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Review: 70403 Dragon Mountain

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Set Number: 70403

Name: Dragon Mountain

Theme: Castle

Year of Release: 2013

Pieces: 376

Minifigures: 5

Price: $49.99 USD

Links: Flickr image gallery Bricklink Brickset

This is a review of the new Dragon Mountain set of the 2013 Castle line. It is the only set of this line with figures other than soldiers and kings, and it is the only set of the line with Crownie siege equipment.

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The box contains three numbered bags, dragon parts sorted into smaller bags, but the dragon wings and octagonal plates are loose.

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The minifigures include one Crownie knight with a doudle-sided head and a cuirass print under his breastplate (front, back), one Crownie pikeman with a gorget torso print (front, back), one redheaded princess (front, back), one Red Dragon swordsman (front, back) and one fearsome Red Dragon Wizard (front, back).

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The two unique figures in the set, the princess and the wizard, both have nice back printing like the other figures. The wizard has the same style of beard as Sensei Wu of the Ninjago line and the Collectible Minifigures Series 7 figure Ocean King, both of which sported it in white, whereas this is the first set to have it in black. I find it odd that the head on the wizard isn't as unique as is his position of power, but is used for various lackeys in the Red Dragon faction. Additionally, the rubbery red hair looks to me like it's wet and limp, its strange color aside. I think this is because it was created for the Friendsfigs, and so the hairline sits lower on the System minifigure's forehead, owing to its awkward appearance.

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Here's the dragon (front, back). As far as I can tell, it's structurally identical to those from the 2007 skeleton Castle line, just with different colors, printing, and small details such as the horns. The dragon has a 2x2 space between the wings for a figure to sit or stand and yes, the fire is mounted on his lower jaw.

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The Crownie seige engine, front and back:

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The model itself (back) consists of three modules that come apart but can only be assembled in two ways: one with the bridge connecting the two larger segments as on the box and with its small catapult facing forward, and one with the bridge flipped around and the catapult facing backwards (if that makes much of a difference - the catapult can't rotate at all).

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On the matter of some of the larger weaknesses in the design, the bridge doesn't seem accessible from either end and the two light bluish gray inverted slopes on the far end of the wizard's hut mirror the two on the other side supporting the bridge but don't attach to anything themselves, leaving those odd hollow studs. The treasure chest is nested in a curious manner on the front of the hut, but the other module's use of lone castle window panel perhaps appears weaker.

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The interiors are nicely furnished however, with a lackey lounge under the jail and a magic lab below the dragon roost (those are two keys clipped adjacent to each other on the left). The new spider web seems less useful with its unnecessary modification, for the old one could have been used clipped to another length of rigid hose, five studs long in this case.

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Finally, here are two shots of the back of the small tower.

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Other than new minifigure prints and parts, parts of interest include the two octagonal plates, the castle wall panel in dark bluish gray (only existing in this set and in 4194), the stair piece in dark tan (only in one other set, 79103), a new 4x4 modified "facet" brick in black (It previously only existed as a 2x2, 3x3, or 5x5), a POTC gold bar (which only exists regularly in chrome in this 2013 Castle line), a rigid hose three studs in length and in reddish brown, a new clip plate (unique to this set and the large Friends set 41015 as of this moment), the slightly new style of carrot top as previously described in the Forest Ambush review, the 1x1 round tile with the printed lock (used in all but the smallest set of this line), and the 1x1 round tile in blue (only existing here and in 70003).

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Extra parts include 1x1s, minifigure accessories, technic pins, and a duplicate of that useful tube part, the 3L rigid hose. Also included in the set is a brick separator of the newer style.

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Design: 2/5 - Even though the set has some interior decoration, the walls seem rather insubstantial in places and the tower has no accessibility and hardly any space. The bridge is useless, and the whole build doesn't look that great. The colors in the lower floor are good, but the tower, bridge, and platform overuse red and black. The dragon's design seems too <insert that tiresome argument> and the catapult blocky.

Build: 3/5 - Building this set was interesting, as hardly any steps were repeated - almost every step in the instructions was unique. The set has very few large pieces, with the exception of almost every part for the dragon.

Playability: 4/5 - The dragon allows for more playability, and the chest of gold and prison are more things for kids to play with. There aren't any very interesting playability techniques like a trapdoor or the staircase spinning shut.

Parts: 5/5 - There are a number of new parts introduced here and no sticker sheet. The pieces overall are decently useful to builders of castle-themed creations. New wizard minifigure prints are introduced here, as well as another dress print. This is also one of two sets to have the kite-shaped Red Dragon shield, the other being 70402.

Price: 4/5 - $50 for this set is an okay price, but the price per piece is 13.3 cents, a bit above average. The dragon is probably the influencing factor in that.

Overall: 4/5 - This is a good set for castle builders. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone not building medieval creations, as the price per piece is higher than other better sets, and the dragon is entirely useless in all non-fantasy creations. The playability is sure to attract kids, and the set's build experience is better than many elaborate-yet-repetitive builds.

Previous reviews of this line:

70400 Forest Ambush

70401 Gold Getaway

70402 The Gatehouse Raid

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Nice review! I really like the details on the wizard, however I feel like this set is severely lacking build wise at the current price point :hmpf_bad: I'm sure it will sell pretty well though since kids seem to love dragons!

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Thanks for the detailed pictures! They re-affirmed me in my belief that this set is the most interesting from this new theme, in spite of it's obvious shortcomings. It's the most unique and different, it has a stunning new wizard and a dragon and generally some interesting parts. And in spite of the less than stellar excecution, it's based on an interesting idea with the "fort on top of a ruin" and all. It gives me ideas... I'll definately get this when an opportunity presents itself.

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If I see this right, the knights legs are first armor printed legs in dark bley. Too bad they look kind of simple.

This set is the cheapest way to get a dragon at the moment I guess. Smaug will be more expensive (and have his own mold like the horntail). Maybe I'll buy and try some spraypainting techniques as the red is too extreme for my taste.

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I'll agree that this is one of the best in this wave, but the pricing seems way off and the build is rather boring.

The dragon has some nuances which are really disappointing:

-the neck joints stick out more than they have to

-the fire comes from the wrong place, as noted

-not enough modifiable bits - a small hole on the head would be inconspicuous but allow for various modifications, such as putting a crown (some of the belville crowns would be perfect) or a bit on his head

Worst of all for this wave are the red/black dragon knights. I'm not one for sentimentality (the latest lion knights and crown knights are definitely the nicest looking factions) but the 1990s dragon knights were far better than these. They only have two colors, which are rather jarring, and this also manifests in the piece value. A lot of us still need more of the new bley bits, but black and red are among the most common colors TLG has released since it started. This make the price point on the castle sets even worse.

I got one of this set, but I am going to part out the tower, and I'm not sure I'll keep the dragon or the dragon knights. The crown knights are all nice, if a bit rudimentary and uninspired.

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Great review and pictures, oo7. Thanks for that.

"...the two light bluish gray inverted slopes on the far end of the wizard's hut mirror the two on the other side supporting the bridge but don't attach to anything..."

I suspect there'll be another set later this year or next that connects to the seemingly useless inverted slopes. If not, you could use them with a second Dragon Mountain set to mirror the existing structure (sans wizard's hut), i.e. tower-bridge-hut-bridge-tower.

Amps

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Definitely need to pick this one up!

Along with the TMNT lair, and the Constitution Train, and some of the Chima sets...

Crud. :laugh:

Excellent review! One of the best in line, it seems, along with the Forest Ambush, just for the figs and parts. The dragon, princess, and wizard figures seem like the stand out points of the set.

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The review is great and it is really disappointing how they have priced this specific set. Nevertheless, in my geographical area (northeastern US) -according to my store contacts- this was the most seeked out set as soon as it came out. Therefore following basic economic principles supply met demand and probably it would have even sold for $60 a piece if that was the given price.

I had to order one since i really wanted the wizard (especially for the beautifully designed garb) and the new princess design. Also i did not have this particular dragon either. Nonetheless, i agree with the critics that it is a bit overpriced.

As far as minifigures, Lego created a great balance by serving a healthy amount of minifigures with the set (2 badies, 2 good crownies and princess) next to the dragon. On the other hand, i do not particularly agree with the critics bashing the design of the knights. The color schemes are very esthetic and expressive (black/red - baddies; blue/gold - good guys and of course the white theme for the innocent princess).

The castle - i have to agree with most of the critics here - is very measly for being the "bad guys HQ" so far, yet the internal design of the rooms was greatly done with relatively few elements ( love the bone lamp in the wizard's quarters).

Would i recommend it for anyone to buy? I would say yes if you have the money. On the other hand, i think i have made a much better investment by getting the black gate from the LOTR series. It was $10 more, but the detailing and the design was far superior to this set.

Thank you for reading.

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I was looking forward to this set but it is a little on the small size..

I picked up a second set on ebay without the minifigures for $22 and added a few more random

parts (like some 1x1 bricks and barrels, 2 skeletons, a cat, a horse..not much more) and built it to be a little

more substantial.. still have lots of parts left over..

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I know the light grey add-ons are out of place.. its what I had laying around. I'll replace them with better colors as I get parts..

Edited by STIG

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It seems you have just made it happen what LEGO should have done with this set. A little more bulk to that side tower for the dragon and the arches on the bottom with a couple leaves added a lot to this set without adding a lot of elements or cost to it. I salute you for this previous post.

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I agree that the set design isn't all that well thought out and could/should have been better, but it is one of the most fun sets I have ever built and the big red dragon is stupendous and turned out to be quite a bit bigger than I thought. For anyone that's ever played Skyrim, the barn in Mill Village Raid makes an excellent perch for the dragon. Wizards Duel from the LotR series also fits well with this set since it also has a similar jagged edged motif. The red and black color scheme is one that is over used to the point of becoming cliche, but these Lego Castle sets pull it off nicely in a way that is fun and appealing. It is also a good color choice for the "bad guys" since it contrasts well with the blue and white/silver colors of the "good guys."

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Thanks for the review! I like the detail on all the figures and think this set is surely something kids will love!

From a collector's point of view, the colours are far too bright (particularly the siege engine) to ever display this, and I'll stick with the Lord of the Rings sets for my fantasy needs.

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i like the potion room and the staircase in this set. This set is obviously aimed at the younger market as it has a lot of play value. It should have been a little bigger but I still think it looks good.

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I just got this for Father's Day - the "mountain" looks pretty small next to the Dragon!

It doesn't look terrible in reality but it is definitely designed for a younger market (my 5 year old loves it and even my 1 year old loves flying the Dragon around and making roaring noises). It doesn't use a lot of wall panels like the Castle and there are some useful and unsual pieces so as a parts pack it's not bad (I'll definitely be breaking it down before long). The catapult is actually decent too aside from the garish blue colour highlights.

I'm not a big fan of the new knights from either faction (particularly not the Blue Lions) compared to the previous two Castle lines but the wizard and princess included in this set are nice, unique figs. I've noted that the Dragon faction also have some interesting new heads in this line which should be good for MOCing.

Overall a decent set particularly if you can't wait to see what Smaug looks like in the Hobbit line for a dragon.

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