After a few moments....
Oh no! What has Kiel done?!? Which "Friend" shall he choose to visit tonight? Stephanie or Emma? Help him decide!
Name: Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery
Price: $5.99 | £4.99
Links: Brickset | Bricklink | Peeron
Being the impulse set of the Friends product line, the box is expectedly small, though it's somehow slightly bigger than the 20-pc impulse sets from the other themes. However it is the same size as the recent 'larger' impulse sets like the 3177 - Small Car. The boxart features a vibrant display of various shades of purple, violet and pink splashed all over, with the Friends logo and Friends characters at the top. The front shows the Stephanie posing with her 'whatever that baking product is' surrounded by the other parts of the set with her serene and verdant outdoor garden in the backdrop. Is baking outdoors the in-thing nowadays?
In the back we see the close-up shot of Stephanie with her name in that cute Friends font, beside the LEGO Friends logo and that nicely-executed website text cleverly painted by some butterfly wing dust. The three playability features are also prominently shown, illustrating the three stages of baking: 1) Mixing the ingredients, 2) Baking in the oven (and waiting), and 3) Eating! Nom! Nom! It's also worthy to note the "wallpaper prints" in the background - I can spot a paw, butterfly, heart, star, musical note - very subtle detailing that adds flavor but isn't that distracting at all - I like it!
As with the other impulse sets the top shows a representative part/build, in this case the cake, in the 1:1 section, instead of the usual minifig in larger sets.
The Instruction Booklet
The set comes with a single instruction booklet which features the same artwork as the box, minus the age bracket and the "sexy curve prints" at the sides. The booklet is understandably folded in the middle to make it fit inside the small box.
The back shows the new "WIN! Girl" smiling to her heart's content, encouraging us to answer the LEGO online survey for a chance to win prizes. Has anyone ever tried to answer that survey? Oh, and as much as the previous "Raging Demonic Child" been the butt of jokes I'm beginning to miss that unnatural-looking screaming face.
Here's a sample page of the instruction booklet. Note the lovely subtle curvish-butterflyish-and other girly prints in the corner. The instructions are easy to understand and very readable in the light purple backdrop of the page(s).
The Bagged Contents
Only one baggie of LEGOs, but still exciting to rip it up to get our precious parts and pieces!
First thing I noticed are the figure torso and leg parts which are separately packed in a transparent candy wrapper-like plastic. Quite interesting.
Here's the layout of the 45 pieces included in this set, which is really quite refreshing to see (at least for me who's been used to the usual whites, bleys, and dark reds of SW sets). It's a pretty good assortment of pinks, lime greens, light blues, purple, and white colored pieces.
Pieces of Interest
The most interesting pieces for me are these two printed elements: 1) the medium blue 1x1 brick with a milk carton box print and the 2) the umbrella radar dish with dark purple octagonal 'circles' print. These two pieces are new and first released this year with the Friends product line, with the former included in three Friends sets while the latter is exclusive to this set. The medium azure panel, dark pink flower, and bright pink dish also caught my eyes' attention.
By now most of you have probably already met/seen Stephanie, the lone 'figure' in this set. I'm not in anyway familiar with teen girl fashion, but I like the overall look of the figure - the blonde hair, light blue eyes, white top with pink stars/circles pattern, purple skirt and pink shoes all combine together pretty well for a light bubbly young look.
And a LEGO Friends review will not be complete without the customary 'hair-swapping'. Here we see her exchanging hairpieces with KDM. Good thing her pretty looks outshines the 'uglying' effect of wearing that outdated hairpiece. Seriously, who's dumb enough to wear that 80s haircut in this day in age right?
As expected, the build is relatively simple and pretty straightforward. There are only 4 "major" call-out sections: the previous figure and these three builds:
The first set of elements built were the outdoor round table with umbrella, a small circular stool, the milk carton box, strawberry shake, and a strawberry-coated brownie (at least that's what my imagination tells me ).
Next built are the cake, the "rectangular baking product I still can't identify" (help please!), and the oven. I must say the use of the grilled round brick for the cake is really quite clever IMO, as it gives the necessary texture we see in real-life cakes. And the flavor? Vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry. (where the hell did I get that?!)
Last one is this mini-sink with a faucet, and two bottles which I assume are liquid soap and detergent? And this is where the azure panels were used.
The Completed Build
The whole set-up, which is a pretty good collection of mini builds for an impulse set. Overall there are 13 separate individual elements/components in this build - not bad for a 45-piece set right?
The usual leftover parts: seemingly useless at first but can be quite useful when the need arises, so keep all of 'em!
The Set at Play
Stephanie satisfies Kiel's sweet-tooth cravings...
....but still can't get over his sausage addiction
Name: Emma's Splash Pool
Price: $5.99 | £4.99
Links: Brickset | Bricklink | Peeron
Like Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery, it has the same box dimensions and standard LEGO Friends boxart template. The artwork depicts Emma enjoying a relaxing time in her "splash pool" while having a nice summertime dessert. By her side is a beach bed with umbrella and a small plant. Looks like Emma lives in front of Heartlake Beach - lucky girl, as she can go to have some fun at the beach anytime she wants. Curiously, instead of the beach she settles to take a dip into her splash pool. Without water (or any resemblance of it). Although after some thorough research we've learned that Emma suffers from Aquaphobia, and hence the waterless mini-tub. Poor girl.
The back shows Emma's close-up and the aforementioned LEGO Friends website. Unlike in Stephanie's impulse set, the back of the box only shows two panels (What only two things to do in this set? Does this mean that she has less to offer to Kiel when he visits him? ), one with Emma posing with her favorite dessert and the other showing her "getting a tan" under the sun in the beach bed. Uhmm, Emma, you might want to wear some glasses while staring at the freakin' sun?!
The 1:1 image at the top shows the "dessert", which is probably a caramel and strawberry shake or something like that.
The Instruction Booklet
The folded instruction booklet having the same artwork as the box less the age bracket and additional "sexy curves" at the sides.
The Bagged Contents
The lone bag of LEGO with some very interesting colored pieces peeking out.
Emma's torso and leg pieces are also separately packed like Stephanie's, but it's interesting to note that Emma's torso is packed in a different plastic mini-bag compared to the candy wrapper packaging. I wonder why's this the case?
Like in 3930 we get a generous amount of lively colored pieces in this set, with a nice assortment of the unusual medium azure, bright pink, lime, bright light orange, and trans-light blue in the 41-piece collection.
Here we have the Emma figure, clad in a simple light blue top with floral insignia and even some shiny printing, paired with a purple double-layered skirt (as opposed to the single-layer skirt of Stephanie). She wears a pair white-purple doll shoes matching her outfit's motif. Her black hair piece is much more textured than Stephanie's, with all the waves and curves and a li'l ponytail at the back. Emma has green eyes and pink lips, though she seem to be have a shier smile than Stephanie.
Another obligatory hair-swapping shot, this time Emma having to deal with the indignity of wearing KDM's prehistoric hairpiece.
This set also has three "build call-outs" to accompany the Emma figure:
The plant, which may look useless in the whole set-up. But through a simple expansion of the imagination it has a plethora of uses: One could water the plant. Trim the leaves. Cultivate the soil. Talk to it. For all we know plants could be our last line of defense when zombies attack, so don't underestimate them!
And for some reason this plant reminds me of a certain spontaneous combustion tree stump.
Here's the beach bed, though Emma got pretty excited that she jumped in while I was taking the picture. I really like the lime-pink stripe pattern. The umbrella isn't printed like in the other impulse set, but there's an additional flower detail at the top to compensate for the lack of print.
Lastly we have the so-called splash pool a.k.a. waterless mini-tub. For its simplistic build it has a 'convincing' overall design accentuated by the nice combination of candy colors. The use of trans-light blue panels on the sides is a clever way to depict water or a transparent glass part of the mini-pool. Though it wouldn't have hurt if they've included a few trans-light blue 1x1 round plated to act as water/bubbles like what SilentMode demonstrated in his review. Now here comes the value of those "extra leftover pieces" from other sets which would be surely handy in this instance.
The Completed Build
The completed build, with less individual elements as the Stephanie impulse set but has bigger builds. Will Kiel enjoy hanging out with Emma with this set-up?
The Set at Play Looks like Kiel is enjoying Emma's company, even in the waterless splash pool...
And nothing beats a soothing after-dessert back rub massage from a good "Friend"...
The great thing about the new LEGO Friend figures is that they allow the same creativity afforded in standard minifigs since the figure elements can be mixed-&-matched. Like in this shot, simply switching the legs will give Emma an all-purple outfit while Stephanie can sport an overall pink get-up.
You could even swap the hairpieces and heads to create different characters! And mind you this is only using two minifigs, just imagine the possibilities when you have more LEGO Friends figure elements and accessories!
And since the hand mold of LEGO Friends figures are similar with standard minifigs, they can hold minifig accessories and elements too!
As I have roughly similar thoughts about these two sets, I'd rather them grade them together to avoid redundancy. Here are my ratings:
Design: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 10/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 9/10
For a 40-piece impulse set, both have really maximized the small piece count to the hilt, offering simple yet clever mini-build/elements that look pretty good and serve their purpose. Though I really would've liked for some "water" pieces in Emma's Splash Pool.
Parts 10/10: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 10/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 10/10
Acquiring new colored parts, vibrant candy colors at that, is a welcome sight for me and like a breath of fresh air. The printed parts of 3930 is an added bonus as well. Will these parts be useful in my MOCs? Definitely not for Star Wars , but it will certainly encourage me to do other stuff and possibly delve into Friends MOCs (?)
Figures 9/10: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 9/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 10/10
No matter how much different these new Friends figures are compared to the classic minifigures that we've loved throughout the ages, it was a pleasant surprise for me that I actually adore these new figures! I love the fresh look, detailed prints, and the good quality that we've come to expect from TLG. People might say that these may be incompatible to existing minifigure-based sets, but only a limited imagination would tell you that. And between the two figures, I liked Emma more than Stephanie, just a personal preference.
Build 8/10: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 8/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 8/10
Since these two are small sets, the build can't get anymore simple and straightforward as it is. Not challenging, but fast, easy and FUN!
Playability 10/10: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 10/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 9/10
Like I mentioned above, the fact that Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery has 13 different individual "elements" is exceptional for a 40-pc set. Emma's Splash Pool has less elements hence less playability compared to the Stephanie set (unless you follow my play suggestions about the plant thingy ).
Price 10/10: 3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 10/10 / 3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 10/10
Both cost 6 bucks each, very cheap, so price isn't an issue. The price-to-parts ratio is pretty much within the accepted general average of ~ 10c/pc.
3930 - Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery = 95%
3931 - Emma's Splash Pool = 93%
These two small impulse sets are designed to provide an inexpensive means to introduce the new Friends product line, not only to the obvious kid girl target market, but also to the loyal LEGO fanbase. Even with skepticism surrounding this new theme with a "new figure/non-minifig-based" sets concept, I still took a chance to get these two, considering they are the smallest of the product line so they're good ways to "test" the theme without spending much. And boy was I glad I did it, and from what I've seen with these two sets, I'm officially a Friends lover! These two impulse sets have successfully served their purpose in attracting the boyish Star Wars fanatic in me, making me appreciate this new theme and has convinced me to buy more from this product line. It might be just my "welcoming nature" but I do recommend those who are skeptical about the Friends theme to at least try these two cheap impulse sets out to see if you'll be able to appreciate this new theme or not.
So how did Kiel solve his dilemma?
Why choose if you could have both right? Kiel brings both Emma and Stephanie to his place, problem solved!
Kiel, Emma, and Stephanie enjoying some delectable sweets together...
The trio still enjoying each other's company even in the waterless mini-tub...
Like what they say, "Friends that play together, stay together and forever!"
Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy but hopefully entertaining review! 'Til the next "Friendscapade" of KDM!
Parting Shot: KDM's new BFFs!
Edited by Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:24 PM.