Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 9:43pm by Benjamin, BZPower Reporter
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Well hello there! Good to see y’all are still reading news. I’m here to present you ladies and gents with a review of Kingdoms set 7187 – Escape From Dragon Prison! I picked this thing up at Brickfair when we all went to the LEGO store. Apologies in advance for the probably less-than-satisfactory photos… I took them where I am now, in a rental house in upstate New York. Not quite where I live.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Unlike any sets that would’ve been bought at Brickfair last year (Running of the Bulls and all that), this one was in a spiffing, shiny, and undamaged box. A nice six-sided cardboard receptacle. The usual.
On the front is a typical Kingdoms scene – dark Dragon Knights taking on the bright-red Lion Knights in a display of typically not-overtly-violent LEGO action. Most prominent on the box is probably the mounted Dragon Knight.
On the box’s top is a linear display of the figures included – and, oddly, for the “actual size” area, a rat is used. I was unaware that the rat was a principal character.
The rear side of the package is almost exactly the same as its front in terms of scene – I guess there are only so many ways to position a one-sided castle fort. There are also the usual picture-boxes, which display functions of the set – one of which is evidently that the Dragon Knights and Lion Knights can indeed clash blades. Thanks, LEGO, I definitely couldn’t have figured that one out myself.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Like most other LEGO sets, we begin building by opening the box/canister/whatever. Out fall three baggies of parts and an unfortunately bent instruction manual… I hate when that happens. Opening the bags, which aren’t numbered, gives us an array of pieces. The Dragon Knight Pony’s unicorn helmet is in its own small bag.
Typically, we build the minifigures first – but those will be looked at more in-depth later on, so they don’t appear here. Next up is the Lions’ flickfire machine. Did I say machine? That was a lie. There’s nothing mechanical about it. Just bricks on bricks.
Next is the set’s main model – the Dragon’s Prison. If I hadn’t been taking pictures as I went, this would have come together in all of five minutes or less. That isn’t so much a testament to my building speed as it is the easy, simplistic build of the model. No surprises.
Spare parts at the end:
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Tada! In a flash, the Dragon Knights have their prison from an otherwise-useless pile of parts!
And I do mean useless. Take a look at this.
These are the “new or interesting parts” I could find in this set. Yep. That’s it. The only new parts I spotted (or think I spotted) were recolors - the gunmetal gates, gunmetal knight’s mask (I’m not sure if this is new), and the dark green horse covering with dragon knight prints – which may have, for all I know, already appeared elsewhere.
Other than that, there’s also the lovely gunmetal horsey helmet with its infinitely useful horn/drill/awesome thing in pearl gold. And a few grates, as well. The black one does not open when pressed fully into its frame, whereas the grey one is a door. I only put these parts I here because I didn’t have any yet.
There’s also the cheese slope in brown. Not new or exciting, really, but there are 13 of them in the set, and a man like me can never have too many brown cheese slopes.
Well, the parts are boring. But there’s still hope for the minifigures…. Right? Gosh let’s hope so.
Not amazing figures, really, but they’re nice. Beautiful printing jobs (as is normal for the Kingdoms figures), and back printing all around, too. Two of the four have double-sided heads.
The Dragons’ knight is the newest fig here – his helmet is entirely new (I actually just checked up on this, and not only his front helmet, but also the back part, are new in gunmetal), and with his dark hues and imposing armor, he is a very pretty figure indeed. He looks even better on his blanketed unicorn. They’re visually very pleasing together. The pony is lovely.
The other figures are less spectacular, perhaps, but there’s nothing to complain about. The Lion Knights are the usual sort for the line – one dunce-cap (he has a Pharaoh’s Quest face), one pizza-brimmed. Normal, maybe, but nice looking nevertheless.
The Dragon archer has a bit more character. He too has a flat-brimmed helm… but what is underneath it is much more interesting. He has buckteeth! And a wispy moustache! His mouth is open wide enough to see his LEGO tongue. I can’t recall the last time that happened. I adore this new face, and I have named the archer Gap-Toothed Gilligan.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with.
The set’s two “play features” are the two lamest that LEGO has made on record: the flick-fire missile and the too-small-to-really-work catapult. The former is probably known to most of my audience, but to those who have been lucky enough to not encounter one, it works like this: The person wanting to fire the missile will flick the rear end of the missile, and hope that he/she does not flick apart the launcher in the process. The Lion Knights have one of these, and it works like flick-fires always do – badly.
The catapult is another one of LEGO’s harebrained “weapons systems” which, like an old-timey squid launcher, requires immense skill and a good deal of luck to fly even a foot in the right direction… as such, it’s impossible to fire well. Plus, the ammunition is tiny and round, a recipe for disaster – wherever you shoot it, the “rock” will undoubtedly keep rolling until it gets directly under your heavy couch.
“If only the gap in these bars were as big as the gap in his teeth…”
The set’s name calls the halfhearted, one-sided barrier that it gives us a “prison,” and I suppose that’s true. Underneath one of the towers is a barred room in which a Lion Knight can be held against his whim. I don’t really call the opening door a play feature, but I suppose the presence of a prison adds a bit of role-playing value.
On the other side of the big gate is another room, this one holding a single red diamond. Why the Dragon Knights keep random riches lying about in one of their least defensible buildings, I’ll never know. But, the choice made to safeguard the red jewel, you’d think that the DK’s would think to actually safeguard it, right?
Wrong. All one has to do is pluck off the window pane in front and the all-valuable trans-red piece can be stolen! Gasp and gadzooks! In fact, the window part doesn’t even need to be removed – it can actually be swung open from the outside. I personally find this to be very funny.
And, lastly, there’s the gate. Well, those handsome gunmetal gates are not only too tall for their doorway (making them look yucky), but the doorway is also too short for the horseman to ride through! Where else is the horseman supposed to come galloping out of? But, like the jewel thing, the short archway brings to mind some amusing imagery:
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Figures are all (at a bare minimum) visually appealing.
- Dragon Horseman and his pony are beautiful and new.
- Gap-Toothed Gilligan! <3
- Brown cheese slopes.
- Rat is included.
- Gunmetal doors look lovely… when they’re not on this fortress.
What's not to like?
- No really standout desirable, amazing figures.
- Flick-fire missile – plus, its red carriage feels like an afterthought.
- Miniature catapult does not work.
- Miniature catapult is a useless piece.
- Jewel is there for no reason and in the worst spot possible… but maybe you enjoy this, like I do.
- The main gate isn’t tall enough for ponyboy to ride through! Major disappointment.
- Practically no new parts – no new molds, minimal recolors.
- Fortress is lame in stature and design.
- Area above the gates on the wall is horrible and hollow and ewww.
- Not enough cheese slopes to justify my $20.
Don’t buy this set. I wish I’d gotten the Pirates of the Carribean Isla de la Muerta instead. There aren’t any exciting features or parts in this set, really, there aren’t. As a parts pack, this set has nothing of interest. If you want the minifigs, sure, buy the set – but most of them you can find elsewhere, or can be acquired online for much less than $20. Unless you’re some kind of Kingdoms completionist, I recommend you spend your good, hard-earned money on something else. Please? Do it for me.
The only part of the set I’m now glad I own is the pony, its gunmetal headwear, and the Dragon Knight’s body. Combined with some of the other parts of my Brickfair haul, they can be useful…
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