This year we celebrate 30 years since the arrival of Majisto and the Dragon Knights. (to say nothing of LEGO Dragons) onto the landscape. The modern update of 6048 Majisto’s workshop as a contemporary gift with purchase has had many builders excited about its arival, and others just as disappointed, either by the omission of certain details (such as plumes in the Knight’s helmet, and decorations on Majisto’s Torso ), or the buy in price (>400AUD/250USD) as a gift with purchase on the LEGO Insiders weekend, or over the Black Friday shopping weekend.
I was really excited to receive this set to look at, from the LEGO Group, as I was keen to see how techniques used might differ from those used in the original model. While I may not have a copy of this 6048 Majisto’s Workshop I can at least take a look at the instructions, and see how this updated set might differ from the 1993 original.
I am also keen to take a look at the original models displayed on the back of the box, and see if they might be able to be put together with this set.
What’s in the box?
First, lets take a look at the elements provided in this set. You can see a copy of the inventory of this set at rebrickable.com.
The set comes with 2 numbered bags of elements, as well as two large ugly rock pieces. Once again, the Knoller-in-Chief has laid these elements out to make it easy for you to see the elements included. There is a small sticker sheet included, which reveals that the shutter element (discontinued in 2001) is replaced by a sticker. The printed scroll carried by Majisto in the original set has also been replaced by a stickered element.
When comparing the images on the box, a couple of differences are immediately apparent: the design of halberd is different compared with the classic design, while the sloped bricks, with studs along the surface have long vanished from the element inventory.
Let’s look at the minifigures:
Majisto is unprinted, just like that seen in Lion Knight’s castle last year. He has the same beard mould last used by Gandalf in the Hobbit/Lord of the rings sets almost a decade ago, while the base of his robes is the 2×2 arched element, introduced around 5 years ago in Star Wars and Harry Potter sets. His hat is the same stalwart element introduced in the original set, 30 years ago, but we have seen it more recently in the 40657 Dream Village. Majisto comes with a wand, but rather than the discontinued Glow-in-the-dark element seen in the past, this one is transparent yellow, as seen in recent years appearing on Christmas trees in LEGO City and Friends. He also comes with a scroll depicting a spell: However, this is now a stickered element, rather than printed as it was in the original set.. I feel this lack of detail is taking us back way past 1993 to the late 70s. I think virtually all calstel torsos post 1982 have had some degree of decoration present.
The Dragon Knight
Our new Dragon Knight has black legs, red torso with blue arms and metallic silver pauldrons. She has a silver caged helmet, with a blue plume in the top. The torso print features a metallic gold print of the complete dragon body. The blue plume is a call back to the original set, where blue dragon plumes were used.
Here she is compared with the other Dragon Knight’s torsos I have floating around the house: not I pick these up at markets where they might not be exactly as they appeared in their original set. I don’t have a copy of the original 4068 around the house, and as such dont have any blue Dragon Plumes.
I really like the new torso: I think it really stands out against the originals. While the Dragon Knights had a particularly distinctive helmet design(third from the left) and plumes , the moulds have been long retired. I can understand why this element (among others) was not were not reproduced for this set…please bear with me.
This set has been produced as a gift with purchase, and as such is produced by The LEGO Group’s ‘Extended Line’ team. While the team have the opportunity to get new stickers and the occasional new print (such as the torso here), they are not able to commission new elements. I would not expect any of the retired elements to be reintroduced for this set. Could a shield have been possible? I think so, but perhaps not with the part count and intended buy in point. The other elements that distinguished the Dragon Knights would not be able to be reintroduced – specifically the helmet, the plumes and the halberd.
I’ll come back in another post to look at how I think these figures could have been improved using currently available elements and prints.
The build itself is straight forward enough, and draws on contemporary building techniques and elements, including the shift away from the baseplate element in many situations – as such the base is put together from a number of green plates, with a final foot print measuring 16×12.
The Large Ugly Rock piece was one of the elements that defined the look of the Dragon Knights sets, making its debut in 1993, and it returns here, forming a large part of the walls for the lower level of the workshop, decorated with trees, and 1x2x2/3 curved slopes to make a smoother structure. Hinged bricks allow the body of the model to swing open, allowing the building to swing open. The original model had no doors, rather relying on the wizard’s magic to open the worshop up. In this version, there is a small brick build door, in two halves. An offset plate with a printed lock element keeps the structure sealed up.
The section is capped off with a couple of half balconies in dark stone grey, the first time this colour has been used since 2008! (the mould has been in use more recently in Disney castles – albeit in purple, white and wteal/medium turquoise).
Internally, we see some great details: the chest, fire, even the practical issue of getting to the upper level using a ladder is addressed.
Building up, we see the big difference between the building process in this set, compared to the original: the technique for using sloped plates as roof elements. Back in the 90s, this look was achieved using slopes with studs on the diagonal. It was sinple and efficient (and meant that there were 8 of those elements included in the original set.).
In recent times, we are more likely yto see a plate attached to a 2×3 shield, attached to a clip, or (as in the cozy house and this set) a combination of axle and plates with connector pin holes. While this technique is parts intensive, it is effective. As such, we two large sloping roof elements, supported by arches (dark grey)
The final modell comes together like this:
The final effect is fairly true to the original: there are some obvious changes: the door for one, and the shutters are another. Many elements have been replaced by smaller parts: 1x1x2; 1x1x3 panels; arches formerly used for trees are replaced by black tail element, as has been a trend in tree construction recently. Finally, the black castle balcony elements have been removed, replaced with several facet bricks, some 1×1 bricks, cheese slopes and a healthy dose of optimism. The shutters have been discontinued, as have the slopes with studs: I would not expect to have these elements reinstated for a gift with purchase.
We have, however, received 16 of the 1×2 slope with cutout, which has a certain Dragon Knights feel to it, and might be useful for visiting relevant MOCs.
Back of the Box builds
With these subtle changes to the parts, does the set retain the options provided on the back of the box of the original build? No alternative models were included, and with contemporary LEGO Design, no images are provided for models without instructions being included. The upshot being that no alternative images are displayed. I set out to try and work out the answer to this conundrum. I am grateful to the work of those behind www.backoftheboxbuilds.com for providing instructions for the alternate builds seen on the box, using the elements of the original set. How did 30 years of elemental evolution affect our ability to build these?
There are 3 models shown on the back of the box:
Back of the Box Builds contributor Silent Knight lists them as: Majisto’s Magic Forge; Majisto’s Lodge and Majisto’s Secluded Mountain Hut. I did my best to reconstruct them using elements only included in the the contemporary set.
Here are my results…
Majisto’s Magic Forge
A forge needs a great source of heat to be a forge, and the fact that this set only has candle flame, rather than proper ‘dragon flame’ means that the initial results here were somewhat limited. At least with this initial model, I only had to deal with a single pair of roof elements. I felt pretty happy with the way this turned out.
This model uses a the full 16×16 footprint, and as such, I opted to have the front ‘gate’ off the plate. This model uses 3 sloped roof elements – the two red panels, along with the brown one behind the gates. To make this work, I used a pneumatic t-tube, two studs with holes in them and a 1×1 brick with a clip – this allows for another slanted roof element, while not going beyond the elements within the set. That said, it is quite fiddly to set up.
I think the absence of the black balconies as well as the arches were sorely missed in this model, as the gate felt rather cluttered.
Majisto’s Secluded Mountain Hut
This was possibly the most challenging to put together. It was obvious from the very start that the model would require the full 16×16 plate, so I found one in the LEGOratory and substituted it for the included plates. I found a few necessary compromises with this model, as a result of the existing parts palette: the four roof elements were perhaps not placed on the best angles, and I had to resort to my ‘sneaky hinge’ mechanism in two places.
By the time I got to the top of the tower, I was running out of plates and bricks with studs on, although I had a few small slops left. The trees were easy to build into the mountaing, although it was a little tricky improvising in the absence of the arches. The ‘build your own’ approach to the black balcony elements detrated from the final look in my opinion, although in retrospect, I could have used the black elements at the midlevel, and used the dark grey on top.
I have to admit, I enjoyed the returning to the vintage instructions and translating them for the present, It felt like I was being too stubborn by sticking to the use of elements included in the set, especially when more than 2 roff elements were included. With a little more work and a couple of extra parts, the translation might be a little smoother and stable.
Why should we be excited or interested?
Overall, I enjoyed the build experience, but it didn’t wow me. The increased use of smaller elements rather than the larger slopes, panels and arches included in the original provides plenty of scope for creativity, but it does detract somewhat from the sitting down , getting the build done and starting to play. That said, with a 12+ recommended age range, its designed to keep you occupied for a moment.
There are some exciting implications of this set existing, particularly for the pick-a brick website: they wont arrive overnight but we can probably expect to see the new coloured elements appear in the next 6 months or so. These include…
- New Dragon Knights torso
- Castle balcony element reappearing in Dark Stone Grey
The minifigures as they appear here are appealing, but would not make me go out and spend $400AUD over the Insiders weekend or Black Friday shopping events on their own. I’ve spent a little too much time looking at them, and thinking about how I might upgrade them recently, and will follow on with that in my next post.
But if you are looking to preorder the 10326 Natural History Museum or 10329 Tiny Plants, or even the 10305 Lion Knight’s Castle, the double Insider Points that run in parallel with this promotion will probably have you a little more interested. Don’t forget, the 10325 Winter Village Alpine Lodge is now available (and there is a matching market stall available for a lower GWP threshold.), and if you have been waiting for an excuse, 10316 Rivendell is still available and remains one of my all time favorite LEGO Builds
If you don’t have the need to spend that, wait a little, and head to the secondary market and Pick a brick. I am excited by what this set represents: a reimagining of Classic sets, endeavouring to capture the charm of a bygone era. The implications for element availability are exciting, and I have to admit, I am coming to appreciate the benefit of the plate and technic hinge technique being used in contemporary roof construction. I might go back and see if I can improve the overall look of the back of the box builds, perhaps adding in some arches. But time is poor.
I’d love to know what you think: Will this trigger a purchase for you? Or do you find it a bit Meh? Why not leave your comments below!
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