Closes May 31st:

Competition: make a LEGO font

7 April 2015

Clamming up

We continue our LEGO® Elves examination with a review of 41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship from Scott Barnick.

For me, the LEGO Elves theme has been one of the most impressive surprises of the 2015 lineup. With the success of LEGO Friends, more girl-focused themes were of course inevitable, and I’ve been saying for a while that the next step in that direction should be a girl-focused fantasy theme. But I was not prepared for how profoundly the LEGO Elves theme would appeal to me personally. The theme is as magical and character-driven as some of my previous favorite themes like LEGO Ninjago and LEGO BIONICLE, but also brings with it an otherworldly color palette, ornate design language, and a world inspired by both traditional European fairy tales and more modern fantasy stories.

41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship offers a great taste of the theme’s design as well as its adventurous spirit. Like all the Elves sets, it is aimed at a slightly higher age set than LEGO Friends or LEGO City — in this case, 7–12 years. And not only is Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship a stellar set design, but also a treasure trove of new and rare parts in various colors.

Parts


First and foremost, we have a brand-new element for the Elves theme: an ornate new 1x4x2 railing in Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] (Design ID 19121 | Element ID 6097234). This part also appears in two other Elves sets in Warm Gold and Sand Green. Another new element for this year is the 4x4½ clam shell (Design ID 18970). This piece appears exclusively in this set and 41063 Ariel’s Undersea Palace from the Disney Princess theme. This set features two in each of its current colors: Warm Gold (Element ID 6097230) and White (Element ID 6097097).

In Aqua [TLG]/Light Aqua [BL], we have an exclusive new accessory: the magical water key (Design ID 19118 | Element ID 6097247). Andrew discussed this new key element in his review of 41076 Farran and the Crystal Hollow. It has a lot of potential for both decorative and functional applications. Currently, it comes in three colors in one set each: the summer wave will bring both a fourth color and a set that includes all four keys.

This ship wouldn’t be complete without a sail! The sail (Design ID 19250 | Element ID 6097438) is a unique shape and is bagged individually with a backing card to prevent wrinkling. It is made from White cloth printed with Medium Lilac [TLG]/Dark Purple [BL] and Medium Azur [TLG]/Medium Azure [BL] patterns on one side. I have to agree with many critics that the sail would have been nicer had it been printed on both sides, or even just Medium Lilac on the reverse side. However, the final set still looks fantastic even with just one side of the sail colored.

On to this set’s many recolors! Let’s start with Earth Blue [TLG]/Dark Blue [BL]. The three 2x6 bricks (Design ID 44237 | Element ID 6100239) and two 1x3x3 arch bricks (Design ID 13965 | Element ID 6097484) are brand-new in this color. Meanwhile, the 3x8x2 right shell with bow (Design ID 41749 | Element ID 6074665), 3x8x2 left shell with bow (Design ID 41750 | Element ID 6074660), 2x6 right inverted bow (Design ID 41764 | Element ID 6097487), 2x6 left inverted bow (Design ID 41765 | Element ID 6097490), two 2x3 inverted slopes (Design ID 3747 | Element ID 6097491), and two 1x3x2 bows (Design ID 33243 | Element ID 6097486) have all appeared in that color in three or fewer previous sets.

In Medium Azur, the two 1x2 bricks with clip (Design ID 30237 | Element ID 6097494), two 1x3 tiles (Design ID 63864 | Element ID 6097492), and two 1x4x2 arches (Design ID 6182 | Element ID 6097495) are brand new. Also, the nine 1x2 bricks (Design ID 3004 | Element ID 6092674), two 1x4 plates, (Design ID 3710 | Element ID 6070757), 2x2 tile (Design ID 3068 | Element ID 6060857), 4x4 round plate (Design ID 60474 | Element ID 6102828), two 1x5x4 bricks with inverted bow (Design ID 30099 | Element ID 6059165), two 1x2x⅔ bows (Design ID 11477 | Element ID 6071246), and two 1x4 bows (Design ID 11153 | Element ID 605282) are all rare, having only appeared in this color in five or fewer previous sets.

The set has a nice helping of new or rare Warm Gold parts as well. For instance, this set has two Warm Gold reeds (Design ID 15279 | Element ID 6097518). This recolor currently appears only in this set and 41075 The Elves’ Treetop Hideaway. The four Warm Gold 1x1 round bricks (Design ID 3062 | Element ID 6060800) are not entirely new but have only previously appeared in two Disney Princess sets. This year they appear in this set and 70413 The Brick Bounty from the Pirates theme. Finally, this set is only the second to include Warm Gold 9M wings (Design ID 11091 | Element ID 6024604), after 70201 CHI Eris from the 2013 Legends of Chima constraction range.

The Bright Purple [TLG]/Dark Pink [BL] hairbrush (Design ID 3852 | Element ID 6097446) is brand-new, only otherwise appearing in two other sets this year. The Bright Yellowish Green [TLG]/Lime [BL] leaf/branch (Design ID 2423 | Element ID 6094069) is also new and exclusive to this year’s Elves and Disney Princess sets. Not quite new but very rare are the Brick Yellow [TLG]/Tan [BL] 2x2x⅔ bow plate (Design ID 47457 | Element ID 6055783) and Brick Yellow 1x3x3 brick with bow (Design ID 13965 | Element ID 6058093), the latter of which is also in several other sets from the Elves range. And in Medium Lilac, this set introduces two 1x3x2 bricks with inside and outside bow (Design ID 92903 | Element ID 6097497).

New printed elements include the Brick Yellow 2x2 map tile (Design ID 3068 | Element ID 6104425), the Aqua [TLG]/Light Aqua [BL] 2x2 tile with water insignia (Design ID 14769 | Element ID 6104410), and the Tr. Blue [TLG]/Trans-Dark Blue [BL] 1x1 tile with water power icon (Design ID 98138 | Element ID 6104423). Naturally, the last of these is small enough that a second is included as a spare.

For additional decoration, a sticker sheet with ten stickers is included. All the stickers are fairly easy to line up —all but the cushions have straight edges, and those have directional points that help in lining them up. Only two stickers (the two Medium Azur stickers for the ship’s hull) are applied to rare pieces. However, these two stickers add a lot to the design, as you will see in the photos below.

Mini-dolls


The mini-dolls, Naida Riverheart and Aira Windwhistler, have lots of beautiful detail. Both characters have beautiful body art on their left shoulder, right cheek, and forehead, and wear a belt or sash with their elemental icon in the center. Each girl has a new and unique rubber wig with molded “elf ears” painted to match her Light Nougat [TLG]/Light Flesh [BL] skin tone. Even more impressively, each character’s wig has colored highlights: Aira’s (Design ID 20010 | Element ID 6103003) fades from Lavender to White, and Naida’s (Design ID 20060| Element ID 6103116) fades from Aqua to Dark Azur [TLG]/Dark Azure [BL]. Every new wig in the Elves theme features a Ø1.5mm hole for accessories like those found in the LEGO Friends theme.

People are often surprised to hear that there are actually four mini-doll torso styles: “girl”, “boy”, “woman”, and “man”. The differences are mostly in the shape of the chest, although the rarely used “man” style has thicker arms as well. Naida and Aira both use the “girl” torso style, which is by far the most common. Their torsos are decorated with metallic silver and metallic gold accents, respectively. Naida’s skirt has previously been used in various LEGO Friends sets, but Aira’s is a brand-new design with a beautiful diagonally cut hem. Further reinforcing their elemental motifs, Naida’s sandals feature a seashell pattern, and Aira’s feature a wing pattern. And finally, each character carries a 1x1 round tile. Naida’s is Tr. Blue to represent her water magic and Aira’s is the much rarer Tr. Bright Bluish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Purple [BL] (Design ID 98138 | Element ID 6065505) to represent her wind magic.

Build


The first bag builds Naida, the giant clam and the base of the ship. The giant clam is a simple but clever design that hinges open with a Technic pin. A black rubber 2M Technic damper ensures that the clam will snap closed, though not so hard that it will pinch small children’s fingers. The clam is the hiding place for the water key that Naida has to collect in order to open the magical portal so her new human friend Emily Jones can return to her own world.

The hull of the ship features a sticker representing a downward-facing porthole. Through the porthole you can see a starfish as well as an oyster — possibly the same oyster Naida is looking for! The clamshells on the sides of the ship function as seats, and are attached via ball cups so that they can fold to the sides. There are also two more seat cushions and a diving board on the sun deck at the stern of the ship.



As this section of the hull comes together, it’s already apparent just how solid and streamlined its design is, and it only gets better as the build continues. Even the underside of the ship looks beautiful!



Bag two builds Aira, completes the hull, and builds the ship’s cabin/galley. The ship’s elegant curved prow comes together in this section, using some clever SNOT building to lock it in place and a combination of bricks and stickers to add a horizontal Medium Azur stripe. Also in this bag, the gearbox for steering the ship is constructed. That’s right, this ship has a gear function!

Bag three adds the quarterdeck, the mast and sail, and lots of decorations. First comes the quarterdeck, which features a decorative railing using Medium Lilac bows and the new fence piece. On top of this railing is a large spyglass constructed from the basic spyglass element, a Warm Gold fez, and a Transparent [TLG]/Trans-Clear [BL] gemstone as the lens. For further decoration, the quarterdeck uses a sticker with abstract patterns and the water elemental icon.

The ship’s decorations include climbing plants on the deck and the archway leading into the cabin, which like most of the plants of Elvendale grow both flowers and gemstones. The Legends of Chima wing elements and two blue lanterns are added to the sides of the cabin, and the Warm Gold reeds with attached Tr. Light Blue gemstones are attached to the sun deck (I’m not sure of their significance, though I assume they are a low railing).

The ship’s mast is constructed from basic Technic axles and angle connectors, making it very sturdy. The sail makes a nice billowy sound as the mast rotates. The rotation of the mast is controlled by the ship’s wheel via the aforementioned gearbox.

When the ship is completed, there is plenty of space for all five main characters on board. As the ship’s captain, Naida can helm the wheel as Aira uses her wind powers to propel the ship forward. Meanwhile, Farran can cook up a meal in the galley, Azari can keep lookout from the quarterdeck, and Emily can help navigate using the magical map. The interior of the cabin is very simple, with just a small stove and skillet on the starboard side and a hairbrush and mysterious purple jar on the port side. You’d be hard-pressed to fit more than one character in the cabin at any one time, but the windows help it to feel more spacious.



One drawback of the set is that it lacks any cute animal friends — the only animal in this set is the giant clam, which is hardly as cuddly-looking as the animals from the other Elves sets. By contrast, buying 41071 Aira’s Creative Workshop and 41072 Naida’s Spa Secret, which add up to more or less the same price, will get you the same two mini-dolls as well as two animal friends — Pluma the bird and Delphia the dolphin. On the other hand, neither of those sets will get you the magical water key.

Another thing the ship lacks is dedicated sleeping quarters. Naida is officially stated to live on board, and sleeping quarters are shown in the “Unite the Magic” TV special. But that is inevitable in a set this size, and even as a $30/€30/£25 set it still manages to seem a lot more livable than the Destiny’s Bounty from Ninjago (either the original, which cost $80/€80/£60, or this year’s, which will be even more expensive).

Final Thoughts


Overall, this set really showcases this theme’s defining values: non-violent fantasy adventure, otherworldly design sensibilities, and a balance between the creature comforts of civilization and harmony with the environment. It might very easily be the best playset of this theme’s debut wave! I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this theme, or even just a taste for fantasy adventure on the high seas!



Our thanks to the LEGO Community & Events Engagement Team for providing this set.

41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship retails for £24.99 / $29.99 / €29.99. Consider using our affiliate links to buy it (or anything); this helps support New Elementary!

USA: Amazon.com | The Official LEGO Shop

Canada: Amazon.ca | The Official LEGO® Shop

UK: Amazon.co.uk

Deutschland: Amazon.de

France: Amazon.fr



4 comments:

  1. Excellent review Scott! This ship is definitely on my shopping list... I just love its design, and the array of parts and colours it utilises is very alluring to me. My only issue is that in buying it, I'll end up having two copies of the Aira minidoll! I can only imagine the mischief that the two of them will get up to...

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  2. This set looked cool in the store, but it looks even cooler now. Great review. About the sail--if it is the right size (and I'm not sure if it is or not), it could make a wonderful Indian sarong for a Miniland-scale figure. Or a kimono. Also, the Aqua [TLG]/Light Aqua [BL] 2x2 tile with water insignia (Design ID 14769 | Element ID 6104410 looks EXACTLY like a giant cuttlefish's eye. Google it if you don't believe me. A cuttlefish would make an interesting MOC.
    --Chaz Fairbanks

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    1. No need to Google it — I've loved cuttlefish ever since I read an article about giant cuttlefish in a National Geographic back in middle school! You certainly have a knack for coming up with creative uses for parts!

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    2. Thank you. When I see a weird part, I automatically think, "Hey, that looks like a...",
      and try to think of a way to use it in an MOC.
      --Chaz Fairbanks
      P.S. I love National Geographic and have that article. That's how I made the connection.

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