Purple Fantasy – LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125)

In these dark times we can all use a little dose of cute every now and then and so it wasn’t much of a stretch to commit to the Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125). I was immediately won over when first images started making the rounds and aside from having to wait a short while for prices to drop I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Box

Contents and Pricing

The Creator 3in1 series is all over the place in terms of pricing with some very unattractive and boring sets sometimes being ridiculously overpriced, some equally costly fan service sets like the Medieval Castle (31120) and good, but too expensive sets like the Majestic Tiger (31129) or even worse the Caravan Family Holiday (31108). At the same time there thankfully are enough sets that are surprisingly affordable and good. I’m happy to report that this falls in the latter category and I would even go so far as to call it excellent value for money.

At 15 Euro for 175 pieces this just feels right on so many levels and with the usual discounts pushing that to a mere 10 Euro or even less there’s really not much of an excuse here to at least try this – that is if you can get behind or at least don’t mind the bonkers color scheme. Anyway, I certainly wouldn’t have been able and willing to buy three of these packages and present them here in one swoop if somehow I felt that it wouldn’t be worth it. Now of course there’s always the caveat of what’s in the box vs. actual parts usage on the model, but you’ll find out more on that where it’s relevant for each individual build. For now suffice it to say that it’s okay.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Overview, All three Models

The Owl

The hero model of this package is of course the owl prominently featured on the box art with her little hedgehog buddy and a book. As you would expect, this very much uses all the parts with no extra bits being left over besides the usual spares.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Owl, Overview

The hedgehog is a surprisingly cute little fella despite his extremely simple build. The only thing that left me unhappy is the fact that it has an open back with the rock slopes and teeth elements pretty much being an outline around a hollow area. While not a deal breaker it would just have been nice to have an extra plate and slope to fill that area.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Owl, BookThe book is a simple affair, but reasonably represents a storybook in landscape format. That’s also where the only stickers in this set would come in if you wanted to use them. That in itself is unusual and noteworthy, as 3in1 sets typically don’t have stickers.



The owl itself is a fabulous little creature and has all the right features that make those creatures so distinct and adorable. The building techniques are not particularly advanced and e.g. the head being based on a cube rotated to one of its edges is borrowed from the Buildable Hedwig (75979), but who would argue over that if it “just works”? in fact I might even have preferred if the head was fixed and not mounted on a turntable. Not that I mind too much, but it kinda turns a bit too easily and you have to re-align it every time you touch the model.

A notable effort was made to texture the surface with a mix of exposed studs, differently shaped tiles and in places multiple smaller elements in favor over larger and smoother solid pieces. This is exactly what for me makes the distinction between a good LEGO model and an average one where it’s “tiled over to death” or too many studs exposed. The balance here seems just right and serves the purpose. However, there’s a minor downside to this as well. In particular the many standalone “feathers” need to be meticulously aligned to look good and similar to the head it’s easy to wack them out.

Though you can bend around the wings and the protruding feathers, there’s not much real poseability here. Only a handful arrangements look good and there is no way to e.g. do something interesting with the feet or put the owl into a take-off pose with the upper body turned forward.

The Squirrel

The second model is the little squirrel. This is sort of a 2D-ish build that mostly exploits how the various curved slopes and rounded plates create a silhouette when viewed from the side. On the other hand it looks pretty dead directly from the front, in particular since the eyes cannot be seen straight on.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Squirrel, Overview

A weak point is the tail. While the yellow wedge pieces sufficiently represent the bushiness and volume of the tail, the curvature could be better. Unfortunately LEGO did not include any extra/ alternate pieces to that effect. Even just adding a second ball joint piece in the middle and flaring it out with some wedge plates might have provided a better transition, not to speak of even more sophisticated methods using arches and curved slopes.

As you would expect, there is a good number of pieces that aren’t used, but overall I think it isn’t as dramatic as e.g. the Majestic Tiger (31129) ‘s build for the Red Panda with its many leftovers. The only thing that has me a bit stumped is that the Dark Purple 3 x 3 corner brick is not used again. It’s exclusive for this set and so they really only included it for the owl. Not that I’m complaining, but this is quite unusual in this series. Not too long ago when this piece didn’t exist yet they would have settled on other, more generic elements to fill this gap.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Squirrel, Leftover Pieces

The Deer and Bunny

The third model is easily the weakest and allows you to build a deer (or fawn depending on your interpretation) and a bunny.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Deer and Bunny, Overview

The bunny/ rabbit feels a bit forced, to be honest. It’s like they sat down in a staff meeting and their team leader told them to come up with anything at all so they don’t have even more unused parts. That isn’t to say that the idea behind it isn’t savvy, but without a few more elements, in particular some curved slopes, it doesn’t look that convincing.

The deer looks cute in a very strange way, but actually reminds me more of a scrawny baby donkey. The head is too large and the body too stubby as well while the legs despite their already spindly appearance are still too short. This would also be my biggest gripe here. Since the ball joints aren’t in the main colors and in a way visually “disappear”, everything looks even more skinny than it would otherwise.

The parts usage is on a similar level as the squirrel with teh major difference being that simply other items constitute the leftovers.

LEGO Creator, Fantasy Forest Creatures (31125), Deer and Bunny, Leftover Pieces

Concluding Thoughts

The Creator 3in1 series is shaping up pretty nicely for this release cycle. The tiger was awesome and this set is almost as great, but in a different way. It’s just fun to build and look at the creatures with the only real bummer being that the purple and yellow colors won’t be to everyone’s liking. It would be an interesting exercise to build the models in “natural” colors like Dark Tan, Medium Nougat and Dark Orange, but for the time being there would be serious limitations since not all elements used in this set even exist in one of those colors. That’s really regrettable.

In spite of this I would wholeheartedly recommend this set to literally everyone & their mom. Even if you prefer more serious subject matter like cars or Star Wars, this could be a pleasant diversion. The build is quick and easy and the creatures look good on the shelf. Who could resist an adorable squirrel looking at you from your book shelf or kitchen cabinet? 😉 It’s definitely worth getting at least one of those sets even if you don’t max out at three as I did.

Flappy Bird – LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979)

As I’ve pointed out occasionally, one of my weirder LEGO obsessions or sub-genre collecting ambitions is to scrap as many animals as I possibly can together on a budget. Not all of them necessarily, with one obvious reason being the cost for mammoths, dinosaurs and some others and their rarity, another being that sometimes they simply not look good, but still, I have this dream…

In doing so I also try to be complete for at least some species and one of those are owls. This also means that occasionally I’ll stumble upon sets that I may just buy for the critters, but that thematically are still related, even if only tangentially at times, and the LEGO Harry Potter Buildable Hedwig (75979). Phew, what a long segway! So let’s have a look at this set, but before we do, a few thoughts on another matter or a bit of a rant, if you will.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Box

Harry Potter gets Owls wrong…

…as in completely wrong. It has always irked me massively that in the movies they are depicted as servile pets while outside those few specimen specifically trained by their handlers the reality is quite different. Okay, there are a number of docile small owl species that indeed are adorable when they dorkily move around and look like they need extra special care and attention to even survive, but for most other types of owls that isn’t true, in particular for the medium to large size ones relevant here.

Most of them are fierce and sometimes rather nasty predators that wouldn’t flinch at pecking your eyes out in defense of their young just like they are not necessarily friendly with each other when fighting over food or on a more general level even. Most are just loners going about their business on their own except when it’s mating season. The proof is in the pudding, as they say: Only last year I saw a bunch of Snow Owl adolescents fighting over food with their mother sitting nearby and guarding them and you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that group. Oh, did I mention that those owls are much larger than they appear in films and on TV?

So for what it’s worth, as appealing as it may appear, given the mystique and mystery that surrounds owls, the notion of them being mail carriers of some secret underground postal service and Hogwarts students’ best friends is kind of far-fetched and ridiculous and sadly has led to a lot of misunderstandings and mistreatment even of real birds because inevitably too many people wanted one after reading the books or watching the movies. I therefore can only urge to leave those creatures in peace, even if you encounter their tamed versions in a wildlife park or zoo. They deserve to be treated with respect and not as a movie prop come to life!

Big and Small

The contents of the set are pretty straightforward – aside from the main build for the big bird there’s only one minifigure and in addition the small version of the owl, a new mold with spread wings for 2020 where older versions only had their wings folded and were perched in a resting position.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Overview

As someone who these days doesn’t care much about all that Harry Potter stuff anymore I won’t even attempt to pin down the exact canonical use of the Harry figure, though I believe it could be The Prisoner of Azkhaban ‘s winter-y setting, given that he apparently wears blue gloves and a scarf. Beyond that there isn’t really much to say except that it’s a good thing that someone had the idea of allowing everything to be integrated in the stand, so you don’t have items floating about separately and getting lost.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Minifigure

Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it Superman? It’s an owl!

Of course the most pressing question with this set is whether the designers were able to capture the shape and appearance of Hedwig appropriately. This is a bit of a two-fold issue to me. Did they manage to replicate a believable owl in the general sense? Absolutely yes! Did they manage to re-create a snow owl in particular? Totally not! To me this very much looks like a Small Owl or Kauz, as we call it in German. In fact if you took this at face value it would even match the actual size of these little critters, as most of them barely are taller than 20 to 25 cm.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front Left View

The mismatch in proportions becomes very noticeable when viewed from other angles with the thing that stands out most being the lack of volume/ bulk in the main body, the shortness of same and also the wingspan not feeling right. In simple terms, everything feels just too small relative to the head size and the big eyes.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Aft Left View

The color scheme is built around an almost full winter plumage, meaning it’s nearly completely white with only a bunch of darker feather tips sticking out. Again, this is sort of the idealized “pure” Hollywood version, with most real examples showing a broader variety, including some of them looking very checkered with lots of gray feathers even after their seasonal changes. It’s perfectly fine for a movie-based character, after all, though. From a technical point it also allows them to keep things relatively simple with larger elements used in many places instead of having to add yet another ton more of those 1 x 1 quarter tiles in different shades of grey.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Right View

Speaking of which – don’t be under any illusion that despite the moderate size this would be a quick build. There’s lots of small elements being used here which can get finicky. they all need to be aligned properly to look the part and on top of that even some of the larger sub-assemblies have to be carefully put together and put into their final location to not block other elements as well as looking good. This can get quite a bit frustrating as for instance the tail feather parts attached to hinges tend to mess up at the slightest touch and you have to spend some time fanning them out correctly. The same applies to the wing tips, which depending on the actual pose you decide on may need to be tweaked to look accurate.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front Right Top View

One thing you have to be clear about right from the outset is the fact that this model only really looks good from the top or for that matter any angle that does not allow you to see the undersides and the parts of the mechanism. This isn’t so much a criticism, as the designers really tried to keep these things sleek and to a minimum, but rather some preemptive advise. This may not look good on the highest shelf and instead should be placed at eye level or lower angles.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front Right Bottom View

The mechanism is very well designed and I was actually quite impressed what kind of natural movement and wing positions it produces. This really cannot be stressed enough, as of course they simply could have settled for basic hinges and ball joints that have to be posed manually of even designed this in a fixed pose.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front Top View

The wing positions basically go from a gliding position with the wind also bending the wings slightly to a prowling position shortly before landing or grabbing the prey during the hunt. Other positions are certainly possible, but, and that’s a bit of a shortcoming here, may require to actively block the mechanism somehow or completely change it.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front View, Wings Raised

The point here is that, while the gear works well, given how small the overall construction is, it has a very noticeable cusp/ climax point at which the torque gets so much, you can feel the resistance before it tips over to relax. Again, this is simply owing to the smallness of the mechanics, not an intentional flaw. Getting smoother movement would have required to use larger gears and more intermediate steps to even out the forces.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Front View, Wings Drooped

Cranky Pedestal

The crank for the gear train is attached to the pedestal/ stand, which is built as the first item separately from the owl itself. Building the stand is just fine, but connecting it to the bird’s torso turned out to be a bit frustrating even for me. This isn’t even to blame on the Technic axle on the drive shaft, but in fact on the basic plates with which you join the top to the bottom and the brackets used to secure things into place with tiles shimmed over later. If things are misaligned even by a tiny amount, things just won’t snap together as intended and you have to try over and over again. It also doesn’t help that the instructions have an error that displays exactly this step wrongly.

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Crank Gear, Left View

The stand is an okay affair and the way they construct the angled part is certainly interesting, but otherwise not much to write home about. It’s also once more utterly unfathomable why they didn’t include a single printed piece, not even for Hedwig‘s name plaque. Given, that this clearly is more are collector’s model than an actual play item this should not have been an issue at all

LEGO Harry Potter, Buildable Hedwig (75979), Stand, Right View.

Concluding Thoughts

This set should appeal to many users – Harry Potter fans and owl lovers alike – but is not without its flaws. Most notably, and sorry for beating this to death, it’s “just some type of owl” and far removed from a reasonable rendition of the real Hedwig. You have to be aware of that just like the slightly tedious build process. I wanted to sit down for a relaxing, simple evening build and then reached a point where it ultimately took way longer than expected and I got very tired.

The price should not be much of a concern, as it starts out very reasonably at 40 Euro and you can pretty much get this set everywhere with at least 10 Euro off. Once you figure that in, all you can say that for those 30 Euro it’s pretty good in it’s own right, no matter what else. So if you haven’t made up your mind already, you can’t really go wrong with this set. The result is rewarding enough, the build is a manageable and it doesn’t cost too much if you just looking for something to kill a bit of time during this pandemic…

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.