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Review: 3183 Stephanie's Cool Convertible


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#1 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:36 AM

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Hello all, this is my first ever review, so here goes:

Set:  3183 Stephanie's Cool Convertible
Price: US$ 14.99/€13.85
Part Count: 130
Official Description (from LEGO.com):

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Cruise in style with Stephanie’s Cool Convertible!

Take the LEGO® Friends and their puppy on the road in style with Stephanie’s Cool Convertible then make it sparkle with carwash accessories!

Cruise in style indeed!  Let's take a closer look, shall we:

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Box Front by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Here's the obligatory front of the box pic, showing Stephanie in all her glory, along with the rad sports car she has...  As has been said plenty of times before, the Friends figs are definitely different than a standard minifigure, however, they are built to a similar scale, but more on that later.

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Box Back by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

...and the obligatory back of the box shot, showing Stephanie, her puppy, all the pink accessories that come with the set :wub:, and showing some of the play features of this set.  It also shows the break-down of the Friends figures, which separate into the same basic category of parts (leg assembly, torso assembly, head and headgear/hair).  There's also an advertisement for other Friends products (and the other Friends characters) along the bottom of the box.  Unlike the larger Friends sets, this comes in the standard rectangular box, as opposed to the slightly curved boxes already noted in reviews of the larger sets.

Now, on to Stephanie herself:

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Steph and Kyoshi by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

As you can see, Suki and one of her Kyoshi Warriors have shown up to provide a comparison between the Friends figures and the standard minifigure, as well as to check out Stephanie's sweet ride.  As has been posted many times before, the standard Friends figure is only about 2 plates taller than the typical minifig, but they are still one of the smallest doll-type things I've ever seen... My cousins were into Polly Pocket when they were younger, and as far as I can tell, the Friends figures are even smaller than Polly Pocket & Co.

Of course, as has been mentioned before, the Friends figures' hair is compatible with standard LEGO minifigures' hair and head gear and vice-versa, so here's a few obligatory pics of headgear hijinks:

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Steph Helmet by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Stephanie with a pilot's/driving cap for that retro look... IMO, this is what she SHOULD be wearing if she wants to drive an open-top sports car... The best part is that her eyes are in the exact same spot as a standard minifigure's, so when the goggles are down, they're in the correct position... Looks like LEGO definitely thought of everything!

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Steph Geisha by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

...And Stephanie with the Series 4 Geisha hair.

Also, as has been noted before, the friends figure head does not fit on a standard minifigure, but a 5mm drill bit and a steady hand or drill press should be able to fix that.  The head DOES, however, fit on a standard "stick" piece, i.e. anything that fits inside a hollow stud or can be gripped by a minifigure... Of course this could definitely lead to some possibilities for the mad scientist/twisted genius type, so to explain, we'll turn this segment over to Dr. Regis Blackgaard, the Grand Duke of New York, and my LEGO setting's resident evil genius type:

Dr. Blackgaard: "Thank you, General Takayama, now allow me to introduce the latest abomination to come out of my laboratory, the Spider Doll, MK1:"

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Steph Spider Bot by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

"As you can see, my lovely creation comes armed with six vicious mechanical legs and is armed with a ventral flamethrower, however, there's more"  With the same claw attachment or a BrickArms Monopod, you can replace the obsolete head of your standard battledroids and..."

THANK YOU, Dr. Blackgaard!  Now as I was saying, someone sufficiently twisted could find some creepy, nefarious uses for the Friends figures' heads, but enough of that, on to the build!

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Contents by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Here's what's inside the box... Basically typical LEGO Packaging, with the bags, DSS and instruction booklet.  Nothing anyone who's been actively purchasing and building LEGO sets for the past several years hasn't seen already.

Now for the obligatory random instruction sheet picture:

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Instructions by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Again, exactly what you'd expect from a typical LEGO set, so those who were concerned that Friends would be "dumbed down" because it is aimed at girls need not worry.

A nice pic of the huge variety of accessories contained in the set:

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Accessories by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

The ribbons and flowers are new parts, but IIRC, the hairbrush and bucket are from Belleville, and it's nice to see they brought the sink faucet piece back, and in pearl gold, too! :wub:  The puppy is also new and so adoreable!

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Car Wash by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

...and here's the first part of the build done:  basically just a section of sidewalk with a bench, a lamp post and a spigot and soap dispenser.  Nothing too complicated here, but I DO like the new colors, and most of the parts will be useful for other builds.

The next part of the the instructions is for the main feature, the awesome car:

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Car Instrucion 1 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

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Car Instruction 2 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

As you can see, these instructions aren't dumbed-down at all!  Hands up whoever wants to see this sucker in Red or Black!  (Car build instruction shots added by request.)

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Car Side/Front by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

This car actually is better than most of the ones in the current city sets and actually uses a fair amount of SNOT techniques!  Dumbed-down INDEED!

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Car Rear View by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Here's a pic of the interior, which, again is fairly detailed.  all the stickers were supposed to go on the Car, but I generally avoid using stickers unless I have a really compelling reason to.  The piece in the front is, as far as I can tell, a new mold which is basically a 1x2x1 panel, but with a divider in the middle.  I'm already seeing possibilities for this part, and I hope it comes out in other colors and sets!  Its purpose here is to securely hold the friends figures into the car.

....and of course the extra parts:

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Extras by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Now for a shot of the completed set (minus all the extra pieces and accessories):

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Full Set by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Stephanie and her doggie are ready to go on a ride!

I decided to bring out the 5-wide Truck from the one Pharaoh's Quest set to show how Stephanie's car compares to the standard LEGO vehicle offerings:

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Car Comparison by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

As you can see, it fits right in!

SO, here's the basic breakdown:

Price: 4/5... A bit on the high side, considering that the usual price range for that piece count is around $10, but still well worth it for the car and accessories.

Build: 5/5... One of the best car sets LEGO has released in a good while, and my one and only gripe with it is that it can't fit two minifigs side by side, but that should be fairly easy to modify.

Playability: 4.5/5:  The car is very Vroomable (sorta like swooshable, but on the ground), and the car wash has some nice features, but nothing overly involved.  For those into that kind of thing, the various flowers, ribbons and tiaras will provide hours of "dress-up" fun for Stephanie and her dog.  It might not seem like all that much, but what do you expect from a $15 set?

Overall: 4.5/5  I definitely reccomend this set to anyone looking for a reasonably easy to duplicate 6-wide car design... As a matter of fact, I believe I have enough parts to do a Dark Green and black version (a la The Emerald Night), which I'm going to call the Emerald Night Rider (insert rimshot here).

So, some final thoughts:  While I'm not overly thrilled by the Polly Pocket-like doll figure, I DO love the new parts, accessories, hair pieces and colors.  On top of that as far as I can tell, LEGO has put the same level of design and complexity into these sets as their standard City and other themed sets, which should quiet the critics crying about how this theme is being "dumbed down" or "condescending" to girls... In fact, since the Instructions contains ads for other themes like Creator as well as Friends, hopefully this will get more girls into the rest of LEGO and should serve as a bridge from Barbie and Polly Pocket dolls to LEGO...

And since everyone else feels the need to post some kind of funny pic, it would seem that Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors have stol--er COMMANDEERED Stephanie's car for use as their new urban assault vehicle:

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Kyoshi Car by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

I hope this review was somewhat useful, since it is my first ever....

Edited by Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:02 PM.
Indexed

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#2 David Thomsen

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:57 AM

Good review, but could you provide more pictures of the car as a work-in-progress, and the sticker sheet?

That 1x2 piece with the T-shaped panel is fascinating, although I think since the panel in the middle is the same thickness as the panels that go around the edges of those pieces, it's going to be slightly out of alignment in a lot of cases. Still it's nice to know there's a way to (kind of) secure these new figs in a sitting position.

Edit: Actually, the bar in the middle seems to be thinner than the ones that go around the edges. :sceptic: So that limits its potential even further.

Edited by David Thomsen, 04 January 2012 - 04:19 AM.


#3 tiggerkiddo

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:13 AM

lol Hinkley and Silent Mode's reviews have opened the gates...now everyone wants these sets ASAP.

Nice review by the way. I already thought this was a great designed car and the pics have confirmed it. I also would have liked a photo or two of the build but since I'll be buying the set tomorrow anyways, no biggie! This car is so much better than the City ones, lol!

#4 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:02 AM

Thanks for the kind words, guys!  BTW, I added some pics of the instructions for the car... Its actually fairly straight-forward in a kind of "gee, why didn't I think of that before" kind of way...

Now I need to see about making that Dark Green and Black version that I was talking about....

EDIT: Also, I wanted this set as soon as I first saw the preliminary pictures of it!  It also seems that Stephanie, the "social" girl is a bit of a speed freak, considering that her sets involve a sports car, a four-wheeler (or quad for you Brits) and a seaplane....

Edited by Hikaro Takayama, 04 January 2012 - 05:04 AM.

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#5 slovakiasteph

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:29 AM

I'm undecided on this set-- don't love it, anyway.  What am I going to do with a purple car?   :laugh:
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#6 lightningtiger

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 06:36 AM

Great review 'Hikaro Takayama', not bad car...pity it doesn't come with gas pumps or alike....how about a female motor mechanic apprentice eh ? :wink:
I'll copy the basic design and modified it for city usage. :wink:
Not the best of the series so far, but far from the worst either. :wink:
Brick On Review On 'Hikaro Takayama' ! :classic:

#7 L@go

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:43 PM

I've been wondering about this set, wanting to see more detailed pictures of it for a while, and thank you very much for providing those!

I'm very surprised that people love the design so much. In my opinion, it's definitely a much weaker vehicle design than the recent City ones - it's very simplified and looks big and blocky. Oh well, a matter of taste, I guess - and that being said, I'm not surprised that it looks the way it does, as it's not meant to 'compete' with City designs, it's designed for a whole different audience - not for me :)

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#8 sharky

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:11 PM

Wow. Lego really did a good job in making me want some of these sets for myself if not for the color pallet.  That's how I can see that they really didn't water down the builds of these Friends sets.  Count me in as a fan of this theme.  :thumbup:

#9 Henchmen4Hire

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 02:42 AM

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I love that picture  :laugh:
Check my MOCPages for spiffy space ships and vehicles

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#10 SpiderSpaceman

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:01 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 04 January 2012 - 03:36 AM, said:


I was about to do about the same thing yesterday morning when I got my sets

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:wink:

#11 Rick

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:23 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 04 January 2012 - 03:36 AM, said:

Build: 5/5... One of the best car sets LEGO has released in a good while, and my one and only gripe with it is that it can't fit two minifigs side by side, but that should be fairly easy to modify.
Does it fit two Friends figs side by side though?

#12 Esurient

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:53 PM

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Steph Spider Bot by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickrp

Why are you doing this on the Friends' minifig head? How would a feminist feel about this?
Now appearing as Elin Surefoot 397 years old Dwarven Cleric in Sandy's Cruel Angel's Thesis

#13 Larrynautik

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:58 PM

I really like this colorfull car that will fit well in any classic City.

#14 TheLegoDr

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for the informative review.

I definitely want a lot of these sets and I was torn on this one. That car would look great in the city scene, even with this color (but better in a different color of course).

After seeing more reviews, I want more of these sets.

I don't particularly care about the minidolls, but the sets are adding a lot of good pieces for us minifigure lovers.

Keep up the reviews. We'll keep reading them.
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#15 Gryphon Ink

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:44 PM

This set is definitely worth buying for the Kyoshi Warriors alone.

Oh, wait...

No, not on my list, for myself or my kids.  The little one can't manage that build yet, and the big one would be be all, "does it come in black?"
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#16 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:45 AM

Wow, my internet goes down for a day and I come back to find a pile of replies!

View PostDrNightmare, on 05 January 2012 - 02:42 AM, said:

I love that picture  :laugh:

Thanks!  I kinda got the idea of positioning the two vehicles like they were going to race when I took the picture.... The convertible would most likely win, though, since its built for speed and the truck is built for hauling 76mm field guns over rough terrain.  :wink:

View PostSpiderSpaceman, on 05 January 2012 - 03:01 AM, said:

I was about to do about the same thing yesterday morning when I got my sets

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:wink:

You caught me!  That Toy Story character was a major inspiration for my quickie MOC, well that and my warped mind that is.

View PostRick, on 05 January 2012 - 09:23 AM, said:

Does it fit two Friends figs side by side though?

I haven't opened up Olivia's Treehouse to check for myself yet, but they should.  It looks to me like you'd have to do it with one of the friends dolls having their arm down and the other's arm up, sorta like standard minifigs in the 5-wide Adventurer's car bodies...

As a matter of fact, you can see Stephanie and Mia in the car at the same time in this Youtube video. (pause it 6 seconds in).

View PostEsurient, on 05 January 2012 - 01:53 PM, said:

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Steph Spider Bot by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickrp

Why are you doing this on the Friends' minifig head? How would a feminist feel about this?

Because I'm an evil mad scientist and I can? :look: I was just showing some actual uses for Friends Doll parts in standard sets, since you can't use the heads with normal minifigs (unless you drill them out to 5mm), and even though I could give a rat's last part over the fence about what most radical feminists think, they probably would be thrilled that "teh eval slutty doll figs" are getting abused like this... :laugh:

Gryphon Ink: Glad you liked the Kyoshi Warriors. :grin: And as for the "Does it come in black," I'm planning on posting some LDD screenshots of the car in different color schemes.

Thanks for the kind words, and I'll try to get some more pics up... I.e. I'll be getting a pic of two Friends in the car that shows how they are held in place, along with the aforementioned alternate color builds.

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#17 Perry the Platypus

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:49 AM

Nice review! This set is one of my favorites of the new line. I love the car, Steph, her dog... everything! It would be nice if you could post a picture of the dog close up. I'm not going back to the LEGO Store until tomorrow or Saturday.

Dooby dooby dooba... PERRY! He's a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal of action!

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#18 Legogal

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:09 PM

Thanks for the cool review! Especially loved Suki and the Kyoshi Warrior...ooops...you mean they don't come with the car....oh shoot!

Anyway I love the colors....we need something other than the dull and boring primary colors in our arsenals...and I vote for pastels. They are so easy on my tired old eyes...tired from reading about and building Legos that is!

Guess I gotta go buy this one now, too. That will put me up to 11 of the 14 Friends sets. Wow! Seems they are a winner in our house as this point.

So glad I missed the earlier controversies over Friends....ad nauseum and ad infinitum. Joining EB 3 days ago was a blessing! I hope everyone gets over the so called controversies about Friends and just enjoys them...btw,,,they are just toys...so go have some fun! I surely am!!!

#19 Legogal

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:46 AM

Just picked up Stephanie's car and love it! The colors are outstanding just like in the other sets. And of course you can build them in any color you choose if you can find the parts. So customize away!

Just the right amount of work to build, and for once, the wheels slid easily into the tires so that a 6 year old could do this. Stephanie looks so cute cruising down the street past the vet, cafe, beauty salon, Olivia's house, and so on.

So pull out your rewards points at TRU, left over rebate checks from your new cell phone, the cash hidden under the floor mats of your car or rugs in your house, and any gift cards you may have left from the holidays and head to the stores. It is time to cash in all of your credits and have some fun with your new Friends! :wub: :wub: :wub:

#20 brickbuilder711

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:12 AM

This set I definitely like for the bizarre colors. The Azure blue mudguards look great and have a lot of use for regular LEGO.
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#21 DLuders

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:08 PM

It seems that Stephanie strayed over to the Technic Forum:   :tongue:

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