The Friends 'Collectables' range launched one year ago and since then nine cute, small and affordable bagged sets have been released featuring animals in little environments. I've mentioned them once or twice in the past thanks to the appearance of unique elements, and indeed the new one that I am discussing today - Tiger’s Beautiful Temple - got a mention in a recent post (so I'll try not to repeat myself).
I was ogling the interesting new parts I could see in 2014 Friends and Disney Princess sets, and noted many of them were contained in 41042 Tiger's Beautiful Temple which means you can get them at a low price (hopefully US$4.99/GB£2.99, as previous Collectables have been). I love it when a tiny set is stacked with never-before-seen elements, and thanks to LEGO®'s Community and Events Engagement Team I've now got my tiger paws on the actual set in advance of official relese in January. It has an inventory of 42 parts and just over a quarter of these are new. Ignoring multiples though, it boils down to three new parts and three new elements (i.e. existing parts in new colours).
1x1 Decoration Top No. 1
Element ID 6050916 | Design ID 15470
Colour Pearl Gold [BL]/Warm Gold [TLG]
TLG have listed this under "foodstuffs" and, as regular reader Aanchir pointed out, it will appear as a pink ice cream in 41037 Stephanie's Beach House. Doubtless it will also make a great cream pie or cupcake. But here, as in Disney Princess sets, it is used as a decorative architectural finial and a rather posh one it is too. But what else could we get up to with it? A chef's hat for a microfig? I'm struggling to think of what else it looks like, perhaps objects with swirls aren't really all that common in the real world. Nevertheless as an interesting decorative piece I'm sure it will find homes in all kinds of builds. But as it has only one point of connection, its applications are limited.
Grass w/ tube& Ø 3.2
Element ID 6050929 | Design ID 15279
Another decorative part, but this one does have a second point of connection. Once again it was the eagle-eyed Aanchir who posed the question amongst the comments on my previous post, "I wonder if a 3.2mm bar piece like a lightsaber blade will fit in the curl of that plant?" Indeed it does! Just a couple of arrangements are pictured here but given that you can use most parts containing bars with it, possibilities are enormous. The clutch is a little weaker than the usual bar/hole connections, which feels just right for this part.
Colour Bright Green
In the current shades of Bright Green and Olive Green (as spotted in a 2014 Star Wars set), usage of this part will largely remain stuck in the flora department. I hope it comes in a neutral tone at some point... for example it could have been used as an Art Nouveau decoration in Parisian Restaurant. A metallic shade would be great for fancy ironwork - this vintage overhead luggage rack would work a lot better, for example!
Lion Young w/Hole Ø 1,5 No.1
Element ID 6052284 | Design ID 15633
Colour Bright Light Orange [Bl]/Flame Yellowish-Orange [TLG]
Whilst I tend to focus on useful parts in this blog, I'm not averse to cooing over charismatic megafauna. Awww. This tiger is adorable!
Unfortunately the poor thing may have an identity crisis as she got assigned as a lion in TLG's database... she definitely has stripes. Lovely little printed stripes down her head and back, and there are delicate claw prints on her front paws. She's one of the larger Friends animals, and the spaces for studs are situated towards the rear of each pair of paws. Her tail must be close to the 3.18mm diameter standard, as a clip attaches quite well, despite the curve of the tail. Why you'd want to attach something to a tiger's tail is a question I leave to you.
Element ID 4619511 | Design ID 3023
Colour Medium Azure
Yippee! As I've said before, Medium Azure is my favourite "Friends colour", so how superb to now have our smallest basic plate yet. Sadly there's just one in this set but hopefully plenty more will feature in 2014 Friends sets. The 1X2 joins these existing Medium Azure plates: 1X6, 2X2, 2X3, 2X4, 4X6 (of which one comes in this set), 8X16 and 16X16.
A quick diversion whilst I'm discussing 1X2 plates; you can now get them in Dark Brown in The Hobbit 79012 Mirkwood" Elf Army, which went on sale this month. It has a healthy six of those, and it has the other elements shown here which are also still quite rare - each only appears in one other set so far.
Palisade Brick 1X2
Element ID 6056283 | Design ID 30136
The 'log brick' has been around since 1996 but this is its first appearance in a stereotypical 'girly' colour. Sure, you don't see purple logs often but given it's a piece that gives such nice texture to models, it's perhaps surprising we're only seeing it appear now. Note that it is Lavender rather than the more common Medium Lavender.
Brick With Bow 1X3X2
Element ID 6056972 | Design ID 88292
This half-arch brick does much of the work in making Tiger's Temple so Beautiful; it lends the requisite exotic touch to the architecture just as it did with the Prince of Persia sets back in 2010 (when the part was introduced). Generally it has appeared in neutral tones suitable for architecture, but we did get it in Medium Blue in Creator 7346 Seaside House.
Given I've been sent a preview copy of the set, it would be churlish to limit my description only to the elements, so here are some thoughts on the set itself. Obviously it's very small and an incredibly basic build (aimed at 5+), and perhaps the only thing I can mention that isn't immediately obvious from pictures is that the white dome sits on a 2X2 jumper plate rather than a regular plate. This gives the benefit of being able to rotate the notches to the front, which looks much nicer to me, but I suspect the reason this was included was to reduce the production cost of the set a little - there's already another white jumper in it, so by using the same element again they have avoided including an extra type of part.
Perhaps my favourite thing about this set is the concept itself; giving a tiger a little temple was a charming idea. I won't delve into the troublesome questions of whether this is a religious temple, or what race of tiger she may be, or what religion she may follow, because this is a plastic toy for five year-old girls. A temple is simply a far more imaginative and interesting choice of habitat than, say, a bit of jungle. At that level, it appeals to me much more than the other two offerings in this coming series of Collectables, and the elements are definitely better.
That said, one of those has a penguin! Squee.