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REVIEW: 3065 Olivia's Tree House


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    Percentage of vote: 1.41%

  2. Below Average (3 votes [4.23%])

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  3. Average (6 votes [8.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.45%

  4. Above Average (46 votes [64.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 64.79%

  5. Outstanding (15 votes [21.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.13%

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#1 SilentMode

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:00 PM

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"Explore nature with the LEGO Friends in Olivia's Tree House!"

This is SilentMode with his first ever Reviewers Academy review. Over the next few days I will be reviewing not just one but six of the eleven sets in the new, somewhat controversial Friends theme aimed at the girls market. With the new theme comes many new parts and even new colours, and of course the new style of minifigures.

But will these sets live up to expectations? Will they sell as much as LEGO hope? More importantly, are these sets any good?

Let's kick things off with this first review of Olivia's Tree House: a makeshift nature observatory standing in some kind of park or open space, manned (or perhaps girled) by Olivia.

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Olivia's Tree House
Set 3065
Release year: 2012
RRP: GBP 19.99
# of parts: 191
# of minifigs figures: 1
Links: Brickset

More pictures in my Brickshelf folder.


This set, above all the others, was the one that stood out the most when I first saw the Friends theme on sale. I think it was because, while the other sets had an obvious feminine design, the tree house looked like it could be adapted for boys' use with the right colour scheme. Instead I bought two other sets (3188 and 3931) first, and purchased this one only a few hours ago.


The Box

Promotional sticker
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Not sure if other countries have something like this, but in the UK Argos is having a LEGO Friends promotion: collect four "rewards stickers" from any of the Friends sets bought from Argos, and put them in a "BFF Rewards Book" (I am not making this up), and you can exchange them for a gift. I have no idea what this gift is, but ironically you have to be 18 or over to claim the gift...

Back of the box
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The back of the box shows the play features of the tree house, as well as the anatomy of a Friends figure, the other main Friends characters and some of the sets they feature in. A common feature among the Friends sets is that the featured character (in this case Olivia) is shown on the top right.

Box shape
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You may notice with the larger sets that the boxes have unusual curved sides to them. I'm wondering if this was something girls specifically asked for, or whether LEGO introduced it to distinguish these sets as being for girls. Apart from the unusual shape it gives the box, I don't think it really adds anything - but it's a neat trick.

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If you ever wanted to keep and store the box, you'll be glad to know it folds flat.

The Contents

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LEGO seems to be slipping back into its old ways with regards to packaging: compared to the length of the box there isn't much inside. We're presented with two numbered bags (which I think are too big for the contents, especially #1), a 16x16 Bright Green plate and the instructions.

The instructions
In case you were wondering, as I was, if we'd see Gewinne!son on the back of the instructions...

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...No! Surprisingly or unsurprisingly Gewinne!son has been replaced with Gewinne!th, along with a radically different, Friends-themed design.

Beginnings of the instructions
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The whole instruction book has the symbolic purple throughout, but is otherwise no different to any other instruction book. This first page shows how to put together one of these new figures.

The figure
While we're here, let's show the figure parts and what they look like put together.

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This is all there is to a Friends figure: a hairpiece, a head, a torso and a pair of legs. Note the connection between the torso and the legs.

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Here's Olivia assembled, and you might notice there's something wrong with this figure already. No? Well the front and back of the box shows Olivia wearing a hairband, but we don't see one here or included in the set. I can see this being an issue for some picky buyers, but there is also a picture at the front of the box - and on one of the sides - showing what the included figure looks like.
You might already know that Friends hairpieces can be worn on minifigures (and probably vice versa), which I thought was a very smart move on Lego's part. None of the other parts are interchangeable: you can't put a Friends head on a minifigure (the hole is too small), and you can't put a minifigure head on a Friends torso (the hole is too big). As might be obvious, you can't rotate a Friends figure's hands independently of the arms (Jack Stone style).

Minifigure with Friends figure hair
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Here's a generic female minifigure demonstrating the compatibility of a Friends hairpiece, which is made of a rubber-like material. You'll notice a hole on the side: there are three such holes in the hairpiece - one on each side and on top - for attaching hair accessories.

Friends figure with some minifigure hairpieces
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If you wanted to you could use minifigure hairpieces with a Friends figure. Some combinations will work better than others, and you're free to try just about anything to find the right look.

Let's have a look at some of these parts, because there's a lot of things to cover...

New colours
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This particular set showcases two new colours for 2012, as shown with these parts. The blue is what BrickLink is calling Bright Light Blue: very slightly lighter than Medium Blue, and the same colour as the S6 Sleepyhead's clothes. The purple is what BrickLink is calling Medium Lavender.
I'm particularly happy about these colours because I remember wanting to see pastel colours in LEGO. I can't wait to see what else shows up in that purple colour.

Bright Pink and Medium Blue
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A bunch of parts we wouldn't expect are now in Bright Pink and Medium Blue, as shown here. (The corner panels are Bright Light Blue, included to show just how similar they are to Medium Blue.) Most unusual of all are the pink SNOT bricks and "cheese" slopes, and the Medium Blue basket thing. Note the printed 1x1 Medium Blue brick, which represents a carton of cow's milk. (Huh?)

Foliage
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Making a welcome return to LEGO sets are flower parts in Dark Pink and Yellow... here's hoping Blue, and colours other than Red or White, come next. We also have the usual foliage parts in Green and Bright Green.

Here's why foliage is significant. After being brave enough to pose the question at this year's AFOLcon, I was told there were going to be new plant parts for 2012 (with the Friends theme, which at the time was unknown).
We know about the new plant stalk part (which will appear in S7), but never in a million years was did I expect these...

New flower parts
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I first saw these parts on the box of set 3188, and I thought LEGO had lost their minds. Butterfly-shaped flowers?! Ladybirds?! I knew they were trying to make a girly theme, but this was taking the cake.
But a closer look made more sense: we have three different flower shapes, including roses. Those bugs aren't necessarily flowers either, but extra shapes one can use to decorate their MOCs. Someone is going to find these extremely useful, and probably very expensive.
You get four of each shape in the set, for a total of 20 new flower parts. However, for some strange reason, these are all counted as one part.

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These new flower parts fit on plant stalks, but they're a very tight fit.

Animals
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Also included in this set is a very "feminine" kitten, along with a bird that sits in a birdhouse. I didn't even realise there was a bird in the set until taking this picture.

Stars of the show
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I picked these as the most desirable parts in the set. The Medium Lavender parts and Bright Pink SNOT bricks were no contest, while at least one of those birds has to be in just about any builder's collection. We also have 11 Medium Dark Flesh bricks to play with.


The Build

The very first thing the instructions show you how to build is this cat basket:

Cat basket
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Personally I don't like this kitten: it was the primary reason why I didn't pick this set up first. I think the old Belville cat would go better in this set, but then again maybe girls prefer kittens.

The tree house, part 1
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The remainder of bag #1 is for the base of the tree house, with our Bright Green plate coming into play.
For some reason the base incorporates a hiding place for jewels, which is what the Bright Light Blue container is for. Is there something Olivia isn't telling us? Maybe that this nature observatory thing is a front for something else?

The tree house, part 2
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Bag #2 has the parts for the rest of the tree house.

All of a sudden the instructions hit you with this:

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Seriously, they waited until now?! Well it's not too difficult to put these bits in, but they could easily have been introduced earlier.
What isn't made obvious at all on this page is that you'll end up with one ladybird piece left, which is used with the bird house.

The bird house
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Here's the bird house with the tree house, and the remaining ladybird part.

The completed set
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Olivia on another mission to save the world from the forces of not looking after animals.

Minifigure scale
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This gives an idea of how big the tree house is compared to a minifigure.

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Both Friends figures and minifigures are tall enough to reach the telescope. It's a little odd that the minifigure looks slightly older, despite being shorter.

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Giving the bird its new home. Minifigures aren't that much shorter than Friends figures, and with the skirt piece they'd be just as tall, so there's the slim possibility of coexisting.


Leftovers

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A lot less parts than I'd expected, but at least we have some cheese slopes.


The Verdict
I think this is a very good start for a girls-based LEGO theme; the build itself is similar to any other set, and there are no condescending juniorised parts (like in Belville). As mentioned before, it could easily be adapted for boys, or to some other theme, just by changing the colours of the parts. The only stand-out part is the figure, but the set's been designed so that the treehouse could be just as much for minifigures as it is for Friends figures.

The parts in this set are worth the price of entry, and there's plenty of them to warrant getting two or more of them for parting out. Those flower parts, and most likely the bird and Medium Lavender parts, are going to be in high demand - you just wait and see.

If there's one thing I don't like about the set, and one thing that put me off getting it in the first place, it's that darned cat. It could just as easily be replaced with a minifigure-style cat, or perhaps even the Belville cat. I don't even think the cat basket is necessary; if they're meant to be outdoors, I'd imagine the cat would use the opportunity to go wandering. At the same time, young girls (the target audience) might actually like it - and I suppose the cat ought to have somewhere to rest.


Design: 9/10
Very clever use of specific parts to create a tree-like structure, as well as the tree house itself. Colours could easily be substituted if it's not to your taste.

Build: 8/10
The only complication was placing 19 of the 20 new flower parts after the tree house was built; otherwise there was nothing difficult.

Parts: 8/10
A number of very useful MOC parts, with some in new and/or unusual colours; uses outside of the set may be limited however.

Playability: 8/10
Simple with room to play with the set as is, or to modify and even extend the tree house into whatever you want it to be.

Price: 7/10
Similar to Games: there could have been more parts for the price, but the new colours and parts in Bright Pink and Medium Blue come at a premium. If you see these discounted...

Based on these scores the Tree House gets a solid 8/10 - and one of these:

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Stay tuned for more!


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Edited by Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:01 PM.
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#2 Rufus

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:10 PM

Thanks for this great review, SilentMode!  Lovely to see the Friends hair on a minifig!  :thumbup:

The final decision was that Friends would go in the Town Forum, so I'll move it there shortly....

... moved, and Frontpaged :wink:

#3 Bonaparte

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:30 PM

I never thought I would write this: this is a Friends set I will buy  :thumbup:

The happiness this set spreads reminds me of how the good old Paradisia sets made me feel.

Regarding individual parts, what I like most are these because how useful they will prove as decoration and ornaments (for example for my sailing ships):

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Thanks SilentMode for this top notch review!

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#4 CM4Sci

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:33 PM

Great review, SilentMode! This set looks interesting, and I might pick it up for my niece. So many new parts, colors, I love it! If I'm not mistaken, in the photo if the back view of Olivia, it has 2009 on it..


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#5 surrideo

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:43 PM

Great review and if I had young female relatives I would definitely pick this up for them. However there are smaller sets in the line I believe and they may be required for birthday parties etc so I'll be on the lookout to see what other sets from the line you review. Thanks for the review and spending the money so I don't have to  :laugh:

#6 CarsonBrick

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:43 PM

Thanks for the review! I will make sure to pick this set up soon!
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#7 JackJonespaw

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:44 PM

Nice review! Although I hate to say it, the treehouse looks very nice!

#8 Otherworld

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 11:50 PM

Excellent review! I love how these set have a bunch of new accessories, and lots of parts in new light colors  :wub: The sets are already inventoried in bricklink (with the pictures of the new pieces) but they missed the lipsticks! I wonder how this lipstick piece works?

Thanks for the review!
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#9 Tamamono

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:11 AM

Thanks for the great review, Silentmode! I wasn't originally intending on picking this set up, but it's chalked full of so many yummy details that it might be hard to pass up! :laugh:

Also, thanks for the picture of Olivia's hair on the female minifigure! It looks great! :thumbup:

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#10 lostcarpark

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:14 AM

Having just reviewed Olivia's laboratory, I find myself quite wanting this set too. Great review.

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#11 SilentMode

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:26 AM

Thanks for the feedback folks, it made writing the review (and taking all those pictures) worth it in the end.

View Postlostcarpark, on 31 December 2011 - 12:14 AM, said:

Having just reviewed Olivia's laboratory, I find myself quite wanting this set too. Great review.
Good job on your review by the way; I also have the laboratory but I haven't opened it yet.
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#12 Darkdragon

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:35 AM

I love this set. I've wanted this one since the first leak pictures. Maybe it's because it reminds me of the treehouse I had/built as a child.  :classic:

Excellent review, I love looking through the pictures over and over.

#13 EM4CZ

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:35 AM

6 girl vote for Above Average  :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:

#14 Darkdragon

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:37 AM

View PostEM4CZ, on 31 December 2011 - 12:35 AM, said:

6 girl vote for Above Average  :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:

Way to contribute.  :hmpf_bad:

#15 Puffkuki

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:46 AM

Thanks for the review.  I am so looking forward to this when it comes out in Australia.  I also like that fact that it is interchangeable with the classic minifig.  I don't mind the cat except for it's face.  I think the mouth should have been black and I would have like to have seen the friends figure with moveable wrists but i guess if they did that then they would have muscular arms :D he he....  Just thinking about all this flowers, perhaps they decided to make a big deal of the fact that there were new flowers and dedicated a page to them when constructing the treehouse.  :)  Anyway, can't wait until March when they come out.  Great work :D  :classic: :thumbup:  :sweet:

#16 TheLegoDr

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:56 AM

Great review. I am excited for these sets for a few reasons. One, my daughter is named Olivia (although she has blue eyes). Two, new colors. Three, more foliage and brown pieces!!

This looks like it has a lot of new pieces that I will welcome into my collection. I may need to buy one for myself and one for my daughter. Good thing the price isn't too bad.

Keep up the great reviews.
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#17 prateek

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:00 AM

Great. These Friends sets are a peculiar bunch. While the models look basic, they actually have a nice parts selection. The only downsides to this line are the girl figures and the new oversized animals.

Edited by prateek, 31 December 2011 - 01:00 AM.


#18 Nightshroud99

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:06 AM

Err... I told myself I wouldn't buy them... But... it's so tempting now.  :oh:

I suppose I will have to give in, maybe catch this on sale.
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#19 Darth Hagrid

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:13 AM

Of COURSE they have to have someone shouting WIN! at us....
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#20 autobrick

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:21 AM

Thanks for the lovely review, SilentMode!

I was planning on picking up a couple of Friends sets (to get my hands on the lovely new pieces :cry_happy:) and your review just put this set on the short list. Other than the not-as-cute-as-intended kitten and the pieces in token girly colours (I like new colours, but I can't imagine how I would use them without getting more), I really like this set. The new flower pieces look great, the browns/foilage are quite useful and I think I can live with a couple of mini-dolls (would have been happier with minifigs, though).

#21 zed0

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:47 AM

Thanks for the review SilentMode.

I may well pick this up, if only for all the brown arches, the new flower pieces are interesting too however.
I notice that in your build the ladybird flower on the bird house is placed on a stud, how many of the other flower pieces can be attached in this manner?

#22 SilentMode

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:50 AM

View Postzed0, on 31 December 2011 - 01:47 AM, said:

I notice that in your build the ladybird flower on the bird house is placed on a stud, how many of the other flower pieces can be attached in this manner?
Only the bugs (butterfly and ladybird parts) can be put on studs, although the others can probably inserted into stud holes. And thank you :)
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#23 Esurient

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 02:13 AM

Thanks for the timely review! I am pleased that the the friends' hair is compatible with the normal minifig. The new flower parts and animals are also the reason why I am getting this set. New moulds, new designs. A must get for me! (at a sale of course) ;p
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#24 ZO6

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 02:15 AM

Wonderful review, SilentMode!  Great pictures too.

For the most part I'm quite pleased with how the Friends line turned out.  It's a shame the sets couldn't be slightly less in your face colourful and fluffy, but unfortunately society has an amazing capability of influencing what different groups of people are suppose to like.  My biggest beef with the line are the new figs, but at least they're not as out of scale as those from Belville.  

As you said, this is a lovely little model and would incorporate pretty well with other system sets.  The new colours are lovely, and some of the new parts are cute too.  I'm quite impressed with the range of little accessories and details spread throughout the set - very nice touches!

I look forward to seeing more of your reviews.  Top notch!

#25 lorax

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 03:00 AM

Thanks for such an excellent and thorough review.  

I am looking forward to getting this set, in particular for the flowers and bugs (I am a fan of the scala flowers, but they are getting increasingly expensive).  But I am also loving the colours and the animals.

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