I'm taking one for the team this week, or am I? The much criticized Trolls: World Tour theme hasn't been treated too well by the LEGO community, but with it's bright colors and plethera of new elements I was actually quite excited to get my hands on a set.
The day LEGO announced the Trolls theme, before any set images, before even the movie's trailer came out, evenyone kinda let out a big sigh. As with anything on the internet, it's not hard to find a negative opinion on something. But with this announcement came a kind of worrying criticism. Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL's) are perpetually concerned that the rug will be pulled out from under them. The infamous years of struggle for LEGO coincided with some odd choices they made with their iconic toy, and AFOL's will forever be marred by those 'Dark Ages'. When an AFOL see's something that reminds them of the-years-that-shall-not-be-named (felt parts I'm looking at you!) they can be quick to declare the end of the world. We've had a really great 10-15 years and people don't want it to stop, but it bears mentioning that LEGO also don't want it to stop.
As an admitted pessimist I will always be paranoid, but I try to balance that by trying to see what LEGO are trying to do. With Trolls the intention is clear (at least to me), they are pushing hard to grab that important 6-10 year old demographic, catch them young. These sets are not for us AFOLs (the 4+ is kind of a clue I guess). But by chasing the pre-teens LEGO could still stumble into bad territory. So hopefully they've taken meassures to protect themselves should these kind of themes not sell well (unlike their continued errors with themes like Scala and Galidor).
My biggest concerns with these 'one-shot' themes is all the specialized parts that they cram in. There's no less than 23 brand new parts across the 8 new sets. That's a huge numbers, and it doesn't even take into account new prints (which there's a lot of) and new colors (even more!). In total I've counted 114 new elements in the theme (an element is a new part, a new color of an existing part, or a new print on an existing part). That's 14.25 new elements per set on average. But that's not unusual for these one-shot themes. Toy Story 4 sets packed in tons of new elements in their 6 sets last year, and Angry Birds back in 2016 also created a great boom in elements. Don't get me wrong, new elements are amazing, nothing more exciting than getting a bunch of new parts to play with, but we're told that new elements=expensive. So is it really cost effective to place soooo many new elements in such a limited appeal theme? Espeiclally if a lot of new elements aren't really transferrable to other themes (like all the new minifig parts for the Trolls). LEGO seem to think so though as we have another one-shot theme around the corner. Minions also looks to contain a bunch of new elements, but more on them when they're released later in the year.
Fans of the Trolls World Tour movie will love this awesome LEGO® Trolls World Tour Lonesome Flats Raft Adventure (41253) playset. With a floatable raft, stage and jail, this LEGO 4+ set is a fun way for youngsters to learn to build. Inspired by the movie, kids can play creatively with these awesome Trolls movie toys and Trolls minifigures. Packed with collectible toy features, including Trolls characters, the musical strings from the movie and more, the LEGO Trolls World Tour universe offers exciting play.
The instruction manuals measure 195 x 125 mm.
- Instruction manual 1 has 35 pages and 32 total build steps.
- Instruction manual 1 has 62 pages and 49 total build steps.
Why these couldn't be one manual I do not know, maybe one large manual is too overwhelming for the 4+ audience.
The pdf can be downloaded here.
The set contains 170 parts and 8 spares, in 29 colors, and 24 part categories, with a total of 118 unique parts/color combinations.
Main colors are:
- Tan: 15 unique parts, 19 quantity.
- Yellow: 11 unique parts, 15 quantity.
- Medium Dark Flesh: 9 unique parts, 14 quantity.
Main categories are:
- Minifig Accessories: 19 unique parts, 24 quantity.
- Bricks Round and Cones: 11 unique parts, 20 quantity.
- Plates Special: 10 unique parts, 14 quantity.
New Parts: A huge number for such a small set. Here goes...
The head tops are actually pretty cool. I love the hair-bucket thing. The stetson (while admittedly doesn't have amazing clutch) looks hilariously awesome on a minifigure. And Poppy's hair is all sorts of versatile. Bravo LEGO for really thinking these things through, even if this is probably the only time you'll use them.
I'm fully expecting this part to get some re-use. There's a rumoured Harry Potter set featuring Centaurs which, if true, will surely use this part.
These also came in Medium Azure in other Trolls sets.
This is a part that could live on well after the Trolls theme. I'm a big fan of non-fabric hipwear and this is probably the most generic version we've had yet.
New Prints of Existing Parts:-
Parts in new colors: Dark Turquoise is officially LEGO's color of the year it would seem.
Still a relatively new part, this new color increases it's versatility. It's certainly an odd part, tricky for MOC designers to utilize I imagine.
This part is a true old -school part. Introduced in 1979 it's hard to believe that we can still get new colors of it. But this year we have already got 3 new colors. Since 2018 we have had 7 in total, impressive for this veteran part.
First introduced in 1994 this arch gets it's first new color since 2018's Dark Pink found in the modular set Downtown Diner.
A new part in last year's Frozen II sets, this interesting new color suggests LEGO have more than just trees in mind.
We previous had this in Magenta with a sliver top print, but we finally get it plain (personally I think the printed part looks better).
This Part received 5 new colors in the Trolls theme. I think that must be some kind of record. Previously only in Tran-Light Blue and Trans-Yellow, we now get Pearl Gold, Trans-Dark Pink, Trans-Orange, Trans-Purple, and Trans-Red.
Rare Parts (appearing in 3 or less sets):
This set comes with 3 minifigs, Poppy, Branch, and Hickory.
Bag 1: Ending up being the most interesting part of the build, the boat/raft makes good use of it's limited parts. I really didn't like the roof though. It's in two panels, one bigger than the other. It just kept falling down when I touched the model. There's a secret compartment underneath that hides all the spare accessories and cakes. You have to pretty much destroy the raft to get to it though so it's hardly very play friendly.
Bag 2: I was not impressed with the jail part of this set. It looks clunky and unpolished. Very basic even for a 4+ set. I got to use the lightning bolt though, even though it's mostly hidden behind the sign (did we really need this element to be recolored for this set? Maybe it's got something to do with the movie which I haven't seen yet.)
Bag 3: Next we build a weird dog thing (despite more minutes than I'd like to admit I could not find the name of this thing). All those new Dark Turquoise round bricks are used for the pole support (is it a speaker, a fire hydrant, or something else? I just don't know). And lastly a very basic stage with microphone and DJ decks.
The build wasn't great. The jail building was very hap-hazard and incredibly basic, even for a 4+ set. The boat is ok, except for the terrible plastic roof which I couldn't get to stay up, 4+ year olds like to play with their sets which makes the roof even more annoying. I've built several other 4+ (juniors) sets and this is by far the worst in terms of build experience and playability.
However, I didn't get this set for the build experience. I got it to get my hands on some of the new elements this theme introduced. With all those new elements it's hard not to be a happy with this set, just a little, teeny, tiny bit. Ignoring the minifigure parts I still got a bunch of interesting bits in new colors. However you do pay for it, like I said in the introduction new elements=expensive and at 17c per part (USD, sorry the rest of the world) this is a very expensive set.
I simply cannot recommend this set, even for your young'uns, there's better 4+ sets out there which are better value for money. If you want some of these new parts it'll probably be cheaper finding them on sites like BrickLink and BrickOwl.
Lastly, I couldn't resist. Here's a minifigure in an oversized cowboy hat.