May 5, 2018

Review: 41334 Andrea's Park Performance

An ordinary stroll through the park turns into something spectacular with tasty lunch and a live production! Get ready for puppets and parrots and pianos – Oh my!

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 wave of sets brought all five of the Friends girls to Heartlake City Park, each for her own purpose, and with her own building set. Olivia is on a mission [41333], Emma has set up shop [41332], etc. Well, Andrea is here with her own trademark specialty: musical performance. 

At nearly 14” long, this box seems surprisingly large for the number of pieces (229), but it certainly looks inviting. The front has new Friends brand graphics for 2018 with updated logo and group picture. The main scene gives me the impression that Heartlake City citizens are appreciative of the arts and support an active public theater group – complete with their own outdoor venue. How nice! 

A detail shot in the lower left corner indicates that the stage can rotate (cool!). Portraits of this set’s featured characters appear in the lower right. The concentric circles framing Andrea remind me of a vinyl record. She is joined by two new faces: the bearded Steve and baby Diana. 

Detail shots on the box's back highlight special parts and features. I notice that we can press the keys of the piano!

Inside the box, we have two numbered bags, an instruction booklet, sticker sheet, a large lime-green plate, and two tan 1x16 bricks.

Thanks to LEGO’s numbering of parts bags and strategic model design, this set is divided into multiple build/play experiences, as seen here: 

Opening the first bag of parts, this is what we find:

As usual, the first order of business is to build figures. So here we have our Steve minidoll:

Steve has a a charming old-timey look with his curled mustache, suspenders and Henley shirt. He makes me think of American pioneers, lumberjacks or traveling circus performers. Haha. He seems a natural for a park stage. Steve has brown eyes and black hair, with a more distinct beard than we’ve seen on previous male Friends characters. I like this look! This hair element was also used for Luis, Emma’s dad, in Emma’s House [41095].

These legs are also available on Daniel in Mia’s Tree House [41335]. I can imagine those being useful if I want to send Andrea, or another character on a hiking trip. Good sturdy footwear! They also could act as safe work-boots and jeans for Olivia in her workshop.

The instructions have us sticker a menu/sign for the hotdog stand and construct some simple benches. Then it’s time to assemble a stroller for transporting Diana. This is a fine design and it functions well. As with real-life modern strollers, the handles are adjustable and the back can recline if it’s time for baby to have a nap. A bit of sun protection via a shade may have been nice, if it could have fit. 

This dad looks ready to roll! I like to imagine he’s giving mama a break back home. Actually, baby Diana, swaddled in her yellowish-green blanket, looks suspiciously like Baby Ola! (from the Heartlake Hospital [41318] set) Could they be twins? 

They are, in fact, identical. I hope there will be more baby designs in the future. Variety in skin tones or a face with eyes closed would be great. Note: This mold was also used for a collectable minifigure in 2016, where the element was dark tan and its printed yellow face resembled a classic smiley.

Going back to the stroller; Heartlake Hospital [41318] also had one and it’s interesting to see how the designs differ. Certainly, baby is now more secure, being attached by a stud at the back.

Steve is ready to get to work on building our main attraction. A sturdy wooden foundation forms a stage, then gets a colorful layer of flooring.

There’s also a food vendor’s stall to construct. From it, the character of your choice (perhaps another minidoll from your collection?) can serve up hot dogs, drinks and condiments. 

Here is the complete build from bag 1:

Note that the roof of the kiosk, which is meant to represent a bun, uses white 2x3 bricks with curved top. I imagine the designers may have liked these to be tan in color, but that option left production many, many years ago. 

Opening the #2 bag, we find these parts, plus two smaller bags within.

I see some nice magenta, tan and brown parts here. The sheet music is printed, but not new. It first appeared way back in 2012. I’m thrilled to get more of the new 5-petaled flower elements. They come in three different colors in this set.

Here’s a quick reference chart of what's new in the set:

The five different Heartlake City Park models each include the above 2x2 white tile, printed with the park's map. From it, you can certainly see how Heartlake City got its name!

The bird, named Pepper, is a new animal friend this year. It’s currently found in two other sets (Andrea’s DJ Pod [853775] and a small Wishing Well, which I believe was sold with a magazine). Pepper will also appear in Andrea’s Bedroom [41341], due out later this year.

And now, at last, it’s time for the star of our show, Andrea, to join us! She is looking shiny and new:

Andrea’s features and hair have changed this year. You can see a visual comparison of the old and new characters in this blog post. and read a statement from LEGO about the changes here. I like the natural look of Andrea’s new eye and lip colors. Her proud mane of tight curls has an off-center sweep which frames her face nicely. 

Andrea’s dazzling performance outfit is currently unique to this set. For her appearances in other new sets, her wardrobe uses a different color scheme – more like how I remember her from past years (magenta, bright light orange, and light aqua). But this time, it’s a pleasing combo of dark blue, shiny gold, and teal. Yes, that’s right. I said “TEAL” (a.k.a. dark turquoise)! This color has just been revived by the LEGO company, and it will be a part of Andrea’s color palette. I think it’s a great hue for her and I’m excited to collect more elements in this unusual color.

The angled zippers and color blocking of Andrea’s vest remind me somewhat of an 80’s leather jacket, but the look here is fresh. Her shiny golden lapels are accented with musical notes and her boots have studded gold details like 2x2 bricks. I think she looks clever , cool, and fun!

Now, Andrea is ready to give Steve a break and take over the construction job. Once she has a few vertical surfaces, she tapes up posters to promote her show. Pepper is supervising.

Here’s a closer look at that poster sticker, as well as the others on the sheet:

It appears the puppet show will have a fantasy theme, with castle, dragon, and royal characters (stickers 4-6). A newsletter (2) displays announcements from the theater group. A marquee sign (7) features a note with wings and swooshing stars.

Next, we get to work on building the piano (or, is it an organ?) and puppet stage sets. These will be built on a disc which can rotate, allowing alternating between audience-facing and backstage.

Peering inside the core, you can see that a Technic axle runs through the middle, transferring movement from one side to the other. Basically, a tilting plate will tip some pegs.

Below, you can see the built-up stage sets in action. The range of movement here is small, but effective and fun. As you press the left and right sets of keys, the puppets jostle in front of a background landscape. I really appreciate the effort  that went into integrating this play feature. One minor complaint: I do wish it were possible to align the keys flat. They always look a bit off-whack. But this look reminds me of a player piano in action, with its mechanized moving keys – which may not be a bad thing! 

Note the cute use of star elements as crowns for the puppets' heads. Pairs of red slopes give the impression of velvet stage curtains. LEGO did something similar with Mia's Magic Tricks [41001] and I can picture Mia bringing her magic act to this stage.

I also can imagine kids directing new performances by swapping out the background and puppets for their own drawings and small characters.

Once this assembly is complete, it can be attached to the main stage. A round plate underneath snaps onto the turntable base, allowing it to spin freely.

 Andrea clearly has no fear of heights as she assembles the stage roof...

It's time for Pepper to get a pretty costume and take position on the perch. Note that your spare lavendar bow could be worn by Andrea or one of the puppets.

You can see below how the brown "A" shaped plates connect to form a fan-shaped awning.

Ta-dah! Here is the complete set, built as instructed:

And these are the spare parts:

I enjoyed building and playing around with this set. It's an attractive model, with nice views from many angles, including the top. The functionality is clever and unusual. It has good play value and high expansion potential. For example, you could easily add more benches and build some "lighting" for your stage.

Now, let's explore just one play scenario through some additional photos...

I am imagining that, one morning Andrea and Pepper are rehearsing their act (a musical about a brilliant wise-cracking princess who's constantly outsmarting her twin brother). Meanwhile, Steve, who's new to both fatherhood and Heartlake City, stops his stroll to take a seat and feed baby Diana. 

Steve chuckles at the character's antics while Diana slurps her milk. [burp!] They both enjoy the calliope-style music, played by Andrea with Pepper's chirpy accompaniment.

As the show ends, Andrea hears applause from her unexpected audience and comes around to say thanks and offer baby Diana a balloon.

The smaller folk get to know each other while Steve and Andrea decide to grab some lunch.

At the self-serve hot-dog stand, Andrea wisely chooses the combo menu option. (no "1" coins for her change!)

After learning of Steve's appreciation for music, Andrea asks if he would like a turn at the mic. He bravely gives it a shot...

Wow! The group is captivated as he sings a folk song he learned from his grandfather...

Surprise! He has an amazing voice. Andrea suggests they try a duet and...

Whoah! It looks like this act has potential. What's next? I think Steve may need a babysitter ... and they may need a bigger venue! Perhaps a future set will be called “Andrea and Steve's Sold-out Stadium Performance.” ;-)

Thanks for reading!

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.


Blondwave said...

Really luv the new baby carriage design!!! I have Heartlake Hospital, and I was quite surprised that baby Ola doesn't stick into it.
Also, I just HAD to buy Steve minidoll. Many Lego Friends need a father xD

Xyra Silverleaf said...

I should stop reading your posts, you make me want each and every set. :-) This looks like a great set. I think you could design a top to the baby carriage with a few extra pieces.

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