The second wave of Elves sets this year continue with the goblins and we meet Sophie Jones again. Today I'll take a look at 41188 Breakout from the Goblin King's Fortress, the largest of the wave and this year's castle set. How does this castle compare to previous years' castles?
The front of the box shows the set from the front view with the Goblin King keeping poor Sophie in a cage dangling over the rest of the castle. Her heroic sister Emily can be seen coming down the river in the lower left of the box on a raft to come to Sophie's rescue. The back of the box shows the set from a rear view, as well as several insets showing the multiple moving functions, something we've come to expect from Elves sets.
Inside the box, there are five numbered bags, two long gold rods (including one extra), a perfect bound instruction book (though the cover doesn't look quite as glossy as the book that comes with other sets). There's a small sticker sheet too (with only eight stickers!).
There are three mini-dolls and one goblin included in this set, which is appropriate considering its size and price. All three mini-dolls are new this year or to this set. Emily is wearing a short sleeved shirt with blue and white stripes with a magenta collar that goes quite well with her short blue skirt and dark blue cropped leggings. She is ready for action with magenta tennis shoes. Unfortunately the printing on the shirt does not extend to the back. Emily comes equipped with a sword to battle for her sister. She also comes with an amulet, which for the first time is provided in a separate piece that loops over her neck as opposed to something printed on the mini-doll. Sophie Jones is dressed in a jumper with short skirt with a white and purple striped shirt underneath. Her hair is in a topknot ponytail, a new piece in this colour. She seems equally ready to be sprung from the cage as she sports yellow tennis shoes.
The Goblin King is also new this year. He has striking markings on his face beside his right eye. His headgear is a great molded piece that includes a gold crown and his elfin ears. His torso has some nice printing on the front resembling something like a chain mail vest with an insignia on the front. He also has some printing on his left upper arm, much like the other Elves. He has a cloak in two colours - purple on the outside with a red lining. His accessories are a scepter topped with a green jewel as well as an amulet of his own, however his amulet features a green stone while Emily's amulet has a blue stone.
Only one goblin is included in this set - Tufflin. Tufflin is a lavender colour with dark blue hair and an outfit. He has some printed detailing that looks like some chain mail as well as a belt with one of the eye pieces as a belt buckle. Unfortunately there is no printing on the back. Tufflin looks about as menacing as a lavender goblin can look and comes equipped with a spear and a printed shield piece that we've seen in other Elves sets.
The completed model
The only auxiliary build in this set is the raft that Emily uses to get to the fortress. It's a straightforward build with a rudder provided for steering. Detail that is commonly found in Elves sets is shown even in this auxiliary build by adding a decorated tile (using a technic pin) for the raft supports. A rope is wrapped around the raft and fixed in the front of the raft with a grappling hook - the tool used to scale the side of the fortress. A healing potion is also onboard with a printed 1x1 printed round piece as the stopper.
The fortress is very striking viewed from the front, and I really like the colour scheme of primarily bright green with a sand green base and detailing. Those of you who love sand green pieces will find a good assortment of them in this set. The fortress is made of a tall spire with a throne at the top, a smaller spire that includes the portal and a drawbridge, and a connection between the two. The throne has a dangling cage attached which contains the captured Sophie Jones. The cage is securely locked thanks to a 1x1 printed round piece with a lock insignia. The throne is detailed in red and purple and has plenty of red dagger pieces showing the evil intent of the occupant. There's also some evil plants attached to one side of the throne.
The entire throne portion - including the cage - can be rotated, making Sophie's position even more precarious if she's positioned over the carnivorous plants (more on them below).
One level down on the spire, there's another evil plant that holds the key to Sophie's cage and is guarded by a shadow raven. Also providing a line of defense is a carnivorous plant. I loved seeing these in the 41185 Magic Rescue from the Goblin Village and I was absolutely delighted to see them used again here.
The spire is decorated on the front with some crawling blue vines up the walls and curling around the windows. Adjacent to the spire is a connecting portion between the spires. There's a catapult on top of the elevated walkway (picture further below) ready to fire off evil seeds to anyone trying to rescue Sophie. I think Emily is wise to try to scale the tower to get to her sister.
Also guarding the base are a couple of the carnivorous plants. Their mouths open and snap shut due to a see-sawing mechanism powered by a gear on the other side of the wall. I love these plants and think their inclusion in this theme is a terrific use of imagination on fortress defenses.
The last portion of the castle has the impressively printed 4x4 portal that can be hinged down. It is framed by a couple of evil plants and also has a sack of crystals mining tools close by. The new quarter circle tiles are used as part of the all grey mosaic in front of the portal.
The bottom level of this section doesn't look like much….except it has the drawbridge! The bridge is raised and lowered in bright green chains which are controlled by a gear on the side of the fortress. The mechanism works very well and quite smoothly. I had a great time raising and lowering the bridge many times.
On the side of the fortress there is a rock wall with some protruding crystals….which actually is a secret door to the inside of the fortress thanks to some hinge pieces.
As we look at the rear view of the set, it's clear there's a lot going on here too.
Continuing with the drawbridge, once it is lowered Emily will gain access to a room that has a hearth with a fire with some potion bottles on the mantle. On the opposite side of the room we find some of the evil seeds as well as some instructions on how to create them. In one of these pictures you can see how the chains raising the drawbridge wrap around pins near the ceiling.
The centre of the fortress shows the catapult as well as the gear that controls the carnivorous plants. There's also what looks to be a portrait of an elfin mother and daughter - courtesy of a sticker - on the wall as well as an eating area complete with lunch and a drink on the railing.
There are two levels below the throne area in the spire: a study that has a desk, ink quill and a magic book (contents provided by a printed piece), and a sleeping area for both the Goblin King and Tufflin, the Goblin King's bed looking slightly more comfortable than Tufflin's.
New and rare parts
Parts only in this set:
1x1 round with through hole in bright green
Curled design element in dark blue
Neck tail link in dark blue
1x4x1 claw with shaft
Technic 5M beam in brown
1x2x2 wall with window in bright green
1x3x3 brick with bow in bright green
Rare parts - only found in a few sets, mostly from this year:
1x2 plate with horizontal snap in yellow beige
1x1 brick with two corner knobs in yellow beige
2x3 flat tile in yellow beige
1x2x2/3 plate with half bow in red
Large red tooth
3x3 bamboo leaves in red
Mini shield with eye print
Pink clear 1x1 pyramid
1x1 leaf piece in bright green
1x1x1 2/3 with vertical knobs in magenta
Small limb element in magenta
Tip of the tail in dark blue
Dark blue horn
1x1 plate with tooth in sand green
2x2 inside and out bow in sand green
1x1 quarter circle tile in grey
2x2 grey tile with bow
4x4 grey tile with bow
2x2x2/3 plate with bow in dark purple
2x3 flat tile with angle in dark purple
Large vortex piece in green
1x1 brick in bright green
2x2x5 1/4 circle wall in bright green
2x2x2/3 plate with bow in bright green
Bottles containing potions
When I first built this set, it didn't feel quite as substantial as the other castles that the Elves line has produced. But there would be a good reason for that - it's a smaller set (695 pieces, $69.99, 69.99€, £64.99) than previous castles. Even for the smaller size, this is a set that is well designed and provides a lot of play value, particularly with the moving functions (the hidden door, the catapult, the carnivorous plants, the portal, rotating throne and of course the drawbridge). There is a small sheet of stickers included and while they add some aesthetic value, most of them are not needed, which I consider a definite plus. The drawbridge function is excellent and I love seeing the carnivorous plants again. There are also plenty of new and interesting pieces and different colours and several sand green pieces for those who particularly appreciate that colour. I also enjoy seeing that in the end, Emily is the one who saves her sister, though she certainly got some help along the way. I still can't help but think that the price is a bit steep for what you get but it is an excellent set nonetheless.
There are plans for reviews of the other Elves sets in this wave and other Friends sets in the coming weeks. Which would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.