I am not a little girl. I know that may come as a surprise to some. I have never built a LEGO Friends, Elves or Princess set, but I have helped my daughter build a couple. With that in mind, I asked my little girl to help me with this set. I thought it might be valuable to get the insight of the target market for the Water Dragon Adventure set. She was excited to help me, and her younger sister tried to "help" as well. So, in this review, we're going to take a look at the stuff that interested a 6 year old girl about this set designed for 7 year old girls. Is LEGO doing a good job reaching their target audience?
REVIEW: SET DETAILS
Set #: 41172
Name: The Water Dragon Adventure
Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.09 each. There is 1 minifigure. (Probably because the main part of the build is a dragon) The minifigure is some elf that I don't know the name of. It's times like this where I try to decide if the ppp is a good metric. 2 (or 3) wings and a dragon head probably throw off the part count as far as the number crunchers at LEGO are concerned.
Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies, wings, a head in a bag, stickers and an instruction book. I do not know if 3 wings are standard or if I just lucked out.
BUILD AND EXECUTION
Bag 1: I asked my daughter to do the building so that I could see what kind of trouble she ran into. The main body is a blocky shape with several angles jutting off of it to give the impression of roundness.
The towball is where your tail will mount to. The first sticker is applied on the dragon's rear.
Each tail segment has a smaller sticker. My 6 year old had some difficulty getting the ball and socket joints to snap together. Is this just my daughter or is it too much friction for your standard little girl?
I was curious about the bow/flipper combo on the top of this dragon's head. My older daughter didn't really care, but the 3 year old was very upset when the bow was not on the head.
To me, the legs seem stiff and in need of one more joint, but the 6 year old liked the shape and was happy when she saw what looked like legs to her.
2 more legs. 2 more feet, I stepped in to finish those as it was getting close to bed time.
With the wings, this dragon doesn't look bad. it's a little simplistic and cutesy, but both of my girls were very happy with it. This one spits water?
BAG 2: Time to make the part padding other stuff from this set. First you make 3 round things. I don't know what they represent, but you make them and then move on to building a crystal island.
I will say this for the part selection here. There are a lot of translucent pieces. My daughters both love the translucent pieces. They try to steal them from every set I get. This set had a lot and that made them happy.
I really have no idea why there is a catapult here. My kids think it is used to feed the dragon. are the elf and dragon enemies? is there someone else flinging plants at them for some reason? who knows.
There's an obligatory brush and a crystal heart. Is that a cookie in the clam shell? I don't understand this island thing.
I really don't understand why there's a set of golden binoculars hidden here. The elf has a map, is this the treasure she was seeking?
For me, the dragon was cute. The price wasn't bad. I'm not upset at the cost of this set, and the time we spent building it wasn't terribly long. I guess that just goes to show that it's a simplistic build. The island perplexes me. I can see similar set dressing in Star Wars and Super Hero sets. They are there to add value to a smaller simpler build. I wish they had put the parts and time into making the dragon more complex.
My daughter completely loved it. From the dragon, to the minidoll, to the island made out of "shiny" pieces, it spoke her language. In her case, at least, LEGO hit the right notes and she wanted to sleep with it. (She didn't.)
The minidoll has some nice print on the torso and the face. The back is completely plain. I can understand why long term LEGO fans don't want to have these mixed in with their minifigure collections. They are just awkward standing beside a regular minifig. I don't think that there's anything inherently wrong with these figures. If LEGO decides to make a few Super Hero or Star Wars characters in this style, I just might get them and place them on a separate shelf.
It seems like the Elves line isn't the most popular expansion of the LEGO brand. The dragons in this series seem to be an attempt to bring vitality to the brand. To my eye, they are more striking than whatever else they've been doing in the Elves line (except maybe that Pegasus sleigh.) If anything is going to turn this theme around, it's stuff like this. I think that at some point, collectors of dragons will circle back around to these sets. They're never going to be yuuuuge money makers, but I feel like there is some money to be made. Don't rush into these, but I'd pick them up on clearance. Grab it on Amazon!
Was I supposed to get a third wing? I have no idea. It seems like way too big a piece to be a standard extra.