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  1. We finally have a LEGO tiger, how about that?! I can't believe that for so long time we have missed out on any of the great cats in the LEGO universe, no tigers, no lions, no panthers, leopards, cheetahs or jaguars. But now we have one, read on to find out if you think it's worth getting or not. Tiger's Beautiful Temple Set number: 41042 Theme: Friends Year: 2014 Pieces: 42 + 5 extra pieces Minifigs: 0 Animals: 1 Price: EUR 3.99, GBP 2.99, USD 3.99, SEK 39.00 (From €3.49 on Bricklink) Set on Brickset, Bricklink, S@H. All right, I might not have been entirely honest when I said this was the first LEGO tiger ever. We have several tigers from the Duplo theme and also a sort of anthropomorphic tiger from the Orient Expedition theme, Tygurah. However, I believe this would be the tiger that is the most compatible with LEGO System so far. Besides, it comes with quite a few nice pieces too which was a big reason for me to buy it. The set comes in the typical bag for these collectible Friends animal sets (Yeah, I had already opened it when I decided to take some photos). The other animals in Series 4 are featured with the girls in the painting in the lower left corner, while the tiger gets a prominent position in the top right one. I think the background painting on the bag gives a really nice jungle feel for the set and gives some inspiration for what you might want to add to the scene by yourself. The back with warnings and other informations, including a 1:1 scale picture with the star of the set. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. No piece call out on a set this small. There were some ads for the new Friends and Disney Princess sets at the back of the instructions, but surprisingly none for the other animals in Series 4. Here are the pieces laid out, 42 in total divided in 12 different colours and 18 different types. A good number for the price I think, even though many of the pieces are just 1x1 round plates. These are the most interesting parts in the set in my opinion. We get 2 brand new pieces, the golden swirly tops and the Bright Green plants, and 3 pieces in new colours, 1x2 log bricks and oriental arches in Lavender and a 1x2 plate in Medium Azure. The 1x3x2 arches in this colour are exclusive to this set as far as I know, but the other pieces are available in other 2014 sets as well. It's not often we get new plant pieces (even if they have increased in later years) so here is a closer look at this one. To me it mostly reassemble some kind of unsprung fern or maybe a reed. Anyhow, it makes a great jungle plant and would also fit well close to the shorelines of a lake or marsh I imagine. It's worth noting that it comes in olive green as well in one of the new Star Wars sets, 75037 Battle at Saleucami. The hole fits a normal bar, and even though I can't come up with a good use for this immediately I'm sure someone will soon and it's always good to see pieces that are "in system" as much as possible. The golden swirly top is a nice new decoration piece. I believe it is used as ice cream and cupcakes in other 2014 Friends sets but here and in the Disney Princess theme it can be seen on top of fancy buildings and similar. I really like it and will happily make use of it whenever I see it fit. Here is the complete set. The temple is not more than an archway with a waterfall behind and some decorations and vegetation around a pond. The tiger has been equipped with a bow and has a yummy chicken leg to feast upon. The set does capture some sort of oriental/Indian feel but with so few pieces it's hard to make something that stands out. I would like to try and make a bigger temple in the same style and colour scheme, but I'm not sure if I have the time of right pieces right now. Hopefully any kid that gets the set will do a try, I do think it's a great starting set to get some inspiration for building in new types of architecture. The back doesn't really show much else than the front. Close up on the tiger's face. As all Friends animals it has these really big and colourful eyes which makes it a little less suitable for uses in other themes. I do wish that we could get all these cool animals that Friends has introduced in more "neutral" and realistic variants, but as it is now I'll be okay with what we get too. An overly cute tiger is still better than no tiger at all in my world. Another distinguishing trait of the Friends animals are their rounded shapes with big heads and feet as can be seen here in the side view. The tail is as wide as normal bar and can hold by a minifig hand, but I wouldn't recommend tugging a tiger in it's tail no matter how small and cute it is. These are the extra pieces. Really nice to get an extra golden swirly top. I wanted to show of the size of the tiger compared to a Friends minifig and here it is. I also got rid of the tiger's bow. Some concluding thoughts: I think this is one of the best sets from the Friends animal series. It has a new animal of a type we have never seen before, 2 new types of pieces and 3 more types of pieces in new colours of which 1 is exclusive to this set and an over all good value for your money. The build itself is not that much to be amazed about but it gives inspiration and ideas which is more important when it is such a small set I believe. As always with these animal sets, it all comes down to if you like the animal or not, because if you don't there is normally no reason for you to buy the set. I would say though, that this is the animal set with the best piece selection so far. I've only bought one set from each of the previous series (the Squirrel, the Hedgehog and the Fawn) but of those I must say that I like this one the most and that is because of its superior pieces. Rating: Design: 7/10 - With few pieces it still gives a lot of inspiring ideas and the little scene work well on its own too. Parts: 9/10 - 2 new parts, 3 parts in new colours with one exclusive to the set + that the rest ain't bad either. Animal: 6/10 - A bit to "Friends-ified" to me, but it's still a tiger and tigers are grrrrreat, right!? Price: 7/10 - A fair price for a small set. It would make a great gift to a birthday party or similar I believe. I can also imagine that it would be a good set for a small parts draft with a few AFOLs. Overall: 7/10 - A good buy, especially if you are a fan of the tiger, but even if you are not it's still interesting thanks to its pieces. Thanks for reading this review of mine and please leave comments on your thoughts of the set! Bonus picture: Cats love boxes!
  2. I always buy the collectible animals, and I get excited when I see a new series. I don't think I'm likely to think "Finally! A lavender turtle! Just what I've been waiting for!", but nevertheless I find them compulsive buying. I think perhaps it is because they come with a small build as well as the animal figure itself. I also think it's probably relevant that these small builds also include some interesting parts (and often newer parts too), and there is undeniably the fact that these are unusual animals and it's nice to just have them. So what does Series 4 have in store for us? I picked up all three sets recently, and here are my thoughts. Number – 41041 Name – Turtle's Little Paradise Theme – Friends Year – 2014 Pieces – 43 Price – GB £2.99. EUR €3.99, US $3.99 Links:Brickset, Peeron - not listed yet, BrickLink, Shop@Home Information from LEGO shop@home: I actually quite like the packs these animals come in. (By which I mean the packaging, not a collective noun.) They're a lot bigger than the CMF packets, but they're similar, albeit made of seemingly thicker plastic. There's still all the same information that you might find on a box, but the whole item takes up less space this way, possibly representing savings on shipping this way, but with a concomitant reduction in environmental impact too. Any environmental advantage is compounded by the fact that the packaging is plastic, however. Either way, you can't just break into this with your fingers, you need a pair of scissors to get it, so small children may need a bit of help. That aside, the whole front is devoted to a lovely tropical scene for our Turtle, showing where its lair may fit into the world as a whole. There's a cutesy cartoon version of the turtle, diagonally opposite another cartoon of all five core Friends with the Series 4 animals. The back has all the usual warning information, but you can easily forget about that and look at the cute animals finding LEGO Friends building instructions on a laptop, or check the scale of the turtle inside, or even (and this is the best thing, I think) have a good look at an idea for an alternative build. Alternative builds are back! The packs are filled to the brim with their contents. The instructions are folded over, so that they fit inside the packet, but show pretty much the same scene as on the front of the packet. The only thing missing is the small "Series 4" logo, and it baffles me as to why they bothered to take that off. Of course there is promotional material on the back of the instructions. The pleasant Win! Girl smiles as you catch glimpses of the new sets in this wave, and then remember to fill out the survey, because there's a chance to WIN! Actually, there's a lot more promotional material, but on this page the focus is on the figures and accessories rather than the sets themselves. Where there used to be pictures of the sets with the little checkboxes, now it's just the figures (and their outfits) and other items of interest, which is quite possibly the whole idea. To be fair, girls are certainly not the only group who buy a set for its figures and/or accessories. I think certainly many of the Licensed sets and indeed Collectible Minifigs fall into this category too. Unsurprisingly, they're not just promoting Friends in the instruction booklet, the new Disney Princess sets also get a page of promotion. The Disney Princess line isn't Friends, and it's aimed at a younger age group, but it's still interesting to see the sets, and the desire for male figures in the Friends line may be fulfilled with these sets. It also looks like there will be a lot of nice parts in the Princesses line, but I digress. There's an inventory page in each instruction booklet, which I include here for reference. Within the instructions are pages showing once more the alternative build, and also giving a link to the Friends animals' website. The website has bios of the animals, short films, and building instructions for the primary and alternative builds. The polybag containing the bricks is actually folded over, keeping the parts compactly packed and allowing them to be squeezed into the main bag. It's actually quite tantalising, seeing all the parts and shapes and colours so close together. Laying all these parts out, you can see what you actually get so tightly packed into the lavender bag. There's a good range of colours and parts, and the only pink is in the form of the flower heads. Each animal has a bow (it's compulsory), but they are different colours in each pack, and this is the first time it's appeared in bright light orange. Aside from the turtle, I feel these are quite interesting parts. The dark orange modified 1x2 bricks can be found in rather large quantities in 10236 Ewok Village and 10224 Town Hall, but those are both rather large sets to purchase just to obtain these parts. The medium azure curved top modified brick can only be found in one other set, 41051 Merida's Highland Games, and in both cases they're used for flowing water. This is the first time we've seen a 1x2 medium azure plate, and the 2x2 jumper plate is only found in Friends (and now a Disney Princess) sets, with the same being true for the 2x4 medium azure plates. I will admit that the lime green 1x2 jumper plate isn't all that rare at all, but I still find it interesting, and the same is true for the red cherries. Here's Plum the little turtle. Not the first turtle in the Collectable Animals line, but the first turtle in lavender and the first to have a name. Apparently, she's a she, and she has a nice shell printing on her back, and she's also quite clearly a turtle. There a moulded mouth, which has a sort of smile on it, and I'm actually quite glad there's no printing there as it may well have ended up looking quite sinister. So here is Plum's paradise, and actually it's quite a sweet little landscape. There's a small waterfall, with a pool and some rocks, all shaded by a nicely sized palm tree. There's a bit of greenery and a bit of sand, and (because each animal should have its favourite food) some cherries on a bamboo piece. The cherries could have been placed in a dish, as happens in many other Collectable Animals sets, but the dish would probably have looked a bit empty, which the bamboo avoids. From the back, the 1x2 modified dark orange bricks add a bit of texture to the small landscape, as does the inverted light bley slope and modified bricks. Adding the detail with the lime jumper plate and flower head is a nice touch making it a more interesting little model than it could have been. I feel the designer has managed to cram a lot of detail into a small build. It's always nice to have a few spares, and unsurprisingly they are small parts, but I'm not going to complain about another red cherries piece, nor another bright orange bow. I said there was an alternative build, and here it is! There are instructions for it on the website, but I actually built this from the pictures on the packaging and at the back of the instructions. It was fun to build, and probably more fun doing so from the pictures than from instructions. It's really another form of paradise, still with a little waterfall and still with a shady palm tree, but a little more compact and with the cherries in easier reach for our slow moving Plum. Number – 41042 Name – Tiger's Beautiful Palace Theme – Friends Year – 2014 Pieces – 42 Price – GB £2.99. EUR €3.99, US $3.99 Links: Brickset, Peeron - not listed yet, BrickLink, Shop@Home Information from LEGO shop@home: There's not a huge amount of difference in the packaging between the different Collectable Animals sets, and once more there's a nice big picture of the set itself on the front of the packet. The cartoon picture of the tiger is cute and playful, and yet again there's a scale picture on the back. This set also has an alternative build on the back, but we'll get to that later. The brightly coloured instructions again have the same picture on the front, with their lush jungle background, complete with pool and lotus flowers, with vines and rushes in the background. The inside of the instructions is the same across all three sets, with the exception of the inventory page, obviously. Once more I've included the page for reference. The other difference is that of the alternative build. We saw it on the back of the packet, and once more there's a direction to find more information online. Our first glance of the contents, tightly packed into the polybag that squeezes into the packaging. You can catch glimpses of the interesting pieces, but you can't tell exactly what you have. Here are those contents all laid out. There are plenty of pearl gold and pink 1x1 round plates, but the eye is naturally drawn to the lavender bricks and the new greenery pieces. This is the fourth Friends set that the (so far) Friends-exclusive 4x6 medium azure plate has appeared in. The 1x2x5 brick in trans light blue is available in several sets, but it's a great piece (I think), and having it in such a small set with other great pieces is a boon. The new greenery pieces are exciting; they're listed on BrickLink as plant grass stem, and they've cropped up in a couple of Princesses sets and also 41026 Sunshine Harvest. They're brand new for 2014, but I suspect we'll see a lot more of them in future. The 1x3x2 lavender arch bricks are also brand new for 2014, and haven't so far been spotted in any other sets, and the same is true for the 1x2 modified bricks. They are listed on BrickLink as medium lavender in 41039 Sunshine Ranch as medium lavender, but careful examination of the pictures (I don't have the set - yet) implies they are probably lavender after all. I'm sure we'll see more of them too. The other great excitement is the 1x1 swirled top plates, here in pearl gold. These pieces are appearing in force, and have already been used as ice cream and as architectural details in other Friends sets and Disney Princesses sets. There was a question in the Friends Rumours and Discussion thread about whether these swirly topped round plates could be used with the cupcake mould. Indeed they can, as this picture illustrates. So far this part is available in pearl gold, flat silver, bright pink and reddish brown, and I have no doubt more colours will be along soon, for more ice cream and cupcake flavours. Here's Flame the Tiger a bit closer. I've taken her bow off so you can see a bit more, and there's a whole lot of printing on Flame. She wouldn't be much of a tiger if she didn't have stripes, but she's also got claws and ear markings, along with whiskers and a cute printed nose. I like that there's four different colours printed here, and the printing is accurate and neat on a small surface area. Flame really looks like a tiger, not just some sort of stripy domestic cat. And here's Flame in her natural environment - what seems to be ancient yet ornate temple ruins (apparently it's a temple built by the Friends, but I like to think of them as ruins), overgrown with elegant reeds and with a small waterfall. It even has a small pool for Flame to play in, with a few lotus flowers around the edge, although she has to hop to reach her juicy chicken leg. The chicken leg itself requires a small amount of suspension of disbelief - where did the chicken come from? Who jointed and cooked the chicken and placed it there? How long has it been there? I guess a small tiger cub isn't exactly going to be vegetarian, and use of the T-bone meat part first seen in the Butcher CMF might be a bit too gruesome for TLG, and really these are just philosophical questions. It's a cute tiger cub, and she eats meat. Preferably chicken legs. I like the fact that there are still some details only seen from the back, and the idea of there being a small waterfall in the temple, pouring down from under the dome, is lovely. It strangely makes me think of Tomb Raider. Once more there's a bow and some 1x1 round plates left over, but there's also a spare swirly topped pearl gold 1x1 plate, which is pretty cool. The alternative build (once more built from the picture) is another iteration of waterfall-and-temple scene. There's still a pool with lotus flowers, but we also have a... bed? A comfy chair? I have no idea what that is, but I'm sure kids will find some way to include it in their play. The chicken leg is still just out of Flame's reach, this time lying on top of a fallen ornamental dome. Number – 41043 Name – Penguin's Playground Theme – Friends Year – 2014 Pieces – 46 Price – GB £2.99. EUR €3.99, US $3.99 Links: Brickset, Peeron - not listed yet, BrickLink, Shop@Home Information from LEGO shop@home: The background to the Penguin is chilly, but then that's understandable. They could have shown a penguin in a temperate Southern Hemisphere country, but typically we all associate the Antarctic with snow and ice when it comes to penguins. Our penguin looks a bit coy and coquettish in her cartoony pose on the top right, and there's a nice view of the whole set. As expected now, there's a 1:1 scale picture of the penguin and a picture of an alternative build. So far so standard. It would have been a gross break with tradition if the front of the instructions didn't have the same glacial picture as the front of the packet, but only now I spot the igloo, which makes absolutely no geographical sense. Let's ignore that then, and move on. Through the power of the internet and opposable thumbs (here depicted as a swoosh of hearty, spangly magic) you can find more stuff about the LEGO Friends Animals and details of the alternative builds. The website will not, however, explain what an igloo is doing in the Antarctic without a nearby research station. Yet again be reassured that there's an inventory page in the instruction booklet, which is here once more for reference. I can again reassure you that the inner pages with promotional stuff are identical to those of the other sets, so I'm not going to repeat them. Another tightly packed poly, and there's a whole lot of white. This isn't so exciting, but maybe the interesting stuff is hiding. Nope, there really is a whole lot of white. And blue - both trans, opaque and medium azure - and also pink. I'm quite disappointed with the colour selection here, but then the Antarctic isn't exactly renowned for its bright and colourful landscapes, and we are getting a penguin. The parts I found interesting are a bit limited as a result, and aren't as interesting as the other sets. I'm always going to like medium azure - it's a Friends colour after all, and the more we get the more "normal" it will become, hopefully. The 1x1 round trans dark blue tiles aren't all that rare and have been around since 2012, but there are four of them here in a small set, so I think that's pretty good. Here's the long awaited penguin. Apparently his name is Casper, and it seems therefore that he's a he. He says he lives near the South Pole (why is there an igloo then, and no massive research station? I need to let go of this) and can charm his way out of trouble. I'd like to see that charm working on an orca or a leopard seal as it tries to eat Casper, but yet again I digress. He's a pretty generic penguin, not particularly identifying with any particular penguin species, and he has the classic Friends Animals' large eyes with long eyelashes, but he also has a very nice bright orange beak. So Casper has a lovely magenta bow. Poor Casper. On the plus side, he lives in the most fun part of the Antarctic as he has a pink bed underneath his medium azure slide, and he can slide up and down the slide all day into and out of the frigid Antarctic waters, catching fish and avoiding leopard seals. He has already caught a fish, which waits in his bright pink dish for him. Here's a view to show the hinged feature of the slide, with Casper's pink bed underneath. It's the only set of the three in Series 4 that has a moving part or something that can specifically be seen as a play feature, and it's natural it should be made with a hinge, but doing so allows it to move. There is, however, a necessity for a playfeature if you're going to call the set "Penguin's Playground". Round the back we can appreciate the ice sculpture Casper lives in. I like that there's a hole built into the structure with the slopes and arch brick, and that there's a bit of smooth with the slope but also jagged edges. There's ice built into the snow, with the use of the trans dark blue bricks and the 1x1 trans dark blue round tiles. I'm not convinced about the pink, though. I don't think it needs to be there. I can understand that they wanted to warm the build up with a contrasting colour, but bright orange would have worked just as well. As always there are 1x1 sized pieces left over, and a bow. Really, these aren't as exciting as the other sets, but then I guess that's not their intention. They're here in case you drop them and the puppy eats them, or they get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. The alternative build for Casper is a form of ice palace it seems. Due to the lack of slide, this build is a greater contrast with its original than the other two sets here. I can only assume it's an ice palace, because otherwise I have no clue, and again the pink looks a bit odd here. I admit that bright orange wouldn't make much sense either, but I guess there's only so many ways you can build snow and ice to make it interesting. Here are the stars of Series 4 Collectable Animals all together, complete with bows. Don't they all look so happy to be wearing their bows? From the back, without bows, you can see more of the detailed printing for Plum and Flame, and detailed moulding for all three. I like the small spots on the back of Plum's head, and I also like that Flame has irregular stripes. Understandably there's no back printing for Casper, but then there doesn't need to be. Conclusion Design: 9/10 These are small sets, yet the designers manage to effectively depict the animals' natural habitats with a few parts. They could have just sold the animals with a very basic environment, but there has been thought put into the creativity of these sets, and there's elements of solid and water in each. The three are also all pleasingly different, too. The environment has been tailored to each animal appropriately, and each gives the mind a starting point to imagine the whole environment. Parts: 9/10 There are some really exciting parts in these small sets, and they're used generously. Of the three, Tiger's Beautiful Temple really does have the most exciting parts, with the sheer numbers of the pearl gold swirly topped 1x1 plates being exciting enough alone, without even the new lavender parts. Animals: 9/10 Everyone had been so very excited with the idea of having a penguin, and although I like Casper, I have to admit that Flame the tiger is probably my favourite. It's slightly disappointing that we have another turtle, when we'd already had a green one. Making it lavender doesn't really make it that much more exciting to me, but I can stand a repeat in a wave that gives me a tiger and a penguin. Build: 9/10 All three are small builds, but they're fun. These are great introductions to creating larger landscapes, waterfalls, temples, even snowscapes, and there's an interesting mix of bricks and plates in each. The environments for these animals really could have been bland and just there as something to go with the animals, but I like the builds as much as the animals. Playability: 7/10 These aren't really playable sets, unfortunately. There are advertised features, and there's plenty of environment for the animals to interact with, and each animal has a food item it can eat, but only the Penguin's Playground has a real playfeature - the slide. Price: 8/10 I don't think the price is unreasonable, as it's about the same as an impulse set, yet there are also new animals, and a good proportion of the parts are interesting. You can find fewer bricks with a less interesting "star piece" for around the same price, and these sets are used to not only introduce us to the new animals but also some of the new parts too. I'd rather these new animals came in these small sets than only getting them in the bigger sets. Overall 85% I think the Collectable Animal series are a great way to get hold of not only new and interesting animals, but also some new and interesting parts, too. Series 4 hasn't let us down in that regard, with the exciting new tiger and penguin moulds, and the introduction of the new lavender parts. The builds are fun and interesting, and all for the price of the average impulse set, plus they've reintroduced the concept of alternative builds and the concept of building something new from the parts you have. I look forward to future series of the Friends Collectable Animals, and I'll leave you with a picture of all three of this series together. Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome. High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.