Hello all, this is my first ever review, so here goes:
Set: 3183 Stephanie's Cool Convertible
Price: US$ 14.99/€13.85
Part Count: 130
Official Description (from LEGO.com):
Take the LEGO® Friends and their puppy on the road in style with Stephanie’s Cool Convertible then make it sparkle with carwash accessories!
Cruise in style indeed! Let's take a closer look, shall we:
Box Front by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Here's the obligatory front of the box pic, showing Stephanie in all her glory, along with the rad sports car she has... As has been said plenty of times before, the Friends figs are definitely different than a standard minifigure, however, they are built to a similar scale, but more on that later.
Box Back by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
...and the obligatory back of the box shot, showing Stephanie, her puppy, all the pink accessories that come with the set , and showing some of the play features of this set. It also shows the break-down of the Friends figures, which separate into the same basic category of parts (leg assembly, torso assembly, head and headgear/hair). There's also an advertisement for other Friends products (and the other Friends characters) along the bottom of the box. Unlike the larger Friends sets, this comes in the standard rectangular box, as opposed to the slightly curved boxes already noted in reviews of the larger sets.
Now, on to Stephanie herself:
Steph and Kyoshi by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
As you can see, Suki and one of her Kyoshi Warriors have shown up to provide a comparison between the Friends figures and the standard minifigure, as well as to check out Stephanie's sweet ride. As has been posted many times before, the standard Friends figure is only about 2 plates taller than the typical minifig, but they are still one of the smallest doll-type things I've ever seen... My cousins were into Polly Pocket when they were younger, and as far as I can tell, the Friends figures are even smaller than Polly Pocket & Co.
Of course, as has been mentioned before, the Friends figures' hair is compatible with standard LEGO minifigures' hair and head gear and vice-versa, so here's a few obligatory pics of headgear hijinks:
Steph Helmet by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Stephanie with a pilot's/driving cap for that retro look... IMO, this is what she SHOULD be wearing if she wants to drive an open-top sports car... The best part is that her eyes are in the exact same spot as a standard minifigure's, so when the goggles are down, they're in the correct position... Looks like LEGO definitely thought of everything!
Steph Geisha by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
...And Stephanie with the Series 4 Geisha hair.
Also, as has been noted before, the friends figure head does not fit on a standard minifigure, but a 5mm drill bit and a steady hand or drill press should be able to fix that. The head DOES, however, fit on a standard "stick" piece, i.e. anything that fits inside a hollow stud or can be gripped by a minifigure... Of course this could definitely lead to some possibilities for the mad scientist/twisted genius type, so to explain, we'll turn this segment over to Dr. Regis Blackgaard, the Grand Duke of New York, and my LEGO setting's resident evil genius type:
Dr. Blackgaard: "Thank you, General Takayama, now allow me to introduce the latest abomination to come out of my laboratory, the Spider Doll, MK1:"
Steph Spider Bot by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
"As you can see, my lovely creation comes armed with six vicious mechanical legs and is armed with a ventral flamethrower, however, there's more" With the same claw attachment or a BrickArms Monopod, you can replace the obsolete head of your standard battledroids and..."
THANK YOU, Dr. Blackgaard! Now as I was saying, someone sufficiently twisted could find some creepy, nefarious uses for the Friends figures' heads, but enough of that, on to the build!
Contents by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Here's what's inside the box... Basically typical LEGO Packaging, with the bags, DSS and instruction booklet. Nothing anyone who's been actively purchasing and building LEGO sets for the past several years hasn't seen already.
Now for the obligatory random instruction sheet picture:
Instructions by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Again, exactly what you'd expect from a typical LEGO set, so those who were concerned that Friends would be "dumbed down" because it is aimed at girls need not worry.
A nice pic of the huge variety of accessories contained in the set:
Accessories by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
The ribbons and flowers are new parts, but IIRC, the hairbrush and bucket are from Belleville, and it's nice to see they brought the sink faucet piece back, and in pearl gold, too! The puppy is also new and so adoreable!
Car Wash by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
...and here's the first part of the build done: basically just a section of sidewalk with a bench, a lamp post and a spigot and soap dispenser. Nothing too complicated here, but I DO like the new colors, and most of the parts will be useful for other builds.
The next part of the the instructions is for the main feature, the awesome car:
Car Instrucion 1 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Car Instruction 2 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
As you can see, these instructions aren't dumbed-down at all! Hands up whoever wants to see this sucker in Red or Black! (Car build instruction shots added by request.)
Car Side/Front by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
This car actually is better than most of the ones in the current city sets and actually uses a fair amount of SNOT techniques! Dumbed-down INDEED!
Car Rear View by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Here's a pic of the interior, which, again is fairly detailed. all the stickers were supposed to go on the Car, but I generally avoid using stickers unless I have a really compelling reason to. The piece in the front is, as far as I can tell, a new mold which is basically a 1x2x1 panel, but with a divider in the middle. I'm already seeing possibilities for this part, and I hope it comes out in other colors and sets! Its purpose here is to securely hold the friends figures into the car.
....and of course the extra parts:
Extras by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Now for a shot of the completed set (minus all the extra pieces and accessories):
Full Set by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
Stephanie and her doggie are ready to go on a ride!
I decided to bring out the 5-wide Truck from the one Pharaoh's Quest set to show how Stephanie's car compares to the standard LEGO vehicle offerings:
Car Comparison by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
As you can see, it fits right in!
SO, here's the basic breakdown:
Price: 4/5... A bit on the high side, considering that the usual price range for that piece count is around $10, but still well worth it for the car and accessories.
Build: 5/5... One of the best car sets LEGO has released in a good while, and my one and only gripe with it is that it can't fit two minifigs side by side, but that should be fairly easy to modify.
Playability: 4.5/5: The car is very Vroomable (sorta like swooshable, but on the ground), and the car wash has some nice features, but nothing overly involved. For those into that kind of thing, the various flowers, ribbons and tiaras will provide hours of "dress-up" fun for Stephanie and her dog. It might not seem like all that much, but what do you expect from a $15 set?
Overall: 4.5/5 I definitely reccomend this set to anyone looking for a reasonably easy to duplicate 6-wide car design... As a matter of fact, I believe I have enough parts to do a Dark Green and black version (a la The Emerald Night), which I'm going to call the Emerald Night Rider (insert rimshot here).
So, some final thoughts: While I'm not overly thrilled by the Polly Pocket-like doll figure, I DO love the new parts, accessories, hair pieces and colors. On top of that as far as I can tell, LEGO has put the same level of design and complexity into these sets as their standard City and other themed sets, which should quiet the critics crying about how this theme is being "dumbed down" or "condescending" to girls... In fact, since the Instructions contains ads for other themes like Creator as well as Friends, hopefully this will get more girls into the rest of LEGO and should serve as a bridge from Barbie and Polly Pocket dolls to LEGO...
And since everyone else feels the need to post some kind of funny pic, it would seem that Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors have stol--er COMMANDEERED Stephanie's car for use as their new urban assault vehicle:
Kyoshi Car by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr
I hope this review was somewhat useful, since it is my first ever....
Edited by Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:02 PM.