The Vikings are easily one of those people who are the most misrepresented across all media. There seems to be an over-emphasis on their exploits as conquerors and warriors, and while some of their legendary ruthlessness and brutality cannot be denied, a lot of other things like their rich culture and craft skills all too often are swept to the side or only presented in those aforementioned contexts. One of those are there ship-building achievements and while I’m not a fan of the Vikings per se, the elegance of those water-based vessels can’t be denied. That’s ultimately what interested me most about The Goat Boat (76208), as in fact like so often the movie it is based on didn’t interest me too much and I haven’t seen it yet.
Pricing and Contents
The film this set is based on, Thor: Love and Thunder, barely made a blip on the radar here in Germany with a measly box office of just shy above 5 Million Euro and quite generally this is not Marvel‘s best and most successful movie. It came and went without much fanfare and barely anyone even remembers it. That being the case, the one good thing that comes out of this is that the set can be had at good prices with retailers sitting on stockpile that just didn’t benefit from the movie. I got mine for 32 Euro, which isn’t bad for a 564 pieces set and 5 minifigures. The original asking price of 60 Euro is once more utterly ridiculous, though, and under no circumstances would I have bought it for that. While it’s nice and reasonably large, the boat isn’t worth that much in my opinion for reasons explained later.
The figures included in this package are of course Thor himself, his love interest turned substitute Mighty Thor Jane, some Valkyrie (no idea about her actual name), Korg and of course Gorr, the God Butcher. A few special items aside like Jane‘s helm, the figures feel very generic to the point where Gorr looks like just another zombie. Something just doesn’t click here, which isn’t necessarily the fault of the LEGO designers, but rather those odd armor designs of the film not translating that well to the scale. For lack of a better explanation, the prints to me just look noisy, not detailed and interesting. Real fans may disagree and appreciate them more, so I’ll just leave it at that.
The goats towing the boat aren’t ordinary ones, but rather oversized beasts more alike to donkeys or smaller cattle. They are of course also “magical” creatures rooted in the mythology. The big bummer naturally is that they are built from bricks, not molded items. When the set was first announced it had everyone wondering whether at long last this would be the moment when LEGO brought back the highly coveted and super rare goat or at least a different new version of it. None of that materialized, unfortunately, so likely we will have to wait another eternity before one of those horned animals appears in either a shitty City set similar to this year’s massively overpriced animal farm or a super expensive collector set. The goats themselves are just fine for what they are and at least they have printed slopes for the faces, but at the same time things could of course have been better.
As far as I can tell from the trailers and bits of info available the boat itself is mostly some sort of a shuttle/ sightseeing vehicle in New Asgard and a quick way of transportation for Thor, but does not have any significance beyond that. At least the scenes I know are rather tame/ lame. As such, it is almost too elaborate for this mundane usage even if thanks to Asgardian technology it is a flying boat.
The appearance is immediately recognizable as being derived from original Viking/ Norse designs, though perhaps more along the lines of a smaller boat operating along the coast lines, not one to cross large oceans with, since most definitely there wouldn’t fit more than ten or twelve people at most even under best conditions. There’s only eight shields on the sides, after all, and there wouldn’t be that many more people on board if they hadn’t their own weapons at hand.
The construction is interesting as in a way just like on the real boat you build around a central keel with elements attached using sideways techniques. This ensures that the boat stays flat like the original, but at the same time has walls which are credibly thin and don’t take away too much usable real estate from the deck. This is achieved with a bunch of curved wedge slopes and, most interestingly, curved panels mounted upside-down and then cross-connected with each other and the other elements to form a rigid wall. Definitely an interesting technique to keep at the back of your head.
The boat has the typical carved bow and stern reaching very far up. The shapes at the bow appear to be (sea) horses either spitting water or having their tongues out. admittedly in the shots and photos I could find from the movie they look much, much smaller, which could indicate that the LEGO model is based off earlier concept art that later was changed during production.
The small hut/ house is a pretty straightforward build with a few rows of bricks and the roof attached via some hinges and it would also work as a standalone building.
Unfortunately there isn’t much inside, so the ability to fully open it to me is more or less just a side effect of how it’s built or a lucky coincidence, not so much a play feature.
The deck offers plenty of space to put all your minifigures on it (and more), but looks very barren. I know it’s that way in the movie, but this is a point where LEGO should have deviated and added some extra details like a barrel or a rolled up rope lying around. it just looks so terribly boring otherwise.
A shot from the side once more accentuates the elegance, but also reinforces the “boringness”. This also exposes one big flaw/ shortcoming: If you don’t use stickers, it all looks like no-one’s home. the irony here is that even some round tiles with a generic wood pattern print (as if they were barrel covers for instance) would have made things a ton more interesting let alone we would have gotten some genuine different crests.
I’m not going to complain too much, because for what it is The Goat Boat (76208) is just fine, but it’s a bit dull, after all. I don’t even see this being particularly appealing to fans of the movie apart from the minifigures, as usual. On the other hand – there’s naturally “that other Viking ship” the Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent (31132) in the Creator 3in1 series and the latest LEGO Ideas vote turned out that we might be getting a Viking village some time next year. So if you put one and one together, buying those two packages now while they are still available and relatively cheap may be a good idea of you plan to get the village set and want to create a little diorama around it or have a general interest in that stuff.