Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 7:16pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Another day, another set review. This time it's BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru to take a look at another LEGO Elves set. 41076 Farran and the Crystal Hollow is fairly small, but you'll need to read on to see if it packs in enough value to make it worth your purchase!
Hey guys, and welcome to the BZPower review of set 41076 Farran and the Crystal Hollow from the new Elves line! Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and text/image format - on this model. Will this little set enchant you, or should it stay out of your fantasies?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
41076 comes in a box of normal size for its price point. Mine, which I got at Target, had a translucent plastic hook taped to its top, to hang it from one of those metal rods that protrude from toy shelves. I'm not sure if this is part of the standard LEGO packaging, or if it was applied specifically by Target staff.
The front of the box shows off the product pretty prettily. Things that should be sparkling are sparkling; glows and magical swooshes have been edited in, in all the right places. The landscape behind the set has been painted whimsically with bright pastel colors aligned well with the Elves palette. A dark blue, asymmetrical forest pattern borders the main image, and the product line's cast of characters decorates the right-hand side.
The back of the box keeps some of the blue bordering, but has moved the cartoonish characters to the bottom left corner (side note: whatever hair products these Elves are using, I should really look into). Instead of the accentuated product image from the front of the box, the background of this side of the package is a map (LEGO does that often, I'm starting to realize; this brings me right back to the LOTR line), on which play feature callouts have been superimposed. In the corner opposite the characters are buttons implying that there's a wide world of digital Elfery beyond the bricks.
Overall, the package is solid, as we've come to expect from TLG. It's not too remarkable. So let's move on to the good stuff.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
A pretty straightforward bricks-on-bricks stacking build, 41076 presents few surprises or difficulties. Farran and his accessories come together first; they're followed by the catapult rock, and finally by the main hollow. I liked finding out the many ways this set designer figured out ways to attach the violet leaves so that they wouldn't fall off.
For a $15USD set, I'd say the build of 41076 meets expectations. Not a lot of excitement, but no real repetition either. Maybe I've just been doing this so long that following the instructions has become too easy for me. Again, let's speed on through this part; there's just not much to say.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Ah, yes, the real meat of the matter. These days, I tend to buy new LEGO sets principally for their parts. And 41076 offered a lot of cool ones- here's the pieces that caught my eye because they're new to me. Let's see what we've got (left to right):
- 1x3x3 Gothic half-arch in dark red, 4x
- 1x1 rough crystal, in trans-pink, 1x
- 1x1 upward clip, in gold, in the new mold, 1x
- 1x2 brick in trans-apple, 4x
- 1x1 "soft serve" swirly decorative part in gold, 5x (counting the extra)
- Elves key in lime green, 1x
- Mega-directional flower piece with bar stem in green, 1x
- 1x1 decorated round tile in trans-green, 3x (counting the extra)
- 5x6 leaf in dark purple, 1x
- 3x4 leaf in lavender, 4x
- 1x1 flower stud in lavender, 3x (counting the extra)
- 1x1 brick in trans-medium-blue, 2x
Quite an impressive list, no? The color variety here is excellent, for those hoping to expand a collection of softer colors, as I am. There sure are some super-solid fantasy and forest-y elements in this kit. I'm quite happy with the parts 41076 offers.
A few other parts of note come on Farran himself; I neglected to look at them above because I wanted to look at them here. His hairpiece - tousled, with elf ears, I'll definitely be using this soon - is a new mold, and exclusive to his character in dark brown. The legs, torso, and head all have character-exclusive printing, though they're hardly new molds to anyone familiar with mini-dolls (though this one is actually my first!). I like the bronze detailing on Farran's vest, and his facial expression; the details here really present Farran as a vibrant, mischievous character. As always, my compliments to TLG's fig designers, you guys do wonderful work.
Farran carries a printed map element and a sack. His animal companion is a keetorange squirrel with face tattoos (there's a sentence I never imagined myself saying!). The squirrel is one piece, and has an attachment point for a bow/flower/antenna on the arch of its tail.
The first part of the actual model we construct, this rocky outcropping, armed with the only kind of LEGO propulsion feature I dislike as much as flick-fire missiles (these catapults are sooo silly), at least looks fairly nice. A spot for the squirrel familiar to perch, as well as a separable drawer full of golden ice-cream ammo, are nice additions. I don't have much to say about this part of the model, save that it enhances the scene and adheres nicely to the rest of the set's aesthetic.
The hollow itself looks pretty good. It's a substantial tree/rock (where one starts and the other begins is anybody's guess), filled in from all angles. With its gem-studded purple leaves, magenta blossoms, and deep-red trunk, the tree definitely has a fantastical/whimsical feeling to it without losing its floral essence. Below the canopy, the crystal hollow proper looks slick with its blend of vibrant, cool colors. I like the gradient arrangement of hues, here. Favorite details of this model include the hanging lantern, the flower-sphere, the multi-directional leaves, and the squirrel perch spot.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Aside from the rock module's catapult (which I choose not to acknowledge as a real play feature, thanks), the main function of 41076 is embedded in the crystal hollow tree. When you pull forward on the trans-green printed round tile at the foot of the crystals, the crystals pop apart to reveal the lime key. The 1x2 dark green roof slope part makes this happen. It's a simple, but effective, feature. The slider with the key on it actually isn't secured to the hollow, which makes replacing the key later easier.
Other than this prescribed play feature, the play value in 41076 lies mostly in its role-play value. I suppose the squirrel and Farran could have conversations about just about anything you could imagine... Philosophy? ...Baking? ...Taxidermy? Maybe not that last one, given the animal and all, but you get my point.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, that sums up the in-depth review. Let's look at how the set fares under our rigorous grading system...
What's to like?
- Good price/parts ratio
- Valuable pieces in lots of cool new pastel colors
- Farran minidoll, quite pretty
- Keetorange squirrel
- Hollow's a solid build with good detailing
- Play feature works every time, is nifty
- Easier to pay at Target counter in a college town and say "it's a gift for my sister" than with other LEGO products
What's not to like?
- Catapult's lackluster, per usual
- Uninspired build process
- I still feel compelled to tell the cashier I'm buying this for my fictional sister
41076 is a solid parts park, which is what I bought it for. It delivers plenty of fun new elements in an affordable and reasonably priced box. Even if the build process offers little new, the final model is fairly satisfying, a pretty bejeweled thing that fits well into the Elves world.
Big thanks to Aaron for putting this review together. As always, you can leave your thoughts and questions in the Talkback to let us know what you thought of the review and the set. And keep checking back on BZPower for more LEGO news and set reviews!
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