Review: LEGO 71456 Mrs. Castillos Schildkrötenbus

One of LEGO’s big launches in 2023 is LEGO DreamZzz, a brand new original theme that features some of the wackiest, and most fantastical designs ever seen that weaves in imagination and fun back into LEGO sets.

LEGO DreamZzz is backed by an excellent animated TV series (available on Netflix, Prime Video and Youtube) which provides the narrative backbone of the theme.

I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with the LEGO DreamZzz sets ahead of release, and this is a really fun theme for younger kids, with some really interesting and imaginative builds, awesome new minifigures, but a large majority of sets are really expensive which might dissuade parents who are currently struggling with the cost of living.

To kick off my series of LEGO DreamZzz reviews, here’s a look at 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van, which goes on sale on 1 August 2023 on and most LEGO stores alongside the first wave of LEGO DreamZzz sets

Who is this set for? Anyone that wants a great selection of unique DreamZzz characters, and a funky looking Turtle Van

Special thanks to LEGO for sending these sets over for this review.

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van Set Details

Set number: 71456
Set name: Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van
Pieces: 434
Retail Price: US$47.99 / AU$72.99 / £42.99 / €47.99 / CAD$59.99
Theme: DreamZzz
Release Date: 1 August 2023

Unboxing and Instruction Manuals

In a nutshell, DreamZzz sets combined the rich narrative storytelling that’s familiar to fans of Ninjago, or Monkie Kid, with Creator 3-in-1.

Most DreamZzz sets have three different mode, a regular thing based on something in the real world, followed by two fantastical dream world versions that you can get a preview of at the back.

Here’s a look at some sticker sheets, which also include some spare stickers that you can use to decorate your set or belongings, with some cartoony icons, which I really like. Kids love stickers, so the inclusion of these bonus stickers are a fun bonus feature.

The DreamZzz manuals are terrific, and so enjoyable. Instead of grotty renders, the front covers of the manual feature these lovely illustrations.

In the manual are more of these rich and gorgeous illustrations, that pepper the building experience. It’s almost like a wordless comic book that tells you a story as you build the set, and after such a drastic downgrade in instruction manuals this year, this has been a huge step up in quality.

I won’t be recycling any of these DreamZzz instruction manuals for this reason.

At a certain point, the build experience forks, giving young builders a “choose your own adventure” type choice to build, in this case, a Party Mode Turtle Van, or a Flying Submarine Mode Turtle Van.

It’s a really cool mechanic that makes you feel like you’re getting more out of your LEGO sets, and encourage dismantling sets to turn them into something slightly new.

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van Minifigures

The minifigure lineup for 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van is an excellent introduction to LEGO DreamZzz, and partly why I chose this set as my introduction to the theme.

The set features a great composition of two traditional minifigures with protagonists Mateo and Zoey, the new Mrs Castillo granny-figure, and 2 of these weirdly cute DreamZzz-figures, Z-Blob and a Grimspawn which look like miniature effigies.

Here’s a closer look at Mateo and Zoey, the main characters included in the set. They’re dressed in their Dream World outfits, which give them a cool upgraded look on top of their regular clothes, and the printing is really sharp and detailed, with the hourglass motif prominently displayed.

Mateo as an illustrator has a giant pencil as a weapon, whereas Zoey who is more experienced has her hourglass which she uses to Dreamcraft, as well as her bow and arrow.

Here’s a look at their back printing and dual-sided heads.

The new LEGO wigs are great, and I really love Zoey’s purple dreadlock hair, and Mateo’s also has streaks of green in his. Mateo has vitiligo which features prominently on his face and gives him a very unique look.

Next we have Mrs Castillo, an eccentric and wise old lady that runs a popular food truck that the kids frequent in the real world. LEGO have gone the extra mile here and debuted a brand new mould for her body which you can attach large arms too, giving her a really unique silhouette and shape.

It’s a really unique torso-body, with arm-holes on each side that can be fitted with any Technic-pin compatible element and you can see the size comparison here with a regular minifigure.

And here are Mrs Castillo’s different components. It’s a really interesting new minifigure, and really nails the squat old lady look well. Can’t wait to see what else LEGO does with this mould.

Next we have these small little figures, which are a brand new addition in LEGO DreamZzz, so I hope they get called DreamZzz-figures. They look like little LEGO effigies, with arms that “grip” any rod-shaped element and are compatible with minifigure-heads, giving them a very Chibi-look.

Here’s Z-Blob, a character that Mateo designs that comes to life in the Dream World, as well as a Grimspawn. Grimspawn are cannon fodder villain grunts, and provide plenty of comedic relief in the TV series.

Here’s Z-Blob once you remove the Vidiyo Slim head, revealing a cute face with two eyes.

And here’s Grimspawn with his helmet removed. The heads have great designed, and can easily be repurposed for fantasy medieval custom minifigs.

These new DreamZzz-figures are really cute, and they’re growing on me and I’d love to amass plenty of them – hopefully if they become available to order on Pick a Brick online.

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van – Food Truck Mode

The build for 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van’s is relatively simple, and you first start with a simple Food Truck that wouldn’t look out of place in LEGO City.

It has an attractive white and sand green colour scheme and plenty of fun stickers to decorate it, and in some ways reminds me of a minifigure-scale T1 Campervan.

Here’s a look at the side where you can see the Menu, and signboard, as well as shutter windows that open to reveal Mrs Castillo ready to take orders.

The interiors are quite roomy, and despite the Mrs Castillo minifigure being quite large, there’s plenty of space to move her around.

The build is based off Mrs Castillo’s food truck found in the real world, but in the dream world, with the aid of powerful Hourglasses that give Dreamers the power to Dreamcraft, everyday things can suddenly take on fantastical forms.

The choice is yours – to build a Party Mode, or a Flying Submarine Mode Turtle Van!

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van – Party Mode

Thanks to the powers of the hourglass, Mrs Castillo’s humble food truck transforms into a Turtle Van! The transformation is fairly seamless – you don’t have to remove plenty of elements, and instead just attach all these little things to bring it to life.

It’s a simple yet effective way to dramatically transform its loo into something else, and I really like just how colourful, fun and downright silly this one looks.

Party Mode sees the Turtle Van get activated, and he moves by being drawn to a carrot dangled on a stick.

There’s some really nice touches such as the printed turtle head. It’s actually a tortoise.. but all Tortoises are Turtles, so it’s not technically wrong.

I really like the use of these large elbow pieces for its legs.

Perched on the roof, ready to party is a small palm tree, a treasure chest containing trinkets, and this insanely cute Cat Cactus. Cat Cactus, get it?

I could stare at it all day.

The Turtle Van also comes with a yellowish-orange splat piece, which is a signature element of LEGO DreamZzz. These new elements feature a really interesting new mould which blends trans-plastic with more solid colours within, and are textured nicely, with a single axle-hole connection at the base.

Party Mode is a lot of fun, as its name suggests and is my favourite configuration for Mrs Castillo’s Turtle Van.

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van – Flying Submarine Mode

If you’re in the need for speed, and don’t have time or the patience for the Turtle Van to plod along on its four legs, you can instead opt for the Flying Submarine mode.

Instead of a carrot, a red chilli is used as food for the Turtle to chase, and it transforms into jet-mode, with its legs oriented in a more aerodynamic position, as it zips through the sky.

Cat Cactus also takes to the skies, with its very own Jetpack and rockets to propel it through the sky.

It’s quite fun, and I do like the periscope, which points to it also being a functional submarine but this is the configuration you build if you want to swoosh it around.

Not as charming as Party Mode, but still pretty fun, and again, it provides younger builders with options to modify and transform the toy so that it seamlessly goes from food truck, to turtle van, to flying turtle submarine.

If I was 8, I would appreciate and have a ton of fun with this, and I think LEGO have done a great job just injecting fun and imagination into its DreamZzz sets.

What I liked:

  • Great lineup of minifigures that’s a great sampler for DreamZzz
  • Food Truck can easily be adapted to any LEGO City
  • Turtle Van has plenty of charm

What I didn’t like: 

  • Flying Submarine mode is hard to display
  • On the expensive side

Final Thoughts

You can definitely see what LEGO are looking to achieve with LEGO DreamZzz – merging a compelling narrative with interesting characters from the TV series, and an attempt to take LEGO back to its roots of being able to build whatever you want.

71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van is a great starter set to get acquainted with LEGO DreamZzz, and is one I’d recommend if you’ve been curious about the theme.

The minifigure lineup is a great introduction to the new DreamZzz characters, and you get Mrs Castillo, two small DreamZzz-figures as well as Mateo and Zoey. Mateo is in nearly every set, so isn’t a big draw (get it?), but the supporting cast of minifigures are solid.

The build itself was fun, and the comic book and choose your own adventure-inspired instructions inject a fresh breath of air into LEGO building and is something I’d love to see more of. The build itself isn’t particularly novel or challenging, but I did like how you essentially get a LEGO set that has 3 different forms, which lends to a lot of replayability with the set, and should hopefully keep it from being stale.

Where 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van (and most of the DreamZzz theme) falls short is the price. At US$47.99 / AU$72.99 / £42.99, it feels very expensive for what you’re getting, and it feels like its 20% more expensive than it should be, which I think puts up a huge barrier to entry not just for LEGO fans to give LEGO’s new big bang theme a go, but also parents looking for toys for their kids.

As a set, this is a lot of fun, and fans will definitely enjoy the cool new minifigure designs, but the price is a big stumbling block, so it’s one that you should wait for a modest sale on, especially if you’re on a tight LEGO budget.

Build [4] – A very fun and tight build, and with 3 different forms, offers a rich build experience
Real Value [2] – Poorly priced for the piece count, and minifigures
Innovation [4] – Plenty of innovation here with the manuals, and how seamless it is to transform
Coolness [3] – Party Mode Turtle Van has plenty of personality and looks fun and goofy
Keepability [3] – Depends on how successful DreamZzz is as a theme, but this is one to play and experiment with, not so much to build and display

Rating and score: 3/5 ★★★✰✰

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