As should be abundantly clear from previous Friends-related articles, I kinda love LEGO‘s somewhat weird girl-ish series. LEGO Elves falls into that category as well. Unfortunately it never really took off because it is stuck in a very specific corner (which is entirely LEGO‘s own fault), so there’s only a handful of sets every year. While half of them are probably not worth mentioning, the other half is actually quite interesting once you allow your mind to attune to the subject and Naida & The Water Turtle Ambush (41191) is one of those latter sets.
Compared to other LEGO series, Elves sets are extremely pricey (despite most dealers having massive discounts on them), which is probably one of the reasons why they may not sell that well and are not as popular. This set is no exception and typically comes in at around 18 Euros. Considering the slightly bonkers MSRP of 25 Euros that’s okay, but still expensive for only a handful of actual pieces once you subtract the custom items for the turtle head, the figures and a few other parts.
The most significant item is of course the large turtle itself, which is put together from a bunch of simple parts for the body and shell and uses a large custom head. The limbs are attached using mini ball joints and are poseable, though it’s questionable how useful this may actually be, given the limited range of motion a turtle has in general. It doesn’t really add much here and once more to me this is a case of where it would have made more sense to focus on a better design with a few more pieces even if they were rigid. Making the creature larger as a whole also would have helped to allow for more details.
More or less the proportions only are applicable to a baby turtle, anyway. On an adult turtle the shell would look considerably larger compared to the head and the legs would be farther apart and taller. Arguably that’s within what you can do with a sets for kids, though it makes the inclusion of the mini turtle a bit odd, even in terms of the story. If you get my drift – it’s difficult to differentiate them and one can’t shake the feeling that there should be some mother turtle big as a mountain somewhere, with these two examples only being her middle and smallest offspring.
The second major part is the little island with the “trap”. Considering most turtle species are vegetarian and couldn’t be lured in with fish, the orange critter is really a strange detail in this context. The element in the middle is a disc shooter which also doesn’t make much sense beyond perhaps knocking whoever is riding the turtle off its back. It would probably have made more sense to build it larger, forego the shooter, deck it out with water lilies galore and have a little island on it for the little goblin to sit on. Something like that would have made more sense to me. Then they also could have done away with the ridiculous tiny boat.
As should have become clear, this set is extremely specific. LEGO missed the mark on playability by miles on that one, but if you like turtles in any form and shape, this could be a cute little display item for your showcase, even more so if you invest building a little diorama around it. I’d even wager that for people who collect turtles in all forms and shapes (I happen two know at least two) this could make a nice gift with a slightly humorous undertone…