Review: 41340 Friendship House

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The largest set of the first Friends wave of the year is 41340 Friendship House. It looks like the Friends designers got quite a bit of inspiration from Ghostbusters, as several of you noted that 41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle looked a lot like the Ecto-1. Indeed, the Friendship House is a converted firehouse, like the Ghostbusters HQ. So …..

When there's something strange
In your neighbourhood
Who you gonna call…..

Friends!!

The box is decorated in the new Friends theme with the warmer colours and re-imagined minidolls. The set is featured on the front in a park like setting with the buildings of Heartlake City in the background, including some very interesting architectural buildings that I would love to see made into sets one day. The back of the box features the some of the many details of the set. Inside the box there are six numbered bags, one unnumbered bags containing larger plates and two slide pieces, two fire poles (one extra) and instruction book and a sticker sheet. The sticker sheet is sizable but I didn't find it overly daunting.

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As we have reimagined minidolls this year, it's not at all surprising to learn that the three minidolls in this set have new outfits and hair. Olivia, Andrea, and Emma are featured here. I'm not sure why Olivia is included in this set when she's also included in the Mission Vehicle set - I would have thought that another one of the Friends would be here instead.

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Olivia looks quite smart with a yellow shirt with fuchsia vest with a blue belt on top along with a yellow skirt and blue shoes. The highlight of her outfit (for me at least) is her fantastic necklace featuring little gears. I would love one of those! Andrea also has new hair which I rather like with the extra braids. Her outfit certainly shows her passion for music, as her one-shouldered top has musical notes adorning it, including one note that has wings. She has a pale aqua skirt with white laced fuchsia shoes. Andrea also comes with headphones (shown in a later picture). Emma is perhaps the Friend that has had the least amount of changes. She's dressed in a very nice purple outfit with a polka dotted top with purple shorts and white shoes.

The cute Friends animals in this set are Dash the dog, Rumble the hamster and Cinnamon the bunny. They're pretty straightforward for Friends animals but none of them have any special printings. It's a bit of letdown considering Vega's wonderful markings from the Mission Vehicle set. Dash is new to this set, but both Cinnamon and Rumble have been seen before, though not very often.

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As with all Friends sets there are some auxiliary builds. The largest of these is a tree swing. This is a pretty elaborate swing, with plenty of foliage and flowers, with a heart over the swing itself. In some continuity with 41333, there's a poster advertising Vega as being lost, with a phone number which could be a real number (I'm guessing the folks at LEGO aren't familiar with the consequences of using a real phone number). I haven't tried calling the number, though I do wonder why LEGO didn't use a 555-XXXX number that you see in many movies as a result of that incident. If you now have that Jenny song stuck in your head, you're welcome.

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If the Friends are going out on missions, then they need tools! And tools they have, the complete suite in powder blue. There's a tool bench as well as a wheeled cart containing the remainder of them. The cart can be attached to a pale blue bike so the Friends can get tools to where they're needed.

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There are several accessories that you may see through the set, but I thought I would group them all here to give a better look at all of them.

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(I'll note here that some of you liked and some of you didn't like the green background from the last review. I took these pictures prior to the last review being published. I like to find coloured backgrounds that complement the set and don't wash out the colours of the set. Sometimes I'm more successful than others.)

The ground floor of the Friendship House is a hub of activity. From the front you can see the garage (with a working sliding door) and the front door with some paving stones adjacent to a small fenced front yard. There's a mailbox next to the front door with the house's address (41340, same as the set number). The fenced garden area is Cinnamon's domain, as we find some flowers and carrots growing here. There's also a little bunny door for Cinnamon to hop through in order to access the garage and the rest of the house.

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Cinnamon better not count on hopping through that bunny door when the Mission Vehicle is in, however. As advertised, the Mission Vehicle does fit in the garage (you have to remove Zobo's control center from the top), but there is no room for anything else in the garage, or even for the driver get out of the vehicle.

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At the rear of the garage we have Rumble's house. It has a water bottle and some greenery inside. A container of hamster kibble is close by so Rumble shouldn't go hungry for a while.

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Just outside there's the way Rumble gets exercise - a hamster wheel! I rather like the use of the 1x1 plates to make up the wheel.

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The last part of the ground floor is for a well stocked kitchen with all the details you'd expect. There's a stove with teapot, a grill, an oven with a pizza baking on a baking stone, a sink with faucet and a container of dish soap, a refrigerator with some whipped cream, plus a container of OJ and a pizza box. There's even a small water spill on the floor that someone needs to clean up!

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Additional details are provided by stickers.

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There's no discernible way for the Friends to make it to the next floor up, unless they climb up the slide that curls around to the front yard (though that strikes me as being difficult). If they were to climb up the slide, they would find themselves in an outside sunning area. A grill is provided to prepare food, and a sausage is at the ready.

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There's a couple of lounge chairs with a small table in between. There's a hot dog complete with bun - I guess the Friends will have the share the hot dog between them.

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Through the door is a dining/planning area. There's a table with five chairs for the Friends. A sticker decoration provides some detail of a bulletin board that includes a certificate as well as a picture of Vega. There's a heart detail on the table as well as a "I heart HLC" mug.

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On the other side of the room is an armoire, which opens up to show other sticker details.

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You can see how the room is put together in this picture as well as another accessory - Andrea's guitar. I suppose an axe is a must for any firehouse!

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Going out the double doors leads to a balcony that just happens to be equipped with speakers and a microphone plus some flashy yellow lights. Because what's a major Friends set without an opportunity to perform? Andrea seems quite at home.

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I also like the detail of the firebell on the wall.

Traveling up a ladder from the sunning area brings us to the next level, where there are five beds for the Friends to rest. Additional details are provided by the stickers on the side walls, including a picture of all five Friends together. A TV is mounted on the far wall. The TV is tuned to a car racing program, which may be a foreshadowing (if recent leaks are to be believed) of a theme of Friends sets later this year.

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However, there's more here than meets the eye, as the TV can flip up to show the Friends the location for their next mission!

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Taking another ladder gets a minidoll to the top floor, where we find yet more activities. A small structure houses a winch that's used to raise supplies from the ground up to the rooftop. In this case the Friends are transporting some cherries to the top floor.

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A small ladder over the winch lets a minidoll get to the very top of the Friendship house which is equipped with a telescope for a Friend to check out the location of their next mission.

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Why would the Friends want cherries on the top floor? So they can enjoy a snack in the rooftop pool, of course, accompanied by music courtesy of the boombox/phone player.

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Also accessed on the top floor is the fire pole, which provides a speedy way for a Friend to get to the bottom floor. For many reasons, but primarily because I do not have iso3200's photography skills, I don't have a motion shot but do have one of Emma as she reaches the bottom of the pole.

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A full view of the back of the set shows the complete house.

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There are several new parts introduced in this set. In addition to the minidolls and Dash the dog, there are new plates in flame yellowish orange, bright purple and bright yellowish green.

Overall thoughts

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There's a lot to do at the Friendship House! The designer has managed to pack a lot of detail and a lot of play value on each level of the building, an impressive feat. There's a good blend between some of the traditional Friends features such as the detailed kitchen along with more action oriented features such as the fire pole and the tree swing, in addition to little surprises such as the hidden monitor under the TV set. Although there are plenty of details in the set, none of the spaces feel cramped. There's much to do at the Friendship House, and plenty of space to do it.

The designers clearly co-opted the Ghostbusters idea to create both this set and Olivia's Mission Vehicle. I think that was a great idea and the result is a very serviceable scaled down Friends version of the headquarters. For the price (722 pieces, $69.99, £59.99), it's a very robust set that is fun to build. There are so many details packed on every level - I've tried to mention all of the features, and yet I'm still sure that I've missed a few!

I would recommend this set to just about any child - there are so many different features that appeal to many different aspects of play. Add the Mission Vehicle and you have a Friends team ready to take on Heartlake City!

 

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30 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

the friends keep impressing me with all the printed pieces!

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By in United Kingdom,

This was already high on our list - it might have shot to the top. Brilliant in nearly every way.

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By in Belgium,

Great review, rubbish set!

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By in Germany,

@meisterbuilder: you were either being sarcastic or meant Juniors instead of Friends ;-)

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By in United States,

The set doesn't do anything for me. It doesn't look like a fire house or a house, it looks kind of like the Friends took an abandoned, falling down building and moved in.

The sticker sheet is massive, but I like sticker sheets most of the time. If I want to use them I can, if not I can just use the regular non printed sticker. However for smaller things like signs it's annoying.

When there's something strange
In your neighbourhood.....

Like one of your friends changing ethnicities... :)

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By in United States,

The green background looks fine to me! It's really hard to get 'pure' white TLG-quality without having to run images through a filter to brighten, etc.; which is not only a pain, it can 'fuzzify' some parts of the image that had been crisp.

Seems like you enjoyed this set ;-)

edit: Did want to add that Emma's *eye color* changed form green to brown -- that's a notable change. My opinion is that of the 5, Stephanie has changed the least and barely at all (unless you're referring to only the characters in this set; then I'd say Andrea, maybe ...)?

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By in United States,

Great review! The backdrop didn't bother me nearly as much for this one (possibly because the set featured fewer white parts that reflected the green background).

This set makes for a great headquarters with a lot of visual appeal, subtly featuring each of their signature colors as stripes between the Medium Nougat paneling. I do have to agree that given this set's compatibility with the Mission Vehicle, it might have made more sense to swap Olivia for a different Friend, though of course it's not like there aren't plenty of opportunities to get each of the other main characters in other sets.

A lot of AFOLs dislike stickers, but I love the details they impart, especially in a big set like this! There's so much to pick out—the varied patterns on each of the Friends' sleeping bags, the maneki-neko on the shelf (I'd wager that's Emma's, given her more Asian appearance as well as her seeming to be one of the more business-savvy Friends), the leftover firehouse logos (almost like the Lego City fire logo, but with a heart at the center of the flame!), the go-karts on the TV (teasing one of the summer sets), and even what looks like a game of Settlers of Catan!

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By in United Kingdom,

Wish lego left the friends characters as they were, my daughter is leaning more towards Disney Princess, elves and lego batman movie themes now..
Best house in heartlake was olivias in 2012, followed by Emma's house in 2015,

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By in United States,

@David1985: I think it looking like an abandoned building the Friends have reclaimed is exactly what the designers were going for. The pole, garage, and some of the stickers tell us that it was once a firehouse, but the unpainted Medium Nougat of the siding with a handful of brighter stripes give it a DIY feel like a kids' clubhouse — something five teenagers could have believably turned a derelict building into on a budget.

This set is certainly not as elegant as past Friends houses, but I think it really communicates the idea of a place where all five friends can come together. The bright stripes in each friend's primary color are quite nice. At first I was wondering where Mia's color was on the building, until it occurred to me that it made up the green spaces around the swing and garden. I also love that there are sleeping bags for all the friends in the bedroom, seats for all of the friends in the arts and crafts room, and stickers and builds representing activities that reflect each friend's interests and lifestyle. Plus, there are lots of cute details and play features like the hamster habitat!

Thanks so much for this review! It sheds a lot of light on details that were harder to see in the official pictures.

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By in Brazil,

Frieds after the mini figures changes and the subliminar messages?
Not here, anymore.

And an unbiased analysis, terrible set. Any Past Lego Friends House is MUCH better than this set

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By in United States,

It's kind of a neat clubhouse, but it has the same issues I have with every large Friends building... extreme over-reliance on stickers, overly simple and uninteresting build shapes, and the strange recent trend of leaving only a front wall on the uppermost parts of buildings even when there's a bunch of space there.

I do really like the tiles-outward style and the color scheme, and the stickers themselves are good.

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By in Australia,

I agree that there's a lot of details and play-value in this one, and kid-me definitely would've appreciated all the interiors and all the different things the girls can do when they're hanging out. I also hadn't realised that this was a converted firehouse (and I like the details of the bell, and the fireman's pole there). Thumbs down on the stickers, but I've noticed with all the great City sets this year, I'm not even bothering putting the stickers on.

But who actually owns this building? Like, who's paying the mortgage here, or what's the rent like? And if those things aren't an issue, then what's the economy of Heartlake City really like? These are just the things I think about sometimes.

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By in Australia,

Nah. I don’t find this appealing at all. Much like this years Creator Houses. Just way too much going on with accessories and gimmicks instead of focusing on the core building. This will be the first year (first half anyway) that I will be skipping both the Friends House and Creator House sets. I’m sure little girls will think it’s great though.

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By in United States,

My question is Zordboy’s question. How did the Friends acquire this building? It’s a neat idea, but it seems like Heartlake City which I thought was quite realistic is turning into a muted-reality comic book. If DC Superhero Girls ends, I don’t think I’d be shocked at this point if the Friends started wearing costumes in the next wave to further tie in their need to have a “hidden” mission map.

I’d have loved to be at the Heartlake City city council meeting on this one.

A: “Should we fund a police department this year? I know crime is low or mildly-cartoonish by that doesn’t stop the minifigures over in LEGO City from having eight police officers to every one building.”

B: “Say, there’s those five teenagers that are pretty smart and creative always outshining everyone in Heartlake City. Why don’t we set them up in the old fire house and have them solve the problems in Heartlake City?”

C: “Only if we give them a hidden map of Heartlake City where they can track their missions. Maybe we can even change their appearances (costumes!?) so they aren’t immediately recognizable.”

A: “Sounds good to me. Motion passed?”

B and C: “Passed.”

D: “Did we ever build a new fire house?”

*awkward silence*

I have often marveled here on Brickset that Friends sets are designed to use every bit of space efficiently. It’s always been my favorite part of the Friends theme design because it was always so clever to see all the details squeezed into a set. When I look at the back of this, I see a lot of empty space. Now, I’m willing to hold final judgement until I actually see the set in real life because it is pretty cool that all the girls can fit in here together. That may make the empty space worth it in the end. But the emptiness is hard to stomach when one remembers that each Friends boat had a living space, kitchenette, bedroom, and bathroom without the floor plan looking muddled.

What does Mia need a treehouse for if they have this “Friendship House”. And speaking of reimagining and treehouses, why not transform this idea into an epic reimagining of Olivia’s treehouse to make it a bit more believable? Olivia having an awesome treehouse with the features of this firehouse would have been great.

I could like the idea behind this, and my three target-audience children want it (but I think a lot of that wanting comes from it being the largest Friends box in the store), but it just seems to be turning Heartlake City into a farce to me.

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By in United States,

Soapboxing done, I went back to look at the pictures better and there are a few great Friends details that I’ve come to expect. The hamster wheel is fun, and the doggy door for the rabbit is probably my favorite little detail in this set.

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By in Australia,

@ericjohn ...

They were probably *going* to build another fire house, but then someone suggested constructing another open-air stage. "The city just doesn't have enough of those!"

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By in United Kingdom,

^ It's either that or Stephanie's parents have hired all the construction workers in town.
So that's a normal house, a beach house & a lake house. If the next ones are Stephanie's Jungle House & Stephanie's Arctic House, I won't be surprised.

Lots of stickers, lots of play value & (I know the reason why) lots of colour- too much colour for my taste. If it were kept down to just the blue & purple, I'd be happier.
I like some of the little details- the hamster wheel & the fire alarm in particular.

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By in United States,

The concept for this set is really cool, it's just very barebones and flat. But maybe kids can add to it!

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By in Poland,

The same hamster wheel already appeared in one of the books. Love that oversized design.
I didn't liked this set (mainly because I wanted MIAs house next), but after taking closer look - it looks great and it's full of suprising details all over!

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By in Australia,

So Stephanie's parents are loaded?

I can't be the only person thinking organised crime, right?

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By in United Kingdom,

Are the Friends gals getting younger. This seems like the sort of place a bunch of 12 year olds would want to hang out in. But then they have all those cars. What's the driving age in Denmark? How old are the girls actually meant to be? So many questions!?

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By in Australia,

^ The ages of the Friends girls is something that's always been a bit of a head-scratcher.

One second, they're barely high-school aged students. The next second, they're piloting helicopters in foreign jungle climates.

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By in United States,

Aanchir, I never said it looked like a reclaimed building. It looks like an abandoned building you go into with friends to hang out.

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By in United States,

I can’t stop looking at this set! It’s like something that a friend called “art” and I just can’t figure it out so I keep looking...

The sticker that goes on the wall panel of the kitchen shows what most likely is a logo for the Heartlake City Fire Department: a heart burning as the brightest spot of a flame on a shield. That’s quite well-thought out logo and looks really good, much better than the Friends rainbow heart—which now looks really cheesy and simple when compared to the HLCFD’s creative design.

I know it’s most likely a long shot, but I really do hope we get some* fire sets in the Friends line.

*like 1/10 of what City gets

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By in United States,

Adjustment to my original comment:
Forgot Andrea's eye color changed too! So, for me, in this set the least changed is ... None -- a Tie to all 3 for severity of updates :-)
Overall, I'd say Stephanie is the least changed; except ever-so-slightly to her smile.

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By in United States,

@ericjohn: I think the emptiness is deliberate. Since it’s meant to be a clubhouse for all five friends it has to have plenty of open space for them to all be doing things together, whereas most house sets only have to be designed to accommodate the two or three figures they come with (and when it comes to sleeping space, often not even that!)

@bookmum: I always assume they’re somewhere between 14 and 16, but since the sets are primarily aimed at 12 and under, it makes sense that they’d more reflect the things that audience thinks THEY’D be doing at that age, rather than reflecting what a teenage buyer might actually be into. That said… I think this actually feels a little more grown up than your average kid’s dream clubhouse, what with its fairly subdued color palette.

@David1985: Perhaps you have a more realistic idea of what it takes to reclaim a building than I do. To me, sprucing it up with all the team’s favorite colors and stuff related to their individual interests is enough to make it feel like they’ve effectively put down roots here and aren’t just loitering on somebody else’s property.

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By in United States,

I love this discussion! It's one of the reasons I love reviewing sets. Though nobody mentioned the Jenny reference. I think that just means that I'm old because I remember the song.

@LegoMyMamma: I mixed up Emma and Stephanie when writing. I knew one hadn't changed much....this is what I get for not double checking before publishing!

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice high-tech clubhouse! Lots of good ideas in this set, and I think kids will like all the details in the stickers a lot.

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By in United Kingdom,

All of this discussion about the way Heartlake City works, tied in with how the Friends have all changed considerably aside from Stephanie has led me down a dark path...

Leading on from Zordboy's ascertain that Stephanie's parents are "loaded" - makes sense as she seems to do pretty well for herself - and the question of who owns all the buildings etc. I propose that the whole set up is a "Truman Show" type exercise where the whole city has been built around Stephanie. Her multi-multi-billionaire parents are shielding her from some real-world horror by constructing an entire society in which to live. The other residents are either WestWorld-esque androids or actors, tasked with providing an element of realism to her world and provide her with company and adventures to be had. This would explain the changes in the characters as either a new cast has had to be recruited or the androids upgraded. The periodic new themes and locations that are added are just new parts of the world introduced to keep Stephanie occupied but, once she has explored them to her satisfaction they are removed and replaced with something new. Every now and then, once enough time has passed, those areas may be re-introduced but upgraded and with subtle differences that Stephanie doesn't notice (maybe because her Friends help cover up the changes) - see the Stables/Riding School as a good example of this.
Clearly I have far too much time on my hands but at least when I finally got it all sorted in my head I was able to get some sleep.

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By in Austria,

Nice review and I really like the overall look of this set - bought one on discount and am looking forward to building it soon! :)

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