REVIEW: Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Set number:
41031
Release year:
2014
Theme(s):
# of parts:
119
# of figures:
1
RRP
GBP 9.99

Promotional image
41031 Andrea’s Mountain Hut promotional image

Welcome back to the stage of history…

No, this isn’t Soul Calibur: it’s another Friends review. I have all the new (wave 5) Friends sets on deck, and today we’re going to be taking a look at Andrea’s Mountain Hut, one of the smallest sets in the wave at the lowest price.

By the way: a big shout out to whomever posted my review of Heartlake Shopping Mall over on Reddit, making it my most read review on SilentMode.tv by a long way. Don’t think I haven’t seen those little side comments though, which could have easily been addressed directly via SilentMode.tv’s contact page.

But let’s focus on this review, and keep things cheerful!

The Packaging

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

We’re in for a treat this time around, as Andrea makes her first of two appearances in this wave. Here she’s pictured roasting a very large marshmallow over an open fire, and she even has a little squirrel for dinner. Rumour has it that squirrel is delicious.

Back of the box

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

# There she is, that curly head girl… # We can also see that the hut belongs just as much to the squirrel as it does to Andrea.

Scale reference

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

The squirrel demonstrates just how large or small it is in this set. Perhaps it’s the squirrel’s only reason for existing?

The Contents

Interesting parts

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Despite its comparatively low price, this set is no slouch when it comes to interesting parts, with almost half of the parts being classed as interesting by yours truly.

The Dark Orange 3×3 cross plate makes a welcome return from Sunshine Ranch, and thankfully it has made a few other appearances since then. We also get 1×6 plates in both Medium Lavender and Bright Light Orange: yet more parts that will come in useful for building vividly coloured structures.

For fans of Medium Dark Flesh, we have four each of the 1×2 and 1×4 palisade (log) bricks, which I greatly prefer over the usual colours (Tan, Dark Brown and even Medium/Dark Stone Grey) due to its more natural look.

If you’re a fan of the new 2×2 round tile with central stud holder, you’ll be pleased to know it now comes in Medium Lavender too. I wonder if anyone will start a collection of these?

Andrea and squirrel

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Here’s Andrea, sporting a brand new halter top torso and Joanna’s pants from Heartlake Pet Salon (who also makes another appearance in Summer Caravan. The squirrel is pretty much the same as in both last year’s advent calendar and Squirrel’s Tree House, except it doesn’t come with a bow this time.

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Andrea had plans to settle down with a mug of rustic cocoa and a crispy marshmallow, but the squirrel “innocently” presented a map leading to lost ancient treasure. Andrea, being wise to the elements, knew better than to go off on random adventures.

She was right: she would have messed around and ended up in a real-life Rail Chase.

The Build

DSLR camera

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Three little pieces fit together to make an expensive looking camera, great for taking pictures of wildlife. I remember using this technique to make fancy cameras for one of my displays at STEAM 2013: I used a 1×1 transparent round tile instead of a plate for the lens.

Trunk stool

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Here we have another incredibly simple build: somehow Andrea had the idea to upholster a tree stump with a Medium Lavender cushion. For a more authentic look use a Tan 2×2 round plate… if one exists!

Small campfire

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

The 3×3 cross plate comes into play as firewood for a small campfire. We’re also given a couple of Black 1×1 clip plates to simulate cooking over the fire, which come in useful for this pot of water, or maybe even the marshmallow stick seen earlier.

The hut

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

The base of the hut starts with Medium Lavender parts, and then develops a pattern of Tan and Medium Dark Flesh palisade bricks.

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

The precious Magenta 2×4 tile is once again relegated to seat duty as it’s used for an exterior bench, while inside the Bright Light Orange plates are also put to use as seats. The White 1×2 cheese slope suggests it can also be used as a bed.

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

More Medium Lavender parts come into play to construct the roof, and the last of the 1×4 palisade bricks form a beam.

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

A very simple technique for building the slanted walls of the roof starts here, using some cheese slopes to fill in part of the gaps and form the triangular shape.

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

This wouldn’t be a mountain hut without some foliage growing on the roof, would it? Fortunately we have three of these sweet plant parts to do so, along with some more Red flower plates.

The Completed Set

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

As we look at everything put together in this set, I can’t help thinking it looks a little empty. Andrea is clearly immersing herself in nature, without a music player, laptop or mobile phone in sight. She’s even happy to let that squirrel finish last night’s broth.

Leftovers

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

All fairly useful parts for your collection; I think the right choice was made with having Bright Light Orange and Red flower plates instead of the incredibly common Dark Pink ones.

Straight stylin’

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Check out this picture in the back of the instructions. Where did Emma get that pimp hat from?

Jungle fever

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Not that anyone was listening to me anyway, but didn’t I say there’d be a mountain themed Friends set? It turns out that the Friends have gotten into the jungle – at least part of the time – in this wave.

The Verdict

This is a nice little set to make a display out of, and serves well for doll-house-like playability, although it could use more foliage to create a more complete scene. It greatly benefits from having a nice selection of interesting parts; I could easily find myself getting hold of multiples for the Bright Light Orange plates, palisade bricks and maybe even the Medium Lavender parts. If you’re collecting the minidolls you’ll also get Andrea with the unique torso as a bonus.

Rating breakdown

Design: 7 out of 10
Though I've been spoiled by the Shopping Mall, this is a nicely designed set for its size, making good use of the parts.
Build: 6 out of 10
The set was fairly quick to build, with very little challenge and not much to learn from.
Parts: 8 out of 10
A good way to get hold of some parts in lucrative colours, as well as an opportunity to gain a new minidoll and a[nother] squirrel. The selection is about right for a GBP 9.99 set.
Playability: 4 out of 10
Unless you have no fear of losing small parts, there isn't that much to do with this set on its own. Andrea could really use some human company.
Price: 7 out of 10
Worth getting at RRP for the first copy, then look out for discounted opportunities (at least 25%) if you want multiples.

As a result, I’m giving this set 6.4/10. Whether or not you think it’s low or high, it’s still not as bad as Stephanie’s Pet Patrol!

But even this score doesn’t seem to cheer Andrea up…

Misery with the set

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

* light wind and thunder *

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Andrea: “Am I just being, like, stupid? Why is it, like, so difficult to tell him? Every time I see him, I…”

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Andrea: “What do you think, squirrel?  I mean, I so wanna say something, but, like, I’m scared he won’t… like… you know…”

Photo of Andrea’s Mountain Hut

Andrea: “This is crazy, I’m like, talking to a squirrel! I’m going insane! Matthew, why don’t you notice me?!