With the LEGO® Friends theme getting a reboot earlier this year, it’s ushered in a new era for the long-running theme. The sets released this year have been some of the most inventive and fun to build. One of the all-time greatest Friends sets is the Botanical Garden but the set I’ll be taking a look at this review is a very close second. The Beach Amusement Park is filled with fun features including an excellent working mechanism. Here’s a closer look at another of the new LEGO Friends Summer sets.
Set Name: Beach Amusement Park | Set Number: 43737 | Pieces: 1348 | Theme: Friends
RRP: £89.99/$99.99/99.99€ | Number of Bags: Bags x 10 | Instructions: 1 x Paper booklets + Builder App | Stickers: Sheet x 1 | Characters: Zac, Nova, Dia & Charli
Availability: LEGO Stores, LEGO Online & General Retail
Heartlake City is filled with plenty of fun places to visit and exciting things to do. One of the latest attractions to come to the city is a sea-themed fairground. This seaside-based attraction includes rides, games and a singular connected mechanism that powers them all. As LEGO builds have become more varied and advanced, elements from the Technic system have become more prevalent in non-Technic sets. They crop up quite often in LEGO City, Star Wars and Marvel sets amongst others but less so in Friends sets. Yet, Technic elements form an important part of this colourful new set.
Once complete the set forms an L-shaped scene, but it’s built in sections, which are then connected together to form the larger scene. In total, the Amusement Park is crafted from three different sections. A wave rider machine, a shooting game and a nautical-themed ride. Each of these sections features a hidden system of gears and axels that power each of the working mechanisms. The first one you build is the wave rider. This features a surfboard mounted onto a movable plate, crafted to look like waves. It a similar to the FlowRider machines which feature a thin plain of fast-flowing water.
This is then connected to the larger corner section of the Amusement Park, which features the largest section of the movement mechanism. This central section serves as the means to activate all of the set’s moving pieces as well as being the base of the carousel ride. Although it contains far more Technic pieces to create the gear system, it’s cleverly hidden within the set’s base. Here it’s housed within a rocky mound but you can still get glimpses of the working parts from a series of transparent blue panels, which are decorated with sea creature-themed stickers.
Before completing the carousel, there’s another section which is added to the righthand side of the set. This is a sort of shooting gallery game, which features two rows of moving targets. You can’t actually fire anything at them, but the alternate motion of the two rows is quite clever and as an added bonus, the pirate ship behind the game’s hut rocks as well. There is another fun feature on the shooting game, with a selection of prizes on offer including a bunny toy, balloon animal, doll and even a mini Friends set.
With all the base sections connected together, each of the moving aspects of the set are also connected together and they are powered by a single handle found just behind the rocky mound of the carousel. But the hidden gear mechanism also turns the final sections of the set – a spinning carousel ride. This is built as three animal-themed carriages – a sea turtle, a sea horse and a dolphin. Each animal has room to place at least one mini-doll character. They are each mounted onto a Technic rotor element, which is then connected to the base section. With all the parts in place, they are all powered by that single handle. Considering how many things it needs to move, the mechanism works perfectly and is surprisingly smooth. Sometimes sets that rely on a complex gear system, the motion can be a little shaky or it’s really tricky to construct. This set suffers from neither of those issues.
The set features four characters, two of them, Dia & Charli, are citizens from the wider Heartlake City area. They are both unique mini-dolls and have torsos only found in this set. They are joined by two main characters Zac and Nova, who are also unique to this set. Unlike minifigures which can feature alternate faces on the same head, mini-dolls are stuck with the same expression, so Zac and Nova both include another head element with a different expression. It’s something which has been introduced in the new Friends sets and it’s a nice feature to have.
This is not only a great Friends set in a decent LEGO set in general. It’s colourful and fun-looking but also offers some great play features. Despite using Technic elements to create the moving elements, they are all really well hidden. There are plenty of sets that use these sorts of elements and they are glaring obviously incorporated into the build due to the often limited range of colours used to create Technic pieces. There isn’t even one weird piece dotted around the set, which is quite an impressive feat. The mechanism that powers everything is quite unique, building it can be a little complex in places but the instructions do a good job are guiding you into putting the elements in the correct positions or alignments. It’s also a set filled with some interesting recoloured elements. Although the Friends sets have their unique style, this particular set wouldn’t look out of place next to some of the LEGO City sets