On a day where LEGO are making waves with their Art Mosaics, some sort of overpriced Dots for adults, it’s time for us to talk about some further actual Dots sets, in particular the Desk Organizer (41907) and the Jewellery Box (41915).
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: No, I’m still not convinced that the concept of Dots has merit or a long-term sustainability – just like the last time. One day it will just fade out as if nothing actually happened. It’s not only a limitation inherent in the whole concept, but also in how LEGO go about it in my opinion. More on that later. As such, I’m still viewing the sets mostly as parts sources for those tiles and a few other bits in previously unavailable colors, with these reviews being merely a byproduct. I’ll try to be as objective as I can, but of course I’m biased right from the start.
This year’s sets come in slightly larger boxes/ tray’s than the initial releases, that is the trays are rectangular instead of square shaped. The color of the season is apparently Pale Yellow/ Bright Light Yellow. Overall I’m still not fond of the idea as – let’s face it – it ends up being extra plastic trash eventually even if you keep the trays around for a while for other uses. Every bit of stuff in the sets still would have fitted into a suitable cardboard box and if they were so adamant about it it would even have been easy enough to include a die-cut foldable paper tray.
Buying the Desk Organizer (41907) came about in its own weird and wondrous way. I have tons of tiles in Coral from Friends and The LEGO® Movie 2 sets, including the 1 x 1 pizza slice type, but none of them included the 1 x 1 square tile. This was quite a revelation when I realized this would be the first time those tiles had actually been produced. Combined with the fact that I also barely had any regular Orange tiles in my parts stock, this kind of tipped the balance. All I had to do is wait for the price to drop a little.
That latter point of course remains one of the critical factors. Would I pay 20 Euro for such a set? I don’t think so. The 15 Euro I got each of the boxes in this review for are probably okay, but truth be told, I can’t see much value here, so 12 Euro would be even better. I’d bet that if it wasn’t for the current situation and many LEGO sets being in short supply, we’d already have such a discount.
The point here in particular is of course that this set doesn’t feature any special or exotic parts beyond the tiles themselves. Jokingly one might say that someone just stopped by the Friends production line and snagged a few pieces for these sets. the only exclusive item is the 1 x 2 x 3 picture holder brick, this time in Bright Light Pink.
The most disappointing thing to me is that they didn’t even bother to consistently color all bricks in Dark Azure. It may seem like a minor thing, but you wouldn’t accept such a messy coloration even in cheap desk organizers from the dollar store. It also once more has this ugly effect of white hair lines peeking out from underneath. The young crowd this is targeted it won’t mind, but it stills feel unprofessional.
The plates themselves can be easily removed, facilitating the creation of patterns by not having to juggle the whole model. The SNOT bricks work sufficiently, but for my taste the connection could be stronger. I would probably have added a second row at the bottom edge at least. If you remove the plates a lot, at some point they might lose their clutch power and come off on their own just by sliding the model on the desk.
As far as the decorations go, and that’s ultimately one of my core criticism with the Dots line, there’s not much new to discover. It seems LEGO have locked themselves into a very specific line of thinking here where everything needs to be “dottier than dotty”, meaning anything larger than a 1 x 1 tile isn’t even considered. In this particular example this is almost tragic, as there would be so many alternatives.
Since I couldn’t be bothered with the proposed designs, I went right ahead with my own color stripes design. LEGO could easily have included a bag of those in a few select colors as I’m sure it would also go well together with some people’s wallpaper designs. Other alternatives could include brick wall designs with 1 x 2 tiles, large checkerboard patterns with 2 x 2 tiles or even more advanced stuff using arched tiles, corner tiles and such.
I can only reiterate my point from my original article: LEGO need to loosen up and be much more generous and liberal with their parts usage to make this a truly creative toolkit rather than this weird paint by numbers thing where your options are limited from the outset by what pieces are even included.
The second set in this review is the lesser one, no doubt, but what can you expect from a simple jewelry box? This is once more one of those cases where, if it wasn’t for the parts being included in specific “new” color variants, you could slap it together from your own parts repository. The elements in question are the 1 x 12 x 1 bricks in Lavender along with the 16 x 16 plates in Light Aqua.
The overall construction is sturdy enough, but at only effectively 2.something bricks depth, the box feels very shallow. A third row of bricks might not have hurt and potentially also have allowed for a more elegant locking mechanism. This by all means sub-par and even worse than the ones used on the Disney story books.
I also would have expected the interior to be tiled over at least partially and of course to make this really interesting the little Madames Bijous would no doubt have loved to stare at their own face in a mirror in the lid, i.e. LEGO should have included one of those reflective plastic pieces that they have in some sets. a few little tweaks could have made this set much better.
Again I didn’t bother much with the suggested designs and ventured out on my own exploration. The Light Aqua plate just begs for a water-based motive and given the large area that would need to be covered it sure makes things a lot easier if you use some other elements.
Overall my stance on Dots hasn’t changed much. I’ll keep exploiting them for my own purposes while they’re around, but that’s pretty much it. If I had kids at the proper age I might consider getting them one or two of these sets for their birthday so they can fancy up the table they’re doing their homework on, but I sure wouldn’t go out of my way. The sets are too much all over the place in terms of design and color schemes and the playing around with different patterns simply loses its appeal after a while.
Before reading your blog (this post and the previous one) I never considered that Dots wouldn’t last very long, but that’s a very salient point. Best to collect everything whilst it’s available.
I really dislike the color scheme for that jewelry box. I can’t explain it, but it really bothers me.
I really like what you did with the desk organizer. Pretty clever, actually. I wish Dots would have at least as many 1×1 square plates as quarter circles across the line, because the proliferation of the quarter circles really limits the possible patterns.
Glad you like my simple idea! 🙂 I agree, a bit more versatility and diversity in the selection of elements would improve the sets and allow more patterns. I could totally go for a checkerboard/ weave pattern on this set or something with all sorts of blue squares mimicing aquatic-themed mosaics. The shortage of 1 x 1 square tiles indeed is a limiting factor, not to speak of fancy stuff like the 2 x 2 half square/ trangular tiles. Would be great for an origami look…
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