Review: #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop
Can a remake of Majisto’s Magical Workshop surpass the classic version? After 30-years of new parts, I certainly hope so!
While I wasn’t a collector when this set was initially released, my passion for LEGO castles remains unwavering. Despite the absence of a dedicated castle theme in today’s market, the past two years have been a remarkable period for LEGO castle enthusiasts, as the company has introduced a diverse range of new sets. With LEGO’s growing focus on the adult market, it’s clear that they’re leveraging nostalgia to boost sales, and what better way to achieve this than through a Gift with Purchase promotion.
At first glance, this set bears a striking resemblance to the original Majisto’s Magical Workshop set. However, let’s delve deeper into whether this remake represents an improvement or if it merely leans too heavily on nostalgia.
About the set
Since this set is a “gift with purchase,” determining its exact valuation can be challenging, as it is essentially provided at no cost. I will be assessing this set as if it was a purchasable set and using the LEGO suggested price of this set at $34.99. #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop will be released on November 18-19 during double points weekend and if supplies last will return on November 24-27 as a Black Friday and Cyber Monday special. This set is obtainable as a gift with purchase if you spend $250 or more, although a steep price there are other promotions and gift with purchases available at the same time that makes this more approachable. This set comes with 365 pieces and has two minifigures.
- LEGO Parts Weight: grams
- Price per piece: $34.99 / 365 pieces = $0.096 per piece
- Price per gram: $34.99 / 303g = $0.115 per gram
An intriguing observation to note is that the instruction manual included in this set deviates from the norm. Typically, LEGO maintains a standard width and reduces the height of the manual, but in this case, the manual is noticeably half the width of a regular one. However, it’s important to mention that despite the set’s modest size, it does come with a sticker sheet, containing various decals. It’s worth mentioning that all of the stickers included in this set were originally present as printed pieces or had dedicated parts. Due to these elements no longer being in production, LEGO has chosen to employ the sticker approach for this gift with purchase set.
Throwback to the original
This set pays homage to the original #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop that was released in 1993. The original set was rather expensive at the time, selling for $26, which when accounting for inflation would be around $55 today. Although LEGO sets nowadays are still expensive it is interesting to remember that when factoring in inflation this hobby has not gotten as expensive as we think it to be. The original set came with 2 minifigures and came with 185 pieces. Upon closer inspection, while the two sets may appear similar at first glance, it becomes clear that they differ in several key aspects. Despite their comparable size, advancements in smaller detailing parts have allowed the modern version to achieve the same volume with nearly double the number of pieces, which in turn results in added intricacy and details. What made the originals stand out were the great parts used for the Dragon Knights. The use of unique dragon wings, helmets and dragon detail molds made this faction an iconic faction.
The set is built to open up in the centre allowing you to see the interior details. As with the original set, #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop is built in a way such that the two halves are built in a mirror format with a hinge in the centre to open and close the build. Some of the original colors that made up the set, 2GreyLight Gray and 27Dark GreyDark Gray are no longer in production so the designers opted to use a combination of 194Medium Stone GreyLight Bluish Gray and 199Dark Stone GreyDark Bluish Gray to accomplish a similar color palette. By incorporating a diverse palette of colors and an assortment of foliage elements, this build successfully conveys the impression of a structure nestled within the mountains. Simultaneously, it cleverly integrates manmade elements into this natural setting, achieving a harmonious blend of the two. From a realism point of view the structure is questionable, but that is not what we are here to judge. The designers did a great job at capturing the elements that made the original iconic while giving it a modern flavour. While the exterior is literred with details the interior is rather basic. While a lot of the techniques in this set are not necessarily unique to this build, what did stand out for me is the roof. The use of sloped pieces that a plate rests upon allows for a nice curves shape, which alongside the 21Bright RedRed color contrasts against the rest of the build.
Although there are are a lot of small pieces available in today’s selection of parts it was great to see LEGO use some iconic castle pieces in the form of the Big Ugly Rock Piece and Battlements pieces. Unfortunately where the use of new pieces, small pieces and shapes makes this set an improvement there are a few that cause it to fall flat. Most notably the blue dragon crown tops that adorned the front facade of the workshop. This piece was iconic to the Dragon Knights, so it is a shame is no longer in production. Falling victim to the same part retirement issue are the shutters at the front. What previously was a brick built piece now was replaced by a 1×2 sticker in 23Bright BlueBlue. This omission unfortunately only detracts from the set because we have an original to compare to, if the original never existed and this was a stand alone set we wouldn’t even be bringing up this issue.
This set comes with two minifigures and unfortunately when comparing to the originals this is the weakest part of the set. Majisto himself is equivalent to the version that we saw in #10305 Lion Knight’s Castle. While this figure isn’t inherently flawed, it does come across as rather generic and shares a similar drawback to its 2022 counterpart – the absence of torso printing. The original minifigure distinguished itself with a simple yet eye-catching torso print, complemented by the inclusion of a small cape, a feature noticeably absent in this updated version. This omission becomes more disheartening when considering the remarkable printed pieces that have been introduced in the past year, highlighting the missed potential for enhancing this minifigure’s design.
In addition to Majisto, the inclusion of a Dragon Knights Knight is a nostalgic treat, marking the faction’s return after a hiatus of over 30 years with a faithful torso remake that is likely to become a prized piece for army builders. However, this minifigure disappointingly falls short in the helmet department, as LEGO seems to lack access to the original molds that made this faction distinct. They’ve opted for a more modern helmet piece, omitting the iconic black dragon helmet with blue plumes that characterized the faction. While I’ve made an attempt to recreate what this minifigure could have been with available pieces, it emphasizes the missed potential to fully capture the essence of the original design.
While this set is not a poor offering and serves as a great opportunity for fans who missed the original to rekindle their love for building Dragon Knights armies, it does have its shortcomings. Regrettably, some of the distinctive elements that made the original set so special are no longer in production. As a “gift with purchase” item, LEGO has done a decent job replicating the original prints and molds, albeit falling short in comparison especially with the lack of printing on the Majisto minifigure. Where this set excels is in its utilization of smaller pieces for intricate detailing, allowing for design choices that were previously impossible due to limited piece availability.
As a ‘free’ gift with purchase, especially when accompanied by double points discounts and items already on your wishlist, it’s a worthwhile addition. However, shelling out $250 solely for this set is not advisable — it seems like The LEGO Group picked a high threshold to help boost holiday sales. Ultimately, #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop earns a respectable rating of 3/5 (Good) as it remains an enjoyable set that undoubtedly tugs at the heartstrings of AFOLs.