I've saved some of the larger Friends sets reviews for closer to the holidays. Today we'll look at the largest Friends set from this year, 41347 Heartlake City Resort. I've been looking forward to building this since it came out, especially because of the inclusion of a monorail! Read on to discover more of the features of Heartlake City's fanciest place this year.
The front of the box shows the set - it’s a good thing it's a larger box because there's a lot to see! It's shown looking from the front. On the lower left there's a small inset that shows the set as viewed from above, which allows you to see the monorail in operation. The back of the box appropriately shows the set as viewed from behind, which includes the monorail. A number of insets show off the different features of the set, which we'll get into a little later.
Inside the box are seven numbered bags, two unnumbered bags (one with five 8x16 plates in my new favourite LEGO colour - pale yellow, and two large slides; another with two small slides and five monorail pieces), a large perfect bound instruction book with a large sticker sheet (packaged with the book so both stay flat) and a thick plastic sheet with the sails for the windsurfer and the parasail.
There are four minidolls in this set. Three of them are our regular Friends: Olivia, Stephanie and Andrea. The fourth minidoll is Mason, who we meet for the first time in this set. He is dressed for his job as a lifeguard with no shirt, though well defined pecs (no six pack abs though) and a pair of maroon swim trunks. Fittingly he's wearing flip flops. His hair is a good choice for a lifeguard though has been seen in several sets, mostly in Ninjago.
All three Friends have very suitable outfits for their time at the resort. All three have midriff baring shirts: Olivia in a pink shirt with blue lapels and accents, Stephanie in a blue and fuschsia cross cross shirt with spaghetti straps, and Andrea in a stained-glass patterned halter with hanging beading details. All three torsos are new to this set. The girls are all wearing miniskirts - Olivia in yellow, Stephanie in blue and Andrea in reddish violet. Stephanie's and Andrea's are new to this set, while we've seen Olivia's skirt in several sets from this year. I really like all the details in the outfits and think that they represent the resort theme well.
Of course, there's a cute animal, and in this set it's Sheen the dolphin. Considering the size of the set it would have been nice to see more dolphins, as there have been smaller sets with two. Sheen looks like all the other dolphins that have been included in Friends sets. Sheen is pictured here with the windsurf board, which utilizes one of the plastic sails included in the set.
The other small build is a water scooter with a detachable parasail. The water scooter is termed as such as it's quite compact - there's only room for one person to stand while steering.
The parasail is attached to the scooter via a 1x2 plate with shaft, allowing one Friend to tow another.
The completed model
The resort is built in three towers: one for sleeping rooms, monorail station, and a snack bar, one for central resort activities, and one for the water park portion. The build starts with one of the central resort areas - the hotel rooftop, which is customized for parties. This area is well appointed with a turntable and disco lights, and some festive greenery.
The ground floor of the residential tower is dedicated to a snack bar/kitchen. There's also an outdoor eating area that's laid out with drinks and snacks for two of the Friends. What should not be surprising to anyone is that pizza is the snack of choice for teenage girls.
Other snacks are available in case the Friends get tired of pizza.
The small kitchen has everything needed including a cooktop, oven and fridge.
Two sleeping rooms are built on top of the kitchen. Each room has a shower that is separated from the bed by a glass pane; but there are no full bathrooms here. Both rooms are basically identical, down to the stickers, with the exception of the colour of the bedding and the doorknobs. Though I really wonder where the door of the top floor bedroom is supposed to be leading to…..
Putting the rooms on top of the snack bar shows the first tower. You can see that the area right above the eating area and next to the first floor bedroom is one of the monorail stations.
Next is the central tower, where there's a reception area on the ground floor. Double glass doors with greenery on either side provide a welcoming first impression for the resort.
Inside, there's a stylish reception desk with a computer monitor and an absolutely enormous phone. Keys for the sleeping rooms hang from the walls and there's a space to store luggage off to the side.
One floor up, there's a lounge area for the Friends to relax. There are a couple plush looking sofas with some small end tables - it looks like one of the Friends has left her phone here! There's also refreshments available - flavoured water (courtesy of one of the relatively new watermelon pieces), some fresh fruit, and coffee.
The outside of the lounge is one of the most striking features of the facades. Thanks to curving four bright purple Technic flex rods, a large heart can be formed. The gap between the two flex rods on either side is cleverly covered by speakers for the sound system from the hotel rooftop.
I'll take note here of the number of stickers in this set. There are a lot of them, and in most case you can argue that they aren't necessary to the set. However, they do add considerable aesthetic value, such as the wall designs in this last picture.
Here are the first two floors of the central tower.
We're about two thirds way into the construction, and here's the look of the resort so far (without the rooftop):
The last portion of the resort to be build is the water park. The ground floor is dedicated to a changing room - here the designer has managed to pack a lot of detail in a small space. The changing room is accessed through two swinging doors.
Behind (or in front of?) the changing room is the swimming pool area, where both of the water slides empty into. There's a lifeguard chair for Mason that's equipped with binoculars and a walkie talkie. Even though water is indicated by the medium azur tiles, I think it would have been nice to have some medium azur plates to more adequately show the water. There's a sled included for the Friends to ride on the water slide (not pictured here).
One of the things that I learned from my last conversation with a Friends designer is that girls have shown a preference for details in things such as bathrooms as opposed to what the rest of us would consider more practical considerations, like stairs between floors. That's evident is this set as there is no discernible way to get upstairs anywhere in this set (except for the water slides on the way down).
There are two slides, one accessed from the first floor of the park, and the other from the second.
The resort is almost complete! With the exception of the top floor of the water park, here are the views from the front and back.
The top of the water park is finished with a sign (facing the opposite way in the below picture), and a tipping splash bucket to ensure anyone who gets on the blue slide gets soaked.
The finishing touch on the resort is the monorail! The monorail allows the Friends to travel quickly and smoothly from their sleeping rooms to the water park. There's a single monorail car to shuttle a Friend back and forth, powered with what looks to be a solar panel on the roof.
Dual gull wing doors allow a Friend entry from either side of the car. The car moves very efficiently and smoothly along the rail.
All pieces in place, the resort looks very impressive from the front and the back.
This is a very impressive set! It's the largest of the Friends sets this year (1017 pieces, $99.99, 99.99€, £89.99). The designer has accounted for just about every activity possible for a water park resort. There are many opportunities for play between the waterpark, the monorail and the myriad other details. I expect of lot of children will have a great time sending minidolls down the slides and dumping "water" on them.
Each room is packed with details, from the sleeping rooms to the lounge to the rooftop dancing area. The addition of the monorail is wonderfully inventive and I am happy to see that the addition of these pieces to the set does not appear to take away from the overall piece count or functionality. I found the monorail operation to be surprisingly smooth. The build experience is also appropriate for the age. Each bag completes a room or subset of rooms, so that play can start/continue after building each bag.
For those who enjoy Friends sets for the new colours and pieces, this set also does not disappoint as there are a number of new and recoloured parts, as shown by the inventory here.
I think this set would make for a very good choice for a "major" Christmas present for any child.
What other Friends sets would you like to see reviewed before Christmas? Let me know in the comments and we'll see what we can do!