Sunday, October 8th, 2017 at 7:53pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Welcome to another exciting BZPower set review! Today we're taking a look at one of the sets from the fantastic LEGO Elves theme, namely 41188 Breakout from the Goblin King's Fortress! BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru has decided to share his thoughts on this bigger set in the 2017 wave. Let's go see how it stacks up with both a video and text examination!
Hey guys, and welcome to BZPower's review of LEGO Elves set 41188 Breakout from the Goblin King's Fortress! As always, I'd like to heartily thank TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff... I love my job and I love my free LEGO. I'd also like to remind you all that the opinions expressed in this review are not those of TLG, nor of BZPower as a whole: they're just those of me, the reviewer. Feel free to disagree with me about anything.
Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and a text/image format - on this set. Should you "break out" your wallet for this set, or leave it captive to the store shelf? Let's find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Like other Elves boxes, 41188's features that subtle bowed shape at the edges, subtly indicating that this is a "girl set." But this is 2017! Nobody deserves to be bound by the gender binary if they don't want to be. Case in point, here's a male reviewer stoked on this Elves product!
The main product image gets framed up top and around the side by some dark blue leaf texture, over which the LEGO Elves logo and artistic renderings of the Elves sit. The four minidolls in the set also get prominent features on the front of the package; they're broken up into "good guys" and "bad guys" (these phrases here in quotes because A, half of the "guys" in the product are girls, and B, who am I to pass judgment on the Goblin King and his goblin minions - goblinions? Are they really bad, or just misunderstood?). Those plants in the painted background look downright Seussian.
The bottom of the back of the box bears a pretty similar artwork of the Elves characters, just this time flipped and with cute goblinions drawn in, too. An alternate view of the model occupies most of the space up top, showing off the castle's open-back interior and some of its play features. Most of these features, unlike on "boy sets," show off little vignettes, rather than function diagrams. I think this probably has something to do with research showing girls are largely oriented towards story-based play? The "The story continues..." caption over to the side definitely reinforces this focus.
Both front and back of the box look good, look clean, and offer little that we've not already seen from LEGO in the past. TLG has a pretty consistent standard that all of their boxes meet. It's not like this is the new UCS Falcon set, where the box is designed as "part of the experience..." Anyway, let's move on to the box's contents.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Now's the point in the review where maybe you say: "Aaron, where are the pictures of the build process?" I'll tell you: I didn't take any. A few reasons for that: a) I got into building the set myself and don't feel like taking pictures; b) I personally rarely/never look at those pictures myself in other reviews; c) I like the little surprises that come with building something for the first time, and who wants that spoiled for them?
The build wasn't difficult, but also wasn't quick. A few little details caught me pleasantly by surprise, especially when I was constructing those snapper plants down at the base of the castle (more on them later).
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Here are some of the new/interesting parts that come in 41188. Forgive me if I missed any; there's so many in this set!
- Long rubbery horns, in sand green
- 1x1 plate, modified with spike, in sand green
- 1x1 brick with SNOT stud on one side, in sand green
- 2x2x5 rounded panel, in pale green
- NOT PICTURED 1x4x5 panel with window, in pale green
- 1x2x2 panel with window, in pale green
- 1x2 rounded slope, in pale green
- 2x2 rounded slope, in pale green
- 1x1 brick in pale green
- 1x2 brick in pale green
- 1x2 plate, in pale green
- Nexo Knights nexo power, in purple (2x)
- Floopy adornment thing, in dark blue (2x)
- 1x1 tall brick with two SNOT studs on one side, in magenta (4x)
- 1x1 pyramid, in trans-apple
- 1x1 pyramid, in trans-pink
- 4x4 macaroni tile, in light bley
- 2x2 macaroni tile, in light bley
- 1x1 rounded corner tile, in light bley
- 1x2 brick with vertical bar "hinge" part, in light bley (2x)
- 1x1 rounded tile with bar hole, in black
- 1x1 rounded tile with bar hole, in gold
- 1x1 rounded tile with bar hole, in lime green
- 1x1 cylinder with leaves, in red
- Curved rubber tooth, in red
- 2x2 rounded jumper tile, in red
- 1x1 rounded plate with bar attachment, in black
- Long flexible cord, in gold
- Grappling hook with L-shaped handle, in dark bley
- 2x3 tile-sticker applied, here-in tan
- Technic ball joint with printed "feed me Seymour!" mouth, in purple
- All the parts for a book-also with the stickers on, they're plain underneath-in reddish brown
- Triangular shields with gold eye printed on them, in black (2x)
- NOT PICTURED 1x1 round tiles with gold eye printed on them, in black
- Friends-style bird with metallic blue printing, in black
41188 comes with four figures: the Goblin King, Sophie Jones, a goblinion named Tufflin - bless his heart! - and Emily Jones. The Goblin King is a wonderful little doll, with a double-sided cape, a new(ish) necklace part, gunmetal-and-gold printed armor, tattoos printed on his arms and face, and that sweet crown-and-hair part. Sophie Jones repurposes the Wyldstyle hairpiece cleverly, and with her oversize eyes and cute overalls, nicely looks a bit younger than her sister.
Tufflin - bless his heart! - has some scaly armor printing, cool lavender skin, and an adorably irked expression. Something I love about the goblin mold: they have a subtle, but very much there, tush. It's maybe the first time I can think of that a LEGO figure has been designed with a butt! Emily Jones looks chic and modern with her "leggings and skirt" combo. She too wears a necklace.
The mini-model of the set is a little raft for Emily Jones. It's a fun, small model, which makes good use of that black handle-tile and some hollow studs to make its rudder fully poseable. I like how the grappling hook is actually designed to wrap around the raft when it's in storage. Nice way to keep it contained, rather than obnoxiously extended all the time.
This fortress really cuts a nice silhouette. With its big round portal up top, isolated tower with tall throne and spiny, leafy protrusions, and arched concourse, the castle makes good use of space and negative space. I really love the color combinations here; a huge variety of colors are utilized in the build, but they tie together well in my opinion. Certainly some combinations, notably sand green and pale green (the stonework) have never been made in a LEGO product before, and have a striking debut here. The scheme is also quite logical and clean; you can tell what every brick is meant to represent based on its color. Dark blue? Part of a sinister tree. Sand green? Parapets. Trans-pink? Crystal. On the list goes.
I like the shaping everywhere. This is a smooth, rounded fortress that's been overgrown with organic, spiny growths. Some of my favorite details of the exterior: the eye assembled above the drawbridge; the snapper plant on a long stem at the foot of the tower; the subtle stairs leading to the green portal; the winding, intrusive tree root winding down the tower; the way the parapets are achieved.
Inside the castle, you'll find three distinct rooms. The entrance hall, which the drawbridge opens up into, also seems to double as a laboratory of sorts, because this is where most of the demon-plant paraphernalia can be found, and there's a little fireplace over to one side. Stickered 2x4 tiles make up rugs, leading into a shallow hallway which has a picture of the Goblin King and his mom stickered to one of its bricks, as well as a spare meal on one of the railings.
The room at the base of the tower is a bedroom, with a four-poster bed featuring cute striped sheets, as well as a little cot on the floor directly next to it. I wonder who this second bed is for. Tufflin-bless his heart!-? Above the bedchamber is a little study, with quill in inkwell and that book we saw earlier leaning on a writing desk.
All in all, I find the aesthetic design of the set quite satisfactory. Let's see how it fares against the play test!
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?
Two features highlighted in the above picture: the working drawbridge (turn the black gear, and raise/lower the bridge), and the secret rock door entrance, which makes use of the new 1x2 bricks with bar as its hinges. Both functions work well, and feel quite appropriate to the fortress.
I guess it wouldn't be a LEGO castle without one of those infernal little catapults, eh!? I'm pretty sick of these things. The ammo, a combination of a purple stud and a lime green ornamented stud, are maybe meant to be plant ammo? I don't know. I just resent these catapults for being such shoe-horn-able play features.
The other feature pictured here, the snapping plants at the base of the wall, is much more interesting and creative. By turning a gear behind the fortress, you pivot the pair of traps from side to side, so that they seesaw. When a plant is up, it can lay flat; when it's down, 1x2 panel parts force the two halves of the trap to snap together. It's great fun to snap the plants back and forth!
Lastly, there's the prison up top. It's not really a "play feature" so much as it's an articulation point. The Goblin King's throne, with the cage hanging from one of its branches, pivots on a turntable, meaning one can dangle the cage wherever one pleases. A note on the throne: it's actually not great at keeping the Goblin King, or any other minidoll, seated. He slips out of it rather easily.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
That's the in-depth review. Let's tally up the score.
What's to like?
- Buncha new/interesting parts
- Tufflin has a tush!
- Castle is pretty, with lots of nice aesthetic details
- Castle has coherent, well-organized colors
- Some fun and functional play features
- $70 USD for 695 is right on the money for parts-to-price in my book.
What's not to like?
- That dang catapult
- Goblin King's chair doesn't really seat him well
All in all, I think 41188 is a pretty solid product. It's got tons of bang for your buck in terms of new and interesting parts; besides this, the final build looks really nice, clear, and coherent. A few well-chosen and well-adapted play features help to cement 41188 as a good set. I'd recommend it to Elves collectors for sure, and also to anyone looking to broaden their piece collection's vocabulary of colors.
Big thanks go out to Aaron for putting together this review, and much appreciation to LEGO for sending us this set. Let us know what you think about it in the Talkback! We'll see you soon with our next set review, right here on BZPower!
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