December 20, 2019

Review: 41394 Heartlake City Hospital


Heartlake City is getting bigger -- so another hospital has been built for Friends 9th year -- 2020. It certainly has a Beach-vibe with its teal and vibrant coral.


Box front shows this new hospital in a neighborhood with downtown HLC in the distance. A few shops on the left look new-ish. Standard doodled flanges and BFF heart inset, with 2 dark purple frames on opposite corners which seem to be the new 2020 box graphic. The mini-doll cameos show us a new character, and the left side scene inset is also standard now.


Box back shows us why there's a visit to the hospital. When I first saw the product images, I thought perhaps Ethan fell off the HLC Restaurant sign he was tagging last wave. However, it appears to be the classic slippery 'ol Banana!


Box top shows fun elements, Ethan, a full view of new Dr. Maria, and Emma as the core mini-doll for this set. This box also has last year's LEGO Life ad rather than "Instructions PLUS" so we'll see if the instructions are the new type.


Scene slice side of the box is always my favorite and this one is a nice capture of Emma coming to visit injured Ethan with a huge Lolli... err, Balloon!


Brick collage side gives us another peek at some of the fun bricks and pieces in this set. Certainly enticing while browsing sets on a shelf.


Box contents: Instructions booklet #1, instructions book #2, one slightly curled sticker sheet loose in box, another sticker sheet perfect condition tucked inside book #2, a tan 8x16 plate, and four numbered parts bags.


Another look at the stickers and instructions. The instructions are the typical style we've always known. Last year's anonymous mini-doll inset on the booklet with LEGO Life ad makes me wonder if this set was originally meant to be in the last wave. The vibrant coral and teal parts suggest that; since they certainly create a beachy-vibe -- as I've already mentioned.


Bag 1 parts: Nothing new-for-2020, although Teal continues to be popular. The appearance of the brick separator gives you a clue as to how large the set will be.


First we build Ethan. He has his standard sand green hoodie and lovely hazel eyes. Normally we build a "core" Friend of the set first -- yet he sure is becoming a regular guy.


We get busy building the Ambulance chassis; I've inset a photo of it so you can see the tan shelves. The stretcher fits in snug and dips down very slightly, making it sit just below the shelves, so it doesn't slide out when titling the vehicle -- too much. The coral top frame and back hatch get added. Nothing goes into the cavity under the stretcher, yet I suppose supplies could fit.


The Ambulance roof is added, connected by only 4 studs on the tiled frame -- so it's easy to remove for play. It's a sturdy small vehicle for sure; the floorboard is reinforced since we use 2x2 axle plates. The white half-circle plates add stability and gives it the rounded style. The windows tilt out, so that way or roof removal is how we get a driver in there. Or, pretend it's a driver-less vehicle.


Everything bag 1 parts build: Ethan and the wheelchair are built first. We're told to give him a Banana by the instructions ... against my better judgment I complied. I forgot to pull the stretcher out of the ambulance, yet will do in further photos. The beating-heart sticker for the side panel looks a bit orange in these images; in person it's coral like the tiles. It must be the shiny coating throwing off my camera.


Bag 2 parts: The 1x12 brick, 1x12x3 Arch, and 1x8 brick are new in Teal (bright bluish green / dark turquoise). Otherwise not any other new molds or colors.


Building the first floor of this hospital is straight forward and has a few cleverly built aspect, such as the microscope. The matching rugs with a cross band-aid/heart motif are cute; even if they are stickers. I'm happy with my "window-blind with heart-shaped pulls stickers" application. Whew.


Here is everything we build using bag 2 parts. Emma cannot stand upright while holding that balloon -- unless she connects to a stud. She also has a chocolate bar for Ethan. Bottom left are the spare parts and the rest of the medical tools we'll use in the upper floor.


Emma is wearing an origami bird graphic one-shoulder top over a very pale green camisole. I love that print! I can't remember her wearing so much bright pink before though. Her matching 2-layered skirt coordinates with the Lavender and pink shoes -- tying in with the purple trim of her top.


Bag 3 parts: Another 1x12 Teal brick. Lots more lovely vibrant coral and teal parts in the smaller baggie, plus Dr. Maria is has Teal pants.


Meet Dr. Maria! She's new in mini-doll form for 2020: with her blonde hair braided and pulled back into a bun, blue eyes, teal pants and hospital white shoes. Her doctors jacket has the heart-beat logo on the left chest in coral, along with her name badge. Collar and pockets trimmed in navy are softened by her aqua shirt.


Bag 3 parts finish off the coral roof outline of the first floor, then build the upper floor. I'm still doing OK with the clear-backed window stickers -- that window blind on the right is printed crooked, so can't fault me. ;-)


We get to build the move-able scanner for the X-ray machine. See, mini-dolls actually have bones!


Bag 4 parts: The 6x6 heart-shaped plate that debuted last year in flame yellowish orange in the Heart Box Friendship Pack is pretty in bright pink now! It will be the core of our rooftop sign. More vibrant coral tiles in the small baggie, yet no other new parts.


All of bag 4 parts are added: A small rooftop garden, a medical supply cabinet, coral trim, and the sign. Instructions tell us to build and attach the sign's base onto the roof first. Then build the heart sign and attach it by pushing the Technic pin into the grey brick's hole. However, the grilles and cheese slopes in the front prevent that (I tried a couple times). So I removed the sign's base from the roof and the sign clicked in. It doesn't really rotate much, so I'm not sure the reason for slopes to brace it.


The heart with band-aid sign is very welcoming with clear graphics this is a medical facility. The hospital is done; with a few small spares, just in case.


Ambulance arrival "wee-woo-pink-blue" ... has Emma as the driver, while Dr. Maria tends to Ethan after pulling the stretcher out of the back. I've inset an image of the underside of this solid vehicle.


Straight up to X-ray for Ethan as the scanner shows he has a bone break. Emma bought a balloon and Chocolate Bar for him, and waits on the rooftop garden. I've inset an image to show scanner moves along the exam table.


As Emma visits Ethan in the patient room where he had his arm cast put on, Dr. Maria gets busy using the microscope in the Lab. I really like that design!
Of course there is a small waiting room, and check-in desk. Those matching band-aid crossed heart rugs are very cheery!


The balloon appears to have made the wheelchair pop-a-wheely, carrying Ethan with it ... hopefully Emma can catch up!


One more look at the overall set. Or, is this actually another visit for an injured Ethan ... ?

Summary:  Although we had Heartlake Hospital 41318 in 2017, this new one is a bit smaller; with HLC growing, it's better to have medical facilities near neighborhoods. The colors of this one would make a great addition to any beach or coastal LEGO town layout. The great thing about mini-doll sized buildings is that minifigures can easily fit. So any fan can enjoy the clever designs Friends have.

With Friends entering a ninth year, being an evergreen theme means a repeat of sets. It's also good for fans who missed out on the first version.

Probably my only issue with this version is that it is not modular. Being able to take the top floor off for first floor views and access would be nice. It wouldn't take much to make it modular though -- a few tiles and studs between floors. As it is, for an AFOL it's a bit hard to access the inside. For target fans, it may not be a problem. Just like having so many stickers.

My favorite aspects of this set are the Heart with Band-aid rooftop sign, and the Ambulance. The techniques used for both are useful for fans making their own creations.


Disclaimer: This set was provided by 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.


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