This set was one of those that appealed to me most when the Summer wave was announced. A little inexpensive set (£8.99/€9.99) containing 157 pieces including an exclusive print seemed really good value for money. Am I still that excited after having built this? Find out in this review below.
So let’s get this out of the way first. I’ve done a few posts about Friends sets now and it’s clear to me some people dismiss the Friends theme just because of the minidolls. There are however also minidoll fans among the AFOLs. Due to this controversial matter I will always judge Friends with a neutral approach to the dolls. I will review this set for the build and parts included in those and everybody can have their own opinion on the dolls.
So what’s it all about? The set consists of a few builds: the kitchen/food stand, a separate mixer build, a table with chair and a small tree with rabbit build. The dolls included are Paisley and Luna. For Luna a wheelchair is included, making this available in a small set for the first time (previously available in the skate park set). This is a great choice since it will allow more kids to play with more diverse dolls and normalize representation of differences in ability.
At first I was stunned by the piece count for this price. Looking at all the parts however, Most of them are rather small. Looking at the bright side that also means a lot of spares. The set is really suitable for a parts pack. It’s a nice variety of parts that’s well suited for any MOC plans one might have. Some coral and magenta parts are included but the majority of parts will have a broader appeal. However most of these parts are rather common and readily available in other sets. There are 2 stickers in this set, which is a shame. The pancake prints are really great and if the sign and cushion were printed as well that would have improved the set. Cushions are often used in Friends interior so a print could have been used again in other sets. The sign would have needed a slight redesign to make it suitable for a printed part.
The set is a bit all over the place. The mixer is a really nice play feature and an interesting small build. The shop itself is really nice as well. Well decorated and equipped. However… At some points I just have the impression things were unnecessarily added to increase the part count. For example: the rabbit with carrot and tree build doesn’t really make sense. The only reason I can think of is to include an animal because young girls often like animals. Also the tiling on the sides of the stand appears to serve no real purpose and is hardly visible. On the other hand, an actual pan is not included and the pancakes are supposed to be made on 2×2 black jumpers. Also some jumper plates within the stand to position a doll in between the cash register and kitchen equipment would seem logical to me. Furthermore the print quality of the instructions is rather poor. The coral parts looked to be dark pink in the booklet. Luckily there’s no dark pink parts included so it sorted itself. However for more complex builds with more subtle color variations this could be a headache. It’s only small things but judging it as a set it’s choices like this that make it a bit messy to me.
Building techniques: 6/10
To be honest I expected to be really positive about this set. It’s a cool parts pack for a reasonable price. The builds look fun and kids will no doubt have fun playing with this. However if I were to use this set in a city layout I would feel the need to make quite a few modifications. Like I noted before, it’s really cool LEGO pushes for inclusive play by making the wheelchair available in an inexpensive set. But if I had to give my fair assessment, I’d recommend buying the printed pancake tiles on Bricklink or Pick a Brick once available and pass on this set. Those are the real highlights of this set, the rest is not that special unless you’re a minidoll fan ;-).
Value for money: 6/10
How do you like this pancake shop? Does it stir your apetite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
LEGO Friends Pancake Shop (41753)
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