I do not consider myself a Super Mario Bros. fan. I played the games on NES and SNES when I was a kid, but it ended at SNES. When it comes to LEGO® Super Mario, I have little interest in a theme with no proper Minifigures. I reviewed the Question Block some time ago, and it was an interesting build. However, the LEGO® Group sent it to me for review, and I don’t know if I would have acquired it otherwise. Initially, I felt the same about Mighty Bowser (71411). When I got the press release, I’ll admit I was impressed. The set looked very detailed even from the box images. But that wasn’t enough to make me go out and buy it.
Skip forward a few months, and I hit a bout of builder’s block on a MOC project. I was trying to design a large character, but wasn’t getting far. I suddenly thought of Bowser and the wealth of build techniques I could learn from the set. Add to that several requests from you guys on social media to build and review Mighty Bowser, and double VIP points for Mar10 Day 2023 at the LEGO® Store. I decided to take the $350 plunge. Let me tell you, Mighty Bowser did not disappoint me. In fact, it is one of the most enjoyable builds I have had in a long time.
MIGHTY BOWSER SET SPECIFICS
- NAME: The Mighty Bowser
- SET #: 71411
- THEME: Super Mario
- COST: $349.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2807
- MINIFIGURES: None
- RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2022
- COST/BRICK: $0.125 CAD
- BRICKS/FIG: N/A
- MY BUILD TIME: 5 hours 27 minutes
MIGHTY BOWSER QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 71% (Okay cost/brick, but the build time was a little low.)
- BUILD: 90% (I LOVE this build, but there are a few minor issues that add up.)
- MINIFIGURES: N/A
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (Amazing experience, I highly recommend it.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 87% (Very good set.)
FULL MIGHTY BOWSER (71411) REVIEW
Mighty Bowser comes at a hefty price point. While you can occasionally find it a little cheaper on Amazon, the set costs $349.99 at the LEGO® Store in Canada. Now, I got an amazing gift-with-purchase and double VIP points with my Bowser. Consequently, I do not lament forking out full price. And that is especially true after the amazing build experience. With that said, the cost/brick is $0.125 CAD. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, Bowser is a little better than average. However, compared to 18+, it is only barely passable. Sets geared to adults are often quite expensive, but generally have a better cost/brick. As such, I rate the cost/brick at 75% in this case.
In total, I spent five hours and 27 minutes assembling this set. Of course, if you follow True North Bricks on social media, you know I split that up over several build sessions. In any case, at full price, each minute of build time cost me $1.07. Compared to LEGO® sets I have built in general, that is passable. However, compared to other 18+ sets, it’s not a lot of build time. 18+ set typically provide a lot more. With that said, I am still inclined to pass Bowser in this category. The amount of build time might not have been huge, but the educational value of that time was incredible. As such, I will go with the 67% Mighty Bowser earns when compared to all the LEGO® sets I’ve built over the years. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value grade of 71%.
Mighty Bowser consists of 22 parts bags. The first four assemble the base Bowser stands on. I like the general idea of this base, but the execution left me wanting a little. Firstly, I love the cracked stone look of the floor. This is a great technique you can apply elsewhere, for example when building a medieval road. The flaming towers on either side are a nice touch, but I hate how easily they fall off. Every time I touch the display base, those towers fall off and smash on the floor. My other gripe with the base is that Bowser does not stick to it in any way, shape, or form. So, again, any time you touch it, Bowser slides around.
While we’re on the topic of problems with the build, let’s chat about Bowser’s spit. Yes, he spits fire. The mechanism to launch said fire is neat to build. However, it doesn’t work very well in the end. When you move Bowser’s arms, they are supposed to tip a lever behind his shoulder. This activates the mechanism in the neck that lifts Bowser’s head, subsequently shooting the fire bolt. But it doesn’t work. I don’t know if I assembled something incorrectly or not. However, the lever on my Bowser is not enough to trip the firing mechanism, even when I move it by hand. Forget about his arms triggering the launch. I have to pull his head back by the hair to trip the launch mechanism. It should not be that finicky under any circumstances.
The firing mechanism does not work very well.
My final issue is minor by comparison. I don’t love Bowser’s hand design. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. It was one of the details I was looking forward to building for educational purposes. Sadly, it fell a little flat for me and is not something I am super keen to replicate in my own creations.
Otherwise, I love everything about Bowser. I was continually amazed by the build techniques. The aforementioned lever tilts Bowser’s head and causes his jaw to move. Even if the firing mechanism doesn’t work, that tilting feature alone is super cool. A button right under the lever causes Bowser’s neck to turn as well. The detail in the face is nothing to scoff at either. The brick work is nothing short of amazing.
I loved building Bowser’s shell too. The underlying Technic structure is surprisingly simple, but incredibly effective. When coupled with the arced rows of scutes, everything comes together like puzzle pieces with minimal space between the scutes. One of my issues with the Globe was the huge gaps between the surface plates on it. Bowser does not have that issue. However, the trade-off is a lot more weight on this model.
The shell design on Mighty Bowser (71411) is amazing.
Bowser’s legs were hugely satisfying to assemble. It was one of those moments were two separate builds come together perfectly and you just have to marvel at the ingenuity of the design. I wish his legs had a greater range of motion, but the technique to build them is certainly solid. I will reuse something similar in the future.
The same goes for Bowser’s arms. They are the last objects you assemble on this model. But, worth the wait. The elbow joint is amazing. It features the full range of motion you’d expect, but with no gaps visible anywhere. In terms of learning to build arms, I can check that box. Arm design was one of the main things I wanted to pick up from this set. While the hands are not to my liking, the shoulder and elbow structures are really helpful.
The elbow joint is a masterful design.
I won’t go on too much more about the build. If you want the bag-by-bag break down, you can get more detail in my videos on YouTube shorts, Instagram, or Tiktok. I learned so much from building Mighty Bowser, and bag left me amazed by something. Mighty Bowser is the character build tutorial you’ve been hoping for if you’ve ever dreamed of building something similar. While I chatted about my issues with the base, that portion of the build is small compared to the rest. I also won’t deduct much for the firing mechanism because it still works well to move the head. And the hands? Well, they could be better, but again, small issue. Small issues do add up though. I rate the build at 90%.
Was I entertained? Heck, yes. I have not marveled so much at almost every aspect of a build in a long time. Even the parts that I didn’t like as much left me with great ideas for future builds. As mentioned earlier, I am not a Mario fan, but I loved this model from an educational standpoint. I learned so much from building this set. No doubt Super Mario fans will love Mighty Bowser just because it is Mighty Bowser. But non-Mario fans get an amazing build experience too. No question, Might Bowser earns 100% for entertainment.
OVERALL SCORE: 87%
The only department where Bowser falters is in value. The cost/brick is merely okay, and the build time was low. However, I argue for this particular set that the monetary value is not very representative of the experience. I highly recommend building Mighty Bowser to anyone who wants to increase their repertoire of build techniques., not just Mario fans. The educational value of this set is worth the full price tag. I can’t stress enough how often the build techniques in this set amazed me. Additionally, the level of detail is phenomenal. I included the value to be consistent with our other reviews, but if you disregard it, the set score goes up to 95%, which is more what Mighty Bowser deserves. It’s worth the price. What do you think? Have you built Mighty Bowser (71411) yet? Let me know in the comments or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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