”Help a baby tiger in trouble at the LEGO® Friends Jungle Falls Rescue with Olivia mini-doll figure, cliff hut, dam function and caves.” But…
…did the TLG get the right story? If you’re interested, scroll down (and read the review) to find out.
Basic info of the set
Set no.: 41033
Name: Jungle Falls Rescue
Minifigs: 1 (plus a tiger and a chameleon)
Age group: 6 – 12
Price: £ 17.99 / US$ 19.99 / EUR 19.99
Price per part: 9.831p / 10.923 c / 10.923 c
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H
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 typically curved, as seen in larger sets from the Friends series. The landscaping on the box art is tropical and acts as a nice background for the set. Interestingly, there are many features that set the box(es) in the Jungle subtheme appart from the classic ”Town” Friends. The five characters are dressed in tops seen in the Jungle subtheme, the box art is framed with bamboo and tropical flowers. I also noticed that the set as shown on the front of the box differs slightly from the set as seen in the instruction booklet. Can you spot the differences?
The back of the box reveals other aspects of the set, most importantly the playability of the set. The Friends theme is aimed at female population, young and less young girls like me, and playability is an important factor. Individual play set-ups are framed with a bamboo pattern. There’s a mechanism that allows sliding the waterfall panel to the side, Olivia saving the baby tiger, exploring the cave in the rocks and giving him a treat. In addition, Olivia can enjoy a meal with her chameleon. Same as seen at the front of the box, the most obvious box art are the bamboo and tropical flowers, clearly distinguishing the Jungle subtheme.
The same jungle box art is seen on the sides of the box and it looks really nice. Of course, the mandatory hearts, butterflies and dog paws are seen in subtle print.
The top of the box has a bamboo framed picture of Olivia as a measure of scale. The tropical flower pattern nicely rounds up the top of the box. I’m only missing the butterflies here.
The front art design is repeated on the front page of the booklet instruction. It’s slightly bend on the left side as a result of bags of bricks being pushed against it. Luckily, the instructions were not damaged. I know it’s just a small set, but having more protection for the instruction booklets would be nice.
On the inside, the booklet is as neat as ever. The background is in lavender, again a typical Friends colour. Building steps are simple, with not many bricks to add in each step. What I liked specifically, in some steps, such as step 18, there are red arrows emphasizing the right placement of some bricks, where it’s a bit hard to see. This is a nice addition, not so much for the experienced builders, but for the beginners.
The odd pages differ from the even pages in that they have a small heart and butterfly design in bottom right corner. Again, this kind of watermarks is typical for Friends. Although, it’s not a necessary one, it became a traditional, and the page would look a bit empty without it.
A positive surprise in the instruction booklet was the promotional page for the Jungle subtheme sets. Apart from the pictures of all 4 sets, there’s a lovely presentation on how to combine those sets into one larger setup. Although it’s more of a MOD, I see this feature as a promotion for MOCing. It also shows nicely how the TLG planned the individual sets to allow for combining them together.
Inside the box, there are two numbered bags of similar size, a 16×16 plate in medium azure, a sticker sheet and two lime plant vines with leaves. Medium azure plate of this size is available in only 4 sets of the Friends and Disney Princess themes. Since the standard base plates in blue are not available any more, this medium azure plate can be considered as its substitute to create water. The lime plant vines are the highlight of this set – they’re a new mold and one of them is an extra part! They’re flexible, and can be placed in different positions.
Sticker sheet is included, but again it could easily be avoided. While it does make some of the rocks slightly more interesting with the printed flowers, the set would be just as nice without it. I have two copies of this set, and chose to use the stickers only in this one for the presentation purpose. In general, I like the flower designs, but I’d rather see more plants and flowers included.
The build starts with the bag no. 1. The parts found in this bag form the base of the rocks and the waterfall. Here, the torso and legs for Olivia are found, but I forgot to include them on these photos (they’re discussed in more detail later on). The parts to point out include the dark bluish grey rock panels and the trans-light blue waterfall panel. The latter is actually quite rare, it’s included in 3 sets only. These are my first parts of the kind, and although I’d prefer smaller parts for the rocks, in the end, these do their job just fine. Most parts are in light and dark bluish grey, and from the colours seen on the picture I’d never guess this is a Friends set (where’s the pink?).
Inside the bag no. 1, there’s a smaller bag with the smaller parts. These parts are more colourful, and surprisingly there’s only 3 parts in pink – again, is this a set aimed at girls? Yes, it is! My favourite parts here are the trans-light blue ones, they complement the waterfall nicely, and I only wish that more of them were included in the set. The 1×1 bricks were re-introduced in 2014 after a 12-year gap. The other interesting parts are the 1×1 round bricks in dark orange, appearing in 5 sets, but only 2 of these sets are currently available at the stores.
Bag no. 2 contains slightly more colourful parts, but again, there’s not as much pink as I’d expect from my experience with the Friends series, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The dark pink plate is the only part in a girly colour. The interesting parts here are the lime palm trees which were introduced in many sets in the last two years, two inverted tan tiles and the chameleon in bright green with medium lavender pattern.
Inside the bag no. 2, there’s another polybag with smaller parts. There were only a few. The most interesting (and anticipated in my collection) were the 1×1 round bricks in dark orange (there’s a total of 6 in the set). Other parts are not that excited, apart from the round tiles – they are the new types with a bottom stud holder.
The best parts in this set are the the panels for the rocks and waterfall. I might be too excited over those, but these are the first ones in my collection, and I’m looking forward using them in future MOCs. Also, the trans-light blue bricks and tiles are interesting and useful parts to build various water features. In addition, there are the newer molds, the 1x1x3 brick, the round tile with bottom stud holder and one with a hole in the middle. The dark orange 1×1 round bricks are welcomed too, as they allow for more variations of bark colour when making trees, and the highlight for me is the new plant vine. Did I mention you get two and one of them is an extra? Chameleon with the lavender pattern is also a new (recoloured) LEGO species.
The extra parts are the usual small bricks that could get easily lost. As mentioned before, there’s an extra plant vine. I won’t complain about that one. I was positively surprised to see one, but I wonder why it was included as an extra part. Is it possible it breaks more easily when under stress? Never the less, it’s a great part to have as extra!
Olivia is the main and only character in this set. Her outfit is a uniform of the Red Cross Friends Jungle team. The dark pink printed scarf is a lovely addition to add more feminine touch to the uniform. Her hair has holes for hair assessories, but there are none included in the set. If I could choose, I’d go for some type of large pinkish tropical flower as seen on the box art. Well, I guess Olivia knows better than to pick wild jungle flowers just to put them in her hair.
I didn’t include the parts of Oliva in the parts section, so here they are. We all know the Friends anatomy, so there’s nothing new here. Everyone would look so thin with an empty stomach, right?
In addition to Olivia, two animals are included in this set. The baby tiger is the first one presented in the set. It’s the same type as in the Friends Animals series 4, Tiger’s Beautiful Temple. It has a nice back printing. I only wish the dark brown pattern would be printed also on the sides of the torso. It has cute written all over him/her. Beware if you have a soft spot for blue eyed kitties!
The tiger has the main role in this set, as Olivia seems to be rescueing him/her from the waters in the waterfall lagune. The tiger is placed on this simple raft, that could be easily thought of as a drift wood. What I like about it, is that the underside of the 2×4 plate has inverted tiles attached to it. This way, the raft moves more rapidly over the studded water surface.
The other animal in this set is the chameleon. It’s a new LEGO species that was introduced in the 2014. One of them is Pascal, the chameleon from the Rapunzel’s Creativity Tower. Chameleon in this set differs from Pascal in two ways, both obvious. He/she doesn’t have a name, and he/she has a more realistic chameleon-like pattern. It comes in bright green with a medium lavender pattern.
Since I own two copies of this set, I thought to compare the lavender pattern, and it’s actually different. For me, this is really great, as it’s easier to distinguish between them in case you name them.
The set is targeted at girls from 6-12 years old, and it’s basically an intermediate build. There are some more complex aspects of the set, where you need to be careful when placing parts in the correct positions. Contrary to some other Friends sets, where smaller subsets are included, the Jungle Falls Rescue is a one build set. The building process is divided into two parts as already indicated by the two numbered bags. It’s starts with forming a base for the rocky landscape or the cliff, as TLG described it. The tiles seen here are where the waterfall slides into the cave, and the black jumper tile is where the crystal stone can be found.
What I found interesting at this step, is that the stickers were applied to parts which are not visible from the front. This is why I think the sticker sheet could be easily omitted from the set. However, in a way it feels nice to have some details included also at the back side. At the end of the day, each builder gets to decide for him/herself whether to apply the stickers. As for me, I applied them in one set only.
Few steps on, part of the mechanism for sliding the waterfall is built using Technic gears. Also, the first rock panel part is included and it’s decorated with a stickered butterfly. My least favourite parts, the 1 x something x 5 bricks are included here, and although I’d prefer smaller bricks, I have to admit these parts are efficient when trying to gain some height.
So far, all the building was on the baseplate. The next step is building the highly anticipated waterfall. While having a completely brick built waterfall would be amazing, I’m liking this panel-built version just as much, although it’s more simple and less realistic. The trans-light blue colour of the panel with a rocky pattern works great as a water feature. Different views of this minibuild show part of the sliding mechanism. Another panel is included here, and I can not blame the TLG for using a panel instead of bricks. This is a part that’s not visible in the completely build set. The LBG gear rack connects to the gear and allows movement.
The waterfall is then placed on the tiles, and its only connection to the rest of the structure is by gears. The only thing I’d change here is the base of the waterfall. Instead of white plates, I’d go for blue or even trans-blue plates, and then use white, trans-clear and trans-blue 1×1 round plates for the splashing water at the bottom of the waterfall.
A view from the back shows how the gear rack connects to the gear. It looks simple, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t think of such mechanism. Well, I’m one of those AFOLs who think Technic bricks are too complicated to use correctly. Here you can see that a medium azure tile was used as the top of the waterfall and it looks much better than the white plates at the bottom. My favourite choice here would be a trans-light blue tile, but you can’t have it all.
The right part of the sliding waterfall is nicely hidden by a LURP with addition of some slopes and dark orange bricks. Considering the size of the build, this large element fits just fine. To me, it even seems as if the set planning was based on this part, and then build around it. The only thing missing here is some more greenery. More details were added to the water. The LBG tiles look great as stones, and the trans-light blue tile at the bottom of the waterfall creates an effect of splashing water. I would add more of them, though.
When opening bag no. 2, another interesting minibuild pops up. It’s the handle for the sliding mechanism and is camouflaged as a dam. It has a gear rack on the later hidden side, and dark orange and reddish brown bricks and plates on the visible side. The handle is very colourful, and I really wonder why TLG uses these colourful parts in hidden places. In the end, only the parts above the 1×8 reddish brown plate are visible, so the use of yellow and blue bricks is not a big problem.
With the above handle in place, the waterfall can already slide to the right. Here’s a view from the back side, showing an ”open” waterfall. At this point the mechanism doesn’t run very smoothly, but this gets better after addition of extra bricks, that help keep the handle in place. Ok, I admit I had to try sliding the waterfall as soon as the handle was added, and I had much fun doing that. It’s a great feature, and adds so much to the playability of the set.
A view of the sliding mechanism from the top. The yellow handle is used to slide the gear rack to the waterfall slide, and by moving the gear in the middle, it moves also the waterfall part, thus opening the entrance to the caves bellow. I like that the TLG camouflaged this sliding mechanism as a dam, but I’d prefer to have the yellow handle in brown or at least green. It wouldn’t stick out so much. Also visible from the point of view is the crystal rock hidden in the cave behind the waterfall.
A few steps on, little chairs are added to the top of the rocks to form the platform for Olivia’s observation point. At this point, more greenery is included, and the rocks look much better already. The new plant type extends from the top of the rocks to the bottom right. It’s attached with clips, and its flexibility allows for different positions. Considering there’s an extra plant vine in the set, it could well enough be used in the building of the set. There’s no such thing as too much plants, right?
The little table at Olivia’s observation top is built very simply. It’s a combination of lime and reddish brown parts which gives it a more natural look. Colour-wise it fits nicely in the little hut at the top of the rocks. The most interesting part here is the stickered 2×2 tan round tile. My first though was that it’s a pizza, but I’m not sure who would order a tropical pizza with kiwi fruits, so I’m guessing it’s a fruit pie. As for the yellow spots and pink sauce, I have no idea what could it be. Maybe some sliced bananas and berries.
The table is then placed at the platform at the top of the rocks, under the shadow of the palm tree roof. From this front view, it’s not so obvious, but the table is not completely covered by the roof. I’m guessing it doesn’t rain in the jungle or Olivia is not watching out for little tigers when it does rain. The building of the set is finished here. The size of the build surprised me nicely, as I didn’t expect it to be this big. After all, there’s only 179 parts in the set. This number would be higher, though, if bricks and slopes would be used instead of the large panels. To increase the parts number, more plants could be included. Bamboo leaves would fill the gaps bellow the tan plate really nicely.
The finished product
After 42 building steps, the set is finished. The finished cliff looks great from three angles, that is the front and both sides. From the left, the rock panel is nicely decorated with the butterfly sticker. It makes it more interesting, but I’d prefer to see more plants instead of stickers. Also, the yellow handle is well hidden from this side, and the transparent waterfall panel creates a nice effect. As it is not as clear to see through as from the front view, it looks more realistic to me.
From the right side, the cliff is partially opened to allow easy access. The stickered flowers add more detail here as well, but as I said before, I’d prefer real flowers. My first thought would be to add a couple of those bionicle spines hanging from the top, and it would make the set even cooler. Also, more plants could be used to camouflage the rocks and the steps to the top of the cliff.
A view from the back reveals a cave behind the waterfall and the hidden crystal rock. The cave is a nice feature in this set. At first it may look that it’s just an empty space beneath the cliff, but it’s much more. The hidden crystal is there waiting to be found, and in addition, the (stickered) flowers are a proof of life in the cave, so there’s obviously lots to explore. The access to the cave from the back is relatively easy also for the adult fingers. Another interesting feature is that the access to the cave is revealed by stopping the water flow. The dam function stops the water, and as the waterfall dries out, Olivia can set to explore the cave beneath the cliff. I really like that on one side you can have a tea party at the hut, chat with your girlfriends, and on the other, you can have an adventurous afternoon by exploring the cave beneath the cliff.
Olivia climbed down from her retreat, and is debatting whether to call for help or go in the water with the life preserver to save the baby tiger. The tiger is floating on a drift wood in the middle of the lagune under the waterfall. The inverted tiles on the bottom side of the brown plate really allow for smooth surfing. When the baby tiger is safely out from the water, Olivia can return back to her hut on the rocks, and enjoy the kiwi pie. As seen on the box art, the chameleon can join her at the table, but I’m not sure if he can use the cups. Maybe the baby tiger can use them. Anyway, it’s nice to have an extra cup included, so Olivia doesn’t fell all alone in the jungle. Additional play features were explained in the text above, here I just want to emphasize them again. Apart from the surfing tiger, Olivia climbing up and down the rocks, the dam can stop the water and reveals the entrance to the underground world with hidden treasures, so Olivia can explore the cave. Considering the size and the price of the set, there really is a lot to offer.
The Final Verdict
The overall design is great, but there is still room for improvement. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the build is simple and well done. I’m only missing more plants here. Considering that trees in official sets often have just a couple of leaves, I know I shouldn’t complain here. After all, there’s an extra plant included. There some rare and interesting parts included in the set, adding more value. I was surprised with the colour scheme, as there’s hardly any pink. While being a small set, with not a large number of parts included, it offers a lot.
The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces in interesting and very usefull colours. There are some new and rare parts included, and that makes the set also nice as a parts pack. The interesting parts are the new lime plant vines (there’s 2! ), the panels for the rocks and the trans-light blue parts for the waterfall. The parts selection is very useful for various MOCs, and for me that was the reason to get an extra copy of the set.
It’s a simple and straight forward build approriate for beginners, but also with some elements for the more advanced builders. I was excited to see the dam mechanism. It’s a lovely play feature. I missed some extra plants here, but that can be easily added, as probably everyone has some extra greenery. Considered it’s targeted at girls, there’s a lot of building, and not many mini builds, as in some other Friends sets. It also has a potential to modify it and make it larger.
Playability is the most important feature of this set. There’s enough action for everyone, boys and girls, and adults. There are moveable features, such as the dam and the surfing tiger, the hut to enjoy a meal, a cave to explore and baby tiger to take care of.
Olivia wears a Jungle uniform. Her top is a new design, while the skirt isn’t. This is probably one of the few minidols without hair accessories, and she looks good that way. Well, I wouldn’t mind some tropical flower pinned in her hair.
It’s a small set, but it offers enough interesting bricks for the price. The price per part is a bit high in this price range, as there’s sligthly less parts included due to some of the panels. I mentioned there are some rare and new parts included, and these justify the price per part. I was nicely surprised with the selection of very useful bricks, and I have to admit I got two copies of the set for both the parts and playability, and considering the price, it was a great deal.
Overall: 55/60 (90%)
The overall score implies, this is a set worth having. It’s an interesting design, appropriate for the beginners, it has a great selection of parts to attract AFOL, and it offers a lot of playability. Considering its price, this is a set that should attract different demographic groups of LEGO users, and still meet their various needs.
So, did the TLG get the right story? I think the baby tiger was after an adrenaline-pumping ride at the waterfalls, and Olivia missinterpreted his intentions. But that’s just my story, you can make your own….