Tuesday, July 18, 2017

LEGO 71040 - Disney Castle - REVIEW

Let's get this out of the way first:  I'm an adult male who never was much into Disney movies as a kid (or as an adult).  In fact, other than Aladdin, I can't think of any animated Disney movies that I wanted to watch multiple times as a youngster.  I start with that to say that I am probably not LEGO's desired target audience for the LEGO 71040: Disney Castle set.  And yet, it must be said, I love the set!

The set itself is huge - both in terms of number of pieces (4,080) and in terms of actual width and height (29" high and about 19" wide).  The set is easily the largest set that I've ever assembled!  Heck, even the single included instruction manual is huge (490 pages).

The Disney Castle set is full of great features and hidden nods to many classic animated Disney movies.  The view from the front of the castle is mostly what you'd see if you went to Disney World in Florida...but from the back, the Castle has an open back (much like a dollhouse) with a variety of rooms - each of which is dedicated to a particular Disney movie.  In addition, there is a large foyer/ballroom on the bottom floor complete with a pair of statues (that don't count as minifigures in the official sense but they are in fact minifigs).

Even on the bottom floor you can find some nods to classic movies (including the aforementioned favorite of mine:  Aladdin).  

I definitely appreciated the chandelier build.  In fact, the set is loaded with lots of little builds like that with interesting techniques or pieces (in this case, you use a ship's steering wheel as the base of the light fixture).

Moving to the upper floors of the castle, you can probably make out a whole lot of neat nods to various movies/fairy tales including the rose from Beauty and the Beast.  In the Cinderella room, the masonry bricks definitely add a nice touch of color (and texture) to what would otherwise be a kind of dull kitchen scene.

There are lots of secrets tucked away in the castle!

How about that bed?!  Definitely an ornate piece of furniture, and it fits within one of the castle spires perfectly.

The largest tower holds the magic mirror (and poison apple).  

The castle even holds one more secret that you wouldn't ever find just by looking.  If you lift that blue roof section up, you'll find one more "nod to Disney" inside.

That's a glass slipper and a book of fairy tales.  Both of those are actually hidden from view underneath the one tower section.  It was a fun surprise to find when building the set!

From the outside of the castle, there are a couple more movie references including an archery range from the movie Brave (I think, or maybe Mulan?)  I don't know.  There are a bunch of cookies there too...so, whatever movie had archery and cookies in it.  See, I'm no Disney expert!

And finally, at the very bottom of the base of the castle on the outside wall, there is one last tiny nod to a Disney movie.  I believe this would be the Princess and the Frog, right?

The Disney Castle set comes with a total of five Disney figures.  You get Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Tinkerbell (shown in an earlier photo, sort of).  You also get the two gray guards/statue figures but I guess those don't officially count towards the minifigure count of the set.  Truth be told, the biggest weakness of the set is probably the minifigure selection - especially since all the figures (except Tinkerbell) were part of the recent Disney Collectible Minifigure line (even though the outfits here are different).  I would have liked a bit more variety in the figures but that feels like nitpicking at this point in time.

There's Tinkerbell!
Sticker sheet and all the extra pieces.

As whole, the Disney Castle set was a lot of fun to put together.  For such a large set, there wasn't a lot of repetitive building (especially since the backside of the castle isn't symmetric at all).  The worst part of the build was applying the stone decals on the facade - there were 12 total stone stickers (plus 5 other easier-to-apply stickers) in the set.  I think for the cost of the set, LEGO could have made everything printed.  It should be noted that the clock piece and the ornately designed white wall piece are both printed.  You can see the stone stickers at the bottom right corner of the above photograph.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  5
Play Value:  3
Kid Value:  4
Adult Value:  10
Overall:  10

Obviously my "overall" rating is not an average of the preceding scores.  For me, the set deserves a perfect 10 for what it is:  a massive set geared towards the adult collector.  There are tons of neat micro builds throughout the process and the end result is a display piece that looks equally good from the front as it does the back.  This is most definitely not much of a play set (though if I had the set as a kid I'm sure I would make the castle the center of whatever battles I was making up).  The selection of minifigures isn't great, but if you bought into the Disney Collectible line then you have lots of choices to fill up the castle.  Despite the sets massive cost, it's worth every penny!  Go get it before LEGO stops making it, that's my advice.

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