June 1, 2018

Review: 41346 Friendship Box


Brick-built Life-size iconic gadgets of the main 5 LEGO Friends!

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 FriendsBricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.
A suitcase type of box, with plastic handle for carrying -- great for storing the built items!

Box front: A cheery color-washed background representing each of our 5 main Friends and their graphic versions. Topped by pictures of all the gear items we will be building. An insert of Emma's camera being used by her doppelganger.
The upper right corner heart is used for the message: "Best Friends Build Together" -- instead of the mini-doll graphics.
Box back: All the brick-built gadgets, Life-size and being played with by Life-size Friends doppelgangers; showing which item belongs to whom with framed inserted cameos of the appropriate Friend.

Box top: Brick collage, handle, and Zobo's 2x2 round stickered tile of his Heart serving as the size ratio example of contents.

Box left side: Trophy, Zobo, and Camera with its Light Brick highlighted.

Box right side: Microphone and Walkie-Talkies featured.

Box opening: Tape, tab, and handle. Easy to close back up for storing your brick-built gadgets.
A close-up shows the LEGO Logo is embossed onto the plastic handle.
Box contents: Instruction booklets and sticker sheet enclosed in plastic protection, and five number bags of parts.
Since these are five independent creations, you could start with which ever bag and instructions you want -- I will begin with bag 1 for ease of following.
Inside plastic protection: Sticker sheet and 5 instruction booklets of varying sizes; each with a different back cover image.

Sticker sheet: I like that they are arranged by each brick-built item in this set - per bag number and graphic of item.

The small icon graphics not part of stickers aren't die cut, yet you could easily use scissors to trim and make them a size to use for a creation or notebook.
Bag 1 parts:
New color for a part: Rocket step 4X4X2 (cone) in Teal

Round 4x4 brick with Ø4.9 center hole and side notch in Flame Yellowish Orange
Begin with Teal macaroni bricks on a round 4x4 magenta plate.

Attach stars using Technic pins, so they can rotate with movement.
Then add the "On/Off" sticker.
Next, we add the stickered 2x2 round black tile and plate to the handle of the microphone as a rotating volume "On/Off" switch.
Then we build the core of the microphone's sphere. It's always fun how they put red bricks 'inside' of stuff.
After connecting one stacked dark blue plate section, we build 4 more for the sphere.

Now you can sing while you build -- with Andrea's Microphone!

Microphone complete after inserting the Technic axle through the Teal cone piece, then sliding the cross axle extension piece over that -- which represents the radio frequency transmitter.
Plus, two spare parts.

Note: The axle with end piece takes a bit of a push to get started through the center of the cone, and then up through the whole stack of round 4x4 bricks with center hole and side notches, due to the grooves needing to line-up.
If you buy this for a kid, you may need to supervise this step, so they don't bend it.
Bag 2 parts: Lots of Lavender and Lilac, yet no real new-to-2018 pieces -- although the large black Technic wide rim piece is certainly new to Friends sets.

First page in instructions booklet is dedicated to the Light Brick, and next page tells us to save instructions for future information (in 35 different languages). The Light Brick comes with a tab inserted between the battery and circuit connection -- to save its juice until you're ready!

Building begins with base and back wall of camera, then interior switch mechanism is clicked onto a Technic pin. This lever is what pushing the button down will conversely raise on the opposite side to activate the Light Brick.

After building walls, remove the battery tab and connect the grey brick (that the battery connects to) to the aqua studs.

Build walls higher, then add the camera button section (built with plate, axle, and black ball); the instructions tell us to test the Light Brick at this point. This makes sense because we'd hate to get all done and it not light up!

Gee, all these extra orange brick separators do come in handy after all!
Build the side panel sections and attach.

The back of the camera gets an "On-Off" sticker added to the grey profile brick; and a view-finder sticker of all 5 main Friends, plus a sticker for camera control settings.

To add our Lens, we insert the Technic axle through the dark grey cross-hole brick and add the large black wheel hub. Connect the back and clear discs at their 2x2 stud centers and add to the axle; secure with grey cross plate. Last add the smaller clear disc and "click" ... You have a brick-built camera!
Spare parts are in the foreground -- all small and easy to lose.
Top view of finished camera.

Now we have a brick-built camera -- with artistic flair, just like Emma!

Thanks to Mr. Brick Separator for performing our final flash test :-)
Bag 3 parts: Lots of medium azure bricks, otherwise no real new-to-2018 parts.
The dark blue parts at the top are actually called "earth blue" by TLG.
In the first place, we build the base with a sticker placed along the side of a yellow 2x6 brick, then add dark blue tiles and top off with a star via jumper plate.

For the second step, we stack 2 round dark blue 2x2 bricks on top a grey round plate; then we insert the axle. Make sure your axle goes through to the grey 2x2 round plate -- because, even though we to add each additional round brick separately, if your axle isn't down far enough already, it will protrude on the top. This would prevent the cup section's plate from attaching.
Then insert the column into the base.
Now begins the building of a brick-built number one in magenta. This is a great way to teach new (and older) builders a way to incorporate graphics into a brick wall.
I was very pleased at this portion of the build -- they could have just had us add a sticker. Although there are a few stickers on this gadget, they are minimal.
Our cup section is done: The number one has never looked so good! This could easily be a brick-built coffee cup at this point.

Turn the cup upside down and add inverted slopes for the underside -- to get more of the cup shape.

A Stephanie style Trophy! With the cup section add to the column, and 3 star stickers adorning the number 1, we now have a winner of a brick-built gadget.

We get two spares; although I wish upon that extra star to be added on the front via a side knob brick, instead of the stickers.
Bag 4 parts:
New for 2018: Rocket step 4X4X2 (cone) in dark Azure
Round 2x2 brick with side hole (Ø4,85) in dark Azure (under the 2 dark Azure Rocket cone pieces)
We begin with the base for the robot torso; shiny silver knobs and solar battery indicator sticker. Dark pink tiles line the inside of the front compartment, and Olivia's gear icon is stickered to the back panel section then attached.

Next the shoulders and arm joint knobs get attached.
The compartment door is built with a medium azure 4x4 round plate (all other are dark azure parts), a dark blue disc, and white round tile with Zobo's Heart graphic. Of course I wish it could be printed, yet it doesn't meet the use-frequency threshold.

Then we build little cakes to put into the compartment.
Turn the torso upside down to add the wheels.

Now that Zobo is right-side-up, we build the neck assembly on the white ridge-toothed turntable plate -- so the head is turn-able. It clicks firmly and stays in place. Then we build eyes for this charismatic robot. The black light-saber pieces are inserted as pupils (to keep discs secure). You have to push them firmly.

Eyes and eyebrows add a lot of expression!

We add the grey flex axle with the Lime ball attached to the end to a clip on the robot's back panel.
Then we prepare to build arms.
Articulated arms attached! Zobo has opposable thumbs too.

Zobo is ready for commands -- with 5 spare parts to boot.
Now you can have Olivia's favorite cakes from your own Zobo!

Bag 5 parts: Lots of Lime (bright yellowish green) and new for 2018 are the inverted slopes
in the smaller bag (Plate, with Half Bow, Inverted 1x2x2/3), or 'curvy slopes' as I call them!
  The black rubbery pieces at the very top are Technic dampers, which are used to reduce friction between moving parts.  They will be our "push-to-talk" buttons.

Start with the base of Lime bricks on a plate, then add black front knob bricks for attaching the dark azure grill pieces to create the walkie-talkie speaker area.

After more Lime layers, with a splash of orange bricks, we get the Technic pins ready for future functions.

The building step for the blue pin is a bit confusing as shown: once your pin is in, you need to rotate the grey brick the other way around -- or the rim part of the pin will protrude where the Lime 2x6 needs to go next. The rim part is need on the outside of the unit for adding a volume dial tile later.

The building step for the tan pin is oriented correctly and it's clear which way to place it. The tan pin's cross-groove end gets a black rubbery Technic damper piece added, and it correctly protrude out of the side (centered over an orange stud) because it will be the push-to-talk button.
Next we add slopes to round out the top. Then add the stickered grey plate to represent the device's screen.

Now we turn the unit upside down to add the plates and slopes -- so the curviness goes all the way around.

Back to right-side-up, we add the green and red "On-Off" indicators, the volume dial stickered tile with Mia's icon symbol of Lightning Bolt (solar power), and then clip in the antenna.

The rubbery Technic piece as the push-to-talk button feels like a real-life walkie-talkie button!

Get ready to repeat those building steps ...
Now we can talk to our Friends just like Mia -- with a pair of walkie-talkies, plus spare parts.

A look with the Friends mini-dolls together and next to their gadgets - for scale - and to have one more look at these brick-built creations.

Summary:

From the perfect squishy "push-to-talk" button on Mia's walkie-talkies, to a trophy worthy of a spot on Stephanie's shelf, and to a robot that combines Olivia's love of geekery blended with whimsy, plus a camera that is not only stylish like Emma -- it feels like a real camera! Top it all off with a Microphone that I dare you to resist wanting to grab and sing out loud -- with its spinning stars and exact replica sphere!

Each of these builds provide good building techniques any builder can add to their skill set. To say the word clever here is an understatement. I don't know how long this set was under development -- yet I am glad they made sure it was this good.

Although this is an ideal set for any Friends fan, any builder who declares a favorite theme other than the Heartlake city scene could be very happy with this box. Each build could easily be tweaked for any genre or canon of the LEGO brick. Or, customize it to your real-life activities.

Inspiration-wise ... it makes you wonder what other object in your daily life can be brick-built by your own design. Go build it!

Brickset was used to verify new parts.

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