With the LEGO supply chain still sputtering like an old engine and only occasionally spewing out a few products, I find myself reshuffling my purchase schedule quite a bit. By that standard therefore this review of the LEGO Disney Cinderella’s Royal Carriage (43192) is definitely a bit premature, but let’s have it, anyway.
Contents and Pricing
Given, that this was not a well-planned and well-timed purchase, getting this set for 30 Euro, representing a 25 percent discount from the original 40 Euro isn’t that bad a thing. You probably shouldn’t expect more than that, anyway, based on how those prices start out at a pretty high level. However, in this case it’s more or less a “glass half full” vs. “glass half empty” situation, as the concrete value you will get out of this set really depends on your inclinations as you will hopefully find out.
For me it ends up in the “It’s okay for one reason, but pretty terrible for another reason.” area with lots of shades of grey. Some of it has to do with the lack of complexity and thus building challenge (for a set aimed at kids totally expected, though, some of it with LEGO being total misers when there was no need to.
Figures and Animals
The “miser” point all too obviously has to do with the deficit of minidoll figures, both in terms of quantity and originality. Having only two figs for a set that is clearly meant to depict a celebratory procession, with one of them being the good fairy not even taking part in the actual proceedings, is rather weak. This is not helped by the Cinderella figure just being the bog standard version we’ve seen time and again before. The same goes for the fairy figure.
The star of the show, and admittedly one of the main reasons that nudged me over the threshold to buy this set, is the little fat mouse who in German goes by the name Karli, but is otherwise known as Gus in English-speaking countries. It’s a completely new mold used for the first time here and he’s all kinds of adorable and hilarious to look at. He’s not exactly true to how he’s drawn in the animated movie and, for lack of a better word, the LEGO designers certainly have “hamsterified” him to blend in with the Friends rodents of that type, but he’s still original and good in his own way.
Now the real question, of course, is where his little fellows are. “But don’t you know that they are transformed into horses by the spell?” Yes, I know. Despite not having seen the movie in a while I remember at least that much. Still, for me that’s not good enough and not really an excuse, either. Point in case: It should even not need discussing that when they were shelling out cash for one new mold they might have been able to do the other two just as well at reasonable limited additional cost. In the day and age of computer-based design and manufacturing it’s not like this would have taken months of expensive prototyping and carving a mold from a steel block by hand, if you get my meaning. Yes, it would still have cost money, but perhaps not as much as many people seem to think.
So with all that being the case, I feel there are quite some missed opportunities here that could have provided more incentive to buy the set by making the figures a must-have for any collector.
One of the reasons I had this set ion my radar in addition to the cute mouse are of course some interesting and unique parts. It’s always a good excuse to justify even slightly more expensive set to oneself and while not overflowing with super-exciting stuff, some of the pieces fit my usual thinking of “May be useful at some point in the future.” and my preferences for certain colors.
First there’s a good helping of the new 1 x 2 x 2 modified bricks with studs on the three sides, this time in White. Surprisingly (or not) LEGO are using them quite aggressively in many new sets, complementing the variant without the proximal studs and the 1 x 1 x 2 version nicely. With that, the slightly more intuitive regular grid SNOT system gets rounded out quite nicely and there’s a few less problems to worry about for some situations.
The pink dome is the same I already mentioned last time for Andrea’s Family House (41449). The modified 1 x 4 plate in Pearl Gold should prove extremely popular. With LEGO for reasons nobody can understand still not producing regular 1 x 4 plates in gold colors and even the plain 1 x 4 tile not having been produced in ages in something along those lines, this new element will make many people happy who are into building delicate fragile decorations and jewelry.
The item that gets me most pumped is the 3 x 3 round corner plate. I was genuinely thrilled when last year I found out that LEGO had introduced it in the Brick-built Minions and their Lair (75551) set. It solves so many issues when dealing with circular/ cylindrical elements, most notably not having to resort to full plates just to stabilize a corner stacked up from 3 x 3 macaroni pieces and similar.
All the Queen’s Horses
Another notable standout item in this set are the horses. If you care to remember, the totally unsuitable horses were one of my main complaints about the Harry Potter Beauxbaton’s Carriage (70344) back then, and if they had the ones from this set available, there would have been less to be critical about. As it is, however, this is actually a completely new mold solving more than that particular problem. It seems to me that LEGO have sat down and taken a deep breath to work out this conundrum in a more holistic manner.
Not only are these new horses included here, but a version of them in brown is also featured in the new Heartlake City Vet Clinic (41446). Furthermore, though it’s merely speculation on my part at this point, it seems to me that this will also find its way into regular City and Creator sets, in part superseding and replacing the older version as well. the specific point here is that it seems to be designed in a fashion where the dual-molded colors for the mane and tail as well as the prints define its look and feel rather than having too many molded-in details typical for a given series.
Now for the bad part: Regrettably LEGO opted for the kitsch version of the horses in this set, limiting their scope outside the Disney fantasy realm. I would have much preferred to have them with White or Light Bluish Grey manes and tails instead of the Light Aqua ones and of course also without the twinkly prints. That way they could have boosted the stock of the already mentioned vet clinic set considerably and, which is kind of a point, too, some parents might even have considered buying both sets at once just for that.
The horse’s shape overall is just fine, with one important point of note being that it is larger than either of the other variants. I forgot to actually do a comparative shot, but it’s at least around 15 percent bigger than the previous Friends horse and many times that compared to the old Knights/ Creator horse. By now I’m sure you also already noticed that it has a tiltable head, also a novelty. Kids are going to love it for those “horse eats carrot” poses and similar.
I never had one of the previous sets, but apparently this isn’t the first and only version of the Cinderella carriage or for that matter its various interpretations and variants. As far as the level of realism is concerned, however, it is probably right to say that this model is closest to capturing the appearance of the final “wedding” version so far. The proportions with the long chassis and the central, yet relatively small passenger cabin at least make sense.
The construction of the vehicle is more or less symmetrical left to right, but also sort of from front to back. The only real difference of note is the raised pedestal for the attachment point of the horses’ tow bar in place of the simpler construction in the rear for plugging on the chest. By relying on the old wishbone suspension, for the first time in Bright Light Blue here, this is sufficiently stabilized horizontally, but I wouldn’t lean too much on the carriage as a whole. The central strut really is just a long two stud wide plate which is only ever so slightly being reinforced by some smaller plates, jumper plates and slopes plugged on top and below it.
The construction of the bubble cabin is in a way quite clever and efficient, making good use of some sideways building techniques not least of all thanks to the 1 x 2 x 2 bricks with the studs on three sides acting as a central pillar. However, while it’s certainly recognizable and round-ish enough, the perfectionist in me wishes they had invested in some more slopes and plates to make it even more elegant. The specific point here is that in those corners where the rounded 3 x 3 x 3 bricks are used, I feel that inserting a layer of suitable rounded corner plates might have minimized the harsh steps you can see here and there just like adding some smaller curved slopes might have broken up the uniformity of the large elements.
The doors are the part where most of the new and unique pieces are used and in fact it’s one of those ironies that without them you couldn’t even have built it this way for reasons I have explained in the respective paragraph. Yes, this is basically a “loose” frame only held together by single stud connections where the gold elements touch the 3 x 3 round plates and in a similar fashion the frame then is only affixed by a few studs at the top and bottom. Serviceable, but also way too easy to damage for my taste. I also would have preferred that the plates were Bright Light Blue or White instead of Dark Azure as the carriage in the movie is indeed almost perfectly white, give or take a few blue-ish glow effects.
One thing that also caused some facepalming on my part is the interior design. Why? It follows the classical Friends design where you are supposed to clamp the legs of the figure around the modified tile serving as the footrest. However, someone completely ignored that Cinderella actually wears a skirt and this therefore won’t work. This is such a stupid oversight, one really has to wonder what the quality control process at LEGO is.
As I wrote already, this set is in a way mostly passable and that’s the long and short of it. It’s neither particularly bad, but not in any way outstanding, either. This is mostly owing to the simple construction, which, while efficient, is just super-boring and doesn’t even try to do more than the bare minimum to get the required functionality. It lacks the sense that some love and effort went into this set and once more comes across as an intern’s afternoon job.
For me the main consolation are some of the new parts, but if it wasn’t for that, I’d likely never even have considered buying this, despite the somewhat dire situation with LEGO‘s overall supply shortages. Combined with the lingering feeling that this probably is just a 20 Euro “real” value and the price seems hopelessly inflated I would not really recommend this set. It doesn’t even get the play thing right and is a bit fragile. Most disappointing, however, is of course the absence of the rest of the mouse gang and that laziness alone doesn’t deserve to be rewarded with your money…