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[REVIEW] 71391 Super Mario Bowser's Airship

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Number: 71391
Name: Bowser’s Airship Expansion Set
Theme: LEGO® Super Mario™
Released: 2021
Part Count: 1152
Minifigures: 0
Characters: 2
Set Price (RRP): £89.99 / $99.99 / 99.99€
Links: Brickset, Bricklink

Welcome to the final installment of EB's Revember 2021!  Today we'll be looking at the Bowser's Airship set from the Super Mario theme. This set does not come with a Mario or Luigi, so you'd need one of those to use the play features as expected.  However it is still a fun set all on it's own and definitely exceeded my expectations for build quality and parts. If you are a fan of the series or a fan of Mario in general you are definitely going to want to pick this set up before it's gone.




A lot of bags! This is a very large set for this line, the largest I have personally built so far.  Lots of parts, lots of really great colors (if you like earth tones) and overall the parts count is not jacked up by tons of 1x1 round plates and tiles. These are substantial parts and interesting molds.  If you like dark nougat, this is an amazing set for non-bricks in this color for the first time.

Boat hull and "instructions". This is a ship, and being a ship has some boat hull parts. In dark nougat, it looks awesome! The most natural color I have seen for a ship yet. These of course come separately bagged at the bottom of the box.  You'll see here what appears to be instructions, don't let that fool you. Like all Super Mario sets, there are no printed instructions. :pir-hmpf_bad: This pamphlet is really just a mini-catalog of the rest of the line.

Lots of parts. For the sake of scrolling, I've put all of the individual bag photos into a spoiler tag. Rest assured, I have photographed every single bag of parts though.  


The Parts from each bag




The Extras

Considering how large the set is, I was somewhat surprised with such a small amount of leftover parts. Some bags didn't have any at all! Still some nice little pieces in there to add to the mocing drawers.


Alright, let me get this off my chest right away. I really really do not like the fact that these Super Mario sets require the use of a tablet to build. It really irks me that there are no paper instructions and it makes it even worse that the app crashes constantly.  The option of the app would be awesome, it has some neat features, but requiring it do the build at all was just a horrible decision. Ok, rant over. On with the review.

In my household, the Super Mario sets are always built by my on (6 years old) with occasional help from his dad and occasional help from me when they both get confused :pir-laugh:  This set was difficult! He was gifted the set and tried to build it with help and I had to rebuild multiple sections.  When I went to build the set myself for the review, there were a couple points where it was very confusing even though I was taking it slow and careful the whole time.  If you're looking at this for a kid or even adult who usually has no trouble with it or someone that likes to rush through things, you might want to consider they will possibly get frustrated and need help along the way.  

The first four bags were mini builds that are the characters and the sails for the ship. I did photos at the end of each bag, which I was hoping to do for all 13 bags. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't possible to photo after the end of each because beginning at bag 5 we were onto the ship and it really was just melding into each other. At times the app didn't even tell me to switch bags, I just ran out of parts and had to figure out what was next needed a new bag.

Bag 1
 Bag 2
Bag 3
Bag 4

Like I mentioned above, that was it for individual builds. The rest of the bags were just for the ship and really photographing each step would be pretty boring.  There was a lot of technic in this set, really there is quite a bit in any of the Super Mario expansion sets. It is needed for the specialized play features. I will go into more details with the play features Play section below.




Any fan of this theme will already know there are no minifigures or minidolls in the line. All of the characters, other than the computerized Mario and Luigi, are brick-built figures. This set contains three enemy characters and a really cool brick-built pirate hat! :pir-huzzah2:



It took a while (not helped by the 8 instructions app crashes), but we made it! Bowser's airship is ready to fly!* 
*Kids, the airship doesn't really fly please don't throw it into the air.


This thing is strong and hefty, but don't try to lift it by anything other than the bottom or you might be picking parts up off the floor. You may be wondering why the hull has all those crazy gaps between each section. Well, I'm here to fill you in, but not fill in the gaps, it's for the biggest play feature of the set - the expanding ship hull!


There are a lot of play features here, lots of places for Mario and Luigi to get scores and coins too! I have neglected to get a video showing all the features, which is very unfortunate. However I did get the link the excellent video LEGO produced and I really think fans of the line will get a kick out of things like:

  • Expanding ship, it grows to twice the original length!
  • Canon! :cannon:
  • Goomba with pirate hat (you must knock off the hat to stomp the baddie)
  • Dropping golden Bowser claw!
  • Secret coin mini Bowser head you have to stomp off the ship!
  • Spinning sails and rutters!

LEGO's Play video of the set:





For fans of the Super Mario LEGO line, this ship is very impressive in it's size and features. The character builds are amazing as always and the play features are fun. For the MOCers among us, this set is a plethora of amazing nougat parts in other molds besides bricks and plates.  There are no stickers and a few pretty cool printed parts that could be used again.  I personally am hoping to rebuild into a standard LEGO pirate ship as  I really like the color and design of the ship portions and I think it could be awesome. I would love to get another set just for parts but unfortunately this line does not go on deep discount, at least not that I've seen in my city.


Design: 10/10

This is so far my favorite set design in the theme. I love the ship details and play features as well as the character designs and the overall look of the completed set. 

Parts: 8/10

Some really great parts here! The set has a lot of nice parts in uncommon colors and some great new parts like the black Mario tube (for lack of a better name). 

Characters: 8/10

Well there are not very many characters in this set which is pretty large.  I would have loved to see some more small enemies, perhaps some flying enemies? That makes sense right? The characters that are included are well done, nothing mind-blowing but well done nonetheless.

Build: 8/10

Well, how to score this one. The build is actually very interesting and also very hard for an 8+ set. As an introduction to some intermediate Technic techniques, it's great! There are some really nice shaping and decoration ideas realized in this set. For a builder that likes to learn new ideas by builds, this is a great set. There's no majorly repetitive sections and nothing boring about the build.

Playability: 8/10

The finished build is overall very stable and playable.   The Super Mario sets are based fully around playability so this is really no surprise. There are a lot of action tiles and things to do with it, and it's swooshable! This is one of the few sets in this theme that might actually be considered displayable as well. In it's compacted form the ship looks really nice! 

Price: 8/10

It's a big price, and a big set. Of course we always factor in the "licensed tax" and many other things when trying to figure out if a set is a good value. I think overall this set does well to cover the high price, though a lower price is always welcome :laugh:

Overall: 50/60 (83.0%)

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Great review! This seems like it would be great for any Pirate fan, even if you don't want it for Mario.

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I've been avoiding the Super Mario line since I'm not a fan of the interactive figures and their subsequent "playset" style sets, but this is so close to the model from the games that I'm very tempted. Guess I'll see if it ever goes on sale.

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1 hour ago, MKJoshA said:

Great review! This seems like it would be great for any Pirate fan, even if you don't want it for Mario.

Yeah, especially since there is not Mario in it :pir-laugh:  As opposed to say Harry Potter where every set has a Harry figure, like it or not! 


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This is one of my favorite Mario sets this year! It's a solid-looking model with a great selection of both physical and electronic play features. One of the more minor features that nonetheless tickles me is the way that placing Mario at the helm (in place of the Rocky Wrench, who can be catapulted out) raises up a tiny ship's wheel for Mario to take control of the airship! And I also like how adding a hat to the Goomba transforms them from an enemy that takes one hit to defeat (stomp on them and scan their tile) to one that takes two hits (since you have to knock the hat off first). In terms of more complex features, obviously the way the ship unfolds is impressive, but I'm also impressed by how the "mecha hand" consistently flips over to be scanned when you hit the target supporting it with Kamek's broom (a combination of simple physical mechanisms that manage to pull off a quite complex physical action).

There a couple minor mods that have come to mind since I've gotten this, some of which I've applied to my own copy and some that I haven't. The first (and easiest) was attaching the two 2x6 plates that come with the set to connect the individual modules together as a "level" to the underside of the two bases that lock the airship in closed position (so that they serve as "planks" extending off either side for boarding or disembarking). The second, which wasn't really necessary but that I felt was nice, was to add some small ledges to the middle rear "layer" of the ship, to attach helpful powerups that become accessible when the ship is unfolded. The third, which I haven't done yet but hope to at some point, is to replace the dark red 1x2x2 wall panels on either side of the poop deck with 1x2x2 window frames (which recently became available in dark red and make the sloped sides of the cabin just a tiny bit more seamless).

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Thanks for the nice review. My son's been asking for this set to add to his Mario collection... the price tag made me hesitant, but I'm glad to see there's so much cool action to this set. It might have to make an appearance at our house some time... 

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Thanks for the review! this set looks awesome.  My son is getting this for Christmas and looking forward to building it with him.

I do agree with your frustrations on not having physical instructions for the LEGO Mario sets but my son prefers to use my phone anyways when building lol

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Thanks for the review. I think i’ll buy this set eventually, but not this year. Anyway, i think you have the sides of the Goomba topsy-turvy

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Nice review! I quite like the look of this set and like @DelQuinn my son will be getting this for Christmas. They could've included another enemy or two but overall it looks like a good value for the price, better than some of the Mario theme certainly. 

I don't think the app has crashed more than once or twice on me, and we have quite a few of the Mario sets. I will say it needs a moderately powerful device, I tried to run it on a cheap tablet and it was unusable. My son much prefers building with the app to paper instructions, so it seems like LEGO knows their target audience. 

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On 12/1/2021 at 10:56 AM, Darkdragon said:

Today we'll be looking at the Bowser's Airship

So how many parts from this can be salvaged to built a pirate ship? :jollyroger:


I suppose if I read the hidden content I get my answer:

On 12/1/2021 at 10:56 AM, Darkdragon said:


This is a ship, and being a ship has some boat hull parts. In dark nougat, it looks awesome! The most natural color I have seen for a ship yet.

And Mars Bars too!

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2 hours ago, Mister Phes said:

So how many parts from this can be salvaged to built a pirate ship? :jollyroger:

I am planning to build a minifig pirateship with it since we have two of the set. :pir-grin:

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22 hours ago, Darkdragon said:

I am planning to build a minifig pirateship with it since we have two of the set.

Yes, combining two Bowser's Airships could make a great pirate ship! :pir-tongue:

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