(Written by William)
In this Brick Breakdown series I review official LEGO sets, from the perspective of looking at interesting building techniques we can all learn from. Today we will be looking at two of the LEGO Disney Princess sets; #41051 LEGO Merida’s Highland Games and #41052 LEGO Ariel’s Magic Kiss. You can also check out the previously discussed LEGO techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end of this article. So let’s begin! 🙂
Normally I like to talk about each LEGO set individually, however because these two LEGO Disney Princess sets use very similar building techniques but in different ways, they make excellent contrasting points on the same topic. So I figured I would put the two reviews together to get a more well-rounded look at some building techniques in these cute LEGO Disney Princess sets.
As far as the price of the two LEGO Disney Princess sets, they are only separated by $10, which allows a bit larger size and more detail for the #41052 LEGO Disney Princess Ariel’s Magical Kiss set. However it is not enough to make a major difference stylistically in how the two sets were put together. So pucker up and prepare for cookies in the face! 🙄
➡ CREATING CONTEXT WITH LEGO
What we have in both of these LEGO Disney Princess sets is a well-known scene. Building a scene with LEGO requires a bit of context to help viewers understand what’s going on. For instance, if you have a skier but no snow, it’s a bit harder to put yourself into that scene. So let’s see what types of things are common to both of these LEGO Disney Princess sets – and where they differ – in presenting context.
The major contextual element is always about where the event is taking place. In both of the LEGO Disney Princess sets we will find elements of a natural setting; each has a tree and a small landscape (one with a stream, while the other with a frog on a rock). Both of the sets also provide a location; a roughly castle-like structure where the mini-dolls spend their time.
What differs in these two LEGO Disney Princess sets is what’s going on in the scene (which is often defined by who is present). In the #41051 Merida’s Highland Games Merida is alone, while in the #41052 Disney Princess set Ariel is with Prince Eric. So for Merida, the context is all about defining her character; she has outdoor skills and is more rough-and-tumble given the bow and arrow, plus the cookie-catapult.
Ariel’s set, on the other hand, is about creating a moment between two characters. When you are setting a scene between characters you need context for them to fit into. Therefore in this set you have a rowboat for two, a bench that can seat two, and dinner for two. In fact, the only singular activity in Ariel’s set is the spyglass on the tower, however there’s no reason Ariel and Eric can’t take turns.
So when you are designing your own LEGO models and need to provide context consider these two points: First, where is it located? This will give you an idea for how to decorate the setting. Second, who is in the model? Which will help you set the scene for your characters. The end result of paying attention to these details is a LEGO creation that can tell a story at a glance.
➡ SUSTAINABLE BUILDING WITH LEGO
You may notice that both of these LEGO Disney Princess sets use those large quarter cylinder walls. What is different is how the are applied in the model. Merida’s is not used for a sustainable build, while Ariel’s is.
In general, large LEGO wall pieces don’t come across as being the most stable elements; they are thin and don’t have a lot of connection-points. This means that when we use them and want to build them up higher, we will need to build some support structures around them, otherwise we will run into stability issues.
Ariel’s set has a play-area up top and there is a possibility to continue building higher. Merida’s – on the other hand – leaves an open air section with no support, but she gets to use the interior space for a table.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
Context is your friend when creating any type of LEGO display. As LEGO builders, our job is one part building and one part story-telling. We could find peace in just snapping pieces together, but most of the time we’re trying to build “something”. Even abstract art conveys a feeling or idea. This is where the use of context allows us to show what is going on in our LEGO creation.
Sustainable building is not something you always have to worry about, however if you plan to build large scale settings, it should be your number one concern. If you don’t spot the weak areas right at the beginning you’re going to have to do a lot of work later to compensate for it. Most of the time sustainability issues arise from a lack of sufficient support from below. Having a good foundation will spell the difference between a sturdy and tall tower and a moderately high and flimsy wall.
So what do you think? How do you like The LEGO Disney Princess sets and the techniques we discussed here? Do you pay attention to the context of your LEGO creations and building in a sustainable way? Feel free to share your own experiences, tips or ask questions in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the other reviews in this series:
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Back to the Future DeLorean
- Brick Breakdown: The LEGO Movie Ice Cream Truck
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Parisian Restaurant
- Brick Breakdown: The LEGO Movie Flying Flusher
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO The Hobbit Dol Guldur Battle
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Winter Village Cottage
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Winter Village Market
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lord of the Rings Council of Elrond
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Castle Dragon Mountain
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lord of the Rings Pirate Ship Ambush
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Ninjago Golden Dragon
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Superman Black Zero Escape
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Tower of Orthanc
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO City Dump Truck
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Monster Fighters Ghost Train
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Silver Mine Shootout
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Constitution Train Chase
- Brick Breakdown: Ninjago Temple of Light
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Colby City Showdown
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Comanche Camp
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Star Wars AT-RT
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Arkham Asylum Part 1
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Arkham Asylum Part 2
- Brick Breakdown: Legends of Chima Polybags