Friends: a female AFOL's view
You've probably had enough of reviews of drab Star Wars sets, so I thought I'd bring you some colour in the form of a review of 3061 City Park Cafe by female AFOL Lucy, aka LostInTranslation:
As a girl who has loved Lego since birth (thanks to a 9-years-older brother), when I first heard that LEGO was bringing out a new range of sets specifically for girls – and without standard minifigures! – I received the announcement with a healthy degree of scepticism. Why can’t TLG just produce more female minifigs in girl-friendly settings within City (like Paradisa)? And what’s wrong with girls playing with adventure themes and Star Wars anyway (like I did – ok, still do!)?
But as more information emerged regarding the reasoning behind the decision and the extensive market research that had been undertaken with the aim of getting Friends right, the more intrigued I became, and by the time final images of the 14 sets became available, I was convinced enough to at least give Friends a chance.
One of the Friends sets I’ve purchased is 3061 City Park Cafe, and I’ve got to say, overall I’m impressed. The build is not overly complex in structure and maybe you could expect more parts for your money, but where the design really comes into its own is in the details, including cute little cupcake moulds, a multitude of kitchen utensils and a brick-built burger, while the gumball machine standing outside is also a nice touch.
The colours of the cafe (pink yes, but also red and white and some nice light-blue plates) are not so overwhelmingly girly as to prohibit their inclusion in any City layout, and with a little modification and expansion this set could easily be converted into a 50s-style diner, as the half-dozen or so stickers have a very retro feel to them. I’ve also bought 3183 and my nephew fell in love with the predominantly purple car, so I would also encourage the parents of future MAFOLS to consider buying some of these sets, despite the advertising focus on girls.
But what about the mini-dolls, I hear you cry? Well, I have to say that although I can see that they will appeal to their target audience due to their similarity with toys such as Polly Pockets, I personally will be populating the sets with standard minifigs. I’ve experimented with putting mini-doll hairpieces on minifigures and have yet to find a combination that I like (aside from C3PO à la Brian May), but I hope to eventually find at least one!
I certainly will be buying more of the Friends range, partly for the new parts and colours which I know MOCers are drooling over, but also on the basis of their own merits.
They’re good sets; tell your Friends!
I had fun taking these photos, they certainly look a bit brighter than your average Star Wars set!