Fortnight of Friends – Day 8: Stephanie’s Cool Convertible

Today we start off the second week of the “Fortnight of Friends” with the first of the larger sets: #3183, “Stephanie’s Cool Convertible”.

Fortnight of Friends - Day 8 - set

This is Stephanie’s third appearance in the series. We last saw her in Day 6, patrolling for pets, and her first appearance was in Day 1, with her outdoor bakery. And now we see why she has holes in the top and side of her hairpiece – to attach these decorative bits. (For those keeping score, both parts of her body were in those stretchy bags.) Like we saw earlier in Day 5 (Mia’s Puppy House), this set comes with a bag of accessory parts that can be attached to the hair or pets. There’s also an extensive assortment of grooming equipment included, but not featured in the set build. As a boy, this puzzles me, but I gather girls like to deviate more from the instructions when building sets… so go for it, girls! Anyway, these parts can be useful in MOCs so I’m happy to see them. She also comes with the same pink iPod-like device we saw yesterday, and a little pink purse/bucket.

This set is a little bigger than the ones I’ve reviewed until now, and lacks the shelf hanger flap on the top of the box. However the box is one of the usual standard LEGO box types, and is designed to be opened by putting your finger through a semicircular thumb hole on the bottom and ripping it open at the side. But I prefer to open this style of box by peeling off the bottom, leaving the rest of the box intact, which you can then dump the parts into for building the set. I’ve been doing this for years, but LEGO seems to use this box type less and less often, preferring the kind where you are supposed to cut the clear tape to open the ends of the box. I hope this is a sign LEGO plans to keep using this box type. You can see a picture below to illustrate what I’m talking about … just be careful not to cut yourself! I got a small paper cut opening this box.

Like all the Friends sets, this one consists of multiple builds, though only two in this instance. First you build a little roadside scene, with a lamppost (hooray for that transparent globe piece!), bench, and dog- or car-washing equipment. I’m happy to see the tap return, and the 2×2 white tile with a stud in the center is a newish part that I’m happy to have another of.

But the main feature of this set is of course, the car. It’s similar to a lot of the City cars we’ve had from LEGO lately, and is a nice design. The color scheme really works well and I’m happy to get so many parts in the new light purple color. I also am happy to get two of the 1×2-2×4 brackets, which are used to attach both front and back ends of the car. The only downside I see is that finally we have encountered stickers. I surmise that LEGO has trouble printing on the curved pieces, as these stickers only go on curved parts: the hood/bonnet, and the curved slopes at the rear. I chose not to apply the stickers, as is my usual practice. I will probably put them up on BrickLink for sale, as I don’t use stickers in my MOCs either. I don’t like to limit the reusability of the parts, and it’s so hard to apply the stickers perfectly straight and centered anyway. But since it’s for curved parts, I don’t really blame LEGO for not giving us printed pieces. Hopefully they’ll work out a way to print on those someday. For now, however, I’m happy to have these parts in plain light purple for future MOC usage.

One feature of this set that I found particularly noteworty is a new part. It’s similar to the 1×2 L-shaped panel piece, but with a center divider. In the car it’s used to hold Stephanie in place as she drives… minidolls lack the stud receptacles that minifigs have, so they needed some way to hold her in position, and I guess this is what they came up with. I can see this being a useful piece for decorative purposes, as well as holding minifigs in place. See the photos below for illustration of how it works on both Stephanie and a generic minifig.

Fortnight of Friends - Day 8 - box
Opened box - just peel back the bottom and you can build in the box, but be careful not to cut yourself!
Fortnight of Friends - Day 8 - minidoll
This new bracket part can grip the minidoll's feet to hold her in place.
Fortnight of Friends - Day 8 - minifig
The new bracket part can also grip a minifig's feet.

Tomorrow we progress to a still larger set with #3942, “Heartlake Dog Show”.