Review: 21319 Central Perk

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Despite celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary during 2019, Friends exerts sustained influence upon modern television and the series remains hugely popular. 21319 Central Perk looks great and should therefore prove similarly appealing given its apparent authenticity.

Furthermore, seven impressive minifigures are provided, including the primary characters from the television series and Gunther. For those reasons, I have been looking forward to adding this detailed set to my collection and its cost of £64.99 or $59.99, which seems exceptionally reasonable to me, offers additional incentive.

Box and Contents

LEGO Ideas sets are frequently packaged in boxes which are made from thick cardboard stock and include a flap. 21319 Central Perk conforms to that trend and I think it looks fantastic, displaying this model beside the minifigures. Numerous references to the television series are printed on either side while smaller details from throughout this set are exhibited on the reverse of the box.

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Opening the box reveals seven bags that are numbered between one and six. Moreover, five stickers are included which is slightly unusual for LEGO Ideas sets, although they are easy to apply and some new printed pieces are provided. The instruction manual includes 156 pages, the first several of which are occupied by information about the Friends television series and its characters.

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Interviews with Aymeric Fievet, Milan Madge and Crystal Fontan, the fan designer, product designer and graphic designer respectively, are included too. Their shared passion for Friends is undoubtedly apparent and I was especially interested to read Milan's comments about the unusually angled walls which adhere to the original television studio.

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Minifigures

Friends focuses upon six central characters, all of whom are included here. Ross Geller features an exclusive double-sided head that replicates his onscreen appearance and conveys some personality, including concerned and smiling expressions. Ross' tan jacket and stripy tie also correspond with the television series and I can envisage using this excellent torso component elsewhere.

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Rachel Green sports numerous outfits throughout the series but this minifigure takes inspiration from her waitress' attire. The bright light blue blouse looks superb but the corresponding legs seem slightly washed out in my opinion. However, I think Rachel's most notable feature is her hair and this medium nougat element is perfect. It was initially created for the Veterinarian from Series 17 of the Collectable Minifigures but appears fitting here.

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This rendition of Chandler Bing seems fairly simple when compared with Ross and Rachel, although his distinctive blue shirt and black vest are immediately recognisable. The dark brown hair piece looks good too, having only appeared on three previous occasions, while the head includes two expressions. One appears fairly neutral but the other beautifully captures Chandler's periodical bemusement.

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Unfortunately, neither Rachel nor Monica Geller include specialised heads which is rather disappointing because LEGO has produced surprisingly few flesh heads for female characters. Nevertheless, I like this double-sided design and the medium nougat suspenders look lovely in relation to the television series, although dark tan might have been more accurate.

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Joey Tribbiani features an outstanding head, demonstrating his overwhelming confidence on either side. Furthermore, the red shirt includes some realistic creasing and this textured hair piece appears faithful to the onscreen character in my opinion. However, my favourite aspect of this minifigure is his reddish brown bag, presumably making reference to Joey's penchant for bags that becomes apparent during The One With Joey's Bag!

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While the majority of these minifigures include relatively generic clothing, Phoebe Buffay features an eccentric patterned vest. This design is based The One With The Blackout which seems fitting as that episode featured Phoebe's first performance at Central Perk. Moreover, I appreciate this double-sided head and the blonde hair piece appears quite faithful to her onscreen appearance.

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Each minifigure includes appropriate accessories, making reference to their occupations or character from the television series. Rachel, for instance, features a pearl silver shield that represents a serving tray while Joey carries a printed pizza box with a slice of pizza. Phoebe's guitar and Chandler's laptop are provided as well, along with several colourful mugs and food accessories.

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Gunther manages the Central Perk coffee shop and accordingly accompanies the primary characters here. This minifigure wears a striking lime green shirt and a colourful tie, reflecting his appreciation for bright clothes during the television series. I think lime green was a perfect colour choice as this shade stands out when Gunther is behind the counter.

21319 Central Perk

In addition, the minifigure incorporates a white hair piece that loosely resembles Gunther's onscreen hair style, although it does not depict his receding hairline. However, this head has been well chosen, having previously appeared on Luke Skywalker minifigures. These expressions are quite suitable for the character in my opinion and Gunther comes with a reddish brown push broom.

21319 Central Perk

The Completed Model

21319 Central Perk has inspired frequent comparison with 21302 The Big Bang Theory which seems reasonable given their equivalent source materials. However, this model includes much greater detail than its predecessor and is substantially larger as well, measuring almost 30cm wide and 21cm deep. The construction techniques are also more elaborate, particularly concerning the angled walls.

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Central Perk frequently provides the setting for discussion between characters, hence this interesting model focuses upon an orange couch, an armchair, two patterned chairs and the central table. These items appear consistently throughout the series, although one chair typically remains against the wall because four characters can sit on the settee. This rendition only provides enough room for three but looks marvellous.

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The designer has included numerous fun details from the television series, including some flowers, a black napkin dispenser and the reserved sign. Both the table and the couch look unrealistically bright when compared with the source material, although that feels sensible as Central Perk appears rather dark during the series so I appreciate the introduction of further colour on this LEGO creation.

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Moreover, these furnishings are positioned on an impressive rug which is constructed sideways using textured bricks and bricks with studs on the side. This structure nestles within the model, elevating the rug and therefore appearing authentic. Alternatively, you can remove the seating area and display that separately alongside another section of the coffee shop which employs similar building techniques, as demonstrated below.

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Unusually, this structure includes two studio lights which reflect how the television series was actually filmed. They are supported using ball joints and 2x2x10 lattice tower elements so look great, although these can easily be removed if you prefer. Several interesting details decorate the model, including an attractive menu board that has been simplified in relation to the series but includes realistic icons.

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Gunther serves customers from behind an angular counter. This is ingeniously assembled using 1x2 slopes which form each corner and I love the trans-clear 1x2 tiles that represent shelves. Sand green angled plates are used across the countertop. They look superb but dark green or dark tan may have been more faithful to the source material, potentially replicating its marbled texture.

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The biscuit container could also be improved as its shape differs from the television series. However, the cash register looks marvellous and the pearl gold espresso machine behind the counter is perfect when compared with its source material. Moreover, pearl silver coffee granule dispensers are situated between the reddish brown shelves and these are laden with detailed accessories.

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Furthermore, a wooden door is situated beyond the counter. This is sometimes covered by a striped curtain during the series but the curtain is drawn here and looks outstanding. I love the neighbouring mugs which are fixed on the wall, although they should include neon lights above each cup. Even so, omitting these lights seems reasonable given the limitations of scale and the printed service sign looks brilliant.

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Many different artworks are exhibited on the rear wall during Friends and this suspension bridge looks great. However, something more distinctive and visually striking would have been preferable, perhaps taking inspiration from a specific episode. The dark red bench looks rather impressive though and the inclusion of a golden candelabra, which is hardly visible onscreen, demonstrates fantastic attention to detail.

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An advertisement for Phoebe's next musical performance of Smelly Cat is displayed between some flowers and an umbrella stand. The walls along this section of the model are individually angled and therefore correspond precisely with the series. The designer has also included a red hard hat above some umbrellas, taking inspiration from Central Perk on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

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Phoebe frequently performs her original songs from another seating area beside the window. The red settee compares favourably with the television series and I like the elevated floor as well. Moreover, a series of tan tiles represent window blinds and the dark green columns, which have not been released in this colour before, seem authentic. Musical accessories are also found here, including a microphone stand and Ross' electronic keyboard.

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While action is generally focused within an apartment or Central Perk, the exterior of the coffee shop sometimes appears as well. The designer has accordingly afforded detail to this section of the model, most notably including red and white striped awnings. The light bluish grey pavement is exceptionally narrow but does provide just enough space for a minifigure to stand outside.

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Central Perk's famed branding is printed on the window and this whole panel is constructed sideways, clipping into the floor underneath. You can reverse the window element for display. Moreover, another poster is placed outside the door, making reference to Joey's memorable performance in a Japanese 'Lipstick for Men' advertisement which is fun!

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Unfortunately, the other external walls include very little detail. They are not intended for display and viewing the model from this angles reveals certain building techniques which are used to good effect internally. Of course, this design also corresponds with the studio filming arrangement as the camera would never show Central Perk from these angles, hence its jumbled appearance seems rather fitting.

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Overall

LEGO Ideas has produced some outstanding models and 21319 Central Perk is undoubtedly among my favourite such designs. This structure looks wonderful on display, replicating myriad subtle details from Friends and including some enjoyable references. Furthermore, I believe this model could easily form the basis for a generic coffee shop, potentially attracting those with little interest in the series.

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The minifigure selection is equally appealing and this set offers great value, costing £64.99 or $59.99 and containing 1070 pieces! The exchange rate between American and European prices might leave something to be desired but I am quite satisfied with this model. For that reason, 21319 Central Perk undoubtedly represents an excellent addition to the expanding LEGO Ideas range.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your opinion of the set in the comments below.

45 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

If the Stranger Things set didn’t exist this would be my no. 1 Christmas want. Why do Lego make so many good products?

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By in United States,

Somebody online is going to cannibalize this set's interior and shove it into an amazing modular building MOC someday, I just know it!

I have seen the real TV set on the Warner Studio Tour. This model is eerily accurate.

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By in Singapore,

My brother watched Friends religiously back in the day, and used to play with LEGO when we were little, but doesn't seem taken by this set for some reason. Unfortunately I never got around to watching the show myself so this set doesn't appeal to me. But what it offers to fans does look authentic and excellent.

I'm really intrigued by the angles of the walls and floor and am disappointed they weren't explored here. But there's always New Elementary for that I guess! http://www.newelementary.com/2019/08/lego-ideas-review-21319-central-perk.html

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By in United States,

Actually speaking of the angled walls, that's how TV sets are actually laid out. So its accurate to the Central Perk set.

On the same studio tour I saw The Big Bang Theory set, and it also has angled walls... making the Lego version's 90° walls strange, and not accurate to the actual filming set.

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By in United Kingdom,

@xboxtravis7992
I don't think the TBBT set was meant to represent a filming set, but rather the fictional place in the series. So I don't find it strange at all.

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By in Netherlands,

Wether the source appeals to you or not, the quality of this is fantastic.

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By in Sweden,

Now this is what I call a detailed interior. One of my favourite parts is the radiator, to the left of the back door.

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By in Italy,

Here comes another unmissable Ideas set.

I keep thinking Ideas is by far the best Lego theme as we speak.

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By in United States,

Temporarily out of stock in the U.S. Seems to be a bigger hit than LEGO anticipated. Great looking set and excellent review. Thanks, CapnRex101.

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By in Serbia,

There's just something about this light-bluish-gray plates representing the floor that break the warmth of the scene. It's such a 'cold' color for this set in particular...
Guess that little detail takes away that X factor from an otherwise great design.

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By in Sweden,

The inclusion of two studio lights is odd. Most people buying this want this as a diorama of the Friends world, i.e. they want to think of this as the characters inhabiting the world, not as a studio stage where the minifigures are depictions of the real-life actors playing parts. Yet the set comes with studio lights.. Just weird.

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By in France,

picked up mine yesterday to build this weekend. Great review Cap'n

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By in United States,

^^ it seems easy enough to remove the lights if you don't like them.

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By in United States,

I think the bridge picture is too small. I’m going to replace it with something bigger. Other than that, I’m so excited for this set.

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By in United States,

So I'm guessing we can remove the lights if we don't like them? :D

Oh and I wholeheartedly agree with the Monica hair review. She needed unique hair. She mostly had medium just at or on the shoulder hair. The hairpiece they used doesn't look like Monica.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice set but $60 is about £50 at current exchange rate so a nice 30% mark up for UK market

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By in United Kingdom,

@Kev17 $60 doesn't include sales tax (varies state to state) so TLG would probably say the £50 conversion doesn't include VAT, which then gets us to £60. Still leaves about £5 "mark-up" though.

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By in United Kingdom,

I like it... hopefully lego will do Monica's Apartment next or Phoebe's grandmas Taxi lol...

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By in United States,

Thanks for the quick and excellent review and can't wait to get my copy. Had to wait until Monday to get the Hidden Side Juice Bar for free, and my order said I'd also get the Brickheadz Bumble Bee. Of course, by then Central Perk was backordered by 15 days. So after the customary 20+ min.'s and two failed attempts to buy online was successful w/the 3rd attempt, and still given the 15 day time-frame. Since then I've received two emails telling me that it'll be longer than that as it's now Temp. Out-of-Stock. And I keep thinking this is so strange because LEGO is usually so smooth and problem free w/their new product releases.... HAHA!

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By in United States,

Never seen friends so ill be skipping this one

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By in Puerto Rico,

This is an amazing set.

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By in Poland,

This is great and all, but... LEGO Seinfeld when???

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By in Australia,

This is another boring ideas set to me along the likes of BBT and Dr Who. Sure it appeals to some but I'm happy to give this one a miss despite being a semi fan of the show.

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By in United Kingdom,

Was torn between this and Stranger Things but then I realised this is £115 cheaper and better value. Figs are a bit cartoony and I would have preferred Monica's apartment but I know I'll regret it if I don't grab this.

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By in United States,

My wife and I are so excited about the set. Her b-day is in 2 weeks. That'll make a great gift. And as always, thanks for the excellent review!

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By in Australia,

What an absolutely gorgeous set. The detail is incredible. I'm a big fan.

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By in Canada,

FWIW, the guy at my local Lego store said they sold out in 2 hours on day 1. He also said that some people lined up for hours before the store opened, and that they hadn't seen lines like that for a long time. The online store sold out in hours too. Sorry to those who aren't into it, but it definitely has been pretty popular. I hope this spurs Lego to make more sets like this.

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By in United States,

Any time a set based on a licenced IP that can please its fans and also offer non-fans an exceptional value is bound to be mega-popular, so it's no surprise this set is selling so quickly! I've never even seen an episode of the TV show, but I'd buy the set just for that corner with the espresso machine and serving counter! Makes me glad I passed on the Big Bang Theory--this is a much more attractive set!

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By in United States,

This looks extremely well done--and I'm still not clear on who's buying it... but someone is, and that's all that matters!

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By in United Kingdom,

Interesting design, but I was never into the show so I won't be buying it. Maybe if it is discounted as a parts pack, but from the way people are reacting it seems like this will sell out. I know the parts count is high, but there are a lot of cheap parts in there, so it doesn't look that great value as a parts pack to me at RRP.

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By in Netherlands,

From the outset I have only enough interest in this set to read through the review and this set really does look great. So much detail, it's pretty amazing.
I'm still not interested in buying it though.

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By in United States,

Alright, I love it, I want it, and I get the appeal completely. However, doesn't anyone want a similar Ideas series set, such as this one is, but focusing entirely on the British comedy The Young Ones? Please?

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By in United Kingdom,

Cos of the name I am disappointed this doesn't have minidolls....

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By in Australia,

It sold out in a few hours in my local Lego store in Sydney, and it was limited to one per customer. Apparently the Friends show have a huge following on China and tourists has been buying them as gifts.

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By in United States,

The only thing this is missing really is the chicken, duck, and Marcel the monkey.

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By in Russian Federation,

I can't believe how in-demand this set is! Even my dad wants one, and he's never had any personal interest in LEGO before. I've checked several local stores and they've all sold out, and it's out of stock online as well. The guy working in one store told me they've had people camping outside waiting for the store to open on the day the sets arrived. He says they've never experienced this with any other set. And now from some of the comments above it appears that other countries have the same problem. It's insane!

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By in United States,

This was a rare day 1 purchase for me. I rarely ever buy Lego sets on release day. I am a huge fan of the show, and it’s one of the few TV shows my wife and I will rewatch start to finish. I’ve passed on all the other Lego idea sets based on TV shows and movies (one exception was Back to the Future, which in retrospect is absolute trash) and usually favor the original ideas sets like the exosuit and NASA sets. The set is at such a great price point and so accurate it was too good to pass up!

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By in United Kingdom,

Can't wait to get this, but I'll resist until Christmas, otherwise I won't have a lot to build during the holidays.

Loved the show, love this set, only slight issue is the artwork on that back wall, should be bigger, it was in the show.

I hope this is the start of a series, it would be nice to have their apartments next.

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By in United Kingdom,

Ordered it on Day #1 for my wife's birthday - she is a huge Friends fan, does not collect LEGO, and yet wanted this as soon as she saw it's announcement. I was not passing up that opportunity! I was a bit miffed that I missed out on the Newbury Juice Bar (thanks for bringing that out the day after, LEGO Group - why not start the free gift offers on the *1st* of the month??), but having seen that it's sold out everywhere, I'm pleased I ordered it when I did...

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By in Australia,

This is not the first Ideas set to include stickers, I believe the first one was The Big Bang Theory although the Fishing Store also included stickers.

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By in Netherlands,

Even though I have zero connection to the source material I (back)ordered this set as it
a) is an exceptional set in its own right
b) comes with loads of cool and usable minifigs and all that
c) at a very reasonable price, even at RRP

I might even get a second or third one for parts once it becomes available at a discount.

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By in Germany,

I never watched the series. But I really like the scenery of this bar and am thinking of buying this set.
Maybe selling the included minifigs and populating the bar with different minifigs of all kinds (from classic town to city, super heroes etc.?) could be a cool idea...

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By in Hungary,

The set looks good, I like it, but all of the figures are awful :/ sorry LEGO you messed it up
See "21302-1: The Big Bang Theory" figures: they look more-more natural. No wierd faces, no ugly torsos...

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By in United States,

Great detailed review! Thank you! I watched Friends growing up, I liked it ok but wasn’t super into it, but I do want to pick this set up because it’s an excellent ground floor coffee shop for a modular. Looks like great value as well. And the Ideas sets are some of my favorites, I just really love how Lego treats this theme, with quality boxes and printed parts, they’re always unique and enjoyable all around.

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