"Help Stephanie to patrol for pets on her cool quad bike!"
3065 Olivia's Tree House - 8/10
3188 Heartlake Vet - 7/10
3931 Emma's Splash Pool - 8/10
3932 Andrea's Stage - 6/10
No red carpet required: I am back to give one more review of one of the new Lego Friends sets, going five for five. Tonight it's the turn of the remaining Friends character Stephanie, in her Pet Patrol set. The resemblance to Paradisa seems to come to a head from the outset, although Paradisa had never involved wheels and tyres of that size...
Apologies in advance for the quality of photos.
Stephanie's Pet Patrol
Release year: 2012
RRP: GBP 9.99 / USD 9.99
# of parts: 73
# of figures: 1
Links: Brickset Lego S@H
More pictures in my Brickshelf folder.
Promotional image (render)
Shop @ Lego said:
- Includes Stephanie mini-doll figure and bunny Daisy
- Features bike trailer, outdoor scenery, bunny cage and carrot
- Feed the bunny a carrot!
- LEGO® Friends pieces are fully compatible with all LEGO and LEGO DUPLO 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
- Quad bike measures over 1” (5cm) tall, 1” (4cm) wide and 1” (5cm) long
- Bunny house Measures over 1” (3cm) tall, 1” (3cm) wide and 1” (4cm) long
No group of female friends would be complete without the archetypal blonde, whom legend has it has the most fun. I didn't really have any opinion of this set when I first saw it in the shops, other than it looked a bit too small for 9.99. It's also a little shocking to see that a GBP 9.99 set, for the first time I can recall, is selling in the States for USD 9.99 (which works out at around GBP 7 at today's prices). So will we end up crying over price differences? Let's find out, with a box of [insert preferred brand name] tissues to hand just in case.
The back of the box
The picture of the quad bike on the back looks incredibly similar to the one on the front; the difference is at the back with the positioning of the bunny, the grille brick and the carrot. We can also see Stephanie - the featured Friends character - feeding the bunny at its penthouse. Compared to the other sets I've reviewed, the back of this box just screams "no frills".
Having bought this set from Argos, I now have four of the promotional BFF stickers - now I just have to find the BFF book and find out what I can get for them.
Stephanie rather enjoys posing to show herself at scale, and it looks like she's dressed up especially for the occasion.
We still get two small bags, barely containing anything at all, and the instructions. There's nothing else; no large plate, no DSS, no nothing. But already we can see a few parts in eye-catching colours.
Whether or not you're aware there's only 73 parts in the set, we're probably asking ourselves; what on earth did I pay for? But let's keep our spirits up.
Stephanie in all her dismembered glory. Her torso is one of the few available that has sleeves, and resembles the top of a gymnast's outfit. We just can't fail to notice that blonde hair, either.
Our final guest is Stephanie, who is generally described as a social butterfly (read: won't shut up). According to her official profile, she likes outdoorsy activities and healthy cupcakes, and aspires to become a journalist. Her friends say she's too controlling, which quite frankly I'd have a hard time not believing. We'd also suspect that she'd be the high school cheerleader of the group, and maybe develop more quickly than the others.
First thought: it's a little unusual seeing her in a light blue torso, and we'll see why shortly. For some reason her outfit doesn't look like it's composed very well; those shoes don't match the torso at all.</projectrunway> Otherwise, she certainly looks the part of a young whippersnapper - she would definitely be in her teens.
As we can see very clearly, her hairpiece has two holes for accessories: one on top and one on her left side. In fact...
Remember Sophie from Heartlake Vet? It turns out that she and Stephanie have the exact same hairpiece, just in different colours. They also appear to have the same head, and near-matching outfits.
Putting Stephanie together with the other main Friends characters (Olivia couldn't make it to the shoot; rumour has it she's stuck on top of the Tree House) highlights something that didn't sit well - all the characters have very similar faces, with the only differences being eye colour, open/closed mouths (and in Andrea's case lip colour) and the presence of Mia's freckles. Although the hairstyles help to distinguish the different characters, I would have liked to see facial designs closer to the illustrations on the boxes.
Minifigure with Stephanie's hair
Speaking of social butterflies, Angineryka's back (yay - not) to model Stephanie's hairstyle. The blonde colour makes her look less Monica Lewinsky, but it still adds weight to her face.
The minifigure hair on Stephanie isn't a particularly good one, to the point that it doesn't even suit a minidoll. However, it was provided as a demonstration.
Some other blonde minifigure hairpieces
These were the four I've tried, and I'm not sure any of them work very well... For the time being we'll give her the usual rubbery hair.
Two of the six new colours in the Friends theme are introduced in this set. We've already seen the Medium Azure parts (right), which have appeared in a few of the other reviewed sets.
The parts on the left are in what BrickLink now officially calls Light Aqua; a pleasant blue-green colour that has to be seen to be believed. Thanks to the Disney Cars sets, none of these parts are exclusive to this Friends set - but more useful Light Aqua parts can be found in the Café, and of course with the accessories in Heartlake Vet.
Lime is a silently dominant colour in the Friends theme, and this set has no less than seven very noticeable Lime parts. But to balance it out, we also have some green bamboo bricks and a 2x2 in Green, and some Bright Green plant elements. Put together, Lime isn't so bad after all... I just don't like the proliferation of Lime parts compared to the other greens.
This new handlebar part was designed specifically for Friends figures/minidolls - unfortunately, unless gripped in a very unnatural fashion, they're incompatible with minifigures. Something like this for minifigures is sorely missing, but the current handlebar - while a pain to use in Lego Digital Designer - will do for now.
Daisy the bunny
This is Daisy: a bunny that only Stephanie can see, and the only living thing in Heartlake City that shares her penchant for nosiness. While I dislike the facial print, the bunny actually has a nice shape to it. There's a modding challenge for you.
(There is a difference between rabbits and bunnies/hares - see this page for info.)
Stars of the show
Really, there isn't much to pick from this set, but here's my selection. It's an opportunity to pick up an inexpensive carrot, as well as some plant stalks - and while we're here that Light Aqua plate isn't bad either. If you're into building your own vehicles and things for Friends, the handlebars will come in very useful.
Seven parts go into making this bush, and the best thing I can say about it is... it gives us those plant parts. I would rather have two of the plants in the Splash Pool set, although this bush would be better suited to the outdoors.
My initial thought was that rabbits live in hutches or in burrows... but Daisy is a bunny, and an invisible one that only Stephanie can see, to boot. So Daisy deserves a very special house - a penthouse.
Pretty much the only thing you can do with this penthouse is position Daisy onto the jumper plate, and maybe place the assembled carrot into one of the flower plates. It's a nice small build; one you could probably use with the puppy or the kitten if you so choose.
The quad bike
Here's the meat of the set, to the two veg above.
The bike starts off with this base - watch those instructions carefully. I've never had to use those mudguard parts myself, but we get a general idea of the bike's shape.
Strap on a fairly meaty engine, because when it comes to patrolling for pets we don't play.
But once we add the wheels and tyres to this thing, as well as the handlebars, worry starts to set in. We know about women's liberation and all that, but should we really be letting this teen jump on something that looks that powerful? Seriously, it looks like it has a kick - but it's a testament to the designer's vision.
One of the biggest talking points about the Friends sets (overlooking the feminism rubbish) is the idea of having someone stand on a quad bike. I'm sure people ride standing on real quad bikes, although it might be ridiculous to be standing that high on one! But short of designing an actual bike part for mindolls, I'm not sure there's anything that could be done - other than to have a different vehicle.
Here's Stephanie threatening girl power, as she models the Stephmobile.
The tiny-a** trailer
For some reason the final build in this set is a very small trailer that hooks onto the quad bike. We've seen on the back of the box that it's used for transporting the yellow grille brick (resembling hay) and the carrot, but you can also make an invisible bunny hang on for dear life inside it. Alternatively the bunny can sit on the yellow jumper plate at the back of the quad bike.
The completed set
Believe it or not, this is it. Stephanie decides to impress Daisy by revving the engine on the Stephmobile, trailer in tow, while she waits for her call. She can't wait to get that thing moving.
As with Andrea's Stage, four small parts remain - but they're actually useful parts. Hold on to those plant parts.
The strength and playability in this set lies in the quad bike itself, minus the trailer. The only girly thing about it is the colour scheme; it works just like a City vehicle and it's just as swooshable. Whether or not you're bothered by the minidoll having to stand on it, the handlebars make sure it stays in place - although the hook plate might come loose, as it usually does. You could easily adapt it for minifigures by adding minifigure-specific handlebars or a steering wheel, if you wanted.
Although not as desirable as the hedgehog or perhaps the horse in Heartlake Vet, the bunny will probably be one of the more popular Friends animals, and it won't cost as much to accumulate more than one. I don't like the face print, but then I'm not the target audience.
The set as a whole is underwhelming: not just because of the part count and price, but the generally poor choice of parts. Yes Light Aqua is a newly introduced colour, but I thought there should have been more of it included in the quad bike design than just three parts - especially with so few parts in the set. Emma's Design Studio - probably my highest rated Friends set of the ones I have right now - had an incredible selection of parts and colours at the same price, and even Andrea's Stage represented.
I also think that Stephanie is best accumulated with the less expensive Bakery set, or the more expensive Convertible set, as the outfit in those sets looks a lot nicer.
I'd basically say that this should have been a polybag/impulse set with just the quad bike and the minidoll. Everything else is a nice to have, including the bunny, but unnecessary.
A great job was done on the quad bike's design, but everything else looks like it was built from a Lego store's grab bag (not a bad thing, but not at this price).
Only the quad bike posed a small challenge, being the most detailed build, but everything else was fairly straightforward.
Nothing really special about the parts selection; only three Light Aqua parts in the set makes the colour redundant. Hate to say it, but Stephanie was also underwhelming as a minidoll.
The quad bike is good to play with on its own, as a starter vehicle for minidolls.
At GBP 9.99, no way would I purchase this again. It should be (IMO) just the bike and Stephanie for 4.99 - no premiums.
Based on these scores, Stephanie's Pet Patrol gets a 5/10. How dare you exist as a Lego set... just kidding.
To Lighten the Mood
"What?! Henry hedgehog's escaped from Heartlake Vet? And is being chased by a carniv... ca... c... whatever, like a dinosaur?!"
"Come on Daisy, we've, like, got our first ever call! To the Stephmobile!"
"You wanna, like, sit up front, huh? Like, hold on tight! Here we go!"