Tuesday, 8 December 2015

LEGO Review: Ariel's Magical Kiss (41052)

Disney Princess brings a touch of pixie dust to the LEGO range. Ariel's Magical Kiss (41052) was one of the launch sets for the range. Read on for a review of this set, to find out whether it's worth tracking down.

Ariel’s Magical Kiss (41052) 
Disney Princess
Released: 2014
Pieces: 250
GBP £24.99, EUR €29.99, USD $29.99

This set is inspired by the ‘kiss the girl’ scene from The Little Mermaid. Rather than faithfully depicting movie scenes, Disney Princess sets tend to take the essence of a scene and run with it. In the original scene, Prince Eric and Ariel take a romantic boat ride as they grow closer, despite Ariel not being able to speak. This set includes the willow tree and row boat (although in a different colour) from The Little Mermaid and imagines what else might have happened.

The build starts with the smaller components. The rowboat piece is pink, which is an odd colour for a rowboat, but it’s a piece that has been produced en masse over the years so it can be taken as a nice change. Building a boat for mini-dolls is different to building one for minifigures. Foot panels need to be built in so that the characters stay in place, and as there is no way of clipping them to the seats tiles are used instead of regular plates. The oars need an extra piece attaching so that the mini-dolls can use them. The rowboat construction actually works really well for keeping the characters in place.

The small rock with a frog popped on top is rather underwhelming, and extra pieces to make the willow tree or palace bigger may have been preferable. The willow tree is a nice addition to this set, however, evoking memories of the movie scene very well. The construction is simple but effective, with trans-blue pieces showing the water lapping around it and sea grass piece inverted to produce the dangling branches. The flowers on top are just the right amount of pink, a lot more subtle than elsewhere in the set.

The jetty is a nice little build, giving somewhere to moor the rowboat while the mini-dolls enjoy their meal. The archway at the end features a bench underneath and leaves overhead, adding to the idyllic scene – it’s a clever use of the ornate frame element. A little more sand baseplate might have allowed more space to place the mini-dolls, but LEGO Friends and Princess sets tend to favour packing in lots of detail rather than expanding the size.

The main section of Palace, like the set itself, gives a flavour rather than a complete building. From the outside it looks rather incomplete, the roof pieces look too low. It doesn’t involve a great deal of building, with just four pieces making up most of the walls. There is not much additional building on top of those pieces, noticeably less so than in other sets based on similar structures such as those in the Pirates or Castle themes. There is an outdoor balcony on the roof, featuring a telescope and space for both mini-dolls.

The interior depicts a dinner scene, with ornate chairs fit for a prince and princess. The table and chairs are bigger than they typically are in LEGO sets, meaning that the entire interior is based on this one room. This highlights the way that Disney Princess sets tend to focus on one area in detail rather than going for size. Flowers in vases line the room and add to the feeling of a romantic dinner. The interior of this building looks much better than the exterior. 

The two mini-dolls are both new to this set. Prince Eric has not been included elsewhere at all, and wears the same outfit that he does for most of The Little Mermaid. This is the only set in which the Ariel mini-doll is in her human form, she wears a pink dress with stars running down the bottom. Both are good mini-doll representations of the characters. None of Ariel’s marine friends are included in this set despite being important to the movie scene, which is a bit of a shortcoming. 

This set is a very quick build thanks to the three large frame pieces and multiple curved wall elements. The various components go well together to give the feel of the scene from The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately the main build – the palace area – is the weakest part and looks better on the inside than the outside. From a display point of view 41063 Ariel’s Undersea Palace is much more attractive, but then it has more room to be at twice the price. This set may not be great for display, but there are some good parts and the details are nice, creating a scene that would no doubt be great for children to use for imaginative play.

Build: 10/20Playability: 15/20Mini-dolls: 15/20Price: 15/20Collectibility: 12/20
Total: 67/100

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