Number – 30102
Name – Desk
Theme – Town
Subtheme - Friends
Year – 2012
Minidolls – 1
Pieces – 22
Price – Received as a gift; Available sealed on BrickLink for £3.13 - £8.41 (€3.95 - €10.62; $4.96 - $13.34)
As Summer of Friends winds down, I thought it would be fitting to share another Friends review (or possibly two, who knows?) and there aren't many items or sets from the Friends range that haven't been reviewed yet, except a couple of the polybags. This was very kindly sent to me on my appointment as Friends Regulator, and I've been saving it for a rainy day (just like my VIP points). Unfortunately I live in Britain, where we have a large number of rainy days, and given that this looks like a cute little set, I took the opportunity to crack it open and see what was inside.
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, Peeron -not listed, LEGO Shop@Home - not listed.
The polybag front is light, bright and colourful, as one might expect. The Friends logo, colourscheme and indeed the Friends themselves are there for all to see, clearly marking this out as a Friends product, and making the bag look very appealing as a whole. The picture focuses on the desk by having it as the one item of furniture in the room. The difficulty is, I guess, that filling up the room with LEGOy furniture isn't possible - as they'd have to be included, and filling it up with non-LEGOy furniture... isn't very LEGOy. The pot plant is a case in point. It looks nice and adds detail, and without it the room would look even more sparse, but it also looks a little cartoony. Overall we're better off with it than without. It seems, going by the view though the window, that Olivia lives opposite the Parthenon in Athens. Or possibly underwater in Atlantis.
The back is a large splash of lavender, and I'm so glad they chose that colour for this line, as it's infinitely easier on the eye than pink. The booooring (yet compulsory) safety information is seemingly kept to a minimum, and there's one of those 'actual size' pictures for Olivia. The LEGO Friends website is highlighted in a pretty blue and there's a sweet butterfly too. I've said it before, but I really do find the Friends packaging design both eye-catching and appealing; some good choices were made with it.
When you pour out the contents of the polybag, there isn't all that much, but then it's a little polybag so there won't be a thousand parts in here. There are, as I said at the beginning, 22 parts (26 if you count the minidoll parts) which is actually a small number when cross-referenced with the CREATOR polybag 30026 Panda which had a whopping 62 pieces. However it's not the number that matters (entirely). Here there's a bright and colourful range of useful pieces. The friends colours are well represented, with bright and dark pink, medium azure and, of course, lime green. The other pieces are handy - the trans-clear minifig head and the laptop are great parts to get, along with the printed 1x2 bright pink cellphone tile. The dark pink cup, pearl gold telescope, trans-dark pink 2x2 dish and plant/flower parts are also very handy additions. For such a small number of pieces there's actually a great variety of colours and interesting parts.
You may have spotted the folded up instruction paper in the contents picture. Here you can see it unfolded, and that the steps are very straightforward and clear. The first step is always to make the minidoll, but you can see the desk is pretty much done by the end of this first side. You can also make out the pretty lighter purple decoration in the background of the instructions, and it's very subtle and gentle, and doesn't interrupt the instructions at all.
Like I said, the build is pretty much done by the end of the first page, so there are only a couple of steps on the second side. This, naturally, leaves ample space for a series of adverts for some of the Friends sets from the first wave, with their handy tick boxes to check off when you've collected all the sets. The background to the adverts harks back to the background of the boxes of the sets, being the darker lavender colour with the stars, hearts, flowers and butterflies motifs. It's all very pretty.
Olivia is the same Olivia from 3315 Olivia's House and 3184 Adventure Camper. It would be too much to expect that Olivia have a new outfit solely for a polybag, but I still can't help but be disappointed. She still has the unsettling orange eyes, although I really do like her flowing brown hair. Her outfit, although not new, is pretty enough, and it's nice to get minidolls in these Friends polybags.
Well you've seen how simple the build is, but it still ends up pretty. The colours of the medium azure and pink shades work nicely together, and Olivia has a decent sized desk with pretty details and lots of accessories. The laptop would have been more exciting had it not turned up in the Series 7 of the CMFs, but actually it is really appropriate in depicting a modern girl at her desk. The use of the trans-clear minifig head as a vase is not a new idea, but still a nice idea.
You can see the 'vase' a little better here, and you can also see the simple, yet effective, construction of the lamp. In between the telescope and dish pieces is the 1x1 round trans-yellow plate that makes the light of the lamp, and although not completely visible, is a nice detail. The stool is simple and has been seen before (in 3185 Summer Riding Camp) but it's sweet and adds the lime green colour to the set (even if I'm not much of a fan of lime green).
Olivia is fully connected with the modern world - she has her laptop and her mobile phone/MP3 player to hand, plus some pretty flowers (in a nice contrasting yellow, not pink) and a mug of hot chocolate (presumably; she's far too young to be drinking coffee).
Design: 8/10 There's a really nice harmony of colours here, and they are intrinsically Friends. The desk isn't elaborate, but nor is it boring, and the use of the dark pink arches and medium azure 1x1 round bricks make it interesting without being garish. Adding in the vase and flowers is the nicest touch, to me, and once more I'm glad that the flowers themselves aren't pink. The colour palate is used carefully, giving a harmonious model, with mercifully not too much pink or lime green.
Parts: 9/10 This is a great little parts pack. There may not be very many pieces here, but all of them are interesting and useful. There's a wide range of colours, and I will still be excited by the laptop and the trans-clear minifig head (despite the fact that it's not that rare). A good selection overall.
Minifigs: 8/10 I should be grateful that this has a minidoll, as it's only a small polybag, and really to acquire Olivia any other way involves buying relatively large sets. With that in mind, I feel it is unfair to be grumpy about the fact that she doesn't have a spangly new outfit for this small polybag set, and her presence helps give more context to the desk.
Build: 7/10 Absolutely and completely a non-challenging build. It's remarkably simple, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. It's too short to be boring (but also too short to be really interesting), however you can still be satified by adding the details to the desk once it's built. Short and sweet.
Playability: 7/10 Now this may well depend on whether you have any other Friends sets, really. It strikes me as a companion set to the buildings and bedrooms that have already been released, and so works really well (and is thus extremely playable) in that context, but as a stand alone set, I'm not sure. I can see girls relating to it as an aspect of their daily lives and something to project onto, and they might well have it set up as part of their play, but inherently all Olivia can do is use the computer, talk on her phone, listen to music and drink from her mug. And maybe arrange her flowers. Ok, so maybe she can actually do a bit with this small set, and it is quite playable. It is, frankly, infinitely more playable with Olivia in it.
Price: 7/10 The minimum price is still pretty high, and I've not seen this for sale in any LEGO brand shops or other toy shops. The balance is that it's a small set with some really nice parts. I really do think it's worth it, if you can get it for somewhere near the lower end of the price range, but at the highest end, it's far too expensive.
This is a cute little set that can help flesh out your Friends environment and add something many AFOLs seem to want - furniture. The parts selection, although small, is provided in a good variety of the Friends colours and with interesting pieces. Having Olivia available in a smaller set is good, both for the acquisition of Olivia, and to make more sense of the set itself, and she has plenty of accessories with which to interact. If you can get your hands on one of these little purple bags for a reasonable price, than I'd say it's well worth it.
Olivia should probably be doing her homework, but in fact she's looking for all the latest news on Eurobricks.. ..or possibly playing Mafia
Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome. High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.