While my musical tastes are rather eclectic and diverse, I never really got the hang of K-Pop. Even by standards of other commercial music obviously cooked up in a lab this genre still tops it off by being even more artificial and synthetic with the intent of quickly building a fan base and then milking it being a bit too on the nose. Of course on the other hand that despite all this this is a huge slice of the music market and even more so since it got popularized in Western spheres as well in recent years, interestingly a lot in the crowds that are also the target demographic for VIDIYO. Therefore it seemed an almost natural conclusion that LEGO would pick up on this trend and indeed the K-Pawp Concert (43113) is a result of that.
Pricing and Contents
The set retails for 50 Euro officially, which technically is okay for 514 pieces and within what you would expect to pay for LEGO stuff. In fact considering what a single BeatBox would cost at regular price this is very reasonable. However, you always have to consider how much bulk you get out of it and in this case the caveat is that this is essentially one big collection of tiles of all kinds with a minimalist suprastructure underneath. This set only has handful of actual bricks and otherwise only consists of plates and brackets. That’s not per se a bad thing, just not something special either.
Because of these aforementioned points you need to be very sure that you actually want the set for what it represents and don’t have wrong expectations. You’ll really end up with a pile of very colorful tiles and not much else when you disassemble the model again like I regularly do because I don’t have enough space to keep them around long-term. With that in mind, naturally I recommend you get this as cheaply as possible to make it economical. I’m not telling you anything new and by now it may seem redundant, but here it becomes even more of a thing as most of those tiles are dirt cheap on Bricklink and you really don’t want to throw out more money than you have to.
Ultimately I got my package for 36 Euro on Amazon Prime Day, which is okay. There’s a good chance this will drop below 30 Euro eventually, so if you’re not in a rush, you could save even more. I suspect, though, that the popularity of the minifigures will prevent prices dropping too much even during clearance sales, so waiting too long may not be a good idea as you could end up empty-handed. I guess this is one of those cases where you have to trust your gut feeling.
Minifigures and BeatBits
The big core appeal of the whole VIDIYO series is undeniably the minifigures, not least of all due to their flamboyancy, creative use and revival of existing figure parts in different colors and new pieces and prints. This to some extent also applies here, just a bit toned down. Knowing how crazy those bands go with dyed hair, make-up and crazy dresses, the figures present here seem surprisingly tame. For a K-Pop themed set you would expect this to be even more insane than the real human counterparts, yet here it feels a bit like a harmless furry convention where everyone is only wearing their head piece. I attribute this to the set’s design colors being re-used, with the Dark Purple and Dark Turquoise simply absorbing too much “energy” and making things look a bit drab.
This also goes for the minifigure stand and BeatBits holder. It is in fact rather odd to me that they used the cyan color as this would make it harder in the companion app to detect which figure is placed on it. Aside from the three character-specific tiles you get an additional fourteen ones, randomly distributed across each set. I didn’t get lucky and only got pretty standard ones adding to my pile of duplicates, so not much to report on that front.
The stage is based around a “neon” design as you would find it in big cities’ entertainment quarters and shopping zones at night or as a stylistic element in all sorts of “cyber…” themed movies, games or other art. In relation to the K-Pop theme this could be interpreted as representing the respective parts of the city of Seoul or something similar. To that effect the design establishes a strong contrast between the Black and Dark Purple base surfaces vs. the bright border elements. This is on some level even quite realistic, as a lot of stage equipment is covered in black paint, vinyl/ fake leather or velvet/ carpet in order to make it “invisible” by minimizing light reflections.
The color choices for the outline elements are okay, but personally I’m not that much a fan of the Dark Turquoise. ever since LEGO reintroduced this color three years ago they seem to run rampant with it and are using it way too much. I would have preferred a friendlier color closer to the Light Aqua elements such as Medium Blue or Dark Azure, but ultimately this is a case where many different combinations would be adequate and could work.
The stage design is unfortunately rather conventional and repeats one of the mistakes I was most critical about with Hidden Side – the ever same triptych layout. This is even more regrettable here, as the idea with the squares turned on one of their corners offers lots of potential for more innovative designs.
I would for instance have favored an asymmetrical design with one of the wings being much longer and a square pattern in the central section (where the animal head is) serving as a centralized stage entrance with a proper door/ tunnel. Similarly, another oversized square could have served as a video screen. I also would have added a centralized dance floor (yes, even in the most cheesy 1970s discotheque/ dance club style) as currently the various separate islands are not connected and therefore could not be reached in a logical/ plausible manner.
On that note: There are seven spots where minifigures can be placed which kind of aligns with most K-Pop bands being pretty large squads. However, with only three actual figures many of these locations will have to be left empty unless you have additional ones from other sets or the Bandmates Collectible Minifigure Series 1. Another issue with the islands is the stability. Though the stairs use these brackets and they usually have a tight enough clutch power to provide some stability, it’s still relatively easy to break them off along with the plates attached to them. This is mostly owing to the individual isles not being supported and interconnected with additional “bridge” plates or a centralized big floor as I was mentioning earlier. Not the end of the world, but in my world these “loose ends hanging in the air” constructs are just bad design decisions.
The set offers only a handful of transformable features with the central head of the unicorn, which can be changed into a kitty face by rotating it 180 degrees, being the most notable. Both designs are executed nicely enough and it’s almost sad that they can’t be shown at the same time (without some extra work, that is). Other transformations include the small markers on the outermost positions and the speaker towers next to the central plate.
The back side does not have that many surprises with only a small recreational/ backstage area in the center section. Interestingly it features a “rhythm game” setup where you have to hit colored squares on an electronic mat/ floor to control a music-based game. Unfortunately this isn’t fully fleshed out and doesn’t include an actual arcade cabinet or gaming console. even just randomly throwing in two of the game controller tiles would have helped to sell the illusion.
While it doesn’t bring something revolutionary to the table, this set contains a few interesting parts, mostly used in a way where it doesn’t stick out at first. The most visible of those are the round 1 x 1 studs in Bright Light Yellow, a color variant only recently introduced with LEGO ART and apparently they had enough stock to also use it here. Other additions include the various Dark Turquoise and Coral 1 x 4 tiles and plates. Aside from the printed tiles there’s a unique exclusive item in the shape of the full height 1 x 1 slope attached to a 1 x 2 plate in Light Aqua. Finally there’s two 1 x 1 clips in Medium Lavender used to good effect in the cat’s ears.
There are some undeniable shortcomings with this set, yet at the same time it is bright and joyful enough to make you overlook them generously. If I somehow was on LEGO‘s “focus group testing” list and had access to their unreleased info I sure would have nudged them towards a few of the things I mentioned, but at the end of the day none of them are critical failures. It’s more my designer mind going crazy in all directions and trying to explore the what-might-have-beens. Would be interesting to find out what alternative designs they had worked on before settling on this one.
However, with all that said I feel that the shortage of minifigures is a major omission and cardinal sin. You just can’t take a play on K-Pop tropes and then come up short with the number of band members. That and of course the “camouflage” colors of the characters that are there and that are too similar to the ones used on the stage itself. In fact I think it would have been an interesting experiment to have say three figures with bright glittery white “suits” to get that feel of “cloned” artists that is so prevalent in these groups.
Ultimately of course it’s up to you. I’ve laid out my reasoning, but can’t deny that the demographic for this set and the others in the VIDIYO is rather narrow. You may want to take your money elsewhere if you want more bulk, but if you want a complete set of the figures and don’t mind getting a ton of those tiles I mentioned earlier as well, this can be an interesting enough option for the right price.