30 October 2021

LEGO® Disney parts review & MOC: 43196 Belle and the Beast's Castle

Eero Okkonen (@eerookkonen) analyses the contents of LEGO® Disney 43196 Belle and the Beast's Castle before using some of its new parts in his own creation. Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'. Products in this article were provided by LEGO; the author's opinions are their own.


I have never seen Beauty And The Beast, and pretty much no other Disney animated films, but the castle featured in the film seems to be the most fairytale castle of fairytale castles, with smooth lavender walls, dreamy towering spires, gilded portcullises, romantic ballrooms and a comprehensive library. Its universality in the genre has led to many set versions in recent years so it's easy to get confused: there is 41067 Belle's Enchanted Castle from 2016, 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration for 4+ builders from 2020, and even the single-spire 10762 Belle's Story Time from 2018… oh, and DUPLO 10877 Belle's Tea Party. Phew! 

However, this 4319 Belle and the Beast's Castle is the definitive edition to date, with 558 pieces, three minidolls and an ambitious 6+ age recommendation. So, even the most glorious Belle castle is far from what you would expect from, for example, 18+ sets. It is quite a basic structure with several prefabricated castle wall elements, and a focus on playability. So rather than building the set, this review is therefore dedicated to its parts, which are pleasant and worthy of this closer look from an adult fan perspective. At the end of the article, I'll show you a MOC this set inspired me to build from first sight… though it's extremely far from a romantic lavender castle!

New recolours and prints in 43196

The big mass of the set consists of newly recoloured Lavender castle parts:

  • 2x Cylinder Quarter 4 x 4 x 6 (6343766 | 30562)
  • 6x Door, Frame 1 x 6 x 7 Rounded Pillars with Top Arch and Notches (6343761 | 40066)
  • 2x Cylinder Half 3 x 6 x 6 with 1 x 2 Cutout with White Window, Gold Lattice, Beast Face and Bricks with Stars Pattern (6354159 | 79602)
  • 1x Panel 1 x 4 x 5 Wall with Window (6344083 | 60808)
  • 4x Arch 1 x 5 x 4 - Continuous Bow (6343763 | 14395)
  • 2x Arch 1 x 3 x 3 (6056287 | 13965)

These parts enable young builders to create large structures, while allowing easy customisation of the set. The principle is quite similar to most castle sets, whether they are Castle-theme branded or not. For me, the arches feel most universally useful, while I usually struggle to find use for 3x6x6 round panels or windowed wall elements. The print itself is pretty, but I dislike the printed windows in general, as they feel like "cheating" - no views from the inside nor light from the outside. However, fake windows are no strangers to historical architecture - classical architectural systems usually determined the window rhythm but sometimes the apertures itself were not made due to planning reasons - or due to taxation by the number of windows! I doubt this was the intent of the set designers, though. 

The following additional recolours were also introduced in set 43196:

  • 1x Horse with 2 x 2 Cutout and Movable Neck, Tan Tail and Mane, White Blaze Pattern in Medium Nougat (6342978 | 78275) - also in 43195 Belle and Rapunzel's Royal Stables
  • 1x Slope, Curved 2 x 2 x 1 Double with 2 Studs in Medium Nougat (6351381 | 30165) - also in 43195 Belle and Rapunzel's Royal Stables
  • 1x Dish 10 x 10 Inverted (Radar) - Solid Studs in Dark Red (6343758 | 51373)
  • 4x Brick, Round Corner 3 x 3 x 1 without Studs in Dark Red (6343762 | 65617)
  • 2x Cat Tail in Reddish Brown (6222217 | 37993) - has previously appeared printed in Reddish Brown

And, new prints:

  • 1x Slope 30 1 x 2 x 2/3 with Black Eyes, Gold Eyebrows, Nose and Moustache Pattern (Chef Bouche) in Light Bluish Gray (6347955 | 78852) 
  • 2x Cylinder Quarter 4 x 4 x 6 with Gold Arched Windows and Stars Pattern in Trans-Clear (6347948 | 78849)
  • 1x Glass for Door Frame 1 x 6 x 7 Rounded Pillars with Top Arch and Notches with Stained Glass Rose, Prince and Princess Pattern in White (6347952 | 78851)
  • 1x Road Sign 2 x 2 Round with Clip with Metallic Light Blue Face with Bushy Eyebrows and Moustache Pattern (Maurice) in White (6351368 | 79228)

The part that steals the show is the 10x10 dish in Dark Red. Counting both the older hollow and this solid stud version, this is the eighth colour for this piece; a black one was recently introduced in 21319 Fender Stratocaster. These big round smooth reflecting surfaces are very inspiring, and their natural use is… well, you'll see that at the end of the article. 3x3 macaroni wedges in Dark Red nicely complement the dish. The "cat tails" have previously appeared printed in Reddish Brown in 71040 Disney Castle.

I explored the possibilities of minidoll theme horses in my Friends set review in May; I heartily recommend trying them with an open-mind! The mane and tail are tan and made of rubbery material. The 2x2 gap in the back can be filled with a newly coloured double curved slope in Medium Nougat; the gap is four plates deep so extra 2x2 jumper is also needed (and included). The horse with its filling appeared also later in 43195 Belle and Rapunzel's Royal Stables. The rider and the gear in the picture are not included in the set.

There are five new printed pieces. The trans-clear round panels have an arched window frame pattern that in theory reminds of printed window grids in 40289 Diagon Alley or stickered ones in 76388 Hogsmeade Village Visit. I'm glad they're printed (even though the set includes plenty of stickers) as air bubbles look especially irritating on transparent surfaces. In theory, this would be an exciting piece… but I'm bugged by the unprinted areas between the arches, destroying the window-wall-logic. In the end it just looks like a golden framework attached on a big glass panel instead of tall arched windows penetrating a rounded wall; it reminds me of some picturesque garden pavilion glazing instead of a castle ballroom wall. Structural logic goes without noticing until it's missing. I photoshopped an explanatory image:

The photoshopped piece with windows on wall effect on left; the real piece on right.

More satisfying is the rounded white panel featuring a detailed print of a dancing couple. Being printed on a transparent glass would have made it more useful as a stained glass element, but I'm sure I'll use it somewhere in an obscure context. Other prints include a rounded traffic sign with bluish old man and stern-looking moustached double cheese slope, which I'd love to see Karf Oohlu using in a MOC.

The set has a moderate number of stickers. The rose-patterned bed sheets seem most useful. The bookcases would have been more interesting if brick-built, though the sticker solution is understandable for the 6+ age range.

Rare and interesting parts in 43296

The following parts are rare or otherwise worth of mentioning:

  • 2x Panel 2 x 6 x 6 with Gothic Arch in Lavender (6209806 | 35565) 
  • 8x Plate, Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole in Pearl Gold (6340546 | 4032) - in 43193 Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana's Storybook Adventures
  • 3x Bracket 1 x 2 - 2 x 2 Inverted in Dark Red (6335330 | 99207) - also in 76903 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Race Car and 1968 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1x Tile 1 x 2 with Groove with Reddish Brown Text and Plant Pattern in Tan (6333212 | 75773) 
  • 3x Plate, Round 1 x 1 with Flower Edge (5 Petals) in Light Bluish Grey (6343322 | 24866) - in 21326 Winnie the Pooh
  • 1x Cone 1 x 1 Inverted with Bar in Bright Green (6331087 | 11610) - aka ice cream cone, also in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival in 2021
  • 4x Minifigure Wing Feathered in Dark Bluish Grey (6343760 | 11100) - in Dimensions 71221 Wicked Witch Fun Pack in 2021
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Candlestick / Candelabra in Pearl Gold (6326425 | 73117)
  • 2x Technic, Pin 3L with Friction Ridges Lengthwise and Stop Bush in Pearl Gold (6287672 | 65304)
  • 2x Cat Tail in White (6222201 | 37993) -, also in 40380 Easter Sheep
  • 2x Cylinder Half 2 x 4 x 2 with 1 x 2 Cutout in Lavender (6300088 | 35402) - in 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration
  • 1x Tile, Modified 2 x 3 Pentagonal with Gold Crown, Female Face and Dark Pink Bottom Lip Pattern in White (6300114 | 66398) - aka Wardrobe face Nexo tile, also in 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration
  • 2x Door 1 x 2 x 3 with Vertical Handle, Mold for Tabless Frames in Yellowish Green (6300096 | 60614) - in 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration
  • 2x Tower Roof 2 x 4 x 4 Half Cone Shaped with Roof Tiles in Dark Red (6300078 | 35563) - in 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration
  • 1x Panel 1 x 6 x 5 in Reddish Brown (6318733 | 59349) - in 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System
  • 4x Tile, Round Corner 4 x 4 Macaroni Wide in Dark Red (6310810 | 27507) - aka long macaroni tile

Jonas Kramm analyzed the possibilities of the new candlestick piece (6326425 | 73117) in his Harry Potter sets review in May. It has become more common since then, appearing now in four sets. It was designed to represent this character Lumiére in this set, according to set designer Ollie. Come back on Wednesday, when we present our interview about the candelabra piece with its engineer, Henrik Skallebæk.

The re-appearance of a Dark Bluish Gray minifig wing is notable, as it was previously exclusive for the Wizard of Oz Dimensions pack. I had no idea it was that rare, as I had some from Bricks & Pieces; they're very useful for beards and sideburns!

The following pieces are not extremely rare or unusual but caught my attention:

  • 1x Slope, Inverted 45 6 x 2 Double with 2 x 4 Cutout in Dark Bluish Grey (6182451 | 22889)
  • 5x Tile, Modified 2 x 3 Pentagonal in Dark Red (6291066 | 35341)
  • 2x Plate, Round Corner 2 x 6 Double in Dark Red (6175589 | 18980)
  • 2x Slope 45 2 x 1 with Cutout without Stud in Dark Red (6267498 | 28192)
  • 1x Technic Knob Cog / Gear / Wheel in Pearl Gold ( | 32072)
  • 1x Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Bottom Stud Holder with Laughing Clock Face Pattern (Cogsworth) in Reddish Brown (6226502 | 38620) 
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Teapot with Black Eyes, Eyebrows, and Eyelashes, Lavender Eye Shadow Pattern (Mrs. Potts) in White (6152341 | 26715)
  • 1x Tile 1 x 2 with Groove with Black and Red 'Once upon a time...' and Gold Decorations Pattern in White (6157985 | 27356)
  • 8x Window 1 x 2 x 3 Flat Front in Reddish Brown (6058084 | 60593)
  • 2x Door 1 x 4 x 9 Arched Gate with Bars and Three Studs in Pearl Gold (6343764 | 42448) - gate half
  • 4x Support 1 x 1 x 6 Solid Pillar in Pearl Gold (6107209 | 43888)
  • 1x Glass for Window 1 x 4 x 6 in White (6256050 | 35295)
  • 2x Chip Potts (Minifigure, Utensil Tea Cup) in White (6288534 | 66583)
  • 3x Plate, Round 1 x 1 with Flower Edge (5 Petals) in Pearl Gold (6209691 | 24866)
  • 4x Wave Rounded Small with Pin (Candle Flame) in Transparent Bright Orange (6357747 | 37775)
  • 1x Cylinder Quarter 4 x 4 x 6 with Gold Arched Windows and Stars Pattern in White (6278396 | 38583)
  • 2x Bar 2L with Stop Ring in Dark Bluish Grey (6350724 | 78258)

Reddish brown window frames are always welcome, as they are not that cheap on aftermarket and an average Modular building takes many. The glass panes are not included. Lots of those pretty Dark Red Nexo shields would make a neat roof, and their slightly rounded edges help to create more organic shapes on character builds.

Two 2L bars with a middle ring are included. The ring is longer than a stud, which limits its connections a bit; the middle part is also blocked, which means it can't be used as a part of pneumatic systems. This new part has become increasingly common in recent sets. No wonder the set designers find it useful - it's a simple and elegant part, if not groundbreaking.

  • 1x Blue Plate 3 x 3 in Dark blue (6135597 | 11212)
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Book Binding with 2 Studs in Reddish Brown (6167879 | 28684)
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Book Cover in Reddish Brown (6174229 | 29167)
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Book Binding with 2 Studs in Black (6315573 | 28684)
  • 1x Minifigure, Utensil Book Cover in Black (6283610 | 29167)
  • 1x Blue Plate 3 x 3 in Red (6217123 | 11212)
  • 1x Cone 1 1/6 x 1 1/6 x 2/3 (Fez) in White (6173141 | 29175)
  • 3x Cone 1 1/6 x 1 1/6 x 2/3 (Fez) in Pearl Gold (6173139 | 29175)
  • 1x Brick, Round 1 x 1 Open Stud with Face Male, Smile and Left Eyebrow Raised Pattern (Lumière) in White (6300113 | 66397) - candle face
  • 2x Bracket 1 x 2 - 2 x 2 Inverted in Dark Bluish Grey (6308045 | 99207)
  • 2x Fence 4 x 4 x 2 Quarter Round Spindled with 3 Studs in Pearl Gold (6155062 | 21229)
  • 1x Plate, Round 1 x 2 with Two Open Studs in Light Bluish Grey (6248890 | 35480)
  • 2x Technic, Brick 1 x 1 with Axle Hole in Light Bluish Grey (6336539 | 73230)
  • 3x Brick, Round 2 x 2 Dome Bottom in Pearl Gold (6317208 | 15395)
  • 4x Brick, Round 2 x 2 with Pin Holes in White (6218899 | 17485)
  • 2x Technic, Brick Modified 1 x 2 with Hole and 1 x 2 Plate in Light Bluish Grey (6326478 | 73109)
  • 8x Plate, Modified 2 x 2 with Groove and 1 Stud in Center (Jumper) in Pearl Gold (6186383 | 23893)
  • 2x Bracket 1 x 2 - 2 x 2 Inverted in Dark Bluish Grey (6308045 | 99207)
  • 3x Slope, Curved 1 x 1 Double in Red (6278441 | 49307)
  • 4x Tile, Modified Facet 2 x 2 Corner with Cut Corner in Red (6217194 | 27263)
  • 2x Fence 1 x 4 x 2 Paled (Picket) in Reddish Brown (6150305 | 33303)
  • 3x Tile 2 x 6 in Light Bluish Grey (6318584 | 69729)

The 1x1 Technic brick with axle hole is about to become my new favourite piece. I've been wanting this piece for years, though I did not see it coming. It helps to make sturdy limbs with axles running through like bones.

And sorry about misleading side shots of 1x2/2x2 inverted brackets; they look like new 1x1/1x2 brackets now, which they are unfortunately not. They're the old usual sort. I was not even aware of the new versions during the shoot.

The Usual Parts In 43196

As this review does not show the finished set itself, I'll rather show you all the parts in the set sorted roughly by type. I hope this gives a clear view of what it includes in a MOC builder's perspective, concretely visualising the ratios of different part types.

Bricks and similar:


As seen here, the bulk of the castle is made of large castle elements, and only 14 Lavender bricks are included.

 

Slopes and tiles:


Small plates and similar:

For a minidoll set of this size, only a very small number of flowers are included.

 

Large plates and similar:

These landscaping parts should be welcome to most builders.

 

Miscellaneous:

This looks more like the innards of an average second hand stuff shop in Prague. The dark orange hair is an alternative for the Beast, while the stern moustached stove wears the chef's hat.

The Mini Beauty and the Mini Beast

Some databases state that 43196 includes 9 minifigs, but 6 of them consist of non-minifigure pieces and so are parted out above. What is left are three minidolls, of which 66.67% are Belles: one in servant's clothes and one in a ball gown. There might be a deep message of class society behind this all. Or not. 

The third is the Beast, whose jovial carnival mask can be removed to reveal a young keen-eyed lad underneath. It was a ruse all along.

Belles seem to be happy about this result, but they're happy about everything. 

Male human head and Belle's party torso are unique to this set.

  • 1x Mini Doll, Head Friends Male Large with Blue Eyes, Reddish Brown Eyebrows and Chin Dimple, Open Smile Pattern (Beast / Prince) in Light Nougat (6337796 | 77409)
  • 1x Torso Mini Doll Girl Bright Light Orange Top with Red Rose Trim and Gold Diamonds Pattern, Light Nougat Arms with Hands in Light Nougat (6347867 | 73141)

Eero Okkonen’s MOC: Windle Poons

The natural unit of wizardry is a university. The natural use of a 10x10 dish is as the rim of a wizard's hat. And the natural place for a castle turret roof is on top of this rim, as the point of the pointy hat. Okay, they can be used as roofs too.


This is Windle Poons, a character from two of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld books: Moving Pictures and Reaper Man. He's 130 years old, near-deaf and moves with the aid of a huge wheelchair with adjustable oilskin roof, small front wheel and humorous array of horns, buzzers and whistles. I always imagined it as a mix between vintage car, trike and war chariot. Belle and the Beast's Castle got the pieces for the hat, gold bits for the horns and whistles and even chariot wheels for the little front wheel, so I laid aside the lavender castle parts and embarked on a quest to build Windle and his vessel.

Even though this MOC does not scream "inspired by parts of Belle and the Beast's Castle!", I tried to use special parts from the set where possible. The instrument array includes goblets, inverted domes and fezes as the horn ends, and the candlestick piece (6326425 | 73117) forms the frame of one major three-headed horn. Dark Red 3x3 macaroni slopes (6343762 | 65617) - exclusive to the set - form the shapes on Windle's stomach and shoulders. Golden columns form the front fork. 

Did you know that Tyre Smooth Old Style - Large (36) fits perfectly around Wheel Wagon Large 33mm D, hole notched for wheels holder pin (4489b)? It stays in its place flawlessly. I doubt it is intentional, as it's even stranger as the tyre was retired in 1977, while the wagon wheel - the old version with round hole - was introduced in 1984… and the diameter of 33 mm is just a notch larger than 4x4 round plate. Sometimes off-System measures match!

Windle's beard uses the rare white unprinted cat tail piece (6222201 | 37993). I first tried to use two of them as a moustache; that use felt quite obvious. However, it looked too thick and vital for Windle, who's ancient and fragile. Instead I tried to make the face gaunt and skinny, with wrinkles in odd places (his mouth, two stacked 2x2 dishes, goes around the whole head). Sort of goatee fitted this look, as like he had a big beard before but over the decades he ran out of chin for it. The tip of the cat tail forms the bit between the chin and the lip (sometimes called a youth leader antenna) which has stayed bushy. Adjustable eyebrows perfect the look which is somewhere between confused and determined.

Conclusion

With a price of US$79.99/ CA$99.99/ UK£69.99/ DE€79.99/ FR€84.99/FI€99.95 and 558 pieces, 43196 does not have a good price-per-part ratio. This is presumably partly due to the abundance of large castle parts and partly due to being a licenced set. However, lavender castle pieces are not "universally useful", and one should perhaps have ‘building a fairy-story castle’ in mind if considering getting this set. Don't get me wrong: There are good parts in this set, most notably the Dark Red 10x10 dish. But with a price tag this high, spending a couple of euros for one in Bricklink or Bricks & Pieces might be a better idea.

This is, of course, a builder's perspective. This set has been designed with play in mind, and I'm sure it offers completely new possibilities for younger children and princess hobbyists.

READ MORE: Mel Caddick, Senior Designer explains the LEGO® Extended Line

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4 comments:

  1. You do know a wizard's staff has a knob at the end?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A well-known established fact indeed!

      Delete
  2. The photo-shopped arched window image does look a whole lot better, I agree. As for printed windows, I prefer the opening kind. (If there are shutters so much the better.) The little 'real' lattice windows are rather cute though. SWD

    As for the MOD of the ancient Windle, you have captured that distant expression well and the cragginess too; the eyebrows are great.

    It reminded me slightly of my visits with a very very old friend who rambles sometimes and is sometimes clear and has just such a look in the eye. Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks you, it means a lot. That was exactly the look I was trying to capture.

      Delete