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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.