LEGO Friends 2012 parts review – sets 3933, 3187, 3183, 3936 [Review]

The just released LEGO Friendsicon theme introduces an array of new colors for common elements. Taking parts from 3933 Olivia’s Invention Workshop,icon 3187 Butterfly Beauty Shop,icon 2X 3183 Stephanie’s Cool Convertible,icon 2X 3936 Emma’s Fashion Design Studio,icon and my own collection, I built a spaceship to show a use for the new pieces.

Pixie Poison

The interesting colors that I found in these sets are medium azure, medium lavender, bright pink, and light aqua (when adjectives are used on colors that don’t come in a Crayola 8-pack, you know it’s a treat for the palette). Although previous LEGO themes for girls included unique colors, they were wasted on useless parts such as large castle turrets and giant facades. Fortunately, LEGO learned from their mistake and concluded that girls are no less competent than boys at using standard LEGO elements. As a result, LEGO Friends includes the usual mix of LEGO parts like bricks, tiles, and cheese slopes in glorious psychedelic colors.

While the new colors are certainly exciting, the same cannot be said for the figures. These anorexic Barbie counterparts may be tolerated by their target audience, but LEGO fans who value the modularity of the traditional minifig will be disappointed to see that only the hairpieces on the new figures are compatible with the minifig. LEGO has proven that they can make excellent female minifigs, and I don’t think fans (both kids and adults) will be disappointed in having regular minifigs in these sets.

If you’re a connoisseur of exotic colors and eager to try new color schemes, then Friends is the best thing to have happened to LEGO in years. Even the price per parts ratio on these sets is decently low and won’t break your wallet. The only question remains on what to do with those dismal doll-things. Reply on what you would do with the Friends figures and The Brothers Brick will send all of mine to the person with the most creative comment. Stay tuned for more reviews of the line.

UPDATE: the winning comment comes from lady_brickster, who says: “well, once i’d taken away their hairstyles, i guess i would create an island of bald amazonian women.”

30 comments on “LEGO Friends 2012 parts review – sets 3933, 3187, 3183, 3936 [Review]

  1. lower_torso

    Now that I am buying for a little girl, I have to say that the doll-like figures are very likely to work very well for them. Bright colors, more detail on the clothing, more complex faces, and the similarity to other doll product lines should help a lot.

    What would I do with the figures? I know this sounds lame, but I would give them to my girlfriend’s five-year-old, in the hopes of inspiring her to revisit the small collection of Lego she has languishing in her playroom.

  2. Sarah

    I just ordered some of these Friends set last night. As a collector I want to have at least one of each theme but I think I’ll have fun with the new colors and some of the new pieces and animals for the small builds/scenes I do. As for what to do with the doll figs, I have a bit(!?!) of a dark side and I’ll probably use them for as medical experiments gone wrong or an “Island of Dr Moreau” type feel.

  3. Deus

    Well, even mini-dolls add interesting pieces for the NPU obsessionists – The hair pieces are commpnly useful, but as I’ve seen in a picture a while ago, they seem to have heads attached on bars. Is that true? It may be very useful for hardsuits, hehe… If nobody else, Karf Oolhu will find excellent use for the mini-doll.

  4. hjmediastudios

    I plan to 3d-scan all my Friends mini-dolls, then print my weight in mini-dolls through Shapeways. After a painstaking painting process, they’ll be sewn onto a full-body latex bodysuit and coated in a mix of glow-in-the-dark paint and Vaseline. Fun stuff will ensue.

  5. worker201

    I don’t own any yet, but I suspect the minidolls will be nothing but opportunity. They represent a new scale and new playability challenges that I for one am looking forward to.

  6. cylence

    I know this is treated as heresy by many AFOLs, but I actually like the new figures as I’ve long disliked the unisex minifig and its many oversized accessories. The accessories with the mini-dolls (awful name choice, LEGO) in the Friends line seem more size appropriate, and I geeked out over the laptop. While not a Star Wars fan, imagine LEGO Star Wars in the new style figures, with actual alien body types and the like. Maybe it’s more toy/doll/action-figure like, but if TLG attempts to maintain figure customization capabilities found in minifigs (consistent arm sockets, torso sockets, modular accessories, etc.), I don’t see a problem. I am disappointed that most of the current/previewed product seems to be all sandals and shorts/skirts for the lower bodies; I’d expect a bit more creativity there.

    As for what I’d do with the figures, it’s simple: Enjoy them.

  7. Buffalorand

    I see nothing but success for Lego here! Extensive product testing showed Lego 4 very distinct facts. First, and most important, girls are absolutely desperate for Lego but want it their way. Two, “their way” is pretty much the same as the ‘boy’s way’ with a very important addition; more accessorising. So, many more accessories–all of which are supposedly minifig compatible. Three, they want colors that speak to them but don’t single them out. Finally, Lego learned that girls like the minifigs but don’t love them (the way AFOLs have come to love them) and would LIKE more Barbie-like characters. Judging by the sales at the local Lego store yesterday, the girls are too excited for words…and so are their Moms! So, if you don’t like the new figs, don’t use them; the scale of the elements is the same so don’t complain. My only complaint, and it may prove a bit of a problem for TLG, the box design is problematic at best and I don’t mean the graphic design work. The slight curve to the top of the box is going to be an issue. They don’t stack vertically OR horizontally with any decent stability and if you push on a row of boxes anywhere but right in the middle of the product while on the shelf, they cascade forward on to the customer!! Parents, watch your young ones closely while shopping!!! I hope this doesn’t happen very often but a re-design from the packaging group is in order. In short, bonanza boondogle for Lego Fans everywhere and WELL PLAYED!

  8. sbs

    I bought my 8 year old daughter several sets yesterday and she’s thrilled. As I type, she’s in her room with a friend playing with the new Friends sets. Lego nailed the target demographic. Girls simply don’t play play like boys and it looks like Lego finally figured that out. Their focus group research is spot on. I found myself agreeing with their findings as I read the article in Businessweek. The reality is the sets are for girls and if they love them who are we to complain about the addition of a girl friendly mini-doll. P.S. now the regular mini-figures are the bad guys in Heartlake City.

  9. Jim

    Trebuchet, or some other form of siege catapult. Well is that not what boys do to their sisters dolls?

    I’m liking the looks of the new colours.

  10. GabryS

    Well, I guess I’d do the same what I did with all the Jack Stone figures, wich is put them into some kind of box. I know it’s not original, but I couldn’t just throw them away, or destroy. Altough once, when I was bored at school I painted one of them with white pen reviser.
    Cheers and happy new year.

  11. lady_bricker

    well, once i’d taken away their hairstyles, i guess i would create an island of bald amazonian women. :D

  12. fallentomato

    After harvesting the hairpieces you could put them in a hospital MOC to celebrate breast cancer awareness month in October. Perhaps an idea for the Brothers Brick display at this year’s BrickCon?

    I am upset that the mini-dolls don’t have individually posable legs, but otherwise, I think they are a great addition to the family of LEGO figures. In my LEGO world, all the different figures (minifig, belville, fabuland, bionicle) live in harmony.

    I think these sets can only lead to a broadening and enrichment of the LEGO fan community, which is why I think lower_torso should get the figures

  13. buriedbybricks

    Invasion of the Body-Type Snatchers with the minifigs being replaced by Mars Mission aliens disguised as humanoid replacements. Maybe a similar take on the Stepford Wives.

    Odd figures aside, I think these sets look neat and can’t want to get my hands on some of the newly coloured parts!

  14. Syruss

    Well, I’d give them to my 7 year old daughter, who just finally asked for LEGO of her very own this past Christmas.

  15. jeanniez

    My daughters are already Lego fans and are looking forward to these sets. They were already using Legos to make houses for their other toys so these will fit in just nice.
    As for what to do with the dolls, they will no doubt get to ride in my husband’s Galaxy Explorer (It looks like they will fit!) from time to time.

  16. xeagar

    Hmmm. My 11 year old daughter would be much more interested in your space ship than in any of these sets. I think the Friends line is still pandering. My daughter loves minifigs, she always asks for the collectible minifigs in the blind packs, so I don’t see the new figures as very enticing. I guess I’ll have to let her decide.

  17. ReadWithMeaning

    I like the new sets, particularly the Cafe! Interesting elements.

    As for what I would do with the Friends figures? Well, they are all going to go bald – love those hairpieces! Friends like these are hair today, gone tomorrow.

    Yes, I am trying too hard, kind of like Lego.

  18. condor

    The figures will be perfect to use as “Barbie” figures for the Toy Story line. You can recreate the “I’m a married Spud scene”.

  19. Paganomation

    The thing I really want to do is use the mini-dolls and sets in an animated short that has nothing to do with these characters or settings. It seems like a lot of people are overly focusing on what you get from “LEGO Friends” out of the box; I’d like to explore the cinematic potential of the new elements and figures this theme has introduced.

  20. TooMuchDew

    I personally think the sets are great… I asked my adult daughter (who as a youngster was pretty much LEGO Adventurers, Western & Studio complete) her thoughts and she sees no problem. Friends remind her of the innocuous Polly Pocket sets she had then and seem like a good way to get girls interested in LEGO after Duplo.
    Hinckley at Eurobricks has a great review of LEGO Friends 3061 City Park Café and amusing take on the whole Friends brouhaha.
    Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo lego-feminists-lego-for-girls-actually-kicks-ass also “gets” it.

  21. JimmytheJ

    I’d use them as size-zero mannequins for an unhealthily slim clothes shop, with regular minifigure protestors outside waving signs. Most of them female minifigures with the sort of torsos, perhaps even custom ones, that suggest muffin tops and such.

    If you want, I’ll make into an animation, news report style. Studying animation at uni, see :D

  22. Siabur

    I make comic called Dreamers Ink and as soon as I saw detailed pics about these the first thing that came to mind was how cool the accessories would be for my comic. I can now build sets that would work for some of the female cast. If the rest of the regular CITY line had some of these designs it would allow for the police and fire departments to have some place to go on a call. As for the mini-dolls (really?) I have a storyline in the works that would be perfect for gigantic girls. Snusnu anyone?

  23. Pisafe

    I’m getting my first set tonight. In three days the workplace/lab set will arrive. And when it does… I’m painting some pants and leather shoes on that mini-doll thing! Does she not know about OSHA?! In my lab she’d get her self turned around and sent home to change into more appropriate clothes, really, flip-flops around chemicals?! Tsk! As for her ultimate fate, I’m thinking she’ll join the other mini-figs, and have her legs seperated from her torso, then be inserted into a sharks gaping maw… the better to illustrate her legs disappearing into his fishy belly… MUHAHAHAHA (what can I say, I have boys, although my mother thought of that, well, and the pirate shooting the monkey out of the rigging on the pirate set). Maybe my brother can make another Zoolander skit on his Lego Creator web-cam… hmmm the possibilities are endless.

  24. Pisafe

    whoops, and forgot to mention, I’m a 6’4 woman, so these “extra tall” mini-figs are just right, I usually stand a nub higher than the rest of the village anyway. Too bad these little things are all svelte, if they had a tubby one (a la the usual mini-figs) I’d really identify with her… got there marketing research right on that one :D

  25. legobucket

    I would take the mini-dolls and drop them into my 3 little step-sisters Lego bucket and they would probably say “That’s not Lego!”, to which I would say “it is now!”

  26. Nannan Post author

    The winning comment comes from lady_brickster, who says: “well, once i’d taken away their hairstyles, i guess i would create an island of bald amazonian women.” Congrats!

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