March 12, 2016

The Secret Market Place Review


Glimpse into the hidden places of Elvendale where you can find a book, 
post a letter by "air mail" or
get your sword sharpened ... and lots more magical elements of LEGO Elves!

We employ Earth, Wind & Fire elements in this lively, unique set introducing 2016 dragons!

This set was provided by the AFOL Relations & Programs team (AR&P) of The LEGO Group for the
purpose of sharing set details with fans.
Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer.
Photographs are property of Friends Bricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.

Box artwork shows us a flying dragon with its sights on a pumpkin in the market


Box back gives us illustration of activity and functions


Box contents: 5 bags, 3 wings, 1 dragon head top in bag, one 8x16 green baseplate, and
1 thick instructions book in its own protective bag with 2 sticker sheets and one sheet of vinyl-type banners



Bag 1 contents: Dragon jaw in aqua, above it a 2x2x2/3 slope in aqua, and below it, new aqua 1x4x1 inverted bow; 2 inner bags (new aqua 1x2x1/2 slopes), new lime green tail piece, Farran, socket (ball receiver) plates, and a very nice selection of lime green, including 1x1 vertical tooth plates
(which serve as dragon scales).
The orange brick separator also (not loose in box) and is customary for sets this large.
Every LEGO set is potentially the 'first' for some fan :-)


First we build Farran; then start straight onto the dragon's belly, torso and wing attachments. You build upside down, then using SNOT technique (studs not on top) where the dragon's sides become the lovely lime curve, with 1x1 plates with points as the scales.
The saddle is how the technic with hole pieces that provide wing up & down movement are secured; a nougat Chest with map and Danish pastries is also attached.
You have a better look at the 2x2x2/3 aqua slope that has a sticker for the dragon's chest embellishment.


Next you attach the tail piece -- complete with trans-green 'spikes' (reminiscent of a Hungarian Horntail) and the neck ball axle connects with 2 technic beams. Inset image is how it attached and shows the range of downward movement.


You build the back legs and feet, then the instructions tell you to attach to the torso. It was easier (and more intuitive for me, personally) to build all the legs/feet and then attach all at the same time. This image shows all of the dragon's sections. The head was removed once for this image and the ball-socket connection is 'so' secure that the technic beams (black pieces) with cross axle holes actually are what released it from the neck. All the markings are stickers, except for the eyes with green earth motif surrounds.
The black horns are made of the same rubbery material as mini-doll hair.


Here is our new Dragon -- his name is Thorne and he's made an Elf friend in Farran after he pulled a thorn from the dragon's paw.
That is everything you build with bag 1.


Bag 2 contents: half-round green plate is new, Aira, the new book (first introduced in Nexo Knights) with a lovely dragon motif printed, brown technic angle element (to serve as a tree branch), lavender corner slope, and 2 inner baggies full of detail parts.


First we build Aira; then get the Library base with hidden compartment built into a tree -- complete with moving functions. The book is 3 parts: 2 covers and the printed tile telling the secret location of the dragon sanctuary. The book rests on the 'shelf' and securely tucks into the tree when the branch is turned toward the back. The black plate 1x2 with slide serves to hold the book from falling out the back.


Then we get to build a wonderful "earthy" green Library chair which swivels *and* reclines! It's complete with cut log ends and a drink holder. Certainly a technique new builders will enjoy.
There's Aira with her Wind Elemental magic power! (1x1 round trans purple tile)
This is everything bag 2 builds.


Bag 3 contents: another green half-round plate that's new, a welcome pearl-gold scroll fence piece, the new brown curled/beveled pieces (like what makes the dragon's tail) to use as architectural elements; 2 dark tan baseplates, very useful browns/tans/nougat pieces, and an inner baggie.


We continue working on the Library in the bottom level; the green half-round serves a helpful purpose later. All the details give this structure a definite Eurasian feel and I love it! Open, colorful market places around the world always offer a magical presence.


A side angle shows you how much the hidden book compartment is meant to be organic as its part of the tree itself -- with knotty holes and lovely branches with jewels. We see the dragon banner hung, along with the front gate open and a view inside at more books.
That completes building from bag 3.


Bag 4 contents: medium lavender half with 2 corner plate, purple slopes, nougat drawer, 2 more brown curled/beveled pieces, 2 inner bags and the tan Unikitty tail parts above Owliver (the Owl ;-)


We build the next 2 layers onto the Library with the lovely sloped front with Library "Book" sign (sticker) on a round tile, then the next up is the Post Office with its own 'winged-envelope' sign and a perch for our delivery owl. Atop that is a small area for Owliver and the arched, movable roof sections.


Here is an angled view of this compete structure. I adore that purple awning/pediment 
above the upper window!
The front Lanterns, gate, curves, pointed arches, and curled brown entrance framing 
give it a middle-eastern flair.
That is everything bag 4 builds -- yet let's see why I mentioned the half-round 
green plate would be helpful ...


We can use the half-round green plate to help us ease apart the 2 modules after they are built together.
The white box waiting for delivery contains a very special element. The side mailbox has the Wind Elf symbol and flows into the area where another package is wrapped with brown paper + tied with twine!
The letters are sealed with the traditional red wax embossment and "Harry" from a previous LEGO line that also had owls :-)
On the right back behind the Library you can see the book compartment in the tree with lovely flowering cherry branches.
I had not realized this structure was modular before beginning to build it -- and I'm very happy with all that I created from bag 4.


Bag 5 contents: dark tan plate, axle, and plate with pin bush, Lavender stairs, Flamy the Fire fox, 
and 2 inner bags.


First we get 'techy' building the Blacksmith forging mechanism using technic beams, axle, round with side axle hole; then the beautiful black anvil to place the sword. Trans-orange 1x1 round tiles add the hot fire for smelting.


The hammer strikes the hot metal sword when the brown 4 stick 'combi hub' piece is turned. It's very fun and clever, plus teaches new building techniques. I hope my images give you a Blacksmith demonstration within the limits of static pictures.
Once again, the anvil is love-ly!


This bottom section of the Blacksmith gets a barrel of water to temper-seal (harden) the hot metal, a stool, mossy patch & crystals. You can see the center post (black) of where the stairs will attach, plus the backside of the forging mechanism.


Now the vibrant Lavender stairs offset the fire colors of orange-yellow and magenta awning with Blacksmith symbol (sticker) on a round tile to serve as notice to what you will find in this part of the market -- you can see this structure is robust on its own.
Flamy is on duty as a Fire animal in Elvendale. The shield and Dragon banner lead us up the stairs to a crate of pumpkins and a tree that bears a framed image of The Starlight Inn.
That is everything bag 5 builds.


Here is a view of the backside of both structures -- as they are separate -- yet together, which is common for this type of eclectic market.  They can be joined together by connecting the grey brick with Lavender 1x2 tile on the Blacksmiths under the half-round green plate on the mail office floor.


If you wondered where in Elvendale this is ... the market truly is 'secret' and its location is 
tucked into the mountains.
Here is an illustration from the first 2016 Elves show -- the lush, exotic locale to which the Elves must travel.
They (and Emily) must get to this secret market place, to find a secret in a book hidden in tree.
The storyline brings us here, and hopefully we get to build many more of these wonderful sets
with magical goods & fare from Elvendale!


Owliver is sitting on his bed on top of the post office -- with the roof arches open for a 
perfect perch upon this market place.
The purple wax "seals" on the packages are absolutely lovely ... although my heart desires printed tiles, I couldn't resist these stickers.


The Elf characters in this set are: Farran ~ the Earth Elf, Flamy ~ the Fire fox, Aira ~ the Wind Elf, and Owliver ~ a Wind owl and beautiful, aqua addition to the flighted creatures of Elvendale -- here presenting that special element in that delivery box: a Golden Crown.


Now for the extra pieces after all that detailed-building. Small pieces that are easily lost are common; an extra dragon wing maybe is 'not' so common! I can't imagine one breaking, or perhaps since they are loose in the box (taped not perfed).


For design style and size comparison, here is Zonya from the Fire Dragon's Lava Cave next to Thorne - the new Earth Dragon.
The builds are somewhat similar ... yet not too much. The head connection/articulations vary, as do the tails and, of course colors.
Both represent their Elf elementals well. I look forward to building all the dragons!


Let's end this review with Earth Elf Farran and his new dragon companion, Thorne, getting ready for a 'safe' flight around Elvendale!
~Swoosh ~
_______________

This set packs more details than meets the eye when perusing the box. It may seem like my review was comprehensive (I hope anyway), yet there are several building aspects I barely mentioned. You will enjoy them when you get to those, if The Secret Market Place is on your list of new LEGO Elves sets to build.
Beautiful to look at, lovely to hold; if you compare it to any offering in the LEGO array, it is just as challenging, functioning, entertaining, and inspiring with good connection methods and fabulous parts.

~~~

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