There are two types of people in this world: Those that hate Disney’s Frozen with a fiery passion, and those that know every word to Let It Go (and the whole soundtrack). I fall in the latter camp.
Whichever group you identify with, it’s impossible to deny Frozen’s impact on pop culture and upon millions of kidlings wanting to emulate Elsa, Anna or Kristoff. Maybe there aren’t too many Kristoff fans.
Combine two of the biggest crazes last year, Frozen and LEGO and you have a set that sells itself – Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle. A glittering recreation of Elsa’s Icy Palace/Fortress, this set is unsurprisingly sold out everywhere online. I got mine from Barnes & Noble the day it went up for sale, as I was a little too late ordering it from LEGO.com
Being a massive fan of Disney’s Princess theme, as well as the movie, Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle is actually one of the sets I was most excited about in 2015. So to kick off my 2015 Set Reviews, it was a no brainer leading with Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle.
Name: Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle
Set Number: 41062
Price: AU$49.99 (AUS LEGO.com link) (US LEGO.com link)
Exclusive to: N/A
Minidolls: 2 + 1 Olaf
Theme: Disney Princess
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO 41062 Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle instructions
Kudos to the design team at LEGO for taking on the most important location in Disney’s Frozen, Elsa’s Ice Castle. Created out of thin icy air by Elsa, the Ice Castle is used by her to shut herself off from the world and keep the irate people of Arendelle away after accidentally setting off an eternal winter.
In case you forget what the Ice Castle looks like, here’s the Let It Go music video. Yes, I will take every opportunity possible to play this incredible song. Anyway, this was one of the most memorable parts of the movie so it was interesting to be able to construct it out of LEGO. Before we get to the Sparkling Ice Castle, let’s take a look at the minifigures.
Arguably, Disney Princess sets share a lot of similarities to Super Heroes sets – they’re often all about the minifigures (or in this case minidolls) included. The very first (and I hope not the last) LEGO Frozen set comes with the main sisters, Elsa and Anna as well as their magical snowman friend, Olaf.
The lineup is decent, it checks all the right boxes, but I was quite disappointed that they didn’t include Kristoff in the set. LEGO being LEGO, I wouldn’t put it past them to release another Frozen-themed set with Kristoff (and hopefully Sven, his reindeer!) in it, so that you can collect ’em all.
The star of the set and source of anguish of any parent forced to listen to Let It Go for the billionth time – Elsa! I hate to nitpick, but LEGO really messed up an iconic Disney character.
Elsa’s hair colour is all wrong (see above) – her minidoll has blonde hair when it should’ve been a paler, more platinum colour. For starters, LEGO already has at least one hairpiece in a very similar shade – Series 7’s Tennis Ace. A pity they couldn’t use the same material/colouring for Elsa.
Other than that, Elsa is almost perfect. Her dress has some great details on it that accurately replicates her movie’s look, right down to the exact shade of blue.
Elsa has a sparkly cape as well, which is of the newer and heavier variety. It pains me that they got her hair colour so wrong when they nailed the moulding and shape of it. I really love the very visible braids and wonderful shape of Elsa’s hairpiece. It’s made out of the softer plastic like all Friends minidolls, but that doesn’t really detract from it. You could say that I’ve gotten use to this squishy material for hairpieces. There are two holes which allows you to accessorise Elsa with bows or ribbons.
Judging by the quality of the details, I have to say that this is one of the best squishy female hairpieces that LEGO has ever produced – colour accuracy placed aside.
Up next is Elsa’s sister, Anna. Unlike Elsa, LEGO have done an almost perfect job capturing Anna’s look. From her orange hair to freckles, all the way to the very precise floral prints on her dress. Anna is draped in a magenta cape, that is one of the new “three-holed” variety which allows it to drape in a curved manner around her back.
Since this cape designs are relatively new, and can be quite confusing for younger children, I loved that LEGO included step by step instructions on how to properly fold it to achieve its proper shape. Top notch stuff from LEGO.
From the back, you’re able to get a better look at Anna’s great hairpiece, which has her signature forked braids extend from beneath her pink hat. Overall, Anna’s minidoll is quite outstanding and I can’t think of a single thing that I would change about her.
Next up is Olaf the Snowman, which is frankly the poorest part of the whole set. Olaf is constructed out of seven elements, including his one of a kind moulded head that has an orange drillbit/horn inserted into it. Olaf’s head is the highlight obviously, but is such a huge let down. His eyes and eyebrow printing is decent enough, it retain’s the Snowman’s frivolous look but his mouth is where it all melts into a puddle of disappointment.
One of Olaf’s defining features is his oversized bucktooth. His prominent teeth are moulded quite well but because they’re the same colour as the rest of his head, they’re almost invisible to the naked eye. I have no idea why LEGO couldn’t have painted the insides of his mouth a darker colour, which would provide sufficient contrast against his buckteeth.
Here’s how Olaf should really look.
It’s quite a shame, because it just makes Olaf’s head look like an incomplete, slightly faulty LEGO element. It’s a massive dealbreaker, and completely ruins what would have been a great sidekick to Elsa and Anna.
Before I get into the build, here’s the sticker sheet. It’s so shiny that you can see my reflection in it as I was taking this photo. It has an interesting bits of detail, some may seem a bit weird such as panel with what seems to be beverages and ice cream smoothies. All will make sense. Soon. I hope.
There are some really great parts in this set. These 3 have to be my favourite as I’m a sucker for transparent parts since they’re so futuristic and extremely versatile. The rockface piece in transparent blue isn’t particularly new but this one has glitter in it, because y’know, Elsa’s Castle needs to be all sparkly. The crystal piece also has specks of glitter in it as well.
Too bad we only get one glittery crystal. It’s quite fascinating as I’ve never personally encountered LEGO parts with glitter in them – I hope this becomes a thing, because glitter is wonderful.
The first thing that you build is a little picnic mat for Olaf, complete with a cookie tile and a sandwich. It’s a great nod to Olaf’s In Summer song where the blissfully ignorant snowman sings about his dreams about enjoying summer. There’s an actual scene in the song where Olaf hangs out with Kristoff and Anna on a checkered picnic mat enjoying sandwiches.
The next thing you construct is Anna’s sleigh (it actually belongs to Kristoff) which she uses to track down Elsa. The sleigh comes with a small icy slide, which contains a minor play feature. The slide has some tiny details, such as a random lime green bucket containing ice skates (?) and some snow-covered flowers and grass.
You can place Anna’s sleigh on top of the slide, where it sits comfortably and securely. With a little tip, you can send the sleigh downhill a very short distance. It’s an extremely rudimentary play feature but it’s kind of fun to do over and over again, because the motion is so smooth.
There’s nothing incredibly special about Anna’s sleigh. Be sure to tuck in her cloak below her legs when you place her in the sleigh. The sleigh has two whips attached to the side, which are nice, but it’s a little too pink for my tastes. There’s enough pink and purple emanating from Anna herself, so it’s a little too feminine for me. Younger girls might disagree with me on this.
Anna comes with a flaming torch, just like in the movie, where she uses it to fend off nasty wolves on her thrilling sleigh ride.
Here’s the completed Sparkling Ice Castle. It’s Sparkly, it looks sufficiently Icy and it does the Castle-shape quite well, so the name is 100% accurate. The first thing that struck me about the finished model is that it was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. Chalk it up to the fairly small box that it comes in or its deceptively low piece count, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to look so large.
Replicating Elsa’s Ice Castle from the movie into LEGO form wasn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world. but the LEGO designers have done a commendable job capturing the essence of Elsa’s icy fortress. The generous use of white bricks, transparent blue elements and aqua blue accents gives is a convincingly icy and frozen look.
The only bits of detail I don’t really like are the pink crystals that are blooming from orange flowers on Elsa’s balcony. They look really out of place, and the pink crystals create a very jarring effect against the clean colour scheme of the entire structure. Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle looks much better when you remove those silly jewels.
The entire set is designed to promote interactivity and play. It is by no means an accurate recreation of the movie’s castle, which is perfectly fine since this is a toy aimed at young girls. The Ice Castle has a very dollhouse feel to it, thanks to the different sections that contain small little playable surprises.
The main entrance is flanked by a small tree, which has some cool little details such as icicles and snow-covered leaves. It’s small, but adds a nice sense of organic balance to the Ice Castle. There are icy steps which lead you to a stairway that takes you to the first floor. The stairs are a prominent feature of Elsa’s Ice Castle in the movie, so it was very smart to incorporate it into the model.
The stairs are part of a very cool play feature. Using your finger, you can magically create the steps, a play feature that will no doubt be popular with kids as they roleplay Elsa conjuring steps out of thin icy air in Let It Go. It’s a smart and very entertaining play feature that is not only fun but looks great visually.
The ground floor contains a very perplexing room, which I am 100% sure was not in the movie – an ice cream making station. I think it’s very clever, it does break the immersion a little, but for goodness sake, LEGO is a kids toy so who cares about immersion. The ice cream station has a magenta sundae machine, and there are two flowers which hold a popsicle and a chocolate cone. On the wall, are some illustrated shelves with more ice cream, or milkshakes on them.
I think this portion of the Ice Castle is hilariously cute. I love that the LEGO designers were allowed to insert this silly little section into it. I mean, it makes zero sense why you would need an ice cream station in a castle made out of ice. The sheer silliness of it is very welcome.
Here’s the Frozen sisters and Olaf enjoying their frosty treats.
On the opposite side of the ground floor is a small round plate, which I think is some sort of table and some purple skis. Purple skis. Elsa probably gets bored holed up in her castle. It doesn’t have to make sense! On the wall, you may have noticed that I stuck my sticker sheet upside down. It’s supposed to be mittens, a scarf and a shelf with ski supplies. Contrary to popular belief, I am proud of my mistake because I am only human.
There’s also a white pedestal which holds the blue glitter crystal that serves as the centrepiece of what seems to be Elsa’s recreational room.
This was also not in the movie, but makes perfect sense – Elsa’s castle obviously needs to have a bedroom. Elsa sleeps on a magenta coloured bed, which has a nice fluffy (ice?) pillow and patterned sheets. Opposite her bed is a small dresser, which holds a crown and some perfume.
You may have noticed a torch in her room. I’ve been pondering about this for the whole day and I still cannot give you an answer about why you would have a torch in a frozen castle. Do you want your walls to melt, Elsa?
It’s a really silly addition – if only LEGO had given us a blue flame, that might have been a bit more believable. Enjoy constant puddles in your bedroom, Elsa.
Outside her bedroom is Elsa’s balcony, where she goes to adore the eternal winter that she loosed upon Arendelle. As mentioned earlier, the pink jewels are silly. Would have made more sense if LEGO just kept her balcony clean and simple.
Finally, on the highest floor of the castle is some sort of study. There’s not a lot of space, only room for a stool/table, a letter and a thick leatherbound book which has a shiny castle sticker on it. The sticker looks great, since it’s shiny and the castle reminds me of your classic Disney princess castle. Who knows, it could be Cinderella’s castle. Again, there’s another torch in the study, this time placed right next to a wall. Elsa isn’t the brightest interior decorator.
What I liked:
- Minifigures are mostly well designed
- Awesome selection of parts. Tons of large white and transparent blue pieces
- The Ice Castle is huge for its price range
- Looks really good on display
- Some really clever play features
What I didn’t like:
- Elsa’s inaccurate hair colour
- Olaf looks incomplete
- No Kristoff
Final thoughts: Take away the hype of LEGO’s very first Frozen set and you’re left with an impressive LEGO set that is well worth its $50 admission fee. Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle is a triumph of LEGO design philosophy, effortlessly combining fun play features, a dollhouse-like approach and varied building techniques. It’s only January, but I can easily see this set becoming the best-selling set of 2015 and judging by its “Sold Out” and “Backordered” status on LEGO.com and every other online retailer, I highly recommend picking this up immediately as soon as it comes out in stores.
The Australian release date for LEGO’s Frozen set is sometime in March. It will probably sell out almost immediately, but this set is worth picking up at full price. The first thing that strikes you about the Ice Castle is the fantastic mix of colours that seamlessly complement each other to create a dazzling appearance.
I can’t remember a $50 set packing so much value. From the minifigures all the way to the fantastic parts selection, Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle delivers in spades. LEGO have hit a home run with this set by ensuring that fans are treated to an outstanding model that doesn’t lean on its source material’s brand to sell sets. Maybe LEGO Super Heroes sets could learn a lesson or two from the Disney Princess Designers, instead of just being glorified minifigure packs.
Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle can be enjoyed by everyone – kids, adults, boys, girls, men and women. I really love that the entire model looks great on display and despite slight minidoll colour and printing flaws, is one of the most enjoyable sets that I’ve built recently. I’m glad that I chose this set for my first 2015 build – it really instills a sense of casual optimism that this will be another spectacular year for LEGO.