The new Friends sets are out! There are quite a few interesting looking sets in this wave. Today we'll take a look at one of the medium sized sets, 41343 Heartlake City Airplane Tour. I was attracted to the plane in this set, since there's only been a few other planes in the Friends world. Let's see where the Friends can fly off to with this set.
The front of the box shows the set in a rural looking airport setting. Olivia is flying the plane (while holding a walkie talkie. I'm not sure that's the way to do it?) with Rumble the hamster as her co-pilot. We also see that Zobo makes an appearance in this set. The back of the box shows different features of the set which we'll talk about over the course of the review. It wasn't until after opening that I noticed that this box has one of the annoying (to me) tab openings, which I thought was unusual for a set of this size. Inside the box there are three numbered bags, a 6x16 bright green plate, a small sticker sheet and a instruction book. Things were pretty crowded in the box so fortunately the instruction book wasn’t crumpled.
Olivia is the minidoll in this set, which makes sense since she's the character who has the bent toward more technical subjects - so of course she would pilot the plane. She comes in a new outfit with this wave - she's wearing white pants with silver boots with a racing motif on the front. Her jacket is a wonderfully detailed print in fuschsia and blue, with fuschia on one epaulette/sleeve and blue on the other. The pattern on the torso looks like it could fit in with either the racing motif or a flight jacket with alternative fuschsia and blue stripes on one side of the off center zipper, and a solid blue on the other. I particularly like the gear symbol included on Olivia's jacket, again reinforcing her technical side. She comes with a flying helmet and goggles (her hair is also included in the set for those down times between flights). Rumble (not pictured) is the requisite cute Friends animal in this set, and comes with a rosy pair of goggles.
Zobo makes a welcome appearance here, one of three or four appearances in this wave of sets. As always, Zobo is pressed into several duties, for this set not only can he/she serve as an air traffic controller, but also as tarmac personnel to help with takeoff and landing.
A few accessories are included, in this case the paddles for Zobo to use on the tarmac and some fluorescent orange cones to mark the runway.
It's also not a Friends set without food or snack of some kind, and this set doesn't disappoint, with a table laden with a gargantuan sandwich for Olivia along with a can of soda, plus some simple chairs.
Another ancillary build is a refueling station complete with tools as well as a small windsock.
The small air traffic control tower is packed with features. The front of the building shows this is a gathering place for flying aficionados with the "club" sticker as well as a sticker that shows a bulletin board with the latest news and awards. A couple flowers complete the landscaping. A ladder off to the side allows access to the top level of the control tower. I particularly like the small brick built airplane that shows the purpose of the building.
Turning the building around, there's a spot for Rumble to stay refreshed with a snack, a cookie and some water.
Climbing to the top of the ladder, there's the air traffic control center. There's a control panel with an impressive collection of dials and graphics, a post-it note, a walkie talkie (surely there are better forms of communication these days), as well as a mug. I'm guessing the mug is for Olivia, as liquid would be very detrimental to Zobo's health.
In case Zobo can't navigate the ladder very well, there's an express way for them to get back to the ground - take the conveniently placed slide! I haven't seen this feature on any other air traffic control towers, but it works here. The tower is topped by a revolving radar antennae.
The set is completed with a rather nice vintage biplane. For those who don't like girl colours, the colour of the plane will be disappointing as the plane is bright purple accented with dark azur and white. I'm a fan of purple so this works for me, plus I don't think the bright purple is all that out of place. I like the addition of the gear motif on the tops of the wings. There's a rotating (of course) propeller on the front of the plane.
There's room in the cockpit for Olivia and Rumble. There's supposed to be room for Zobo but I'm not sure where they would fit, though I didn't spend much time looking.
As is not unusual with the old biplanes, it pulls advertisement banners behind it. The banners are provided by stickers, and feature two Friends subthemes: the racing subtheme from this year and the amusement park from last year.
This is a solid Friends set for the price (323 pieces, $29.99, £29.99, 29.99€). It offers several opportunities for play, and I really like the addition of another plane to the Heartlake landscape. There are some new parts, as you can see by looking at the parts inventory here, and I always welcome the addition of new pieces in one of my favourite LEGO colours, cool yellow.
I enjoy that Olivia is continuing to leverage technology in the sets where she's featured. I like the new outfits for the minidolls, and like that the designer has been able to use the outfits from the racing theme to be used as a flight jacket. I even like the colour of the plane, while I do understand that others might not.
Do you like the new Friends sets? Which ones would you like to see reviewed? Let us know in the comments.
Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.