Friday, March 18th, 2016 at 12:56am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for another BZPower Set Review. Today, BZPower Reporter Xccj zooms in on 41116: Olivia's Exploration Car from 2016 Friends theme that focuses on science and astronomy. Is this set worth reaching out to the stars for, or should it be kept off world? Read on or watch the video review to see for yourself.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the purple box shows off Olivia indulging in her hobby, per normal Friends style. You can see her fancy new exploration car, as well as a telescope behind her, with a starry night sky in the background. Plus, there's a useful star chart and her friendly robot Zobo. The back of the box showcases some alternate scenes where she uses the car, the telescope, and the purple laptop. The one thing that attracted me to this set was the fact that it's very science-based with its focus on astronomy.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
There are four main builds; the star chart, the telescope, the car, and Zobo the robot. They're all fairly standard designs, which are nice but not groundbreaking.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
You get 185 pieces, which is fairly good for a $14.99 USD set. And it has a lot of nice colors, like most Friends sets. You get some tiles, plates, clips, and 2x3 curved slopes in magenta, Keetongu orange tiles and slopes, and dark azure plates, bricks, inverted slopes, 1x2 curved slopes, mudguard, and grille piece. There's also a purple laptop, a 1x1 yellow tile with a note printing on it, a 6x6 round green plate, tan corner panels, a pink cup, and the clear 1x1 round connector piece for smaller pins. And there's also some white, grays, and browns to fill it out. Already, this set has a decent selection of useful pieces in great colors, and it would make for a good parts pack.
Olivia is the only mini doll that you get in this set. She's a pretty standard character, but I like the fact that her shirt is unique with a science symbol printed on it. This symbol is reused throughout the set, and features heart shapes in a solar system or atom-like pattern. Since Olivia was the character who was in the robotics lab set in the first wave of Friends, it's nice to see her featured again in another science-heavy set. An interesting bit is that she doesn't come with any hair accessories in this set, but rather has a purple laptop, which has a sticker on it to show that she's researching constellations.
The first build is the star chart. It's a fairly basic stand, and features the star chart sticker, the 1x1 note tile, and the magnifying glass. The note will undoubtedly be a useful piece, although it's kind of hard to tell what's written on it. (The second line may say Mars?) The magnifying glass is positioned to showcase the heart-shaped constellation. Now, constellations have never been my strong suit, but I'm not aware of any that take that particular shape. (Maybe it's only view-able from Heartlake City? I guess it depends on where in the galaxy the Friends planet is supposed to be.) A few of the other constellations are a bit more similar, like the Big Dipper, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Cancer, and Pisces. But they're not positioned correctly, which makes me believe this star chart is not 100% accurate. Still, if this is enough to convince some children to look closer at the night sky, that's far from a bad thing.
The next build is the turret, where Olivia can man the cannon and shoot down rebel fighters... oh wait, it's actually supposed to be a telescope. It's kind of interesting because it appears to be built on top of a large tree, which is not the standard foundation for most telescope observatories. The tree is fairly basic, with a ladder attached to it, and the telescope itself is built onto the 6x6 green plate, which fits on a turntable so it can easily rotate. The main telescope can raise and lower to give Olivia a better view, and the panel piece allows her to wedge her feet in securely. The science symbol appears yet again as a sticker on either side of the telescope. The design is fairly simple, but it gets the idea across.
The most substantial part of this set is Olivia's Exploration car. This appears to be one of the most rugged vehicles the Friends crew has been seen driving. It looks like it can handle some off road adventures, and the lights at the top will be ideal for driving at night to reach the telescope. It has two panel pieces to seat two mini-dolls, as well as a small compartment in the back to hold supplies, like the laptop or her robot. I do like the nicely layered dark azure and magenta color scheme, and the various stickers do a nice job of making it stand out as a science vehicle. (I particularly like the "I Heart Science" bumper sticker on the front.) The science symbol again appears on the hood, and she also has a vanity license plate with her robot's name, Zobo, on it. Finally, she has a GPS and other navigation tools next to the steering wheel. One particular bit I like is how the clear pin piece is used as side mirrors; a clever parts usage.
Finally, the last build is the robot Zobo. He's fairly basic, and similar to the robot design from Olivia's earlier set. But this time, he has wheels! (And a pink cup too.)
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
This set features plenty of role play potential, and you can go through lots of scenes as Olivia travels to the telescope to peer into the night sky. The car itself is a great design, with plenty of room for Olivia and a passenger, and they can drive off on all sorts of adventures. Or Olivia can conduct her research at the telescope, fueling her dreams of one day becoming an astronaut! (Are we close to a LEGO Friends Spaceship? One can hope so!)
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Another Science set!
A good number of parts in uncommon colors!
A rugged car design
Lots of role playing options
Telescope can stand in as a Star Wars turret
Affordable at $14.99 USD
What's not to like?
Builds are fairly standard, nothing super exciting
That star chart is not scientifically accurate. I mean, none of the stars are even labeled!
The telescope is built on a tree? Really?
This is a great little set, and in many ways I think it highlights the values of the Friends sets, where they can be as interested in science as they are in baking and dancing. The designs are super exciting, but they definitely get the idea across, and the car is still well put together. (Not to mention all the great parts in this set.) And I also like that this set could be a way to get kids more excited about the stars and get them interested in astronomy, which can be a fascinating science!
Thanks again for watching and / or reading this BZPower set review, and make sure to stay tuned to BZPower for more LEGO Set reviews in the near future!