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REVIEW: 6411 Sand Dollar Café


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Poll: REVIEW: 6411 Sand Dollar Café (50 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 Pandora

Pandora

  • Hide the Zebras!


    Posts: 3843
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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:11 PM

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Number –  6411
Name –  Sand Dollar Café
Theme –  Paradisa
Year –  1992
Minifigs –  5
Pieces –  168 (Brickset)/ 163 (Peeron)/ 146 (BrickLink)
Price –  MSRP $29.75, received as a gift and bought for an undisclosed amount.

Links: Brickset, Peeron, BrickLink


This is my second Paradisa review, so I will try not to repeat myself too much with my thoughts about the line as a whole, however I shall indulge in a little background detail.  Paradisa was, more or less,  the  1990’s version of the current Friends line produced by TLG.  It was released only between 1992 and 1997 and the sets focused on a beachside, tropical lifestyle that was all about fun and relaxation.  The theme is renowned for its pink, pastel and white colour scheme, and the sets have always generated a wistful sense of nostalgia in me.  This isn’t true nostalgia; I’ve said before that Paradisa was released during my dark ages, however the sets still hark back to a time when life seemed simple and the hedonism of the 1980’s was still spilling over into the 1990’s.
This particular set is another representation of the relaxing party atmosphere – the first time I saw the sealed box in real life, and was therefore able to appreciate the artwork, my head was filled with Wham!’s 1980’s hit Club Tropicana, but aside from instilling a desire to run away to a beachside location and party the days and nights away, is this set actually any good in terms of parts, build and look?  Hopefully, you will have a better idea as you read on...


The Box

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The front of the box shows the set presented as a charming scene, almost like an advert for a sunny vacation.  You can imagine the tag-line saying: "Relax on our golden beaches!  Windsurf in our crystal clear waters under the watchful eyes of our fully trained life guards!  Enjoy our world-famous ice-cream and coffee, brought to you by our masters of the culinary arts!  Visit... Paradisa!"
The warm pastel sunset colours are all there, along with the recognisable Paradisa pink border and surround.  In case the pink and the pastel didn’t give it away, the top right corner stamps the Paradisa brand on the box, and TLG reassures us that this is a SYSTEM set.


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The back of the box is where I really get excited, though.  As some of you may already be aware, I adore seeing a selection of weird and wonderful alternative builds on the back of boxes, and this set is no exception.  Discovering what the designers also considered with this set, on the back of the box, is almost as exciting to me as opening the box and building the intended set.  6411: Sand Dollar Café does not disappoint, as there are a wide variety of scenes to choose from.


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The top of the box simply shows a picture of the set similar to the box front, however the positioning of elements has been altered ever so slightly to be able to elongate the picture.  Exactly the same picture appears on the bottom, along with the declaration that the parts were made in Billund and copyrighted in 1992.


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Slightly disappointingly, both the left and right sides of the box bear this same image, and like the other sides, on the classic Paradisa pink and sunset background.  I realise I’m picky in wanting more variation in pictures, and pictures aren’t even that necessary here, and indeed the picture they do have is quite charming.  If this counts as a disappointment, then actually, it’s all good so far.


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The best thing about this box, though, is that it is one of the old-fashioned flappy-lidded boxes.  I defy any of you not to adore boxes that open up and display the LEGO to you as if they are gourmet ingredients in a luxury hamper.  Here you can see the overall effect as the lid is lifted; it’s just... tantalising.   :drool:


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The inside of the lid is covered with yet more alternative builds and pictures.  I am in rapture; I knew TLG wouldn’t disappoint with a wide variety of pictures, and they have left them as a cheeky surprise for when you opened the lid.


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The display portion not only allows you glimpses of the LEGO contained in the set, but also has a few selected parts and minifigs specifically displayed in their own plastic tray.  The attention to detail here is really very interesting; the cardboard cut out around the cellophane could have been left as a pair of tall rectangles, but they have made them interesting shapes and included more detail, like the sun pattern.  The cardboard itself is not only decorated with the Paradisa livery but also with pictures of the minifigs and parts, which cause the cardboard to be shaped this way.  I really feel as though the LEGO is being presented to me, as if it is a gift.  It’s a really nice feeling.


The Instructions

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As is traditional, the front of the instruction booklet shows another picture of the built set,  similar to the one on the front of the box, but taken from a slightly greater distance to give you a better overall appreciation of how all the parts come together.  There is the recognisable pink-sunset backdrop, and in an understandable effort to make the baseplate tie into its surrounding, the surface has been painted as an extension of the colours on the baseplate.  It is this, I think, that shows how TLG envisioned the set fitting into the ‘real world’; that it would be gentle café on the outer reaches of a sand-bar, rather than a bustling and active place in the middle of a group of seaside hostelries.  Once again we are reassured that this is LEGO and that this LEGO is SYSTEM.  No fear, it integrates.


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The very first pair of pages takes you by the hand and shows you how to build the minifigs,  palm tree, ice-cream cart and windsurf.  All in easy, step-by-step instructions, right before you’re thrown into the ‘spot-the-difference’ style of building which is now synonymous with this era.  I actually quite like the fact that you have to study the instructions carefully, as it makes me feel I am more involved with the build than if I were just adding piece on piece.  The outcome is the same, the model is still built, I just think it’s more fun this way.


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The last pages of the instructions do, however, demonstrate that for the smaller builds that are added into the scene, there are numbered sequences.  Still not parts call-outs, and I still like it without.


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The very back page shows the final steps in building the model, with a tiny amount of the upper left corner devoted to the Paradisa Points – a purchase incentive scheme, now lost in the mists of time.  There are no advertisements for other sets you may be interested in, or links to magazines (before anyone points this out – I am fully aware that this is pre-internet :wink: ) and certainly no obnoxious ‘Gagne child’.   The entire booklet is solely devoted to the build.


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Never fear, though, consumerism is never far away; however it is slightly better hidden.  Along with the instructions is a rather large fold out poster – similar to (but not the same as) the fold out poster I encountered before in 6403: Paradise Playground.  The poster itself is a nice addition; it feels like a freebie extra, that a little girl could happily post on her wall.  It is also a handy way of reminding that very same little girl of all the Paradisa sets she doesn’t have and that she can ask her mum to buy for her.  Cynicism aside, it’s a lovely montage of scenes from Paradisa, with all the sets together and the minifigs clearly enjoying themselves in the pink sunset.  And the best thing about this Paradisa poster...


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...is that they recognise and highlight the importance of coffee.  I want to live in Paradisa and drink coffee from pink mugs and ride horses along the beach at sunset.  :cry_happy:


The Parts

There are many wonderful things inside this box, some of which can be espied through the cellophane in the lid.  On emptying out the contents, we have:

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A pristine clear plastic tray, sealed with a layer of cellophane, which displays a few of the minifigs and a few other choice pieces.  It’s packaged in such a way that the tray sits on top of the box allowing the contents to be seen through the cellophane of the box display.  It seems so extravagant now, in this age of minimal and recyclable packaging; it’s almost decadent.  I’m glad that LEGO isn’t packaged like this anymore, purely for the sake of the environment, however this has happened, I cannot unmake that plastic tray, and I’m sorry to say that I rather like it. :blush:


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Underneath the clear plastic tray, there are the old-fashioned perforated polybags.  Even through the perforations, things are starting to get exciting...


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There are a few loose parts rattling around, too.  A pleasant 2x16 old grey plate, a couple of bushes and the windsurf sail.  I’m surprised these weren’t separately packaged too, given the extravagance of the plastic tray, however they (and most notably the windsurf sail) have survived rattling around in the box unscathed.


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Underneath all of that, is the last treasure at the bottom of the box:- the baseplate.  This is a regular sized baseplate (32x32) but it has distinctive pattern and colouring to it.  This baseplate is only available in this set, and shows degrees of grass (in Paradisa minty green), sand, and shallow and deep water in sloping curves across the surface.  It’s hard to imagine this baseplate making a smooth transition with any other baseplate, and some building over the edges will be required to disguise the colour change, which makes it less useful, but I still like the detail.  It adds a bit of instant environment and background, and means if you’re a kid that you don’t have to build an island on a sea baseplate if you just want to build a building.


So let’s look at all the parts together.  Firstly, there’s a good selection of plates:

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There’s a good number of plates, mostly in old light grey and white; just a mere hint of pink.  The most notable is probably the 6x6 old grey plate with the rounded corner.  This part made its debut the year this set was released, and in this colour it was mostly used in Paradisa sets, but also appeared in an Alpha Team (6776: Ogel Control Centre) and an Adventurers set (5978: Sphinx Secret Surprise).  In old grey it appears in 7 sets in total.


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There are unsurprisingly quite a few white elements.  Nothing here is in a great quantity, but there are some useful bits and pieces nonetheless.  The macaroni pieces are still going strong today, as are the modified 1x2x1 1/3 curved top bricks.  Most of the white parts are easily sourced still, but the 1x2x2 white panel hasn’t been around since 1996, however it was in a plethora of sets, so again it’s easily obtained.  You can pick one up for a penny on BrickLink.  Overall, within the white parts here there’s nothing too exciting, and everything is still easily available; it’s a nice mix.


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A café isn’t a café without transparent windows, and here are the trans pieces just for that job.  The three 3x4x6 curved top panels are not easy to come by, they’re only available in 5 sets in trans-clear, however happily one of those five sets is the Friends set 3187: Butterfly Beauty Shop, released this year!  I suspected I would find some less common elements in Paradisa sets that are now cropping up in Friends sets, and here’s one right here!  And it’s a beauty, too.  Towns have shops, and shops have windows, so this is a handy piece for a town builder.  By comparison the 3x3x6 curved panel with corner is only available in trans-clear in two sets; this one and the Paradisa set 6416: Poolside Paradise, and as it works so well with the other panels, I’m very happy to have it.  Maybe it too will appear in the next wave of Friends sets?


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There’s a lot more pink around in the smaller parts, but the majority remains white.  Interestingly the blue flag hadn’t been seen since 2006 until 2010 when it popped up in the 3862: Hogwarts board game.  The 1x1 tiles in yellow and red are also far from rare, but handy to have.  The pink taps are exclusive to the Paradisa line, and are found in a number of their sets, but no others.  And there are four here!  Similarly with the pink mugs, however they did creep over to Belville too.  It’s hardly a surprise that the pink parts aren’t really found outside the themes aimed at girls, at least not back in the 1990’s.  If you want a pink 1x1 plate, then you’ll only find that in Paradisa too.


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I’ve grouped these pieces together as they the furniture and structural pieces.  Would you believe it, but the pink chairs were limited to Paradisa too?  Although, if you really want some then 6409: Island Arcade is a better bet, as it contains six.  Can you spot a trend here?  The pink fence is also only available in Paradisa sets, albeit only three of those, so in actuality they are quite rare.  Having said that though, there are a number of lots for sale in pink on BrickLink, and they are relatively inexpensive if you have a burning desire for a pink fence.  The modified 1x2 light grey plate is widely available, but was mostly found in Space sets.  The white 2x4x5 stanchion is also widely available, but this time in Soccer sets.  This really reflects the versatility of the parts, and that although some things may be inherently found in one theme, there’s still quite a bit of crossover.


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This is Paradisa, a lush and tropical landscape, so some bits of greenery are necessary to help create that.  Palm trees are a staple of Paradisa but they were also plentiful in the Pirates sets of the 1990’s too.  Unfortunately the palm tree hasn’t been seen in old brown since 2002, where it appeared in 10037: Breezeway Café (which was the re-released version of 6376: Breezeway Café).  It made a brief renaissance in 10159: City Airport in new reddish brown in 2004, and this set was also a re-release (this time of 6597: Century Skyway).  The parrot also hasn’t been seen since 2002, where, like the palm tree, it was a staple of both Paradisa and Pirates sets along with a few Classic Town sets and others.  The other greenery is widely available, but always welcome.


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Now these are the interesting parts, I think.  First off, the 1x4 brick with the ‘Café’ print is exclusive to this set.  It’s not very expensive at all on BrickLink (about 22 pence at the time of writing) but it is still exclusive.  The white with pink umbrella pieces (4x4 dish) is only found in six Paradisa sets, all from between 1992 and 1995.  The coastguard printed tile is only available in four sets, the other three being Coastguard sets from a wide time span (1989 to 1999) and the ice cream printed tile was also only available in four sets – this and another Paradisa set 6409: Island Arcade,and two Dacta sets.  The lovely pink windsurf sail is also (perhaps unsurprisingly) only available in two other sets  and both of those are Paradisa, specifically 6410: Cabana Beach and its earlier and smaller counterpart 6401: Seaside Cabana.  Aside from that, the bicycle is here because it’s interesting, and the 1x1 round plates are far from rare, but here, in these old sets, they come in pairs!  I am sure this will precipitate some nostalgic feelings, as people remember twisting the plate off the connection from its partner.  :wub:
With (nearly :wink: ) all the parts accounted for, we move on to the build itself:


The Build

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The first task for building is to assemble the minifigs, and here they all are.  We have shades dude, he’s pretty unremarkable, and the freckly kid with his/her gender-neutral face, cap and Paradisa sweatshirt.  Then there are the girls; they’re both only wearing pants, very revealing!  And they both have the same face, and the same hair, but in black and brown.  The red strapless top is rather nice, and was actually widely available in the early 1990’s before its swansong in 10036: Pizza To Go.  The female face was only around in sets (mostly Paradisa) for the short time span of 1992 – 1993.  It still made eight sets, though.  


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Now that she’s taken her life-jacket off, we can see the pretty pink top underneath.  Like the red strapless top, this has lovely detailed printing, and was also only released in Paradisa sets between 1992 and 1994.  It was found in fewer sets, though, only five.  The life-jacket itself is a very commonplace piece, although it went out of production, being replaced with a new mould in 2011.  The chef torso can really be considered a stalwart of Classic Town, and it was around for a staggering 20 years, from 1979 to 1999.  As you might expect, it is therefore far from rare, but it remains iconic, nonetheless.


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From the back you can see that there’s no printing at all, and indeed the red strapless top has utterly vanished, leaving our black-haired lady looking next to naked!  :oh:


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Once the Minifigs are built, the next item on the agenda is the windsurf.  Here you can see I’ve pictured it with the windsurf from 4644: Marina for comparison.  I’ve you’ve been following along, you’ll know that the Paradisa version is the one on the left, although really there isn’t much difference.  The old windsurf has a pointier shape and looks more triangular, but it’s just different, not better or worse.  The addition of the Paradisa palm tree motif is a nice touch, and once more makes me think of it more as a holiday resort rather than somewhere where people live.


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Building the set really doesn’t take that long at all.  The café is the only true building, really, and the rest is dressing the scene and placing parts.  From this angle you can see inside the café, and there appears to be a griddle, with a frying pan stowed above it, and a drinks dispenser and coffee machine.  The macaroni pieces are used to make a nice curved counter, but unfortunately the plates on top are square cornered, leaving a sharp overhang.  The ‘glass’ windows formed by the trans-clear pieces only really provide shelter for one side of the café, however in such a tropical climate that’s all that’s probably needed.  Plus it means you can get your hands inside the café and move minifigs around.  The printed café brick is bolstered by the addition of pink plates and 1x2x1 1/3 modified white bricks to form a more substantial café sign on top of the café itself.  This gives it a slight ‘diner’ aesthetic in my eyes, which is no bad thing at all.


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From this angle it’s easier to see behind the counter in the café, and the 1x2x2 panels are used to imply cupboards, or storage, perhaps.  The boundary of the set is maintained by the placing of the pink fence, rather than just leaving open space, and to really make sure that area is filled, and to reinforce the fun and relaxation motif, there’s a shiny red bicycle parked against it.  Whose bicycle?  I have no idea, but it doesn’t matter, it’s there.  Here you can also see that practicalities have been considered for the lifeguard; he isn’t expected to somersault up to his pink lifeguarding chair, oh no, he has been provided with a ladder to prevent attempts at breaking the law of gravity.  I remember commenting on the lack of such metaphysical considerations when reviewing 4644: Marina where there was no conceivable way the poor minifigs could have reached the café above the sports equipment shop.


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This provides the best view of our windsurfer, who is fully prepared with her life-jacket to ride the breakers of Paradisa beach, and surf the crystal clear waters, reassured by the presence of the manly and cool lifeguard.  The ice-cream man grips onto the ice-cream cart for dear life, afraid it will be taken up by the waves and washed out to sea, dispersing ice lollies along the coastline and depriving the café’s patrons of their treats.  He’s also conveniently situated to catch any passing trade, too.  You can also see, even thought the ice-cream cart’s umbrella slightly obscures it, that the life guard tower juts slightly forward at the top, thanks to the use of the angled stanchion piece.  The angulation allows the ladder to be angled too, and not just vertical, but there is a sense that he’s teetering over the edges of the waves on his pink chair with nothing but his blue flag and cool shades for comfort.  However, to fall from that height he’d be far better off to land in water.


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This aspect demonstrates the smooth and stylish curve of the trans pieces as floor length windows.  It could have been left with just the wall at the side, with no rounded corner, but the corner panel really does (quite literally) round things off nicely.  It adds an enveloping; an enclosure to the café, making the table and chairs on the grass outside very much part of the café, and not just additions.  That curved corner panel is a lovely piece, it really is.  This view also shows how the placing of the bushes at the side provide a further boundary to the set as a whole, and suggests further shrubbery off to the side, and thus lets the mind wander and consider what else there might be beyond...  You can see the red top-wearing girl sitting at the café table, eating cheese, or maybe yellow cake, and the chef has stumbled out of the café to deliver a cup of coffee on a tray to... someone.  I think he’s forgotten.

  
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From the front it is evident that this is a very self-contained piece of beach, and yet there aren’t much in the way of defined boundaries to the scenario.  The graduated colours of the baseplate allow the different elements to make sense according to the surface on which they are placed.  The printed pieces are best seen from this angle; the little sign using the modified grey plate and coast guard tile – a small addition that adds context.  The printed picture on the top of the ice-cream cart just adds an extra level of detail, and of course that printed café brick, complete with Paradisa palm tree motif which could so easily been a sticker.  Whilst windsurfing girl and ice-cream selling boy are being shy in this picture, there’s a nice view of the sun lounger.  It’s a nice design and the curved bricks make it look padded and comfortable; luxurious even.  Sun loungers have continued to crop up, most recently in my memory in 3315: Olivia’s House, and although that one was certainly more colourful, it didn’t look quite as comfortable.  As an aside, it’s interesting to see the different designs of everyday objects that are used across sets; I’ve commented about it in relation to barbecues before and I think there has been similar also with coffee machines.  I like that there isn’t a LEGO standard design for these things and that the designers have clearly always had the freedom in their creativity to make them however they choose.  Back to this Paradisa scene, however, which is nicely rounded off with a lilting palm tree and inquisitive parrot.  It truly makes me long for a beach.


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When the intended set is built, a few useful parts are left over.  Red and yellow 1x1 tiles are not to be sniffed at, and certainly wouldn’t have been back in 1992.  The spare pink 1x1 plates and pink tap are also welcome spares, too.


Alternative Builds

As I mentioned in the introduction, and as anyone who read 6403: Paradise Playground will know, the alternative builds on the boxes of these older sets are scenes of true joy and beauty to me.  The designers clearly sat down with the lovely set they had created, took it all apart, scratched their head(s) and thought “Well, let’s see what else we can come up with”.  It requires a lot of personal patience to try to work out how to build some of these from single pictures with parts of the dioramas partially obscured or out of shot, and I really haven’t attempted all of them, just a few, but they’re still delightful, really.


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Firstly there’s this cute little scene.  I will confess that that is just the ice-cream cart from the main build, but you do get to see it slightly better here, and there is a nice demonstration of how the printed tile acts as part of a hinged lid to the refrigerated cart.  The glow inside comes from the red and yellow 1x1 tiles that are supposed to be placed there.  They sit inside the cart and pretend to be ice-lollies (or popsicles) and are only seen when you open the cart itself, so if you did want to pretend that pink shirted girly is buying an ice cream, at least there is something for her to buy.  It’s a detail I appreciate.


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Again this is a representation of one of the inset pictures from the box, and for some reason it is compulsory to have a pram as an alternative build in a Paradisa set.  It happened before in 6403: Paradise Playground and here it is again.  This is actually a different build to the pram I have encountered before.  It works well, it’s a nice design, there’s even some cheese for the baby, but it’s still a pram.  I can only assume that the designers had a burning desire to build little LEGO prams and felt they could only get away with it in Paradisa sets, and that it’s not that this is a girly set, and that girls like babies and prams.  Although, it probably is.


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Now this scene just made me say ‘aawww’.  It’s utterly adorable, and romantic and sweet.  And totally plays up to the girly side of me.  :blush:  Once you get past how lovely this scene is, you might be impressed with the use of an antenna and flower head to make a single flower stem.  I assume the pink box with handles is a back pack, and that these two lovers have windsurfed together to an idyllic secret cove to spend some time alone.  The mugs hint at a picnic, and clearly they are relaxed and happy in each other’s arms.  He particularly looks very pleased with himself, and who can blame him?  I just hope the parrot doesn’t poop on his head and ruin the mood.


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This was a slightly trickier build, as a lot of the model is actually hidden in the photograph, but half the fun is actually trying to work it out.  Here there is a café on stilts above the water, and cool dude zooms past in something I can only assume to be a pedalo.  Freckles sits on the deck with a stick, attempting to fish and presumably find something for chef to put in his empty frying pan.  It’s a smaller café, but the lovely curved walls are maintained with the trans panels.  There is very much the sense that this is right on the waterfront, especially as the model is further forward on the graduated baseplate, and through the use of the aforementioned stilts.


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Here the café has undergone another transformation, this time looking more like a cabana, as the palm fronds from the palm tree now make the awning.  The cool dude is now the chef (although he looks a little like a DJ, too) and he’s clearly cooking up a storm at his little pedestal counter at the back.  Chef is now a waiter, pushing a cute little drinks cart, although I’m not entirely clear what purpose the taps serve on the trolley.  There are a couple of tables and chairs, and freckles is enjoying some down time with pink lady.  Red strapless top-girly is nowhere to be seen, though. :look:
There’s a nice counterbalance between the parrot and the blue flag on the tops of the poles, but I particularly like the use of palm tree sections as planting tubs for flowers.  I really hadn’t thought of using that part that way, and it’s surprisingly effective.  This is yet another demonstration of an alternative build throwing up something unusual.


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The last of the alternative builds I’ve tried to re-create is more of an ice cream booth or hut.  It’s a small, arched structure, and you can just imagine minifigs queuing up at the window where the printed café sign is used.  The simple addition of the palm tree and a table and chairs on the small baseplate completes the little structure, which has an open and airy sense.  There’s specific use of the curved parts of the set in this build; the macaroni pieces make a smooth and rounded corner, and the tops of the walls are arched, even the grey plate used for the roof has a smooth corner, and the overall impression for me is that it’s slightly art-deco.  The minifigs have had another switch up; chef now has hair, but he’s still a waiter; freckles is now female (probably) but still not wearing any trousers, and cool dude is now even cooler as he’s wearing a baseball cap.  Overall it’s yet another pleasant scene.


Conclusion

Design  9/10  TLG could have just made a café, and plonked it on a plain baseplate and left it at that, but they didn’t.  They designed a specific baseplate for this set so that the café could be placed on grass, there could be elements (such as the sun lounger) placed on beach, and there is also sea – without which it really wouldn’t be seasidey.  They added in beachside elements and they really didn’t have to include a life guard, but yet again he adds context to the scene.  The café itself benefits from the lovely curves of the trans pieces and the counter is well equipped for play inside the café.

Parts  8/10  This is actually an interesting parts pack.  I’ve mentioned the baseplate over and over, but there’s also the printed café brick that’s exclusive to this set.  The other big winners for me are the gorgeous curved trans-clear panels and the palm tree.  There’s a good assortment of old pink and old light grey parts, including plates, and a couple of useful printed tiles, plus who would say ‘no’ to a bicycle?  All in all, there are quite a few interesting things here.

Minifigs 8/10  Five minifigs is a good number for a set of this size, and they all make sense and are relevant to the scene.  There are two female characters, admittedly with the same face and similar hair colour, but the two detailed female torsos are extremely welcome.  If I had to choose a favourite, then the red strapless torso would probably win, even if it is a little risqué.  The other torsos are typical Paradisa and Classic Town, and again, always welcome.

Build  7/10  The build isn’t difficult, aside from the fact that it is a series of old-fashioned spot-the-difference pictures in the instructions, and it takes very little time to fashion the café.  The rest of the ‘build’ is then really a group of smaller builds - such as the ice-cream cart, and the placing of scenery - such as the fence, bicycle and shrubbery.  For a short investment of time, you get a small but pleasant build, and the overall result is very gratifying.

Playability  9/10  Here’s where I think the alternative builds come into their own.  Just taking some time to look at what else the designers came up with would, I really think, ignite a spark in even the most stunted imagination.  Once again these pictures show kids that it’s ok to rearrange the LEGO in any way they like, and that they don’t always have to just follow the instructions.  The minifigs can be assembled as they are in the instructions, but then you can make them whatever (or whoever) you want them to be.  The main build itself has a really nice level of detail, and it is detail that I think improves playability.  There are lots of things in the set for the minifigs to interact with, and the baseplate allows for stories on both land and sea.

Price  8/10  Price is always a tricky thing to discuss with older sets, as it can be so variable.  I can only guess at whether or not this set represented value for money back in 1992, as so many factors that would influence this are hard to replicate.  However, if you wish to buy this set today then prices on BrickLink are variable.  You could pay as little as £18.31 ($29.64 USD, 22.53 EUR) for a complete used set, including instructions, which to me is quite a reasonable price for an old set of this size.  Or, you could fork out up to £92.64 ($150 USD, 113.97 EUR) for a MISB set, if you really, really wanted it MISB.  The box is truly lovely and there’s something magical about opening 20 year old MISB LEGO, but I very much doubt it’s worth over £70 for the privilege.  The third way is to chance your arm on e-bay (which how I believe this set was acquired) but the prices there are notoriously unpredictable.  I would happily pay for a used version of this set (if someone stole my current set away) but I very much doubt I would be too concerned about buying it MISB at those prices.  The score I’ve given reflects the ‘used’ price.

Overall  82%

I really do like this set a lot.  It’s very pink, it really is, but that mostly comes from the details – of which there are satisfyingly many.  I’m not a huge fan of pink, which is unexpected I know, seeing as I’m a girl and girls are supposed to like pink, but I don’t.  However, this set wasn’t designed for me, it was designed for a little girl a whole lot younger than me, and she probably does like pink.  Most of the pink could be replaced, though, except the café sign, the umbrellas and the windsurf, but honestly I wouldn’t want to.  There is a charm to the relaxed seaside life; I am instantly transported to a warm, tropical beach and I want to be lying on that sun lounger while chef brings me a drink (albeit in a pink mug).  I know that if I want to go swimming or windsurfing, there’s a cool dude on lookout, or I could explore the implied countryside on the handy bicycle….

Aside from escapism, this set also provides a good amount of unusual parts and is a fair supply of old pink and old grey.  The unique baseplate might be difficult to integrate, but I appreciate the play opportunities it provides for this set and I certainly wouldn’t be without it.  The build is pleasant, if a little short, and the overall set is extremely nice to look at.  The more Paradisa sets I have (and review), the more Paradisa sets I want.  They’re really quite addictive.  :grin:

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#2 TheKingOfBuilding

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:53 PM

Great review Pandora! This is a really nice set, along with the rest of the Paradisia range. That baseplate is superb along with all of the other parts - if only Lego included such pieces in sets nowdays, exclusive printing, rare colours...  :wub_drool:

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#3 WhiteFang

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

Pandy, this is such an excellent Paradisa review. Seeing this review coming to light, simply make my heart warms. I am always a fan of Paradisa and even though the entire built is simplistic but the beauty of this set lies behind its simplistic and endearing concept. I am very fond of this special exclusive baseplate. Also, love this beautiful romantic scene.  :wub:

Thank you for doing so many great alternate builds. I will enjoy putting the 6402 Sidewalk Cafe into this setting as well.

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I must applaud the efforts that you had put into this and especially taking a MISB classic set out for a review which is very commendable. Thank you so much.

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#4 Lorentzen

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:14 PM

You are insanely good at reviewing sets!
And such a nice set - I really want to buy this and many of the other sets - even as a boy I loved them - I don't think that they are too girly. Instead they for into a LEGO city's outskirts

Edit: this review should be blogged: Fantastic and detailed review + it is a MISB set that's been reviewed.

Edited by Lorentzen, 06 May 2012 - 04:16 PM.

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#5 WhiteFang

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:34 PM

View PostLorentzen, on 06 May 2012 - 04:14 PM, said:

Edit: this review should be blogged: Fantastic and detailed review + it is a MISB set that's been reviewed.
It has already been taken care of.  :wink:

See it on Classic-Town.net

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#6 Otherworld

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:30 PM

Ah these sets are so nostalgic, I miss them. What I specially like about this set is the café area..I remember I ordered the paradise playground along with the seaside cabana like 4 years ago from eBay, but the seller scammed me and only sent me the paradise playground.

I have a grudge with those female faces.. like seriously. I've gotten like 5, expecting I get at least one of them looking perfectly printed but I actually get mine awkwardly printed!  :cry_sad:
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#7 Kliq

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:53 PM

I must agree with the others, you have done a very good review of this set!  I enjoy the Paradisa sets, and have a couple of them set up within my classic town display.  They are kind of like the 'Laguna Beach' side of town.   :laugh:

One thing, though...

Quote

The poster itself is a nice addition; it feels like a freebie extra, that a little girl could happily post on her wall.

I have this poster hanging on my wall, and I am def. not a little girl!   :tongue:

#8 Redhead1982

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for this excellent and thorough review. I'm one of those who missed the set when it came out, and I'm almost sure that I wouldn't buy it then. But now, it's a bit different as I appreciate sets for other reasons, too. My favourite are the surf board with sail and then a bunch of small pieces, including the pink cups, taps, chairs, and big transclear windows/glass. One of the downpoint for me are definitely the female faces. My preferable are classic smiles, but these faces definitely have too much make up for me.  :sceptic: On the other hand, male faces are fine, so I guess it was all just a try at making a more obvius females. Nevertheless, it's a great set!
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#9 just2good

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:15 PM

Excellent review, 'Pandora'! :sweet:
Paradisa is definitely my favorite subtheme of Town. The sets are well designed, and the same goes with the figures and the baseplates. I really wish I could get a copy of this set. :sad:

#10 legitimatealex

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:44 PM

Absolutely beautiful. My sister had this set when she was younger. Pretty sure it all got sold off in a garage sale though. I hope that the new Friends series can capture what these sets had.
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#11 Wout

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

Thank you for the nice review. :classic:

I liked the paradisa sets very much for their "Beverly Hills" feeling and they were a very good addition to town.
I had a smaller set with the fold out poster also and had it hanging on my wall.

When I became an afol I had bought  this set second hand. Not as neat as you had it, but it was very nice.
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#12 LEGO Train 12 Volts

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:20 PM

Beautiful review for a great nostalgic set!  :wub:
The round plates joined together remember me the first time I saw these pieces in the unforgettable 7740 train set!  :blush:
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#13 Darkdragon

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:02 PM

Excellent review Pandora.  Perfect photos and a great read too!

I never have been able to get my hands on any Paradisa sets (let alone MISB). Though I do manage to get ahold of a lot of the parts for them. This is by far my favorite set in the series, from what I've seen of them. I think it might be the most pink one too, with a lot less light grey than the others - but that could just be my mind playing a trick.

The baseplate is so pretty, all the printed parts, the minifig torsos (most of them), and the sail. I think if I would have been given this set as a child I would have been totally thrilled.

#14 lightningtiger

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:44 PM

Nice review 'Pandora', you are showing your age 1982 Wham eh ? :wink: (now I'm showing my age  :laugh: )
Quite a cute set, you could imagine Lego modernising this one for Friend's or I guess last years marina set had a less-pink cafe in it. :blush:
Handy to have those trans-clear curved panels, so handy for art-deco building work......a different style of cafe could be built. :wink:
Again nice review 'Pandora'. :classic:

#15 Flipz

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:56 PM

Beautiful set, GREAT review!  I was lucky enough to pick a few of these sets up when I was little, and though they are now in storage somewhere ( :cry_sad: ), I still remember them fondly.

As to the usage of the coconut stem as a flowerpot, I remember the quite clever use of a clear minifig head as a flowerpot in Poolside Paradise, it's something that's stuck with me even today, I'll often grab a blue or red or whatever minifig head piece to make a nice flowerpot.  Having seen this technique with the palm tree segments, however, I believe a change in style is in order. :grin:

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#16 snaillad

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:07 PM

Good review, this is the only Paradisa set I own, still cant find the boy with freckles face. Ill have it somewhere!  :laugh:

I loved this set when I was younger. Decent amount of printed pieces, an unusual baseplate at the time and always found ways to use the those excellent windows!

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#17 purplepeopleeater

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:36 PM

I really enjoyed reading this review, it brought back many happy memories so thank you.  I had this set as a child.  I saved up my pocket money for several weeks until I could afford to buy it, and it was an amazing sense of achievement when I got there.  This was my favourite LEGO kit by a long stretch and I played with it endlessly.  Sadly I have no idea what happened to it, really wish I still had it.

#18 ihira

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:47 AM

I owned this set in real time, which means I must have been about 10-11 years old if it was a 1992 set.

Strangely I do remember as a boy thinking 'this lego is really girly' but it didn't stop me from enjoying what it is.

Paradisa is great, I really love how its not too girly, and can fit in within your regular Town sets.  Yes, I'm not a fan of the 2012 'Friends' line.

#19 LEGO Family

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:24 AM

View PostFlipz, on 06 May 2012 - 10:56 PM, said:

Beautiful set, GREAT review!  I was lucky enough to pick a few of these sets up when I was little, and though they are now in storage somewhere ( :cry_sad: ), I still remember them fondly.

As to the usage of the coconut stem as a flowerpot, I remember the quite clever use of a clear minifig head as a flowerpot in Poolside Paradise, it's something that's stuck with me even today, I'll often grab a blue or red or whatever minifig head piece to make a nice flowerpot.  Having seen this technique with the palm tree segments, however, I believe a change in style is in order. :grin:


Mmmmmm ..... Im beginning to want to have some of these sets myself .... Good review :)

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#20 JackJonespaw

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

Nice review! I really wish I had this set, if only for the great baseplate. Lego doesn't make things like that any more.  :sad:

#21 Yooha

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

Oh, these Paradisa sets always take me back 20 years, when I watched Californai Dreams on TV. Thanks!
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I never had any Paradisa sets, but I'm planning to get some smaller ones. The Seasida Cabana for sure.

#22 vean

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:12 PM

Very good review! Perfect pics! Great Job! :thumbup:

Thank you!

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#23 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

Paradisa... Place where every of us wanted to spend vacations... :)
Thank you for this wonderfull review and recreations of other models!
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#24 Cecilie

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:58 PM

:wub: :wub: :wub: :wub:

I was right in the middle of the target group when Paradisa was around, and this is the only Paradisa set I had. I loved it so much, and I even had that poster on my wall :laugh:.

Thanks for taking me back in time with this awesome review Pandora :cry_happy: (and yes, I still have this in a box among my old childhood LEGO :wink:)
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#25 alex54

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:44 PM

Great review Pandora!
Seeing your set all new without any dust makes me envious! But I will not complain that much, because I'm a happy owner of this set, even if the pieces are not that news and not that clean.
Even if it was a more girly line, my parents didn't persuade me not to have this set. I likes the introdutions of new colours for this time, and also those new girl faces! They were too rare at this time!
It was nice to have a set based on beach, the basepate is just awsome for that!


If I know this set, I'm very intrigued by those 1x1 round plates which come in pairs!!! *huh*
I have bought this set in particular the year it was released and I didn't have those pairs of round plates! Until today, I didn't know that TLC has made that!
And as far as I can remember, I never had those pairs in any set, in about 25 years of LEGO experience!
If somebody has some explanation about that, it would be nice...

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