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REVIEW 3315 Olivia's House


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Poll: REVIEW 3315 Olivia's House (91 member(s) have cast votes)

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  3. Average (15 votes [16.48%] - View)

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    Percentage of vote: 34.07%

  5. Outstanding (40 votes [43.96%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 43.96%

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#1 Pandora

Pandora

  • Hide the Zebras!


    Posts: 3892
    Joined: 05-February 11
    Member: 15845
    Country: UK

Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:32 PM

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Number – 3315
Name – Olivia’s House
Theme – Friends
Year – 2012
Minifigs – 3
Pieces – 695
Price – GB £69.99. EUR €74.99, US $69.99

Links: Brickset, Peeron - not listed yet, BrickLink, Shop@Home

Information from LEGO shop@home:

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Hang out at Olivia’s House!
Visit Olivia’s House with all of the LEGO® Friends! Olivia, her parents and her pet cat live in a big, bright house with lots of rooms for hanging out and having fun. Help Olivia to grill up a barbecue for the girls! Mow the lawn with the lawn mower. Take Olivia’s diary out of the drawer or go swing in the yard! Then, host a sleepover or have a party! Olivia’s House is built in sections for easy rearranging. Decorate, customize and rebuild it! Includes Olivia, Mom and Dad mini-doll figures.
  • Includes 3 mini-doll figures: Olivia, Mom (Anna), Dad (Peter) and cat (Kitty)
  • Features kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, barbecue, rooftop patio and outdoor table
  • Furniture includes a shower, toilet, sink, bed, vanity, couch, chair, coffee table, flat screen TV, refrigerator with opening door, cabinets, oven, sink, kitchen table and kitchen chairs
  • Accessories include diary, hairbrush, blender, salt and pepper shakers, frying pan, spatula, muffin tins, mixer, utensils, baking tray, bowl, sausage, chicken drumstick, carrots, apple, bunch of cherries and milk carton
  • Also includes flower accessory pack: 12 flowers, 4 ladybugs and 4 butterflies
  • Olivia’s House is built in sections to easily rearrange for a custom creation
  • Mow the lawn with the lawn mower!
  • Swing in the yard!
  • Barbecue a feast on the outdoor grill and invite the girls!
  • Host a party for all of the LEGO® Friends!
  • LEGO Friends pieces are fully compatible with all LEGO bricks
  • Collect all of the LEGO Friends sets for a whole world of LEGO Friends fun!
  • LEGO mini-dolls are LEGO minifigures made especially for the world of LEGO Friends with thousands of customizable hair and fashion combination

I’ve been looking forward to the Friends line.  Not really because it’s a girls’ line, but more because there seem to be a plethora of new parts and a wider variety of colours.  I’d looked at the preliminary photographs, just like everyone else, but I decided to reserve judgement until I actually saw the sets in the flesh, so to speak.  So when I visited the LEGO store recently....  Uhm, well, I actually found them irresistible.  I bought a number of sets (oops), but really this was the one I was most excited about.  Through building, I’ve found similarities here with both Paradisa and Classic Town – but is this really worth the hype?  Read on to find out.


The Box

You cannot fail to notice the colours; having exhausted pink with Paradisa, TLG have fallen back on the next girliest colour, purple.  Boy, there’s a lot of purple, but actually it isn’t too garish.  Not to me at least.  :look:  TLG have even re-designed the shape of the box for the new range – the front bevels downwards to the sides, and this makes the front of the box stick out a little more.  It also makes standing the box upright on its thin base slightly tricky as it has a tendency to fall forwards.


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The box front is delightfully colourful and shows the entire set with the figures interacting.  The five “Friends”, who will no doubt very soon become familiar faces, peer out from the top of the picture like a more talented and youthful version of the spice girls.  An inset in the bottom left shows the reverse of the set, and again has the figures interacting with it.  A further inset in the bottom right shows the three figures that come with this set.  We’ll be seeing more of them later.


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There’s tons going on on the back of the box.  We are introduced to Olivia (whose house this is, in case you somehow didn’t know), and even shown how to build her.  There are a ton of insets showing the figures enjoying various features of the house, plus there’s a link to the LEGO Friends website, and there are more pictures of the other Friends (with their associated sets, just in case you wanted to buy them too) and some useful bits of information.


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There’s a demonstration that, similar to a number of Town sets (memorably the 4644 Marina set for me) the build is modular, and the contents are organised into numbered bags which reflect the module being built.


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I’m a sucker for alternative builds, and although these aren’t really alternative builds but rather a re-arrangement of the modules of the house, I still really like that it’s here.


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There’s also a handy inset showing a number of the new parts (and some interesting old parts), to really whet your appetite for the treasures within.  Overall, despite being a rather large surface area on the back of the box, they’ve squeezed loads of information in, and managed to do so without it looking too crowded.


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The top of the box again shows us our three Friends figures, and includes an actual-size picture of Olivia, so you know just how big she is (and thus her co-figures are) before you buy the set.


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Here’s a better view of the actual-size picture, and with this you can also better see the slight patterning with butterflies, stars, paw-prints and flowers, which are actually pleasantly subtle.


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The bottom of the box has another picture of the set along with the usual warnings.  But also an unusual warning:


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Poor Peter, I’ve not seen such a declaration on the outside of a LEGO box before.  :cry_sad:


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The left and right sides are adorned with the Friends logo, and have either another picture of the set or an advert for the LEGO Club, and this to me clearly indicates that TLG don’t actually see the Friends line as the be-all-and-end-all of LEGO for girls.  Which is nice.  The sides also show the rather attractive, and modern, bevelling of the box.  It doesn’t serve any purpose, but I rather like this new design.



The Instructions


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Joy of joys, the instruction booklets (for there are two) and the sticker sheet, are all wrapped up with a stiff piece of cardboard to keep them flat.  My instruction booklets, as you will see, were pristine when released from this packaging.  I couldn’t have been happier.


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The front of the first booklet shows exactly the same picture and artwork as the front of the box, and has an indicator showing that it’s the first booklet.  So far so good.


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The back of the first booklet has a colourful picture of the five Friends holding Olivia’s house as if it were a LEGO model.  Think about that too much and your brain might melt.  They have the figs pretending to be the size of humans with a model of the house that they’re part of....  *huh*
Moving on, there’s also another gentle nudge towards the LEGO Friends website, complete with ubiquitous butterfly.


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The front of the second booklet looks both disappointingly and reassuringly like the front of the first, except that obviously it indicates that it is in fact the second booklet.  Steel yourself before you turn this over, you know what’s coming...


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Yes!  The gagne-child (latterly re-named Raging Demonic Child) has had a sex-change, and is now a moderately less offensive child, not least because she’s a girl.  Maybe the novelty has yet to wear off, or maybe it’s the soothing purple tones, I don’t know, but this child is sooo much more tolerable than the usual one.  Let’s keep her.  :grin:


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The inside of the instructions are laid out in exactly the same way as any other modern LEGO set I’ve built.  There are parts call-outs and diagrams, and on the back pages of the instruction booklets there’s a full inventory of all the parts which stretches to three pages in these small booklets.  The background to all the pages is purple.  You really have to like purple.  :look:


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Towards the back of the second booklet there’s also what looks like a poster of Heartlake City (with the eponymous heart-shaped lake).  It’s shown as a picture of a poster, but it really reminded me of the Paradisa posters that were included in the Paradisa sets.  I hunted around for a while, but I was disappointed to not find a Friends poster in the box or instructions anywhere.  Not that I’d put it up on the wall or anything, but just like the Paradisa poster, it’s nice to just have it.


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Next to the poster page, there’s a full run-down of all the Friends sets, complete with little check-boxes to tick when you’ve bought them all.  Cynical, me?


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The very last two pages show sets from other ranges, and I was surprised to see CREATOR there.  I can actually understand why; I loved the Lighthouse, and the Log Cabin, and again it reinforces with me that TLG aren’t just focusing on selling only Friends sets to girls.  I’ve also included the part of the page encouraging girls to sign up for the LEGO club.  It may just be a couple of pages, but I like the fact that this information is here and that TLG hope that girls may broaden their building horizons further than Friends.


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As already mentioned, there’s a sticker sheet, and it is shiny, shiny, shiny.  There are a number of stickers, and after much more consideration than usual, I decided not to apply any.  They are quite nice, though, and nicely printed; the shininess reminded me a lot of the shiny holographic stickers in Belleville, however I also remember the shiny stickers in the Lighthouse set, so they aren’t just for girly sets.  Something that did surprise me was the house number.  I learnt while reviewing 3675 General Store, that the stickers with numbers usually bore some relation to the set, but here the house is number 30 while the set number is 3315.  I would understand 33, or 15, or 3315 would work too, but 30?  Why 30?




The Parts


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The baseplates, in line with modern sets, are small full-thickness plates that are put together to make a larger area.  In fact, the size and number of the baseplates reflect the modular nature of the build.  Conveniently, they are all packaged together in a bag, so they aren’t rattling around the box getting damaged.


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On closer inspection there are two very useful 16x16 plates, one tan and one white.


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Plus there are six 8x18 plates – three bright green and three... pink!  Oooooh!

As indicated in the inset on the back of the box, the contents are in numbered bags relating to the corresponding build.  There are seven bags altogether, and within those bags there are frequently smaller bags containing the smaller pieces.  As you pick each bag up, you might just glimpse some of the new moulds or see a flash of an unusual colour!
I thought bags three, five and seven looked exciting (yes, alright, I got excited about kitchenware  :tongue:), but I also thought bag six looked rather... pink.  But we were expecting pink, weren’t we?  
As the build is modular in nature, I’ll show the contents of each bag as we build each section of the house and garden.  So, let’s start, controversially, with bag one.


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Bag one builds the sitting room and, as we will find with almost every parts bag, there are structural tan pieces for the walls along with a lot of white and lime green pieces... but not all that much pink.


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Bag one also contains a high number of mini-bags, mainly because the legs and torsos of the figures are individually wrapped.  Part of me thinks this is a bit wasteful, however part of me is happy there’s something to protect the printing on the torsos.  The hair and head pieces (aside from Peter’s hair which is unaccountably in the other minibag) were all loose in the main bag.  Considering the most printing is on the figures’ faces I found this surprising, but they emerged unscathed.  Aside from the figure parts, the rest of the pieces are reasonably run-of-the-mill, and as mentioned there is little pink, and rather more of the slightly less palatable lime green.

The first part of any build (with figures) is to put the figures together, so let me introduce you to Anna, Olivia and Peter:


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There are no doubt a number of pictures of these figures by now, but here are my impressions.  They all have pleasantly printed torsos with quite nice detailing, and the faces are quite pleasantly printed too.  It’s odd to see LEGO figures with noses, almost as odd as not having legs that move independently of one another, but not nearly so weird as having orange eyes.  Orange eyes??  I thought TLG were aiming for more realism with these figs??  I don’t know anyone with naturally orange eyes.  Another oddity is the colour disparity between Peter’s hair and beard.  Has he gone prematurely grey and he’s decided to dye it, but gone a shade too dark?  Hmm, it looks odd to me.  Anna and Olivia have the much-vaunted new hair, which is of a similar texture to the hair of the mad scientist in the series 5 CMFs.  Peter has normal ABS plastic LEGO minifigure brown hair.  No new hair for men.  :sadnew: Interestingly, the new female hair pieces have little holes both on the top and on the left hand side (as you look at them) for inserting crowns and feathers, and maybe flowers in future?


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Yes, indeed even flames can be inserted into the little attachment holes on the sides of the hair, with an interesting result.


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There are plenty of pictures comparing the size of the Friends mini-dolls to regular minifigs, but I thought I'd compare my own sig-fig (Pandora) with Olivia.  As you can see, Olivia is a little taller (and a little slimmer :hmpf_bad: ) and when the hair is swapped over, the result is far from flattering.  The Friends hair is indeed interchangeable with those worn by our minifigs, but it somehow manages to make Pandora look... broader.  :cry_sad: Anyway, it's the wrong colour, so it'll just have to be changed back. :hmpf_bad:


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The backs of these figures reveal very few details, except moulded pockets on Peter’s posterior, and the back of Anna’s slingbacks.  If you look closely, you can see the copyright is for 2009 and is embossed into the backs of the figures.


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You may be wondering why there’s another picture of parts, and you may even notice that these parts are from the second bag.  That’s because towards the end of building the sitting room, you unexpectedly have to open the second bag.  On embarking on this build thinking it was all brilliantly organised into separate bags, this did not bode well.  Nevertheless, some of the parts in the second bag are intriguing.  The smoothly curved purple pieces are lovely, and are present in a good number.


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The minibag in the second bag contains a good number of the new flower and bug moulds.  Here you can see you get four each of the three new types of flower, butterflies and ladybugs.  The only minor disappointment is that they are all red, but hopefully new colours will become more common too.  The new moulds are detailed, and the rose mould is particularly pretty.  I would be overjoyed to see a binful of those on a pick-a-brick wall!  :wub_drool:


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The sitting room, as one might expect given the parts, is mostly neutral colours with lime green and pink highlights.  This will be a general theme throughout the house, so stop now if the colour mix gives you a headache.


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I really like the details added by the 1x1 round bricks in columns on either side of the windows.  I’ve shown the room without furniture because it actually looks like an unfurnished room.  I know that sounds silly, but the 1x2 dark bluish-grey modified grille bricks really do look like vents, and the white at the top and the bottom looks like coving and skirting board respectively.


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With furniture, like any room, the room looks smaller.  There’s a good view of the plasma television, but as I haven’t applied the sticker, the family aren’t able to watch the talent show rubbish that was supposed to be on.  :tongue:  


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The lovely curved purple pieces make a gorgeous-looking sofa and comfy chair; I really do think these furniture pieces look stunning.  The scale is appropriate for all the items, and with a fairly simple coffee table and vase the room is furnished.  This was the point in the build where it really hit home – this house really is furnished.  Properly.  Not just sparsely, but fully.  It made me excited to see what was next.



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Having forgiven TLG for not having the whole sitting room in bag one, and having carefully put aside the few unused pieces from bag two (specifically the new flower and bug moulds), I moved on to bag three.  The main parts are again mostly white, tan, and lime green with very little pink, but the minibags look very interesting.


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Yeah there’s a brightly coloured bagful of small parts, including cherries, but looook!  Medium blue cookware!  :grin:   And cupcake moulds, and cutlery!  And a spatula!  :cry_happy:


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On spreading out the contents of the minibags you can see just how many new pieces there are in those little bags.  I really don’t think you have to be female to get excited at the idea of giving your minifigs utensils with which to eat their dinner.  I would be amazed if the MOCers amongst you didn’t get excited at the prospect of new parts, even if they are for minifigs to cook and eat with.  Can you see it?  The printed milk carton?  I wasn’t expecting that.  I was not expecting to see a 1x1 printed brick, and especially not a milk carton and especially not... well, you’ll see.


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The kitchen forms the front doorway to the house, and you can see the bugs at the front from the bag two minibag.  There’s a window next to the door – both of which are reassuringly Classic Town in nature.


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The build follows the same colour scheme as before, and the pink awning over the front door is all that’s needed to give the impression of a lot of pink.  The lamps outside the front door are a quaint detail, as is the further pink awning over the window.  The left side is bare, and the technic pins attest to the modular nature of the overall build – that this will be attached to another “module”.


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Inside the kitchen, well, it’s fully furnished!  The food processor is just great.  There are no unconventional parts, but I found myself thinking “why didn’t I think of that?”  The numerous kitchen appliances are dotted about the kitchen surfaces and I really was surprised to see an electric whisk as a minifig utensil.  There’s a much-beloved drawer unit, and a sink with a plughole.


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From this side you can see that there’s a refrigerator, complete with shelves and salt and pepper pots on top.  There’s a modest table whose surface is covered with plates (complete with a little fruit) and yet another cupcake.  All in all, yet another room crammed.


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Here’s a better view of this delightful kitchen furniture.  The utensils are hidden away!  There are knives and forks in the drawers; a baking pan in the oven and the glorious milk carton?  It’s hidden away in the refrigerator!  You can also see the food processor better here.  It’s really simple, but works so well.  I will grudgingly accept that it is a little odd to only have a milk carton in the fridge, but, you know what?  Who cares, at least there is something in there, and it’s a printed 1x1x1 medium blue brick!



Riding the high of the kitchen and associated paraphernalia, we move on to... Bag four, the contents of which are a little more colourful than those of its forerunners.


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There’s more pink for a start, and a number of smoothly curved blue pieces, and a little yellow too.  There’s a little less lime green, and a lot more white.


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The contents of the minibags are considerably more pink, however there are some interesting non-pink pieces.  The gems are not a new colour in trans light blue, but there’s a cat!  And a handbag!  The cat is cartoonishly cutesy, as is the handbag, but they are still very welcome additions, and you never know when you might need them.  The dark pink 1x1 flower edged plates aren’t new, but there’s an impressive quantity here.  Again the hairbrush has been around for a long time, but it’s always nice to have one.


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The front of the bedroom has a lovely balustrade outside the window, and the dark pink 1x1 flower edged plates are put to good use to decorate this.  The cutesy cat walks a death-defying tight rope along the vibrantly pink balustrade, and also serves as external decoration.  If its cutesy look irritates, then it is (like all LEGO pieces) extremely easily removed.


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While the right side has a doorway to connect the bedroom to the other upstairs room, the left side has a blank wall, but then considering all the decoration (if I’d put the stickers on) and all the furniture (which we’ll come to shortly), it’s actually a bit of a relief to see a blank bit of wall.


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Inside the bedroom there is once again a full display of furniture and decorations.  The bed looks great, and I am greatly relieved to see that TLG eschewed the idea of a pink bedspread and instead made it this wonderfully bright azure blue.  There’s a bedside cabinet with a little lamp and storage for a dark pink book (yes, a dark pink book!), and the cutesy handbag sits on the bed.


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The other side of the room is kitted out with a dressing table and stool, complete with filmstar lightbulbs over the mirror (sticker not applied, sorry) and some scented looking pots and jars.  It really does look like a little girl’s bedroom, and like the other rooms looks full without being too busy.  The double window at the front of the room is a nice feature, and before placing the bed I wished they had been balcony doors, however that wouldn’t leave enough space for the furniture.


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Here’s a better view of the bedroom furniture, and you can see that although there’s a unifying colour scheme, that colour scheme isn’t solely pink.  The dressing table includes another working drawer, and the bedside cabinet is imaginatively realised.



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Bag five again contains the requisite amounts of white, tan and lime green, with little pink, but there are some more interesting pieces here too.  This picture shows the contents of both the main bag and the minibag too.  The trans blue pieces to the far left are most intriguing, but if you draw your eyes away you can see a good number of medium blue 2x2 tiles, a few pink pieces, including working drawers (yay!), and a few more of those dark pink 1x1 plates with flower edges.  You can also spot a couple of metallic silver 1x1 round plates.  :sweet:


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Put all of this together and you have another room module.   The front looks a little bare as I still haven’t applied any stickers, but there are stickers to denote flowers to be placed on the side of the house.


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Once again the white and lime green 1x1 round bricks are effectively used as column detailing around the windows, and the majority of the pink comes from the awning over the windows themselves, and the base plate.


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As you see when we look inside the fully furnished bathroom, that pink baseplate isn’t really visible.  The attractive medium blue tiles, interspersed with more functional 2x2 white plates, make it really look like a tiled bathroom.  The shower is ingenious, and I just love the use of the trans light blue garage roller door pieces to form the shower screen.  It, like the rest of the furniture, it instantly recognisable, and if you so desired “functional” too (by which I mean you could open the screen doors and place a minifig inside the shower; there is no plumbing here).
In addition to the wonderfully designed shower, there’s another sink, similar to the one in the kitchen, and a toilet (every bathroom really should have one) which manages to look convincingly like a toilet despite using very few parts, and when we look from the other angle...


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... you can see the drawer unit, and what would be a SNOT mirror above it if I’d applied the mirror sticker.  You can also see the doorway that connects the bathroom to Olivia’s bedroom.  At this point one might get upset that the house has only one bedroom, but I choose to believe that Olivia’s parent’s bedroom, and indeed the staircase to the upper floors, are situated in the cutaway part of the house, because really another bedroom isn’t necessary here and we’ve had to suspend our pedantry in a number of other LEGO sets without any detriment to the fun that can be had with them.


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A better view of the bathroom furniture.  The sink is simple enough, but having the parts to make it is another matter; those 1x1x1 white corner panels are not that easily acquired.  The pink drawers in the cupboard are as great as always, and the toilet is a much more modern design than that featured in the unusual SNOT based alternative build of 6403 Paradise Playground:


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Overall, the bathroom furniture, including the great shower design, lives up to the furnishing in the rest of the house.  With four of the modular rooms built, the house is beginning to take shape.



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Bag six is the most pink of all the bags.  There are a remarkable number of dark pink 3x4 slopes, and considering this is the first time we’ve seen them in this colour, that seems rather generous.  The 1x2 medium blue tiles are attractive, and not that common unless you own multiple copies of 10185 Green Grocer (in which there are 27).  The 1x12x3 white brick arch is not hugely plentiful in many other sets, even though it’s been around since 1994 and we must not ignore the glorious trans dark pink umbrella.  It is gloriously pink and casts its pinky shadow over all the white pieces it shades.  Which is great, just as long as you like pink.


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Given that bags one and two made one “module”, it seems fitting that bag six should pay that back and make two “modules” (although bag 7 will go one step further making 3 16x8 baseplates worth of detail).  The dark pink 2x3 slopes not-unexpectedly form a roof, complete with a little chimney and a butterfly on top.  It is extremely pink.  This is where the majority of the pink in this set is.


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The 1x12x3 white brick arch gives the interior of the roofspace a charming architectural detail and keeps it from being blocky and square.


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The other contents of bag six are used to make a delightful roof terrace; furnished of course.  There’s a swivelly sunlounger, which isn’t pink but rather tastefully composed of medium blue and lime green, and the trans dark pink umbrella casts a gentle pink hue over the white pieces of the ensemble.  A further butterfly rests lazily on one of the balcony’s posts.


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I’m relived the new flower pieces are here in red rather than pink, even though the red somewhat jars with the overwhelming pinkness of the rest of the terrace.  The shape of the flowers is a great new mould, and they feel more substantial than the old style flower sprues.  It still feels a bit like TLG are trying these new flower moulds out – we’ve been given four of each one, but they aren’t the only flowers used in this set, as we’ll see shortly.


Bag seven is the final bag, and it (and its minibags) contains an almost magical array of colours.  


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There’s even dark red here, albeit in the singular form of a 1x1 round brick.  Note also the white and light pink old-style flower sprues.  There’s even a Fabuland flower (in yellow) and leaf part.  But.. but.. we have new flower moulds now!   Why are we still getting old flower moulds??   :cry_sad:
Aside from the foliage, there are also a pair of metallic silver 1x2 grille tiles which, while not being particularly rare, are still always welcome.  Of note also is the bright light blue 4x4 round plate, which is only available in this colour in this set, the printed envelope tile and the 2x1 tan slope with cutout which is new in tan for 2012.  The technic parts aren’t new, or rare, but they’re here.. in a girls’ set!  :oh:


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The garden is as fully furnished as the rest of the house.   The swing is imaginatively constructed from the technic pieces and I’m so glad TLG haven’t shied away from including them.  Constructing the swing is not challenging, but it’s a break from the brick on brick building and it could have been patronisingly omitted.  I would expect exactly the same imaginative construction in a set that wasn’t slathered in purple and butterflies, so I’m heartened to see it in a set that is.  Another medium blue dish hosts a lonely weiner, and there is an instantly recognisable lawn mower.  :wub:  The Fabuland flower has become a large sunflower in a pot, and the 2x2 plate and tile tiling pattern continues, this time in shades of grey.


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At the back you can better see that there’s a BBQ here, which reminds me a bit of the CREATOR house 5771 Hillside House and the City house 8403 Family Home.  This version is fairly substantial, with a large grill and hood, and the medium blue spatula is employed here as a BBQ instrument.  The dark red 1x1 round brick has transformed into a ketchup bottle and of all the 1x1 round plates that could have been added to the top of the trans clear goblet, an orange one is the one that is required by the instructions, thus making, presumably, carrot juice.


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A further little garden area forms the front pathway, again utilising the grey shaded plate and tile pattern attractively.  There are some more old style flower sprues, and a charming red post box.


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The idyllic white picket fence continues, separated by cute gateposts, and lastly there’s a little vegetable patch for growing carrots – presumably to make juice out of.


When all the modules are brought together with the figures, there is an incredibly busy set to see.



The Build


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The first impression you get from looking at the built set is: “wow, that really is kinda pink”,  but if you look closer, and think about removing all the pink slopes and pink baseplates (which are not that many pieces really in a set this size) this could easily be transformed into... a non-pink house.  This isn’t a pink house at all, really, and actually the pink feels a bit like an afterthought.  It’s almost as if LEGO designed a really cool and detailed house, that looks amazing, and then someone in marketing said “well, yes, it’s nice, but it’s for girls so it needs more pink”.  


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When the garden is put together with the fully constructed house, well it makes the best house set I’ve built out of LEGO.  There are just so many things going on, and I was thinking about this – these are the details I love to see in other people’s MOCs.  These are the types of things I look at while browsing the tables at LEGO shows, and often I look at some fantastic MOC or other and wish that an equally detailed set was made.  And now it is.
Putting the house and garden together, they flow, and they compliment one another wonderfully.  The 4x4 lime green round corner plates join together to make a flowerbed... that Anna’s decided to mow... :look: And the little pathway bit of garden now looks much bigger.


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From the back you can see the garden extends around the side of the house and you can see how the rooms all fit together.  The doorways between the bedroom and bathroom line up, and the bases for the kitchen and sitting room extend out beyond the main body of the house.  This really looks like a doll’s house, which is probably intentional.  There’s easy access to all parts of the interior and although most of the furniture is facing the back, the arrangement doesn’t look contrived.  Thanks to the modular nature of the rooms, if better access to one is desired then they can easily be separated back out.  Indeed, as the picture on the back of the box suggested, they can be rearranged into various configurations.


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From a different angle there are still new things to spot, such as the detailing on the back of the comfy chair afforded by the 1x2 dark bluish grey grille brick.  Again, here, you can see that most of the pink comes from the baseplates, with a little provided by furniture details like the drawers and sink in the bathroom.  There are so many pieces to fiddle with that the temptation to dive in and play is almost overwhelming.


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Once this grand house is built, there are a remarkable number of pieces left over.  Some, like the cherries, are easily just added into the set, but I have stuck faithfully to the instructions in order to provide a true sense of what is “extra”.




Conclusion

I really love this set.  I thought I’d like it when I saw the preliminary pictures, and really thought I’d like it when I picked up the box in the store.  Having built it, I love it.  It really isn’t that girly at all; there’s just a bit of pink here and there.

Design  9/10  The modular nature of the rooms and the open back of the house gives easy access to all the treats within.  Having it separated out into builds per baseplate allows you to focus your excitement one room at a time, and the immense number of parts don’t appear overwhelming.  The size of the garden is appropriate for the size of the house, and the rooms contained within are all you could really want.  The colour scheme is pleasant, and if you find the pink offensive then it can easily be swapped out as there isn’t really that much of it.  I actually found the lime green to be considerably more egregious, but it could have been worse.  It could have been orange.

Parts  10/10  There are so many wonderful parts here.  I will not stop going on about the milk carton; I want moar of those, definitely.  :drool:  In addition, there’s the huge amount of kitchen utensils and cookware, and the new flower and insect moulds. Just so many great parts that I’ve unconventionally decided to include them in a picture here:

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In addition to the fabulous new parts, it should be noted that there’s a good amount of tan and white pieces here.  The tan wall parts may look simplified, or even juniorised, but this is a big set, and the concept of placing brick on brick will not be lost on the builder, and the same pieces are scattered through all sorts of sets over the years – they have not just been made for and included in this set.  If it is acceptable to use 8 white 1x6x5 panels in 7733 Truck and Forklift, then having 6 in tan in this set is not the end of brick building as we know it

Figures  7/10  I don’t really like the figures that much; give me a good old fashioned minifig any day, but really, they could have been so much worse.  They are at least almost the same size as a minifig, and they do at least stand on studs.  The printing detail is great and the cross-compatible hair is very handy, but I’m still not really excited by them.  As has been said by others on Eurobricks, I’m disappointed that LEGO have abandoned their raceless yellow colour and made the figures blandly Caucasian; apart from the freakishly weird orange eyes, that is.  Why make figures clearly intended to be more like “real” people and then give them orange eyes??   :wacko: Oh well, the set is great; the figures will be going into a sorting box.

Build  9/10  I had so much fun building this and I was excited at every turn to move onto the next part.  There’s very little repetition, and all the steps are logical without being too simple or too fussy.  The manner of the instructions was exactly the same as any other set I’ve built; there was no dumbing down whatsoever, and yet again TLG have included a small amount of Technic pieces in an ostensibly girly set.  Bravo TLG.  Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable build, and one of my favourites since 5770 Lighthouse Island.

Playability  9/10  With the easy-access rear of the house, playability is immense with this set.  Throw in the huge amount of furniture and accessories and to my mind it’s the best doll’s house ever, with the added advantage of being LEGO.  Thus when I no longer want it to be a house, it can be whatever my building ability will let me change it into, or I can modify it.  I may decide that a bathroom is completely unnecessary, and using my existing LEGO, turn it into a party room complete with a pool table and a bar.  I may also decide that I want to play with the house and the garden at the same time and so swizzle the garden plates round the back of the house.  All in all, there are far more aspects of playability in this house than in many of the CREATOR houses, and a lot of the Town sets.

Price  9/10  I paid £69.99, that is evident from the price sticker on the bottom of the box.  There are 695 pieces, including a lot of new pieces and pieces in unusual colours.  3368 Space Centre is exactly the same price (£69.99) and contains 494 pieces, and isn’t really a set that appeals that much to me – it has some interesting parts, but nothing I’d get too excited over.  So, yes this set is a lot of money, but comparatively there doesn’t seem to be a huge “Friends” mark-up.  On the contrary I would consider this set decidedly better value, and considering how much fun it has given me in the short time I’ve had it, I believe it was worth every penny.

Overall  88%

I look at a lot of MOCs on Eurobricks, including (perhaps particularly) the buildings and I enjoy seeing new modular buildings people have created to fit with the now-legendary Grand Emporium and Green Grocer etc, but some of the most common questions asked in the discussion threads for these MOCs are “Does it have an interior?” and “Is there any furniture?”.  One of the delights of 8403 Family Home (City House) was that there was a modicum of furniture provided.  There is no such lack here.  This house is fully furnished, and the furniture is beautifully designed.  The detailing is splendid, and it is clear the designer of this set really thought about what would make a great set first, and then what would appeal to girls second.  Children are creative and imaginative, and that combined with the piecemeal nature of this set should provide fertile ground for endless variations with the pieces available here.  If the pink here offends you, it really would not take much effort to swap it out, and once that is done (and possibly the handbag is removed) there really isn’t much here that’s all that girly, although admittedly I haven’t applied the stickers.  Everything else about this set is as LEGO-ey as any other LEGO set I’ve built, and I certainly don’t just build Paradisa and Fabuland.  It should also be remembered that this set is SYSTEM, and thus completely compatible with minifigs, who can be swapped in to replace the Friends figures if they don’t appeal.  :grin:  Whether you’re a girl or not, this is a great set, with a ton of fantastic features.  In fact it’s so good that I’m very tempted to go out and buy another one.

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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 Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:16 PM.
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#2 prateek

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:45 PM

Haha! As Hinckley would say, "Pandora reviews" are awesome! :laugh:
While this set isn't very girly per say, it's great, and I'm sure it will be popular amongst the little girls. Even though there are lots of fun things to do with this, the new pieces are definitely the highlight, especially the utensils! :wub:

Edited by prateek, 03 January 2012 - 08:46 PM.


#3 Mr Spielbrick

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:41 PM

What a thorough review! Many thanks!

Damn fine set, too. Takes me back to the Bellville kind of sets my sister and I used to play with.

One small niggle: you say the boys don't get new hair. While the mold is indeed not new, the colour sure seems to be. It's reddish brown, isn't it? As opposed to dark brown? Counts as new in my book, but that's probably something people have different opinions on. :)

Anyway, great set and an excellent review! Thanks!
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#4 sharky

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:44 PM

Great review.  I think Lego really hit a home run with this set. Just the fact that all the rooms have furniture is a real plus to me.  Bravo!  :thumbup:

My only critique is that I wish it was more architectural and less of a dollhouse style, but I'm not the target demographic who will play with it.  :grin:  This style of house gives easier access to play.

Edited by sharky, 03 January 2012 - 10:02 PM.


#5 lightningtiger

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:52 PM

I'm impressed....both by the set and your review 'Pandora'....thanks for taking the time to do it. :sweet:
A fusion of city and creator building ideas.....take that Belville and a lot of original build tricks too - my favourite....the shower screen - pure genius ! :grin:
More kitchen ware  :wub: , oh, don't you feel a shopping centre or something like it coming in the future ? :wink:
Another lawn mower  :thumbup: , BBQ  :thumbup: and to get girls working with some technic parts  :thumbup: - this set is a huge winner....maybe I should buy it for the wife as a present....comes to Oz too late for Valentine's Day though ! :cry_sad:
The lounge room is simple, yet fantastic with the TV and other furniture around it. :thumbup:
This theme is getting better and better by each review.
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#6 Sandy

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:22 PM

Thanks for the awesome review! This set is definitely a must-have for me, even though I don't like the fact that the mini-dolls are not compatible with my minifigs aside from the hair. But I've kinda gotten over that already, and like Fabuland figures, the mini-dolls can be used for many wacky hijinks (such as a Friends-themed Mafia) in the future. :wink:

This really is the most complete LEGO house to date. Even though the actual building is rather simplistic, it's the plentitude of furniture and accessories that really make the set. They are really my main incentive to get this set, too, since I always buy sets for parts.

View PostMr Spielbrick, on 03 January 2012 - 09:41 PM, said:

One small niggle: you say the boys don't get new hair. While the mold is indeed not new, the colour sure seems to be. It's reddish brown, isn't it? As opposed to dark brown? Counts as new in my book, but that's probably something people have different opinions on. :)

I noticed that too. It's a welcome addition to my overflowing collection of hairpieces, as are the new female hairpieces. :grin:

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#7 Bonaparte

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:10 PM

What an amazing review you bring us Pandora!

I'm totally falling for the new Friends theme with all those happy colors and amazing new pieces  :wub:

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#8 DrWeevil

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:24 PM

Excellent review!

So much play value! It's actually a shame about the pink roof - if they'd made the colours a bit more 'gender neutral' they'd probably have captured a much wider market - I can see plenty of boys wanting such a set too.

Really there's only one word I need to say here:

Blender!

#9 Athos

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:05 AM

View PostPandora, on 03 January 2012 - 08:32 PM, said:

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Poor Peter, I’ve not seen such a declaration on the outside of a LEGO box before.  :cry_sad:

:laugh:

This comment was the highlight of the review.

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#10 Dakar A

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:19 AM

Great reveiw Pandora :thumbup: !
I enjoyed reading this reveiw, and getting my first glimpse at this set (Although it WAS a little long winded :grin: ). My main overriding thought for this was that, if in real life, the cuttlery and appliances would look as though they belonged in the 60's with all of their lead filled yumminess! :laugh:  I PROBABLY won't be getting this set, not because I'm a guy, but because of the price, and a (sadly) limited ammount of Lego buying power. Howerver, this reveiw and Hinckley's reveiw of the bake shop have convinced me to try and get at least one or more Friends set when they come in to my local Target. Great job with the photography and the reveiw.
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Edited by Dakar A, 04 January 2012 - 12:20 AM.

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#11 brickie

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:22 AM

Brilliant review; my granddaughters are going to love this.

Poor petite Peter; he has my sympathy. It could be something to do with those tight pants he's wearing.  :sceptic:

#12 Speedy

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:28 AM

Thanks for the great review  :thumbup:  This set looks great; I'll be off to check the price here after this post :wub: Of the sets I'd seen, this one looked really dull at a glance.  The outside building lacks some detail. I was a bit disappointed with the City Corner set when I got it, and it's kept me away from Town sets overall.  They're just too 'naked' for me.  But with this set, you intrigued me with the unfurnished room, and then I was sold by the kitchen.  The designers put a lot of effort into this set.

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#13 slovakiasteph

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:07 AM

Thanks so much for this great review, Pandora!  I laughed in several places.

Was unsure of this set before, but this review made me want it... LEGO really should compensate reviewers as salespeople!   :laugh:
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#14 Flipz

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:20 AM

View PostSandy, on 03 January 2012 - 10:22 PM, said:

Thanks for the awesome review! This set is definitely a must-have for me, even though I don't like the fact that the mini-dolls are not compatible with my minifigs aside from the hair. But I've kinda gotten over that already, and like Fabuland figures, the mini-dolls can be used for many wacky hijinks (such as a Friends-themed Mafia) in the future. :wink:

I am officially adding my name to the sign-up for this.  Consider me pre-registered. :laugh:

View Postslovakiasteph, on 04 January 2012 - 01:07 AM, said:

Thanks so much for this great review, Pandora!  I laughed in several places.

Was unsure of this set before, but this review made me want it... LEGO really should compensate reviewers as salespeople!   :laugh:

They should...or at least Pandora should!  Her review not only put this set on my "to buy" list...I want to buy TWO!  What?  Why are you all looking at me like that?!?  :laugh:

Also, in the completed shot, I noticed the pink tiles on top of the swingset line up perfectly with the pink floor of the upper level...nice touch, Lego.  I'm not a big fan of that shade of pink (the darker pink is much more palatable, IMO), but the attention to detail is a huge plus in my book.  LEGO, take note: size may impress some buyers, but it's the detail that makes a masterpiece.  If it weren't for the obnoxious doll-figs, this set would be a 10 in my book.  :thumbup:

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#15 The Crazy One

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:42 AM

I actually really like this set, but the figures are a let down for me. What I like is the interior design. :wub: The drawing room and kitchen are great as is upstairs. I doubt I'll get this set but I am definitely using these designs for the furniture in some of my sets and mocs.

#16 just2good

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:11 AM

Nice review! :classic:
If I pick up this set, it would be for the parts. According to bricklink, Peter has a new hair color! Also, I do not like how TLG is using 16x16 thin plates instead of baseplates. :sadnew:

#17 Flipz

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:57 AM

View Postjust2good, on 04 January 2012 - 03:11 AM, said:

Nice review! :classic:
If I pick up this set, it would be for the parts. According to bricklink, Peter has a new hair color! Also, I do not like how TLG is using 16x16 thin plates instead of baseplates. :sadnew:

Actually, I like this move.  The 16x16 plates allow for the construction of more modular buildings and sets, something that is EXTREMELY useful if you plan to build a set for photographing a series (i.e. a brick comic, a Heroica RPG/mafia/whatever scene, etc.).  I'm actually working on a series of modular sci-fi interiors, and the 16x16 plate setup turns out to be perfect for what I need (I've actually simplified the wacky connection system I had in favor of the design from this set).  So I, personally, like the move; even if it's not in the right colors for what I need, the new designs provide me with great inspiration.

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#18 WhiteFang

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:46 AM

Splendid review ever! Thank you Pandora. I never into Friends theme yet, but seeing so many great reviews recently has kind of tilt my interest a little bit more. For sure, I am picking up this as I am always fond of town houses and the interior is fabulastic. I am excited about those new elements! Detailed review as ever!  :thumbup:

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#19 dr_spock

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:04 AM

Awesome review Pandora.  I feel like I could do a Melrose Place with it.  :classic:

#20 lorax

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 11:59 AM

Brilliant review Pandora.

And so many lovely accessories that I need.  The kitchen accessories and the flowers in particular are just delicious.  I also love how they have done the shower, very clever.

I love this set even more now (and it will go on my 'have to own it' list).

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#21 JopieK

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:04 PM

nice set, nice review! Thanks! A lot of nice parts.

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#22 SilentMode

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:20 PM

I'm going to say this set is worth an Average; there are some very cool techniques involved (such as the use of garage doors for the shower) and the final build looks okay too. I personally wouldn't buy one but it has a rather good selection of parts.
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#23 AndyC

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:06 PM

Well darn. I really thought this was a set I wouldn't like, but your review has defintely swayed me towards the 'want' side of things. I'm still not entirely convinced about the friends figures, but 9 parts (the hair being fig friendly) in a 600+ set is hardly worth worrying about. I'm actually surprised by how few of those 1x6x5 panels are used, I was expecting a set this size to have quite a lot more. And all that interior furniture is to die for.

I'm not sure I'll have the cash to actually get this, but I'm certainly tempted and if I ever see it on discount it'll be near impossible to resist.
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#24 JackJonespaw

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:06 PM

Very nice review! That;s one big house!  :wub:

#25 Aanchir

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 06:01 PM

Great review! I really like this set as well. It definitely shows that TLG wasn't just painting a boys' set pink and hoping girls would buy it, but rather designing a set with many details girls would like-- and in some cases, details they might not have been able to afford or get away with in a conventional "boy-oriented" set, such as the level of interior detail that might for a young boy be just "filler" that drives up the cost of the set. Naturally we, as AFOLs, have had a chance to develop an appreciation for these sorts of details no matter what our gender!

I'm very fond of this color scheme. Magenta (124 Bright Reddish Violet, the color of this set's roof) is a lovely color that I feel is terribly underused, with sets often opting for the bolder Dark Purple (268 Medium Lilac) or the brighter Dark Pink (221 Bright Purple). It's nice to see it in this set as the principal "girly" color, accenting the lovely tan walls and vibrant green grass! The lime accents are also very nice IMO-- unlike many AFOLs, I'm a big fan of lime.

The figures are cute-looking. I interpreted the mismatch of Peter's beard and hair as his beard not having grown in all the way. Perhaps this would have been better depicted if there were a "stubble" texture in his regular hair color rather than a lighter, intermediate tone between his skin and hair colors. The pockets on his pants are a great detail! And his hair, while not a new piece, is new in Reddish Brown. It's also worth noting that his arms seem to be unique compared to all of the female figs' arms. All three figs are stylish, but I feel he earns the most attention in this set since he is as of yet the only male fig in the Friends sets. The cat is adorable and remains my favorite animal from this new theme.

I am a bit confused as to why you didn't apply the mirror stickers to this set? Unlike many of the stickers here, they are very plain and have no "girly" or theme-specific details. And as of yet, stickers are the only way a mirror can be done in LEGO-- there have not been any chrome 1x2x3 or 1x4x3 panel pieces yet, unfortunately. Of course, I fully understand if you perhaps wanted to reserve them in case one day you need a mirrored surface on a piece other than those for which the stickers were intended in this set.

I'm quite surprised that the stickers are all on one sheet-- in the past, I've been more used to metallic stickers being on a separate sheet from other stickers that don't need any chrome surfaces. But I guess it was more economical to do it this way, especially as it allowed some small mirrored areas on the trophy sticker, the bath rack sticker, etc. I'm also amused that the copyright/production information is printed in magenta rather than black-- since there is black on this sticker sheet, this must have been purely a stylistic decision. :tongue:

Anyway, thanks so much for this review! This is definitely the "flagship set" of the first Friends wave, and it's certainly much more impressive than any dollhouse released in Belville or Paradisa (in fact, the only set resembling a dollhouse in Paradisa was Poolside Paradise, unless my memory is failing me). Since my mom came from a family of three girls, I grew up familiar with Playmobil dollhouses, and this is the closest a LEGO set has come to that level of play and realism.

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