My slow blogging in recent months means that this isn't breaking news to most, but I still feel like I need to include this here. The next Disney property to get an official license is the line of Disney Princesses. Well, they've actually already done some of them, but as Duplo figures. There are going to be more of these, and I'll get to them, but today I want to look at the System sets. This seems such a no-brainer, and I've thought for a long time they should do this theme. It seems a natural point of contact to bring more, largely girl, customers in to System building, and also to connect to the very popular Castle building theme. As a Castle guy, I had hoped they would do these with minifigs, as this would add more characters to my minifig world, but they've gone with the Friends figs instead. This certainly seems a natural fit, given the popularity of the Friends sets with a younger girl demographic, so it makes sense. Let's look at the first wave of sets. At least I'm assuming this is the first wave, as there are so many more sets they could do in subsequent waves.
Everyone's favorite mermaid gets two sets. First we see 4105, Ariel's Amazing Treasures. The Ariel fig looks great, as does the Flounder piece. The set makes me want to burst out in song, and yes, I'm comfortable with my masculinity :). My only complaint is that she doesn't actually have a dinglehopper or a snarfblatt in her treasure trove. Instead she seems to have pilfered daddy's trident.
41052, Ariel's Magical Kiss is a nice looking set. Here, of course, we get her walking around on those - what do you call 'em? Oh - feet! Unfortunately, this is missing a very key element, Sebastian! How are we going to "Sing with me now ... Sh la la la la la my oh my" if there's no "me" to sing with. Sebastian really should be in either this set or the other one. I suppose you can always use a red scorpion piece as a lobster, but a new mold would have been good here (and not the lame printed brick we see in the Duplo sets, but more on those later). In addition to Sebastian, I hope we see King Triton and Ursula in a future wave of Princess sets. I think a set of the undersea palace would be really great.
Next, let's look at a Disney Classic, Cinderella. I've got to say that even though she is sort of the standard-bearer for Disney Princesses, I'm less interested in her than in the more modern run, but the first set, 41053, Cinderella's Dream Carriage, looks pretty great. I'm not as sold on the fig here, though. She looks to me a little more like Tinkerbell in a blue dress, largely due to the hairpiece and the proportion of the head versus the body. Also, it would have been nice to see her in her plain clothes, since the other Cinderella set also has her in the blue dress. Oh, I also would have loved to see little Jaq and Gus Gus molded figures.
41055, Cinderella's Romantic Castle is the biggest set in this line, and as a castle builder I see a lot of good parts in this set. On the other hand, though, it seems the set most geared towards little girls. This does have one of the only male figs, but, c'mon, who really cared about the Prince in Cinderella? He doesn't have the more well-rounded character of some of the guys in more recent movies, nor does he get to fight a dragon like Phillip. Oh, one more complaint on this set is the glass slipper as a printed tile. I would have rather seen an actual piece.
Two others each get a set. 41054, Rapunzel's Creativity Tower is probably my favorite of the whole series. As a castle builder, I could use this set pretty much as it is. The figs look great, and we get here both male and female characters that were both good in the movie and look good in LEGO form. Pascal is a great addition to the set, and there are some great accessories. My only complaint is that it would have been good to have a couple of spare hairpieces for Rapunzel - one with really long hair, and one for her with short hair from the end of the film.
Last but not least is the most recent addition to the princess crew, 41051, Merida's Highland Games. This is another great set. As a castle guy I think all of the pieces are useful, and I love that golden bow. The inclusion of her three brothers is great. My one big complaint about the set is that hair piece. Merida's crowning glory, and a big part of her character, is her wild mane of hair. This looks like she just stepped out of a salon, and in addition to chopping most of it off, they also changed the color. I think Elinor (at the start of the movie) would approve of this hair, but I certainly do not.