We recently covered a bunch of new sets announced for many LEGO themes during the Fall 2018 preview event in New York, and there were 13 new sets from the Friends theme, including the advent calendar. I got my hands on early copies of 12 of those sets for review. I divided them into three groups. There were 5 sets focused on customizable go-cart racing, 4 sets centered on Heartlake City businesses and lastly, two sets of bedrooms, and the Friendship Box.
Okay, I’m just going to get this out of the way right off the bat. The Friends theme is not exactly popular with many adult LEGO fans and collectors, but when it comes to parts in both pastel and bright colors, particularly for drafts, they are a pretty great source, and these sets are no exception. There are even some rollercoaster tracks in a few of these sets which we will get to later. I wanted to get some insights from my 9-year-old daughter, but aside from the Friendship Box, she didn’t have much to say about them, preferring the American Girl Mega-Construx sets for their larger and far more customizable mini-dolls.
Note that some of these sets won’t be available in the US and Canada until August 1st. Click the links to the LEGO Shop to check availability of individual sets.
Let’s jump right in with the first group of sets, centered around the customizable go-carts. These were the most interesting to me. The simple vehicles are easy to personalize, closely resemble their real-world inspiration and even include a “slammer”, which is a lever based go-cart launcher that really works.
41348 Service & Care Truck
Olivia’s service and care truck comes with her helper robot, and what looks like a tiny bear, but based on the animal crossing sign, is likely supposed to be a hamster.
This is one of three sets in this wave to include a package of tools for maintenance, and they are even a basic gray metal color. The truck includes a lot of great parts in dark azure, including 6 1×4 panels. Each go-cart in this group includes a steering handlebar.
41349 Drifting Diner
The Drifting Diner is made up of a burger restaurant and a drive-in movie screen. Andrea’s go-cart is personalized with a stack of speakers. The detailed kitchen grill includes 2 1×1 round tiles printed as fried eggs, and a booth built to resemble a classic car.
41350 Spinning Brushes Car Wash
One of the coolest features of this set is the sliding track for running your go-cart through the car wash. The set also includes a fueling station and an assortment of tools for detailing the solar-powered go-cart.
This set includes a large curving window panel and 2 1/4 circle tiles in 2 sizes.
41351 Creative Tuning Shop
This set really plays up the customizable go-cart play feature with 2 go-carts, as well as several additional front, rear and side details that can be swapped out on either of the two go-carts. There is also a showroom with a rotating display, an upstairs office, and a sliding garage door. The set also includes a simple lift and a set of tools.
41352 The Big Race Day
This set includes 3 go-carts with slammers, a quad-copter camera drone, a starting gate, a tower for covering the race and a finish line made from 2 1/4 circle rollercoaster tracks in light gray. The upstairs office features a neat little RC race track using roller skates for the cars.
The next group of sets features Heartlake City businesses, including an aerial tour, a fashion accessories boutique, a pet care, play & grooming center, and a resort complete with water slides, parasailing and a tram on rollercoaster tracks.
41343 Heartlake City Airplane Tour
This set is a pretty well-designed bi-plane, in my opinion. Olivia’s helper bot has a control tower with a neat little micro-plane for a sign and a slide. An outdoor table with treats, and fueling station with a bright blue set of tools.
The set features lots of 2×2 bows in bright purple, 2×2 wedge plates, 2×2 1/4 circle tiles in bright reddish violet, a steering yolk and a dark blue large banner/flag.
41344 Andrea’s Accessories Store
Andrea’s fashion boutique has all the latest fashion accessories and a sewing station for custom alterations. Includes a dressing room, a push scooter, and a pug!
41345 Heartlake City Pet Center
Pet grooming, critter playground, vet clinic, food and pet supplies — this pet center has it all. The set includes an animal transport vehicle which doubles as an ambulance with a flip-up siren.
In the parts department, this set has a bunch of yellow-orange and lime green curved bricks perfect for window awnings.
41347 Heartlake City Resort
The Heartlake City Resort is packed with play features, from the detachable roof-top DJ platform to the sailboard and parasailing rig. Two hotel rooms and outdoor patio, two waterslides and a tram that runs along a rollercoaster track.
The largest set of this series and this set is packed with great parts. A bunch of 1x2x5 bricks in aqua, plenty of white 2x2x3 bricks, dark pink railings and even some dark blue curved bricks perfect for window awnings.
Finally, the remaining sets included a few bedroom scenes and the Friendship Box. This last set was by far the most popular with my daughter, who immediately claimed it for her own, and had named the robot before she was even finished building it.
41341 Andrea’s Bedroom
Andrea’s bed flips up to reveal her dressing table. The set includes some yellow-orange plates, tiles and cheese slopes. A few 2×4 tiles in 3 colors, gold nipple parts, blue and pink tinted transparent panels.
41342 Emma’s Deluxe Bedroom
Emma’s deluxe bedroom is the perfect place for her to express herself, with an easel for art, and a rotating wheel for her latest sculpting project.
This is a pretty great set for the price and includes several 1×2 inverted bows in aqua.
41346 Friendship Box
This set contains a bunch of life-size (for kids) models including a camera with a light brick, two walkie-talkies, a trophy (the one thing about the set she was not excited about) a microphone and a cute little robot, modeled after Olivia’s helper bot featured in two of the sets.
Conclusion and recommendations
Whether you are looking to expand your Heartlake City collection, looking for decent draft sets for LEGO club activities, or stocking up on great parts in uncommon colors, there is something in this wave for everyone and every budget.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.