I was looking through the January 2018 LEGO catalog, and paused for quite some time on the pages with the new LEGO Friends sets. I’m a big fan of LEGO Friends, and I felt that the direction LEGO has been going with the theme has been pretty solid since it was first introduced in 2012. We have gotten many sweet small sets, fun medium size sets, and impressive large sets, as well as several lovely sub-themes centered around school, sports, hobbies, pets, camping, shopping, and more. But there was something seriously bothering me about this year’s sets, and it took me a while to figure out what that was…
We have already talked about LEGO changing the look of the main characters this year (see: Response from LEGO About 2018 LEGO Friends), but while I believe LEGO could have done better going about the changes, I still think that the girls are very cute. So, that’s not what was bothering me about the new sets.
There is no coherent sub-theme for the January 2018 sets, but that’s pretty normal also. Sometimes LEGO releases sub-themes for LEGO Friends, like the LEGO Friends Jungle sets from 2014, the LEGO Friends Pop Star sets from 2015, the LEGO Friends Amusement Park sets from 2016, and the LEGO Friends Snow Resort sets in 2017. The rest of the LEGO Friends releases were always random, including all types of sets to match a wide variety of activities and interests.
The 2018 LEGO Friends collection include small sets like #41327 LEGO Friends Mia’s Bedroom, #41328 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Bedroom, #41329 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Deluxe Bedroom, and #41330 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Soccer Practice. The medium size sets include #41332 LEGO Friends Emma’s Art Stand, #41333 LEGO Friend’s Olivia’s Mission Vehicle, #41334 LEGO Friends Andrea’s Park Performance, and #41335 LEGO Friend’s Mia’s Tree House. There are also four larger sets; #41336 LEGO Friends Emma’s Art Cafe, #41338 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Sports Arena, #41339 LEGO Friends Mia’s Camper Van, and #41340 LEGO Friends Friendship House. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with their structures and features, however what really bothers me is the colors, or more specifically; the combination of so many clashing colors.
LEGO Friends was always on the colorful side. The theme even introduced six new colors to the LEGO color-palette; medium-lavender, lavender, yellowish-green, dark-azure, medium-azure, and aqua. There are also other colors that are commonly used in LEGO Friends sets, including white, tan, light-pink, dark-pink, light-orange, dark-orange, dark-purple, and lime-green. However, at least so far, LEGO designers matched the colors tastefully. Unfortunately, this year the colors are badly clashing.
Amongst the three small bedrooms (pictured above) Olivia’s looks the most reasonable. The soft white, light-yellow, and light-gray goes pretty well with the dark-azure and dark-pink accent colors. The same five colors are used for Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. Again, not too bad.
The colors used for Stephanie’s bedroom are white, yellow, light-pink, dark-pink, medium-azure, dark-blue, and lime-green. That’s seven colors, and it’s starting to push the limit of what looks tasteful. The combination is not too outrageous in the two smaller sets (#41328 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Bedroom, #41330 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Soccer Practice), but it does go over the top in the #41338 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Sports Arena where other colors are added as well.
Emma doesn’t get a bedroom this time around, but she does get an art stand and an art cafe. The main colors are lavender, dark-purple, white, dark-pink, and aqua. The purples may be a bit overbearing, but other than that, the five colors come together fairly well.
Andrea only gets one set in this wave, the #41334 LEGO Friend’s Andrea’s Park Performance. The five main colors are tan, brown, light-orange, dark-pink, and lime-green, which is kind of a weird combo already, and then LEGO also threw in some, red, aqua, teal, sand-green, yellowish-green, and more. Clashing colors everywhere…
Then comes Mia… oh, dear… poor girl! Her bedroom, tree house, and camper van use… let’s see if I can count them all… white, orange, lavender, dark-purple, dark-azure, lime-green, and brown – that’s seven main colors! Plus, some others thrown in for extra psychedelic effect. Just to compare, I have included a couple of pictures of previous camper vans and tree houses from the LEGO Friends line that were colored much more tastefully.
Also, this may be just a coincidence, but I find it curious that last year Mega Construx released a very similarly colored set to Mia’s tree house in their American Girl line (see below). Speaking of Mega Construx, they have some beautifully colored sets under their American Girl line, like the lovely aqua colored family house and camper pictured below.
I left the worst of the 2018 LEGO Friends sets when it comes to clashing colors for last; the #41340 LEGO Friends Friendship House. According to the official description, the girls have taken over an old fire station in Heartlake City and turned it into their headquarters. As part of vandalizing the old fire station, the teenagers got out their paints, but instead of covering the building with graffiti, they unleashed their strange color taste to repaint parts of it. The remnants of the original building are a sensible white, tan, nougat, and light-gray, and the girls added dark-purple, dark-pink, medium-azure, light-orange, lime-green, and more. I’m not even going to bother counting how many clashing colors that is. And to really make their point, the girls also added a rainbow colored heart sticker… sigh… teenage girls are more terrifying than I thought. Below are some large LEGO Friends buildings with some nice color-combinations that actually worked.
With a bit of modification, previously released LEGO Friends sets could fit in LEGO City and LEGO Creator settings, but the 2018 LEGO Friends sets are too far off for my taste. This is disappointing, because I like the designs themselves. The #41333 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Mission Vehicle is basically a LEGO Friends version of the Ghostbusters Ecto-1, the #41339 LEGO Friends Mia’s Camper Van is one of the most impressive LEGO campers I have seen (minus the colors), and the #41335 LEGO Friend’s Mia’s Tree House could have turned out much better as well. I also like the idea of the girls taking over an old fire station, but unfortunately, the execution didn’t work out too well. Fortunately, you can just take apart the sets and build something beautiful like this scene by LEGO fan Cara, titled Best Friends on Vacation. Now, this is how LEGO Friends colors should be coordinated!
With so many beautiful choices in their color-palette, I hope that LEGO designers will go back to something more sensible in the next wave of LEGO Friends sets. From this wave, I only plan to get the #41333 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. It’s small, fun, the colors are not too bad, and it includes the new version of Olivia. If you do want to check out the full selection of new and previously released LEGO Friends sets, visit the LEGO Friends section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the 2018 LEGO Friends sets? And what do you think of the color-combinations? Feel free to share your thoughts and own opinions in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts: