maker, and a few abstract 1x1 "goods" on sale. There's also a weird device on the floor, which I couldn't identify—a shoe-polishing machine, maybe? (All available photos and scans are too blurry to decipher that particular sticker.)

The sole vehicle included in the set is an old-fashioned red sedan with a bunch of luggage on the roof, designed in the "seventies style:" all bricks, no interior, nothing opens or moves (besides two 2x2 plates with spinning wheels). All Legoland models circa '79-81 had the same disadvantage, though, as it took a few years for Lego designers to adopt a new minifigure and develop various parts required to sit one inside the vehicles: doors, windshields, sunroofs, a widened wheelbase, etc.

Speaking of minifigures, it was also most amusing to see that the '78 catalog had multiple collections and series featuring some models with newly-introduced modern minifigures right next to last season sets that still had outdated LEGOLAND minifigures. How awkward to have those primitive, crude bodies (faceless blank heads, armless torsos, etc.) right next to familiar, friendly "standard grins" of proper Lego People sharing the same pages...

The 'Shell Service Station' came with two gas station attendants. The main feature delineating those 1st-gen figures from a typical minifigure from any LEGO System set in the 1980-2000s was a blank torso; graphics were provided as self-applying stickers on the sheet for a couple more years until Lego updated the production technology to factory-printed decals.

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=SHELL STATIONS TIMELINE=
In almost fifty years, about a dozen different Lego gas stations with "Shell" branding came out:

----✁-↓↓-earliest "pre-Minifig" sets-↓↓-✃----

1. 325: SHELL Service Station (1966)
2. 648: Shell Service Station (1971)
3. 690: Shell Station ('74)
4. 217: Service Station ('77)
5. 330: Service Station ('77)

----✁-↓↑-YOU'RE HERE-↓↑-✃----

6. 377: Shell Service Station (1978)

----✁-↓↓-The Classic Town era-↓↓-✃----

7. 6371: Service Station (1983)
8. 6378: Service Station ('86)
9. 6394: Metro Park & Service Tower ('88)
The last regular retail Shell set, released in the Town's "Service and Repair" subtheme

----✁-↓↓-post-Octan* promos-↓↓-✃----

10. 1254: Shell Convenience Store (1999)
11. 1255: Shell Car Wash ('99)
12. 1256: Shell Service Station ('99)
13. 40195: Shell Station (2014)

* In 1992, after introducing a fictional oil company, "Octan," Lego stopped creating any regular retail sets with real petrol brands. Occasional limited releases, though, sponsored by Shell and sold exclusively at their gas stations worldwide, continued for many years. In 2014, when Shell Corporation announced its disturbing plans to drill for oil in Arctica, Greenpeace pressured Lego to drop the deal.
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=SEE ALSO=

6378-1: Shell Service Station (1986)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/mLvzko7qaAw

2554-1: Formula 1 Pit Stop (1997)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Jk2ExPOVa9A

374-1: Fire Station (1978)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/GejebL1lvKX
by @bils21

376-2: House with Garden ('78)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/beDa5PeGvzg
by @rjcd
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