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*** Lego Friends - City Park Cafe - 3061 ***
As aforementioned in previous reviews, my daughter is now nine years old, and has just recently got bitten by the Lego bug following a visit to Legoland. It was something I'd never expected as she's a bit like me; given a box of blocks, all I'd ever have built was a tower; but these newer Lego sets are brilliant, not only for the construction and having to follow a set pattern, but also the pure play value afterwards. This review discusses my feelings about the Lego Friends City Cafe Play set.
This set is brand new out at the moment, and this was purchased while doing the weekly shop at Tesco's at a cost of 29.97. As a new item to the range, I would imagine it is being sold along the length and breadth of every high street at the moment; it's bound to be such a popular toy, and given time, it will be sure to become a classic. This has longevity, as all Lego toys do, but also they have nostalgia on their side, people save them to be passed down to their kids, as they are quality items in the first place.
*** The Story Behind This Set ***
Andrea works at the City Park cafe and loves dishing out tasty treats, when she is not singing into her broom and daydreaming of her big performance that is. It's the perfect place in Heart lake City for all of the Lego 'Friends' to meet for milkshakes and burgers or to chill and have a good girly gossip. Your child can bake goodies for the girls in the caf kitchen, complete with everything they need to serve up caf cuisine in style. The play figures could even relax in the outdoor dining area and have a milkshake in the sun or order up a sweet snack or two.
*** The Cafe ***
It all arrives in a rather large lilac box. The box is a little large for the contents, and they rattle around somewhat inside, but that's something for Lego to sort out. The image on the front is an exact representation of the contents when assembly is completed. It is bright and colourful, and absolutely spot on design wise. This just oozes charm and fun.
Inside you receive three bags of bricks, and one of accessories, along with two figures. These are quite human like in their details, rather than the boxy, robotic figures that are supplied with other Lego sets. I do like that Andrea, who runs the shop, has an ethnic skin tone, as all the other 'friends' are Caucasian. Andrea is the only one of the dolls that you couldn't really mix and match her clothes, due to her skin colouring, although you could easily swap her hair. I'm sure one of the other girls would like to have long, dark, curly hair for a change, some of the time; I know I would. Along with Andrea comes her friend Marie. I like that they are not fashionable names that could date quite easily, they are classic. Stephanie, Olivia and Emma are the rest of the group, and they all love in harmony in Heartlake City.
*** The Build ***
This is a much more complex build than the smaller play sets from the range that I've already reviewed, and as such, a higher age recommendation has been placed upon it. This larger set is from the ages 6 - 12, and that is really quite fair. I'm not saying a five year old couldn't play with it, but they would certainly require a lot more parental supervision during assembly, and as there are a lot of minute accessories, depending on your child, they might need supervision (at aged five) during play too.
As always with Lego sets, the instructions are well laid out, with a simple diagram format, which you follow step by step. My daughter is quite good at following these instructions whereas I, being older but not necessarily wiser, think I know what I'm doing and tend to rush ahead. Please take your time and take it easy though, there's nothing worse than having to go back pages and pages trying to figure out where you went wrong. There are only 32 stages to this build so it goes up relatively quickly, and my daughter managed the majority on her own and with ease, in only just over one hour. The only help she had from me, was attaching the stickers to the small area, so that they are straight (I'm slight OCD about small details being correct).
The attention to detail in this set is quite unbelievable - little lights (that don't illuminate) around the shop sign, the pink and red striped canopy, the delicious looking cakes and sundaes, right down to the gumball machine outside (they used to have those when I was a kid - a very, very, very long time ago). The play value with this is superb, all little girls like role playing, and this set is great for their imagination. Along with the other sets in the range, they combine to make a dream toy for any little girl. My daughter has received three of these sets, and together, she hasn't played with any other of her gifts from Christmas, just these. They have been excellent value for money, and I'm sure she'll get enjoyment from them for a long time to come, as the quality is superb.
*** Positives ***
* A lovely set for role playing
* More detailed than other sets in the range
* Can be played with as a stand alone toy or combined with other toys from the range
* Can be enjoyed with Lego 'Creator' toys which are built to the same scale of size.
* Fun, bright and colourful - a joy for any girl to own
*** Disadvantages ***
* A higher cost play set (but worth it)
* Very definitely for girls - and not unisex
* Lots of minute pieces so may need supervision during assembly and/or play.
*** My Thoughts ***
This has been a wonderful play set for my daughter. I know she's come to Lego quite late in her childhood, but she's definitely making up for lost time. The quality of the Lego brand shines through, and it's just so much fun to construct and play with afterwards. She has had so much enjoyment out of this set, over and above all the other toys she received at Christmas; I can't help but recommend this one. Five gold shiny stars.
*** Other Information ***
More information about the products, and fun games and activities for kids available at: www.legofriends.com
*** In Summary ***
This has been a wonderful set, and provided hours and hours of play enjoyment, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I would however, put a dab of glue in the cake cases, when you assemble them; the fillings do have a habit of falling out.
Thanks for reading my review - which may also be posted on other sites, under the same username.