This set was provided by the AFOL Engagement of The LEGO Group for the purpose of sharing set details with fans. Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer. Photographs are property of Friends Bricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.
This medium-sized set features Olivia. I love this character, so I’m thrilled to take a closer look at this kit! On the front of the box, she appears with a station-wagon-like car and some high-tech equipment, in what looks like a public park, by the lake. As others have observed, this vehicle closely resembles the “Ecto-1” (which has been available as a LEGO set, a number of times) from the Ghostbusters movies. This reference is in keeping with the Friendship House  having similarities to the Ghostbusters Headquarters.
This year’s new Friends branding graphics adorn the box. The LEGO Friends logo has lost its butterfly – now replaced with a “TM” symbol. The five girls form a heart shape by posing in a “go-team” hand stack. The loss of the purple brand ribbon area now allows more space for background painting details, which really set the scene nicely here. It looks like there’s some construction going on in Heartlake City!
A detail picture in the lower left corner illustrates that the car has a removable roof and top layer of equipment. We see that this set features Olivia. Her portrait is framed by a hot pink 8-toothed gear.
From the box back, we can see that Zobo will have a command station atop the vehicle, where he rides along, in open air. LEGO’s product description mentions that we will need to remove this top level of the vehicle for it to fit inside the garage of the Friendship House. Hand-drawn doodles and frames lend a casual creative feel, like a scrapbook. A photographic diagram illustrates minidoll assembly, and painted portraits of the five characters are labled with their names. Unfortunately, Olivia is blocked by a non-resale sticker.
The European packaging includes disclaimers in many languages. But along one of the tall sides we have a wonderful vertical image of the set. I this new use of space on the boxes! If I get spare copies of sets, now I might cut these out to use as fun bookmarks. (bonus!)
Inside, we have: two numbered bags of parts, an instruction book and sticker sheet. The instruction book contains easy-to-follow building directions. The final few pages include a visual parts inventory, some additional set promotions, and a LEGO Life advertisement that showcases original LEGO creations by young fans. What an honor for them to be featured here!
One advertising page depicts a scenic view of the park and places a set for each girl there. On a hill in the background, I can see what looks like a large astronomical observatory. That’s a set I’d love to see for Olivia! A “Welcome to Heartlake City” logo shows us a neon-like heart sign with a slightly crooked “L” and three bits of graffiti. (I wonder if those are designer signatures, sneaked in there!)
Here’s what we find inside bag 1 and its sub-bag. Olivia and the cat are notable, of course. But the white printed tablet jumps to my eye as well. This item is also available in Olivia’s bedroom set. The part’s mold has been used before as a sort of book cover in other sets. But here, the printing indicates icons for battery life, WiFi signal, various apps, etc. which turn it into a mobile device. Fun!
Here’s a cheat-sheet on which pieces are new. This chart pulls a few items from bag 2, but as you can see, we get some fun new things in this set! At first, I wasn’t sure why we needed new flower and leaf elements this year, but… Wow! Once I started working with these, I fell in love. My four-petaled flowers are quickly looking obsolete, and this new leaf piece in particular is something I’ll probably never own enough of!
Here’s a closer look at the assembled Zobo, Olivia, and Vega, the calico cat:
Olivia arrived in 2018 having undergone a makeover, as did some of the other Friends characters. While this was initially jarring for me, I believe the changes are for the greater good and I quickly adjusted. I’m happy to see another mini-doll with eyeglasses! (Stephanie’s mom also wears them.) While I think it was a stereotypical choice to assign glasses to the “geek” character, I'm happy to now pretend Olivia is wearing protective eyewear while using power-tools or conducting experiments. Safety first! Her frames are a sort of metallic azure and her lipstick is dark pink. I hope we will see additional facial fashion choices for her in the future!
Olivia’s outfit is new and features the gears that are now her symbol. She wears a practical vest with zippered pockets over a collared sleeveless shirt with necktie, plus shorts and sneakers. The torso and legs elements are unique to this set, as of now. This attire has an 80’s feel to me, and looks a bit like a uniform. The back of Olivia’s torso is plain. From behind, I don’t think I would have noticed that her hair had a new style. But from the front, we can see she has a lovely French braid framing her face.
Vega is cute. She has lovely asymmetric spots and green eyes. I must admit, those rounded wide-set ears of this mold make me think of bears and lions more than house-cats, but the extra distance between her ears allows space for an accessory. Note that a cat who looks like Vega is pictured in a “Missing” poster, on a tree in the Friendship House set. (Now we know where she’s been!) I like her name. It makes me think of the star, Vega – one of the brightest in the sky.
Zobo has appeared in at least three other sets. Each time, he has gotten slight modifications. Clearly Olivia is tinkerer [thumbs up]! Compared with the last version, in Olivia’s Creative Lab , this Zobo has a differently colored chest-light and control-stick/kickstand, and has lost the transparent-yellow plate on his back.
Instructions are all easy to follow, with only a piece or two added at a time. Here you can see that the plates in red (not a color we usually see in a Friends set) are getting buried inside the bottom of the car.
The ladder is constructed with a few fence pieces and plate hinges. Olivia can appear to be standing on the ladder by wedging her feet between the rungs.
Finishing the build for Bag 1, here is what we see completed: In addition to Olivia with a pet treat, Vega, and Zobo with a tablet, we have a bit of outdoor greenery, a ladder, and a car chassis. While this assortment gives us plenty to play with quickly, it also means we can act out Olivia’s mission now, without finishing the car’s build. I hope kids will press on to finish the vehicle.
Aww, Vega wants Olivia to take her picture as if she’s driving the car. Silly kitty! We all know what happens when cats drive cars...
Taking a look at the vehicle’s base, we can see that it includes seating for five. This allows the entire “Problem-busters?” team to roll out on a mission together. I am reminded of the bus in the Heartlake Performance School  which has a similar interior. Unfortunately, all this seating won’t allow for anything else inside. A tempting re-build would be to remove the foot-holds and install the gear from the roof.
Now, you know… I just had to get some ghosts into this review somehow, so here are the other girls, demonstrating the seating.
Moving on to opening the next bag...
Along with white, here we can clearly see a color palette of: hot pink, dark azure, light yellow and a touch of dark blue. Olivia’s new outfit and all of the stickers also use this palette. And if you check out Olivia’s Deluxe Bedroom , you’ll see them again.
Much thought about color appears to have come along with the re-boot of the Friends brand. Each girl seems to have her own signature main color and extended palette. I’ve graphed out how I interpret that [here] in an unofficial chart. Olivia’s main color is dark pink. This fact is made [eye-wateringly?] clear in LEGO’s promo video for this Mission Vehicle set…
Of the six color stories I see in Friends this year (one for each girl, plus a group sampling), personally, I find Olivia's the least appealing. The hot pink, light yellow and blue remind me of the 1990’s LEGO Belville line (sets like 5835 Dance Studio, 5860 Love ‘N’ Lullabies, 5890 Pretty Wishes Playhouse, the 5848 Yacht, etc.) and I can’t say I like this swatch set today any more than I did back then. …However! I have heard plenty of fans online rave about how they the coloring of both the Mission Vehicle and Olivia’s bedroom set. So – you be the judge! It really is a personal preference thing.
Building for Bag 2 calls for the application of ten stickers. A few (#3 and #10) are for the vehicle exterior and reference fire engine equipment. The hood of the car gets a gear/floral design. Interior stickers (#2 and #5) provide a mapping screen with GPS to direct them toward trouble spots around town, and a whiteboard for brainstorming. In a sketch there, I see Rumble the hamster depicted as an energy source, maybe charging a battery. I hope that’s his paw-print of approval on the tiny sticky-note!
There are a few bumper stickers to apply (#4) and a vanity license plate (#7). Because I’m personally not a fan of emphasizing gender lines, I would have skipped the “girl” in “TECH GRL” and also the “GIRLS RULE!” message. But because they are stickers, we do have the choice to apply them or not. After some discussion, Zobo and Olivia decide to go for it!
Above, see the completed vehicle with its top removed. Notice that four studs will secure the roof. And below is a peek inside, looking toward the rear of the vehicle…
And here is the vehicle with the roof, but no Command Station. A depression (a.k.a. “secret compartment”) is up there, currently holding a backup hard-copy map. This would be a great place to later store some of Olivia's tools ...or medical supplies ...or snacks!
Here’s a close-up of the Command Center…
Zobo has a radar screen, walkie-talkie, single-sided flag, and keyboard. (Poor Zobo, with his two-fingered “hands” probably types about as quickly as I do!) A pair of gray hooks will catch the ladder’s rungs, to carry it up there. We also have transparent blue and red cones representing lights, in front. I can imagine those flashing, as the Friends race through the streets, on their way to a crisis. Or… maybe those are emergency hydration vials, of water and juice! It would be nice if this section could fit inside the vehicle, but it does not.
This whole area will rest atop the roof without any stud connections. Zobo can be perched up here, but he has no firm connections either. I was able to adjust his kickstand for some friction, but it wasn’t foolproof. A fun and simple modification is to remove what looks like Zobo's dark azure chair here, and place a 1x2 foot-hold in front of the keyboard. Then one of the minidolls can sit at the computer. I'll put a picture of that at the end, so there's no confusion with the proper set build.
And these are the spare parts:
Now I can send Olivia and Zobo on their mission! I’m assuming an alert came in to the Friendship House that a kitty was trapped in a tree – a classic rescue job for firefighters (at least, in stories!). So, off they go, speeding to the city park. I can just hear the screeching tires… Hang on, Zobo!
Arriving on-scene, they discover a very cute cat in a very short tree. It seems quite comfortable, even sitting on a mat! Olivia sets up her step-ladder and uses a pet treat to coax Vega down. Success!
That was pretty simple. I think we can call that a “level 1 mission.” Harder ones will have to come from our imaginations!
When I first heard the title of this set, but hadn’t seen pictures, I was excitedly expecting something more ...scientific. A mobile research lab, perhaps? A time-traveling submarine? Instead, I discovered a femininely-colored Ecto-1 with an R2D2-like “droid up top,” and a bit of a Partridge Family funky-painted bus. While this was not what I’d expected, I appreciate the playful whimsy and “Friend-ly functionality” of the set. The vehicle is clearly meant to be shared with the other characters and will extend play value for the Friendship House set. And, this being LEGO, if I want to send Olivia on a more science-y mission, I can just change it up! So… I did take some time to reuse nearly all these parts and build a small laboratory and ATV for Olivia.
She still has a vehicle, but now it’s sized just for her and a small companion. Perhaps her new mission is to develop a life-saving vaccine using dinosaur DNA! She will need to trek off-road to collect fossils…
Back at home, Olivia has: chemistry shelves over a workbench; a computer station and stereoscopic microscope adjacent to a climate-controlled specimen case; and a robotic garden that monitors conditions and automatically provides water and fertilizer. Outside is a bird-feeder with geolocation tracking screen. …Olivia is getting to work on her data analysis. Good luck, Olivia!
That was fun! It's a nice selection of parts for messing around with. Next time, maybe I’ll rebuild these parts into a snazzy airship for her! …or a roving Mars buggy. …or perhaps a mobile video studio for her new YouTube series, teaching science and maker-lab skills. :-) I have big dreams for this girl. <3
As promised, here's a picture of a slight modification. Olivia and Zobo have traded places and I've left off the pink roof.
Note: All exclusive parts mentioned in the colours noted were applicable at the time this review was posted. Parts may be available in other colours and sets after the post of this review. Brickset and BrickLink were used to verify this information.