Welcome to another LEGO Friends review, and this one is out much later than I would have liked because of other commitments. There are plenty of other sets in the fourth wave of Friends I’ve yet to review, and the fact that other reviewers managed to get copies way before I have hasn’t helped the situation… but as always, SilentMode.tv brings the reviews you actually want to see. (Hmmm, that should be my new tagline!)
And here we are, with a set I’ve been anticipating since pictures of the fourth wave of Friends began to surface. An imminent addition to Heartlake City, Heartlake High is where all the cool kids go for their educational requirements – and perhaps other things. Some of you will have fond memories of high school, some of us are just glad to have survived, and many of you have never (mentally) left.
But let’s get things popping!
It’s fitting that the second most expensive set in this wave (and the fourth most expensive of all the Friends sets?) has the second largest box. As usual, everything you want to know about how the set looks once built can be seen here.
You’ll also notice two promotional stickers for Argos’ long-running “BFF” promotion. Unfortunately they both expired near the end of July, and having been disillusioned with the second promotion I didn’t bother collecting them.
Back of the box
Many more of the play features are shown on the back of the box, including variable stacking options (pictured left) for the different parts of the school. We can also see that, once again, Stephanie is the featured character.
Sides of the box
As well as Stephanie in a brand new outfit being used as a scale reference, all three minidolls in the set are pictured with different accessories. And oh happy day, we finally have another male minidoll to play with.
Rather inexplicably, Ms. Stevens’ name appears on another side of the box, no less than five times (in different languages). A little English lesson: the Ms. provides ambiguity as to whether or not she’s spoken for. Hey, it’s up to you.
The contents of this huge box were way too bountiful to fit all at once in our studio, but here we can see the four numbered bags. Each bag, as we’ll discover as we build, corresponds to a different set of building modules. Immediately noticeable are plenty of Medium Lavender and Bright Light Yellow parts.
Unfortunately for some, this set comes with a generous DSS for adding details to the building. Somehow, even though the box was intact, the sheet was crumpled during transit.
The instructions didn’t fare so well either, as you can see on the top right corner. There are two instructions books, with the second tucked inside the first.
Let’s talk parts…
Some us will be very pleased to find large Tan plates in this set: one 16×16 and two 8×16 plates. Although baseplates still have their place in LEGO System, these are more frequently being used for maximum flexibility and playability. The official word is that plates are more stable than baseplates for moving models around.
Anyhow, this set is probably the least expensive you’ll find these parts (in Tan) in, as they’re somewhat uncommon.
Bright Light Yellow
Without a doubt these are going to be the most hoarded parts in this set – simply because they’re all currently exclusive to this set. Bright Light Yellow was reintroduced as elements by the Friends theme (though previously used for blonde minifigure hairstyles), but until now we’ve only seen tiles and some smaller elements in that colour. Seeing all these parts in this colour gives me a sense of pride, and I’m almost nervous about actually using them.
Medium Azure is well represented in this set as well. The 1×4 bricks can also been found in Dolphin Cruiser (41015), the 1×2 tile in Rehearsal Stage (41004) and the 1×1 bricks in a smaller set, My First LEGO Princess (10656). Apart from the tiles (Rehearsal Stage has four of them), this is the best set to get the aforementioned elements from.
For anyone collecting bikes, this set has another opportunity to get hold of a Medium Azure bike, if you’ve missed it from last year’s Adventure Camper (4719). It also appears in a few other sets from this year, including the infamous Hot Dog Cart (40078) polybag.
What’s also amazing is the number of Dark Blue elements in this set, which came as a bit of a surprise (despite the box art). The only exclusive part out of these is the 1×4 plate with two studs, which is one of my favourite “new” pieces of the last couple of years; the 3×4 slopes are reintroduced in Dark Blue from a much older set, Mobile Command from the Alpha Team theme.
This set is good for the door and window frames in Reddish Brown, outside of the Winter Village Post Office.
Medium Lavender (and Dark Purple)
I don’t recall seeing so many Medium Lavender parts in a set, but it’s all good. Exclusive to this set are the 2×3 and 1×6 plates and the 1×8 tiles, with the 1×2 modified (arch) brick also being present at Olivia’s House (3315).
And for those who don’t have too many of them from PAB walls: a lone Dark Purple 2×3 plate.
Greys and Whites
Some of the more interesting parts in these colours, including no less than 17 1×2 Technic bricks at the back. Particularly interesting to me are two 1x2x5 transparent bricks, which also appear in this year’s Palace Cinema (10232) and more commonly in Lighthouse (5770), and the very unusual White door from Mobile Police Unit (7288). The basketball/netball hoop from Heartlake City Pool makes a comeback.
New 2×2 Round Tile
You may remember caperberry over at The New Elementary talking about this new mould for 2×2 round tiles: there just happens to be a couple of them in this set. Unfortunately one of them has the ever-present clock print on them.
These are potentially very useful for making bar stools and other bits of furniture, although this is the first time I’ve gotten hold of them. If LEGO comes out with 2×2 jumper plates next year, I will be very happy.
Best of the rest
With this being such a big set, if I went through every single part I would be very bored by now.
Also from the Winter Village Post Office is the Reddish Brown owl, which goes with a random assortment of other parts – including the plastic-looking guitar from Rehearsal Stage. We also have a couple of folding books (on in Reddish Brown, the other Magenta) which feels like a blast from the past. Also, we have another chance to obtain the paintbrush introduced by the Series 4 Artist from the Collectible Minfigures, if you can’t get enough.
The Tan window frame is more common in Family House (31012), which is the only other set it appears in.
Finally, Stephanie has a brand new bag to carry around: the Magenta variety is currently exclusive to this set.
The minidolls (and Ms. Stevens)
Stephanie (left) is modelling a brand new outfit to go to school in, imitating the behaviour of many a high school female. It is, however, a very nice outfit – particularly paired with the new bag. She actually looks somewhat intelligent, almost as if she’d be doing some teaching herself.
The young man on the right is named Matthew, and like Olivia’s dad before him he comes with a regular plastic hairpiece. I get the impression he’s a foreign exchange student or something from South America, and that his real name is Pepe – but in any case, it’s great to have a male figure of a suitable age around those girls. Even I wouldn’t have Olivia’s dad hang too long around… Okay, maybe I would, but I wouldn’t mention it in a review.
And then we have Ms. Stevens. Mmm mmm mmm. Ms. Stevens uses the same hairstyle and overall body as Olivia’s dad’s wifey/sidepiece.
You might not have noticed, but both Ms. Stevens and Olivia’s mom-figure have… um… more of those than the other female minidolls, which make sense as they’re older females. I didn’t notice this, and I wasn’t even looking for this difference, until someone over on Flickr pointed it out.
In any case, it’s official: Ms. Stevens is complete and utter FILTH.
As for Matthew: why do I get the impression he’s about to burst into song?
Before we even get into building this thing, a familar sight graces the inside cover of the first instructions book: someone who looks like Emma demonstrating how to build the set. Below that, it appears LEGO’s new brick separator has somehow gotten its own web site..?
The school bicycle
So it turns out that Stephanie rides her bike into school every morning, which proved to be a much safer option than the Stephmobile. As with its previous usage in Adventure Camper, minidolls have no way of gripping the handlebars… which means they have to make use of their woman power abilities.
One very interesting design feature is that the new bag, made to sit on the back of the bicycle, is curved on the inside to fit Stephanie’s shapely butt.
Basketball hoop + ball
The basketball hoop is a very simple construction, starting with these parts and a single Technic axle.
Before you know it, you’ll have thugs lining up to dunk in no time. What to do with the ball when you’re not playing basketball (with the same ball as in Stephanie’s Soccer Practice (41011)) is anybody’s guess however, because there’s nothing to store it with.
Here’s a cool technique for building an outdoor bench table, with the only plate being used a 4×8 Reddish Brown one. As we’re dealing with minidolls we’re using those exclusive 1×8 tiles, but you could easily use 2×8 plates for minifigures.
This is Matthew’s spot, for when he’s taking time out to use his laptop.
So we begin with the very first section of the school, the communal restroom. After laying the foundations down (Medium Azure base with a Medium Lavender trim), we first add the sink.
Note that we’ve added four Technic bricks, sandwiching Dark Bluish Grey grille bricks, to the base: this will be a common pattern among the building modules.
Next we add the toilet, and the first of the plentiful Bright Light Yellow panels for the walls.
We’re using the White “glass” door for the restroom, because whomever’s in there surely wants some privacy!
At around this point I noticed that one of the stickers was meant to go on the inside wall of the restroom… this one. Immediately I thought it was very suspect to have an ad with those tear-off phone number pieces in a communal restroom… especially if it’s used by both boys and girls!
Someone could very cheekily replace the cats with a picture of one of the girls… not saying I’d stoop that low, just sayin’.
The restroom is finished with a Dark Blue roof, on top of which sits some Dark Blue tiles and the 1×4 “modular” plates.
EvilMode: “Don’t come in here, yo! Damn!”
Mmm mmm mmm.
The main building
Next we get to work on the biggest of the modules, laying the foundation as before. Note the 4×4 plates with holes at the back, which house 2×2 Reddish Brown jumper plates: one way of using that odd piece.
The main building gets two doors, using the remaining door frames and doors, and also uses the 1x2x5 transparent bricks for side windows. The walls are very quickly being built using the large Bright Light Yellow parts.
It turns out one side of the building serves as a cafeteria, where the house specials are the same two sandwiches every day. Fortunately those sandwiches are specially formulated to provide all the vitamins and minerals young minds require.
The other side has a bench at the moment, which looks like it’s the preserve of some jocks. There aren’t any in this set however (thank goodness for that), so let’s wait and see what else there is.
Finishing the exterior of the module, we’re getting ready to put the sign up…
…There we go. Note that a sticker would be used for the sign, but as we know I don’t like to use DSSs at all.
You’ll also notice the reason for using those 4×4 plates and jumper plates at the front: so we can plant some pretty flowers. It’s a very cool technique, and I like the choice of colour for the flowers themselves – makes a nice change from Red and White. Now if only they brought Blue (or equivalent) back…
The remaining space in this module is for this giant set of lockers, complete with awkward to open and close – but appropriate – doors. Minidolls may have a bit of a problem reaching the top level of doors…
The restroom joins to the main building module like so, and you’ll notice the nice trim along the bottom joining up.
This marks the end of the first instruction book…
On the back of the first instruction book, we’re greeted with this cutesy picture of Matthew and Stephanie studying together. Everything about this scenario screams High School Musical, and it makes me sick.
Mmm mmm mmm.
For the remaining two modules, the foundation will pretty much look like this.
Both will look very similar at this stage, as they both have a series of three windows with plants growing on the windowsills. There are small differences when we get to the first Dark Blue layer.
With this one, we finish building the exterior of the module first, using some of the 3×4 Dark Blue slopes.
First thing to do inside the room is add some furniture, starting with some heavy-duty desks. These are easily built using a 1×4 SNOT brick, a couple of regular bricks and some tiles.
After the desks have been surface mounted with some Reddish brown jumper plates and plates, we add a small table where an owl proudly sits. This owl has been incredibly well trained, since the classroom is spotless.
We’ve also added a blackboard, onto which another sticker is meant to go.
What were once windows now serve as desks: a very simple but effective technique for filling a classroom.
A very clever microscope build, and a flask full of delicious-looking liquid, is added to the desk at the back of the room.
A somewhat strange addition to the classroom is a large an expensive telescope, also cleverly constructed using tap pieces. It relies on the jumper plate connection, as well as the hooked plate as part of the body, for points of articulation.
In a surprise twist, those flowers often left behind as spares are placed inside one of the books. The missing letter from Anne Frank goes inside the other book, which are then both placed in a specific spot on the desk.
If you prefer, you can position the telescope to point outside as displayed.
Every time I see this kind of roof, I’m reminded of Hill Valley from Back To The Future. I guess most old-school buildings have this kind of roof, especially in the States.
The roof goes on top of this module, or whichever module you see fit to have at the top of the school.
Science class is added to the building like so, according to the instructions.
Similarly to science class, we build the exterior before adding anything to the room. The top of the building is slightly different as we add a placeholder for a particular item…
That item would be the plastic guitar, but I got ahead of myself and continued with the build anyway.
A very cool easel build, using the Tan window frame, is added to the room, able to tilt upright and back slightly, as well as rotating on the jumper plate it stands on. A small chest of drawers is also added, on top of which a set of paints are placed. (Interestingly they went for a Magenta rather than a Red cone.)
All that’s left is to give people something to paint, and something to paint on: a White 4×4 tile with four studs, which is also meant to have a sticker on it.
Art class attaches to the main building on the right hand side, and we’re finally left with…
The Completed Set
If everything goes according to plan, school’s in! Heartlake High is up and running, and not a masonry brick in sight.
Mmm mmm mmm.
Lots of small pieces to add to your spares collection, but surprisingly only the Magenta cone has an extra. I’m not complaining at all, particularly when we have a spare brush, Trans Dark Blue round tile and flower plates. For anyone who doesn’t have one (which is very unlikely), we also have a brick separator for your MOC endeavours.
Memories of summer
Rather fitting for when this review was written, an overview of the activities the main cast enjoyed over the summer is given at the back of the second instructions book. There’s something more to notice every time you look at the pictures, including Mia giving Stephanie a piggyback ride.
Because of the modular nature of Heartlake High, you can arrange the parts in just about any configuration you can think of.
One suggestion is a completely horizontal layout, which proved to be too wide for the studio, but it works.
Or you could go skyward and create the tallest high school you can imagine… especially if you have more than one set!
I know some of you are waiting for Fun with the set, and it’s my favourite part too – but you’ll have to wait a few more moments.
Let me start by saying: parts wise, hands down this is the most impressive Friends set I’ve reviewed to date. It has just about everything I like, particularly the new Bright Light Yellow parts and Medium Lavender parts, and there’s plenty of them. I would easily purchase more of this set for the parts on their own, because we know how expensive exclusive parts are made in the grey market.
Actually, I’d made good on a 3 for 2 offer at Argos and bought two copies of this set, primarily for the minidolls. This is the first set I’ve bought with a male minidoll in it – I didn’t purchase Olivia’s House as it had too many 2-wide bricks – and I wanted to make sure I had a spare, given that Olivia’s parents were made so expensive and a nightmare to obtain.
I don’t have any complaints about the minidolls, as you might have gathered. The male minidoll in Dolphin Cruiser may end up being more popular than Matthew because of aesthetics, but you’ve heard it here first: Ms. Stevens will probably be the most expensive minidoll on the grey market. She’s so good, LEGO put her name on the box! Put me in a room with Emma from Heartlake Pet Salon and Ms. Stevens, and I’d be a very happy minidoll.
I’m also very content with the build and overall design of the school, which is the first big Friends building I’ve actually built (though I did buy Summer Riding Camp) – it’s very handy that the building is modular in design, which makes it easy to store and rearrange, perhaps even redesign. For those new to LEGO building, this is a good start to designing one’s own modular buildings and other models. And indeed, I hadn’t noticed until just now that Heartlake High doesn’t make use of any masonry bricks; it doesn’t need them. Can you imagine how hard Bright Light Yellow masonry bricks would be to come by?
The only thing that would improve this set if if there was more room for placing minidolls inside the building, as both the art and science classrooms, and especially the restroom are very cramped. Of course, as LEGO fans, we can always expand the school ourselves (though this guy/girl went HAM).
So with these scores, I’m giving this set 9.2/10. I like it, and if the opportunity and desire arises I’m getting some more copies.
And with the verdict dropped, it’s now time for…
Fun with the set
Matthew: “Hey Stephanie!”
Stephanie: “Hi Matthew!”
Matthew: “I finish writing my new song, I like you to hear it later in art class!”
Stephanie: “I’d, like, so love to!”
* bell rings *
Ms. Stevens: “Okay kids, it’s time for class!”
Matthew: “Hola Ms. Stevens!”
Stephanie: “Hi Ms. Stevens!”
Ms. Stevens: “Hello you two; I’m going to be teaching the other class this morning, so carry on with your art assignments.”
Matthew: “Come on Stephanie, I play you my song…”
Matthew: “# Rock with me tonight / For old time’s sake… #”
Stephanie: “That’s, like, so romantic!”
Matthew: “You like it?”
Stephanie: “I, like, totally love it! Maybe we can, like, do a duet?”
Matthew: “You mean it?!”
Matthew: “I… I never thought of that…”
Stephanie: “Yeah, we can, like, put it on my next album!”
Matthew: “You put it on your album?! I better practice some more…”
EvilMode: “Yo hombre! You still on for later?”
Matthew: “I still on EvilMode!”
Ms. Stevens: “So you see Stephanie, it’s possible to use your woman power for good instead of evil. Look how calm Otto is now.”
Stephanie: “Oh wow!”
Ms. Stevens: “Here, want to give it a try?”
Stephanie: “Oh, I don’t think I can, like, do that, what if it, like eats me?”
Ms. Stevens: “Don’t be silly! Owls don’t eat people! Besides, I’ve already fed Otto some treats, he won’t be hungry for hours.”
* bell rings *
Ms. Stevens: “Ah, it’s time for lunch, I must have something to eat myself! Would you mind taking Otto back to his hut, EvilMode?”
Ms. Stevens: “Something filling but light.”
Lunch woman: “How about the tofucheese sandwich?”
Ms. Stevens: “That sounds ghastly! But I am hungry…”
EvilMode: “That f – I mean – Otto – is back in the hut.”
Ms. Stevens: “Excellent! Would you care to join me for lunch? I could use the company.”
EvilMode: “… a’ight. Don’t gimme none of that sandwich though, it looks stank!”
Matthew: “You know I pass you again, right?”
EvilMode: “Ain’t happenin’.”
Matthew: “Yes I will!”
EvilMode: “Yo’ mama was in Fabuland.”
Matthew: “I no listen to you.”
EvilMode: “Which one was she again, the dog or the rabbit?”
* dunk *
EvilMode: “What the…”
Matthew: “Ha! I dunk on you again!”
EvilMode: “Whatever man.”
Matthew: “I make you apologise to my mother!”
Stephanie: “Ms. Stevens… I, like, wanna know more about using my woman power for, like, good.”
Ms. Stevens: “You do? That’s excellent news!”
Stephanie: “Yeah, I, like, it’s fun using it to, like, get a music career and that, but I, like wanna do something, like, more!”
Ms. Stevens: “Well, we can talk about it tomorrow during lunch if you like.”
Stephanie: “That would be nice.”
EvilMode: “Coming through.”
* whirring of floor buffer *
Ms. Stevens: “Well, I’ll see you both tomorrow! I have a hot date.”
EvilMode: “Bye ma’am.”
* EvilMode stops the floor buffer *
EvilMode: “What’s wrong witchoo?”
Stephanie: “I know what you’re doing!”
EvilMode: “… wha?”
Stephanie: “Like, don’t gimme that! You’re, like, trying to set up me again!”
EvilMode: “I… don’t… know… what…”
Stephanie: “You’re such a *$@&*!#* liar! You’ve been, like, stalking me all day! You’re trying to make me go, “Like, AAAAAAARRRGH!” again! Like, every single review, you make me go “Like, AAAAAAARRGH!” for no reason! I, like, haven’t done ANYTHING to you, but you keep teasing me! I want you to, like, LEAVE ME ALONE! I HATE YOU!”
EvilMode: “Girl, you done lost your damn mind! I’m here on probation! You think I’m cleanin’ this mess to follow your skinny, imaginary pet havin’ a** around? I mean, you’ve got a nice a**, but that’s it! Ain’t nobody tryin’a stalk you!”
EvilMode: “Now if you excuse me, I got this floor to polish! (I better be gettin’ some tail outta this, some Ms. Stevens tail even…)”
Stephanie: “… he said I, like, have a nice a**?! That doesn’t sound like him…”
Stephanie: *sigh * “I don’t, like, know any more… Maybe I shouldn’t have, like, yelled at him…”
Andrea: “There you are!”
Stephanie: “…Andrea! What are you…”
Andrea: “Easy lover, huh? Steal my boyfriend, huh?”
Stephanie: “Like, huh?”
Andrea: “All I hear is you on the radio! That was, like, my music career, it should be my songs being played!”
Stephanie: “Wait, I can, like, explain…”
Andrea: “Shut up! You stole my music career, you stole my friends, but you’re not stealing my man!”
Stephanie: “Your man? Owwww! Stop! ”
Andrea: “You stay away from him, you understand?!”
Stephanie: “Wait! Andrea! NO!”
* FLUSSSHHHHHHHHHH *
Stephanie: “Like, AAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGHH!”
EvilMode: “Godt-dayum! I didn’t even think a’that!”