3 July 2016

Cave of colours

It's been a long time since we looked at a LEGO® Elves set, which are always full of new parts and vibrant recolours. We begin to redress that today with a review by Andrew Barnick of a 2016 set, 41175 Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave.

LEGO Elves may have even surpassed Bionicle as my favorite new theme of 2015, with a fantastic range of colorful and magical-looking sets and a heartwarming story and characters. So I’m happy to return this year with reviews of some new Elves sets. This year’s Elves sets focus on Emily Jones and the Elves’ quest to rescue the Dragon Queen from the evil Elf Witch Ragana, and feature both adorable baby dragons and fantastic brick-built adult dragons to accompany the Elves on their journey. And like last year’s sets, these sets include a plethora of new and rare elements in an array of bright colors that are far less common in other themes. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what 41175 Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave has to offer!

Parts

Two of the most prominent new molds from this set are the Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG]/Bright Light Orange [BL] dragon head (Design ID 25064 | Element ID 6136956) and dragon jaw (Design ID 24199 | Element ID 6133332). The dragon head is printed with a unique eye pattern with flame-like markings, and has plenty of connection points (two studs on top, a Technic axle hole underneath for attaching the neck, and two 3.2 mm holes in the back for horns). The jaw features a stud on the inside of the mouth for attaching fiery breath. 

One interesting note about these parts is that the connection between the head and jaw, which clicks into several positions ranging from open wide to closed tight, is actually a standardized LEGO connection shared by a select few other parts including the Hero Factory Invasion from Below “beast heads” and the heads of several of the Legends of Chima constraction figures. The former looks a bit preposterous when mixed with the new Elves dragon heads, but the latter can work fairly well mixed with them to create a unique look!

This set includes two of a very highly anticipated new part— inverse “baby bows” (Design ID 24201 | Element ID 6142402) and they come here in Bright Reddish Violet [TLG]/Magenta [BL]. This part is almost exactly like the traditional 1x2 “baby bow” except with studs where the anti-studs would normally be. It also appears in Aqua [TLG]/Light Aqua [BL] in 41176 The Secret Market Place, and will be appearing in several other colors this summer including Black, Flame Yellowish Orange, and Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/Light Bluish Gray [BL].

The final new mold featured in this set is the 4x8 half circle plate (Design ID 22888 | Element ID 6133767). Three are included in Dark Green [TLG]/Green [BL]. On the surface, this part may seem a bit redundant, as it is essentially two 4x4 quarter circle plates [Design ID 30565] fused together. However, there are plenty of opportunities where a half circle’s greater area and stability is preferable to two quarter circles that must be locked together in the center. This year’s Elves sets make great use of these plates in order to create sturdy, organically-shaped bases with fewer angular corners than typical rectangular plates alone would provide.

This set also features two (one plus one extra) Transparent Bright Green 1x1 pyramid slopes (Design ID 22388 | Element ID 6138727). While this new mold debuted in Nexo Knights, it only appears in this color in this set and 41180 Ragana’s Magic Shadow Castle from the summer Elves wave.

The final major new mold in this set is a new addition to the 'Mixel joint' connector system: Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray [BL] 1x2 plate with a 5.9mm towball on the end (Design ID 22890 | Element ID 6123814). This part appears in eighteen other 2016 sets so far including Mixels, Ninjago, Nexo Knights, and more, but this set is tied with three other sets for the highest quantity, with four included.

This set includes a few new printed tiles. The first, a 2x2 tile in Brick Yellow [TLG]/Tan [BL], is printed with a map representing the Dragon Mountains and Shadowlands in the north of Elvendale (Design ID 25621 | Element ID 6141978), and appears in six other Elves sets this year. This map looks fantastic, like last year’s map (see comparison below), and together they sort of remind me of the multiple map patterns in the classic Adventurers theme—I wonder if other maps will be released in future years to form a tessellating pattern! The other two new printed tiles in this set are Bright Yellowish Green [TLG]/Lime [BL] 2x2 round tiles with a pattern that seems to suggest a patch of moss (Design ID 25663 | Element ID 6142097). They appear in five other Elves sets this year.


Since Flame Yellowish Orange makes up the bulk of Zonya’s color scheme, it’s no surprise that it also makes up the bulk of the parts in this set.

New recolors in Flame Yellowish Orange that are exclusive to this set include:
  • four 1x2 plates with three teeth (Design ID 15208 | Element ID 6138731), 
  • one 2x3x⅔ bow brick with flared end (Design ID 47456 | Element ID 6134876), and 
  • two large dragon wings blended with Tr. Md. Reddish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Dark Pink [BL] (Design ID 51341 | Element ID 6134203). 
Other new Flame Yellowish Orange elements include:
  • four 1x4x⅔ double bow bricks (Design ID 93273 | Element ID 6133826), which also appear in 41118 Heartlake Supermarket and the promotional 40228 Geoffrey &Friends, 
  • two 4x3 wedge slopes (Design ID 64225 | Element ID 6133930), which only appear in this set and 76059 Spider Man: Doc Ock’s Tentacle Trap from the summer Super Heroes wave, and 
  • four 2x2 dishes (Design ID 4740 | Element ID 6133925), which also appear in 41173 Elvendale School of Dragons and only previously appeared in 2012’s 9483 Agent Mater’s Escape with a different Element ID.

Of course, Flame Yellowish Orange is still not the most common color, and as such even some of this set’s parts which had appeared before this year are still rare or hard to find. Rare parts in this color include:
  • four 1x2x1⅓ bow bricks (Design ID 6091 | Element ID 6023185) which only appear in 10 other sets, three of which are also new for this year; 
  • 16 2x2x⅔ bow bricks (Design ID 15068 | Element ID 6099730), which only appear in four other sets, two of which are new; 
  • seven 1x2x⅔ bow bricks (Design ID 11477 | Element ID 6099728), which only appear in nine other sets, five of which are new; 
  • 14 1x2 plates (Design ID 3023 | Element ID 6028736), which only appear in 14 other sets, 12 of which are new; 
  • eight 1x1 plates (Design ID 3024 | Element ID 6073040), which only appear in 10 other sets, three of which are new; 
  • one 1x3 plate (Design ID 3623 | Element ID 6073042), which only appears in nine other sets, two of which are new; 
  • two 1x1 bricks (Design ID 3005 | Element ID 6061685), which only appear in four other sets; 
  • one 2x3 plate (Design ID 3021 | Element ID 6097503), which only appears in four other sets, three of which are new; and 
  • five 1x4 tiles (Design ID 2431 | Element ID 6072668), which only appear in five other sets, three of which are new.

Of course, this set has more than just one color to offer when it comes to new and rare elements. Other new recolors in this set include:
  • one Br. Reddish Violet 6x4 inverted curved wedge (Design ID 43713 | Element ID 6133929), 
  • four Br. Reddish Violet 4x1 inverted bow bricks (Design ID 13547 | Element ID 6133927), 
  • two Br. Reddish Violet 1x4x1 flexible claws (Design ID 11089 | Element ID 6133932), 
  • two Br. Reddish Violet small tribal flames (Design ID 18395 | Element ID 6133934), 
  • six Br. Reddish Violet 2x2 boat studs (Design ID 2654 | Element ID 6143445), 
  • three Lavender 2x1x2 slopes (Design ID 60481 | Element ID 6138504), 
  • four Reddish Brown 1x2 plates with pin hole on top (Design ID 11458 | Element ID 6138664), 
  • two Reddish Brown 1x2 panels with center divider (Design ID 93095 | Element ID 6133860), 
  • four Br. Yellowish Green [TLG]/Lime [BL] 2x2x⅔ bow bricks (Design ID 15068 | Element ID 6138661), 
  • six Br. Yellowish Green 1x1 plates with vertical tooth (Design ID 15070 | Element ID 6138659), and 
  • one Tr. Br. Green 1x1 crystal (Design ID 30385 | Element ID 6134621).

(Note: I accidentally included the two Trans. Bright Green 1x1 pyramid slopes in the above picture even though it is technically a new part rather than a recolored older part).

Other rare parts in this set include:
  • one Md. Stone Grey 2x6 half circle plate (Design ID 18980 | Element ID 6105964), which only appears in nine other sets, five of which are new for this year; 
  • six Br. Reddish Violet 1x3 plates (Design ID 3623 | Element ID 6022048), which only appear in seven other sets, two of which are new; 
  • one Br. Reddish Violet 2x4 plate (Design ID 3020 | Element ID 6037658), which only appears in 12 other sets, eight of which are new; 
  • three Br. Reddish Violet 1x2 plates (Design ID 3023 | Element ID 6103415), which only appear in 11 other sets, six of which are new; 
  • three Br. Reddish Violet 1x1 plates (Design ID 3024 | Element ID 6096942), which only appear in eight other sets, five of which are new; 
  • three Br. Reddish Violet 1x2 jumper plates (Design ID 15573 | Element ID 6101073), which only appear in six other sets, one of which is new; 
  • two Tr. Br. Orange [TLG]/Trans-Orange [BL] 1x2x5 bricks (Design ID 46212 | Element ID 6108173), which only appear in four other sets, three of which are new; 
  • one Dk. Stone Grey 1x6x2 arch brick (Design ID 15254 | Element ID 6106191), which only appears in seven other sets, one of which is new; 
  • four Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] Technic #1 Angle Connectors (Design ID 32013 | Element ID 6109757), which only appear in three other sets, two of which are new; 
  • four Br. Yellow [TLG]|Yellow [BL] 1x1 plates with vertical tooth (Design ID 15070 | Element ID 6047218), which only appears in seven other sets, two of which are new; 
  • one Black 4x4 round plate with 2x2 cutout (Design ID 11833 | Element ID 6045912), which only appears in eight other sets, four of which are new; 
  • two Black small tribal flames (Design ID 18395 | Element ID 6114248), which only appear in three other sets, two of which are new; 
  • two Tr. Br. Bl. Violet Glitter [TLG]/Glitter Trans-Purple [BL] 2x2 dishes (Design ID 30063 | Element ID 6093752), which only appear in four other sets, two of which are new; 
  • two Lavender 1x3 plates (Design ID 3623 | Element ID 6112961), which only appear in this set and 41078 Skyra’s Mysterious Sky Castle; 
  • two Br. Purple [TLG]/Dark Pink [BL] 4x3 foliage elements (Design ID 2423 | Element ID 6093480), which only appear in 12 other sets, seven of which are new; 
  • two Br. Purple 2x2 tiles (Design ID 3068 | Element ID 6054406), which appear in 11 other sets, four of which are new; 
  • two Tr. Br. Green 1x2 tiles (Design ID 30070 | Element ID 6139003), which also appear in 76056 Rescue from Ra’s Al Ghul and previously appeared in 6862 Superman vs. Power Armor Lex with a different element ID; 
  • one Reddish Brown 3x3 cross plate (Design ID 15397 | Element ID 6050918), which only appears in three other sets, one of which is new; and 
  • four Tr. Red 1x1 tiles with Elves fire element print (Design ID 20301 | Element ID 6104419), which only appear in three other sets, one of which is new.

This set includes a sticker sheet for patterns on the dragon, cave, and Shadow Fountain. Several of the stickered parts are new or rare recolors (both Flame Yellowish Orange 4x3 wedge slopes, four of the Flame Yellowish Orange 2x2x⅔ bow bricks, and two of the Bright Yellowish Green 2x2x⅔ bow bricks). I prefer to apply the stickers, particularly for my favorite themes, so as such the stickers will be included in the pictures of the completed set. If you intend to use this set as a parts pack, use your better judgment to decide whether you prefer the parts with the stickered patterns or without!

The Completed Set


This set includes two mini-doll characters: Emily Jones and Azari Firedancer. Both characters feature updated designs. Emily has exchanged her striped sleeveless tee for a new one with a V-neck and a gradient pattern, and has swapped her yellow sneakers and denim shorts for red sneakers and khaki shorts. Azari has exchanged her Bright Reddish Violet dress with Flame Yellowish Orange accents for a new dress that mostly inverts those colors. Her Bright Reddish Violet shoulder decoration has also been replaced with a new gold pattern, and both characters’ faces have been updated (Azari’s with a wider smile and Emily’s with an open-mouthed smile).

The largest part of this set is Zonya, the Fire Dragon. Zonya is the biggest of the dragons released in this spring’s Elves sets, using the older, larger dragon wing mold and including seats for both Azari and Emily. Like the other Elves dragons, Zonya is mostly brick-built and uses Mixel joints for her legs, ankles, and tail. Zonya’s neck, on the other hand, uses click hinges, and this combined with the wider neck makes it so that Zonya is somewhat less articulated than the smaller Water Dragon Merina. Still, Zonya is a fantastic build, being incredibly sturdy and having wonderful organic shaping. And the color scheme of Flame Yellowish Orange and Bright Reddish Violet looks just as good on her as it does on Azari and several other Elves buildings and structures.

One small and easily missed feature of this set is the Shadow Fountain, which despite its small size is very important to the story. The Shadow Fountain is the source of the Elf Witch Ragana’s dark magic, and has a darker, more menacing look than most other features we’ve seen in Elves sets up to this point. The fountain features a sliding function that allows the ominous Tr. Br. Green spring to be “purified” and replaced with clean water (or, alternatively, for the fountain to use its powers of illusion to lure the good Elves characters in to drink its cursed water), and the black stickered “crown” of the shadow fountain can replace the gold details on Zonya’s head to represent the evil helmet which Ragana uses to control the Fire Dragon’s mind.

The set also includes a small campfire for Emily and Azari to sit around. While it is a tiny feature and doesn’t really include any special building techniques or action features, it is a nice bit of scenery and includes sticks with marshmallows for the two characters to roast over the fire.

The final (and most impressive) brick-built structure in this set is the Lava Cave, which provides a place for Emily and the Elves to stop and rest on their quest to save the Queen Dragon.

The landscaping on this section, like most of that in this year’s Elves sets, is fantastic, with rocks in varying shades of grey and lavender and Br. Yellowish Green “moss”. The cave features two entrances—a small hole in the cave wall that is just big enough for a mini-doll to crawl through, and a larger entrance behind the lava fall, which can be opened by pulling the tab marked with the elemental fire tile. Inside the cave are two “beds” made of moss.


As the second-largest set of the spring 2016 Elves wave, the Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave doesn’t disappoint. Zonya the Fire Dragon is, I’d argue, one of the most impressive LEGO dragons we’ve ever had, with an amazing build and loads of personality. And while it’d be easy to dismiss the other scenery and landscaping of this set as filler, it actually turns out to be quite impressive, offering multiple play scenarios and foreshadowing the darker, spookier mood of this summer’s Elves sets. Ultimately, while this set may be filled with fantastic parts, once you’ve put it together it might be hard to convince yourself to take it back apart!



Shopping on Amazon? Consider using our affiliate links to buy your LEGO sets (or anything); this helps support New Elementary!
USA: Amazon.com Canada: Amazon.ca
UK: Amazon.co.uk Deutschland: Amazon.de France: Amazon.fr


4 comments:

  1. Very cool.
    Those baby bows are, of course, awesome.
    --Chaz Fairbanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. The baby bows are out in Light Bluish Gray, too. As a father, I am glad I have an excuse to get elves sets. They have the best parts and colors in Lego.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Okay, this is completely unrelated, but you guys have GOT to review 10252 Volkwagen Beetle!
    It has tons of new pieces and it looks AMAZING!
    --Chaz Fairbanks

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dude, I saw this set at Wal-Mart today and all I could think was "This set probably has so many wild new pieces," this post only proves it. Thanks for taking the time and patience to write this blog! -terminallychill

    ReplyDelete