09 June 2020

LEGO® Disney review: 43182 Mulan's Training Grounds

Today we are examining a LEGO® Disney set which, for its size, packs in a lot of interesting parts: 43182 Mulan's Training Grounds.


It is not to be confused with the first Mulan set, 41151 Mulan's Training Day, which was released in 2018 and was swiftly followed by… no more. Until 2020 that is, when she was granted a Storybook Adventure (which includes a training ground) and today’s focus, Mulan's Training Grounds. That Mulan, she loves the training. 

There is a lot more going on in the completed model, however. A surprising number of iconic references from the 1998 animated classic are packed in, including practicing tea-making, sliding down a lantern string among fireworks and disguising herself as a boy (at least that’s my take on why there is a hairbrush and mirror).


But, as ever, we're here to check out the pieces.

Recoloured LEGO pieces in 43182 Mulan's Training Grounds

There are no completely new moulds in the set however there are some quite new ones we haven’t discussed much or at all on New Elementary, plus those parts come in new colours here. 

Tree Trunk Quarter, Design ID 60373


Part 60373 is called ‘Wall 3X3X5, W/ Arch, 1X4 Circle’ by TLG, ‘Cylinder Quarter 3 x 3 x 5 with 2 Arch Tops’ by BrickLink and ‘Panel 3 x 3 x 5 Quarter Round with 2 1 x 2 Arches’ by Rebrickable. It was introduced last year in Reddish Brown (6276850) in two Frozen II sets and in 2020, Trolls World Tour 41253 Lonesome Flats Raft Adventure includes it in Lavender (6290504) while here in Mulan it appears exclusively in Medium Nougat (6299751).


You get two in this set, to build this 'tree'. Note that four of these quarters placed together wouldn’t make a circle but rather a 6x6 square with rounded edges. 


The radius of the rounded corners matches that of the 3x3 and 2x6 rounded plates, a feature that is utilised in this set to round off the top of the tree. It’s nice that the unusual dimensions of these parts create a little family of elements.


Strictly speaking this element is not a POOP (Part Out of Other Parts) in that it cannot be exactly reproduced using existing parts. You can get very close though and, if I owned one of the relatively new 2x2x5 macaroni panels, my reconstruction in white above would comprise a mere five parts. Of course, it is massively unstable compared to this new single element. 

Another major difference to my reconstruction is that the new element is of course a ‘panel’ rather than having the thickness of bricks. The thin walls provide more space inside, and indeed this set places details within the tree.


Yet another important difference is that the curve of the projecting half-arch branches are different to that of the existing 1x3x3 ‘Gothic’ half-arch I used in my reconstruction. Instead, they follow the circular curve of parts like the 1x6x2 arch (shown here in Cool Yellow) and the 1x3x2 inverted half-arch (in Medium Nougat).

So if it’s not a proper POOP perhaps it is closer to being a BURP (Big Ugly Rock Piece), and could in this instance be called a Big Ugly Tree Trunk piece.

Which begs the question: why would you ever want to use it? Perhaps if you’re making a massive tree it could save some time or, with additional parts partially covering it, could look quite interesting. As for using it in some way other than as a tree, well if you’ll excuse the pun, I’m stumped. It could be a corner column of a colonnade of arches, but again its bulkiness is a downside. If anyone has seen this used cleverly in a MOC, we’d love to see! Every part is, of course, a spaceship part.


But I can totally see why it has been introduced. Shock reveal: it’s not for adults. Trees are a common play feature in sets, including those for young builders, and they are (relatively) tricky to build. Consider that trees are narrower at their base; a nightmare for stability especially if you’re then trying to add things onto branches. Existing tree-making parts like the half-arch are also somewhat unusual in shape and it can initially take kids a little time to avoid making mistakes when building with them, even with good building instructions that successfully show how to stabilise the construction as you build. My own experience of creating trees when working to TLG’s standards is that they quickly end up looking bulky and unrealistic. 

So while this new element is also bulky and unrealistic, at least it is stable and easy to use!

1x2x2 Brick, Design ID 3245


A very basic brick (although ironically also a POOP) comes in Bright Reddish Violet/ Magenta (6261517 | 3245) for the first time in this set, and four are provided. It now also comes in 41406 Stephanie's Play Cube - Beauty Salon. 


You get three Limb Elements in the new colour of Lavender (6097450 | 2417) which has since appeared in Trolls World Tour 41251 Poppy's Pod, as Jonas Kramm pointed out recently.

Arched frame, Design ID 40066 


1X6X7, W/ Arch was also introduced in 2019, in five colours, and 2020 brings this sixth shade: Cool Yellow/ Bright Light Yellow (6249064 | 40066). The mould has appeared exclusively in ‘Girls’ themes with one exception, 70828 Pop-Up Party Bus from The LEGO Movie 2 which Ryan Howerter reviewed for us


Again, it’s kind of POOPy but not quite. The arch matches the classic 1x6x2 but has  recessed studs, and staggered edges for increased stability. Its columns look similar to the 1x1x6 column (Design ID 43888) but are one brick shorter, plus the column is D-shaped, not round. This looks quite nice when they are placed back to back, as they are in the set.


The back of the columns are hollow, aside from what I assume are supporting braces, which delightfully have been designed in a swirling shape. This feature could be nice to utilise in an appropriate MOC somehow – it would be very cool to disguise most of the arch and only reveal these patterns. 

And also, it has three holes to clutch a window – which leads us to the next element for us to examine.

Printed pieces in Mulan’s Training Grounds


Introduced last year alongside the 1x6x7 frame was a stunning arched window to fit it. It appeared unprinted in 41168 Elsa's Jewelry Box Creation, while 41167 Arendelle Castle Village had it printed with golden diamond lattice panes. In Mulan’s Training Grounds we get Glass For Frame 1X6X7, W/ Bow, No. 2 (6297429|67607) with Bright Purple/ Dark Pink printing. 


Regrettably the only LEGO element these windows clip into are the 1x6x7 frames, so it you want to use them with other pieces you’ll need to attach them imaginatively! 


The tiny cricket Cri-Kee is printed in this set, onto Round Brick 1X1, No. 22 in White (6288327 | 66489). 


The instructions indicate you should capture him within the supplied golden lantern for the horse Khan to carry.


Khan is a new print of Horse W/4 Knobs W/ Hole Dia. 1.5, No. 15 in Black (6297427 | 67606) and has a suitably grumpy expression. BrickLink list 18 other colour/printed versions of this horse mould. Clearly some time has passed since 2018’s 41151 Mulan's Training Day, where the foal element was used for Khan instead. (The foal was used again in 2020’s Polly Pocket-esque 43174 Mulan's Storybook Adventures.)


This is possibly very old news but it has been a while since I built a set with one of these horses: they've replaced the 2x2 plate with a 2x2 jumper. I was puzzled by this for a moment as I couldn't think why – there's no reason for having decreased clutch between the 2x2 and the curved brick on top of it. Then it dawned on me; jumpers have a groove to enable removal, making the whole switch to a saddle much faster for kids. 


Excluding the hair, Mulan herself is made wholly of newly-printed minifigure parts. Namely:
  • Mini Doll, Head, No. 219 in Light Nougat (6297407 | 67603)
  • Torso, Girl, W/ Arm, No. 352 in Light Nougat (6298529 | 35677)
  • Skirt W/ Hip, No. 203 in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6298470 | 5979)

Other parts in LEGO Disney set 43182


The set contains four Plate 4X4, 1/4 Circle in Bright Reddish Violet (6222803 | 30565), a part which has only previously appeared once, in Friends 41105 Pop Star Show Stage from 2015.


The two lanterns are made from Vegetable, No. 3 in Bright Red (6293279 | 51270) as was first done in 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair, which Elspeth DeMontes recently reviewed.

Sticker sheet 

The sticker sheet is reflective silver. I applied two of the four.

  1. The Chinese traditional decorative knotted lanyard is supposed to be stuck on the inside of one of the new tree trunk quarters, and despite my dislike of this element I still did not wish to sully it! I like this sticker though. It reminds me of a Fabuland carpet beater.
  2. The round dragon motif appears to be identical to the one in 2018’s 41151 Mulan's Training Day however that was printed (Flat Tile 2X2, Round, No. 1100 – 6214882 | 37001). 
  3. The pink sticker is a cushion, positioned by the tea set.
  4. The mirror is a very nice design but as it was to be placed on one of those new 1x2x2 Bright Reddish Violet bricks, I figured I’d save it for another build.

    Completed set


    Hidden behind the roof is a firework play function using a stud shooter; a really lovely addition!


    Swinging Mulan down the string is a lot of fun. I like that when you are not using this function you can just use the life preserver to hang the lantern at the top, for symmetry.



    The tree is kinda grotesque, and bizarre, but it's very pleasing to open and reveal the contents. Lavender leaves may seem rather odd or fantastical as a concept, but they make perfect sense here as representing branches covered in blossom.

    Conclusion

    This is a fun and neat little set with plenty packed into it, so I can’t imagine Mulan fans being disappointed. For the rest of us, this represents a good parts pack if you like the colours. I think Mulan sets have a great colour scheme, I’m less convinced by the additional colours introduced here for the tree though as its combination of Lavender, Bright Purple and Medium Nougat has much less contrast compared to the rest of the set.



    Despite seeming odd, the tree-that-is-not-a-tree is fun to arrange and serves several purposes within the set, so is certainly a good addition overall.

    If you’re interested in exploring some 2019 elements, there are several to try out here. The arched window pane is certainly my favourite and I’ll be looking to get more of this one as well as the other iterations of this element.




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    3 comments:

    1. The advantage of the tree trunks, from what I can tell, is both to build up trees quickly and, in sets like this, to make better use of interior space than would be possible with a brick-built option like with other BURPs or panels. The curve of these should work well with the new bases from the Super Mario sets or with the new 3x3 curved plate with cutout from the Super Mario and Minions sets (speaking of which, we've gotta get a review of those here soon... quite a few interesting new tiles and round bricks for the "goggles" on the brick-built minions). Like many other parts introduced in the past few years, I can't help but wish the Elves theme were still around to make use of them.

      The arched frame is another piece that's more useful than it appears. I can't help but wish that the normal 1 x 6 x 2 arch brick had the cutouts on the upper corners like this! Also, you can attach plates to the hollow back of this frame! It's a bit of an odd connection but it works. The large window glass is great too. Now we just need a smaller one for the 1 x 2 x 2 2/3 arched frame.

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    2. I remember being frustrated on several occasions when growing up, as I tried to make trees. I had a few of the Forestmen sets, and tried to make larger hideouts. The problem was that I had but a few of the pieces they used to make large trees, mostly from those same Forestmen sets. So, in trying to scale a tree up, it would inevitably exceed my collection's ability to produce a stable design. Or worse, it would look incredibly, boringly, symmetrical. This quarter-trunk design has the advantage of providing highly stable branches upon which to add leaves. The entire tree would not need to be made from them, but seeding a few of these in the build would help strengthen the design without needing an overly complex design that young builders may have neither the parts nor the skill to create.

      The back of 40066 that was visible in the Party Bus review, but never once did anyone comment on it. I actually just noticed it myself in the first picture in this review, before scrolling down to see that I wasn't the first. Those are incredibly graceful ribs strengthening the inside of the arch pillars. If you imagine the full shape of the design, they look very much like the f-holes on a violin.

      For the horse, that makes a lot of sense. With a regular minifig horse, you can put the 1x2 plate or tile on top of the brick, which makes it easy to just press one side of the assembly and pop it free. With minidoll horses, the back is rounded, so short of making a separate piece that's one plate taller, you're forced to raise the round brick by one plate. A 2x2 plate would be very hard for many kids to pry free, without resorting to a brick separator, but young kids are unlikely to haul one around with them at all times.

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    3. Mulan's got a big ole' BUTT, apparently...

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