41188 Breakout from the Goblin King’s Fortress

The Elves theme continues to impress, with each season bringing new dragons and so much daring use of color. This latest wave gives us this amazing spring yellowish-green castle. How was I ever going to pass this one up?

Before I go any further, I’d like to apologize for the photos in this review. I’ve just moved into a new studio space and my lighting is turning out to be sub-optimal. I tried adjust the white-balance in my camera, but I only made things worse. Some post processing has made the colors better, but they still aren’t as true to life as I would like. Sorry.

Getting the box open, I found 5 beefy bags of elements and a bagged instruction booklet. I really like how diverse the colors are in this build, bright greens coupled with dark blue and black. So good.

I don’t usually apply stickers, but I appreciate the small sheet in this set. My favorite is the family portrait.

Bag one starts out with just a sample of the interesting elements in this set. The flexible gold element is new and only available in this set. The sand green macaronis are new too, though the 2×2 bricks have appeared in a couple of pricy sets in the past. The bright red bamboo leaves are great recolor and I can’t wait to get my hands on more. The printed elements and minifig accessories appear in other Elves sets from this story arc. I have a particular affection for the little flower plates, so I am happy to get my hands on some of them in bright yellowish-green.

The minidolls in bag one are Emily Jones and the goblin, Tufflin. There are different variations of Emily in each set this year, but Tufflin is unique to this one.

This first build is Sophie’s cute raft and the base for one end of the fortress. A lot of extra elements, thanks to all the small details.

The next group of interesting elements are dominated by spring yellowish-green. The curved panels, arches and window panels are all unique to this set, while the others are only available in a handful of recent sets.

The second bag builds up the gate house and adds a working drawbridge and a secret door disguised as rock. One of my favorite bits here is the pink crystals poking out of the rocks. Here too, you can see the fortresses color theme coming together. Sand green foundations with spring yellowish-green walls, topped by strip of black. It is great to see such bold use of color in a castle.

We’ve already seen a lot of these elements in previous bags, but they’re joined by some more uncommon elements in spring yellowish-green and sand green. Those inverted baby bows are new in bright red this year and only found in one other set so far. The bright yellowish-green 1×1 round plates with holes are unique to this set and a great new color.

Bag three builds the base of a tower and the gallery that connects it to the gate house. The carnivorous plants in the middle have a clever play feature that allows them to rock back-and-forth, snapping.

Bag four has another healthy quantity of unusual elements. That windscreen is unique to this set as are those sand green 1×1 plates with tooth. The rest of them are still pretty great. I’m excited about that new snot brick!

The Goblin King comes in bag four, which is a bit strange considering we don’t build his throne until the end. He’s a nice fig though and I suspect that hair piece will see use in combination with LotR minifigs.

His coolest accessory is the two-sided cape, red on one and purple on the other.

Quite a few slick techniques in this bag. I particularly like the portal (check out the steps) and the brick-built eye motif above the gate. Some clever snot building goes into that circular portal.

A few earth blue elements make the last of the new recolors for this set. Again, a lot of other cool elements to play with.

The last minidoll in the set is Sophie Jones. She doesn’t have any fantasy elements at all and would look quite at home in the company of regular Friends minidolls. That hairpiece is pretty great though and only appears in one other set (41182 Capture of Sophie Jones).

The final bag doesn’t disappoint in any way. Here we build out the tower, adding earth blue vines that wrap down and around. The throne at the top is surprisingly intricate and incorporates a spar that hold Sophie’s cage. A lot of great details here.

The finished model has a fantastic feel. This color scheme really snuck up on me, but I can’t wait to experiment with it myself in the future. There are cool room details on the inside too, but I think that I’ll leave those for you to discover on your own.

The set has 695 elements for 69.99 (a smidge over 10¢ per piece), but 55 extra elements that I got really took the value over the top. If these are colors that speak to you, definitely pick up this set.

Keep building and enjoy!