Yellow Forest Hideout – LEGO Disney, Aurora’s Forest Cottage (43188)

I must admit that despite my best attempts at resisting the temptation I always get myself into trouble over “cute” stuff. So it was a given that on day I would buy Aurora’s Forest Cottage (43188) one day as soon as I saw the small deer included in the package when first photos became available. Now that I have it, let’s look what it has on offer.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Box

Contents and Pricing

Let’s not kid ourselves: Disney Princess sets are hopelessly overpriced. LEGO and Disney clearly know that they can get away with everything as long as they can rely on little girls (and boys) bugging their parents about their favorite character from an animated movie. This is no exception.

At a suggested street price of 40 Euro for a mere 300 pieces the usual metrics of 10 Cent per piece are seriously out of whack on the wrong side of the scales. That being the case, there’s limited room for the retailers to go lower, as no doubt they feel the squeeze just as hard, so the best you can hope for is the usual 20 to 30 percent discount reigning in the price at around 30 Euro. For my taste that’s still way too much, as the contents is simply rather sparse, all things considered, and at the end you have a relatively small model. Again this is one of those situations where 25 Euro would be much more preferable and an MSRP of 30 Euro would have been sufficiently adequate.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Overview

The actual contents consist of the main building, the cottage, a small bridge, two minidoll figures and a couple of animals with the only real exclusive items being the Maleficent figure and the small deer/ fawn/ Bambi. the rest is standard fare, though I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way.

Figures and Animals

As indicated above, the Maleficent figure so far is exclusive for this set. There have been versions of this character before, but this one has a new face print as well as more elaborate prints on her gown compared to older editions. Aurora has also some new prints, so at least there’s that. The two figures will be enough to play out some of the plot beats of the movie(s), but I find it troublesome that not more were included. I’m dying for at least one of the three fairy godmothers or a non-descript palace guard or forest huntsmen. This seems so obvious to me!

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Figures

The animals are a line-up of Aurora‘s little pets/ friends, one of Maleficent‘s spy crows and a random blue bird, which similar to the humans is not nearly enough in my opinion. In the movies, the swampy glade where Aurora tries to hide is overflowing with natural life, so there should be more of these creatures.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Animals

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), BirdsA lot more in fact. The point that bothers me the most is that there easily could have been five or more of the pigeon-like small bird in different colors just to perch them on the house and the hinted-at tree. I think it would have been wonderful to have some in the “light” yellow, blue and pink colors and of course I wouldn’t have minded a bunch of grey and brown “sparrows”, either. On that same note I once more think that reusing the old Elves birds is no longer a good idea and they really, really need to consider creating an actual mold to be used as a crow/ raven/ magpie with that threatening pose.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), PetsThe other animals go of course also back to the Elves era, but since I didn’t have any of those and the whole point kind of was to get the Bambi with this set, that’s actually okay, even more so since the squirrel also only got a re-issue last year and thus isn’t that widespread yet.

The Bridge

The only small side build in this set is the bridge leading to the cottage over a small stream in front of it. For this set this has been kitsch-ed up to the max with a few Pearl Gold elements and of course the Dark Pink bubbles. I would much have preferred this to be a little more mundane, but bigger instead, be it just for the simple fact that it’s so tiny and narrow it doesn’t even hold up with the figures next to it. This is one of those cases where the protagonists would simply take a wide step to pass the river. Making it about one third larger at least would have conveyed the idea much better.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Bridge 

The Cottage

The house is overall acceptable, but pretty plain, all things considered. At only effectively seven studs deep it is quite shallow and being that it’s only around 20 cm wide and tall you can imagine how small it actually is and there’s only so much you can cram in.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Front Left View

The color choices no doubt will be a matter of personal taste but I quite like the Bright Light Orange to give the illusion of a golden thatched roof gleaming in the sunlight. The rest of the colors is also surprisingly consistent and almost restrained if it weren’t for the Medium Lavender and Dark Pink elements (excluding the leaves). Even using the brown support piece is fitting to support that feeling of a timber frame house.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Left View

At the risk of beating this to death, one of my main qualms with this set is the absence of that busy feeling of an old, overgrown house and this is unfortunately not really mitigated by what little greenery is there. The front “lawn” is barely used and could easily have been plastered with tons of flowers. The tree integrated in the cottage is also a bit on the sparse side. It should have been extended to tower over the house itself and of course then it should have had many, many more branches with leaves. This also harks back to my point about the birds earlier – bigger tree = more birds.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Back Left View

As you would expect with such a small building there isn’t really much going on on the inside. Then again a small cottage isn’t a luxurious villa to begin with, so that’s probably in a way appropriate. the essentials are all there with a small dining table, a fireplace and the upstairs bed. There’s just not much else and at the least they might have included a ladder to the upper deck.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Back Right View

The smoke vane is the new cloud element introduced in the Monkie Kid series and while not physically present, the fairies are at least hinted at with their magic wands. The chimney is bobbing up and down with a simple mechanism and in addition the water wheel makes rattling noises with some 1 x 1 round bricks inside. There’s not really much more than that to play around with.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Forest Cottage (43188), Right View

Concluding Thoughts

I guess at the end of the day this set is what they call “serviceable”. It basically does nothing wrong, but denies itself its own chance of being really great. The specific point here is of course that it has been trimmed down to cater for the 5+ crowd, but personally I feel that this for once would have been a chance to go the Harry Potter route and make the set a little more realistic and complex without losing its appeal to the younger crowd, either. So for me it’s a story of more than one missed opportunities. The fundamental ideas are all there and given the nature of the thing it should have been simple enough to expand upon them, they just didn’t for whatever reason.

On its own merits, however, this is funny enough one of the better Disney Princess sets, as at least you’re getting a decent house out of it and not just a vignette with some tie-in character dolls. However, it’s still seriously overpriced, so carefully consider how much you or your kids need it. I’m pretty sure if Elves was still around with new sets I would have made a different decision and many of you may see this just as much as merely a compromise.

Aurora goes to Bed

In these trying times every bit of good news helps to lighten the mood, so I was pretty happy when I got the chance to pick up the latest LEGO Disney Princess magazine. Since it’s still not being distributed through the regular channels like the other LEGO magazines and only available at a few select sales outlets, of course once again it took one of my many excursions to a doctor to get the opportunity. At least that’s still allowed under all those restrictions.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, April 2020, Cover

Of course my primary focus are still the buildable parts that come with those magazines and as far as that is concerned, this issue is pretty nice. Most importantly you get some of the relatively new 1×2 bricks with a curved top and having a white 4×6 plate isn’t to bad, either, loatest when you’re getting into building Christmas-y/ winter stuff later this year. The whole thing would have been even more useful to a MOC builder if the cat tail elements at the head end would have been in Reddish Brown or Tan instead of Dark Pink. Can’t have it all, I suppose.

The magazine follows the same style as the last one, meaning there is some coloring images, a readable story and some decent comic. One of the posters features the cover image from the last issue in full glory and along with the complementary pieces for the bed kind of closes off the Aurora theme in a nicely rounded manner.

Another issue is previewed on the last page, but no concrete date is given, which could be a sign of the times or mean that the magazine may not sell that well and could be cancelled at any point. Then again, of course, they are not making it easy to actually buy it, so what do they expect? We’ll have to see if there’s some movement on this at the end of May/ early June. I’ll keep you posted…

Belated January Princess

Our friends at Blue Ocean have decided that the world needs another LEGO magazine, so naturally I got a bit excited when first news came out late last year about the new LEGO Disney Princess line. As you well know I do have a soft spot for this girl-ish stuff in crazy colors and with the Friends magazine only coming out every two months in these parts I welcome every additional alternative.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, January 2020, Cover

The first issue actually already was released mid-January, but unfortunately they chose to only distribute it through some larger outlets for the time being in some sort of test drive. Therefore I was only able to catch it this week while I was on tour for a medical appointment in one of the nearby bigger cities. Here’s hoping that this will get popular enough that they decide to also pour it into regular channels and I can pick it up on my local newsstand some day.

Having only recently bought the pink carriage set, I of course had no urgent need or desire for the included Aurora figure, but it’s not that bad overall and should be of interest for your kids. beyond that I really only wanted to check out the magazine. As far as that goes, it’s pretty much in line with any of the other LEGO magazines and follows the same pattern. There’s some comics, a coloring picture, posters, some simple puzzle, some crafting activities in the form of instructions for a crown-shaped pillow and even an actual readable text story. Apparently I’m not the core demographic for this, but this seems okay.

I’m also pleased that there’s a lot of painted stuff. Admittedly a lot of it looks like digitally over-painted CG-renderings, regardless, but the natural touch and a few irregularities make it much more bearable and less creepy. It’s still kind of inconsistent, though, with photos, cheap CG, the mentioned over-paint style, the comic illustrations and then of course other graphics often appearing next to each other. this certainly could be smoothed out a bit, including better typography and font use. Sometimes it feels very lumped together.

It remains to be seen how this develops and stabilizes, but if you get a chance there’s no harm in picking this up. I’m already looking forward to the second issue which is due mid March and will contain some actual buildable pieces to create Aurora‘s bed. I just hop that I’ll be able to get my hands on it without that much of a delay and hunting it down will not be so complicated as the first time…

Today I’m a Princess! – Moana’s Boat (43170) and Aurora’s Royal Carriage (43173)

We all have our favorite animated Disney movies and while my most beloved ones have little to do with today’s modern takes on the subject nor in some way the more kitschy older ones I still enjoy even those for what they are when they run on TV or I can snatch them up on a cheap DVD/ Blu-Ray. That being the case I was, odd as it may sound, pleasantly surprised to see that there would be new Moana sets as well as a few others lined up for this year. Let’s begin with Moana’s Boat (43170)

LEGO Disney, Moana's Boat (43170), Box

I have a funny relation to this movie. I loved the original trailer way back then (the one with the flashbacks also used in the film where she’s a toddler), but to this day never got around to actually sit through the movie from beginning to end. I know bits and bobs and some larger sections even, but not the whole story. That’s perhaps one of the reasons why I never had much interest in the original, way larger sets. It’s not that I feel I missed out on something special, but I always wanted the little pig named Pua in my collection. The new release makes this easy enough, with this being a 10 Euro set, often sold for 7 Euro.

LEGO Disney, Moana's Boat (43170), Overview

Given the pricing of course one shouldn’t expect anything miraculous to be included. The buildable components are very simple and just enough to allow to re-play some scenes from the movie, but far from being super-realistic or proportionally accurate. naturally there’s Pua the pig which I was so keen on and then a Moana figure as well. Here in Germany she’s called Vaiana, by the way, due to some other pre-existing registered trademark having foiled Disney‘s marketing plans.

LEGO Disney, Moana's Boat (43170), Island The small island has been reduced to the bare minimum, but to me is still enticing. Not only does it contain the triple leaves element in Lime Green as a new color for this year but also the “poop” swirl 1 x 1 round plate introduced with the Dog Sitter Collectible Minifigure last year, but this time in white. If you know my obsession with LEGO Friends and baking you know that this will make a perfect piece for Sundae swirls or any other similar cake decoration while here in this set of course it stands in as a shell housing.


LEGO Disney, Moana's Boat (43170), Canoe, Front Left ViewThe boat/ canoe is an equally simplistic build, but is sufficient for the smallness of the overall set. I could be critical of the construction, but for the most part it will be just fine for kids. My only serious concern is the lack of an extra axle/ beam to support the auxiliary float, as indeed it’s only connected via the arched slopes. Similar to the island however there is a lot of value here if you are hunting for specific parts.LEGO Disney, Moana's Boat (43170), Canoe, Front Right View 


First, there’s the two inverted curved slopes in Reddish Brown for the first time ever. Yes, one would think that such a mundane part had been done in this color a long time ago, but while I don’t always trust Bricklink 100 percent (they do get information wrong at times despite peer reviews), it seems true. Similarly, the bar used for the mast, an almost 30 year old mold, is premiering in a brown color in this set as well. And finally, there’s the new 2 x 2 x 1 container only introduced in 2019 (under the lid with the flower).

I almost struggle for words to describe how awesome it actually is that they crammed in so many “new” pieces into such a small and affordable set. Buying a second or third of these sets doesn’t seem like the worst idea, especially if the price drops even lower during some special promotion.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Royal Carriage (43173), Box

Moving on to Aurora’s Royal Carriage (43173) I can barely contain my excitement, either. Initially the only reason I so wanted this set is the owl. Yes, it may seemed stupid, but when i first saw pictures of this little critter and its dumb-founded look I laughed my bum off in the real LMFAO sense. Even now when I look at it I can’t help but grin and giggle. It pushes all my buttons.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Royal Carriage (43173), Overview

The little side build with the table feels a bit superfluous and doesn’t do much for me. it doesn’t even have a genuine candle and the least they could have done to make this more interesting is to include the new “dripping icing” 2 x 2 plate found in the just released baking-themed LEGO Friends sets. A real wedding cake would have been even better. Other than that the set is again overflowing with pieces in previously non-existent color variants. Those include the bracket used for the seat, the modified plate with a single clip, the slope and there’s also the three to two jumper plate and the stairstep bracket, both of which however were already introduced in these colors for The LEGO Movie 2 last year.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Royal Carriage (43173), Left View

There could be some debate on the modified tiles with the wall panel, though. New Elementary has a whole article on the subject, but I honestly think they are over-interpreting this and make things way too complicated. Point in case: The only reason why they all get different numbers is because LEGO counts them as special/ custom-produced one-off parts tied to specific sets or series. Other than that it’s presumably always the same coating that just looks different depending onto which base color it is applied. That’s in fact perhaps the most sensible theory to begin with. While nothing speaks against it, I don’t consider it likely that LEGO would try out a ton of different coatings. That would make things way to convoluted for mass production.

LEGO Disney, Aurora's Royal Carriage (43173), Aft Right View

All things considered, I really like these two little sets. They offer great value for little money and just feel useful to me. I even almost like the minidolls. The ones used in Friends have definitely improved in terms of showing different prints and colors, but these two models show how further modifying them with different types of skirts and perhaps a different hair piece can further enhance them.

The models themselves are also robust enough to actually be played with by children. I accidentally dropped the storage box where I keep those things in during the photo shoot and aside from a few pieces that you would expect to come off such as the palm leave on Moana‘s island or some of the golden swirlies on the carriage nothing broke. It should be safe even for three-year-olds. If your kids are into any of the movies, you should definitely consider buying those sets.