One of the more intriguing sets in the Friends racing theme this year is 41350 Spinning Brushes Car Wash. I really enjoy how the Friends designers have expanded the range of the sets offered in Heartlake City to include such practical businesses as the car wash. It's been a while since LEGO offered any kind of car wash as a full set, the last one being 2011's 5696 Car Wash in Duplo. Let's see if the set can hold water, or if it's a washout…..
The front of the box shows the car wash at the edge of a racing oval, with a grandstand (possibly from 41352 The Big Race Day) in the near distance, with the Heartlake City skyline in the background with a setting sun. The Friends are shown in the upper right all in their racing gear with a checkered flag incorporated in the background. A small inset in the lower left corners shows that there is moving functions included to allow the car to pass through the car wash. The back of the box shows the set as viewed from the back, including having Twister the bunny in the driver's seat as the go-kart goes through the wash. Since the go-kart is an open top, perhaps this is a car and bunny wash? Inside the box are three numbered bags, an instruction book and a sticker sheet.
The minidolls in this set are Mia and Zack. Mia is dressed for the races and has the same trousers that the rest of the Friends do in the wave; white paired with silver boots. Her racing colours are green and orange, so Mia's jacket has one sleeve in green and the other in orange. Her jacket is styled similar to what we saw Olivia wearing in 41343, with stripes of the two featured colours to one side of the off centre zipper and a solid colour on the other. I really like her orange racing helmet, which the mould for this helmet includes Mia's ponytail. Her companion, Twister the bunny, is also new this year, and has big green eyes to match Mia's.
This is our first time meeting Zack. Zack is a pretty casual dude and is dressed appropriately for working at the car wash. He has a white t-shirt with a tropical print under a short sleeved shirt with what look to be a dinosaur print. He's also wearing long green boardshorts that have a quad heart pattern just over the right knee. Not surprisingly, his outfit is finished with flip flops. His accessories are a pail, a sponge and a spray bottle so he can make sure to do a proper job of washing the go-karts. I particularly love his ice blue eyes.
The go-kart included in the set is built like the others in this subtheme. The colours match Mia's racing outfit with orange and green.
Mia's go-kart has a spoiler that has the look of a solar panel.
Suitably, the go-kart launcher is colour coordinated.
The majority of the build is the car wash building itself. The first section of the building is dedicated to a fueling station.
Since this doesn't look to be one of those gas stations where you can pay at the pump, it's necessary to go in the attached convenience store to settle up. There's a lot of detail packed into this small space, including a TV and cash register.
Other details in the store include a stocked fridge, a coffee machine and - as no Friends set is complete without food - a small table complete with a croissant.
The last section of the building is of course the car wash. I had wondered how the designer would make this work. As it turns out, a go-kart is driven onto a moving platform equipped with chocks so it doesn't slide around. I'm still stuck on the practicality of this car wash; with the go-karts being open running them through the car wash is going to end up with the interiors being pretty soggy.
The platform is moved through the car wash by means of turning a gear on the outside of the car wash. Many Friends sets have been using Technic parts in order to add some moving functions to them.
The gear mechanism is connected to a toothed bar, which allows the platform to be moved through the car wash.
The namesake of the set, the spinning brushes, are suspended from the ceiling by some Technic pieces. The Technic pieces allow the brushes to raise and lower as the go-kart passes through.
There's a station for suds and polish.
Finally, the go-kart passes the drying station.
I was looking forward to building this set as I was curious about the mechanism used for the car wash. The solution that the designer chose is simple and effective, and offers a good opportunity for play. I really like how the Friends sets have been incorporating smaller Technic effects into them - it makes the builds a more interesting and gives greater play value.
For the price (325 pieces, $29.99, £24.99, 29.99€), this feels like an appropriate build and fits in well with the theme. It also has the bonus of being the first LEGO car wash in several years, and provides a good base. For those who don’t like Friends sets because of the "girl" colours, this set also has the benefit of having pretty neutral colouring, so would also fit in well in a CITY environment. There's also some new colours of some parts, as shown by the inventory page here.
What do you think of the latest car wash? Let us know in the comments.
Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset a copy of this set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.