This year the LEGO Group introduced us to another member of the Jones family, Emily’s little sister Sophie. Does 41182 have anything to offer outside of being the least expensive Elves set to include her?
Price: £17.99 / $19.99 / 19.99€ (DE) Pieces: 224 Available: Now
Sophie Jones, Emily’s plucky little sister, is at the centre of the action in this year’s wave of Elves sets. 41182 The Capture of Sophie Jones enshrines her arrival in Elvendale and subsequent capture by the Goblin King’s minions. Far from being contrived or forced beholden to the story, this is an excellent set that is perfectly balanced.
The High Points
One of the great delights of collecting Elves sets is the large number of buildings that have been made available through the years. Gathered together, there have now been so many that they make quite a village. This set adds another excellent structure into the mix in the form of Mr. Spry’s shop, which is stocked with a variety of foodstuffs on the first floor and a small squirrel sized apartment on the upper.
Another main draw of this set is the mini-dolls. While not the smallest set in this year’s wave – that title is held by Naida’s Gondola – this second smallest offering includes the penultimate character of the year in Sophie, as well as one of the new Goblins.
Portals have been a central part of Elvendale’s mythology since the theme’s inception. Indeed, the whole first year was centred around finding a portal to return Emily back to her world. Despite their central place, only a couple of sets have included these magical means of transportation between the worlds, and all of them have been in higher price point sets. 41182 represents the least expensive option to date for acquiring one.
The Low Points
In order to facilitate the capture aspect of this set, a small cart for the Goblin to drive has been included. Mounted on its front, for the first time that I know of in black, is an upside down basketball net component. Presumably in an effort to increase the number of play features included, this cart was mechanized so that the net rises and falls as the wheels rotate. While effective, it means that even after Sophie is captured the net continues to lift, making for an easy escape. The effect is believable from a capture aspect, but not a transport aspect. Including a version of the cart shown in the online shorts that is used to transport her would have been both possible in the number of parts allocated to this part of the set, and a better choice.
Construction of this set is fairly straightforward. The LEGO Group made a smart move with last year’s Secret Marketplace: introducing the idea that in Elvendale, animals are the shopkeepers. While a cute concept, it also serves a very practical purpose: buildings can be kept smaller since their occupants are pint sized squirrels and foxes. This allows fully outfitted structures to be included in low price point sets like this one. Accordingly, the construction of the shop is all at a half-a-minifigure scale.
There is nothing challenging about this build, it is straightforward and includes no innovative techniques. There are some parts that come in interesting colours, especially the jar of peanut butter, which is made from a standard minifigure head in what may be a first ever appearance in this colour. MOCers will find multiple parts to love, particularly the net and printed portal dish.
Many of the previous Elves sets at this price point have been more scenery based. It is therefore a delightful change to find included a fully independent structure that is excellent to boot. Far from feeling like it lacks heft, Mr. Spry’s shop is fully built and will look right at home in an Elves village, especially if one has The Secret Marketplace from last year’s line. Fans of the Jones family will also enjoy this set’s inclusion of the newly introduced Sophie. A variety of useful parts provide some appeal to AFOLs, but likely not enough to entice non-Elves fans into the fold. If, however, you have two daughters, you may find a rabid fan of Sophie in your younger daughter as I did.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.