Last year it was dragons, this year goblins are introduced to Elvendale. Does this new race of creatures have anything to offer AFOLs in their signature set?
Price: £54.99 / $59.99 / 59.99€ (DE) Pieces: 637 Available: Now
Spin-offs are not something the LEGO Group has done very often historically. There was a time when sub-themes replaced each other linearly, such as when Aquazone or Space were in their heyday. Only a few were available at a time, with the oldest falling off the edge when a new one was released at the start of a new year. More rare were offerings like Islanders, a new set of characters introduced with the intention of being another faction in an already existing world that was not being discontinued. These rarer offerings are meant to be a new place for the main characters to visit, or provide new sources of conflict. Goblins were that this year for elves, and the penultimate set for this new race of creatures, and their brand new moulds, is 41185 Magic Rescue From The Goblin Village.
The High Points
This is one of those sets that has a ton to offer kids, but unfortunately not AFOLs. From a play perspective, the LEGO Group did a masterful job. If you have children who like conflict, who have been longing for more bad guys than just Ragana from last year for their Elvendale crew to fight, this set has everything they are looking for. Jails, a guard tower, catapults, a forge for making Goblin weapons, the ability to play jailbreaks, and three of the new villainous creatures. If conflict is what your kid wants, this is their set. However, at the same time if they are just looking for another friendly race for their Elves to interact with, this set can perfectly fill the role of a peaceful Goblin village. Each house is themed to a specific Goblin, and they contain beds, kitchens and even a hilarious forest toilet, which I believe is a first. That immense amount of play potential is difficult to infuse in a single set; this one pulls it off.
In addition, it comes with five mini-dolls, which is almost unheard of for a set from the Elves or Friends lines. It has fully three times more Goblins than any other set, even the king’s castle. While the Elves are not the most exciting – they are largely repeats from the last two years with only slightly modified torso prints – they provide an excellent assortment to get a great play experience right out of the box. Mix in the two animals and this set is a goldmine of figures and animals, especially if one is looking to acquire the new Goblin moulds.
The Low Points
Simply put, if you are not looking to play with this set, it really has almost nothing to offer. Converting it into a fantasy village worthy of inclusion in an AFOL display would be almost impossible without starting from scratch. The buildings are sized for their miniature inhabitants and the reduction in pieces that entails limits the detail. There are some unique parts in rare colours, but not enough to make the set a good parts pack. Some were hoping that the Goblins could be placed into AFOL castle displays, but unfortunately they are just a little too cute to be convincing. Indeed in the shows, they are presented as largely bumbling cuties who are only nefarious due to the dark magic of the Goblin king. Another disappointing aspect is that this set includes the prison cart that is shown in the online shorts transporting Sophie Jones, and this is the village where she is held. Both the cart and the prison are too small for her, designed instead for the small woodland creatures the set includes. Forgoing the ability to imprison the kidnapped character around whom the entire season revolves feels like an oversight.
There are a lot of different sections to this model, including the three buildings, catapult, prison cart and various bits and pieces that are built separately and then placed in the structures. Again this set is a great one for kids; the builds are straightforward and simple, but just technical enough to bestow a sense of pride in a young builder. There is a bit of interesting parts usage, including utilizing the darts introduced in last year’s NEXO KNIGHTS crossbows as door knobs and the construction of the sentient plants of which this set contains two. The catapult is one of the most effective in a long time due to an abnormally long arm. Properly anchored, it will fling a mini-doll or Goblin across the room.
AFOLs can sometimes forget that the LEGO Group doesn’t design all sets with them in mind; 41185 is a perfect example of this. As a playset, it receives top marks. Many kinds of kids will enjoy it immensely. Furthermore, it is extremely well-executed, from the colours to the architecture and the various details of Goblin village life strewn throughout. If you have kids who are at all into Elves or fantasy play, this set is for them. However, for AFOLs, their hard earned coin should be spent elsewhere.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.