Review: 41317 Sunshine Catamaran

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

The Friends Winter theme now contrasts with a beach theme that came in the previous wave from the beginning of the summer. The largest of those beach themed sets is 41317 Sunshine Catamaran, which may remind some of 2013's 41015 Dolphin Cruiser. Most of the attention of the early summer wave was for (and deservedly so) 41318 Heartlake Hospital, and not much to these beach sets. I thought I'd check out the catamaran before reviewing some other Winter theme sets.

The front box art shows the catamaran just off the shore of a beach, quite appropriately. 41316 Andrea's Speedboat Transporter in the background on the left. Heartlake City (with some signficant skyscrapers, one with the name "Rocket" on it) on the right background with 41315 Heartlake Surf Shop in the near distance. There's a small inset in the lower left suggesting the top of the catamaran can be removed. The back confirms that the top deck can indeed be taken off, plus shows insets of other features of the set and a display of all the accessories.

Inside are five numbered bags, an unnumbered bag with larger pieces (2 6x16 plates, one 6x10 plate, a small slide, a net for between the hulls, three windshield pieces and two fore hull pieces), and a perfect bound instruction book with a sticker sheet and a large sail. The instruction book doesn't come with cardboard, which a shame since while the instruction book itself has enough heft to reasonably survive being curled up inside the box (like mine was), the sticker sheet and sail are not as resilient. I had to place both under some weight to get them to flatten out a bit.

Minidolls

There are three minidolls in this set: two of the Friends, Olivia and Stephanie, and their friend, Liam. Liam is new to this set with a new Friends head with big green eyes and a smiling face. His torso is also new with a short sleeved green t-shirt that has a yellow fading pattern on the front. His blue shorts and tennis shoes have been seen before in a few sets, and together Liam looks like he is ready for a day on the boat.

Olivia similarly has a new torso - she is wearing a pink and white decorated halter top that ties in the back. This is paired with a pink set of shorts and a pair of pink flip flops, so Olivia is very colour coordinated! Both Olivia and Stephanie come with sunglasses. Stephanie also has a new torso to this set; a purple tank top with some detailed printing on the front of some sweeping stripes with decorative gold stars. The trim on the tank top is turquoise, which matches very well with her turquoise skirt and what look to be beaded flip flops.

View image at flickr

Accessories and auxiliary builds

It's typical for Friends sets to have accessories, but this one truly has a lot of them, as pictured below. I particularly like the food items such as the pizza (pictured elsewhere), ice cream and popsicle. I also like the life preservers (safety first!). I've included in the accessory picture a brick built floaty ring as well as the two Friends animals in the set, some blue dolphins. The dolphins are the same shade of blue, which is a subtle difference from the Dolphin Cruiser, which had dolphins in two different colours.

View image at flickr

The auxiliary builds for this set include a jet ski and banana boat. You could argue that these are not auxiliary builds at all as there are storage spaces for both of them on the main catamaran. I thought the banana boat was quite a clever little build by using a couple of 2x2 rocking plates.

View image at flickr

Main model

The top level of the catamaran provides the main mast for the sail, which is a massive size compared to the rest of the vessel. The sail has a pleasing pattern of a stylized wave with sunlight in the background with flower decoration and magenta trim. The sail itself is plastic, so you can see the pattern on both sides, which is a plus. I've removed the sail for most of the pictures in this review to focus on the other details.

Right behind the mast we have a small control center for the captain that consists of a rather comfy looking lounge with steering wheel (though I'm not sure how a minidoll reaches the steering wheel when sitting down). I'm also not quite sure why there's windshield in front of the seat - while I know these can be necessary, this doesn't strike me as a racing catamaran. Couple that with the fact that there's an open air seating area, complete with a table with a dish stocked with healthy fruit snacks (apple, banana and a watermelon slice), I don't think that the Friends are planning on testing the high speed limits on this catamaran.

View image at flickr

There are three ways to get off this upper level. The flashiest (and coolest - pun intended!) way is to take the slide - however that goes all the way to the ocean, so the Friends better make sure they want to get wet! There's a ladder on the starboard side that leads down to the next deck. There's another ladder just off the front of the cockpit area - that leads down to a deck level pool, complete with waterfall. There's also a refreshing tropical drink and a newspaper (a printed piece we've seen before) available on the pool edge to make the pool a lovely place to relax.

View image at flickr

The next level down is dedicated to walkways, but it's also one of these spaces that can be used to store the banana boat while the Friends are sailing. On each side of the boat is the registration number - HLC-41317 - which is clearly a nod to the set number.

View image at flickr

The entire top two decks of the boats lift off - this is easy to do as there are no studs connecting the two portions of the build - to have complete access to the lower deck.

View image at flickr

Starting from the rear of the boat, we see a broad yellow staircase leading down from the upper levels of the catamaran on the starboard side. Besides the stairs there's a small platform that can be used by the Friends to jump into the water. The slide leading from the top level is on the left hand side.

View image at flickr

Between the stairs and the slide, there's a sliding door that leads to the inside of the catamaran. However, after getting out of the water, what better way to start clean up than to rinse off in the shower conveniently located just outside the sliding door.

View image at flickr

The lower section behind the slide swings open to allow storage of the jet-ski. What a great use of space.

View image at flickr

Just inside, there's a small kitchenette complete with a sink and a small stove where some pizza is reheating.

View image at flickr

To the left there's a small breakfast bar with a couple stools and mugs ready to enjoy a drink.

View image at flickr

There's a seating area with two very plush easy chairs with a table between them on which rests a portable music player, which controls the two speakers mounted on each of the hulls. Between the easy chairs is a glass bottom portion of the catamaran, so the Friends can do some wildlife viewing during their time at sea. You can also see in this picture the two chaise lounges on the top of the twin hulls, as well as two of the three round life preservers included in the set. There's a net stretched between the two front hulls of the catamaran that allows for extra space for the Friends to spread out and enjoy the day.

View image at flickr

And we're not done yet! The designer has done a good job of maximizing use of all the space in this catamaran. Each of the two hulls has yet more functional space. On the port side (Behind the jet ski storage), there's a sleeping area for one of the Friends as well as a full vanity.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

On the starboard side, there's another sleeping space, and also a full bathroom complete with sink, toilet and sticker implying another shower just beyond the shower curtain.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

All put together, the catamaran looks quite impressive. My one small complaint is that there isn't enough room for the minidolls to stand in the lower hull portion when the upper part of the boat is attached (that's not true for the main area in the centre of the catamaran). The outside looks quite stylish, especially with liberal use of the transparent pieces in the lower portions of the hull that adds more light to the inside and more flair to the outside. I can't imagine that the most structurally sound configuration, though, again, I don't think this is a racing catamaran.

View image at flickr

New and rare pieces

There are a few pieces that make their first appearance in this set. Most of these, not surprisingly, are key to the construction of the boat's two hulls: the 4x6 inverted roof file, the 6x10x4 inverted roof with double bow, and the right and left 2x6 shell with bow, all in bright reddish violet. The bright yellow stairs and the lattice work for the front of the catamaran are also new. There are also a couple new pieces in medium azur: a 1x6 flat tile and a 1x2x2 flat tile.

There's a plethora of relatively rare parts in this set, I would encourage you to check out the set's inventory page here.

Overall thoughts

View image at flickr

I think this is an excellent playset with lots of details and opportunities for a child to create their own stories. There's a sticker sheet included and the stickers are nice, but this is one of the first sets where I think all the stickers are gratuitous and not really needed. The designer has done a good job of maximizing play value for the space provided, not letting any space go wasted. In the catamaran we have two sleeping areas, a bath room, a kitchenette, a vanity, a seating area for the glass bottom portion, a breakfast bar in addition to the sliding door leading outside to the shower. And that's just one level - wow!

Having the top come off the boat is terrific and allows great accessibility. As I mentioned at the top, many of the beach theme sets didn't get much attention when they first came out. For those of you who may be looking for a larger set for gift purposes in the next few months, I would strongly consider 41317 Sunshine Catamaran. For the price (603 pieces, $69.99, £64.99, 69.99€) it's a little on the more expensive side, but picking this up on sale, or even during a double (or triple, if you're in a country so lucky) points event makes it more worthwhile.

My next review will be for the contest winner, Heartlake Playground, and then back to some of the winter sets.

20 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in Norway,

Look forwards to seeing those stairs in other colours.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the review @MeganL! Really looking forward to picking this set up.

Any chance of tweaking the lights at bit when photographing the sets? They look a bit dark. Or maybe just use a brighter background? (Sorry to be picky!)

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Thanks for the review. I would love a photo of this one next to the Dolphin cruiser.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Thanks for another great review Megan, I always enjoy reading them. This set may not have great price/piece ratio, however many of the parts are large (those hull pieces) so seems to offer good value. My daughter and I missed out on the Dolphin Cruiser set and regret that, and this set seems even better, w/more complete and well designed interior. I wish Lego would release several of these types of sets (playground, hospital, larger non-rescue boats, grocery markets, etc.) for the City range.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great review! When https://brickset.com/sets/41015-1/Dolphin-Cruiser came out four years ago (gosh, has it really been that long?), it blew me away with its uniqueness and level of detail. The Sunshine Catamaran goes above and beyond even that with a much less conventional structure and even more fun details like the sail, glass bottom, pool, banana boat, breakfast bar, and sliding glass door. It has slightly fewer pieces and less weight than the Dolphin Cruiser, but I feel like it offers an equal or greater value. It even has a much less obtrusive place to stow the jet ski when it's not in use! Like the Dolphin Cruiser, the colors of this set are beautiful but not over-the-top, and if not for their size (bigger than many City boats), I could see either boat being displayed as easily in a LEGO City marina as in a Friends seaside display. I love the tropical vacation aesthetic.

The main thing in this set I have mixed feelings about is the spiral staircase element, but that's more my feelings on the element in general than its use in this set. With the top and bottom stairs being longer than the middle two, I feel like it could have been designed much better, and it also takes up a lot of space compared to the ladder on the Dolphin Cruiser. I also kind of preferred Dolphin Cruiser's differently colored dolphins (one boy and one girl), but that's not really a big deal as far as the beauty or play value of the set is concerned, and had it not been for the Dolphin Cruiser I'd have had no reason to expect that level of individualization. I'm also not sure why the two sinks use a regular 1x2 panel and not https://brickset.com/parts/6138481/wall-double-corner-1x2x1, which is still a current element and would be much more enclosed.

Overall though, like the Dolphin Cruiser before it, this set made its way onto my wanted list (which otherwise rarely includes Friends sets), and I was VERY satisfied with my purchase both before and after building it!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I've seen the catamaran review on heartlake times blog spot, it's an awesome set, just like the dolphin cruiser was but going wait for it to go in the sale,
My daughter would be so chuffed if I got it her..

Gravatar
By in Sweden,

I love the colors in these sets. :)

Gravatar
By in United States,

Thanks for the nice review! I really like the general design and details of this set - all those great little dedicated spaces are fitted in nicely! Definitely a fun and unusual set. The colors are a bit too "Friend"-y for me (more of a City person) -- too much aqua and magenta for my taste. But a great addition to Friendville - I think the Friends sets are in general upping their game lately.

Gravatar
By in United States,

I love the use of the big back of plane / helicopter pieces. It works perfectly here.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

This just doesn't do it for me. I absolutely loved the Dolphin Cruiser and even have a second one to make an extra long super-yacht Dolphin Cruiser. It may be partly the big plane pieces in the hulls as this has always seemed like a cheat piece to me. And the mishmash of colors isn't great. It feels like Lego has toned down the 100% girly colours in favour of more gender-neutral (but still bright) colours, but the set has suffered as a result.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@Brainslugged: I'm not sure how the plane/helicopter pieces are "cheating" any more than usual ship hull pieces like the pirate ship hulls the Dolphin Cruiser used. I mean, yes, theoretically you could replace these with stack of parts like https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=2626 (if it were still a current part, anyway), but I don't see how that would substantially improve the looks, play value, or even building experience. It'd just add a measly 6–10 pieces to the piece count and make the front less streamlined.

As far as the color scheme goes, it's a pretty conventional triadic color scheme (cyan+yellow+magenta) on a neutral white and tan canvas.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Re: the drink on the edge of the spa ... those Friends girls do enjoy their martinis, don't they?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Starting with #3065, Olivia's Tree House (I still can't believe Friends is older than the five-digit set numbers...), I've always said that Friends sets are hard to photograph. The tree house looks pathetic on advertising art, and we almost didn't buy it, but it real life it looks quite good. I learn to not judge a Friends set until you can see it in real life, which really makes purchasing them hard!

I'm not too impressed with the interior of the Sunshine Catamaran, but I will wait to build it in real life. I'm always amazing by how much Friends designers can fit into a small space, but this time the kitchen area really seems lack when compared to the HUGE chairs in the living space. The stove, kitchen sink, dining bar, and 3/4 of a stool can fit on one of the lounge chairs! I'd have liked too see smaller chairs and a bit more room for the kitchen. I think the albeit-larger Dolphin Cruiser used its space better...

Except for the storage of the jet ski... I love that on the Catamaran! I'll have to dig the Cruiser out, but there was a space under the slide I think where I thought there was going to be storage for the water skis maybe? But it turned out to just be a pillar of bricks and wasted space. I'm glad the designers of the Catamaran figured storing the jet ski into the model. I love when they do those details and use every bit of space for some function.

I really tried to get 2-of-3 to choose this for her birthday, but she was set on the hospital (which is great for play, but not too innovative as a set in my opinion) and the ski lift (no complaints about her choice there...). I'll have to wait until 1-of-3's birthday in November or Christmas to get this set and really see how it is. I'm sure I'll be impressed, but I'm thinking as of right now, the Dolphin Cruiser will remain my favorite Friends vessel.

Gravatar
By in United States,

This looks more like a house boat than a catamaran.

Three figs, only two beds - would of been nice if the easy chairs could convert into a third bed. I guess you could relocate the table and move them together. I wonder if the resulting seating space be long enough to accommodate a minidoll?

Like the hidden storage area for the jet ski, netting and the glass bottom.

Remember gang, as is the purpose of LEGO, have at and improve to your liking what you deem inadequate!

Gravatar
By in United States,

@darkstonegrey: Catamaran and houseboat are not mutually exclusive. Catamaran just means it's a ship with two equally sized hulls.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The guy obviously sleeps with one of the girls, problem solved.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Sorry. Rubbish boat. A fine example of an effort to cash in on current (celebrity) trends so prevalent. Feeding into the excesses is far removed from One's perceived image of Lego - educate, inspire and build. Some might find it fun but my 6yo daughter isn't inspired other than to offer the words "that boat is rubbish Daddy". So proud of my wee Lego master.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@Aanchir : yes, but this looks more like a houseboat catamaran. By naming it a catamaran without the houseboat designation implies a different style of boat.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The proportions on this set just look wrong. The details are really nice but the Dolphin Cruiser looks 10x better IMO.

View more reviews »
Return to home page »