I’ve been a bit distracted, by other things in life, over the last week or two, but I’m starting to get back on track.
If you are the parent of small children, there is a better than even money chance that you have been exposed to one of the Disney adaptations of a Classic Fairy story at some point or another – either animated, or reimagined in real life. Or even, considering the recent Lion King CGI release, Real Life™
Sets related to the Disney Princess branding have been a staple of licensed minidoll sets for several years now, but I have not spent much time with them. Today I have taken a look at one of this year’s sets based on Aladdin: 41161 Aladdin and Jasmine’s Palace Adventures. Is it based on the 1992 Disney Animated film, or the 2019 Live Action remake? This year, we see two of the three sets ever related to this story (ever) released, so I think it is safe to think that perhaps more than a little inspiration was taken from arrival of the new film. Join me as we explore the set, and take a couple of liberties along the way…
41161: Aladdin and Jasmine’s Palace Adventures.
Part of the Disney Renaissance in the early 1990’s, and recently rereleased as a live action movie, Aladdin tells of a street urchin who gains three wishes after liberating the lamp, in which a genie is bound, from the cave of mystery. During the ensuing shenanigans, the Grand Vizier Jafar attempts to stage a palace coup (as Grand Viziers seem to do), but is thwarted by by his own cleverness.
Make Mine Modular
This set, along with most of the Disney Princess sets from 2019 feature a ‘modular building’ design, allowing the basic layout of the model to be easily changed by small hands. While not as rigid as the standard used for the Creator Expert Modular buildings, there is still a very definite style to it, as well as some principles which can be derived, should you choose to build your own.
The ‘standard’ base – and I define that loosely- consists of an 8×16 plate. The building might be 8 or 16 studs long. At either end of the building, is an arched doorway – 1x6x6. Any place on the base where furniture is likely to be placed will have a 2×2 plate with a single stud placed, to make removing the fittings easy for small hands.
In this set, we have a table and chairs, as well as a small market stall which may be easily removed.
The next level may (or may not) feature a 4×8 semicircle balcony. This balcony is fenced off, using new 3x3x2 decorated fences. The top of the 8×8 module has further tiles, with occasional studs on top to make it easy to add or remove a top floor.
This set uses a 4×8 upper level, to form the roof (others might use a 2×8 form factor here). A half dome is in mounted on a 6-stud diameter turntable and capped by the obligatory Friends/Disney gem. The back of the dome has a 12 stud shaft on a 1×2 plate. This is used to attach to the bar underneath the flying carpet. The magic carpet is actually a repurposed, recoloured and restickered mirror from the Joker Mansion. The final effect is one of having the carpet fly around and around.
Virtually all furniture in these sets is held to the base by a 2×2 offset plate (with one stud), to allow the furniture to be easily removed from the building for play purposes.
The set also come with a small model of the cave of mystery – with details provided with stickers, including a genie sticker on the inside of the door – above the place for the lamp await discovery by a brave explorer.
The set comes with two minidolls: Aladdin and Jasmine. Both have detailed torso printing, perhaps even more detailed than that used in the animated source material. I wonder, however, if this filigree on Aladdin’s vest perhaps makes him appear a little too exotic – more prince than street kid. Jasmine also has detailed filigree printing on her legs. The mould for both Aladdin and Jasmine’s leg element appears to be the same, with only the colour and printing being different.
Aladdin (along with the Genie) featured in the first series of the Disney collectable minifigures, while Jasmine (and Jafar) appeared this year. The hair elements used with the minidolls are identical to those used with the minifigures. The printing on the doll ensures Jasmine keeps her midriff covered – even though this is how she is depicted in the box art. That said, Jasmine appears in one other set this year, and this torso printing is unique to this set.
While the minifigure printing is probably more ‘movie realistic’ than that on the minidolls, I think I prefer the minidoll versions of both these figures. I am disappointed that we yet to see a version of Abu, Aladdin’s accompanying monkey, who plays a strong role in the movie represented in either form (even a modified version of the ‘standard’ monkey would be a leap forward)
The minidolls can sit side by side more effectively on the flying carpet than minifigures can – although adding Jafar and the Genie into the figure mix increases the story telling options available.
That said, I do not think it is a problem to mix these figures with the minidolls: The genie is a ‘larger than life-size’ figure in the source material – so having him taller and broader than the standard minidoll is probably an advantage.
As for Jafar – the standard form of the minidoll does not seem to support villains well. Indeed, looking at Ursula and Maleficent – the only two Disney villains in minidoll form – do not appear to be as evil as they do in minifigure form.
Jafar casts an imposing presence, and with a little forced perspective can be brought to the Cave of Mystery …
Overall, I quite like this as a playset, however I can appreciate that it probably holds greater appeal to an AFOL as a parts pack, particularly if building a Disney/fantasy castle layout. There are, in fact, a significant number of elements making their debut this year, including the 1x6x7 arches used on the ground floor; the teal 1x4x2 arches are also new; the 3×3 curved fence used on the balcony (which nicely matches the patterned fence used in the now defunct Elves theme), as wells the 2x2x5 transparent medium reddish violet. The new 3x3x2 dome element debuts here in pearl gold, although you need another two to complete the form. There are others. In fact the bird that appears here is the same bird that has otherwise just appeared in the new Ideas Tree House set. We also see a number of elements appearing in new colours – including more contributions to elements in the teal (medium turquoise) palette.
All in all, I think the set has a lot to offer as a parts pack, especially if you are likely to work with the colours included.
As a source for play, I think it is a pretty good set as well – in the absence of the genie minifigure, you could certainly consider brick building a simple genie for added play value.
I love the simple design, and the feeling of just how many architectural elements seem to be included for a relatively small number of elements. the Modular design used in this years Disney Princess sets allows for a lot of Mix and Matching between the different modules and sets. I might need to look at another one of these sets in the future to consider this further.
While the set costs $AUD39.99, and only contains 200 pieces, there are a significant number of larger elements – plates, arches and domes – to make this seem a reasonable price. To say nothing of the Disney Licensing fee. The set is currently available from shop.lego.com, and other retailers.
I give this set 4 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units.
What do you think of this set? One that had passed you by? Parts Pack? Eeeew, minidolls? Love it? Wait for clearance? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Goup’s AFOL Engagement team for review purposes. All opinions however, are my own.