Day: January 16, 2012

Fortnight of Friends – Day 14: Olivia’s House

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on Fortnight of Friends – Day 14: Olivia’s House

This is the last of the “Fortnight of Friends” series, and is the biggest set by far in the Friends series, #3315, “Olivia’s House”.

Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Set


It comes with three minidolls: Olivia and her parents, Peter and Anna. Peter is the only male minidoll in the entire product line, and the only one with traditional LEGO minifig hair instead of the new rubbery hair with a little hole in it. And for the last time I can report on the packaging of the minidoll parts, which I’m sure by now you’re tired of hearing about… The parents’ legs and Anna’s torso are in the easier to open bags, and the other three parts are in the stretchy plastic. I really wish LEGO would just skip those bags altogether, or if they have to package them that way, perhaps to keep the printing from scratching, they should use easier-to-open packaging. In general, all these plastic bags in LEGO sets are awful for the environment… I wish LEGO would switch to a different type of packaging that was “greener” and easier for kids to manage.

Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - First Floor
First Floor - Living Room and Kitchen

Speaking of bags, there are no fewer than seven bags in this set, and the instructions come in two books. Actually eight, because the large plates (8×16 and 16×16) are packaged in their own bag. We get two 16×16 plates, in tan and white, and six 8×16 plates, three each in pink and bright green. Bag #1 gives you all three minidolls and the parts to build the shell for half of the ground floor of the house, and uses the tan 16×16 plate. It’s a simple shell of a building and the next smallest of the bags.

The smallest is #2, which adds interior furniture to the house, making the room we just built into a living room. The first thing we do is open up the bag of red flowers and bugs, and put three red roses on the three Plate, Round 1 x 1 with Flower Edge (4 Knobs), which is a combination that works exceptionally well. Next we build the big screen TV – my version is switched off, as I don’t want to apply the stickers. Then we build a matching chair and sofa using a whole bunch of light purple curved slopes, which I am eager to find other uses for. The final thing is a coffee table, which strangely uses the flower stem that was created and set aside on page 1 of bag #1. Why they didn’t just include a flower stem in bag #2 perplexes me. But these new flower pieces are awesome and I am eager to find opportunities to decorate my MOCs with them.

Bag #3 uses the white 16×16 plate and builds the other half of the first floor, the kitchen. It includes a bag of light blue utensils – the same ones we saw yesterday in yellow for the café. There’s a lime green cabinet with white drawers, which you are to fill with forks and knives. There’s a delightful little blender. A 2×2 plate with one centered stud with a 2×2 radar dish on top makes a lovely base, a technique I must steal. The rest of the utensils get used to complete the kitchen: a skillet on the stove and a cake pan in the oven; a knife and fork in the sink; and a pink cupcake, an empty cupcake cup, a mixer, and a measuring cup fill the counters. We build a nice little refrigerator with a carton of milk inside, salt and pepper shakers on top, and shelves on the side. A table and chairs with plates, another cupcake, and fruit complete the room. At the end of this bag we connect it to the living room using Technic pegs, and that finishes the first instruction book.


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Second Floor
Second Floor - Bedroom and Bathroom

The next thing we build starts book #2 with bag #4 and a pink 8×16 plate, and we build a girls bedroom with a faux balcony with a cute kitten perched on the rail, a vanity (including a white cabinet with one pink drawer) with perfume bottles and hairbrush, a highly impractical nightstand with an oversized book in it, and a bed with a purse on it.

The next build uses bag #5 and another pink 8×16 plate to build a bathroom to go along with Olivia’s bedroom. I’ve seen (and built) a lot of AFOL-designed toilets in MOCs, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in a LEGO set before. And the shower is ingenious – using the roll-up doors, mounted vertically, as a shower curtain or shower door. It also includes another cabinet piece, this time with two pink drawers.


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Roof
Roof

At this point we have completed the first two floors, and next we tackle bag #6 to build the roof. Presumably Olivia’s parents’ room, and the hallways and stairs needed to get upstairs, are in the half of the house not included in this set… There is a sloped roof piece and a rooftop deck in this build. We start with the deck, featuring a nice trans-dark-pink umbrella, lounge chair, and a lovely plant using the new type flowers on a stem with a three broad leafed plant. This goes over the bathroom, and a sloped roof goes over the bedroom, giving it a vaulted ceiling. I love the way the sloped roof is built – you build a supporting structure using a large white arch for the peak and a couple of 1×16 bricks to support each of the levels of roof slopes.


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Front path
Front door path and mailbox


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Yard
Side and front yard

The final bag uses the three 8×16 green plates to build a front yard for the house. First we build a small panel with the walk leading up to the front door, mailbox, a small vegetable garden, and a flower. Second, we build a segment that has a swingset, which minidolls can not properly use. In the instructions, Olivia is shown holding onto the swing with one hand gripping the pole on one side with her other hand free – I tried putting her on with both hands on the poles, and she can grip them but it’s about a millimeter out of line and you can visibly see the poles deflecting inward. I think that LEGO should have made the minidoll arms out of the rubbery material they used for the hair, lipsticks, and some other parts, which would have allowed the minidolls to be a lot more versatile in a lot of ways. After that we construct an elaborate barbecue, and then extend the module with another 8×16 green plate on which we build a table with a sausage (hot dog) on a plate, ketchup dispenser, and a wine glass with an orange thing on top (not quite sure what that’s supposed to be). There’s a very nice sunflower which I’d love to be able to make a large number of.


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Stickers
Sticker sheet for this set

There are a lot of decorations in this set, but they’re all stickers sadly. I was really happy with the first few sets having so many printed parts, but the later sets are almost all stickers if you’ve been following these blog entries. I think the only part in this set with printing was a 1×2 tile printed as an envelope.


Fortnight of Friends - Day 14 - Accumulated plastic
Accumulated plastic bags (with submodel to show scale)

As I built each of the parts of this set, I accumulated all the plastic bags inside the bag that the large plates came in, and posed them for a shot (using one of the submodels for scale). I was really discouraged by the amount of extra plastic in this set in particular and LEGO sets in general. I’m not sure what could be done instead – I would definitely combine bags 1 and 2, and would like to avoid having a separate bag for the large plates, and bags for the minidoll parts that I’ve been railing against for the last two weeks seem wasteful to me.

Overall, this is a great model, and a great value for the price. For $70 we get a pretty big house with a lot of wonderful details. I’m tempted to buy one or two more of these sets and try to build out the rest of the house, with the parents’ bedroom and other omitted rooms.


Having built all 14 of these sets, I have a few overall things to say about the line. I’m not a girl, or a parent, so I can’t really speak about the sets from their points of view. But I can speak about them from the point of view of a LEGO fan who builds a lot of city/town models. I’m really excited about some of the new parts in this line, notably:

  • All the new color bricks, plates, and other parts
  • New flower and insect parts
  • New utensils
  • New animals
  • Cabinets and drawers and other interior accessories

That’s the end of the Fortnight of Friends. I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of the sets.