Mini Disney The Haunted Mansion (40521) Review
The Mini Disney The Haunted Mansion (40521) has joined the Mini Disney Castle (40478) as the next microscale Disney Park set. Initially, I wasn’t unsure about the choice of The Haunted Mansion as the next set in this sub-theme. However, after reading the introduction in the instructions guide, it makes sense. The Haunted Mansion has been part of Disneyland since 1969, after all. Additionally, we know LEGO® loves to create awesome Halloween-related sets, and The Haunted Mansion celebrates everything spooky. Unfortunately, other than the interior, which is visible from the rear of the model, some of the spooky external elements were left out. Let’s take a closer look.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use the usual True North Bricks rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
MINI DISNEY THE HAUNTED MANSION SUMMARY
- SET #: 40521
- THEME: Disney
- COST: $54.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 680
- MINIFIGURES: 1
- RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2022
- COST/BRICK: $0.08 (excellent value)
- DIMENSIONS: 15cm (h) x 12cm (w) x 12cm (d)
- OF NOTE: Exclusive Butler minifigure
MINI DISNEY THE HAUNTED MANSION QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 89% (good value)
- BUILD: 65% (less than satisfactory – monotonous build experience)
- MINIFIGURES: 98% (excellent)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 75% (satisfactory – room for improvement)
- OVERALL SCORE: 82% (good)
MINI DISNEY THE HAUNTED MANSION REVIEW
The Haunted Mansion took me just over an hour to build (63 minutes) which translates to $0.87/minute and a score of 79% which is just hair under the average. The set retails for $54.99 CAD and has 680 pieces for a cost per brick of $0.08. This translates to a score of 99% which is excellent value. You might notice that The Haunted Mansion is $10 CAD more than the Mini Disney Castle. However, it comes with over 100 more pieces and actually has a similar price per piece ($0.08). When averaging both these scores, the overall value for this set is 89% (good value).
The first thing I noticed when I opened the box is the white instructions. This is quite different from the black booklets that haunted AFOLs (adult fans of LEGO) not too long ago. Interestingly, despite it being a small set, the first two pages of the instructions feature a write-up about The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland. I quite like the inclusion of a couple photos of the actual building, especially since I haven’t been to Disneyland in over 25 years. Interestingly, the next page includes a note to inform you that they are switching to paper-based packaging, and that you might see a mix of plastic and paper packages in the set. Unfortunately, all my bags were plastic though I look forward to the day I get paper sleeves instead of bags!
I generally really enjoy building microscale. However, I found the build experience for this set to be fairly monotonous. Architecture skyline sets, such as Singapore (21057), have a various buildings that add variety to the build experience. In contrast, The Haunted Mansion has two floors that are nearly identical. The only unique section is the small section of exposed interior at the back of the building. This build is quite repetitive with a LOT of 1×1 plate/brick stacking. For some reason it was more noticeable in The Haunted Mansion than it was in the Sonic the Hedgehog: Green Hill Zone (21331) set. I suspect this is because the Sonic set is broken up by a number of mini builds. In contrast, The Haunted Mansion only has the small interior to break things up.
Similar to many microscale models, The Haunted Mansion uses a lot of SNOT (studs not on top) techniques. This set includes some standard SNOT bricks including 1×1 bricks with a single side stud and 1×1 bricks with adjacent side studs. It also includes the newer 1×1 / 1×2 inverted bracket as well as the 1x1x4/3 with side studs. This is a good set if you are interested in learning this technique. Additionally, The Haunted Mansion includes one of my favourite new elements, the 1×2 brick with single side stud. It is used in the upper floor of the gallery to hang the candelabra upside down as a chandelier.
As mentioned, the small interior was the most interesting part of this build experience. The lower floor features a dining hall with a long table adorned with a flower and candle. Three haunted paintings (stickers) hang on the wall. Three ghostly micro figures “dance” around the room just as they do at The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland. The upper gallery features a nice chandelier, two gold sconces, and two more haunted paintings. There are also a few small squares (including the new 1×2/3 brick) that might replicate tables. However, I am not 100% sure what they represent. Perhaps they are tables without anything on them. I think it would have been cool to include some of the ride cars on this upper floor since the ride’s track passes by the balcony.
To create the wrought-iron railings, the LEGO® designer uses a lot of the panel 1x2x2 arched window elements in sand green. I see where they were going here and it is likely the best option, but it does create more of a walled look than a wrought-iron look. In contrast, I really like the look of the pillars. Instead of standard 1x1x6 pillar elements, you stack four candle stick elements for each column. These are anchored at the bottom using the 1×1 plate with shaft (‘nipple’) and at the top using the 1×1 round plate with hollow studs. The candle sticks work really well as they are narrower than the pillar element. However, I think they would look a little more like the actual Haunted Mansion if there was an extra half stud between them.
The vast majority of the pieces in this set are standard elements. However, there are a couple of interesting parts. In particular, there are a couple of 1×2/3 bricks (height of two plates). This is my first time seeing these elements and I didn’t realize they would have a hollow stud. In addition, this set comes with two dark grey ski poles (one for the weathervane and one is an extra), and three gold 1×1 round plates with bar. Also in gold is the new candelabra that was released in 2021 (currently only in 9 other sets). Lastly, The Haunted Mansion also comes with four white micro figures (aka ghosts).
Overall, the build experience was not the most exciting. Additionally, some of the architectural elements seem odd after reading the introduction and looking at photos of the Haunted Mansion on the first page in the instructions. Once complete, The Haunted Mansion doesn’t look quite right. Maybe it’s the wrought iron, or maybe the building is too narrow, or maybe it is the grey rather than white/cream used for the peaks. For these reasons, I rate the build experience as 65%.
Similar to the Mini Disney Castle set, The Haunted Mansion comes with a single minifigure. This set includes an exclusive Butler minifigure which is a nice addition to the monotonous build. The Butler has a great facial expression. He has darkened eyes making it look like he’s been trying to stay awake for fear that ghosts might haunt him if he falls asleep. Unfortunately, his head is not double-sided, so you only get one expression. It would have been nice if there was a frightened look on the opposite side. After all, this is a haunted mansion! The reddish brown hairpiece with sideburns and widow’s peak fits the look perfectly. This hairpiece has been used on 13 other minifigures in this same colour including its first appearance on Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters).
My favourite part of this minifigure is his dark turquoise jacket with navy lapel over a striped purple vest and a matching dark turquoise tie. The back of his jacket also includes some printing to show the creases and buttons. The Butler also comes with a piece of turquoise fabric to represent the long tails of his coat. His ensemble looks great over a pair of dark blue pants. Unfortunately, there is no printing on the pants. Regardless, I am thankful that LEGO® included a minifigure in this microscale set. It really adds value to the set even though it is a different scale. And the minifigure is pretty awesome even if the head is only single-sided.
In general, True North Bricks assigns the minifigure score purely based on the bricks to minifigure ratio. If that were the case, this set would earn a score of 0 with a ratio of 680:1. However, this isn’t a minifigure scale playset and I feel like the inclusion of a minifigure is a bonus. For that reason, I am basing my score on my assessment of the minifigure itself without considering the number of bricks. Overall, I give this minifigure a score of 98% (averaging both would translate to a score of 49%).
Given this is a display model, it is a bit difficult to assess entertainment value. From a display perspective the set feels slightly unfinished. The area surrounding The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is part of what sets the spooky scene as you make your way to the front doors. Even the images at the front of the instruction book show trees and a streetlamp which would have added a nice touch. Additionally, I think they missed a great opportunity to include some microscale ornamental stone statues in the garden. There was definitely room on the base of the model. That said, it is a nice compact model that looks sharp from an architectural standpoint, even if it doesn’t make you think of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion at first glance.
I appreciate the attempt to add details to the partially finished interior. However, I would have preferred a removable wall. There are some nice details in the dining hall and gallery, although I think it could have been slightly more polished. If they had made the model 2 studs wider to provide more space for the front pillars, there would have also been more space on the interior. This would have made it less cramped and given a bit more space to add some additional fun details. For these reasons, I give The Haunted Mansion an entertainment score of 75%.
OVERALL SCORE: 82%
The Mini Disney The Haunted Mansion is a peculiar set earning scores from 65% to 98% in the various categories. The build experience was rather monotonous, which is a fairly common issue with microscale models. Even though I think the set would have been better if it were slightly wider, it still looks nice as a display model. However, this wasn’t enough to earn it more than a satisfactory entertainment score. One of the best aspects of this set is the Butler minifigure in his sharp dark turquoise tailcoat. Overall, I really like the look of microscale models and The Haunted Mansion is a compact model that would look nice on a bookshelf or mantel. Averaging all the scores together earns this set a final score of 82% (60% if you factor in the bricks to minifigure ratio).
What do you think of The Haunted Mansion? Will you be adding it to your mini Disney collection? Tell us below or share your thoughts on social media. We’d love to hear form you!
Play well folks,
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