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…..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Additional details are provided by stickers.
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.
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.
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.
On the other side of the room is an armoire, which opens up to show other sticker details.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
A full view of the back of the set shows the complete house.
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.
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!