Review: 3184 Friends Adventure Camper
Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:38 PM
Surprisingly, I'm the first to start with the summer wave of Friends sets. Having a rather bad day yesterday, I treated myself with a bike ride to the city center to visit the library (picking up some tourist guides for the summer) and being in the vicinity of a toy store, I had to make another stop there. Luckily, there were some summer wave sets out on shelves, but only a few. Actually, in addition to 3184, there were only 3 of them (1 box of each), and all were Friends (3063, 3186, 3189). Admittingly, I only bought this one.
Set number: 3184
Name: Adventure Camper
Pieces: 322 (counted from the instruction booklet) + 13 extra // 309 from Brickset
Price: 29,90 EUR.
To start with the box, it's a standard dimension for a set of this size, meaning that you can see empty space upon opening the box. Front of the box is decorated by now already standard Friends design and has curved edges.
Similarly, the back of the box offers some sneek-peaks at numerous play possibilities of the set and advertises other Friends sets.
Whereas a close-up of one part of the back of the box shows that the build is divided into three steps with numbered bags, and some goodies of the set - a yellow basket, medium azure surfboard, and the red kitchen utensils,...
...the other part of the back of the box shows one rather dissapointing detail - Friends figures can't really ride a bicycle (more on it later). Nevertheless, the new medium azure bicycle is welcomed anyway. At this point I should mention, that little girls likely won't mind about this 'problem', whereas the big girls (me included) probably feel a bit dissapointed.
Side of the box shows the two minifigures included, Olivia and Nicole, with some of the accesories. Already on this picture, it is clear that the surfboard is decorated with stickers.
In reality, the minifigures look the same as on the box. Olivia (on the right side) is one of the five main characters, and in this set, she got to keep the same shirt and skirt design seen in 3315. At least some colour variation design would be welcomed. On the other hand, Nicole is introduced in this set. She has a tanner complexion than Olivia, wears an old skirt design (seen in 3061), but she was treated with a new torso design - a yellow shirt with Hawaiian flower print and partly open back. And no pink this time!
The contents of the set can be seen here. There are two instruction booklets, three numbered bags, a sticker sheet, and a caravan baseplate.
To focus on the sticker sheet, it is quite nice, and I used all but one of the stickers. Although I'd prefer printed parts, these stickers add some special design to the set. The large yellow ones form the 'textile' of the car seats, and the blue ones are surfboard decorations. In addition to this, only two car licence plates are included, and another sticker shows some sports surfing channel on TV. Again, it is great to see that none of the stickers is to be applied on more than one brick.
Contents of the bag 1 show a selection of multiple colours common to all Friends sets. There are many plates and tiles incldued, and much less bricks. The parts of interest are the red kitchen utensils, a yellow basket, an 'orange juice' brick and definetly the medium azure bicycle.
First to build is a large grill. In comparison to other grill designs appearing in different LEGO sets, this one looks rather poor. It has two clips attached to hold some of the most useful utensil for grilling, but then there's some greenery attached to it in a rather unusual way. I'm not a cooking/grilling expert, but I don't see what this should be. I'm only sure it's a bit too big to be some sort of spice, and it's definitely too close to heated grills. A nice addition is a container, storing extra set of forks and knives.
The grill is followed by a picnic table with benches. Although the benches are tiled, the minifigs sit nicely on them (without a chance of falling off). While the chicken wing is still on the grill, there are some starters on the table. Being in the shape of cupcake holder, they're probably some sweets Olivia and Nicole brought along on this adventure camping. A nice addition is the orange juice and the pink cups (last seen in a set in this colour in 1998).
The third build from bag 1 is a trailer. The lime/pink colour combination is definitely not my favourite, but it's in style with other Friends set. A nice (and playable) details is the moving latch on the back of the trailer to ease the loading of the bicycles. Also, a stickered license plate (with a heart, ofcourse) is included on the latch. Another great detail is the bar with a clip to allow a more horizontal position of the trailer when it's not attached to the caravan.
A different angle look of the trailer reveals one of the weak spots of the set. The wheels 'stick out' from the sides of the trailer too much, making the trailer almost 10 studs wide. In comparison to the camper's 6 studs width, the trailer looks a bit out of scale. Again, I'm not an expert on cars/trailers either, so perhaps this is the way it should be.
Completing bag 1, bag 2 is a logical next step. Brick selection is similar to bag 1, there are mainly plates, a bit more bricks, and less tiles. The colours are common to Friends, and consist of lots of lime, yellow, white, gray and dark pink. Considering the mix of these colours, the finished model doesn't even look too colourful.
Worth mentioning is a new piece that I came across for the first time in this set. It's a new bracket 1x2-1x2 inverted, and it's exclusive to 2012's sets. For the time being, this new bracket comes in dark bluish gray only, and looks as a very useful SNOT brick.
Bag 2 allows us to build the bottom part of the caravan. In the front of the caravan, there's a split panel allowing for fixing siting minifigs behind the wheel. The car seat has a nice textile pattern, although only 'stickered'. The same textile pattern is repeated in the back of the car. The back of the caravan holds a secret storing area for hiding some of the kichten utensils.
The back of the caravan reveals a use of the new brackets for SNOTing up the license plate and the tail lights.
Bag 3 continues the building of the caravan. The majority of the bricks is white, pink or lime. Here, a medium azure surfboard sticks out. Even without the stickers it looks a great addition to any of the sports store in your city.
There's another newer brick included - a hinge plate 2x2 locking with 1 finger on top. It's available in 9 sets since 2011, and in white from 2012.
The finishing steps of building the caravan are similar to the rest of the set. It's a simple build including some 'moving' details. The side and the top of the caravan are attached on hinges, allowing easy access to the interiors of the caravan. In this way, the adventure caravan resembles the 7639 Camper from 2009. A very distinguishing feature of them is the pink/lime colour scheme of the Friends camper and white/lime of the City camper. Also, both use the same piece for the front of the camper, whereas the roof design is different. This camper has an asymetrically built roof, which is clearly not seen from the official pictures as they are always taken from the better looking left side.
The caravan from the back right side reveals some flaws of the models. To accomodate hinged left side, there is a visible corner 'cut off' from the back and the roof is sticking out on that side. To make up for these, there's a stud to attach the surfboard on. Also, the right side looks fine. The only uncertainty I have is the tap on the side, most likely to be a water tap.
There are two more comments from my side on minifigures anatomy. It's probably still a hot topic to some, but for me, I mainly see them as not completely 'evolved'. One thing is that they are able to sit shoulder to shoulder in the front of the car, but their arms are overlapping, so I have no idea how they manage to drive the caravan. Well, in a way that's not such a problem, as they can't reach the steering wheel anyway.
The other things about this minifigures is that they can't really ride a bicycle. Their hands can't hold the bicycle, and the longer legs aren't a plus either as they appear to be too tall for the bicycle.
As seen here, there's a gap between the mnifigures 'bottom' and the bicycle 'seat'. Maybe they should get bigger bicycles.
However, these are probably some details that the target audience (6-12) likely won't mind about.
To finish this rather lengthy review, another view of the set showing a nice camping scene.
And the concluding remarks on some of the more interesting aspects of the set. Brick-wise, there are not many bricks of special interest included. The highlights are definitely the medium azure bicycle, red kitchen utensils, the 'juice' brick and yellow basket. Other inlcuded bricks are more common both colour and type-wise. Despite the new interesting pieces, the brick selection is not overwhelming.
The minifigures included have only one new printed torso, and in general not being a fan of this type of minifigures, I strongly feel new torso/leg designs could be included.
The overall design is strongly in favour of extra playability, but has some flaws in the build itself. Obviously the designers were trying to come up with a new camper design, different from the 2009-City one. This way, the built caravan gives an impression of partially finished model and offers some space for improvement. Nevertheless, target audience likely is not as peaky as slightly older, and the playability options surely prevail in favour of the build. Altogether, this set is a nice addition to the Friends series.
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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:55 PM
Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:27 PM
Its definitely a great parts package as the colors don't flow on the camper. Its mostly random colors thrown onto it.
Overall, I still think it is a great set and will definitely be buying it.
Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:48 PM
I actually like this set. The interior of the camper is nice. Of course, the bike is probably the best recolor of the set. But for the second-best recolor of the set is Nicole's hairpiece.
Edited by just2good, 20 May 2012 - 05:49 PM.
Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:38 PM
Biggest problem with it is the color scheme, lime green with pink, what were they thinking?!
Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:04 PM
Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:31 PM
Neat BBQ and picnic table.....nice interior of the van and the minidolls do fit side by side (though one would be either waving to someone or hand on the other girls leg ). At least you dont have to heavily modify a city vehicle to that side by side sitting minifigs.
Might twist my arm to add this to my small collection of Friend' sets.
Brick On Review On with you Friend's 'Redhead1982' !
Posted 21 May 2012 - 02:52 PM
Also a bunch of other interesting parts! And the figures can go to my nieces (in fact they already got some nice friends sets from us).
-== Classic LEGO trains are the best ==-
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Posted 21 May 2012 - 05:05 PM
Edited by Combee, 21 May 2012 - 05:06 PM.
Posted 21 May 2012 - 07:39 PM
I know we will be getting this one as my daughter has already requested it for her birthday. So the playability will be a plus in our house. I do see the trailer getting pushed aside though. (Thats all right, mom can scavenge it for bricks )
Wish they would make a better variety of "clothes" for the minidolls. We already have several copies of all those Olivia pieces, they will just add to the pile.
though for Nicole. I am really glad they have decided to include different minidolls as the extra person in the larger sets. We are so desperately in need of variety.
Posted 21 May 2012 - 11:05 PM
Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:25 AM
I agree with you with the fact that only some recoloured parts are interesting in this set.
The kitchen accessories are nice in red. And the azure bick rocks a lot!
But you're right in saying that those classic bikes don't feet very well with those minidolls. But personnaly, that doesn't bother me that much, it permits us to have our classic bikes in a new and nice colour! It's better for me that a new bick mold!
The design of this camper is not tha bad in general, but its major problem, for me, is the colours. When I look at this set, I just see some white, pink and lime bricks put together in a total awfull mess! Just look at the roof, it seems not finished, but more in the middle of the design process, when the colours sections are not totally stoped.
The final result appears botched to me...
Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:32 PM
and just like Daisy said, one more olivia, but it is ok for my girl, she wants to have a classroom full of Olivias>
Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:50 PM
Edited by gotoAndLego, 22 May 2012 - 07:50 PM.
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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:15 PM
This was on top of my 'want' list when the first toy fair pics came out. I still want it (#1 on my list is the Riding Camp) and am looking forward to MOCing this set! I love the pink & lime green color scheme -- it reminds me of outfits I had as a girl. It's fairly common knowledge those too colors in a combo are appealing to many girls. However, perhaps more monotone vehicle color is desired by older fans.
I do think the design is fine for a camper that needs to be playable and open up
The simple, yet effective Picnic Table design will no doubt be a hit with many girls
As for the bikes -- I have my Friends MiniDolls riding them sitting down and looking straight forward, like this: http://www.flickr.co.../in/photostream
For all the new parts and colors & fun Friends has brought us, I suppose we can retro-fit the classic MiniFig bike just fine!
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