Castle Lego will always occupy a special place in my heart and when Lego announced that they were rebooting the Castle line this year, I was pretty excited to get my hands on some. I settled on Dragon Mountain because hey, who wouldn’t want to own a massive Lego dragon?
Name: Dragon Mountain
Set Number: 70403
Price: AU$69.99 (Shop@Home Link)
Exclusive to: N/A
Minifigs: 5 + 1 giant dragon!
Year of Release: 2013
The star of this set, is the massive Lego dragon which hasn’t made an appearance since the Fantasy Era subtheme in 2007 where we had knights and dwarves duking it out against skeletons, trolls and dragons. I was lucky enough to purchase this set at less than $50 during Myer’s recent Toy Sale which I felt easily justified the price. If I were to buy this at RRP, it would take a lot of convincing since this set seems a little on the bare side.
First up, the good guy minifigs! We get a footsoldier with his iconic bullet helmet, a princess that’s in need of rescuing and a valiant Lion Knight, fully decked out in printed armour. The footsoldier has a neat chain mail design printed on his torso and carries a shiny silver spear. The Princess has a lovely white dress with gold and light blue trimmings along with a tiara above her red hair. Her hair is made of squishy plastic.
The Lion Knight looks pretty impressive, with a visor-ed helmet, armour and shield bearing the Lion insignia. The paint detail and quality is top notch. If only they came in Red and Gold, they’d be so handy as Lannisters from the Game of Thrones.
I’ve come to expect back printing with all minifigs that I get from sets, so nothing out of the ordinary here. The princess’ back is slightly disappointing since you have a back view of her lovely dress which ends abruptly at the slope piece. I can’t wait till they incorporate back printing to the slope dress pieces. Unfortunately, the foot soldier missed out on an alternate face.
And here we have the baddies, from the uh, Evil Dragon clan or whatever they’re called. We have a random henchmen who’s equipped with a longsword and a classic triangle shield. Not too flashy but not too boring at the same time.
The Evil Wizard guy on the other hand is pretty impressive and intimidating. He’s got a black wizard hat with the dragon symbol stamped onto it, a flashy red cape that contrasts exceptionally well with his black robes and staff. His staff is very well designed, managing to look extremely imposing – something that all Dragon Wizards should own. An amber flask housing a spider and a small skull, bones and a claw dangling from his belt rounds the wizard off nicely. Oh, I also love his black Sensei Wu inspired beard.
Again, more back printing. I like the henchman’s back printing, with the leather straps tying his studded armour piece together. The henchman also gets an alternate face, something that the wizard missed out on. Oh and apparently, you need to have really bloodshot eyes to be a villain in Lego’s castle series.
First up, you assemble this little rolling catapult contraption which looks great. It’s pretty hefty looking so it doesn’t immediately strike you as an afterthought to bump up the piece count. I like the great use of colours used to construct the catapult – the blues, browns, greys and gold accents works really well together. I like the 2 gold prongs on its front, which I guess come in handy when you run out of things to fling at your enemy and just want to ram them head on.
It rolls around well on its four wheels but is prone to slipping at times because the wheels are kinda smooth. The catapult mechanism works as it should. You launch 2×2 round bricks into the air, which I’m assuming are meant to hit the dragon or the villain’s base.
When all else fails, I’m sure you could also launch your troops into battle. The footsoldier’s bullet-shaped helm sure comes in handy when he’s an actual projectile.
Up next, the mighty red fire-breathing dragon! I’ve never owned a mega-sized dragon before so this is a nice novelty beast to add to my collection. I didn’t expect it to be so huge. It’s got articulation in all the right parts, you can move his legs and hands up and down, his tail swivels around and his menacing jaw opens and closes with a click-based mechanism. Oh, his head is also quite flexible, being able to rotate as well as be tilted backwards and forwards. His wings flap too, obviously!
Here’s the fire-breathing dragon shooting flames at the brave Lion Knight. Wonder why the dragon’s mouth doesn’t open up when he wants to let a jet of fire loose?
It’s because he’s actually a fire-chinning dragon! I don’t know about you, but this is one weird oversight by the Lego designers. I guess it would be difficult fitting the flame piece INTO the dragon’s mouth but just drilling a hole into its chin and shoving it in there seems a little lazy to me. Altering the inside of the jaw to accommodate the flame piece would be brilliant, so I’m quite perplexed as to why they didn’t opt for that solution. Anyway, if want your dragon to breathe fire without looking weird, just do it with his mouth closed.
Here’s a neat thing about the dragon, his right claw is able to hold a minifig by its legs. Poor footsoldier here is going to be turned into dragon BBQ shortly, but there’s always another thousand more to take his place.
On the Dragon’s back are some studs so that the Evil Dragon Wizard can stand and ride his pet. Alternatively, you could also place a chair and steering wheel there for fun, but that wouldn’t fit the context of Castles really well.
Have I mentioned how the dragon is immensely huge? Check out it’s impressive wingspan.
Oh yes, the dragon is so big that is dwarfs the size of the “Dragon Mountain” or the evil dude’s lair/prison structure thingy. I have to say that I was a little let down by the overall size. It’s a pretty bare bones structure, with a small cave on the left and a little tower on the right. I do appreciate the aesthetics of the entire thing when taken in from afar. I like the concept of the villain’s lair being built on and into the mountain itself but the end product leaves a lot to be desired.
I love the treasure chest. It’s not really hidden since it’s right in front of your face but I ullionlove that we get chrome (!) gold coins and even a gold bar/bullion.
No more lousy pearl gold 1×1 round studs masquerading as gold coins. PURE GOLD. I believe we’re going to see a Pirates set next year with these babies aplenty.
Flipping the set around, we get acquainted with the mysterious secret entrance to the Wizard’s cave. Obstructed by a massive spider web, I wonder what mysteries lie within.
Boom! Secret wizarding cave! For all the shortcomings of the exterior, I’m glad that they paid quite a bit of attention to the interiors. We get 2 keys, which I assume are used to lock up princesses, 2 vials of magic potions and a very cool bone candle, no doubt used for whatever dark arts the Evil Wizard Practices.
On the other end of Dragon Mountain, we get a flight of stairs leading up towards the jail cell. The rat is a pretty random addition but I won’t complain. Having more Lego animals is always a good thing. We get our usual assortment of brick bricks and foliage to give the facade a little bit more variety. I also like the dual-coloured steps, very eye-catching and a huge improvement to monochromatic steps.
Walk up the stairs and you’re confronted with a surly henchman, guarding the princess from any would-be heroes who seek to set her free. Nothing too fancy with the jail cell, since it’s a rectangle-shaped enclosure with a jail cell door. Of note is the printed lock tile. Neat bit of detail..
Directly under the jail cell is the henchman’s quarters where he retreats to when he needs some R&R. It’s bare save for a torch and a small table set with a goblet of wine and a block of cheese. Gotta get your calcium in your system to build big strong bones.
Back up again, this time above the jail cell hangs a shield emblazoned with the dragon coat of arms and some flags. It also houses a blood red crystal, which I think is what controls the dragon or gives power to the wizard. Unfortunately, there’s no space for the Evil Wizard to stand so I don’t know how he manages to use the crystal. Or perhaps its just a decoration piece.
On the roof of the tiny tower we finally get some space for the Wizard to stand and no doubt summon the mighty dragon. Nothing outstanding here save for the red half pyramid thingies and spikes to make it look like a villain’s hideout.
Connecting the two structures is a small narrow bridge which has a tiny catapult attached to it. They have to defend the base from invaders somehow. We get transparent orange 1×1 bricks to use as ammunition. I want to think that they’re magic projectiles that explode upon contact, devised by the Evil Wizard himself.
Final Thoughts: So there we have it, the completed set. the Dragon totally outclasses and outsizes every thing in this set, making it look smaller than it already is. It was an interesting build and I enjoyed putting the catapult and structure together but I just can’t shake the feeling that it would’ve been an amazing set if the Mountain part of Dragon Mountain were bigger. In its current form, it looks a little too bare and insubstantial for me. I really like the concept behind the design but I really wished that they had made the structure with more bricks. Oh and the dragon is amazing, save for the chinny fire breathing bit.
Should You Buy It?: For just shy of 400 pieces and slapped with an AU$69.99 RRP pricetag, it’s a little hard to justify, even if you’re getting a massive red dragon to add to your collection. If you’re just interested in getting Castle parts and are more keen on the whole good knights vs bad knights thing, you’d be better of waiting and doubling your budget and splashing out on the King’s Castle itself. I’d really only recommend getting it if you really want the dragon, which is what I did so I was okay with dropping the cash for it. Wait till it goes on sale to pick it up.
In fact, now would be a great time to pick it up. Target is having a toy sale from 10 – 16 October where they’re having 20% off all Lego sets. You can pick up the Dragon Mountain for $55. In fact, the King’s Castle is going for $99, which I think is a great price for a huge medieval themed Lego set. To view the complete Target catalog, you can click here.