REVIEW: Friends Advent Calendar

Set number:
41016
Release year:
2013
Theme(s):
,
# of parts:
213
# of figures:
2
RRP
GBP 19.99 / USD 29.99
WARNING: this review may contain content unsuitable for children.

The Contents

If you don’t want to know the order of gifts in this advent calendar, pay no attention to the spoiler that comes next.

Spoiler (click to reveal)

  1. Stephanie (Lavender jacket)
  2. Power sled
  3. Lamppost
  4. Lily (White sweater)
  5. Stall (Magenta roof)
  6. Perfume gifts
  7. Stall (Medium Azure top)
  8. Food and drink platter
  9. Trough and stool (?)
  10. Dark Purple hair accessories
  11. Basket with money
  12. Gifts
  13. Power sled cart
  14. Water fountain
  15. Bench
  16. Small pier with skates
  17. Music player
  18. Snowman
  19. Small bonfire
  20. Christmas tree
  21. Music sheet and lantern
  22. Christmas tree basket
  23. Squirrel
  24. Large gift

The minidolls

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

This year’s Friends advent calendar features – rather unsurprisingly – Stephanie, sporting a Lavender jacket with a scarf. Her entire outfit is brand new, although she still has the same 60s-style hairpiece. I wonder if hats will be a future addition to minidolls?

I, like other people had fallen into the trap of thinking the other figure was Emma, but just like last year’s calendar yet another supporting cast member accompanies a main character. This time around the girl’s name is Lily, and it doesn’t mention it anywhere on the box: I had to check out LEGO’s official description via Brickset to confirm. (The only way I could tell she wasn’t Emma was that Emma has green eyes.) Lily has a brand new sweater torso and uses Mia’s hairpiece in Black, but recycles Christina’s legs from last year’s calendar.

Snowman

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

A very different take on a snowman build, with only the head being a minifigure part. The use of the bandana and round base make it impossible to position the arms, but it can still hold the accompanying brush. The snowman is also wearing a Medium Lavender “burglar” cap, which recently started to appear in Winter-themed sets this year, as well as in Build-A-Mini sections of LEGO stores (if you’re lucky).

Stalls

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

There are two stalls in the advent calendar: a generic purpose one (on the left) that could be used with the food platter, and the other seemingly more specifically for trees and shrubbery.

Lamppost

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

A rather basic lamppost that uses quite a few small parts – perhaps more than necessary – along with a hanging decoration. I guess it wouldn’t be a Friends lamppost without those flower plates!

Christmas tree

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

Very interestingly this tree makes use of the star plate, introduced this year, mounted onto a spanking paddle train signal to achieve the star decoration. Unlike other trees we’ve seen in reviews on this site, the angles of the leaves on the tree only extend in two directions.
There’s also space left at the front of the tree for a basket, shown later.

Water fountain

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

Some rather clever building techniques are used to create a basic water fountain, complete with what looks like frozen-over water. You could also interpret it as a small ice sculpture or decoration – imagine how this would look under the right lighting.

Small bonfire

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

Much more sensible than the barbecue used in the City advent calendar, the small bonfire is an upside-down construction using a pyramid slope and a 2×2 tile. It makes use of a comparatively uncommon Reddish Brown flower plate.

Christmas tree basket, small pier and skates

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

No more hoarding Ice Skaters or Hockey Players from Series 4 of the Collectible Minifigures: the advent calendar provides some ice skates for anyone who has missed out. (Even though they’re just as fiddly as flippers.)

Music player, perfume, basket with money, food platter

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

These are all separate builds, and while they could be considered your usual advent calendar filler, the perfume is interesting enough to keep. I wasn’t sure if the basket is smaller than usual, as it didn’t look like there was enough space to place the money tile and a round 1×1 tile in it… but it looks like the same basket used elsewhere.

Power sled and cart

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

Uh-oh! We know that high-powered vehicles and Stephanie don’t mix, and yet LEGO have included another combination in the same set. What is the world coming to, eh?
But seriously: this power sled provides a comfortable enough ride for minidolls, making use of their dedicated handlebars, and it’s a nice design given there aren’t that many parts. The accompanying cart can be used to transport presents (using the 2×2 jumper plate), and can even support a minidoll sitting on it, with the help of the foot panel.

Bench and trough

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

This is probably the smallest park bench I’ve seen, but it works for me. I’m not sure why it’s built using two 2×2 plates instead of a 2×4 for the base, however.
The trough is useful for keeping the ice skates in, though I have no idea what the other thing is: I’m assuming it’s a stool, for minidolls trying to take their skates off or put them on.

Gifts

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

We have two sets of gifts: the rightmost ones that come together, and the larger one in Medium Azure. The larger one even has a signed letter for the lucky recipient.

Hair accessories

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

One of the gifts is a whole pack of hair accessories in Dark Purple. Unlike the other colour variants, which currently appear exclusively to a set, this is Dark Purple’s third appearance.

Lantern and music sheet

Photo of Friends Advent Calendar

Try as she might, Stephanie couldn’t work her hit single Easy Lover into a Christmas carol, so she had to make do with the traditionals. The only problem is it’s impossible to keep a minidoll upright when holding it, unless the minidoll is attached to a plate. This would have been an opportunity to use the clipboard from Heartlake Vet (3188) with a sticker, although it would be packaged with the other vet accessories anyway. A burning lantern accompanies the music sheet, making use of a tap part so that minidolls can hold it.