Review: 41378 Dolphins Rescue Mission

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

The subtheme for Friends this year is around marine rescue, and several of the sets take their inspiration from episodes of Season 2 of LEGO Friends: Girls on a Mission. This set in particular is featured in Episode 22: Stakeout. Plus, for the first time, we have an antagonist in the Friends world. Let's see what the Friends have been up to this year, starting with 41378 Dolphins Rescue Mission.

The front of the box shows the set with two minidolls taking different vehicles to get to a shipwreck in order to save some dolphins and perhaps get to some treasure! For all the sets in this subtheme the minidolls are featured in the lower right of the front box in lifejacket icons. Other insets show that the mast can be raised in order to free the dolphins, and that there's a water reactive cloth included with the set. The back of the box shows additional features of the set with other aspects of play. Inside the box there are three numbered bags, two instruction booklets, and a small sticker sheet.


Minidolls

The two minidolls in this set are Stephanie and Kacey. We're familiar with Stephanie as one of the Friends. She appears here in an aqua wetsuit with magenta accents on the torso and sleeves. She wears a badge that shows a seahorse (with a tail that is in the shape of a heart, of course). The aqua colour between the torso and legs isn't quite identical, which is somewhat distracting.

Stephanie's torso and legs are unique to this set. The other minidoll is Kacey, who is distinctive for being the first minidoll introduced as being an antagonist for the Friends. In Season 2 she works against the girls, and in the set description she's described as a "bad-girl". Kacey wears a sleeveless navy blue wetsuit with bright green accents. All of Kacey - head, torso and legs - are new to this set. Her hair is in a bob and befitting a "bad-girl", she has a distinctive smirk.

View image at flickr

Both minidolls come with a helmet with snorkel mask. Stephanie's helmet with her blond ponytail is new to this set.

View image at flickr

The cute Friends animals in this set are two dolphins - including a baby dolphin in aqua, which is new to this set. Awwwww.

View image at flickr


The completed build

A small area of underwater flora is built that has includes a box that contains a bottle and a mysterious piece of fabric. This is the water reactive fabric in the set. I won't spoil the surprise as to what the textile shows when wet, but let's just say that "X"s are involved. There's also a treasure chest filled with gems waiting for someone to discover in the deep.

View image at flickr

The other small build in the set is an underwater scooter, according to the set description. Based on the box cover art, a minidoll holds onto the handlebars and floats on top of the scooter to get to the shipwreck. With that whirring blade in the rear, it seems a little dangerous to me, but undoubtedly the Friends are more talented at that than I would be!

View image at flickr

The main rescue vehicle is the submarine. It has space for one rider, though the submarine featured in the Friends episode Stakeout allows at least two minidolls to ride. (The episode also features Mia instead of Stephanie, and they save seal pups instead of dolphins, but I digress).

Instead of the normal way of keeping a Friend in a vehicle, this sub has a footplate that flips up to keep Stephanie's feet in place. The cockpit also has hinged mechanism for the front of the craft, allowing for an easy way to place a minidoll in the cockpit.

View image at flickr

The rear compartment of the submarine is for animal care. Doors on either side flip down, showing just enough room for one of the patients and some tools.

View image at flickr

The sub is relatively compact and I like the coral pieces added for accents. A periscope is on top though it doesn't connect to anything in the sub. There's a rear fin that seem woefully undersized for the size of the submarine. There are two tools attached to mechanical arms at the front that allows Stephanie to conduct rescue missions.

View image at flickr

Two large turbines power the craft that can be rotated as necessary.

View image at flickr

The rest of the build is the shipwreck, complete with coral, sea life and a broken hull. In this shot you can see a space that's just big enough for the treasure chest to fit in the bow..

View image at flickr

Details abound from every angle on the ship - the rear view features some greenery, as well as a life preserver piece attached to the mast for the submarine to hook onto to raise the mast.

View image at flickr

The stern of the craft is in bad shape, with only the ribs of the ship left and covered in coral. I found this part of the build to be the most fragile and can easily come apart (especially during the short walk from my build space to the photography space).

View image at flickr

When you turn the corner, look who's waiting to be rescued!

View image at flickr


Overall

View image at flickr

This subtheme is perfect for Friends. It will appeal to girls - well more than girls, because who doesn't like baby animals? I really like that it shows the Friends doing something action oriented, and taking matters into their own hands to deal with an issue. I'm looking forward to building the rest of the sets in this theme to see what the Friends will do with this. Piloting a submarine is pretty awesome and a great start.

As for the build experience, I have to admit I thought this was pretty typical - until I got to the last part of the build, the shipwreck. That part is a fun and enjoyable build, and I think the final version looks fantastic. I really like how the Friends designers are using the coral sea life to great effect in these sets, and for a small build the shipwreck looks quite good. The age range for this set is 6+, and I would recommend this set even for some of the older girls as the build will not be boring for them. I would recommend this set for the shipwreck alone!

Value wise, this set (363 pieces, $39.99, 39.99€, £34.99) offers fair value, with lots of play opportunities. It's also the only set to feature Kacey the bad girl, so if you're looking to include this antagonist to your collection, this is your chance. But most of all, the baby dolphin is adorable, and you can rescue baby animals. And who doesn't like to rescue baby animals?


Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing a copy of this set for review. All opinions expressed are mine.

21 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Gah! Baby dolphin! I picked up 41376 (turtle rescue) for all the adorable AF baby turtles (and it's just a fun little build, all around). Ima have to add this one to the list too now. Friends really kicked it up a notch this year.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The wetsuit gives me Agents vibes.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Lovely set and great review, thanks! This was my first purchase from this line for all the same reasons. The shipwreck is great, and it is nice to have a medium-sized set which contains the new coral and sealife pieces and a new animal, rather than just the biggest sets.

P.S. pedantic alert: I think you might have got "bow" and "stern" the wrong way round?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Although it's borrowing a bit from older LEGO System sets, I really love this theme for Friends. The periscope is cute, even if it is a bit silly on a submersible with a big viewing window! All is forgiven though as the colour scheme of the sub is brilliant.

The same can't be said for the lighthouse set, with the same rough design having already appeared in Friends once before, and twice in Creator. And they're all clones of a Paradisa set.

My favourite has to be the Turtle Rescue Centre, but then I'm massively biased having swum with some wonderful Loggerhead turtles in Greece!

Anyway, it's a shame about that mismatched wetsuit colour. How does the helmet differ from the one in 41352 with the Go-Karts?

Gravatar
By in United States,

My six year old was really sad about Elves going away but this set has kept her Lego love alive. The new coral parts and sea creatures are a huge hit in our house.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Personally I miss the bit in set reviews that pictures and talks about new and interesting parts, in the past it often highlighted for me parts that I wasn’t previously aware of

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Kacey is not bad, just misunderstood. Friends continues to impress with interesting sets and top design work. So much better than city!

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Nice set. Great theme.
And one can never have enough baby animals :-)

Gravatar
By in Switzerland,

Chuck the dolls and the chest, replace the remaining purple and this is actually a nice set. Well, no need to apply the stickers, especially the heart...

Gravatar
By in Australia,

^ I don't mind the purple treasure chests, but I like those treasure chests in different and varied colours.

The set me made me laugh, though. The dolphin is trapped underwater? Uh, guys? Dolphins are mammals, they don't have gills, they breathe air. So that submarine had better be very close.

Also, we've had some impractical submersible vehicles, before, but this one forces the rider to actually *sit* on the spinning propellor? Yikes.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Stephanie looks like she's wearing pyjamas rather than a wetsuit

Gravatar
By in United States,

Don't have time to read the whole review right now but I must say I saw this set in the catalog the other day and the colors are just gorgeous! It's a set that really pops without being overly garish, quite lovely.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Good review!

This set and the amusement pier's pirate ride alike offer us a delicious taste of Heartlake City's seafaring heritage. I wouldn't at all mind seeing the designers behind themes like Friends and Elves taking on a high-seas adventure theme that is to LEGO Pirates what the Elves theme was to LEGO Castle!

And frankly, the pirate-themed costumes costumes worn by a sizable contingent of LEGO designers ( https://www.instagram.com/p/B4SmimlJ-Ub/ ) leads me to wonder if they might in fact be leveraging their imaginative skills in a new swashbuckling, seafaring theme behind closed doors…

The baby dolphin design is adorable, and raises the question of how many OTHER small, cute animals in LEGO Friends could get even smaller and cuter newborn counterparts! The theme already has no shortage of kittens and puppies, and has already introduced baby bunnies to complement its bigger rabbits, but it would be neat to see animals like little baby chicks for a songbird nest or henhouse (particularly after seeing the brilliant use of Queen Watevra's crown piece as a broken eggshell in 41376-1 ).

Neither the baby dolphin nor the baby sea turtles would be a bad fit for use in minifig-based displays, seeing as they have those simpler sparkly black beads for eyes rather than more expressive eyes with whites and colored irises (a trait they share with other small animals like the hamsters and baby bunnies).

I'm even more impressed with the new new sea life accessory pack, which is put to great use in this subtheme! The seahorse and angelfish from this pack are entirely new species to the LEGO System, and much appreciated. They should complement the existing fish piece from the 2009 Pirates sets very well with their similarly limited level of detail.

The small size of these various species might make them much more believable inside small aquarium tanks like the ones in the Creator Expert Pet Shop and Corner Garage. Previously sets that wanted to represent TINY fish species had to rely on stickered transparent bricks or panels, but I like this solution much better!

Also, after years of reliance on oyster and starfish pieces created for the Belville theme in the 90s to suggest aquatic ecosystems (even in Star Wars sets like 7161-1 ), we now have some more varied shellfish that I can imagine getting years of use, and a starfish whose radial symmetry is no longer thrown off by one of the arms terminating in a 3.2mm bar.

And any regret I might have that the new octopus doesn't more closely resemble the one from LEGO Aquazone (which I remain intensely nostalgic for) is offset by how impressed I am at this one's tentacles terminating in a curled shape that, if I'm not mistaken, can be held by a 3.2mm clip like a minifig or mini-doll hand! It's a clever decision, just as it was with the hands of the "baby minifig" introduced a few years back.

I can imagine this pack getting years of use in future Pirates, The Little Mermaid, or City diving sets, and am excited for what recolors there could be for both it and the new coral piece in the future! New Elementary analyzed the coral piece and the sea life accessory pack in a review, if anyone wants a closer look at them: http://www.newelementary.com/2019/07/plant-or-animal-closer-look-at-plant.html

Gravatar
By in United States,

Oops! That post was a bit rambly so this next part got cut off.

I'm not sure I agree with the assessment that Kasey is the first mini-doll introduced as an antagonist. Vicky surely ought to count as well, since she appeared as a rival to Stephanie and Mia in her first two set appearances (41338-1 and 41352-1), with a devilish smirking expression.

Vicky was also presented as a cocky, aloof adversary in the first few animated series episodes she appeared in. It's only later on that she ditches the crooked manager who's been manipulating her and becomes more willing to befriend her former opponents and join their racing team.

I'm glad that she's since shown up with a kinder expression in one of the amusement park sets! That does a lot to help keep Kasey from feeling like she's simply a "replacement" for Vicky now that Vicky's on better terms with the series' five main protagonists!

On a related note, I hope the new season of LEGO Friends episodes gets uploaded to YouTube or Netflix in the United States someday soon! I'm really pining for more after last year's episodes greatly surpassed my expectations in terms of both animation and storytelling!

@Mickitat: "Chuck the spacemen and video screen, replace the remaining yellow parts, and 6970-1 is actually a nice set. Well, no need to apply the stickers, especially the planets…"

…See how ridiculous it sounds when you treat a theme like the only way to get any redeeming value out of it is to get rid of everything distinctive, fanciful, and charming about it?

It's fine if you don't like these aspects of the Friends theme, but it's awfully demeaning to act like a set can't be good without pitching everything that conflicts with your tastes — particularly when those tastes seem to have little nuance beyond "get this girly stuff out of my boy stuff".

@Zordboy: I don't think it's far-fetched to imagine ocean creatures being trapped amidst man-made marine debris… such as the shipwreck depicted in this set. And this set actually has a collapsing mast function to illustrate how the dolphin becomes trapped.

I'm surprised the review didn't include any photos depicting this since it gets a callout on the front of the box, along with another image showing the submarine's grapple arm being used to lift the fallen mast and free the trapped dolphin. @MeganL mentioned this function when describing the design of the mast, but I imagine it'd be more easily understood by readers if there were a photo showing the mast in its collapsed state.

The box art also shows the rear compartment of the submarine being used to store the treasure chest rather than an injured sea creature. But I have no doubt that the Medium Azur tile and formula bottle were included so that it could also resemble a transport tank for returning stranded or injured sea creatures to their habitat after they've been nursed back to health at the Lighthouse Rescue Center.

You also seem to be severely misunderstanding the underwater scooter if you think the rider's supposed to sit on it. This is a "tow-style" underwater scooter that a diver holds out in front of them and is pulled by, as shown here: https://www.deeperblue.com/diver-propulsion-vehicles/

Admittedly, real ones would have the propeller enclosed, as in the case of the bespoke underwater scooter piece from 1997 Divers sets like 2871-1. But most subsequent LEGO tow-style underwater scooters, such as in 30042-1 and 60095-1, have been brick-built much like the one in this set, and traded the realism of a safely enclosed propeller for the playability of propellers that actually spin.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

^ So instead of sitting on top of the propeller, you're swimming along with the thing, spinning about twenty centimetres beneath your groin? That seems ... safer.

"And this set actually has a collapsing mast function to illustrate how the dolphin becomes trapped."

And since dolphins can't breathe underwater, the poor dolphin would die, unless the submarine was already there, as I already pointed out. Maybe, if these sets are trying to educate young Lego fans about sea creatures, they don't confuse mammals and fish?

"…See how ridiculous it sounds?"

Personally, I think that sounded perfectly reasonable. It's Lego, and I've been replacing pieces of sets I don't like (removing features that I'm sure other people think are charming, that I think are annoying and obnoxious) for about 30 years, now. I don't see the problem?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Ok this set has some fun pieces.

Gravatar
By in United States,

the ship seems smaller than I thought... oh well.

Gravatar
By in Austria,

Obviously the sub looking for treasure caused the mast to fall on the dolphin. :-D

Gravatar
By in United States,

I certainly picked up this set for the cool sea-life pieces, and I'm always a sucker for a good Lego submarine. I didn't realize this was partially inspired by one of the episodes; interesting stuff! Wouldn't have pegged Kacey for an antagonist.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Friends sets are some of the most interesting sets in the Lego stable right now.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

I really like the little sub, it looks cute like a microfighter.

View more reviews »
Return to home page »