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Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts

Set Review - Pop Star Red Carpet 30205

Often, if you want retina piercing colors, you'll get a Friends set (or Cloud Cuckoo Palace). For the month of August, you can change that up a bit. Through August 31, TLG is offering the above mentioned polybag with $35 worth of mini-doll sets. That's Friends, Elves, and Disney Princess (presumably not DUPLO but who knows).

Why is this set different? For one, the LACK of colors. Usually these smaller Friends sets are a nauseating palate of limes, azures and several shades of pinkish purplish.  I estimate about 100 studs worth of neutral colors and only 43 of Pantone technicolor. That's WAY different indeed!

The set has a few fun touches like the enhanced video camera and the um.. uh.. enhanced video camera. Other than that it's very routine stacking and, quite frankly, makes up for the lack of color with its overwhelming ennui. A mini-doll, a stack of plates, and an enhanced camera. This is so- hey look, Galidor!

So droll in fact that I had to try for an alternate build. My alternate builds use all the pieces, even the extras. Inspired by FriendTRON (a mashup by a fellow lugger) I decided to create some sort of hovery spacey craft for the little stage walker. On a related note, this is probably only the second set that I will be dismantling and distributing into my builder's stash, never to see the light of day as an actual set again.

Set Review - Little Foal 41089


Another run of the mill animal. If we're doing the farm, how about repainting the bird as a duck? Or having a piggy? Milking goat? I guess those aren't fantasy animals in a little girl's dream world. "When I grow up, I want to raise EMUS!"... said no little girl ever.

Except this one...

It's not just the animals, it's the impractical setup as well. You cannot contain a horse in a two feet tall non-locking enclosure. Not even a foal. Maybe a one-legged baby horse would have trouble getting out. Actually, this enclosure looks suspiciously like the rabbit enclosure from just a couple short weeks ago. Wait a minute... where's the ramp? I got robbed!

Honestly, are they even trying anymore?

Furthermore, there's no ribbon. I see a hole at the base of the horse's tail... but nothing to stick in there. Something must be terribly wrong.

Notable about the horse: unlike so many of the larger animals, this one is done in a single mold. Not three parts that are glued together. Being a baby horse, it's at least 2/3, possibly even 6/9 of height in legs. The doors to its enclosure barely come up to its ankles. Tripping hazard?

What really gets me are the 2 brick bricks that are worked into the enclosure. Everything's all tan and magenta until suddenly they slip in a few medium dark flesh brick bricks. Just like the bunnies, it reminds you of some old world paddock with stones. Except there are only two.


Next week, STAR WARS!!!

Set Review - Puppy Training 41048

What. The flip. If the bunnies were a vague memory, this is certain past. It's like set 41025 all over again except the house exploded into some little bits. This makes no less than 6 Friends sets devoted to dogs. The LEGO taxonomy is seriously skewed. Things were just starting to get awesome with Series 5 (bears and monkeys? Totally!). Here in the US we were shafted out of Series 6 which includes a seal and a panda. Instead, we're back to bunnies, dogs and (spoiler alert) horses.

I swear, the part to microbuild ratio on this set is over the top. I got 65 parts, 10 extras (woo!) and there are no less than 9 microbuilds. That means all sorts of stuff that needs to be contained, not connected to the main build. All those parts are tiny too. Seeing the bags was highly amusing. Oh look! Have you ever seen a baggie with 9 large parts in it? These aren't the extras by the way.

I let the 3 year old boy build it. He nailed it except he didn't really want to play with it afterwards. Neither did I. Apparently I'm more into the dioramas that many of the other sets have been. With that, I'm going to take a pass on any more of this review. Will next week's review be even shorter?

Set Review - Bunny and Babies 41087

What, seriously? Did we not already deal with this back a few series ago? Apparently I am some sort of glutton for punishment because rather than take a pass, I am actually going to open the box (tiny box, not a polybag anymore) and build it.

Even though the pictuers show me I already spent money on this set before.

Maybe TLG didn't like the earlier bunny sets so they mashed them up. I see so many familiar elements here: the fence, the single door, a bunny, some brick bricks, 7 pastel colors and a ramp. Apparently bunnies like ramps. Who knew? Wait, lemme ask Mrs. Dagsbricks, she knows everything... Nope, no clue on her end either.

*tear, tear* *shake shake* *crinkle crinkle* *pieces spilling onto the floor* *sigh*

"He was like that when I got here"
Oh squee! There's baby bunnsies! And a brand new jumper in reddish brown. Y'know, the type with the central stud holder. A 6x8 lime plate, that's new. Oh and a magenta baby bow (1x2 curved slope). Finally, a useful part in that color. Lavender, medium azure, bright pink, light aqua, GAH MY EYES!

So really, of note is those babies. This is a bit of a first for LEGO. Sure there are baby horses but those are larger animals. TLG has taken an already small animal and made an even smaller version. What's next, baby puppies and kittehz? Apparently these little buggers are quite popular. TLG is currently sold out of them. The average price is about $1.20 each but folks have been buying them up by the 50's and 100's for between $0.60 and $0.90 each. I sense some incredible MOCs coming, least of which would be a Monty Python one. Or maybe folks want real litters, not just two little survivors.

Mug shots
Digression, digression, back to the moulds. In the spirit of realism, dimensional continuity has been sacrificed a bit. Their width is the typical 8mm wide of a 1x brick. Depth, a bit more. Those fuzzy cotton tails stick out a bit behind and the twitching noses stick to the front. The calipers tell me that they are 11mm from front to back. So that's a quarter brick width each end. The height is nearer to 12mm. Four plates in height is 12.8mm so they'll just squeeze under that. And, they've got a hole in the head so you can torture them with ribbons. From dead on, they kinda look like rats.

This is so totally an Animal Series set even though there's no longer any number on the box nor is it even in a polybag anymore (as noted earlier). But there's three of these sets at the $3.99 price point and they reek of the former setup; animal, 40-50 pieces, some food to eat (no longer in a dish), inane pretties for the head (even at risk to the animal). Yes, there are two more. Stay tuned for the next couple weeks of eye socket reaming fun.

Come closer. No, really.
The irony of this set is that I just got some rabbit hutches set up in my backyard to start producing my own herd of coneys. Oh, what kind you ask? Probably New Zealand Whites. Why? Well, they're one of the largest breeds and they dress out real nice. It'll be some cheap, delicious, organic meat.

Mmm... wab- I mean, rabbit...

Set Review - Jungle Accessory Set 850967

Tent camping has come a long way since the dawn of the motor age. From "don't touch it!" canvas to space age polymer fabrics, from hunting and campfires to MRE's and watching a campfire on the 50" TV in your Winnebago, it appears to have only gotten more expensive.

LEGO has an interesting foray into textiles. Mostly ship sails, they also create capes and flags. The tent first appeared in 1998 in the Sphinx' Secret Surprise and Extreme Team Challenge. It came around again briefly in 2008 for Indiana Jones. Now it has made another brief cameo via both the Arctic Explorers and Friends lines.

If you're like me, you probably always go camping in a skirt and share your loaf of bread and chicken leg with your dog. Or maybe this is glamping where off screen we could see the cameras and bed-n-breakfast sign. No, this set is a little creepier than that.

First let me rag on the tent a little. This set had an initial sales price of $15 but TLG couldn't seem to sell any. No wonder, there are only 39 pieces and no freaking extras. You would assume a price of $5, right? Not here. Then the price dropped to $9 and I got suckered into buying one for this review. Shortly thereafter, the price has been stuck at $7.48. Still too high. Even at 10c per part, We're talking $3.70 for that piece of cloth.

Really? Better yet, my 6 year old asked why it looked like vomit. True story. Here's a challenge: find all 13 of the studs in the LEGOflage.

Here's where it gets creepy though. The instructions appear to be incorrect. When you build the set correctly, You'll see that Naya is wearing a black hat to protect her from the Blair Witch. Meanwhile, her cornstalk friend is conducting surveillance to locate and kill that cameraman once and for all. The dog appears to be guarding the food but it's really a trap. Don't go near that mutt. The tent is pretty empty, but that's only because they just removed the bodies.

Gave me the shudders.

Set Review - Mini Golf 30203

In retrospect, I suppose I should have reviewed Shop at Home's January promos in January.  Not that you could have gotten them in week 2.  Apparently the Slave I drove so many sales that the promos were wiped out after about 8 days.  Thankfully I was able to get a few to review.

The Friends subtheme takes a pleasant departure from roadside vending to have a little fun!  I love me some mini-golf (or putt-putt as some might say).  I was thrilled to see this little vignette of a past pastime.  My one grief is how small it is though.  I figured that I could make my own portable course out of pieces of 4'x8' plywood.  A decent small hole would need to use 3 pieces.  If we assume a relative scale with this set, it's a single piece of plywood, that is, less than an 8' putt.  That's like nothing.  And the windmill obstacle is cute but the blades don't come near enough to stopping the ball.  It's like an "everybody wins" course.  I'll bet the green slopes all the way to the cup as well.

So I had to embiggen it.  Per my previous standard it needs to be at least 3 4x8 pieces for the green, and maybe a little more of a challenge.  I grabbed an 8x8 plate, and added a curve to it.  Now THAT is much better.  Pity our poor little girlfriend can't grip the club properly.  About that club.  Don't you think a hatchet or a hammer or even a hockey stick would have worked better?

Let's see your mini-golf expansions!  Post a pic on Flickr and link to it here or tag me in it.

Set Review - Brown Bear's River 41046

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?  I see a blogger looking at me.  Today's last post of the year also wraps up the Series 5 Friends Animals.  These are neat little vignettes that highlight a particular animal and are an entry level set into the Friends subtheme.  They start at US$3.99, sometimes you'll find them for US$4.99.  The sets average around 40 pieces plus a few extras here and there.

Brown Bear's River was one of my favorite vignettes.  The bear cub is a nice unique mold which also shows up in Sand Blue in the Jungle Bridge Rescue set.  I was drawn to the simple yet effective design, the square base, and the animation!

The fish is connected to a bar via a droid arm.  You can make him jump the falls with a flick of a finger.  Nature purists may note that he is rather high above the water, almost as if he is flying.  Hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

The base of the build is created by stitching three different colored and size plates together.  A 4x6 medium azure plate for the water, a green 2x6 plate behind for grass, and a lime 1x6 plate to the side.  Since the front is the view side, I think the lime plate would have been better replaced with another medium azure one.  The build up for the roiling falls is nicely done with some curved bricks and trans blue and white pieces to give the impression of froth.

The tree is a nice touch but simple.  While a few more leaves would have been nice, if anything, I've learned that TLG just includes a token set up and lets your imagination fill in the rest.  Perhaps that's the problem with us critical AFOLs; we've lost our imagination and expect real life perfection.  New year's resolution perhaps?

The only critique I might have is a small gap that appears behind the falls.  Thankfully with the extra pieces you can fill out the falls a little more.  And the extra droid arm?  Maybe a bone outside of the bear's cave.

Click the pics for products on LEGO Shop@Home:

Set Review - Orangutan's Banana Tree 41045

Who would have thought that Friends could generate such an intense study of biology?  I had my doubts that this animal was properly labeled.  Though Friends animals tend to be a bit more bubbly and cutesy than their City counterparts.  Look at the dogs and cats, for instance.  So when it comes to primates, a salt lick should be offered as well.  Orangutan, really?  Those eyes, so far apart.  I could compare this to a chimpanzee since we got to see one of those in Collectible Minifigs.  But this ape is a bit bigger even if it does otherwise have the same pose.  Personally, I'm leaning towards a gibbon.

Whatever it is, I am deeply disturbed by the need to place a hole in its back in order to plant a ribbon on the creature.  These poor things.

I barely got to see this set.  My middle daughter is becoming a proficient LEGO builder and took over construction fairly easily.  She let her little brother add a few pieces but took the lion's share herself.  Simply, this set is a tree with a bunch of lime and a few magenta pieces.  I just. don't. get it.  Can a set not qualify for the Friends subtheme if it doesn't have at least three of the psychedelic colors?  Just to be on the safe side, some dark pink flower studs are included.

The coolest part of this set has got to be the curved whip element in green.  This piece is highly flexible and the TLG designer used this to great advantage.  The piece curls around the tree allowing our primate to swing to a new bunch of bananas.  Bonus points for including an extra whip (just in case you break the one from overplay).

Click the pics for products on LEGO Shop@Home:

Set Review - Macaw's Fountain 41044

Here we are again entering the Christmas season full swing with... Friends Animal Series sets.  I've already pitched the Star Wars Advent Calendar.  Somebody named Bricks Bothans is finally getting around to it.  Copycat.

Up to Series 5 now with the Animal Friends.  I think Mixels is going to catch up.  On top of that Mixels seems to be a little more cohesive as a theme.  Hard to tell.  The animal series are all about 40 piece color explosion mignettes with an animal fed from a platter.  It seems like there's been a little break since series 4, maybe things have changed.  Although series 5 quietly snuck up on me and appears to going out of style.  Series 6 coming soon?

Our first review for this mini-series is the Macaw's Fountain.  A macaw is just another pretentious name for parrot.  The mold is that of previous birds including a parrot and a sparrow.  This bird is painted very well to match a blue and yellow macaw.  The coloring and ruffles around the eyes are very well done.  The issues with the TLG mold are the severe lack of a majestic yellow tail, and tridactyl toes instead of zygodactyly.  It's a thing, look it up.

The bird's habitat comes with two pieces.  First is some sort of glorified shrine flanked with a fence and fronds.  I think it's supposed to be some kind of aviary.  The fronds are growing cherries (what?! no plate!?) and the parrot is given a stump to perch on.  The build includes the required lime and medium lavender colors with a nice amount of white and bright light yellow thrown in including a couple of 1x1x3 bricks in the pasty tone.  My only confusion is the trans green Bionicle eyes sticking out of the fronds.  Spotlights?  They seem a bit unnecessary and maybe were added for piece count.

The second prop is a fountain that is quite stellar.  Three dishes and a cone sit inverted in a round tile with a trans blue flame coming off of the top.  I like mini builds that are well done and this one seriously ranks up there.  The medium lavender round tile is a little distracting though but if they didn't include it, it couldn't be labeled a Friends set.  Apparently.

Despite the foibles, I like these little sets.  They have part value, variety and, like most LEGO sets, infinite ability to build something that looks similar to the main set.  These little sets are still hanging out around US$3.99 which seems about right.  Series 5 is either sold out or "Call for availability" on S@H.  Maybe you need some different... Friends?

Click the pics for products on LEGO Shop@Home:

Set Review - Jungle Boat 30115

The latest subtheme of the Friends theme appears to be revealed.  It's jungle.  Or animal rescue.  Or jungle animal rescue, not sure.  Think Go, Diego Go with less Spanish and more lavender.  Or in this case lime.

I've started to wonder if the Friends theme is getting too broad and disjointed.  Maybe TLG is just trying to populate Heartlake Metropolis with as much variety (and more) as City.  I mean, really, is there anything so far that Friends CAN'T do?  A bar came to mind but there's the juice bar.  That's probably the grey line there because anything seedier wouldn't be appropriate for TLG or this (mostly) family friendly blog.

To the rescue boat!  From the start I am disappointed.  Not a good way to start a review but there it is.  After a couple of steps I found that the connection between the front and back of the boat is weak.  Even though it's three plates thick, each connection only overlaps by a stud and nothing back-laps (re-laps?) to lock the connection in place.  So Olivia can hit a rock or a frog and the thing will break in two.  Blub blub blub, now who's rescuing who?  What I DO like about the boat is that the extra lever can be used on the left side as well as the right.  This gives very much the appearance that our little can do, will do friend is riding a morph or a tribute to Kermit the Frog.  Now THAT is awesome!

Ree... deep?

Most of the pieces here are kind of blah and nothing I would use (except for a few pieces in the hundreds).  There is one exception that caught my eye the moment I saw the leaked pictures of this set.  Ever since 1979's classic space we've had the humble walkie-talkie in black.  The Jack Stone era gave us dark grey/bley and then died out.  And then of course the short-lived green.  It's as if TLG threw caution to the wind.  Not only did we get a new color, but one so soulfully different from black that it almost seems like a clone brand.  Bright.  Light.  Orange.  Not just orange, not even red or even lime.

There are a surprising amount of bricks and plates in this odd color.  Mostly it's been taken over by Friends, DUPLO (we are here to destroy you), and Bionicle.  Such an odd match.  It makes me wonder how long the B.L.O. walkie-talkie will last.  Or if this is just the beginning.  Prepare your eye sockets, the doors are about to be blown open.  Dark purple?  Bright light blue?  Trans anything?  That would be cool.

Now retitled "Swamped Frog Rescue"

I wish I could tell you where I got this set.  I thought it was TRU(ly overpriced) but they don't have it in stock.  Nor does Target and I know I didn't ping Wally World.  It seems to be a pretty hot item on the aftermarket, going for $12.  Wish I'd bought more.  But I'm pretty confident that as we roll through August, this will once again become available and will inundate the shelves.  It probably was $3.99 which for 31+2 parts is a bit steep.  Not even an extra radio!  If you're planning to spend more than that you're either a serious collector or have a serious impulse problem.

More Friends Jungle Boogie (clicking the pics will help support this site):