It’s now a little over one year after the unceremonious demise of the LEGO Disney Princess magazine and just like Blue Ocean have run the publication into the ground, the whole series has taken an odd trajectory. It feels like it’s stuck in a loop and resigned to repeating the same themes over and over and several of the recent Disney animated movies having bombed hasn’t helped matters. So far it also doesn’t look like the company’s 100th anniversary will give us something spectacular, either, at least in the LEGO world. As a result, sets that actually interest me are rare and far in-between such as Moana’s Wayfinding Boat (43210) in this article.
Contents and Pricing
By now it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that those Disney sets are quite expensive and mostly overpriced. This one is no exception with only 321 pieces and a suggest retail price of 35 Euro. At first glance it doesn’t even sound that bad, but you have to keep in mind that there’s only two figures, a single animal, no extra side builds and of course the usual “It’s tons of 1 x 1s…” skewing the metrics unfavorably. At the same time things could be worse and they could ask 50 Euro for this, but that is little consolation. They’re really going in hard on this. Starting out so high inevitably limits the potential for discounts on the part of the resellers, and so more or less you have to be glad if you’re getting that typical 30 %, if at all. I bought my package for 25 Euro, but I’ve never seen it drop below 22 Euro even at some notoriously aggressive outlets.
The figures are not much to write home about except for the fact that they represent new designs and of course we’re getting not only Moana/ Vaiana herself, but also one of the other villagers called Sina. The more obvious thing is the glaring absence of any animals bar the baby dolphin depicted in the overview image. No Heihei or Pua in sight, much less any other creatures. Even the dolphin is super, super lame in that it doesn’t at least come in a new color or has a big parent dolphin, possibly also in a new color, coming along as well. And then of course there’s potential here to sneak in a seagull or other bird perched on the mast… There’s no way around it: In the figures and creature department this is a complete fail.
The model is of course based on the catamarans that you can see in a few scenes of the movie like the vision about her ancestors. as you would expect from a play set aimed at children a lot of things have been simplified and to a degree also solidified/ bulked up with stronger elements to make them more robust such as the outrigger inevitably not being just a bunch of bundled up sticks but rather some massive bricks.
The model is not completely symmetrical, but except for some minor details related to the length of the two flotation bodies the build is hugely similar all the way. that accelerates the already very simple assembly process even further and in a manner of speaking you can do it nearly blindly. It’s very straightforward, which is good for kids not getting too frustrated. The only potential show stoppers are the two axles that need to be inserted vertically as safety pins to connect the floats to the deck bridge. They require quite a bit of force.
There aren’t that many noteworthy details and even if I had used the stickers, which of course I never do, this wouldn’t have changed much. On the positive side the LEGO designers at least had the good sense to make an effort to build some decorations with various tiles, including a bunch of skin-toned quarter tiles in Light Nougat.
The cabin/ bed area is equally sparse, though I wouldn’t have expected much else since in reality those boats really were kept simple and more a means of island hopping than travelling large distances in open waters. The “wood” look is achieved with the two Tan colors and various shades of Nougat with Orange, Coral and Red providing the colored accents. The model also likely benefited from LEGO having some elements in plain Nougat (no Light or Medium) left over from their production run for the UCS Luke Skywalkers Landspeeder (75341) from the Star Wars line. They complemented them further by actually producing the new flat arch element in this color and for the time being it’s even exclusive to this set.
The same applies to the 1 x 8 tiles in Light Nougat. A few other elements are on the more elusive side like the Lime 1 x 4 plate modified with two studs or the various coral parts, but most of those are in several Friends sets as well, so it’s only a question of time until they proliferate and will be available more widespread.
A big stinker is the really ugly construction of the mast for the sail with the colors being all over the place. Yes, LEGO has color coding for the various axle lengths, but it’s not that the Yellow and Light Bluish Grey ones with the odd-numbered lengths aren’t available in both colors and conversely the Red and Black ones for the even-numbered lengths couldn’t be unified. That also goes for the various connectors. They all could just be a single color. You could even take this to the extreme and argue that this whole structure could be a single color. Would you really notice the differences between a 6L Black axle and a 5L Yellow axle if the proportions of the sail were adjusted accordingly to disguise and compensate the odd proportions? You can’t even explain this away with kid-friendliness…
If you can get it for a good price this is an acceptable set for your Moana-loving kid, but you must be aware that it is pretty barebones. Unless you have the other sets to go with it to enhance the play fantasy you may be in for a lot of complaints. The non-inclusion of some decent animals and an extra piece of land or mooring/ landing bridge are baffling omissions and diminish the value of the set unnecessarily. For adults it doesn’t really have much on offer if you don’t count scraping together the few special/ unique parts, so you can skip over it without missing out on something.