REVIEW: Squirrel’s Tree House

Set number:
41017
Release year:
2013
Theme(s):
,
# of parts:
41
# of figures:
0
RRP
GBP 2.99 / USD 4.99

Promotional image
41017 Squirrel’s Tree House promotional image

Build a treetop home for the squirrel, then hop online to take care of her!

Create a cozy home for the Heartlake City squirrel! Build a leafy hideaway for her, high above the ground, with LEGO® bricks! Start with a sturdy tree-trunk foundation and top it off with a mossy roof! Make a ladder with steps that lift or lower and open the roof to play inside! Leave her dish full of acorns nearby and put the pretty bow in her tail to make her the happiest squirrel in the city! Take care of the squirrel online at LEGO.com/friends and download more building inspiration for this model. Combine with 41018 Cat’s Playground and 41019 Turtle’s Little Oasis to create a bigger house for all 3 animals with building instructions available on LEGO.com/friends.

  • Features squirrel, retractable ladder, opening roof, acorn dish and tail bow
  • Lower the ladder to climb into Squirrel’s Tree House!
  • Feed her acorns!
  • Take care of the squirrel online, or find more building inspiration at LEGO.com/friends!
  • Combine with 41018 Cat’s Playground and 41019 Turtle’s Little Oasis to create a bigger house for all 3 animals with building instructions
  • available on LEGO.com/friends

  • LEGO® Friends pieces are fully compatible with all LEGO bricks
  • Collect all of the LEGO Friends sets for a whole world of LEGO Friends fun!
  • Measures over 2″ (7cm) high, 1″ (4cm) wide and 1″ (4cm) long

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Fast becoming a typecast Friends reviewer, this is SilentMode once again with a review of one of this year’s most anticipated themes: Friends’ own Collectibles Series 1.

I’d first heard about them after looking at a retailers catalogue, and I was initially sceptical of the concept… at the same time I was curious about what the animals would look like, as well as how they would fare even with the popularity of the Friends theme. They’ve been released only in the last week, and naturally I’ve gotten hold of a complete series – the only difficulty being to find somewhere that would sell them!

Distributions

Unlike the Collectible Minifigures, each of the animals featured in Series 1 has its own set number, so I will be doing three separate reviews. You’ll also be pleased to know that each animal is evenly distributed: not only are they sold individually and clearly identified, but if you come across a whole box you’ll find eight of each inside.

The Package

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
We’re presented with a big plastic bag, with material thicker than polybags, resembling a pack of beef jerky. As mentioned before, each pack identifies the animal included inside, so no need for the feeling technique (and likely embarrassment). You’ll also see the main Friends characters in the bottom left, who have been reduced to secondary roles on this pack, petting each of the Series 1 animals.
Rather amusingly, LEGO’s barcode printer had a rough time trying to print an apostrophe. Perhaps someone tried to use a curly quote instead? Very naughty.

The Contents

A small warning: you will require something sharp to open the bag, as there’s no assistance provided. This is probably a good thing, given that some people (nonFOLs) have seen fit to rip open bags of Collectible Minifigures, and even books with exclusive figures included with them, in the past.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Inside the bag we have a smaller bag containing all the parts, as well as a folded but otherwise crisp instruction book.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Pictured here are all the parts we get to play with. Sadly there are no exclusive parts to look forward to, but the Medium Azure bows also appear in another of 2013’s Friends sets, Stephanie’s Soccer Practice.

Squirrel

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Here is the star of the show, and from the looks of things an early fan favourite. Although the squirrel isn’t named in the above description from LEGO, it’s identified as female.
One thing that wasn’t made obvious from the packaging and preliminary pictures was the presence of the squirrel’s tail. On the whole I quite like the shape of the animal, including the cute little ears, and it would have made a better accompaniment to Olivia’s Tree House than, say, that darned kitten.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
The squirrel has one space on its entire mould for a Friends accessory, and it’s been inexplicably placed on the tip of her tail. I guess it’s as good a place as any for a squirrel.

The Build

Squirrel’s platter

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
The first thing we get to “build” is some food for the squirrel. Being juvenile-minded as I was at the time, I thought these were squirrel droppings… but no, they are rather clever acorns. I hadn’t actually seen acorns in years, as they’re not so common now. They do look delicious, though.

Squirrel’s tree house

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
We begin building the tree house for the squirrel by building the trunk, of course. The whole trunk is constructed with Reddish Brown and Dark Brown slopes of varying sizes.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
The foundation of the tree house is a little intriguing, but it will all come together very soon. A tiny stepladder is also added, because squirrels don’t always feel like climbing.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
The remaining two Lime plates are attached to the tree house like wings, potentially turning the tree house into a private aircraft (if we want it to be).

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Those plates fold upwards to form the roof; the curved window in the middle allows the plates to meet in the middle without distortion. That’s really clever!

The Complete Set

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House

With the aid of the Dark Tan jumper plate, the squirrel can sit proud in the tree house constructed for her. Very helpfully the roof can be separated – without casualty – to take the squirrel out or put it back in.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Every now and then the squirrel may be tempted out of its throne by a couple of juicy acorns.

Leftovers

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
You may be surprised to see a generous helping of leftovers: two extra bows (perhaps for the other animals in the series) and some other small but useful parts. You could always make a couple more acorns if you wanted to fatten the squirrel up.

Alternate builds

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Very interestingly LEGO have introduced an alternative build for this set in the back of the instructions. More info on how to create this build can be found on the LEGO Friends web site.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Collect all three of the Series 1 animals, however, and you can build something even bigger: something resembling an tribal-style animal temple. One where squirrel is king. Or queen.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
Not much else to see in the instructions, except for another picture of the main Friends characters, wondering how long it will be before I review the rest of them.

Photo of Squirrel’s Tree House
This part of that page caught my eye…

Rating breakdown

Design: 9 out of 10
If Tan or Reddish Brown was used in place of Yellow, I would have given full marks. I can't fault the design of the main build, nor do I have anything negative to say about the squirrel; although accessories fit on its tail, it's something different.
Build: 10 out of 10
A relatively quick and easy build with no stability issues, and I like the fact that the tree house doesn't have to be taken apart to remove or add the squirrel.
Parts: 8 out of 10
The parts used in the build all have a purpose, and we're left with useful spares for other things as a result.
Playability: 7 out of 10
Would make a great addition to existing Friends sets or even Town/City MOCs. How about a row or network of squirrel tree houses?
Price: 10 out of 10
At GBP 2.99, this is arguably the best value for money at RRP I've seen from LEGO in a long time. Consider that the squirrel itself, as well as other popular Friends animals, will likely cost just as much on its own.

Based on these scores, squirrel gets a very decent 8.8/10.

Stay tuned for reviews of the other animals in this series!