December 26, 2019

Review: 41396 Puppy Playground


Minding one puppy is hard enough ... yet Mia can manage two on this playground!


Box front shows Mia offering Coco a treat reward for trying the merry-go-round, while Cookie attempts the slide on a skateboard.
The round red inset on the bottom left denotes this as a 4+ "Learn to Build" set for that age range. We have our mini-doll cameo inset, the BFF Friends heart, and purple faux flanges.




Box top show some cute elements we get, plus our Friends mini-doll Mia.


Box back has the mini-doll, pets and elements, inset of a treat scene, and the "Learn to Build" example (covered by the not for sale sticker).


Box side with scene slice shows they are outside of HLC, perhaps a park near Heart Lake. Both puppies are the same breed (design mold), just different fur color.


Box contents: Instructions booklet (pre-2020 format), 10x6 lime green plate, short slide section, and two non-numbered bags.


Large bag parts: The 1x4x3 bricks are new in dark purple/medium Lilac (part #6299698). First introduced in 2019, it's the same brick as used for the many faces in Queen Watevra's Build Whatever Box. I could have really used that part when I attempted an all dark purple house last year. It also comes in several neutral colors with no print and used as wall elements.  These new 4+ sets (previously called Junior) suggest they have "Starter Bricks" to allow young fans to build, while still learning.
Cookie (white puppy) is a new print for that named pet. Livi the Pop Star had a puppy named Cookie who had a different fur print with a music note and purple eyes.
Coco (reddish-brown puppy) is also new in this color for that design which has existed since 2012's Mia's Puppy House. It has appeared in white, nougat and tan in many sets.


Small bag parts: New in color light purple (actually light pink) are the roof tiles 1x2 45° with 1/3 plate (above the hair brush), and the printed round 2x2 tile with a puppy holding a green tennis ball in its mouth is exclusive to this set -- and cute!


First we build Mia -- per instructions, give her sunglasses and a hair brush. We attach bows to both puppies, add wheels to the skateboard and set out treats in the pink dish.


The "spinning" merry-go-round topped with a dog bone is next. I like that we use tiles under the brick that will spin, so it has less friction. Plus, little parts like sunglasses or bows won't get lodged underneath.  It's good to start teaching younger builders this technique.
Then the base for the slide get build using those newly re-colored wall bricks in dark purple.


Then we add the slide section. Since this is a 4+ designed set it goes quick, yet is still engaging for making sure you have correct orientation. So, for real young builders, the varying of colors help to learn techniques while gaining spatial orientation skills.
The printed pink round tile tops this off perfectly -- hard not to smile at it!


Let's take a closer look at Mia: in this set she has a silver and purple halter top gathered into a knot on one side (to keep it out of the way). Her classic lime green capri pants and purple sneakers to match her top. It's great we get back printing! Mia first wore this outfit in 2019 in 41337 Underwater Loop, and the top in Mia's Summer Heart Box 41388.


This is Cookie -- with Teal eyes and a grey heart-shaped coloring of fur around one eye. Freckles on the nose -- so cute!


Coco has pale blue eyes in contrast to medium nougat fur with no other markings.


The hair brush gets stowed on top of the slide platform. Cookie is playing hide-and-go-seek. So Mia thinks a bone will be too tempting to stay hidden. We get a few nice spares - considering this is a small set.

Summary:

This is my first 4+ set I've reviewed. Having recently built the 778 piece Friendship Bus, this was a shift, of course. I tried to go slow and see if any steps should be highlighted. Even though I didn't focus on in a photo, adding smooth tiles under a rotating round part is a good idea. The bright yellow tiles stand out against the green (grass) plate.
Otherwise, this is a fun quick build similar to a polybag. Yet here we have larger pieces; although they are pieces found in many sets (slide section). In that regard, this set isn't lacking in enough building steps to make even an AFOL look at the instructions booklet.

My one issue would be that the merry-go-round top needs another 6x6 round plate on top of the dark pink base -- for 2 puppies to fit. Attaching one is already tight; plus it's as if the dog bone is coming out of its head. Although I do like the skeleton leg with bone as a topper for the ride!
I just wasn't compelled to play with it.

There are plenty of other play options for young imaginations. When I turned the slide section around to add the brush -- I immediately realized the area below would be fun for hide-and-go-seek. So, for the target audience of younger Friends fans -- it will be fun.
For AFOLs, as a parts pack you get 2 of the newly re-colored wall elements in dark purple; plus new pink roof tiles. For pet collectors, these new puppies should be attractive. Teal eyed puppy with a heart -- who can resist?


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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