Bricks for Brains on Flickr. When Gary agreed to write something, he didn't expect me to suddenly reappear with a massive LEGO® Friends set...
The finished model is an impressive size and is packed with features that provide plenty of playability for the 8-12 year old target age group. There's a moveable lift (elevator), a revolving door, a grand piano, baggage cart, ice cream bar and trolley, sun loungers and a fountain. There is also four-seater taxi for arrival and departure. With only two bedrooms, the hotel is quite exclusive but fortunately non-guests can use the lovely roof-top lounge area. The modular construction enables some alternative arrangements and creative builders, with suitable parts, could add more rooms.
What's in the box?
In addition to the bag of large plates, there are 11 numbered parts bags and I'm pleased to say they are numbered 1-11. I find it very frustrating trying to find a piece in bag no. 1, only to find it's in the other bag no. 1! As usual, some bags contain smaller bags keeping the smaller pieces under control.
There is a rather lovely sticker sheet included. I'm not a great fan of stickers as a rule, but I have to say these are very nicely done, with lots of gold embellishments. I particularly like the hanging dressing gown, the three clocks showing different time zones and the gold control panel for the lift.
As usual, at this point my inner demon takes over—I can't resist opening all the bags together. The resulting pile of elements is something to wondrous to behold!
Let's get down to business. There is only one completely new element in this set and that is the semi-circular window frame with radiating panes: Bow Window 1x4x1 2/3 (Element 6112306 | Design ID 20309). There are four of these in the set, all in Brick Yellow [TLG]/ Tan [BL]. Their most obvious use is to fill the semi-circular arch of the Brick W. Inside Bow 1x6x2 (Design ID 15254), and they're used in that way to good effect in the set. There is no matching 'glass' piece to fit in this frame, so the hotel will be a bit draughty (ignoring the fact that it has no rear wall!). I won't discuss it further, as it will receive its own post on New Elementary.
Now let's look at the elements that appear for the first time in re-coloured form. There are 17 in total, excluding the minidoll parts, which I'll come back to.
There are five elements in pearl gold for the first time:
- the frog (6107741 | 33320)
- 1x1x6 column (6107209 | 43888)
- the 2x2 'macaroni' curved brick (6107743 | 85080)
- the 8x8 round tile with 4 studs (6107208 | 6177)
- the 1x1 brick with the decorative scroll (6112307 | 20310)
There are three very useful pieces in Medium Lavender appearing for the first time in this set:
- the 2x2 corner brick (6107187 | 2357)
- the 2x6 brick (6115808 | 44237)
- the 4x4 ' large macaroni' curved brick (6107742 | 48092)
There are no fewer than eight elements appearing for the first time in Medium Lilac [TLG]/ Dark Purple [BL], including five types of slope:
- 1x2 45° slope (6109814 | 3040)
- 2x2 45° corner slope (6107202 | 3045)
- 1x2x3 75° slope (6107204 | 4460)
- 2x2x3 75° slope (6109971 | 98560)
- 2x2x3 75° slope corner (6109972 | 3685)
- 1x6x2 arched brick (6107874 | 15254)
- 2x8 plate (6109931 | 3034),
- 4x4 plate 1/4 circle (6109933 | 30565)
Finally, there is one element appearing in Black for the first time in this set. It is the Plate 1x2 W. Hor. Hole Ø4.8 (6114987 | 11458); a useful piece that has been around since 2013 which bridges Technic and System within a very small space.
There are five Friends minidolls in the set, plus a dog and a cat. There are three of the original five friends and two characters who I believe are new to Heartlake City: Nate and Susan.
There are no new elements here but four of them are in new colours and/or prints: Nate's torso (6115474 | 11408), Olivia's top (6115465 | 92456), Susan's torso (6115468 | 92816) and Susan's legs (6115797 | 92817). Although Susan is a new character, her head has been used for various minor characters in five other Friends sets, according to the Brickset database. Her hair is quite rare though (6102273 | 11256) as it appears in only one other set: 41095 Emma's House (used for Charlotte). Sneakily, Nate's trousers (6064747 | 16985) are hand-me-downs from Prince Charming, from set 41055 Cinderella's Romantic Castle.
Interestingly, the second most plentiful colour in the set is Warm Gold, with 134 pieces. Many of these are useful quantities of the 24 different element types, including a dozen 1x4x2 fences with 4 studs (6060803 | 15332) and a dozen round grille bricks (6107194 | 92947). It's also worth noting that the set is a good source of Medium Lavender (93 pieces) and Medium Lilac (81 pieces).
Various sizes of window frames are also in plentiful supply in White and Brick Yellow. There are also 21 various arched pieces in White and Medium Lilac.
In conclusion; 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel is a nice model with plenty of detail and playability, for those who like sort of thing. For me, it's a really good, cost effective parts pack with some newish and rare elements, and several really useful re-coloured elements.
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Canada: Amazon.ca | The Official LEGO® Shop