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New York Toy Fair Coverage Part Six: Friends

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#1 Aanchir


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:36 PM

Shortcut to Part One: Hero Factory
Shortcut to Part Two: Ninjago
Shortcut to Part Three: City
Shortcut to Part Four: Monster Fighters and Dino
Shortcut to Part Five: Super Heroes

This year, I was able to go to the New York International Toy Fair for the first time as a representative of the BIONICLE wiki BIONICLEsector01 and its sister site HEROsector01. Together with fellow BS01/HS01 staff member Chols, who took most of the photos, I attended the LEGO Collectors Preview where representatives of LEGO fansites can view and photograph the new sets for an extended two-hour timeframe (our invitations unfortunately did not cover admission to the full three-day Toy Fair event, so externally-produced LEGO products like clocks and watches were not among the things we saw).

Since our sites' normal coverage doesn't extend outside the constraction themes, we reached an agreement with Eurobricks to share with them our coverage of the LEGO Collectors Preview and all the sets and themes on display. Part six of our coverage is Friends, The LEGO Group's latest foray into the girl-oriented toy market. The theme focuses on five friends with diverse interests, representing different archetypes for buyers to identify with.

Fourteen sets were on display from the theme's January wave:

3061 City Park Café
222 pieces
USD 29.99
CAD 39.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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Despite the presence of pink and other pastels, the City Park Café has been one of the more popular sets with mainstream LEGO City builders, due to its uniqueness. This is the first time to my knowledge LEGO has had an eatery with this "diner-style" architecture. And not only is the building well-designed inside and out, it also features a plethora of great kitchen accessories. This set's mini-dolls include Andrea and Marie, a side-character who runs the café.

3065 Olivia's Tree House
191 pieces
USD 19.99
CAD 24.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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Olivia's Tree House is a fun set, featuring the new pastel color Medium Lavender and some older (but still rare) colors. A leaf conceals a box containing jewels, and a crow's nest sits high above the rest of the model. The set includes an Olivia mini-doll, an adorable kitten, a squat little yellow bird in a sizable birdhouse, and a fish destined to be the kitten's next meal.

3183 Stephanie's Cool Convertible
130 pieces
USD 14.99
CAD 17.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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This set is sometimes held up as evidence of how Friends sets can have just as much complexity as their City counterparts. The convertible in this set has bubbly proportions compared to the smaller convertibles common in LEGO City or the larger "Turbocar" from the Agents theme, and features plenty of the new colors Medium Lavender and Medium Azur. A Stephanie mini-doll, a dog, and lots of haircare/cosmetic accessories are included.

3187 Butterfly Beauty Shop
221 pieces
USD 24.99
CAD 29.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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Perhaps the most outwardly "girly" Friends sets, this one has a strong emphasis on fashion. Multicolored lipstick, several mirrors, and haircare/cosmetic accessories can be found inside. A spare wig also sits on a mannequin made with a classic minifigure head. Mini-dolls in this set include Emma and Sarah, a side-character who only appears in this set.

3188 Heartlake Vet
343 pieces
USD 39.99
CAD 49.99
Other currences from Brickset
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The Heartlake Vet, like a lot of Friends sets, stands apart from the City theme with its extremely detailed interior. A hedgehog, a dog, and a horse are all included, along with lots of medical equipment accessories, insects and flowers, and a fishtank. Mini-dolls in this set include Mia and Sophie, a veterinarian who only appears in this set.

3315 Olivia's House
695 pieces
USD 69.99
CAD 89.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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The flagship set of the Friends theme is, of course, a dollhouse, but a much more substantial-looking one than anything in previous girl-oriented themes. The bright reddish-violet (Bricklink's Magenta) roof, brick yellow (Bricklink's Tan) walls, and white trim make it colorful without too much reliance on pastels. Rooms include a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Medium blue kitchen accessories and a white kitten provide play value along with the mini-dolls Olivia, Peter (Olivia's dad), and Anna (Olivia's mom).

3930 Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery
45 pieces
USD 5.99
CAD 7.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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An affordably-priced Friends set, this one's main assets include the Stephanie mini-doll, a printed parasol, and a printed milk carton. But the cakes and treats built largely from basic building elements add play value, along with the oven, stove, and sink.

3931 Emma's Splash Pool
43 pieces
USD 5.99
CAD 7.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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This small low-priced set includes the Emma mini-doll in a small but stylishly-designed pool. The attitude of leisure reminds me a bit of the Paradisa theme, although I don't remember any Paradisa sets quite so effectively evoking a swimming pool without the use of BURPs.

3932 Andrea's Stage
87 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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There's a wide range of sets year-round at this $9.99 price point, and they offer lots of variety. This one has a stylish proscenium arch and the best grand piano I've ever seen in an official set, along with stage lights, a boom box, and a microphone. None of the parts are stickered. Includes an Andrea mini-doll.

3933 Olivia's Inventor's Workshop
81 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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The set that most strongly defies gender stereotypes, this set despite its pastel colors promotes interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields with details like a printed blackboard covered in equations, a microscope, lots of chemicals, a work table with tools and a side-mounted clamp, and a robot resembling our good buddy Alpha Rex (or perhaps his 2.0 counterpart). Includes an Olivia mini-doll.

3934 Mia's Puppy House
64 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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This set doesn't especially impress me, as the "puppy house" itself is small, the apple tree feels a bit superfluous (if well-designed), and the main assets of the set seem to be the grooming accessories (as well as, of course, the puppy). Still, I'm sure girls interested in animal care might find this appealing.

3935 Stephanie's Pet Patrol
73 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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With its stylish aqua (Bricklink's Light Aqua) ATV, modest rabbit hutch, and grassy hill, this set feels a lot more rural than many of the sets in the January wave. Other contents include the Stephanie mini-doll, an adorable bunny (featured on the LEGOshop.com Easter Gift Shop, for those who want to see its size next to a minifigure), a carrot, and a bale of straw (a bright yellow 1x2 relief brick).

3936 Emma's Design Studio
79 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Other currencies from Brickset
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This set has no shortage of fun details like a laptop, printed bulletin board, printed pink cell phone/MP3 player, sandwich, and lots of colored tiles to serve as "fabric". The Emma mini-doll is included.

3942 Heartlake Dog Show
183 pieces
USD 19.99
CAD 24.99
Other currencies from Brickset
Posted Image

Another set geared toward animal-lovers, this set includes a washbasin for grooming, a stage with "runway" and lights, a trophy stand, a jumping fence, and a see-saw. Other contents include the Mia mini-doll, two dogs (including the one from the puppy house as well as a cocker spaniel that seems unique to this set), dog bones, and grooming accessories.

There were five sets on display slated for an August release:

3184 Adventure Camper
309 pieces
USD 29.99
CAD 39.99
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The Adventure Camper is what in the US we tend to call an RV, or Recreational Vehicle. The vibrant pink color might turn off some male buyers who want a vehicle for their city, but it has lots of great contents including a bright yellow handbag, bright red kitchen accessories, bright red and medium azure bicycles, a television set, and a picnic bench and barbecue. Mini-dolls include Olivia and Nicole, a side character.

3189 Heartlake Stables
401 pieces
USD 49.99
CAD 64.99
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The largest set of the August wave, this set features a barn, two stables, a well, and two types of jumping obstacles. The mini-dolls include Mia and Katharina, a side character. Mia comes with both her default hairpiece and a helmet-hairpiece combination, whereas Katharina simply has a blonde helmet-hairpiece combination. Two horses are also included, each with a 2x2 dome to fill in the back, a new saddle design for the Friends horse featuring stirrups, and a set of reins. Grooming accessories and other accessories too numerous to name are also included.

3937 Olivia's Speedboat
65 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
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On to the $9.99 sets! Olivia's Speedboat is quite attractive and reminiscent in structure to last year's 4641 Speedboat from the City theme. Other contents include a beach towel with parasol, a sand castle, a red bucket, and the Olivia mini-doll.

3938 Andrea's Bunny House
62 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
Posted Image

Andrea's Bunny House features a larger rabbit hutch than that in Stephanie's Pet Patrol-- a size you might expect of a chicken coop or a hutch housing a whole family of rabbits. However, the set is well-furnished with a carrot, an opening gate, some fences, a water bottle, and another red bucket. The Andrea mini-doll and single rabbit complete the set.

3939 Mia's Bedroom
85 pieces
USD 9.99
CAD 12.99
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Mia's bedroom shows she's far more than just a meek animal lover! Girl knows how to ROCK! :grin: The bed with side-table, desk with brick-built radio, book, and yellow handbag are all nice, but the music stand and drum set are where this set really shines. The Mia mini-doll is of course included.

Finally, there was one set on display due for a September release:

3316 LEGO Friends Advent Calendar
193 pieces
USD 34.99
CAD 39.99
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

The price-per-piece on this set will surely drive away AFOLs, but I can see some of this set's contents, like the medium azure skis and ski poles, becoming quite desirable through Bricklink. The Olivia mini-doll has a unique holiday sweater while a blonde character (Katharina, I'm guessing, based on eye color) wears a red suit with black boots and white trim. Only the christmas-tree pattern tells you this is not a gender-swapped Santa Claus. Also included are a puppy, milk and cookies, a Christmas tree, and perhaps the best minifigure-scale LEGO snowman of all time.

That wraps it up for the Friends theme! Next up will be coverage of sets from the Creator, Racers, and Games themes. We recognize that our coverage is coming along somewhat slowly, but bear with us and we'll keep the updates coming!

Edited by Aanchir, 05 April 2012 - 08:13 PM.

#2 Redhead1982


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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:13 PM

Thanks for the nice Friends pictures. I'm definitely positively surprised with some of the details. The camper with the blue bicycle, red utensils and the surf is my favourite (a-must-buy for me). And Mia's bedroom looks nice to fill in some empty Creator houses.

#3 Rufus


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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the coverage!  'Friends' is hosted in Town, so I'll move the thread there.  :classic:

#4 SilentMode


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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

I'm on these. Well, some of these.
the infamous SilentMode
crowdfunding yet again for Project Swapfig - ends November 16 2013.
SilentMode.tv | Project Swapfig | @SilentMode1 | Brick Owl store | Flickr
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#5 lightningtiger


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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

Thanks 'Aanchir' for these images, furniture....might be okay for minifigs too right ? :wink:
Nice stables.....Saddle Club fans will go nuts over it ! :laugh:

#6 daisy


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:01 AM

We will definitely want the camper and the 3 $10 sets of the summer releases. It is very convenient for me to have adughter who loves these and has a late august bday.   :wink:

Really like the building parts.

But I wish they would come out with a little more clothing and hairdo variety, the summer releases seem to have basically the same clothes and hair as the January ones.  We are going to have a whole troop of olivia and stephanie clones soon.   I don't know if I could justify the $ for the advent calendar, but oh to give those mini dolls some sweaters.

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