This is a big set -- here are the sections we build separately then connect.
Yet first we build a fun photo kiosk and our Family visiting the mall. As part of the "Build, Play, Build" sequence of Friends sets, this gives the builder an instant play opportunity. The silly Cat, Flower and Unicorn graphic with face holes sticker goes onto a 6x6 trans clear wall piece.
There is enough room on the backside of the plate for mini-dolls to stand securely for the camera.
The family we build first in this set is June, Henry, Robert and baby Sophie.
Both the photo kiosk with shopping baskets, and rotating presentation kiosk are built with bag 1 parts -- along with the baby stroller (carriage/pram); plus spares.
A closer look at the mini-dolls, micro-doll, and baby in swaddling blanket:
June is the mom and is new for 2021. Her blouse's coral leafy branches print continue around the back. It's so lovely with the buttoned center placket, short collar, and double navy belts. The ankle-length skirt is not a new piece, having appeared since 2012. Her braided crown with bun rubbery hair piece first appeared in dark orange and black in 2016, yet is new here in dark brown and for Donna in 41446.
The dad Robert is also new. As an adult male mini-doll has a slightly wider nose, and shoulders under his modern graphic shirt of cool yellow, teal and navy.
Henry is a micro-doll who can hold elements by their stems, such as a flower. Baby Sophie's cool yellow blanket is a new color for the piece, which does have one anti-stud on its bottom -- yet is loose on the azure, so the handle keeps her from sliding out.
The Music store is built with bag 2 parts, including the rare medium Lavender 6x6 plate with bow (corner) and newly recolored 6x8 plate in medium Lavender as the roof.
Inside the Music store is a grey slope brick with a touchless purchase sticker, a cool display stand for headphones and a Saxophone. The Teal piano with mic would be perfect for Andrea! I really like its construction and the drums into a newly recolored 6x12 plate in medium Lilac.
Here is Olivia with the newly recolored game controller in hot pink! Her Pac-Man inspired ghost graphic shirt under the shiny blue vest paired with spacey leggings have been in several sets.
We build the Game/Tech store and then a Bubble Tea kiosk above the Music store with bag 3 parts. The game controller snaps onto a grey holder, while the phone attaches to a clear angled handle piece -- to pose it just right for customers. The entry uses a newly recolored 1x6x6 frame in medium Azure.- The Bubble Tea kiosk also uses the same clear piece -- yet as drinking straws, which is quite common now. The jar of cookies is sweet.
The backside of what is built so far gives a better look at the stairs with newly recolored in bright yellow newels. I've pulled out the purple Laptop that gets a game-play sticker from the grey shelf in the Game store. I've also inset better look at the somewhat Zobo-like robot on display in the Spacey-Gamey-Tech store.
We also get a nice selection of spares.
Bag 4 starts with the base of the center section for the mall, and the framing for the Escalator. Lots of Technic here! The black sprocket gears is what will rotate the escalator track once attached.
The clear glass Escalator sides with hot pink railing is ready for the steps with small vertical plate for mini-doll foot hold.
We connect 14 of the Links; they snap together very firmly and with a bit of flex, so mind your fingers don't get pinched. After once, I ended up holding the foot hold to avoid another.
These pieces are new for 2021 and otherwise only in Ninjago City Gardens.
The chain of links fit around the black sprocket gear pieces, and connect underneath. The worm screw is connected via an axle, then yellow tube piece for turning handle.
Bag 5 begins with the under-escalator support base for the center of the mall; also with the "A" plates for angled connection of the other sections.
An ATM is directly under the escalator and Restroom with access from the rear of the mall. It's equipped with a changing table and uses a drawer that is newly recolored hot pink. Two sinks and fancy Mirror sticker have a privacy door leading to the toilet. Good thing we have a fresh air scent bottle, since the ATM with two $100 is just behind it.
We now attach the Escalator to the base and secure it with newly recolored 4x4 plates 1/4 circle and 6x8 plates in medium Lavender.
Spares include a clear crystal.
Now the instructions tell us to "test" if we built the Escalator correctly ...
Yes, it works! Turn the yellow knob left for up and right for down.
Now that we know it works, we need to add the stepping-off platform at the top using grey plates, arch bricks and smooth tile. Now mini-dolls can ride up and walk into the Candy Shop -- through the newly recolored 1x6x6 medium Azure doorway. There's a touchless purchase register like the other shops.
The roof is made using newly recolored 6X6X45°corner plates in Lavender -- along with more 1x6 and 6x6 plates.
The Candy Shop has a fruity drink machine and a display of Lollipops. The front doorway is framed by clear bricks filled with 1x1 round tiles (inset image) -- not stickers! It's always fun to do upside-down building; we cap off the bottoms (since they don't have anti-stud tubes) with pink 1x2 plates before we turn right-side up to install.
Fortunately we get a nice supply of spares in bag 6 too! The round tiles in Spring Green, Light Royal Blue, and Lavender are rare.
Both sides of this center piece have the "A" plate stack build to attach the other sections. Because it's good to have an angle style build that is also sturdy.
Bag 7 parts build the Tea Room over the Candy Store, which now has a Lollipop sign. The three medium azure seats can swivel. Keeping with the mall's color theme, we get a hot pink Teapot and bright yellow table.
The arched mezzanine level also has rainbow accents. The heart-shaped sign uses a 6x6 heart plate in hot pink (bright purple), which is still rare. Only when applying the sticker did I realize the yellow curvy tiles "extend" from the left heart lobe as the handles of a shopping bag! We get an extra teacup and spare 1/4 round white tile.
The Bridal Fashion Shop gets built with bag 8 parts with a security camera pointed to the display with gold ring and tiara. The Lavender wig is only otherwise in a Raya set; the hot pink beehive wig is in a few other sets. The dark purple Cat ears headband is only otherwise in Stephanie's Cat Cube. The paper-fabric pleated skirt debuted in Andrea's Talent Show.
Entry is meant to be from the front over the medium azure tile threshold. The touchless purchase console is just behind the skirt. The magenta branch with blooms softens the side of the mall, just like on the Music store. We get a surprising amount of spare pieces from this bag -- 2 rings and an extra Cat ears headband. The black hose nozzle piece is used to attach the security camera, so it can swivel, which is a nice use.
Bag 9 begins with newly recolored in medium azure doorway and display cabinets for the Toy Store. We get to brick-build a Fire Truck and a Dollhouse -- so fun and awesome! A yellow Duck becomes a pull toy with skate rollers; a nod to one of the first LEGO wooden toys no doubt. It also appeared in last year's Advent Calendar. The rare stuffed Bunny first appeared in the CMF line, and with its cute little tail is only otherwise in Sesame Street.
For the Dollhouse doorway we use a 1/2 circle flat tile in medium Lilac, which is only otherwise in DOTS 41913 Bracelet Mega Pack.
After finishing the Toy Store, we install the yellow slide to be secure before adding roof -- more lovely recolored Lavender plates!
We build a sweet Noodle kiosk on the top level, then add the signs for these 3 stores. The Bridal Shop gets a diamond motif, while the Toy Store has cute Kites with smileys, and the Noodle sign tops it off.
The warm gold railings and flower vases are added to match the other sections.
Here is the back side of this section; the slide's landing ball pit will get three 1x1 plates in red, blue, yellow and green. Since I'll be moving this around for photos -- and attaching the hole bricks to pins of the center section -- it seemed wise to wait for the balls.
I love the back of that Lavender hair piece!
One more look at the front of this section, along with 22 spares.
The box is quite large, as expected; I've placed a 3-brick-tall Friends bricks on the bottom left to give a size perspective. Friends boxes still have the curvy flange sides, yet no purple with graphics as past years, or sub-themes.
Box contents: Nine numbered bags, bright yellow slide section, and a 235-page instructions book wrapped with stickers.
The back of the box shows lots of fun things a mini-doll can do at the mall. It doesn't show the backside of the mall, probably because there isn't room for the large structure and inset images.
There are a lot of new, rare, and recolored parts mentioned here during the build sequence; the complete list of the one-thousand-and-thirty-two parts can be found on the last pages of the instructions as a pdf on LEGO's site.
Even though each shop isn't the size of stand-alone store sets, there are still plenty of play and display opportunities:
Olivia just bought a new phone with an OS that actually works with the platform of a game she wants to play!
Emma is checking out the Noodle selection while enjoying a Cuppa Tea.
The rotating clothing try-on platform showcases June in that lovely pleated aqua skirt.
One more look at the structure mall itself. If you don't want or need a slide on the side, and happen to have a set of newel steps in Lavender -- that would like nice on the right. I do appreciate that the designers brought the color bright yellow to stairs -- to match the slide's color. It balances well.
The warm gold railing add a nice finished touch. Blooming trees are an extra detail that I really love!
As the largest set for the first half of 2021, this mall packs in loads of details with great parts. Building in large, separate sections is the best way to enjoy it while keeping track of the thick instructions book. Each phase gives a sense of accomplishment, while also a chance to take breaks. With such a big structure -- plus moving parts functions to build -- my advice is to open 3 bags per day of construction. Of course it can be built faster ... not sure what fun that is though.
The amount of new and newly recolored parts is noteworthy -- especially in terms of purple and azure. The levels of the mall floors progressing up from dark Lilac, medium Lavender, to Lavender is just wonderful.
Heartlake City has continued to grow over these past nearly ten years, so getting another mall since the first one in 2014 (41058) is great for new fans and new parts! I recommend keeping the 8+ age label in mind if you buy this for a child; unless they have built several sets before, a younger kid may be overwhelmed. Of course a parent could help -- yet hopefully only to supervise. For AFOLs this set provides a very good parts array, a chance to learn new building techniques, and nice addition to any type of LEGO city display.
The functioning Escalator is an engaging build aspect. It's very satisfying to turn that crank and see the steps move. It takes this set into the next level of complexity!
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.