December 16, 2021

Review: 41703 Friendship Tree House


Busy as a Bee! This Friendship Tree House is buzzing with activity. Renovating means being creative, yet there's time for fun when the work is done.


First let's build a workbench with a vise (a throwback to Olivia's first set Invention Workshop 3933), a cargo bike, a Honey selling stand, a Bee Hive, and a hutch for the Bunny.
River can get busy building more Birdhouses and Olivia needs to harvest more honey.


Beekeeping requires proper attire: this helmet/hat with "mesh" face area and printed honeycomb screen were new for 2021 in a CMF packet. The Bee tile was new for 2021 and rare.
The screen can slide in and out easily for inspection. The top beehive already has honey!


Speaking of proper attire -- Olivia is wearing her new Beekeeper suit. The chest logo bee has a small pink heart on its thorax. She also has back printing of a honeycomb pattern. The hat with mesh screen fits nicely over the suit to protect her.
The hat fits straight onto her head and her hair piece is Friends rubbery type.


River is wearing a plaid button shirt over a white tee; the red and black plaid is also printed on the back. He gets an alternative expressive face print head ... "Is that what the back of my hair looks like!?" :-)


Building the base of the Tree House is a lot of baseplates -- to make it strong for a 3+ level house. We get to build a bathroom into a tree trunk, and this one is wheelchair accessible too. The side with another wheelchair ramp is the base for the elevator.

The curvy 3x3 plate 1/4 circle in dark orange is rare, and the new-for-2021 Butterfly in Cool Yellow.


The next level is the start of the actual "house" and it is in repair. The window to the right of the orange front door is specially built to seem rickety. A tan paddle stem snaps into a clip to allow the angle. Further evidence of a renovation are the paint rollers.


Inside the "boarded up" aspect continues as we add a slide.


We build a wheelchair for a new-for-2022 mini-doll named Jackson. The foothold shelf piece is new in orange.

He has green eyes and hard plastic black hair. His red jacket over grey and blue jeans tie in with red sneakers. He gets busy painting the ramp bright yellow!


Mia is here now with denim overalls with a pocket and button-up bib. Her yellow checker pane shirt has back printing. The sand green boots have laces. She has Friends rubbery hair since 2018 color -- yet she gets a new alternative face expression printed head in this set!
It's a very Mia expression, and I love that her cheeks are full with a wide, side smile!


While adding another level of house and tree trunk, we build a railing section for the previous level that also serves as a Ladder. It attaches to a brown clip with a bar inside green rounds that allow it to rotate. Very clever!
Another clever aspect is that one birdhouse opens to reveal a QR code sticker that is to show "Retro" HLC memories in celebration of the 10th year.


Vertical building of the elevator shaft in the hollowed-out Tree trunk. Inside the house there is one bunk bed with bee themed bedding. Sticker above the window in the section we just added have a "I heart HLC" sticker, and what looks like a Camp Wild Hearts poster, although it could be a clue to something new in the future -- since a calendar with dates circled.


From the front you can see the huge tree trunk and there is now a Beehive under the deck.
The green wooden planks (stickers) go across haphazardly to represent renovations. A fixer-upper Tree House ... somewhat like the Fire Station into a Friendship House in 2018.


A tree swing is fitting for a Tree House. We get a large circumference tree branch above it using the newer 2x2 macaroni in brown and 3 others.
The top floor in yellow with fan light windows and a hinged roof for access.
The rooftop has foliage growing on it and the smaller yellow section gets dark orange slopes overhang.


The middle deck gets railing with magenta smooth tiles to match the slide. A bee has landed on one of the flowering tree branches.


We continue with the "renovation" look with some wood grain sticker tiles across the otherwise good shape lapboard house walls.
A white bird has apparently just hatched on the upper right side of the tree house!


All the birds and branches are fun -- but now we get into the Technic function builds. Here is the Elevator assembly. It fits into the tree hollow; it's a bit tight to get the gray parts attached to the nougat and dark orange studs inside. I was concerned, yet by the time you finish the whole vertical section, it seems seated.


The gear mechanism assembly with crank that will turn the Windmill (pretend air) will also raise and lower the Elevator.
Half cylinder parts (wall ½ circle, 1x2, with 4.85 hole) in white are newly recolored for 2022 (first as grey in Andrea's House), and I am happy to get more. While attaching them with alternating pattern, I wondered why not just regular 2x2 round bricks -- then once pushing the long grey cross-axle bar through them -- I was glad. Seems to be a bit more give than that many 2x2s stacked.


Elevator, gear mechanism, and Windmill are installed. Bag 7 should be opened only if you are not tired, hungry, or need coffee!
It's all a marvel and goes together along with some smooth tiles to cover some less attractive parts -- plus add secure stabilization.
Bottom floor ramp lines up with the elevator sides as ramps.


Up the the next level, the other side becomes a ramp. Very ingenious!


Fun small builds of furniture type items get built then installed. There is so much to see inside now, that I wanted to photographs these real quick.
The red boombox is a throwback to Andrea's first set in 2012 (which was my very first Friends set), although the tile with dials and speakers is a sticker -- not printed as the original.
The cake on the cabinet is like Stephanie's 2012 Outdoor Bakery (3930). The newer aqua Cupcake papers get a cookie topper to go into the oven. I think I'd like a cookie-cupcake. The pink and green striped Lounger is a throwback to Emma's Splash Pool 3931.  The desk has a computer with a map of HLC.


The Pizza in a box is so clever and fun! I'll note here that Friends introduced the tan tile for a pizza print.  The Telescope is a very nice design too -- and a bit hard to appreciate when attached to the railing.
Honestly, there is so much to build and attach on this set -- it's a challenge to decide what to feature.


See the inside and all that gets installed: We add a white guitar, beds, a small desk on the top floor (which is a throwback to the grooming table in Mia's Puppy House 3934), and a ladder leading to it. Comfy floor cushions, yellow Lanterns, and coffee cups all help make this a fun tree house to hang out!
The Elevator has reached the 3rd floor of living space.

Placing one finger on a round grey tile with brown axle nub to turn the orange and white crank works best. The string is a wee bit flimsy, so the whole mechanism isn't as robust as pure gears and bricks. String as thick as the kind with studs on each end would be better.


The Telescope is attached to the newly tiles curvy railing, more flowering branches have been added, and another birdhouse -- just above the slide. A flame yellowish orange Butterfly has landed on the branch above all the Birdhouses.

This is the Tree House finished! The tree branches adjust easily, yet are secure with that brown twig piece.


Stickers


Box front has the "10 Years of Friendship" logo designation as the set which celebrates the anniversary.
Gone for 2022 is the BFF Heart in the upper right corner. This leaves room for set images, or other details in other sets.
Graphic added to the windmill blades is somewhat misleading, as they can't spin that fast, that freely -- unless you disengage the worm spiral or another gear.


Box back has inside the renovated tree house, and scenes of activity. Gone for 2022 is the bottom left row of all 5 core Friends.

Contains 8 parts bags one loose green 8x16 baseplate, and a large instructions book (286 pages) wrapped in thin plastic with the sticker sheet. A list of all the parts is on the back pages of instruction book can be found on LEGO's site.


Spares for 41703; it's nice to get extra bee and ladybug tiles!


Inside the Friendship Tree House is a great place to hang out!


Make sure to watch your Pizza when you yell for everyone to grab a slice!
I couldn't wait to use Mia and River's new expressive faces!


Summary:

With so many features and references in this set -- I hope I highlighted them all here. First though, I want to say -- this Tree House is far more charming in person than any images (even box art). There are a lot of lovely branches coming out of these old trees. Yet it's more like a House Tree. That's how it should be for any meaningful usage for lots of Friends.

To incorporate the wind-power as a means of running an elevator is inspiring. I hope lots of builders take note. The overall structure is very solid; there are enough cross connections in the base and upwards to make it easy to move around.

The railing that becomes a ladder might be one of my favorite aspects. The multi-level decks (balcony) are also a fun way to spread the treehouse aspect, while blending the tree with the house. Using the left side to basically camouflage the elevator/windmill assemblies is clever.

Birdhouses are such a fun part of this set for me. Getting to build-in 3, plus another in construction, is perfect for the nature aspect.

A telescope for Olivia's other interest, Andrea's boombox and a guitar, a Bunny for Mia, bike for Stephanie, and paint for Emma to get artsy on a Birdhouse are all nice nods to the core 5 Friends. It will be fun to add them to this set later.

As for 2022, this set celebrates the success of the past ten years by starting new trends, such as having more boys. As most the new sets include new characters -- the Friendship Tree House also has 2 girls and 2 boys.

It's nice that Friends can stay true to its core, yet embrace feedback from fans. I can't believe it's been ten years ... well, cheers to another 10!


Disclaimer:
This set was a gift from the LEGO Friends Design Team.

Photographs are property of FriendsBricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.

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1 comment:

Bricksky said...

Awesome review! I will definitely be adding this one to my collection.

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