5 May 2015

Elven oven heaven

Our comprehensive LEGO® Elves coverage resumes today with Andrew Barnick heading to the bakery, where they seem to be cooking up some great new parts and excellent recolours of existing parts.

The second Elves set I’ve been lucky enough to build is 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery. And boy, is it a doozy! I knew it would probably be a great set for parts given its vibrant and novel magenta and orange color scheme, but even I wasn’t prepared for just how many of those parts would be new, rare, or otherwise noteworthy. I’d be willing to say that this may well be one of the best sets of the year if you’re looking for a mid-sized set with an interesting and diverse part selection. Let’s take a look!

New or Noteworthy Elements


In Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG]/Bright Light Orange [BL], this set includes several new parts and recolors, starting with the brand new Elves key piece (Element ID 6097246 | Design ID 19118). This part comes in three different colors so far, with a fourth debuting in the summer wave, and this particular color is exclusive to this set and the new 853448 LEGO Elves Diary. Also exclusive to this set in Flame Yellowish Orange: two 1x2 plates with handle on end (Element ID 6097507 | Design ID 60478), and five 2x4 plates (Element ID 6097511 | Design ID 3020). 2x6 plates (Element ID 6097509 | Design ID 3795) are not exclusive to this set, but only appear in this color in two other 2015 sets, and this set includes a whopping FIVE of them, more than any other set. 1x3 plates in this color (Element ID 6073042 | Design ID 3623) date back only to last year, and still only appear in six sets; this set includes two.

In Bright Reddish Violet [TLG]/Magenta [BL], the three 1x1 plates (Element ID 6096942 | Design ID 3024) are brand new for 2015, appearing in only this set and the Friends set 41088 Puppy Training. So are the two 1x2 “baby bows” (Element ID 6070763 | Design ID 11477) previously mentioned in my brother’s review of 41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship. While not new, the two 1x1 lamp holders (Element ID 6037651 | Design ID 4081) and six 1x3 bow bricks (Element ID 6037650 | Design ID 50950) are also rare in this color, each appearing in five other sets. And 2x2 jumper plates (Element ID 6056292 | Design ID 87580) only appear in seven other sets. With a total of nine, the quantity in this set is second only to the much larger 41058 Heartlake Shopping Mall.

Brick Yellow [TLG]/Tan [BL] is not a particularly rare color, but this set includes a few rare parts in this color. The Bionicle ball joint (Element ID 6097508 | Design ID 32474) only previously appeared in this color in two Star Wars sets more than 10 years ago (each time with a different Element ID). Just a fun bit of part trivia: that part’s official name, “Voodoo Ball”, refers to the Bionicle theme’s working title of “Bone Heads of Voodoo Island.” Introduced last year but reappearing in this set: one 1x1x3 brick with clips (Element ID 6055871 | Design ID 60583), which only appears in two other sets; two 1x2 “Stafford slopes” (Element ID 6069165 | Design ID 15672), which only appear in six other sets; and four 1x3x3 arch bricks (Element ID 6058093 | Design ID 13965), which also only appear in six other sets.

1x1 round tiles alone (Design ID 98318) appear in several rare colors: two in Trans. Bright Bluish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Purple [BL] (Element ID 6065505), which only appear in three other sets; five in Trans. Medium Reddish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Dark Pink [BL] (Element ID 6053876), which only appear in five other sets; three in Bright Yellowish Green [TLG]/Lime [BL] (Element ID 6057878), which also only appear in five other sets; and three in Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] (Element ID 6009460), which only appear in six other sets.

Elves-specific printed tiles include a Brick Yellow 2x2 round tile with a printed flame pattern (Element ID 5104416 | Design ID 20294), which is exclusive to this set, and three Trans. Red 1x1 round tiles with a printed flame pattern (Element ID 6104419 / Design ID 20301), which only appear in this set and the aforementioned Elves Diary. A Brick Yellow 2x2 map tile (Element ID 6104425 | Design ID 20306), discussed in our two previous Elves reviews, appears in this set as well.

Two large Dark Green [TLG]/Green [BL] plates are used for the base of this set. The 16x16 plate (Element ID 4626702 | Design ID 91405) only appears in eight other sets, only about half as many sets as the more frequently used Bright Green variety. And the 6x16 plate (Element ID 6032912 | Design ID 3027) is even more rare, only recently appearing in 21301 Birds, 60025 Grand Prix Truck, as well as two pre-2000 sets (with a different Element ID).

New for the Elves theme is the 2x2 radar dish in Trans. Bright Bluish Violet Glitter (Element ID 6093752 | Design ID 30063), which appears only in this set and 41075 The Elves’ Treetop Hideaway. Several of the new and rare detail elements discussed in previous Elves reviews also appear in this set: two Medium Lilac [TLG]/Dark Purple [BL] large limb elements (Element ID 6097523 | Design ID 2417), three Bright Yellowish Green small limb elements (Element ID 6094069 | Design ID 2423), five Lavender 1x1 flower plates (Element ID 6074906 | Design ID 33291), one Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] Elves fence (Element ID 6097234 | Design ID 19121), two Warm Gold 1x1 finials (Element ID 6050916 | Design ID 15470) two Reddish Brown carrot tops (Element ID 6078605 | Design ID 33183), and two Trans. Medium Reddish Violet crystals (Element ID 6099532 | Design ID 30385).

As for assorted recolors and rarities that don’t fit into the above categories, this set includes one Silver Metallic 2x2 inverted dome (Element ID 6102756 | Design ID 15395), new this year in this set and 41093 Heartlake Hair Salon. One Reddish Brown 1x2 plate with 2x2 downward bracket (Element ID 6117976 | Design ID 21712) is included in this set, previously only appearing in last year’s 75059 Sandcrawler and this year’s 75084 Wookiee Gunship. One Dark Brown 1x5x4 inverted half-arch (Element ID 6070884 | Design ID 30099) is used in this set, only appearing in six other sets from 2008 onward. And four Trans. Bright Orange [TLG]/Trans-Orange [BL] 1x2 slopes (Element ID 6022650 | Design ID 6270) appear for the first time in years. That part had previously appeared with two different Element IDs in eight pre-2010 sets.

Finally, the set includes a sticker sheet for the bakery’s signage (and a tiny lizard). However, two of those stickers are intended to be applied to fairly rare parts. The stickers do contribute positively to the look of the set, so I’ve applied them to both parts on my copy of the set, but if you’re interested in the parts on their own it might be worth leaving them undecorated (or ordering duplicates to apply the stickers to).

Firstly, the sign for the bakery is a Black 1x5x3 Round Sign (Element ID 6070733 | Design ID 13459), which debuted in 2013 but only appears in four sets in any color and has only previously appeared in Black in 10245 Santa’s Village. It’s no small feat to get the stickers for both sides of the sign aligned properly on the first try, given their round shape. Secondly, a menu board attached to the outside of the building uses a Medium Nougat [TLG]/Medium Dark Flesh [BL] 2x3 plate with clips (Element ID 6022075 | Design ID 30350), which has only previously appeared in 10236 Ewok Village and 41022 Bunny’s Hutch. The good news is that both elements, particularly the round sign, are likely to become cheaper on the aftermarket thanks to their appearance in this mid-sized set.

Building the Magical Bakery


With one instruction booklet and three numbered bags, this mid-range set’s construction is made simple enough for younger builders while remaining an interesting and varied build. Bag 1 builds Azari the Fire Elf, the groundwork for the bakery, and the indoor and outdoor furniture.



Azari Firedancer appears in this set, the Elves’ Treetop Hideaway, and the gift-with-purchase set Azari’s Magic Fire, making her the most commonly available character at least until the summer wave debuts. She’s a very distinctive figure, to be sure.

Unlike the other Elves, her skin tone is Medium Nougat [TLG]/Medium Dark Flesh [BL]—while her canon ethnicity is of course sourced from the fantasy land of Elvendale like most of the other characters, her name is derived from the Persian word for fire, suggesting that her skin tone might be meant to resemble an Arabic or middle-eastern complexion. This choice of skin tone does render her unique elf-eared hairpiece harder for fans of traditional figs to utilize (since there are no traditional female minifigure heads in that color), which is a shame—its Dark Red and Flame Yellowish Orange color scheme is quite distinctive, and I can only hope that more women of color appear in future licensed themes so that this hairpiece can be of more use to fantasy builders.

Azari’s outfit, unlike those of the other main Elves, does not include any metallic printing, but its Flame Yellowish Orange and Bright Reddish Violet colors, unique fiery skirt piece, and asymmetrical single-strap top help it to stand out anyway. In fact, those two colors define the majority of Azari’s color scheme—her face and shoulder tattoos are also Bright Reddish Violet, while Flame Yellowish Orange eyes help to set her apart more from traditional, realistic Friends figs. Her sandals are the only parts of her with metallic printing—and they might also have also looked better in Flame Yellowish Orange, since the metallic gold straps can be hard to distinguish printed directly on her similar skin tone.


Also included in Bag 1 is Flamy the Fox, who unlike Miss Spry from my previous review is in fact an entirely new mold. I’m sure many Friends fans are hoping for a more generically printed fox to appear in the Friends theme, but in the meantime Flamy’s Dark Red coloration with fiery printing makes him an awesome animal companion for Azari.

The rest of Bag 1 is fairly straightforward to build. The first parts to assemble are a simple table and stools, which will be attached in front of the Bakery at the very end of the build but are easy to remove or reposition. Similarly, a simple countertop (with a mixing bowl, rolling pin, and two Brick Yellow parts representing dough both kneaded and rolled flat) and spice rack (with three ambiguous containers) are placed inside the bakery but can be removed to allow more space for play. Flame Yellowish Orange plates are used both for the base of the bakery’s walls and for the lava pool off to the side, while Medium Stone Grey tiles are used to lay the groundwork for the set’s two functions.

Bag 2 is devoted to building up the bread oven and lava falls beside the bakery. It also includes one fig. Johnny Baker, the, er, baker, is the only character outside the main cast in the first year of sets. But that’s not to say he’s not interesting! His baggy white pants, Dark Red shoes, and Flame Yellowish Orange top are all more generic-looking than the designs used for the main characters (as is his fairly basic face print), but altogether he still has a vibrant and slightly fantastic appearance. His hairpiece is a recolor of Farran’s, this time in Dark Orange, but the set also includes a traditional chef’s hat for him to wear. I wasn’t too happy with how he looks wearing the chef’s hat as shown in the instructions, since like most minifigure headwear, it’s meant to replace his ordinary hairpiece. In this case that would eliminate not just the hair from the back of his head, but also his distinctive elf ears! But I was happy to discover that there is another option—the spiky, rubbery hairpiece allows the chef’s hat to balance on top fairly well, which is stable enough for display purposes if not for play.

The completed Bag 2 can’t help but look a bit unbalanced, with the right side of the model nearly complete but the bakery side lacking, well, the bakery itself. Bag 3 will rectify that, finishing off the set. It’s worth noting that at this point in the build, the two functions of the set are complete—I’ll discuss those when it comes time to talk about overall impressions of the completed set.

Bag 3, as I mentioned, builds up the walls of the bakery and adds the finishing touches to the model as a whole. Keep in mind that all the stickers in this set are applied in this section—while one of those stickers is attached to a common 1x2 brick, the other three go on somewhat rare sign elements, as mentioned earlier, so if you do decide to apply those stickers, apply them carefully.

The bakery “counter” (where food is presumably sold to customers) uses an interesting technique with the new Elves fence, which I thought was worth mentioning. Placed in front of the classic 1x4x2 arch brick, the gaps in the upper right and left of the fence are covered, leaving the center section as the only part of the fence that can be seen through. In the context of this set, it doesn’t have a huge effect on its overall look, but nonetheless it’s an interesting technique that expanded my perceptions of how that new part could be used in future models.

Anyway, with the completion of Bag 3, the set as a whole is finally complete. Let’s take a look at what all those interesting parts look like put together!

The Finished Set




The completed bakery looks pretty amazing as far as I’m concerned. The Flame Yellowish Orange and Bright Reddish Violet used for the peaked “roof” make this one of the most vibrant Elves sets as far as its color scheme is concerned. And nestled between a tree and a lava flow, the bakery looks incredibly solid and integrated with its environment, despite the front wall being little more than a façade.

Inside the bakery, there are enough accessories to act out the day-to-day operations of food service. The ball of dough (represented cleverly by a Bionicle “Voodoo Ball”) can be placed into the bowl to represent it being mixed or removed so that it can be kneaded, while the 2x2 round tile can be used to represent the dough being rolled (although it’s tricky to do so with the included rolling pin, thanks to the lack of articulated wrists on mini-dolls). A spice rack off to the side features an assortment of colorful jars, and a hook high on the bakery wall provides a place to hang Johnny’s hat when it’s not being worn. The bakery also offers a wide variety of assorted baked goods to sell at the window, including both common single-piece pastries like the baguette, croissant, and printed cookies, and brick-built items like a berry pie and cupcakes. And as mentioned before, all of the fixtures in the set can be removed to allow more space for play.


The inside of the bakery also offers a simple function in the form of the bread oven. Nestled behind the lava flow from the front of the bakery, a large bread pan can be inserted into the open oven and slid through to the other side on a tiled surface. This is a neat function for representing the bread being baked, and a nook on the rear of the oven (also used to store a bag of flour) provides just barely enough of a view inside to observe the loaf as it “rises”.



The lava flow outside (which looks quite distinctive with a few Trans. Medium Reddish Violet tiles accenting the more typical Flame Yellowish Orange and Trans. Bright Orange lava) also hides its own secret function, representing the bakery’s primary role in the story. By pushing the gray rocks at the end of the flow (helpfully marked by an elemental symbol like the function in Farran and the Crystal Hollow), the lava falls actually fold down to expose the key hidden behind them. While this function is less impressive than the Crystal Hollow’s moving crystals, and less realistic than the parting of the lava falls as shown in the TV special, it’s still effective, with only a slight push required to reveal the key with a satisfying “click”.

Final Thoughts



Having built the bakery as my second Elves set, I have to say I’m quite pleased with the finished product. A wide assortment of interesting parts comes together to form a fantastic little model—if I ever do choose to take the set apart to try building something else, it should offer plenty of options, but given how amazing the base model is I can’t help but think that it might still be a long time before I get to that point.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the Elves theme pointed at this particular set, by people who worry that subject matter like spas and bakeries celebrate female domesticity and/or a consumerist culture. But of course LEGO can be whatever you want to make of it. Depending on how a child chooses to act out a scene, Azari can be a customer at the bakery, or she can get a part-time job there, serving other Elves. She can even visit solely to obtain the hidden key that opens the path to further adventure. Personally, I’m very impressed with the sheer variety of play options offered by the set, which in my opinion eclipse the somewhat generic battle scenarios typically offered by sets in my other favored themes like Bionicle and Ninjago.

With this review, my brother and I have covered half of the sets the Elves theme has to offer. I hope you stay tuned for what else we have in store!



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

41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery retails at GB£24.99 / US$29.99 / €29.99. Consider using our affiliate links to buy it (or anything); this helps support New Elementary!



12 comments:

  1. I thought the black round sign previously had appeared in Fabuland sets, but that part had a slightly different design.

    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=x222

    /Håkan

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I first noticed the difference when the new one showed up on Lego Digital Designer.

      I'd consider the new one slightly more useful due to being 3 bricks tall instead of 3 1/3, the top surface basically being flat (instead of having a section poking above the height of the top stud, and perhaps most importantly, being able to be attached by clips all the way up its length, instead of just near the top.

      Gosh, this talk makes me realize I probably should have talked about that part a bit more in the review. I hadn't considered how significant the differences were, or the fact that this part hadn't really been discussed here in any previous reviews!

      Delete
  2. Not very many pieces have appeared in glitter colors, have they? Does Lego have to use a different kind of plastic to accommodate the glitter?
    --Chaz Fairbanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And has a radar dish ever had glitter before?
      --Chaz Fairbanks

      Delete
    2. A trans glitter radar dish appeared in the Belville set #5962 Tinderbox

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemIn.asp?P=4740&colorID=101&in=A

      /Håkan

      Delete
    3. Lego does not use glitter colors much, especially not as much as they used to in the early 2000s. They are starting to make a comeback this year, though, with the Elves sets and the Frozen set both using glitter parts.

      I don't think the plastic formulation is any different apart from the glitter being mixed in, though. Just the same polycarbonate as other transparent parts.

      Delete
    4. Do you know what the largest brick is in glitter colors? I am considering doing an MOC using glitter bricks as ice, and I'd like to have the smallest amount of lines possible.
      --Chaz Fairbanks

      Delete
    5. Usually, for queries like these, it'd be easiest just to consult Bricklink which lists nearly all known parts by type and color.

      Some suggestions is Duplo Brick 1x2x2, Tower Roof 6x8x9 and Rock Panel 2x4x6 (if you don't mind a rainbow streak in your ice).

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=1&pg=1&colorPart=101&catType=P

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=1&pg=1&colorPart=100&catType=P

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=1&pg=1&colorPart=162&catType=P

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=1&pg=1&colorPart=102&catType=P

      /Håkan

      Delete
    6. Of course, all of the bricks don't have to be glitter, but you can combine with ordinary trans clear and trans light blue bricks...

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?v=1&pg=1&colorPart=12&catType=P

      http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?pg=1&colorPart=15&catType=P

      /Håkan

      Delete
    7. Thanks. I kind of forgot about Bricklink.
      --Chaz Fairbanks

      Delete
  3. Great set, great theme. I must say though, I hardly consider the lack of a female face an obstacle to using Azari's amazing hair piece, since it's clearly from a fantasy world where people have pointy ears and multicoloured hair in the first place. I bet it would look wonderful on an LOTR orc or perhaps the ceremonially painted Thuggee face from Indiana Jones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh goodness, I had hardly considered that. If you get a set with Azari, it is now your moral duty to put those luscious locks on an orc and share pictures for the world to see!

      Of course, the Thuggee would not match the ears as well. Their skin tone was Nougat, not Medium Nougat.

      Delete