The LEGO Group’s history with Vikings is surprisingly light, with 2005-06’s Vikings theme the only previous run of sets based around the Norsemen. That range released over two waves – 17 years ago – and featured just the seven sets that included one fortress, one large ship, one small ship, three catapults and several large creatures ranging from dragons and wyverns to serpents and wolves.
Very much a product of their time, designed to the parts, techniques and design templates available to the LEGO Group a decade-and-a-half ago, these sets are well and truly blown out of the water by 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent. What was previously a dark, drab and frankly dull theme is revitalised in this much-anticipated Creator 3-in-1 creation, in colour, design and ingenuity.
— Set details —
Price: £104.99 / $119.99 / €119.99 Pieces: 1,192 Minifigures: 4
— Build —
We are primarily talking about the lead model in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent, which the set is named after and that very much speaks to everything anyone thinking of ‘LEGO’ and ‘Vikings’ together would expect. Long, tall and sleek, this brick-built longship captures the Scandinavian civilisation’s primary source of transport in wonderful scale and colour.
These ships were elegant in design and featured ornate carvings within their wooden frame. Unique for their long, thin and shallow-draft hulls, longships are synonymous with everything we associate Vikings with and were used – in this complete form – for four centuries, for trade, exploration and warfare.
There is nothing in history that looks like a Viking longship, which makes them such fascinating vessels and such interesting subjects to convert into LEGO form. Importantly, because it’s the only Vikings-themed set we have had in 17 years, 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent more than lives up to the task at hand, building a surprisingly detailed and complex model packed with all the story and play points you would hope to see.
For what is a 9+ age-recommended set, this Creator 3-in-1 set is far more advanced in techniques applied and parts used than you may initially expect, but once you have worked through the twists and turns in build orientation and built out the hull, no other approach will ever make sense, particularly for how well the design here captures the unique contours and shaping of a longship.
The carved dragon’s head and tail at either end of the ship are nicely put together and feel in keeping in style, scale and colour with the rest of the craft, as are the brick-built sails and even the large crossbow at the front end. There’s also plenty of space within the ship for any number of tradesmen or invading folk, however you wish to task the many Vikings you may want to populate it with.
Perhaps the only area where the model feels off is in the size of the shields attached to either side. For what should be used by the included four minifigures, they are massively over-sized and there’s no moving past that. However, they are easily removed from the ship and there is evidence to suggest that not every Viking longship had them attached.
As part of the primary build from 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent also comes the Midgard Serpent. Bright and colourful, this is a far-less-menacing beast in real life, thanks to an expression that is as friendly as it is meant to be monstrous. He comes in great size and is certainly eye-catching and for those things offers a decent counterpoint to the longship, but he looks like he’s popped up for a nice chat, rather than to force the Vikings on board into any sort of defensive action.
The B-models for 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent include a Viking house and a Fenris wolf with large tree. Both do a fine job in exploring different areas of Viking life and/or fantasy, but if truth be told, even if you picked up a second copy of this set, it would be to build the longship again, for the makings of a Viking fleet.
It’s in no part a criticism of the alternate builds available in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent, but rather a reflection on just how well put together and striking the longship model is.
— Characters —
Four Vikings and one cow are included in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent, with them sharing three new and unique designs for torsos, and one also having a brand new head and helmet dual-moulded combination piece. Whilst everything else in these minifigures’ make-up has been seen before, these new aspects are so excellently designed so as to offer a level of authenticity to each character, in a way we wouldn’t otherwise have expected for a Creator 3-in-1 set.
That being said, the oversized shields on the longship are unusable for the characters, and a Viking is nothing without their shield. They obviously provided protection on the battlefield but were also seen as an important part of cultural heritage, symbolising prestige, military rank, honours and identity. The shield that we received with the Viking in Series 20 of the Collectible Minifigures is better representative of what would be an appropriate size, scale and design for a minifigure.
The shields that we build in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent are the only downside to the set, but perhaps reflective of the limitations in budget that Creator 3-in-1 has as a theme. It’s unusual enough to receive the three new torso designs and helmet-hair piece exclusive to such a set.
— Price —
31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent released on June 1, 2022, a day before the LEGO Group announced its intentions to raise prices of around a quarter of its portfolio of products, by as much as 25%.
It is not yet confirmed whether June releases already accounted for such increases, but certainly a set like 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent feels like it is priced a little higher than otherwise expected, coming in as it does at £104.99 / $119.99 / €119.99.
Even with the capacity to unbuild and rebuild the set into either one of two alternate builds, there’s not enough within 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent to justify picking this up at full price, and that’s even though the set is otherwise almost faultless in design.
Perhaps such a set with proper shields for the minifigures and a couple more minifigures or an even bigger serpent would provide a better perception of value.
— Pictures —
— Summary —
31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent is wonderfully put together, in an engaging and elegant LEGO build, not only accurately recreating the one-of-a-kind design of a Viking longship, but celebrating all that is so appealing about this craft in history and play.
There are a couple of areas that could have improved (the shields and a more sinister serpent), but these only play on the mind with consideration to what feels like a slightly inflated price.
However, this set was on sale from release day and can be expected to drop below three figures in the months to come. When it does, pick it up, you don’t want this one sailing off into the distance, particularly if it’s another 17 years until we get a Vikings set.
How long does it take to build 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent?
31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent is an engrossing build that takes about an hour to put together.
How many pieces are in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent?
There are 1,192 pieces in 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent, including four Viking minifigures sporting three new torso designs and one new hat-and-hair combination piece.
How big is 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent?
The longship from 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent measures 41cm long, 27cm tall and 16cm wide, whilst the Midgard Serpent is up to 25cm tallest in the tail, whilst stretched out it can reach 43cm long.
How much does 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent cost?
31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent released June 1, 2022 in the UK for £104.99 and in Europe from €119.99. It will retail for $119.99 in the US from release date August 1, 2022.