REVIEW: Fairytale and Historic Minifigures

Set number:
9349
Release year:
2011
Theme(s):
# of parts:
227
# of figures:
22
RRP
GBP 39.99
WARNING: this review may contain content unsuitable for children.

Promotional image
9349 Fairytale and Historic Minifigures promotional image

Following my review of 9348 (the City minifigures set), I became curious about its sister minifigure pack, containing historic and fairytale figures. Even though I’d spent a shedload on Lego in the last two weeks, in the end I decided to buy that set too. Why? Because I’m an idiot. ^_^*
On a more serious note: the Fairytale and Historic Minifigures set, like the Community Minifigures set, has 22 minifigures to build.

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Front of box

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Back of box

On the side of this box, and also on 9348, is this rather strange message:
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Okay, let’s have a look at the bags in this set.

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This is the largest of the bags, which contains the larger accessories and parts – as well as two capes, now packaged in cardboard sleeves. A jester’s hat peeks out from the top right hand corner.

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In this bag are more torsos and accessories, including a black witches broom and some pith hats.

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This is the segregated male minifig head bag, containing some more pieces.

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This bag contains the female minifig heads and a few random parts. Notice the sextant to the right.

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The last and smallest bag contains yet more small pieces. At face value it looks rather unremarkable.

The parts

Lets have a look at the torsos first of all.

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At first glance, fans of the Pirates theme will be in for a treat: eight of the torsos (the rightmost ones) are from that faction. There are also quite a few Castle themed torsos, and a surprising number of plain ones. You’ll notice the tuxedo torso which also made an appearance in 9348, and at least two elegant female torsos. It’s possible to find a few of these in Build-A-Minifig.

There are also two skeleton torsos of the newer variety. Anyone who remembers the old school skeletons will remember they had loosely-connected arms, which looked cool but meant they could only hang on either side of the torso. These newer skeleton torsos use “clips” for the arms, which enable skeletons to raise their arms (but not rotate their hands).

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With the legs, while blue was the dominant colour in 9348, here we have brown. You’ll notice the skeleton legs, the multicoloured legs on the left, the various skirt pieces and a pair of stylish legwarmers on the right. 😐 There’s also one pair of “stubby” legs in light bluish grey.

Now for some controversy…

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Whereas the minifigures in 9348 were evenly balanced, here there are only eight females to 12 males, in addition to two skeleton heads. Not only that, but they’re exactly the same minifig heads as in 9348: the modern generic face representing the men, and the double-sided female face with “crows feet” and “beauty spots” for the women.
My initial thought was that there should have been at least some variation in the faces for certain figures. As I saw with 9348, it was rather disturbing seeing child figures with “crows feet”.

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With the headwear, there’s a lot more in the way of hats – which is understandable as it’s a historical-themed set. Not all of the headwear is pictured here, for reasons which will become apparent a bit later.
Of particular note are the dark green wizard hat, another tan cowboy hat and the shiny king’s crown. It reminds me of one of the very few small Castle sets I bought before the dark age.

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Not as much variety in the accessory colours this time, but there are a few gems among these. For one we get a treasure chest with lid, a pearl gold trident, a bunch of dynamite sticks and a sextant. We also have a single trans-blue jewel, and two red robes for minifigures. The snakes and spiders I could do without, as I have no use for either.

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Some bricks and things for building the relevant props. Some of these pieces serve as accessories for some of the figures.

Show-stoppers

(IMHO)
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Quite a few in this set!
First we have the cauldron and the frog, which also made an appearance together in the 2010 Kingdoms advent calendar. I think the cauldron is a cool piece, although I don’t know if it can attach to anything. You certainly don’t want to lose that frog!
The jester hat is a highly sought-after headwear piece. Going by the availability of the jester, particularly during the S@H sale, it’s a popular figure. Other variations of the jester hat (red/blue, and especially red/black) are probably even more in demand. For fans of the desert, we have not one but two dark tan pith hats, and a turban. Light yellow female hair is also very welcome, even if it’s a recolour of other hairpieces in this set.
There’s also a crab in light orange, and a white clam. Apparently, apart from the 2009 advent calendar, white clams were only found in Belville sets. Now, with the help of this set (or BrickLink), you can own one of these and maintain your masculinity. The crab is a nice touch, and I would potentially find it more useful than snakes, spiders or even scorpions.
Finally we have the rock piece in a metallic gold. For anyone who’s listening: I’ve been collecting these pieces in transparent colours – particularly trans-neon green – but I like the metallic ones too. Even just one of these will be useful.

The literature

As with 9348, there’s no printed material of any kind included with the set. It’s particularly an issue in this case as, these being historical and fairytale figures, it would be nice to have some background info on each of them.

The minifigures

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Two rent-a-guards, proud to be in their shiny new guard clothes, making sure nobody attacks the makeshift tower. They’re cruising for a battle!

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The female jester isn’t happy at all – she can’t juggle the studs like the one on the cover.

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In the depths of the third-floor ocean, a mer-couple look pleased with their Christmas presents.

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A young King Edward (some would say too young) with his ungrateful, high-maintenance commoner-turned-queen.

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A team of archaeologists have recently discovered that these two were waiting for the Bad Boy Family to stop.

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Now that spells and magic have gone out of fashion, a sorcerer turns his hand to manufacturing absinthe.

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Two kids playing at knights and princesses.

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A MILF witch. At first I thought the frog was sitting on an apple core, but of course it’s meant to be a toadstool – in which case where are the white dots?

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This is a snake charmer, but I prefer to think of him as some kind of prince. The stick is supposed to be the snake charmer’s flute.

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A pirate captain and his right hand man, waiting in the middle of nowhere for the number 96 boat.

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Honestly, I have no idea what the guy is meant to be; all I know is that he’s holding some kind of ladder. The woman is miffed because she doesn’t know either – and she’s spent an age squeezing into that corset.

EDIT: I’ve been told he’s a chimney sweep, and the woman is a bride.

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Two soldiers: one who has deprived a native village of their bounty of yellow studs, the other happily drumming away. I’m not really a fan of these figures.

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A brother and sister gold prospecting team, way out there in the Wild West.
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One of the horrifying moments of this set: this photo shows that the dark tan pith hats, along with some other accessories, were nothing more than props for a scene.

Spare parts

If you decide to bother building all the props and things, you’ll be left with these pieces:
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Always nice to have some studs to play with, but apart from those and the tan 1×1 tile there’s nothing particularly special here.

Some fun pictures

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The prince takes his good friend out for a meal at his favourite joint. He always tips the waitress heavily.

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While the skeleton crew waits in line, the chef is preparing Crab Surprise with the help of his daughter.

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(ahem)

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Something big approaches.

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The king’s demanding wife insists on having the most expensive item on the menu. Tonight: boiled merman.

My comments

Initially it was a choice between this and the Community [City] Minifigures set, if I decided to buy either. Both were exactly the same price, and both were available at the same time. Initially it was also a no-brainer: I was far more interested in City figures than anything out of fairytales and/or history. Sure, there was a jester in this set, and a guy with a turban, but it was all about the townspeople – not to mention the green bicycle and the baguettes.

But having satisfied my curiosity and bought this set anyway, I’m actually a little more pleased with the minifigures in this set than the Community Minifigures. This set won me over with the variety of minifigures, and the number of unusual accessories included with this set, compared to 9348. Having said that, the parts in this set are those I would either find extremely useful, or those I’d try and get rid of ASAP.

The less interesting minifigures (such as the Pirates soldiers) can easily be created in Build-A-Minifig, but my personal favourites – the snake charmer and jester – aren’t as common. For a GBP 39.99 minifigure set, even if it’s meant to be educational, I would expect to find at least one or two uncommon minifigures.

This was certainly more of an impulse buy than 9348, and I’d say it was probably worth more of the MSRP/RRP than 9348. It is still an expensive purchase, but for me it’s a set worth buying for the minifigures rather than the accessories – and that should really be the point.

Rating

Build: 6/10 – nothing really worth building apart from the snake charmer’s little thing, and the wizard’s “absinthe factory”. The prospectors’ rock formation was a little tricky as the box art had the figures obscuring the sides.
Parts: 8/10 – lots of accessories relevant to the figures, and many will be useful outside of the set.
Figures: 8/10 – a set really for Castle and Pirates fans; for anyone else the jester, snake charmer and other females make the set worthwhile. Generally an okay mix.
Playability: 7/10 – slightly more rigid than 9348 in terms of creativity with each figure, but there’s something for everybody.
Price: 5/10 – also on the expensive side, but slightly more of a feeling of getting your money’s worth because of the figures.

Overall: 6.8/10
I’m still slightly biased towards 9348 because City is one of my favourite themes, but I still think this is a good set and – like the advent calendars – probably worth more of the asking price. This is a set worth getting for fans of the Castle and Pirates themes.

In closing: which of the two sets would you choose, if you could only afford one?

Females from behind

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Not as much of an issue with this set (going by the box art) as with 9348. Watch out for the female soldier and witch.

Group shot

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