October 1, 2023

Villain Icons (43227) Review

Finally. Someone is giving due credit to the unsung ‘heroes’ of Disney films – the Villains. I can already see everyone raising an eyebrow at that totally contradictory sentence. But stick with me, it’ll be fun. Today I’m reviewing an all-new Disney 100 set with Villain Icons (43227). Superstar designer Marcos Bessa brings us a fun and unique set that celebrates some the more famous Disney villains. There’s clearly shades of his wildly impressive Hogwarts Icons (76391) here. The ‘Icons’ idea is one I really hope to see more of across many other themes. Going with VHS tapes is definitely an unexpected nostalgic twist. And even if some of the younger builders out there won’t know what those are, I certainly do. And I’m totally here for it. 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. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).


  • SET #: 43227
  • THEME: Disney
  • COST: $169.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 1540
  • COST-PER-BRICK: $0.11
  • BUILD TIME: 255 minutes
  • COST-PER-MIN: $0.67
  • BRICK/FIG: 385
  • RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2023


  • VALUE: 91% (Great scores for cost/bricks and minute. Good value for this IP)
  • BUILD: 95% (fun, often advanced building with great details and an unexpected retro design)
  • MINIFIGURES: 78% (great new characters with nice prints. One or two more would be ideal for a set this size)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (lovely display piece but minimal play value. Excellent for MOC makers)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 88% (highly recommended for Disney fans and AFOLs in general)

VALUE: 91%

Villain Icons retails for $169.99 CAD, translating to a cost/brick of $0.11. For a large IP like Disney, that’s a great value. Our reviewed sets to date average approximately $0.13. But as prices increase, we are seeing that average climb closer to $0.15. With 1540 pieces and that $0.11 cost/brick, we get a score of 90%. Other Disney 100 sets definitely veer closer to that higher cost, so this is a nice surprise for a set of this type.

My build time clocks in at a very healthy 4 hours and 15 minutes (255 minutes). This gives me an cost/minute of $0.67 and a score of 91%. This is once again, nicely above the average of our reviewed sets ($0.88 for an 80% score). Taking both scores together, we get a final value of 91%. We’re off to a great start with this set.

BUILD: 95%

Villain Icons arrives in a lovely box with the Disney 100 logo and a predominantly black background. This is typical of the 18+ and LEGO®️ Icons themes. It works beautifully here, allowing the colourful build to really stand out. But take a look at the box. Notice anything missing? Where’s the set name? This must be a new detail on certain 18+ sets. It’s the same on a number of new releases like the PAC-MAN Arcade, Little Mermaid Royal Clamshell and the redesigned Disney Castle. I guess this adds a bit of maturity to the set? Inside this nameless box you will find 13 numbered bags, 2 small sticker sheets and a 266 page instruction book.

Tick-Tock, Off With Their Heads! and Forbidden Fruit

Villain Icons is an assembly of great builds that come together brilliantly. You will start this villainous journey with the three smallest pieces: the pocket watch, poisoned apple and playing card. The card is the simplest at just 9 pieces. Surprisingly the images are printed and not stickers. And the design of the Queen of Hearts is fantastic. Another beautiful printed element is the watch face with the flying silhouettes of Peter Pan & co. Gold pieces frame the edge perfectly for a very fancy pants look. Turn the watch over and there’s a fun recreation of Captain Hook’s hook. It’s just some tiles and plates but it’s so subtle and clever as an easter egg.

The real stand-out is the poisoned apple. It’s small in size but wonderfully complex in design. Once you get going, you realize there’s quite a bit of engineering in this object. Lots of SNOT design and stacking of plates and assemblies in multiple directions (studs out, studs up, etc). It reads perfectly as an apple too. The red is bright and bold, offset nicely by the lime green poison. Even that leaf/stem is pretty great (sausage pieces make wild NPU). And this isn’t just an apple. It’s a handy storage chamber for the Evil Queen in disguise. I do get a giggle seeing the minifig inside – it’s like an absurdist adult stroller. Or something like Grogu’s hoverpram.

Be Kind, Please Rewind

For this set, you will also build two VHS boxes. Aladdin lays flat on the ground and gets a lovely dark pink colour scheme. Sleeping Beauty is the second tape which you will build upright, done in a lovely purple. Both builds are virtually identical on the exterior. Like the apple, the build techniques are really complex with multiple ways to attach parts together. This really allows for a smooth exterior and excellent spacing in areas. Case in point; the rim of the box juts out perfectly from the white sides. And I love that the top clamshell is thinner than the bottom, making it wonderfully accurate to the real deal. Such great attention to detail.

The spine of each box features the newly minted Disney 100 tile in silver. Titles for each film are done in stickers, as are the villain portraits at the bottom. Even if you dislike stickers, you will appreciate how well designed these are. Happily there a number of printed elements like the already mentioned Disney 100 tiles, watch face and playing card. One last (and big) printed piece is the Sleeping Beaty logo/title for the front of the box. It is quite lovely. Instead of another case, Beauty and the Beast is a book. It’s a smart way to break up the shaping and add some variety. The sticker elements on the spine are a touch too big, but necessary to get the point across.

Poor Unfortunate Format

Our last bit of retro design (feel old yet?) is the cassette tape of The Little Mermaid. This is top-notch design work. It’s basically 1:1 scale and looks perfect. The clear windows show the tape inside, spooled more to one side than the other (love it). It attaches to the box underneath with a couple of ball joints. It’s secure enough to stay put but also easily removable. We get our last few stickers here with the image of Ursula on the front and a hidden surprise under the lid (more on that next). Like everything else, the construction is deceptively advanced. You build in two parts that connect in the centre with a great SNOT finish all over. Even the back is nicely done with those big spools. It’s honestly a gem of a build and easily my favourite detail.

Hidden Schemers

What’s a Disney set without some easter eggs? This time around, you will find hidden compartments or images within each of the icons. I’ve already mentioned the apple opening up for the Evil Queen to hide in. Each VHS box has a secret accessible interior wherein our villains can hold up. On each cover you’ll find a hinged lid with some lovely tile work of said villain done as a flat, abstract design. Both Jafar and Maleficent are easily recognizable too thanks to very appropriate colour use. I do like that, unlike his Genie form minifig, Jafar’s design is his human self.

The Beauty and the Beast book holds two secrets. The top flips up to reveal a small micro build of the rose under glass with fancy curtains. It’s quite similar to what you find in the Disney Castle (71040), but less spread out. The rose stem is a nice new element as well. Gaston’s hiding spot is appropriate for a big ol’ mysoginist. He gets shoved in a slide-out drawer at the base of the book’s spine. Lastly, look under the cassette top to see some stickered tiles of scenes from The Little Mermaid. It looks like a film strip and is once again very accurate to the real life object. I remember flipping those lids back and seeing the tape. . . good times lol.

Long Term Rental

Villain Icons is a great build. The structure is sturdy but not cumbersome. There’s plenty of wonderful construction details – many quite intricate and complex. I think that’s quite impressive for a relatively small set. Bold and beautiful colours appear throughout with each icon reading well on their own, as well as a cohesive unit. The apple and card are held to the base with just one jumper plate though, so they’re a bit prone to falling or dislodging. Hidden easter eggs are always a treat and this set some some great ones. Stickers are divisive, but I really think they work perfectly here. I do find it hard to understand what the rationale is for choosing which parts to print vs not. In any case, you will definitely enjoy this fun and satisfying build. I give this a final build score of 95%.


The Disney minifigures are usually among the best. Each of the Collectible Minifigures Series is superb. For the Disney 100 anniversary, expectations are understandably high. Well I’m happy to say that Villain Icons comes with 4 awesome minifigures. And each one is a new print/character and exclusive to this set. Gaston, the Evil Queen in disguise and Genie Jafar are brand new designs. Only Maleficent is a repeat, as she first appears in the CMF Series 1 (71012) from waaay back in 2016. I will say I much prefer this new print and the new dual-coloured collar. Her expression is great too.

Each minifigure features wonderful printing and details, but it’s not overly consistent. Of the 4, only Gaston and the Evil Queen feature a dual-sided face print. Jafar and Maleficent cannot given the hair and head piece they use. Gaston’s design is the closest to getting a perfect score for dual leg and arm printing. But oddly enough he has no accessory, while the rest do. I’m surprised he wasn’t given a bow or the magic mirror. The Evil Queen, Jafar and Maleficent get an apple, lamp and scepter respectively. The best face print is easily the Evil Queen’s. That toothless gin and eyes look so great, amazing job by the design team. And sidenote: Genie Jafar has been doing his crunches – man is shredded. His lamp is a new recolour as well in pearl dark gray.

Sea Witch And Pirate Not Found

With 1540 pieces and 4 minifigs, we get a brick/fig value of 385. That’s quite low for a set of this size and it really brings the overall score down considerably. Using our system, this gives a score of just above 40%. I don’t think I will give this as much equal weight though as the designs/set concept are so good. I’m giving the minifigures themselves a score of of 85%. Taking both scores into account, and rounding up for a mostly successful outcome, my final minfig score is 78%. A repeat of Captain Hook and Ursula would have been ideal in this scenario. Just one or two more characters and it would have made a big difference. Regardless of numbers, these minifigs are awesome and a big draw for the set.


Villain Icons takes a wonderfully nostalgic route for its subject matter. If you remember the early years of the Disney Renaissance (1989-97), the real money was in home video sales – especially VHS tapes. Those Disney boxes were very unique. They weren’t just carboard sleeves, they were plastic and molded, opening like a book. That clamshell design is iconic and it’s replicated so well here. For an *older* AFOL like myself, I get it immediately. I would not have expected this for a set. It’s fresh and fun and I really appreciate it. Getting a case to actually open in the correct way would have been amazing, but alas not this time.

This set will look wonderful on a shelf. Being a type of bookend, it’ll be perfect for holding up your DVD, blu-ray or maybe VHS collection. It’s bright and well designed, but not overly large (minimal rearranging needed). The hidden areas make for a little bit of play value, but only just. Those minifigures will be fun to play with for younger builders. It’s great that each corresponds to a build, but that still technically leaves the card and watch without a minifig. Thankfully those villains are already released. Ursula and Captain Hook are part of the Disney CMF series 1, so if you have ’em, bring ’em out to play or display.

Villain Icons also features some lovely new pieces and recolours of existing parts. MOC makers will have a really great supply of pieces. The techniques on the apple and cassette boxes are very technical and should supply inspiration/instruction for your own builds. Of all the Disney 100 sets, this is easily the most unexpected and unique. My final Entertainment score is a well-earned 90%.


And that my brick friends is Villain Icons (43227). I highly recommend this set for all you AFOLs. If you ever owned a Disney VHS tape, then you’ll appreciate this bit of whimsical nostalgia. The price is right, the build is fun and it comes with great new minifigures. I got a lot more out of this than expected. There’s plenty of techniques to learn for MOC makers and it was quite a technical build at times. I’m sure even non-Disney fans will appreciate this. My overall score is 89%.

What I likedWhat I didn’t like as much
– Good value for the Disney IP
– Lovely nostalgic design
– Unexpected subject/approach
– Excellent minifigures
– Fun, often complex build techniques
– Great display piece
– Good catalogue of parts for MOC makers
– Not a lot of play value
– Low brick/fig score
– Would definitely benefit from at least 1 or 2 more minifigures.
– Stickered vs printed parts is inconsistent

I hope the “ICONS” line becomes a thing. There’s so many great designs possible for IPs like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones. It would great fun to get display sets similar to this for all those properties. But what do you all think? Are you excited by this ode to past home video formats? What do you think of the minifigure selection? Are you happy with all the Disney 100 anniversary sets thus far? And what other sets would you like to see? Comment below and in all the usual places. Thanks as always for ready and until next time, keep on brickin’. 🧱

– Frank

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