“ Theme: Belville „
From the moment I took the pieces out the box and began putting them together to take a photo for this review I remembered why it was that I never really used this as a kid. It is rather frustrating to put together and once it is together you don't really want to move anything as it took you so long to get there and set it up right.
I could make stories out of anything as a kid whether you gave me one toy car or a whole play set with many characters. Yet I don't remember ever thinking of anything to do with this.
There are other sets you can buy and, as the leaflet that comes with it shows, you can make your own fairytale land. Still, even if I had these other sets I don't think I'd have used them much.
For kids who love the Disney films such as Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella they may find this set more exciting. Personally, I was never into them particular films.
As I don't have the rest of the set and each set is sold individually I will only be reviewing the set I have. The Lego Belville Witch's Cottage (set 5804).
The box is clearly aimed at little girls as it is purple with sparkly star shapes on it, making it look almost magical. It states that it is Lego and has the set number at the top. It then has images of the set and different ways it can be set up, suggesting hours of fun and allowing kids to use their imagination. It looks rather colourful and would certainly appeal to children.
In the box:
When you open the box you are greeted by many little Lego pieces. There are some stickers which you will need to stick on first.
I don't have a list of all the parts so I'm going by what is in front of me. I've no idea if I have everything as it is easy to lose pieces - it's possible I never even had all the pieces, but I can't see anything in the images that isn't in front of me.
The first piece is the witch who has a skirt that you can place on her. She also has a hat and broom that you can give her. Her hands are shaped so that she can hold many items, but it doesn't always work. The images show her holding the book, but I couldn't get her to - the edge of the book was too thick. It also shows her holding her hat, but this just falls out her hand. Besides her wearing the hat you can't do much else with it. The broom will stand up by itself, or at least it did the first time I tried - it took me ages to get it to stand again after I accidentally knocked it. The witch doesn't stand up on her own, but you can stick her to the Lego platform. She does stand up this way, just don't catch her as she'll fall right over! You can also make her sit, but she never quite looks right and definitely doesn't sit as well on the chair as she does in the images. She does sit quite well on the edge of my desk though, but I won't be leaving her there (she's giving me an evil look - can't blame her, it's quite a drop if she falls).
What is great about the witch is that her arms move quite a bit. When I first took her out she did look more like a wrestler though, especially with the evil look on her face and the way her hands are (like she's going to hit you). She's certainly an evil witch, not a good witch. Her legs also bend and you can move her head side to side or backwards forwards. Thankfully her head doesn't spin around - she's creepy enough with bright red hair, one tooth and bright green eyes without her walking around with her head backwards! Everything moves easily, but stays where ever you place it.
The next piece is the platform in which everything can attach. The platform is like a quarter of a circle, which is rather an annoying shape really as you can't fit everything on it. This platform is a boring light grey colour.
Along with the witch you also get a black cat. The cat is standing and looking up with a slightly evil look on his face. It would be better if the cat could move around rather than being in a fixed position.
You get a window which attaches to a post. I spent ages getting the window to stay up and stay together with the post, yet now I can't get it apart so it can obviously stay together when it wants to. The window is green and has, what I assume is meant to be, a leafy pattern on it.
You get a couple of blocks and a small rectangle which you can place together as a chair or table. There are also a couple of other pieces like potion bottles, glasses, a bat, a spider, a spell/potion book and some random round gold pieces that seem rather pointless. The book does open up and has stickers on. The inside has squiggly writing and a few pictures of things like a spider and (I think) a green mushroom. On the outside it has two faces, one on the front and one on the back. The back face looks kind of sad or bored. The other face looks happy, but has a slightly dodgy evil look to it.
There is also a cauldron with a spoon and two apples (one red, one green). I guess the red one is meant to be poisonous and it reminds me of Sleeping Beauty.
With this set you also get illustrated artwork which has fairytale images on it. This artwork is really good and is very detailed. In my opinion, it's more interesting than the set itself. It looks like something out of a book and you could quite easily make up stories from it or compare it to Disney films.
Standing up straight without her hat, the witch is about 10cm long. The window is about 12cm high and the platform is almost 10cm along each edge so as you can see the set isn't going to take up lots of space. As it is Lego you can easily take it apart...well, I say easily, I had a flying spider when I tried to remove the table it was sitting on so I could measure the base as it didn't want to come off. But generally things come apart without too much trouble and you can store them in the box.
Lego is usually good quality and lasts. I think the main platform and the witch will probably last a while, but some of the smaller pieces are easy to lose and would probably break quite easily if thrown around a lot.
The box states this is for ages 6-12. It also says that it is not intended for children under 3 years old as it contains small parts. At the age of 12 I'm not sure many kids would still be interested in this, especially not with all the technology we now have. If I was planning on buying this for a kid, I wouldn't buy it for anyone over the age of 10 unless they had the other sets and really loved it as I don't think it would hold their interest for long.
This set can be found on eBay starting from just a couple of quid (auction) at the time of writing this. Other sets can be found on eBay and Amazon. I was going to give an average price of Lego Belville sets, but after looking at the prices on Amazon they vary from £10 to over £100 (although that does in include a deluxe set of 4). These sets include horse stables and horse jumping, which don't really fit with the same theme, but you may find others on eBay and these will probably be cheaper too. For examples of which sets to look out for with the fairytale theme, the leaflet shows sets 5807, 5801, 5805, 5808 and 5804 (which this review is for).
I've given this 3 stars as just because I never found it amusing doesn't mean others won't. It may have many pieces, but overall this set is quite small and really requires at least one other set to be more fun and create proper fairytale stories. It can also be quite fiddly and sometimes the Lego pieces just don't want to stay together, which could be frustrating especially to younger kids. There are better Lego sets out there, but for those who love fairytales they'll probably like this set.