Into the Wilds with Creator 3-in-1: 31116 Safari Wildlife Tree House [Review]

The Creator 3-in 1 sets are some of my favorite sets: as sets that encourage building, dismantling to build some thing else, againand again, the nature of the 3 in 1 set is the verry essence of LEGO play. I was fortunate to be sent a couple of the new 3 in 1 sets for review – the first, 31116 Safari Wildlife Tree House takes us to the savannah plains of sub-saharan Africa, with a number of fun builds, bringing the variety that we have come to expect from a Creator 3 in1 set.

The set has 397 pieces, and costs $AUD49.99/USD29.99. It comes with two minifigures, and goes on sale March 1st 2021.

The Elements

We have nearly 400 elements in this set (in fact, if you count the handful of left over elements, you will certainly find a few more than that). I appeciate the way that many of the 3in1sets are colour themed, and there are several groups of colours in this set: the natural colours: tan, olive green, dark green, reddish brown and medium stone grey; animal tones: dark orange, whie and bright yellowish orange; and more artificial shades such as red and earth blue. This is a fairly arbitrary categorisation by myself, and close inspection reveals a few interesting elements: 1×1 brackets in Flame yellowish orange (upwards) and dark orange (downwards); 1×3 plates with 2 offset studs in bright yellowish orange, and headlamp brights in bright orange and white. Not to mention a number of clips and bar elements. Of interest are new 2×16 olive green plates, as well as a reappearance of the 4×8 semicircular plate. The set also sees the debut of the 1×6 brick in light bluish green/aqua.

Here are the elements we have available in this set:

We have two minifigures: A boy and a woman: his mother? an adventurous aunt? So many questions.

She has a blue torso, with a jacket printed on, and light royal blue legs, while the boy has teal short legs, which were introduced this year in other themes, along with a dark red jacket, over a light royal blue shirt. He has a happy face on one side, and an anxious look on the other, while she has a confident smile on one side, and closing eyes on the other.

The Builds

Giraffe and Treehouse: the Hero Build.

Book one starts off with our giraffe: a somewhat stiffened creature. We start with a core that consists of a 3×3 plate, with a number of clips added, topped with some 3×1 offset plates, adding the bulk of the body on top of this. Modified plates with bars coneect to form the legs, with another added to provide them with extra length. The ‘Droid’s head’ element – as seen with BB8- is used in black here, for the giraffe’s hooves. The giraffe’s head looks a little beaky, but the overall effect is fine. The giraffe is predominantly dark orange and bright yellowish orange.

The treehouse starts off with some olive green plates at ground level, adding in the trunk of the tree, as well as a rock and some plantlike. It is possibly one. of the most unexpected uses of the ‘sausage ‘ element – seen here in sand green. A similar flower, yet to open, is also present with the leaves represented by sand green tooth elements.

Our tree is relatively low, but there is no question that the primary way to get there is via the ladder. The extended balcony has safety railing, brick built, rather than using fencing elements, and both woman and boy appear happy up there. The house itself is built up around a core 2×6 space, which turns out to contain a sink as well as a toilet. Leaving the major question of ‘How is all of this plumbed?’ No answers were forthcoming. Otherwise, there is a lovely white couch, as well as a bottle… perhaps explaining the need for the bathroom. On the wall behind the couch is a printed tile, depicting elephants on the savannah at sunset.

A handy construction tip that is employed in several places in this set: whenever you are looking to stack multiple plates, consider whether it might be worth using an offset plate, rather than a regular one, so that there is slightly less ‘clutch’ holding them together: useful for pulling a model apart. This technique is used on the giraffes neck, as well as on the top of the couch in the treehouse.

Bag 2: Crocodile and catamaran

Our second bag brings us a crocodile: framed by 2×16 olive green plates, this reddish brown crocodile is a simple, blocky construction, using upward cilips and rounded plates for its teeth. While the build is blocky, it is undeniably a LEGO construction! We also build a marabou stork, standing proudly on the back of the crocodile.

The catamaran uses headlamp bricks as a way to apply the arches on their sides, as a way to create the pontoons. The cabin is built up, with the bottle being used as a telescope. there is a small cabin to the rear, with struction provided by some of the arch elements. Contruction of the sail, along with some decoration, using curved plates, is effective and makes a change from the typical Creator motor boat in the 3 in 1 set, and as such is in keeping with the more ‘natural’ colour palette used in this set.

Build 3: Biplane and Lion

The final build incorporates a tree, lion and (beacause it is possibly a slightly safer way to observe such a creature) a biplane. The tree feels out of scale tp the plane and lion, but works well in forced perspective

The lion uses a similar core to the giraffe, albeit with shorter legs, no neck, different feet and a smaller body. Essentially they are the same 🙂 I love the SNOT work used in constructing the face. Despite such simple construction, it can look quite dynamic.

Other highlights for me included the african lovebird, as well as the skeleton under the tree.

The biplane allows our figures a change to observe the lion from a safe distance. I really like the way that is is made from a collection of elements not traditionally associated with airplane building, including doorways, window frames and tree trunks.

Over all, I really enjoyed this set: a combination of ‘nature colours’ as well as some that are more dramatic make it a fun set: there is such a wide vaiety of animals to build in this set, as well as adventures by land sea or air, that I found muself swooshing the plane, as well as the boat around the living room. Less so with the treehouse. The animals may be blocky, and not too flexible, but that adds to their charm, and reminds us, after allm, that they are made using a set intended for children.

I appreciate the contrast in models – the treehouse, catamaran and biplane are quite contrasting, and building each oif these from the same parts palette is part of the appeal of this range, as is the variety of animals included.

Similar thematic material, but building the animals on a whole new scale: 31112 Wild Lion

This may not be a perfect parts pack, BUT there are plenty of interesting elements to be found in it, and the play value in this set would make it an ideal place to start if you are looking to introduce a child to ‘proper’ LEGO bricks. This is a good source of olive green plates, but perhaps it is more useful as a way to ensure that some more olive green elements entered the range. While being priced at a little more than 10c per part, the value is there. I give this set 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units. A few of this year’s Creator 3in1 sets appear to be thematic companions: consider this set and 31112 Wild Lion.

The Safari Wildlife Treehouse Creator 3-in-1 set goes on sale 1st March. It will cost $AUD49.00.

Please consider using these affiliate links, if you are interested in purchasing the set. The Rambling Brick might receive a small commission in return for any resulting sales. Tese payments are put back into to the costs of running the site, including hosting, and assiting with competition administration.

I hope you have enjoyed this review. What do you think of this set? A good gift? One for the parts draft? Inspiration builds to be borrows for your own MOCs? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well.

This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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