"Make Andrea a superstar with her stage!"
3065 Olivia's Tree House - 8/10
3188 Heartlake Vet - 7/10
3931 Emma's Splash Pool - 8/10
It's your boy SilentMode, aka the Review King (just kidding!), with yet another Lego Friends review to help tie up loose ends. Thanks to all the other reviewers who've
Release year: 2012
RRP: GBP 9.99 / USD 9.99
# of parts: 87
# of figures: 1
Links: Brickset Lego S@H
More pictures in my Brickshelf folder.
Promotional image (render)
Shop @ Lego said:
- Includes Andrea mini-doll figure
- Features stage with curtains and sign, lights, microphone stand, piano with bench, boom box and glass
- Perform a piano concert!
- Rock out on the microphone for all of the LEGO® Friends!
- Become the biggest star in Heartlake City!
- Add the other LEGO Friends mini-dolls for a group performance!
- 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 combinations
- Measures over 3” (8cm) tall, 3” (9cm) wide and 3” (8cm) long
I already have Andrea in a different outfit as I'd bought the City Park Café, but I'm going to keep an open mind about this particular set. Is it as bad as I think it is? Or will I be pleasantly surprised? Let's find out.
The back of the box
Today's featured Friend is Andrea, shown here both on stage and playing the piano; in the music industry that would be classed as being "multi-talented". All of the Friends have their own similar-sized sets, as shown at the bottom, and these all have the regular-shaped boxes.
Argos' "BFF" promotion
With the BFF offer mentioned in the Tree House review: apparently the "BFF Loyalty Card" is given with the purchase of Friends sets from Argos, although I've not ever had one. There's allegedly a selection of gifts to choose from when you've attached four of these stickers to the card, which you'd then send to a freepost address. More information hidden on the Argos web site.
One of the long sides shows Andrea to scale, and what exactly she'll look like. Other than that, there's nothing much else to the rest of the box.
With 87 parts in the box, now I'm starting to see why they don't show the part count on Friends set boxes! But let's see what we have inside.
Our usual configuration of two small bags, separate plate and the instructions. The oversized bags have done another good job at cushioning the parts inside. The instructions have also fared well.
In probably the only environment safe enough to stare at women's bits, here's the pieces that make up Andrea. Her nose isn't nearly as pronounced as it is on the box; actually, up until now, I'd overlooked the fact that the minidolls have noses.
Please welcome Andrea to the show... (applause) Andrea, as highlighted in the description and in her official profile, is a passionate musician and dancer - and is destined to join the ranks of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears, Rihanna and all those other people who can't sing. But hey, all of a sudden that nose just became more visible!
While I'm not a fan of those shoes (whatever they're called), I quite like the designs of the torso and pants - nothing too fussy or detailed. It's just a shame that her choices of clothing are very limited, compared to the other Friends - even Hispanic Emma. There is another brown female figure in another set (the beauty studio), but I'm not sure if they're the same colour.
Andrea marks a turning point in the availability of non-white fleshie female figures, but I wonder how popular she'll be with the target audience?
Minifigure with Andrea's hair
Angineryka returns once again to model Andrea's hairpiece, which slightly turns on the masculinity but gives her a very full head of hair. Rather predictably, Andrea is modelling the S2 Disco Dude's hairpiece in exchange, as it's the closest thing I have. (and I know some of you were curious.)
Andrea's hairpiece has two holes for accessories: one on top and on her left side.
Andrea with Emma's hair
For a good alternative look, switch Andrea's hairpiece for Emma's. Weaves are all the rage, you know.
The hunt for a suitable minifigure hairpiece
I've tried a handful of minifigure hairpieces on Andrea, because generally I think they look better on minidolls than minidoll hair does. My pick of them is the long braid hairstyle, for some unknown reason.
Andrea is joined by her "idols"*, singing sensation** Bryknii (the S2 Pop Star) along with chart rival and singer-songwriter Saima Gaines***.
* SilentMode does not condone the worship of celebrities or any other flesh-and-bone entity.
** Bryknii can't sing.
*** Saima Gaines doesn't write her own songs.
Let's get back to the parts...
There's a joke somewhere about black people and the colour purple, but I'm not a comedian. You will find, however, a total of five parts in the new Medium Lavender colour, and two round corner plates in Dark Purple. Not sure how useful the arch pieces will be, but the tile and plates are very welcome.
While not brand new colours, making a very welcome return in this set are some 1x2 tiles in Bright Light Yellow (currently exclusive to this set) and some 2x4 tiles and 1x2 and 2x2 bricks in Magenta (the 2x2s and tiles also being exclusive to this set currently). I don't think I've ever had a Bright Light Yellow part.
No DSSs (dreaded sticker sheets) in this set; we have two printed tiles. If your name is actually Andrea, it's your lucky day.
Stars of the show
Seeing the other parts on offer, these are the ones you will probably not be buying from my store if I ever part this set out. There really isn't much to choose from, but if like me you collect 2x2 bricks, you'll definitely want the Magenta ones.
Rather generously we're also given three black skeleton legs, and - if you've missed them from S2 - two minifigure-sized microphones.
Four not-so-challenging builds await us in this set...
The boom box
This is a very simple build of just four parts, and... it just ain't right.
First of all, it looks ghastly!
Second of all it looks way too long, even for a minidoll.
Thirdly, who else was thinking she should have one of these instead?
I'll take the point that the set's boom box has a CD player on it, while this one only has a cassette player. I just think that LEGO missed a trick here, and if the CD player was the issue then something else could have been used; perhaps a printed tile representing a disc walkman, or a music player. That's your challenge, children.
This little thing right here is the stage, complete with stage lights and an interesting build for a microphone stand, using one of those arm pieces. Although it looks more like a fragment of a stage, it offers more versatility then a full one; if you're setting up a large scene, for example in a night club or comedy store, you can position it almost anywhere.
Of note: the transparent yellow studs are meant to go the other way round on the hooked plates, but I've done them this way because I think they look better.
If we want proof that Andrea is no amateur, she has her name in printed tile lights above the entrance. People have come from miles around to see her perform - yet she has a tiny stage to perform on!
To me, the entrance is a nice little prop to have, that demonstrates one or two building techniques: namely the use of non-rectangular parts to create different shapes, both on the outside of the model and inside to create the arch and the curtains.
I'm lost as to what purpose those tan pieces serve, as opposed to 1x2 plates; I'd suspect they were included just because they could be.
This picture also highlights the visible differences between Red and Magenta parts, as well as how the curtains were built.
There are a lot of piano designs and builds on the Interwebs; I myself had a go at making one when I first started out here. So it may come as a surprise that LEGO settled on this design... or not. They probably didn't want to fall foul of copyright infringement, especially as there's at least one piano design on LEGO CUUSOO right now.
Anyway, when you take that into consideration, it's not such a bad design. If anything it's probably too small for performance use, and resembles more of a toy piano. I also think that 2x4 Magenta tile deserves more than to have someone's butt on it, even if it is a minidoll's. A black skeleton leg also serves as a microphone holder on the piano.
The completed set
Because of the scale of the different parts, this set feels a lot more like dolls house equipment than a Lego set, and there's plenty of room for expansion. It also became apparent that the microphone stand is a sneaky substitute for Andrea not being able to hold a microphone to her mouth!
Andrea also plays the piano, as shown on the back of the box, but here I've given her a pianist to help her rehearse. It might be possible, but it's no fun setting up an entire event by yourself.
We're not actually supposed to have the 1x4 plate; it goes at the back of the boom box. I guess I was that much unimpressed with it that I'd only used the three parts. Anyway, for 87 pieces in the set four spare parts isn't that bad.
The final step in the instructions confirms that the second microphone is a spare.
By the way, Gewinne!th says "RAWR!" She couldn't be here today, but she's the same size as in the Splash Pool set.
Fun with the set
Andrea is about to go on stage for her very first performance in a major venue. For the last two months she's been taken under the wing of highly successful performer Saima Gaines, who has been coaching her for a shot at the mainstream.
Andrea: "I'm like so nervous! I've never performed in front of so many people!"
Saima: "You'll be fine, girl! Just remember everything I've taught you."
Andrea: "But what if I, like, totally mess up?"
Saima: "Trust me, you won't mess up. I've been through this myself, and I know you're gonna bring the house down!"
Andrea: "... Okay, I'm ready!"
Saima: "You go, girl!"
Announcer: "Please welcome to the stage our very own amazing talent: Miss Andrea."
Maybe it's not such a bad thing that the legs are joined...!
I've had the opportunity to build and examine this set, and while it's not as bad as I'd initially thought, I still think it's one of the weaker sets of the Friends theme launch - it's certainly the least desirable of the sets I've reviewed thus far.
It does have its good points. A draw for me is the inclusion of the Bright Light Yellow tiles and Magenta parts, and of course the Andrea minidoll - most of which you can't get anywhere else. The stage entrance is probably the most impressive of the set's builds, and the one that easily stands on its own. As mentioned previously, the set itself lends itself to expansion. It shouldn't be too hard to extend the piano, for example, add backing singers (maybe some of the other Friends!) or build a bigger stage; the foundations have been provided.
The main problem I have is that, even though the layout is flexible, it really should have been a larger set at a higher price point. Regardless of how far along Andrea is in her career, she deserved a bigger (and perhaps taller) stage, perhaps twice as wide. It would have also been nice to have some company, perhaps someone on the piano or a backup singer. As it is, the set does fit together but it's just too... amateurish.
The alternative at the same price point could have been a different musical environment, such as a studio booth - or even just a large stage with a microphone.
The entrance looks like the most well-designed build in the set, and some props go to the piano, but even the Splash Pool trumps the overall design. The boom box was a very low point IMO.
Fairly quick and no real problems with building, and no tricky techniques - just a few small parts to contend with.
Apart from the Magenta 2x2 bricks and Bright Light Yellow tiles, this isn't desirable for parts; many more Medium Lavender parts can be scavenged from the Tree House set, and other sets at this price have more useful parts. Maybe worth getting for the minidoll if you're collecting them.
There is playability - have Andrea performing live on stage, at the piano or making an entrance - but at some point that stage will be way too small.
Not the most painful LEGO purchase I've made, but I wouldn't do it again - certainly not at RRP.
Based on these scores, Andrea's Stage gets a 6/10.
If you don't hear from me again, the feminists got me.
Edited by Pandora, 20 December 2012 - 10:32 PM.