41026 Sunshine Harvest

It’s autumn, when the leaves turn various shades of red, yellow and brown, and when it’s time to harvest fresh fruits and store them for the cold winter months. Olivia is offering some fresh fruits and homemade jams at her stand, but she could use an extra hand picking up those tasty red apples. Why don’t you join her?

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Basic info of the set

Set no.: 41026
Name: Sunshine Harvest
Theme: Friends
Year: 2014
Pieces: 233
Minifigs: 1 (and a dog)
Age group: 6 – 12
Price: £ 17.99 / US$ 19.99 / EUR 19.99
Price per part: 7.721p / 8.579c / 8.579c
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H

The box

The front of the box is (as always) in bright Friendly colours, with the main five  characters on the top right corner as opposed to the main set’s character, in this case Olivia, in the bottom right corner. The sides of the box are curved, again as is typical for the larger sets from the Friends series. The landscaping on the box art is a lovely way to present various mini builds and adds some depth to this relatively small set.

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The back of the box reveals other aspect of the set. Contrary to the front box art where the set is presented as a whole, the back of the box gives much more information to the potential buyer just by a quick look. Again, Olivia is shown on the top right corner as the main character of the set. The five smaller pictures show off different parts of the set – the mini builds and accessories found in the set. This is a great way to promote all the interesting bricks found in the set (but more on that later).

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The side of the box (again) shows Olivia as a measure of scale. In my opinion, it might be more interesting to show off some of the interesting new and rare pieces, such as the new grass stem or the red apples, instead of a minidoll. Afterall, the set’s name is Sunshine Harvest, and some of the crops would look nice on the side. The other side of the box has the same, but smaller, picture of the set, as on the front of the box and in my case shows signs of some wear and tear from a few months storage.

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The booklet

The front art design is repeated on the front page of the booklet instruction. Luckily, the box is big enough and the booklet doesn’t have to be folded in half, thus avoiding possible creases. Nevertheless, my booklet was only slightly damaged, as it’s visible on the top right corner, with the last page sticking out a bit.

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Inside the booklet, I was surprised to see a page with all Friends characters from the first wave of 2014’s new sets. I’ve seen this design only in some LOTR sets, and here I was tempted to put tick marks in the corresponding boxes to show off my 2014 collection of Friends. I do find this a bit commercially oriented towards the target population of little girls, collecting all the minidols from the series. ”Look mommy/daddy, I only need Mia and Liza from the Sunshine Ranch to complete my collection!

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A random page from the instructions shows one of the intermediate steps of one of the many mini builds. I specifically chose this page as it shows off nicely a new type of plate, the 3×3 cross in dark orange. The parts needed for each step are shown in light blue boxes on a lavender background. Having in mind the set is targeted towards 6-12 year olds, individual steps are very easy to follow.

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The pieces

The set contains two numbered bags of similar size, and quite colourfull. Logically, I opened the bag no. 1 first. In comparison to some other Friends’ sets, the parts come in many bright colours. In addition, there are some interesting parts included, such as the red apples, cherries, printed strawberry tiles, and the ice cream cone. Parts I specifically like, although they are very common are the flower stems, yellow flowers, bright green and dark pink flowers.

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Bag no. 2 holds some goodies as well. The most interesting are the greenery bricks, the more common leaves in green and dark green, flower stems, bright green and dark pink flowers. In addition, a redish brown arch 1x3x3 and a new mold of grass stem are included.

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The highlight parts of this set are shown separatelly. Most of them are greenery parts, such as the leaves, flowers, and plant stems. In addition, the red apples made a comeback after 10 (long) years. As they were included in five of this years sets, their price on Bricklink dropped, however it’s still much higher than bright green apples. In addition, five apples in the set makes this set the best one to get for the apples alone (as was almost the case with me). Luckily, the set has other interesting parts, such as the 3×3 cross, which is handy when building trees, printed strawberry tiles, pearl gold tiles, red cherries and the icecream cone. Most of them are smaller parts, but they can be very handy when creating small details around your MOCs.

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In addition, the extra parts are interesting as well. There are some extra plants, cherries and pearl gold tile.

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The minifigs

Olivia is the main and only character in this set. Unfortunately, her outfit is pretty generic. The dark blue skirt can be found in 7 sets, while the lovely top with light pink flower design was seen in 4 sets. In my opinion, clothing is the limiting factor of the minidols, and I welcome all the new clothing designs found in the newest sets. I played with colours in Photoshop, and this is what I came up with. Different shades of purple and blue would still look Friendly, and they would differ enough from the white top. However, I still like the top design, yet I’d be happier with a different print or top colour.

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Surprisingly, none of the almost standard hair accessories can be found in this set. Contrary, Olivia got her own pitchforks to work around her apple tree orchard. Another detail I like is the asymmetrical back opening of the top, which is actually hidden by Olivia’s hair.

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Not counting as a minifig, but as her best friend, is a white nameless dog with brown spots. The dog appeared in 4 sets, one of them being UK promotional set. According to Bricklink, the dog’s name is Charlie, but the name connect to only this promotional set. Charlie looks cute enough for Heartlake, and can be easily included in any City layout.

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The build

The set is meant for a fairly young population (6-12 years), and the simple mini builds can be expected in this age range. Within the set, several individual mini builds can be assembled and then combined together to picture a lovely scene found on the box of the set. The first mini build is also the simplest. It’s just a bucket stand with some flowers. I’m not a fan of the stand, as it looks too colourfull, but it’s a nice idea to put the pink basket to use. On the other hand, I was excited to find the ice crem cone used as a holder for the flowers. It’s still a rare brick type, and it’s nice to see it used also for something other than as ice cream cone. I wish there would be an extra one included. As for the flowers, the I like both the yellow classic ones and the newer dark pink ones, but not on the same stem.

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The next mini build is Charlie’s hut. I’m guessing Charlie is a girl, considering the pink roof and flowers around her hut. The hut is made pretty simple, and it’s actually just the front part of what might be thought of as a dog’s hut. This is convenient for the little hands that mostly play with these builds. I’m a bit annoyed with the pink-red combination of the hut’s roof. The red plate could easily be changed to white or bright pink, and the colour combination would look much nicer, in my opinion.

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Despite the pink-red colour combination, Charlie looks happy inside her hut. Well, it might be for the extra bone at her feet.

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My favourite mini build in this set is Olivia’s market stand. It’s also larger than the first mini builds, and it’s even more colourful. However, various colours used in this build are much more pleasant to the eye. To start, the roof colour is the same pink-red combination, and it would look much better without the red. Even an awning could be added, and the overhang might hide the red a bit.

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Side view of the stand shows nicely a wide selection of goods on offer. The most interesting here are fresh red apples and strawberries. Although strawberries and apples don’t grow in the same season, including them on the stand was well thought of. On the other side of the stand, there are some homemade jams, as is also indicated by the printed sign on the roof of the stand, and probably a home made fruit cake.

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Front view of the stand with Olivia behind the counter really emphasizes her various goods on offer. I mean, who wouldn’t want to stop and try some of the strawberries or homemade jams?

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My favourite detail on the stand are the jams. Using trans-coloured bricks with simple pearl gold tiles as lids look really realistic. Also the different colours are indicative of different flavours. My guess, from the left to right, is two glassed of apple jam, orange jam, and 2 glasses of strawberry jam.

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If you were wondering, where Olivia grows her vegetables and fruits, she has a small garden close to her stand. She grows extra large carrots and some flowers. The design of the garden is again simple, but it looks really nice surrounded by a low white fence and a door. It also offers some playability as the crops need to be picked up, or substituted with other greenery. The highlight of the garden is the new grass stem.

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The fifth mini build is a tree. It’s a somewhat typical Lego tree with branches expanded to three sides. Here, a new plate type is utilized, and this new 3×3 cross comes very usefull stabilizing the branches. Also, the dark orange colour is suitable for the tree design, I only wish it will appear in other brownish colours as well.

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The finished tree design looks great from the front as opposed to the back side. My only complaint here is that more green leaves could be included, ast the treee looks rather bare with only 3 leaves. On the other hand, another intriguing detail is that apples and flowers grow at the same time. The trees I’m familiar with, have flowers in the spring, and fruits in the autumn. Nevertheless, these characteristics are easily improved by adding more leaves from your own collection, adding extra fruits and removing flowers in the autumn, or removing fruits and adding more flowers in the spring time.

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As mentioned above, the tree looks very bare from the back side. Here, the lack of extra leaves and branches is much more visible than from the front side. I know it’s not much work adding more leaves, but I wish the designers would do that.

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The sixths mini build is a tractor. What stands out are the colours, the dominant medium azure and accents in bright pink and lavender. Another unusual detail are the flowers used for the exhaust. If you consider the set as a useful parts pack, then the dark pink flowers are a nice detail. However, from the technical view, I found this detail unusual. At the back of the tractor, there’s a hook to attach the trailer.

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The trailer is predominantly in medium azure and some lavender. It has enough space to transport various goods from the garden to the stand. The stud in the middle of the trailer can be used to attach havier loads.

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Olivia fits nicely on the tractor. The only flaw is that she can’t reach to the steering wheel, but that’s a problem with the minidoll design. This is even more obvious from a side view. An alternative connection of the steering wheel on SNOT bricks to achieve a 90° change of orientation could solve the problem, but I’m not sure how would that affect the overall appearance of the tractor.

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The finished product

At last, here’s how all seven mini builds look together. Considering varying size of these mini builds, the end product looks quite large. It also allows for flexibility of individual mini builds, as they can be moved around and everyone can adjust the positioning of the mini builds according to their own whishes. The set also offers a lot of playability. It is targeted towards girls mostly, and offers a lot of imaginative play. I actually prefer this kind of role playing in contrast to various missiles found in some City sets. In addition, as mentioned above, there are quite a few interesting bricks and pieces included that give the set an extra value.

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The Final Verdict

Design: 9/10
The overall design is great, but there is still room for improvement. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the set with seven mini builds is appropriate for this rather wide age range. In addition, there are some interesting parts included in the set, adding more value. Colour wise, the set is rather colourful, yet it’s not too girly coloured. The highlights in pink, lavender and medium azure don’t look out of place as they’re combined with more neutral colours. I also like the idea of position the set more in the rural area with orchards then in the town. Hopefully, more sets in this theme (farming) will follow.

Parts: 10/10
The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces, that you can use to play with in different MOCs. The parts standing out as more rare or new are the above mentioned red apples, new grass stems, and printed strawberry tiles.

Build: 8/10
It’s a simple and straight forward build with no special or advanced techniques. I like it for what it is, it’s simple enough for inexperienced builders, but offers a chance to improve and/or reuse individual builds also in a more advanced settings.

Playability: 10/10
Playability is an important feature of this set. It’s probably more targeted towwards girls, but even boys (or adults) with imagination can enjoy building and playing with the set. The playability of the set is based on various situations that can happen either around the garden (picking the apples or greeneries), transporting them to the stand or selling various fruits and home made products at the stand.

Minifigs: 7/10
Mia has a rather standard clothing design, and I’d prefer to see at least a different colour combination of her top and skirt.

Price: 10/10
It’s a small set, but it offers enough (interesting) bricks for the price. None of the parts are particularly outstanding, but there are many interesting parts as mentioned in the parts section. I was pleasantly surprised with the selection of bricks, and I have to admit I got the set for parts mostly, and considering the price, it was a nice deal.

Overall: 55/60 (90%)
As the overall score implies, this is a set worth having. Although the builds are simple, the value of the set is its design – combination of interesting parts forming various smaller builds that can be combined in various ways and offer lots of playability. Also, the price of the set is in favour of buying it, even if it’s just for some parts. I’d definitely recommend buying this to anyone.

Despite the long line, customers in Heartlake are leaving the stand with smile on their faces.

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