It’s been a long slog but my final LEGO® Friends set review is here. The set I’m looking at today is the largest of the newly rebooted LEGO Friends sets not to mention the biggest Friends set ever released. The Downtown Flower and Design Stores set caused quite a stir when it was first revealed, thanks to its interesting design and large-scale size. But does the set love up to the hype and should the LEGO Friends theme offer more sets of this size? Here’s my review of the LEGO Friends Downtown Flower and Design store set.
Set Name: Downtown Flower and Design Stores | Set Number: 41732 | Pieces: 2010 | Theme: LEGO Friends
RRP: £139.99/$149.99/149.99€ | Number of Bags: Bags x 12 (plastic) + Loose Elements | Instructions: Paper + Builder App | Mini-dolls: 9 | Stickers: Sheets x 1
Availability: LEGO Stores, LEGO Online & General Retail
If you haven’t been keeping up then could have missed that the long-running LEGO Friends theme has had a makeover, well actually a reboot. After 10 years of adventures, the original LEGO Friends girls have gone their separate ways and the latest wave of sets is inspired by a new gang of characters. One of those sets just so happens to be the largest LEGO Friends set released so far. Now the Friends theme is no stranger to larger sets, in recent years we’ve been treated to a large-scale hotel and a modular city apartment block. This particular set is inspired by a trendy city shopping precinct which includes a small outdoor seating area, flower shop and flat along with a very unique-looking furniture store. It also offers the ability to decorate the flower shop flat with a selection of different furniture options.
The set is built in three different sections, with the first focused on the Design Store which is basically a fancy furniture shop. This is a very unique building both in terms of how it’s built and its appearance. It has a sort of backward ‘L’ shape, which makes it a multi-floor store. Its layout also incorporates unique display areas to show off various pieces of furniture and homeware. But its exterior is the most impressive feature thanks to the large ‘glass-fronted’ design and patterned cladding. A series of different coloured triangular tiles are laid together to create a great-looking frontage for the rest of the store.
The second section is much less detailed compared to the two buildings which border it. It’s best described as an outdoor square or precinct. So it’s largely an open area which features a balcony area, which is reached by a set of rainbow-coloured stairs, which are a fun link with the Heartlake International School. Once this section is connected to the two buildings, its acts as a walkway between them. Although it’s quite a sparse area, it includes a few details such as a series of tiles spelling out the words UNITY Street. My favourite part of this area is the fountain, which uses a number of blue power blast elements to create spouts of water.
The flower shop is the final section of the shopping street and it’s connected to the square area as well as being an anchor point for a string of lights which hang across both buildings. As impressive as the larger furniture store is, I like this smaller building a little more. It’s more traditional compared to its neighbour and it features plenty of interesting details on the exterior. Some of the architectural flourishes remind me a little of the modular buildings. Yellow Unikitty tails are used to create unique curves on the exterior of the shop and it has yet another excellent little buildable sign. It’s just a cheerful-looking building, thanks to the colours and interesting elements used to create it. Even the roof area is fun with a small table, various plants and a beehive. A very small little detail on the Flower Shop offers a nice nod the theme’s beginnings, with a sticker plaque on the shop noting the street was established in 2012.
As mentioned, a key feature of the set is the ability to decorate the flat above the flower shop with different pieces of furniture, pictures and ornaments. All these can be found in the Design Store part of the set. They include sofas, tables, beds and cabinets, plus there are various 2×2 pictures, ornaments and other furnishings. The space they can be set in is a complete canvas so you really can create various styles by using items from the same collection or mixing them up.
The set includes 7 mini-dolls and 2 micro-dolls. Surprisingly only two of the new main Friends characters are included in the line-up but this is actually a good thing as it allows the set to include a few new and unique ‘fringe’ characters. These include a busking musician who has a new colour combination of a hat and hair element. There’s a first for the LEGO Friends, with a police officer making their Heartlake City debut, obviously, the rampant abandoning of dogs has seen the need for law enforcement to be introduced. Aida appears to be the store assistant at the Designer Store and Fiona is the owner of the Flower Shop, obviously shown by the uniforms they are each wearing.
The two main characters featured in the set are Liann and Olly. The variant of Liann is unique to this set, but Olly really doesn’t like changing his outfit appearing in a few other sets wearing the same thing. Adi is just a random citizen but does use a unique head. Finally, there are the two smaller micro-dolls. These are used to represent the younger residents of Heartlake City. As mentioned in other Friends set reviews, these are a little freaky thanks to them using the same sized heads as the mini-dolls. At least they offer a little variety. There are also two animal figures in this set, including another cheeky little cat, who is unique to the set.
Much like the time LEGO NINJAGO went big with the NINJAGO City set, this could do the same for LEGO Friends. Obviously, the Downtown Flower and Design Store is nowhere near the same scale as NINJAGO City but it does show that larger-scale Friends sets can truly offer something unique for the theme. Plus it’s a known fact that LEGO fans love these sorts of larger buildings, especially if they can be combined with other sets such as the Icons Modular Building Collection sets. But as a standalone set, it really is quite impressive, the bigger piece count and set size have allowed for the inclusion of some interesting details and features. I especially like the various pieces of furniture found in the store tie into the small flat above the flower shop. Sure the set carries a higher price tag, but I’d say its warrants it. One thing I was surprised by was that included mini-dolls, with only two of the new characters being featured in the set, but it does mean you get a few more unique characters joining them. Check out the rest of my LEGO Friends set reviews here along with all the other news and announcements related to the rebooted era of the long-running theme.
This set was provided BricksFanz and provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. The thoughts within this review are that of BricksFanz and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing a set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.