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REVIEW: 6403 Paradise Playground


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Poll: REVIEW: 6403 Paradise Playground (21 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 Pandora

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 06:41 PM

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Paradisa was a subset of town made by TLG for a short time in the early 1990s, 1992-1997 to be specific, and it is often regarded as the most successful foray made by TLG into a theme aimed at a female market.  These days many have fond memories of Paradisa – the unusual pastel colour scheme and the higher prevalence of female Minifigs may be reasons why.  Unfortunately for me, Paradisa was released during my dark ages; were I a little younger ( :blush: ) I may have owned some.  Nevertheless, it appeals to me now, and the advantage of being a little older is that I have a little disposable income, which I like to dispose of by buying older sets such as this.  With its rosy sunsets, tropical birds and palm trees, Paradisa makes for some perfect summer building, but does 6403 Paradise Playground fit in with this summery theme?  Read on to find out more.

Number – 6403
Name – Paradise Playground
Theme – Town: Paradisa
Year – 1993
Minifigs – 3
Pieces – 82 (BrickLink), 91 (Peeron), 94 (Brickset) , 99 (LEGO Collectors book)
By my count – 84 excluding minifig parts and counting the flower sprue as one part.
Price – Bought for EURO 30.00/ GB £26.43/ US $43.09 MSRP US $13.25/ GB £8.13/ EURO 9.22

Links: Brickset, Peeron, BrickLink.


The Box

Pink!  That really is the first thing that springs to mind when you look at the front of this box.  Once you get over that initial onslaught, you can notice a playful little scene showing the whole set.  There is the old LEGO System logo denoting the set as standard minifig scale, and the special brightly-coloured corner tag denoting this as a Paradisa set.  In case the bright pink didn’t give it away.  TLG often put in a little background to the set on the box-art, but it seems especially more detailed for the Paradisa range.  Behind the set is a multi-hued sunset, a textured landscape and sea, plus a few little details like sailing boats and drawn palm trees.  These details make the box bright and colourful, interesting and appealing, and help tie the set in with the Paradisa range as a whole.

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As with many older sets, the back of the box shows a number of alternative builds.  These represent a diverse range of possibilities which I’ll come onto later, but suffice to say that I rather feel it is a shame that boxes no longer show these pictures, as they show the other ways the designers had thought the bricks may put together.  It’s a great way of enforcing one of the fundamentals of LEGO – that you don’t have to just follow the instructions, you can put the bricks together any way you please.

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The top and bottom of the box are a fiesta of pink, punctuated only by the nostalgic System log and another sunset set scene, and the obligatory safety warnings and barcode respectively.

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The sides replace the loud pink with colourful sunset scenes and another picture of the set along with the LEGO and System logos – this is not a dull box.  All around there are a variety of pastel pinks, oranges, blues and greens.  Every effort has been made to make this scream ”Buy me, little girl!”

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The Instructions

The instructions look like a booklet, but they’re not.  The front of the folded poster shows the set again, but with the minifigs in a slightly different arrangement, which to me implies movement, and more importantly activity.  Behind the set is a similar-but-different pastel picture of a sunset over a glistening bay, with sailboats and palm trees abound.

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As you fold out the instructions, you have a large double-sided poster with different sections broken down into their individual stages.  The front shows you how to assemble the minifigs, the pram, the seesaw and the palm tree.

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The back shows how to build the slide, and how to place the remaining pieces to build the scene.  They are simple and straightforward, and throughout decorated with swathes of various pastel hues which further enhance that this is a Paradisa set without compromising the colours of the parts in the pictures.  There is no confusion as to which colour part is required.  As you can see, there are no part call-outs, but rather the old-fashioned spot-the-difference pictures, which I find a bit more fun.  

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You may also notice in the top corner a triangle with the Paradisa logo on the front and the statement “90 points” and the set number on the back.  Presumably these were collectable coupons, redeemable for rewards, a little research came up empty, but I’m sure someone could enlighten us.

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Also inside is a separate pink Paradisa poster, showing a composite of all the Paradisa sets together, along with their set numbers.  Seeing TLG's view of all the sets in one place gives us an indication of their vision for the line - that it involves fun and leisure pursuits in a tropical location locked in permanent sunset.  Click on the picture for a high resolution view.

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The Parts

The baseplates for the set are two 8x16 plates in light green.  Interestingly these baseplates are only available in this colour in this set and 6405 Sunset Stables, and the colour fits well with the pastel scheme of the theme.  It’s actually quite a pretty colour so it’s a shame these baseplates haven’t been seen since 1993.

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The parts inside are divided into two polybags, a large and a small, and the polybags are the old-fashioned perforated kind.  Theoretically, given that the box seal was partially broken, there could have been an accumulation of dust over the intervening 20 or so years, but the LEGO inside was remarkably dust free.

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Once again I’ve separated all the parts by colour, so these are the contents of both bags.  I think when most people think of Paradisa and “girly” sets it is natural to think of lots of pink, especially with such a vibrant pink box, but as you can see, there really isn’t that much pink at all.  Just ten pieces, in fact, however the 1x2 curved brick in pink is only available in this set and 6409 Island Arcade, and the pink fence and pink 1x2 tile with handle are both pretty much limited to Paradisa, with neither seen since 1997.  The 1x2 and 2x2 tiles are also both mostly limited to a few Paradisa sets, excepting a brief appearance by the 2x2 tile in the 2003 Belville set 5857 Safran’s Amazing Bazaar, so what little pink there is, is actually not that widely available.
The grey parts are old grey – beloved by some, and shrugged at by others.  Again there aren’t many parts, but there are some of interest, specifically the curved grey arches which are only available in this colour in this set.

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The real majority of parts in this set, as with many Paradisa sets, are white.  Many of the white parts are commonplace, however the white 6x6 container is only available in this set and the Fabuland set 3637 Gertrude Goat’s Painter’s Truck.  In fact that part only seen in Fabuland (in other colours) outside of this set.  The 1x3 slope with studs on top (or gable piece) is also relatively uncommon; it is only elsewhere seen in white in the 1996 Exploriens set 6982 Explorien Starship and the 1998 Paradisa set 5847 Surfer’s Paradise.  I’m also very happy to add another saucepan to my collection.

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Some of my favourite parts in a set are the greenery and detailing pieces.  Here there are parts for a palm tree and a single red flower spruce, along with a multicoloured parrot.  Not a huge amount of greenery altogether, and I might have expected more given that this set is supposedly aimed at girls, but I’m not about to sniff at a palm tree or parrot.  :grin:

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There are three minifigs with this set, which is quite a high number given the size of the set.  None of the minifig parts are particularly rare, however a few are no longer seen in sets.  The face with freckles was last seen in 2004, and the rosy-lips-thick-eyelashes face is almost exclusively available in Paradisa sets, which is a shame as it’s a very likeable face.  I particularly like the gold printing on the striped vest (as a belt buckle) and a necklace on the pink top.  They’re little details that are easily missed, and could easily have been left off, but I appreciate them.  The pink top is certainly pretty, and clearly appealing to girls; it is exclusive to Paradisa sets.  The white jumper with the Paradisa palm tree logo on the other hand was available in numerous sets, even outside of Paradisa, up until 2003.  Overall I prefer the pink top, really.

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From the back, there’s not much detailing to these minifigs, really.  In fact there is no back printing for the red stripey vest, making it some sort of weird man-halter-neck type top. :sceptic:  I’m slightly disappointed there’s no back printing for the pink top, though.  A couple of extra dots would have added just a little bit more, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

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The Build

So, as mentioned in the instructions part, there are a number of elements in this set that are built separately and then combine to make the full display.  Having assembled the minifigs, the next step is to make a pram.  Yes really, a pram.  Did I mention this was aimed at girls?  The pram is cute, and from the pictures the pretty lady in pink is evidently Mum, or a nanny, as she’s usually pictured near it on the packaging.

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Or is she some sinister Mafia Moll or crazy psycho lady, because *gasp*, the pram is empty!  :oh:
Is she smuggling contraband?  Is there a revolver secreted under the baby pink hood of the pram?  Is she about to ice one of the cute little kids playing in Paradise Playground?  Lets hope not, it wouldn’t exactly be Paradise if she did.  :sceptic:  Actually, for very few parts this makes a convincing minifig scale pram, if you like that sort of thing, and I concede that a Mother and pram does fit in with a playground, and there isn’t really a way to add a baby without it looking even more sinister.  One could add a microfig from a recent LEGO boardgame, but that’d still be odd.  

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The next component to build is the seesaw.  Again this is a straightforward build, but I’m really happy to see Technic pins and bricks used in a set aimed at girls.  To my mind, there’s no reason why girls shouldn’t like Technic, and although the seesaw wouldn’t work with the inclusion of these pieces, I’m glad TLG didn’t think “we can’t put Technic in a set for girls!”  Anyhow, I’ve presented it her on the delicious light green baseplate to show off the colour scheme.  Pink and grey to my mind brings back distinct memories of the 1980s, however the combination here is probably also because grey goes better with pastel than black, and they wanted to use pink.  Admittedly they could have used a pastel blue or yellow, but I don’t get the feeling that TLG wanted to include too many colours in this set.

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I do think this is effective use of the 1x2 tiles with handles to make a simple yet recogniseable model, and the soft pastel colours are pleasing on the eye.

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The other major component to the build is the slide, which is a slightly more complicated build than the seesaw.  The curved grey pieces, along with white arches, add a smoothness to the model, rather than it being just blocky.  The gable pieces are used to form the slope of the slide itself, giving it a precarious 45 degree angle that would be fun to slide down, until you land in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

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The issue of creating steps up to the slide is solved in one fell swoop by simply attaching a ladder onto a grey 1x2 plate with a handle, and this works nicely apart from the fact that this introduces a small step down on the flat top of the slide.  It’s a very minor gripe, though.  I like the use of the pink fence pieces at the top of the slide to form a railing, as it makes the model prettier, more decorative.

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From this angle you can see how steep the slide is, but that it is pleasantly tiled in pink.  No wonder she looks apprehensive..  It is, at least, wide enough for a minifig to fit on, as they plunge to their death, so it works as a model.

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The last playground area isn’t really built, as it uses the 6x6 white container as a sandpit.  The adult sized kid wields an adult sized shovel and saucepan as presumably something akin to a bucket and spade.  That’s it.

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Actually, not quite, from this angle you can see that sand is represented here by two yellow 1x1 round plates (actually, there’re three in the polybags, but the instructions only call for two, and I didn’t want to over-do it).  From this angle the “kid” also looks nearly naked; I dread to think what he’s doing in a sandpit with no sand, but there are no 1x1 round plates in brown provided with this set, unless the yellow 1x1s represent something else...  :look:  He hides his face in shame. This isn’t really a build, but at least it’s another element to the set and fleshes out the playground a little.

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Altogether, and when placed according to the picture at the bottom of the second page of the instruction poster, the elements form an L-shaped scene.  The foliage details are added in, and although the palm tree and parrot fit nicely with the feeling of the set, the red flowers feel a little harsh.  It’s a real shame that they couldn’t have used pink flowers; only a year later dark pink flower sprues would be produced for a Belville set (5890 Pretty Wishes Playhouse) and they at least would have fitted in with the colour scheme slightly better than red.  White flowers in this context, I believe, would have been a little dull, but again would have jarred less against the rest of the set.

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The addition of the palm tree adds a bit of height to the overall scene, and I’ve always like the construction of these palm trees – that the you can articulate slightly between each join, making the tree curve and bend in a realistically organic way.  This and the multi-coloured parrot add an air of the exotic to the playground.

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From the back you can see that the sand pit and palm tree are both used to join the two light green baseplates together.  There has been much concern recently about the lack of larger baseplates in more recent sets, and I find it interesting that actually that that isn’t something new – here the same method using and joining of two smaller baseplates is used way back in 1993.  The components fit reasonably well together on the surface provided, but there could be more baseplate visible at the ends of the slide and seesaw.  All the nicer if that visible baseplate were the same lovely light green.

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After combining all the elements, and building according to the instructions, an economical three pieces are leftover.  The 1x1 yellow round plate could be added into the sparse sand pit, leaving but two remaining pieces.

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As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of alternative builds shown on the back of the box.  There are no instructions for these, but I maintain that adding them to the box art is a great way to show what else could be made with the pieces in the box.  So I have tried (successfully I think) to recreate these scenes, although this first one causes me a little confusion...
The first scene shows a seating area with sand pit, with I think, a covered cooking area.  I don’t get what the pink curved piece with 1x1 yellow round plate is – a beer tap?  Surely not.  And what is the freckly girl carrying?  Is it a tray with a fried egg?  There’s a different, but still recogniseable incarnation of a pram, and a somewhat stunted plant for the parrot to sit on.  I guess my imagination is failing me.

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The next scene is a little more obvious – it’s a bathroom and living room and hearks back to the time when Town buildings came with a little interior furnishing.  This took a little thinking about to build given that the baseplates are used vertically, and I’m pleased with the result.  I like the sink and toilet design, and I enjoyed the challenge of thinking in a different orientation.  The bath is a bit odd – you may notice a costume change for the minifigs so that freckly girl is now sitting in the bath in her pyjamas (who does that?) and the lady and manchild are now wandering around in their underpants.  At least they have a nice fireplace to keep them warm.  The sand pit is now a cupboard, and somewhat randomly the parrot is sitting on a saucepan on the wall.  It was going so well...

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The last of the alternative builds I’ve tried to recreate is a sort of Cabana.  Do you have Barry Manilow in your head now, too?  Good, because I’ve been stuck with it for the whole of this review.  So Lola (who was a showgirl) sits in a queenly fashion inside her cabana, waving her palm frond.  I like the use of the gable pieces on the roof, which allow the attachment of the palm leaves and bring this build back to the Paradise aesthetic.  The cabana was quite difficult to reconstruct as the picture was right across the opening seam of the box, and the back isn’t visible at all, so I’ve built the back it as I think it should be built from the parts available.
But, hey, that’s pretty much what building with LEGO is all about, right?  Building sets, then modifying them to suit you, and possibly extending that further to MOCing.  I’m sure some would disagree, but I think it is.

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Conclusion

Design 7 /10 The scene is instantly recogniseable as a playground, and I’m most pleased with the seesaw which has a simple, yet effective design.  The pram is also a very cute little rendition that works well and fits the System scale perfectly.  There are aspects which don’t work so well, such as the steep nature of the slide, and the sand pit that isn’t so much built as placed, but altogether this is clearly a playground.  The pictures of other possible builds are interesting, but my favourite, as it was the most interesting and was a slightly more challenging build, was the bathroom.  Young girls often like the “Doll’s House” aspect of LEGO, and the furnished bathroom would certainly be appealing for that reason.  If I’d had this set as a child, I’d have certainly tried to build the bathroom scene, and that makes me wish that TLG had included instructions for this build, so that the younger me would have been able to.

Parts  9/10  For a relatively small set there are some interesting and unusual parts here.   The light green baseplates are just lovely, and make me want more, and although there isn’t that much in the way of pink, the pink parts are useful and unusual.  There’s a small amount of old grey here for those who like that sort of thing, and a couple of interesting pieces in the larger quantity of white pieces - the gable pieces are new additions to our collection.  In addition to these unusual parts, there’s also the ever-useful palm tree, saucepan and parrot.

Minifigs   8/10 Again, for a set of this size, to get three minifigs is actually quite a haul.  The minifig parts are a little odd, but my favourite would be the lady with pretty face and nice pink top.  The gold detailing is a pleasant surprise, but I’m disappointed that there’s no back print to the stripey red vest, and the white Paradisa top looks more like a sweatshirt, and thus a little warm to be wearing in such tropical climes.  The little girl’s freckly face is also a welcome addition, as there could just as easily have been three classic smiley faces, not one.

Build  8/10  The playground, while not particularly challenging, uses some slightly more interesting techniques than one might expect, including a very minor use of Technic to make the seesaw, and the gable pieces on the slide to form a 45 degree slope for tiling.  I’ve added in an extra mark here because of the bathroom build.  It’s not part of the instructions, but I actually had the most fun building it, and really liked the idea of building a set in a different orientation.

Playability 8 /10  The seesaw works as a seesaw, thanks to the Technic, and moving parts, even if you move them yourself, always add to the playability.  The slide also works as a slide, if you suspend your disbelief and accept that LEGO minifigs will not be harmed when landing at the bottom.  I can easily imagine a little girl playing out stories with these figures in their playground, and if they built the bathroom, I can see that being very playable too.

Price  7/10  The MSRP of US $13.25/ GB £8.13/ EURO 9.22 seems relatively reasonable at first glance, but comparing this with a similarly sized Town set from the same year (6667 Pothole Patcher MSRP US $9.25/ GB £5.68/ EURO 6.44) and there’s a bit of a discrepancy.  I can only assume that this is because it’s Paradisa, and thus more specialised, but that seems a bit of a rubbish reason.  Given that TLG have always been trying to include more young girls in their fanbase, pricing a set aimed specifically at girls at a higher price-point than comparative sets seems a little odd to me.  When I bought it I paid EURO 30 for a MISB set, which is the lower end of the going rate on BrickLink, but you can pick up complete used sets from around EURO 17.50 (US $25.13, GB £15.42) – personally I’m happy with the price I paid.


Overall  78%

6403 Paradise Playground initially appealed to me as a Town set as it is a little bit different. It is not a shop, or a vehicle but instead more a depiction of everyday life that would fit very nicely into a Town scene.  The parts overall are quite interesting and useful, and despite the fact that I usually eschew pink, I’m actually very happy to have even this modest amount in this set and the overall pastel Paradisa colour scheme is pleasing to me.  The minifigs are plentiful for the size of the set, and include some nice parts and detailing, but the real bonus for me was the surprising enjoyment of building the “afterthought” scenes on the back of the box.

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Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome.  High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.


Edited by Zorbas, 26 July 2011 - 05:11 PM.
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#2 Clone OPatra

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:22 PM

This review is absolutely stunning!  I read it over in the Academy (though it had already been passed when I got to it) and chuckled out loud numerous times.  You've really hit all the highs and lows of this set.

Personally, besides for the nostalgia factor and the purty colors this set seems pretty underwhelming.  It's nice of LEGO to make an everyday life set, but there just doesn't seem to be a lot there, especially for the original price.  It's still nicer than a Belville set, though.  I think the larger Paradisa sets were far better, since they had both the pretty colors and more substantial, more exciting completed builds.
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#3 Captain Blackmoor

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 08:09 PM

A nice review from a set which was unknown to me. Nicely done!
You are quite lucky too having these rare colour parts in your posession. :wink:
Thanks for the review. :classic:

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#4 Sandy

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:00 PM

I have to disagree with some of the comments in that in my opinion this is quite a fantastic and unique set for its size. There hasn't been another playground in System sets after Paradisa, after all. Not to mention the rare parts and charming figures included. Sure, the design is not complicated at all, but did anyone honestly expect that?

Back then, LEGO knew what little girls wanted: a simple yet attractive set that could be quickly built for a session of roleplaying, but also rebuilt into another scene with relative ease. This set is a perfect example of that, and the family of three minifigs seal the deal.

I was lucky to be a kid when Paradisa sets were released, and I was never shy of the pink in these sets either, because I needed the female minifigs to counterbalance the knights and pirates I had. I never got this set, though. I'm not sure how well this type of sets would go for today's kids, but for me at least there's a certain charm in Paradisa that I haven't seen in any other set ever since.

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#5 Fugazi

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for the beautiful review Pandora! Ah, opening a mint Paradisa set must certainly be quite a treat! This is perhaps not one of the most impressive Paradisa sets, but it packs nostalgia, colorful cuteness, and quite a few interesting parts. Though I'm not a big fan of the pastel green baseplates myself! It's quite an odd colour for grass, or anything else for that matter -- but regular green would have clashed with the 80's bathroom pastel palette, I guess! :snicker:
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#6 Rufus

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 10:21 PM

Your pictures put us all to shame.  I've never figured out how you get the white piece shots without cheating!  And we even use the same setup :blush:

Having seen the set in the flesh, It's fun but a little disappointing.  They could really have gone to town on the playground, with swings and a roundabout (for example), and most kids' playgrounds I've ever seen have been brightly coloured (rust and council-budget-cuts neglect notwithstanding); so the grey, white and pink colour scheme seems rather a strange choice.  BUT, this means the build isn't over-complicated, and the palette matches the rest of the range.

It still bothers me that the curved sides to the slide somewhat inhibit the purpose!  I know you've explained it to me, but it still makes me strangely uncomfortable.  The could have used these for the sides.

To me, the thing which really stands out about this set is the range of alternative builds on the box.  The SNOT bathroom is stunningly imaginative.  And the fact that you've gone to the trouble to build these really sets the review apart.  :wub:  I suspect that might be an EB review first!  :thumbup:

#7 snefroe

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:03 PM

what a great review, Pandora :classic:  i do hope, however, that the Barry Manilow song is not going to remain inside my head before i go to bed in 10 minutes... :cry_sad:

The points remark is puzzling. I'll go and see if my Paradisa sets have that too, in the morning... and no, we, tough guys, we never bought Paradisa sets when we were young! at least, not openly... in fact, we kinda stated to any one who wanted to hear that Paradisa was for girls... not for us... ... hmmm... the sets looked nice though... still, i think they became popular only later on, when the series had long gone, when a new fanbase of afols had arrived, early 2000's. you got it right, though... the nice colors, the female figs, the interesting parts,... they made these sets stand out, especially when "City" was fully focused on yet another police car...

but, i never really saw a link with "City". they seem hard to mix, if you're asking me... the scene/setting is just very different, maybe the colors aren't all that compatible, I don't really know...

This looks like a basic Paradisa set to me, honestly. all the parts are more or less Paradisa parts in Paradisa colors, with Paradise minifigs, as such, it's a pretty nice set, but not a smashing one... I've seen better anyway...

As Rufus, I was also very surprised to see the bathroom alternative. wow, that's a first, i think, using baseplates like that... and I think it's probably one of the first times that Lego tried to create a detailed interior... this somewhat reminded me of the old Lego Family...

#8 Big Cam

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:49 AM

Great review of a set I've never seen.

Like somone else I know who lives in your vicinity, your review is spot on :thumbup:

#9 Rick

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:05 AM

Another thorough and very entertaining review, Pandora. :classic:

I always had mixed feelings about Paradisa. Being a few months younger (looking a few years older :wink: ) than you are, these sets were also released during my dark ages, but I remember my little cousin owning some sets. The concept of a tropical beach resort is really appealing, but the color scheme always slightly put me off and not because there's too much pink in it (which you show there isn't), but because the pink looks rather dull. Like the old grays the pink in these sets lack some vibrance.

I agree the slide could have been 2 studs longer to make it less deadly and the sandpit isn't a particularly exciting 'build'. And I too wonder what the 1x1 rounds are supposed to represent as you can expect nothing but clean white sand in a sunny tropical setting. :look: I never realized there were so many exclusive and rare parts to this set. And three figs in such a small set is a real treat. Considering this, the two small base plates, and other relatively big pieces, I'm not really surprised at the original MRSP.

Although pink would have probably looked better, I don't really think the red flowers look out of place here. After all, there's the red 'pirate' torso and the red parrot in the set as well. It's a real shame there were no short legs available back in the days. It's kind of hard to discern the kids from the grown-ups.

It's amazing that - again - you're also reviewing the alternate builds. These, along with idea books, where one of my favorite features of classic sets and a I really miss the back-of-the-box alternates. They really stimulated out-of-the-box thinking. Speaking of that, I don't think I've ever seen an alternate being fully SNOT-built. With the base plates up right even.  :oh:  The cafe-with-sandpit ( :sceptic: ) is a pretty nice alternate build. As to your question: the pink curved 1x2 brick certainly looks like a dispenser for something... mustard perhaps? Or it's a yet-to-be-invented fried egg tap... :grin:

#10 Pandora

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:12 AM

 Clone O, on 25 July 2011 - 07:22 PM, said:

This review is absolutely stunning!  
Thank you Cloney O!  :blush:

 Clone O, on 25 July 2011 - 07:22 PM, said:

I think the larger Paradisa sets were far better, since they had both the pretty colors and more substantial, more exciting completed builds.
It's funny you should say that....:look:

 Captain Blackmoor, on 25 July 2011 - 08:09 PM, said:

A nice review from a set which was unknown to me. Nicely done!
You are quite lucky too having these rare colour parts in your posession. :wink:
Thanks for the review. :classic:
I'm honoured to have enticed a Pirate here!  :laugh:  Must be the palm tree and the parrot?  :grin:
I was quite surprised at the proportion of rare colour parts.  Thank you very much Captain, your comments mean a lot.  :sweet:

 Sandy, on 25 July 2011 - 09:00 PM, said:

I have to disagree with some of the comments in that in my opinion this is quite a fantastic and unique set for its size. There hasn't been another playground in System sets after Paradisa, after all. Not to mention the rare parts and charming figures included. Sure, the design is not complicated at all, but did anyone honestly expect that?

Back then, LEGO knew what little girls wanted: a simple yet attractive set that could be quickly built for a session of roleplaying, but also rebuilt into another scene with relative ease. This set is a perfect example of that, and the family of three minifigs seal the deal.

I was lucky to be a kid when Paradisa sets were released, and I was never shy of the pink in these sets either, because I needed the female minifigs to counterbalance the knights and pirates I had. I never got this set, though. I'm not sure how well this type of sets would go for today's kids, but for me at least there's a certain charm in Paradisa that I haven't seen in any other set ever since.
I really tend to agree, there's a simple set here with examples for kids on how to take it further, plus a good number of figs.  Having missed out initially, I too am now discovering the same charm with Paradisa, and I must admit this was catalysed by the lovely Paradisa MOCs you made for yor Mafia School.  Thank you Sandy.  :sweet:

 Fugazi, on 25 July 2011 - 09:45 PM, said:

Thanks for the beautiful review Pandora! Ah, opening a mint Paradisa set must certainly be quite a treat! This is perhaps not one of the most impressive Paradisa sets, but it packs nostalgia, colorful cuteness, and quite a few interesting parts. Though I'm not a big fan of the pastel green baseplates myself! It's quite an odd colour for grass, or anything else for that matter -- but regular green would have clashed with the 80's bathroom pastel palette, I guess! :snicker:
Thanks Foog!  I guess the spearminty Light Green is a bit of an acquired taste, but I really like it!  :blush:   I can see they wouldn't fit so well into a regular Town scene, but the set could be rebuilt on a regular green baseplate and I don't believe the playground items themselves would look too odd in that context.  :sweet:

 Rufus, on 25 July 2011 - 10:21 PM, said:

Your pictures put us all to shame.  I've never figured out how you get the white piece shots without cheating!  And we even use the same setup :blush:

To me, the thing which really stands out about this set is the range of alternative builds on the box.  The SNOT bathroom is stunningly imaginative.  And the fact that you've gone to the trouble to build these really sets the review apart.  :wub:  I suspect that might be an EB review first!  :thumbup:
Oh shush, you!  :blush:
Thank you very much Rufus.  :blush:  :wub:

 snefroe, on 25 July 2011 - 11:03 PM, said:

what a great review, Pandora :classic:  i do hope, however, that the Barry Manilow song is not going to remain inside my head before i go to bed in 10 minutes... :cry_sad:
Thanks snefroe, and, yeah, sorry about the Barry Manilow.. :blush:

 snefroe, on 25 July 2011 - 11:03 PM, said:

As Rufus, I was also very surprised to see the bathroom alternative. wow, that's a first, i think, using baseplates like that... and I think it's probably one of the first times that Lego tried to create a detailed interior... this somewhat reminded me of the old Lego Family...
One of the things I really find heartening is that, in a set clearly aimed at girls, TLG didn't censure their build or creativity.  They didn't look at the addition of a small amount of technic, or the unusual SNOT bathroom and exclude them on that basis and I really hope this translates into the upcoming new "girly" sets.

 Big Cam, on 26 July 2011 - 12:49 AM, said:

Great review of a set I've never seen.

Like somone else I know who lives in your vicinity, your review is spot on :thumbup:
Thanks Big Cam, I really appreciate it! :sweet:

 Rick, on 26 July 2011 - 08:05 AM, said:

Another thorough and very entertaining review, Pandora. :classic:

The concept of a tropical beach resort is really appealing, but the color scheme always slightly put me off and not because there's too much pink in it (which you show there isn't), but because the pink looks rather dull. Like the old grays the pink in these sets lack some vibrance.
Thanks Rick!  :grin:  I do however disagree with you slightly over the pink colour - if the parts had been the same garish pink as that on the box, I personally would have been far less interested, however I suspect you mean an inbetween colour that's still pastel to fit in with the Paradisa palette and that I would agree with.

 Rick, on 26 July 2011 - 08:05 AM, said:

It's amazing that - again - you're also reviewing the alternate builds. These, along with idea books, where one of my favorite features of classic sets and a I really miss the back-of-the-box alternates. They really stimulated out-of-the-box thinking. Speaking of that, I don't think I've ever seen an alternate being fully SNOT-built. With the base plates up right even.  :oh:
It really was very interesting to build just from the picture; I'm so glad they included it.
  

 Rick, on 26 July 2011 - 08:05 AM, said:

The cafe-with-sandpit ( :sceptic: ) is a pretty nice alternate build. As to your question: the pink curved 1x2 brick certainly looks like a dispenser for something... mustard perhaps? Or it's a yet-to-be-invented fried egg tap... :grin:
Somebody should definitely invent that! :oh:
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#11 jd5775

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:53 PM

Very nice and in depth review!  One of the best I have seen.

I don't particularly like the colors of these paradisa sets, especially how they don't match other town sets, but they always seemed to have a nice idea.  Anyone notice how the kid has black shorts on the front of the box, but white shorts everywhere else?

#12 Aanchir

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 06:46 PM

Great review. Although this is a simpler Paradisa set (and they were all simple to a certain extent, with more emphasis on role-play than special functionality), I have to say it's a unique concept, and it's a shame TLG hasn't made more "playground" sets. The only more recent playgrounds I can remember are occasional alternate models for Creator houses.

It's nice to see that the slide is reasonably-sized and brickbuilt. There was an unfortunate tendency in some Paradisa sets to use Belville and Fabuland accessories where there was no System equivalent, which usually meant enormous oversized slides. This slide has a creative build, and while it lacks the curvature that real-life slides tend to have, it was a great feat considering the pieces that were available at the time.

The sandbox is simple, and the lack of sand is a real downer, but the only easy way I can think of doing it better is if it were more brickbuilt, with tan or (more likely, given Paradisa's color scheme) some sort of yellow in the bottom. In truth, of course, this wouldn't have been hard even if it kept a 6x6 footprint, demonstrating that even Paradisa occasionally used a "juniorized" option when a brickbuilt solution might have been preferable. Another option that could have been possible would be to use decorated parts in the base of the sandbox to give it some visual texture-- but given Paradisa's frequent use of stickers, I'm sure many AFOLs would prefer the set with no sand at all than with sand-patterned stickers.

One major flaw this set has-- and it's a frequent one in LEGO sets from what I've seen-- is the baby carriage's distinct lack of baby. Today, a microfig from the LEGO Games sets might serve that purpose nicely. And given its size, it could still fit without issue in a 2x4 carriage, even if it would have to be redesigned with more open space inside. Sadly, the upcoming girls' theme might not be able to utilize this depending on how different the figs are from classic minifigures, but in general the theme seems to have less of a "family" focus than Belville or Paradisa based on what we've heard so far.

And finally, the color scheme is a mixed bag. On one hand, Paradisa's pastel color scheme had a certain charm. But on the other, it sometimes felt somewhat washed-out. The brown tree trunk (25 Earth Orange), green leaves (28 Dark Green), and black shovel and bucket clash horribly with the pastel colors, as do pretty much any colors that aren't pastel. Belville and later girls' themes may have had some egregious and unrealistic "girly" colors at times, and many obscure colors were used in that theme that rarely appeared elsewhere. But at the same time, Belville had a greater tendency towards more visually-balanced color schemes, and I appreciate that greatly. I hope the upcoming girls' theme also manages to have an appealing color scheme. Thankfully, given the reduction and optimization of the LEGO color palette over the years to make the colors more vivid and inter-compatible in general, that shouldn't be so much of a problem.

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#13 LEGO Train 12 Volts

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:11 PM

Thanks for the nice review!  :classic:
I like this little set with great ideas!  :laugh:
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#14 Peppermint_M

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:53 PM

Ah two of the three Ps!

Pink
and
Pastel

:grin:

In the years of Paradisa I was just a wikkle little one and was still storming through Duplo, chasing the Zoo van stealing Lion with my police motorcycle. Belville was the girly theme aimed at my age group but I was less than impressed with it (Aquasharks rule!!!).

That said, a playground has been the one major feature towns, cities and villages missing from LEGO city these days. I think this set could have done with a partner set or expansion impulse boxes though, it feels a little lacking, not that modern day parks have much more equipment...

A fantastic review and I need to steal you to take pictures of my MOCs  :laugh:

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#15 Pandora

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:09 PM

 jd5775, on 26 July 2011 - 04:53 PM, said:

Very nice and in depth review!  One of the best I have seen.

I don't particularly like the colors of these paradisa sets, especially how they don't match other town sets, but they always seemed to have a nice idea.  Anyone notice how the kid has black shorts on the front of the box, but white shorts everywhere else?
Thank you jd5775.  :classic:
Good spot with the shorts, I've spent a lot of time with this set and I didn't notice!  :laugh:

 Aanchir, on 26 July 2011 - 06:46 PM, said:

One major flaw this set has-- and it's a frequent one in LEGO sets from what I've seen-- is the baby carriage's distinct lack of baby. Today, a microfig from the LEGO Games sets might serve that purpose nicely. And given its size, it could still fit without issue in a 2x4 carriage, even if it would have to be redesigned with more open space inside.
Thank you Aanchir.  :classic:
I still rather think that even a microfig would look a little creepy in this context, but certainly better than a figure with a standard minifig sized head!  :laugh:

 Aanchir, on 26 July 2011 - 06:46 PM, said:

And finally, the color scheme is a mixed bag. On one hand, Paradisa's pastel color scheme had a certain charm. But on the other, it sometimes felt somewhat washed-out. The brown tree trunk (25 Earth Orange), green leaves (28 Dark Green), and black shovel and bucket clash horribly with the pastel colors, as do pretty much any colors that aren't pastel. Belville and later girls' themes may have had some egregious and unrealistic "girly" colors at times, and many obscure colors were used in that theme that rarely appeared elsewhere. But at the same time, Belville had a greater tendency towards more visually-balanced color schemes, and I appreciate that greatly. I hope the upcoming girls' theme also manages to have an appealing color scheme. Thankfully, given the reduction and optimization of the LEGO color palette over the years to make the colors more vivid and inter-compatible in general, that shouldn't be so much of a problem.
I agree that there is a degree of colour clashing here and (as Rick also noted) that the pastel pink looks a little faded (although I still like it), but as you say there have been far worse over time.  I too really hope (and expect, to be honest) that the new line will fit better into a Townscape from a colour point of view.

 LEGO Train 12 Volts, on 26 July 2011 - 08:11 PM, said:

Thanks for the nice review!  :classic:
I like this little set with great ideas!  :laugh:
Thank you LEGO Train 12 Volts!  :sweet:

 Peppermint_M, on 26 July 2011 - 09:53 PM, said:

Ah two of the three Ps!

Pink
and
Pastel

:grin:
Aha Pep!  Yes, indeed, and two outta three ain't bad!  :grin:

 Peppermint_M, on 26 July 2011 - 09:53 PM, said:

In the years of Paradisa I was just a wikkle little one and was still storming through Duplo, chasing the Zoo van stealing Lion with my police motorcycle.
That sounds like loads of fun!  :laugh:

 Peppermint_M, on 26 July 2011 - 09:53 PM, said:

That said, a playground has been the one major feature towns, cities and villages missing from LEGO city these days. I think this set could have done with a partner set or expansion impulse boxes though, it feels a little lacking, not that modern day parks have much more equipment...
I agree with you (and Rufus) - it'd have been great to have some other equipment; maybe some monkey bars or a climbing frame wouldn't have been too complex for the time?  At least they produced something in this vein.  :sweet:

 Peppermint_M, on 26 July 2011 - 09:53 PM, said:

A fantastic review and I need to steal you to take pictures of my MOCs  :laugh:  
Thank you, I'd love to, but only if we can play with the Zoo van stealing lion!  :grin:
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#16 ZO6

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:49 AM

Beautiful review, Pandora! (As per usual)

When I was younger, my sister received a whole slew of Paradisa sets.  At the time I didn't want any of them to 'contaminate' my collection, so I made sure she kept them away.  Around 10 or so years ago, I came to my senses and adopted all the Paradisa sets that she owned into my collection.  I really appreciate the theme and feel that many of the sets are truly outstanding.  While this set doesn't rank up as high as some of the others, it's very unique nevertheless.  I would have missed the pleasure of building this set from a sealed box (my sister got to do that of course), so I particularly enjoyed seeing you document the whole process.  The alternate models are extremely creative; I'd never noticed them before!  Thanks to your efforts to build them I won't have to dig through my pile of boxes to do so myself  :tongue: .

#17 lifeinplastic

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:50 AM

This makes me realise how disappointed I am that the 2012 girls theme is not a minifig-scale Paradisa! I remember getting the catalogue when Paradisa first came out (no Internet back then to see all the sets long before release date!). I remember how exciting it was seeing the holiday town and I was eager to create beach scenes of my own.

I guess I loved holidays as a kid, my Dad used to work extra hours to take us away each summer to the Med and holidays were always happy times on the beach and playing in the pool. I like the catalogue picture setting the Paradisa scene - lots of people enjoying themselves and having fun. This to me is important - these were some of the most fun sets I remember and didn't require any conflict-based characters or the idea of good vs evil or the usual high propane action kids apparently 'need' from a toy. Just good clean fun. I am definitely going to get some of these for my niece when she is old enough to play - but hopefully by then Paradisa will return!

Edited by lifeinplastic, 27 July 2011 - 01:01 AM.

My Ideal CMF Series: (No figures with open mouths and no specific features preventing multiple use (e.g. name tags)!

(1) Hotel Bellhop (dark red uniform with 2 suitcases), (2) Amazon Explorer (with over the shoulder bag and new toucan mould), (3) Elvis Presley Impersonator (in classic white jump suit with microphone), (4) Frog costume (lime green colour with diver flipper feet), (5) Barbershop Singer (we'd all buy 4 for a quartet), (6) Peruvian (traditional Andean costume with tan coloured panpipes) (7) Zoo Keeper (dark blue dungarees, broom and new non-Friends penguin mould), (8) Table Tennis player (hair and head like Fry in Futurama with table tennis bat), (9) Air Hostess (light blue uniform but hat to allow varied hair colours), (10) Prisoner (traditional orange or grey uniform with arrows, plus ball and chain), (11) Violinist (evening suit - an orchestra army-builder + bald-head piece with white hair), (12) Tourist (new white Panama Hat, brown beard & sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt & camera), (13) Australian ('Steve Irwin' olive/dark green outdoors safari suit with new koala mould), (14) Gardener (green watering can & purple/orange flowers + bald-head piece with brown hair), (15) Teddy Bear costume (light brown colour - generic without any bow tie or clothes, etc), (16) Brass Band (with new instrument like a tuba/trombone to help create an orchestra)

#18 22kane

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:53 AM

One of the best detailed reviews I've seen on a set. Nice work. I actually remember this line during my dark ages and thinking "Lego is doing some weird stuff these days". These female aimed lines came out not long after I left Lego. I agree with some of the comments that it's not a very exciting set but it was perfect for what it really was... A set for young girls. I wouldn't mind owning some of the pastel pieces as I'm sure I could find a use for them. Again, great review.
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#19 Pandora

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:39 PM

 ZO6, on 27 July 2011 - 12:49 AM, said:

Beautiful review, Pandora! (As per usual)
Thank you very much, ZO6!  :sweet:
Sounds like you got a good deal from your sister's collection!

 lifeinplastic, on 27 July 2011 - 12:50 AM, said:

This makes me realise how disappointed I am that the 2012 girls theme is not a minifig-scale Paradisa!

This to me is important - these were some of the most fun sets I remember and didn't require any conflict-based characters or the idea of good vs evil or the usual high propane action kids apparently 'need' from a toy. Just good clean fun.
I know how you feel, lifeinplastic, I have my fingers crossed for the 2012 girls theme that it will continue with the ethos of Paradisa, and agree that the lack of conflict, and as you say "good clean fun" (just like Fabuland), is very appealing in itself.  :sweet:

 22kane, on 27 July 2011 - 03:53 AM, said:

One of the best detailed reviews I've seen on a set. Nice work. I actually remember this line during my dark ages and thinking "Lego is doing some weird stuff these days". These female aimed lines came out not long after I left Lego. I agree with some of the comments that it's not a very exciting set but it was perfect for what it really was... A set for young girls. I wouldn't mind owning some of the pastel pieces as I'm sure I could find a use for them. Again, great review.
Thank you for your compliments 22kane!  :sweet:  It may well be that we'll think the same next year as you did during your dark ages...
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#20 Vincent Kessels

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:00 PM

That is a great review Pandora. I read the review as email notification without any pictures, and your review brought the whole set alive.

#21 Hinckley

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 05:57 AM

Since I haven't been able to find time to comment on this wonderful review, I've decide to blog it instead.

You are awesome at reviewing and I'm so happy you chose this set. Thanks for sharing your talents with us, Pandora. We're very lucky to have you writing reviews here. :grin:

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#22 illord

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:40 AM

I really love paradise set, and this one doesn't make exception. I added some paradise set to my collection in the last years but unluckily I haven't put my hands on this one yet  :cry_sad: I'll try to fix this serious mistake as soon as possible  :laugh:  I ve always loved the pastel colour scheme of this subtheme and I 'd like TLG will release a new fancy "so called girlish" subtheme with this kind of colour but still in minifig scale. Actually paradise minifigures are so cute and quite uniques and fit very well with these set as they are supposed to be.

Anyway, great review!!  :thumbup:

Edited by illord, 18 August 2011 - 08:41 AM.


#23 Pandora

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 11:06 AM

 Vincent Kessels, on 30 July 2011 - 09:00 PM, said:

That is a great review Pandora. I read the review as email notification without any pictures, and your review brought the whole set alive.
Thanks Vincent, that's hugely flattering that you still found the review interesting without pictures!  :sweet:

 Hinckley, on 18 August 2011 - 05:57 AM, said:

Since I haven't been able to find time to comment on this wonderful review, I've decide to blog it instead.

You are awesome at reviewing and I'm so happy you chose this set. Thanks for sharing your talents with us, Pandora. We're very lucky to have you writing reviews here. :grin:
:blush: :blush:  
You are too kind, Hinck, thank you for your compliments and for blogging!  :wub:

 illord, on 18 August 2011 - 08:40 AM, said:

I really love paradise set, and this one doesn't make exception. I added some paradise set to my collection in the last years but unluckily I haven't put my hands on this one yet  :cry_sad: I'll try to fix this serious mistake as soon as possible  :laugh:  I ve always loved the pastel colour scheme of this subtheme and I 'd like TLG will release a new fancy "so called girlish" subtheme with this kind of colour but still in minifig scale. Actually paradise minifigures are so cute and quite uniques and fit very well with these set as they are supposed to be.

Anyway, great review!!  :thumbup:
Thank you illord.  :sweet:   The pastel scheme isn't to everyone's taste, but, like you, I rather like it, and indeed the figures produced for the range were quite cute.
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#24 Tilly

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:31 PM

Great review!

I know I am late to the party but I am new here and have been browsing the old Paradisa reviews - so much nostalgia! :cry_happy: . Just wanted to say that I specifically remember being annoyed by the lack of a baby in the pram as a kid playing with this set - I think I even improvised with a 1 x 1 round brick and a yellow 1 x 1 round tile! Years later I can finally put one of Citizen Brick's "Lego" babies in the pram! (It fits if you dismantle the pram to get it in there...) I feel it gives the pram a sense of legitimacy at last!  :laugh:



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