Review: 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

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When The LEGO Movie (TLM) hits theatres and cinemas in February, it will be the biggest thing that's ever happened in the LEGO world and will focus the mainstream media's attention on the LEGO brand and its products. It will either flop badly, or be a huge success and draw many more people into the hobby.

I fear that it will be full of wise-crack one-liners and silly visual gags at the expense of a coherent script, but I really hope I'm wrong.

LEGO has released the movie tie-in sets in most markets already and has kindly sent them out to a number of AFOL sites, including Brickset, to review. CapnRex101 kicked things off yesterday with his review of one of the smallest sets. CapnRex, DrDaveWatford, Kempo81, Matthew and I will review the others over the next couple of weeks, rather than publish them all now and give you too much to take in all at once.

When I first saw pictures of 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace, my immediate reaction was 'what on earth is that all about?!' I have to admit to thinking that about most of the TLM sets but this one provoked the strongest reaction. Now I've built it, does it all make sense? Read on to find out...

TLM sets, like most licensed ones, are packaged in very glossy boxes and look stunning. This one in particular looks incredibly vibrant and colourful. The 'girly' colours quite possibly will make it appeal more to girls than boys.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

The back of the box shows the back of the model, along with highlighting the 'action' within the set.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

The top shows the minifigs: Emmet, Wyldstyle and Executron along with Unikitty.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

Here are the minifigs. Emmet is wearing orange overalls and his security pass. Wyldstyle has a hoodie of which you'll see more clearly below, and Executron a suit, which is likely to prove useful in City MOCs. I don't know for sure but I think the Emmet in this set is unique, with a smile rather than a smirk. Executron appears only in this set. Wyldstyle with hood down also appears in Super Cycle Chase.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

I believe all three hair pieces are new. Emmet's looks like the regular ancient male hairpiece introduced in 1978 but it has a bit sticking out of the left. To be honest I'm not sure what it is exactly!

Wyldstyle comes with a fantastic new hoodie piece. In other sets, I believe she comes with a piece that goes over her head but in this one she has the hood down.

Emmet has the new red 'backpack' or whatever it is attached to his back, along with what I assume is a light attached to his leg.

Emmet and Wyldstyle also have double-sided heads.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

Unikitty is very cute and presumably a cross between a unicorn and a cat. Her face is printed and nearly every part she's made of is new or rare. The tail is new. I believe the horn has been used before. The 1x1 round with hole in, which it is mounted on the head, makes a welcome return: it had previously been used only in Games sets and there were rumours that designers weren't allowed to use it in other sets.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

Snail is equally cute, and full of new or rare pieces as well. I had intended to identify all the new parts and old parts in new colours in this set for you but there are so many of them and I'm not really an expert in them given I don't have many Friends sets, so we'll have to wait until LEGO publishes the inventory to see what's new and what's unique.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

Here's the completed set minus the minifigs, which I think look a bit out of place in it. Unikitty has some sort of platform to stand on and I can only guess, given the name of the set and the curvy-white pieces at the bottom, that the structure is in the clouds and that the sun-looking thing on the left is, er, the sun...

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

That's a catapult on the left about which the latest Shop at Home catalogue says 'shoot flowers from the flower catapult and fend off Executron'. As you can see, the set is very colourful and packed full of pieces which, unless you have a large Friends collection, will probably be new to you.

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

At the back you can see there's a mechanism for rotating the dishes: being grey they look a bit out of place among all the other brightly coloured elements, don't they?

70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace

This is a difficult set to review because without seeing the film, which no doubt explains what it is and why the protagonist characters are being chased through it, it's just a weird, whacky and nonsensical structure that could be straight out of a child's head. If that's what the designers intended, they've totally succeeded.

I don't think it will be particularly popular with boys given the colour scheme and the more obvious appeal of other TLM sets, so it's great that LEGO has produced this one to cater for other half of the market.

  • Parts - 5 - you'll be hard pressed to find a set with as many rare ones.
  • Playability - 3 - once built there isn't a lot to do with it: flick the catapult, twist the gears, that's about all.
  • Building experience - 4 - straightforward, but it's a fun set to build partly because you are in awe at the rare parts for much of the time.
  • Value for money - 4 - it's a rare-parts-fest and on that basis alone makes an excellent purchase. Its price, £17.99 and $19.99, is pretty reasonable for 197-pieces.
  • Overall - 4 - A really fun set that makes no sense whatsoever but just goes to show what you can do with LEGO and some imagination.

48 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks the the review Hue.

This definitely looks a whacky and interesting set with a great array of pieces and colours and despite its target audience, there's something I find quite appealing about this one. Plan to buy it, even if it's just for the pieces.

Also, the light on Emmett's foot is a tracker from Lord Business (according to the Brickshow) whilst the jet pack thing is something to do with him being the creator.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I see, that makes it as clear as mud :)

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By in United Kingdom,

This set is something very different because it turns the theme into one that appeals to girls and boys. I won't personally buy this set but I will many of the others. It's like the designers at Lego have got to just have fun with the designs like the transforming ice-cream van and the plethora of misfit characters.

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By in United Kingdom,

Lovely set - it's on my wanted list

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By in United States,

I agree with @bodybomb3, the designers definitely look like they had fun with these sets! The name of this one reminds me of that level in Banjo-Tooie, and it definitely seems just as whacky.

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By in United States,

More quick judgements about gender made. It's sad to see that their is still a camp of people who believe that colors have the magic power to identify the gender of a human being. History, it is true that the stereotyping of colors was a real thing, but in today's world, I think that instead of keeping these traditions alive, we such be allowing folks to like what they like instead of what colors society, and a past society at that, tells them they are allowed to like.

I was showing pictures of these sets to my students, aged 11-14, before the holidays (to build some interest for the movie; you're welcome, LEGO) and the boys loved the wackiness of this set. The snail and Unikitty made a big impress on the boys. (If one cares to know, the sixth grade girls loved everything about all the sets; the seventh and eighth grade girls yawned a "whatever" because they all think I'm lame...). This definitely is the set that non-FOL will remember (and I bet when the movie is released, this scene and set will only gain popularity with the audience) and that's one of the biggest targets this movie is trying to appeal to, the non-FOL, to make them now-FOL.

How's a boy looking for information about TLM that their awesomely in-touch teacher introduced them to or who noticed this set in the stores and stumbles upon this review going to feel about the hobby then?

The set is not "girly" unless you're Ward Cleaver and your television world only displays black and white. It's light-hearted, silly, and fun. Things that everyone, no matter what gender, can like.

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By in United States,

You're right, this was the one LEGO Movie set thay made my daughter go, "Ooh, what's that?"

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By in United States,

You said you believe all three hair pieces are new. Did you mean that the hair on all of the set's minifigure are new? If you did, Executron's hair piece is not new to him, as it is worn on minifigures such as Robin. I was just wondering what you meant by that. ;)

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By in United States,

thanks for the nice review, Huw. I like this set, and I'm male (probably because it reminds me of the board game Candy Cane Land). Looking forward to the other reviews.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Ericjohn, I don't think I said it was a girls set, just that " The 'girly' colours will obviously make it appeal more to girls than boys." and "I don't think it will be particularly popular with boys given the colour scheme and the more obvious appeal of other TLM sets,"

I think those statements are true, whatever the rights and wrongs of gender colour associations. Faced with choosing between this set or the similarly priced Castle Cavalry, I suspcet 8 out of 10 boys would choose the latter.

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By in Sweden,

Hey Huw! As I´m currently working on my prog rock album Green Asphalt, your expression NONSENSICAL STRUCTURE is just too good to ignore. I´m definitely going to use it either in a lyric in one of the songs, or maybe even write a completely new song based upon these words. Thank you! -Dan Bornemark, Sweden

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By in United States,

The wackiness of this set is so awesome, plus all the great parts. Must buy for me!

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By in United States,

To be honest, Huw, I'm a fourteen year old boy and this will be one of the only sets of wave one that I'll be purchasing. The build is colorful and looks adorable, it's fun and imaginative, and it includes three of the main protagonists. I'm looking forward to it!

Great review.

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By in United States,

I will be a 40 year old man when I get this, and I'm all male. It's the ony set that appeals to me. True, I want the minifigures mostly, but the colors are just fun and cool. Plus, the snail looks like a fun addition to the 2014 creator animal sets coming out. Good review, but it's crazy colors, not girly colors.

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By in United States,

"...it's just a weird, whacky and nonsensical structure that could be straight out of a child's head. If that what the designers intended, they've totally succeeded."

This is how I feel about the entire theme, and I love it. The sets obviously show the same design talent as any other sets, but at the same time they are a celebration of the kind of unbridled creativity that characterizes the models a kid might create.

I think it's going to be interesting to see how this set sells. It is a bold move on the LEGO Group's part to include things that could be perceived as girly in a theme like this. Is it a reflection that LEGO Friends has begun to balance gender within the "core audience" of the LEGO brand? A sign that the LEGO Group expects this theme to garner a lot of attention even outside that "core audience"? Or is the LEGO Group giving their audience a chance to step outside conventional gender roles and embrace things "cool" and "cute" in equal measure? I don't particularly care. I'd be happy with any of those three situations, or all of the above. I hope this set sells very well.

On a side note, Uni-Kitty is just the cutest thing, especially with all her different costumes! My brother showed me some LEGO Movie coloring pages featuring Uni-Kitty the other day, and they're heart-meltingly adorable! I wouldn't mind if she got her own entire spin-off theme or TV mini-series. Not likely at all, but just thinking about it makes me giddy! I can't wait to get my hands on Astro-Kitty with her blue spacesuit and Classic Space cutie mark!

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By in United Kingdom,

@GreenNinjaCP you're at the age when girls are, er, cool, but at 7-10 years old, boys tend to avoid them, don't they :)

@Aanchir, "a celebration of the kind of unbridled creativity that characterizes the models a kid might create." is spot-on, and I have a feeling the whole movie will be based on this premise.

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By in United States,

Sorry, but this whole line is going to be skipped by me.....
Saving the funds for new super hero sets, friends, and the new princess sets, maybe the new tmnt and Simpsons as well

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm a teenage guy, and I love the look of this set! The colours are so wacky and funky, and the UniKitty is amazing!

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By in United States,

By the way, Huw, Emmet's red "backpack" is actually something called the "Piece of Resistance". I have no idea as to what significance it has to the plot, but apparently it's important because Lord Business is trying to melt it off, shown in "Melting Room".

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By in United States,

@Huw True dat! And speaking of this set, I'll be going to TRU today. If they have it, I will definitely be purchasing it. These reviews are REALLY persuasive!

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review.

This set does look wacky and interesting. The pieces may come in handy, but I doubt I will need too many of them. I will probably pick up this set for my daughter for Unikitty since that is probably as close to My Little Pony as we will get, so she'll love it.

The evil business suit guy looks good and I welcome another suit variant to the mix. It will go well with my city.

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By in United Kingdom,

I wasn't sure what is was a first aswell but I know I will be picking this up once I've watched the movie!

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By in Belgium,

To me, this is the TLM set I was looking forward to the most! I really like the weirdness of the set, the colours,... and Unikitty must be one of the most funny looking figures Lego has ever produced. Indeed, it does remind me too of My Little Pony, and that's great!
I'll be buying this one very soon!

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By in Canada,

Got this set yesterday. Great review Huw! Definitely the set I wanted the most, regardless of my gender.... and the minifigures as well as piece selection are fantastic! I may have to pick up a second one when it comes on sale.

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By in United States,

agree with EricJohn, color is not gender specific. We live in a time where lots of boys are fans of My Little Pony so this set could be just as popular with boys as it is girls. I'm male and this was the first any only LTM set I've bought, unless you count the minifigures.

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By in Canada,

Why would designers not be allowed to use the 1x1 round with hole? I understand that it may be a rumor, but what would Lego be trying to do to enforce such a thing?

Anyways, these sets are a nice, assorted collection of all sorts of themes. nice, well-rounded theme with a huge backing from the movie. Let's hope it does better than not.

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By in United States,

In the photo of the snail there is a hair in the back!

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By in United States,

Just a guess, but I think that this set (and the scene in the movie) might be made to make fun of stereotypical "girly" things (Unikitty, in particular, gives that impression)... :P

Anyway, this set is very interesting, and I really like all the minifigures in this theme!

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By in United States,

@TH3_L3G0_G3N1U5 -- the "apollo" stud, as i've heard tell called is unbranded since there is no stud surface to print "LEGO."

It's more of brand recognition than anything else. That's just conjecture, however.

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By in United States,

Buy it…you'll like it, no kidding! (Already posted my comments under the review section.)
Every time I pass it in our living room, I smile.
Wonderful on a day with truly sucky weather…wet, windy and cold.
I wish all of life contained this much whimsy! And it is perfect for everyone over the age of three. WOW!

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By in United States,

Going to the Lego Store on Friday. I plan on picking this and the ice cream truck up. I'll be walking out of the store with brightly colored sets and no shame.

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By in United States,

Huw
The cloud cuckoo palace is the secret headquarters of the master builders and yes that is a tracking device on his leg also the red brick on his back is the Piece of Resistance which gives emmet the ability to be The Special who should defeat lord business

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By in Taiwan,

> I believe all three hair pieces are new
Executron's is not from Obi-Wan?

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By in Russian Federation,

This particular set is beautiful - they tried to make a psychodelic colourful world full of flying flovers and rotating dishes, and they suceed with quite a little amount of parts. I like the clouds effect of 'mad paradise', and the whole structure is, err, good for display - you don't need a lot of space and it represents everything you need for a mad scene. The frontpage pic without minifigs shows it better than the box, I particulary like this 'theatrical' fake sun.

After all, we all are fed up with catapults, but one made from traditional LEGO WC parts is something new...))

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By in United Kingdom,

@jasor, that's what I heard, too.

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By in Germany,

This and the Creative Ambush are the first sets I ordered and this review gets me even more excited for the package to arrive. Thank you, Huw!

However, I have to agree with ericjohn also! Comments like "The 'girly' colours quite possibly will make it appeal more to girls than boys." are just pointless. You will never read "The boyish colours won't appeal to girls" in a review for any of the other TLM set reviews, so in my opinion it's just silly gender stereotyping, nothing else.

Other than that great review, awesome photos (as usually). Thanks again! :D

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By in United States,

@figura- Well stated point.

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By in United States,

This set really stands out to me in The LEGO Movie line. Even if just for the parts, I definitely am going to pick up this set, though I have to admit, Uni-Kitty is awesome :P

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By in United States,

Warning, I'm starting with an off-topic comment on the off-topic conversation. See below for my on-topic opinion:

I'm with Huw on the gender-color thing. One can't put colors in a certain gender box, but I do believe that at different ages, different people of different genders appreciate different colors more. I have three little sisters and they LOVE LEGO Friends. They like the other LEGO lines, but Friends appeals to them most. When they look at the LEGO catalog, they skip to the Friends section. It's not because they were brainwashed into liking pink and "girly" things most, it's just their preference at that age. As they grow they start to appreciate other themes more; the oldest of the three younger sisters is now getting into Hobbit sets. Anyway, I'm perfectly fine with Huw's statement that "The 'girly' colours quite possibly will make it appeal more to girls than boys," because most little girls I know who play with LEGO also like pink things. Most little boys I know would rather get the CITY/Ninjago/Star Wars sets. There are plenty of boys/male-humans who would get this set, but there are probably more girls because little girls tend to like pink more than little boys.

Sorry about going off-topic, but this is an issue which I feel gets way too much controversy for what it really is. Some people like some colors, and some people like other colors. Nobody is forcing anyone to like a certain color by making a product in that color and targeting it towards a certain audience (in this case, gender). The audience doesn't have to buy it, and guess what, it usually sells because many in the targeted group actually like the color.

OK, because I came here for the set review, here is my on-topic comment now that I have said my piece on the controversial topic above.

I really like what LEGO is doing with their new LEGO movie theme. They take a bit of everything they've done and roll it into one wacky, fun, creative, and imagination-rich line of sets. Combine the cool models with quirky and hilarious characters, and you have a real winner. The movie could be absolutely terrible and I would still respect the line of sets for everything the designers have done. Hopefully that won't be the case though, as I'm really looking forward to the film (and its videogame counterpart).

Thanks for doing the review Huw, it was great to get a closer look at this set. I was certainly thinking about this one because of the two main characters and the fun pieces, and also because the Unikitty appeals to me for unknown reasons. I think I will pick this up if I can find it for a decent price when I have money on hand.

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By in United States,

(I'm not saying this in spite of Huw's gender-color thing, I actually quite agree on that but) I...I'm a guy... and I'm definitely gonna get this set, if only for Unikitty xD

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By in United States,

@SuperDKong

I disagree with you about some points you make. Although it was years before Friends was released, my cousin greatly enjoyed our BIONICLES (specifically Jaller and Kongu; the Inika were the most recent ones at that time), which is an example of how "girly" colors don't really make much of a difference (unless of course the girls in question are "brainwashed" or "conditioned" by society to be affiliated with "girly" colors)... and, in fact, pink (as an extension of being related to red) was once considered a more masculine color.

Overall, I think a person's color preference is mainly decided by how they are influenced by certain factors of their lives, or just their general preferences (e.g. I'm a person who doesn't like things forced upon me, and thus, I took a general disliking of blue compared to green, given that most of my other siblings prefer blue over green, although I don't hate blue by any means). Although there are many girls who prefer pink (one may say, in accordance with my argument, that they like pink because they are always so exposed to it even at early ages :P), I don't think it's fair to group all girls into that category and just assume that girls will like a set more because it's pink (or, at least, has a lot of pink).

Finally, you mentioned that "Most little boys (you) know would rather get the CITY/Ninjago/Star Wars sets"... but, of course, I believe that that has to do with the subject matter of the sets, rather than the colors (e.g. Friends having "hobbies and pastimes of a group of friends" being the main subject and Ninjago being "a group of ninja friends who save the world" as the main subject :P).

However... relating to this set itself, I'll be interested to see if my earlier opinion about this set (e.g. this, and the humor of the movie, being more of a parody-style) holds true when the movie comes out.

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By in United States,

^I think color does make a difference, perhaps because most children are "brainswashed". But you did have a good point there in paragraph three, which i had never thought about before.

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By in United States,

^I think color does make a difference, perhaps because most children are "brainswashed". But you did have a good point there in paragraph three, which i had never thought about before.

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By in United States,

@Dragon_Master_48

You bring up some valid points. I agree that you can't set certain colors as only for one gender. I stated something like that at the beginning of my first post. All colors can be enjoyed and used by all humans. However, that doesn't mean that certain groups of people don't generally have certain color preferences. It probably has something to do with what society thinks, but then doesn't most everything? I completely understand your wish to be different and independent of others' influences in your color preferences (I too prefer green to blue) but not all have that feeling and being independent of society's influences does not mean one has to like something society doesn't/dislike what society likes. That would be the opposite of what the person wanted to accomplish. :P

Also, no one here has been trying to "group all girls into one category;" the statement that began this debate was that the set would appeal more to girls than to boys. Regardless of the reason, little girls tend to like pink more than little boys, and there's nothing wrong with that in my opinion. :)

As to your third paragraph, I'm sure content plays a role in why boys prefer other themes better, but color is also important. Do you think a "girly" pink starship would sell as well among young boys as a starship in "boyish" hues?

Administrators, I do apologize for this off-topic conversation. Feel free to delete this post if you think it detracts from the subject on hand. :)

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By in United States,

No, you have a point. I will probably get this set, mainly because it will contrast with my armies of battle droids and other military equipment.

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By in South Africa,

This is so nice. I think I will get it. :)

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By in United States,

I'm for sure getting this set. This is exactly why I love Lego--because genre doesn't matter, and the more wild, gonzo the creation the better!

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