41094 Heartlake Lighthouse

Summer is almost here, and the ice-cream shop at the old Heartlake Lighthouse has opened for a new season. Join Stephanie and Kate and enjoy your favourite ice-cream flavour.

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Basic info of the set

Set no.: 41094
Name: Heartlake Lighthouse
Theme: Friends
Year: 2015
Pieces: 473
Minifigs: 2 (plus a seal)
Age group: 6 – 12
Price: £ 39.99 / US$ 39.99 / EUR 39.99
Price per part: 8.455 p / 8.455 c / 8.455 c
Links:  Bricklink, Brickset, LEGO S@H

The box

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The front of the box is a standard Friends design, with curved sides of the box. The top right corner has a cartoon picture of the five main Friends characters, while at the bottom right there’s a picture of the two Friends, Stephanie and Kate, included in this set. The box art is lovely, and I like the balloon in the background. In the bottom left corner, there’s a small picture of the back of the lighthouse, which I find a bit redundant. It’s too small to see the details, and as most of them are shown on the back, this picture could be omitted from the box art.

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The back of the box is nicely showing all the wonderful details, and is actually very appealing. Almost half of the box is covered with small windows showing different details and play features of the set. Although these little windows reveal much of the details of the set, and take away the element of surprise, I find them really useful in presenting the set.

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My favourite feature window on the back of the box is the one showing set’s accessories. I admit I was simply captivated by all the ice-cream flavours available in the ice-cream shop. In addition, there’s a new hair pin in the shape of a flower, and a coin of 5 FMU (Friends Monetary Unit).

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The sides of the box are following the standard box design. There are typical hearts, paws, butterflies, stars, flowers and musical notes on a lavender background. On one side, there’s also a smaller picture of the set.

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The top of the box has a picture of Stephanie as a measure of size. This is a nice feature, but I would expect something more catching here, as there are plenty of other interesting parts in the set.

The booklet

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The front art design of the two instruction booklets copies the box art. If you have a sharp eye, you can notice the bottom left corner of the booklet is torn. That’s how I got it. Also, the booklet was twisted a bit, and stayed like this even after a couple of days under a box full of parts.

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Inside the instruction booklet, there are no surprises. The background is lavender, and the odd pages have a small heart watermark, which is a typical feature in Friends’ instruction booklets. Individual building steps are simple, and if needed, placement of some parts is emphasizes with arrows.

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The back of the instruction booklet surprised me with an image of the new series, the Elves. I bought and opened the set in late January, so the Elves were still an upcoming series. In a way, they are connected to Friends series (the Elves use the same minidoll design) so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

The parts

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Inside the box, there are two instruction booklets, a sticker sheet, and a 8×16 medium azure plate. Parts not being inside the polybags is becoming a fashion, and I’d really like to know why is that. At least in this case, the plate is not that big, and could easily be packed inside a bags. Also, with its sharp edges it might contribute to damaging the instruction booklets.

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The parts are organized in four numbered bags. Considering the part count (473) numbered bags are expected. Each of the numbered bag had inside one smaller bag with the small parts.

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The sticker sheet was only slightly bend in my case, and I was happy not to see it damaged. In general, I don’t like stickers as much as I like printed parts, but with the Friends series, there are some neat design. However, this is the first set where I actually applied only some of the stickers. If you read through the review, you’ll see what I mean.

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Inside bag no. 1 the majority of the larger parts are in white and tan. Medium azure plates stand out a bit, but only due to the bright colour. When organizing the parts for the picture, I was surprised to see that Kate’s torso was not packed inside a smaller bag as Olivia’s torso and both of their legs were. Other special and interesting parts in the first bag are the bright pink boat, ice-cream cone, reddish brown plates with swirl top and a bright pink flower with pointed petals as hair accessory.

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Inside bag no. 2 the most parts are in white and medium blue, but there’s also a fair amount of bright pink. An interesting part here is the bright pink 2×2 macaroni brick, and it appears in this set only. In addition to bright pink, medium lavender is another Friendly colour in this bag. I also like the flower plates in green, red and dark pink. Another rare part are the white doors, as they are available in four sets only.

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Bag no. 3 contains roof slopes in dark blue, and more of bright pink bricks for the lighthouse tower. I was excited to see inverted corner slopes in dark blue and the 2×3 and 1×2 slopes in dark blue. These are not very common, but they’d allow more dynamic roof tops in every city. In addition to flower plates in green, red and dark pink, a bright light orange flower plates are included as well.

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Bag no. 4 has more specific parts than the first three. Also, the most interesting parts can be found here. There’s a lot of white parts included, but the most interesting parts are in other colours. An exciting recolour is the quarter round fence in magenta, which appeared in 3 other sets. Starting from left to right, there’s a lot of the flower plates, and they come also in lavender, which is a new colour for this part in 2015. There are also some ice-cream parts included, such as a trans-neon green popsicle, ice-cream scoops in bright light orange and lime, and round plates with swirled top in bright pink and white.

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The most interesting parts in this set are shown on the picture above. Most of them are recolours of the existing parts, while some are completely new and unique to the set. Some of them I mentioned before, but just to emphasize my favourites. It’s really nice to have a boat hull in yet another colour. If you’re after bright pink bricks, this set is worth having for the variety of them. But then there’s also the ice-cream cone and scoops, (not so) new plant, lavender flower plate and a printed coin plate. In my opinion, this set has a great value in these small and special parts.

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There’s a lot of extra parts in this set and they are a nice selection. Mostly, they are the usual combination of small and easily lost parts, but there’s are also some really nice extras. I really like the amount of extra flower plates, 5 FMU coin plate, and the round plates with swirled top.

The minifigs

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Stephanie (left) and Kate (right) are the main characters in this set. Stephanie is one of the 5 original Friends, while Kate is not. I was a bit surprised to find out that Kate is not unique to this set, but she appeared in two other sets, namely 41000 Water Scooter Fun and 41037 Stephanie’s Beach House. Kate is enjoying a scoop of chocolate ice-cream, while Stephanie seems to be more interested in taking photography.

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Stephanie is sporting a medium lavender wrap around skirt unique to this set and green top with stripes. She also wears modern trans-purple sunglasses, available in only 3 sets. Kate is wearing a bright light orange layered skirt, which is common in this theme in other colours as well, and a bikini top which she wore also in 41008 Heartlake City Pool and 41034 Summer Caravan. It’s really nice to have more variety in Friends’ clothing and the wrap around skirt in lavender will fit nicely with other tops.

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There’s no printing on the back, but it would be nice to see the striped pattern on Stephanie’s top. Both of them also have hair accessories. Stephanie has sunglasses, which are different from the ones that appeared in previous Friends sets. Also, they look more realistic being a trans-colour. Kate has a flower hairpin, which is a new design. I wouldn’t mind using this part as a real flower. The obstacle for this is the small pin, which doesn’t fit the holes in plant leaves, but it fits the flowers and can be then attached to the bottom side of the leaves.

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The build

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The building of the set starts with a minibuild setting for the seal. It’s a small rocky island in the middle of the water. It’s a very simple build, but it’s effective for the purpose. I’d prefer a grey jumper plate on the top or if it has to be green, dark green would be great as well to present a wet algae on the top of the rocks.

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Reddish brown seal is rare, but not unique to this set, and has appeared first in the Friends Animal series 6. It looks really cute seating on top of the rocks. I’m guessing Stephanie is observing him/her through her binoculars. There’s no printing except the eyes, which are not so realistic, but they do give the seal a cute look.

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The next minibuild is the boat. It’s hardly considered a build on its own, as only few parts are added as equipment. There are wooden benches for sitting, and a special tile so hold the minidolls in place while enjoying the boat ride. I really like the brown bars as an extension of the paddles, as they allow minidolls to hold the paddles and actually row. What I don’t like about the boat is the flags colour. I’m not sure red and pink go together, and almost every other colour would fit better.

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Stephanie likes taking a boat out to the lake (or sea) to observe the seals. The boat is big enough to accommodate also her equipment, the camera and the binoculars. And if she wants company, she can move her equipment to the front of the boat to free seating for one of her friends.

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The building then continues with the base for the lighthouse. My favourite part here are the brown pillars, on which the pier is latter build on. These are hidden in the next steps, and I wanted to show that the designers also had in mind these hidden details.

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The finished base for the island has three different areas. There’s a small patch of grass on which the lighthouse tower will be built on, and a large wooden area for the adjacent building and the pier. The medium azure plates are nice for the water, as they create a more tropical atmosphere.

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The building of the lighthouse starts with the base of the tower where a small toilet is. White dome bottom is used for the toilet, which is simple design, but works fine. A weird detail is the dark pink flower on top of the toilet tank, but I’m guessing it’s there as decoration, and not a part of the toilet tank.

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The details of the toilet are hidden as soon as the walls are built up. It’s here where the white door is used, and I have to say that this is the most appropriate door colour and design for toilets. When I first put a toilet in one of my MOCs, I had a huge dilemma which door to use. It’s really great TLG started making this door also in non-transparent colours.

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Initially, I was sceptic about bright pink walls of the lighthouse, but the colour fits nicely. The door should have a sign to indicate the toilet behind them, but I decided against using the sticker. I plan to use those door in MOCs, and I’m not sure they’ll be used as toilets only, so I’m also glad the door is not printed to have a choice to used them as something else as well.

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Next the base of the adjacent house is build. It’s a combination of white and medium blue. I like this choice of colours, as they complement bright pink nicely. A cute design are also the floor lamps, two are positioned at the base of the walls, and latter more are added to the patio area.

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I was surprised to see that the building continues with the front wall, as it felt a bit unstable. Another colour is introduced as the canopy, and it blends in with the colour scheme really nicely. The front door to the ice-cream shop is ”decorated” with an ”open” sticker sign.

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Left wall is latter build, and the window on the side has the same canopy. The odd parts here are the yellow window panes. The really look out of place. I wish white panes or a glass would be used instead.  Additional pillars that give more stability to the walls are built, and they partly cover the cute floor lamps.

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Later on, the building of the lighthouse continues with the second floor. This floor act more as a storage space than actual floor, as it’s a place where Kate stores various bottles. I’m guessing these are soap and air-fresheners used in the toilet bellow.

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The house part is finished at this point, and the colour scheme pops to life here. The combination of blues and pinks is really pleasant to the eye. The plate above the roof window has a sticker on, so that everyone can see from a far that this is where the ice-cream shop is. Only thing out of place, at least in my opinion, are the yellow window panes.

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More details are added also to the back of the building. There’s a loft area above the shop with a makeshift bed and a wonderful view through the window. In the lighthouse tower a map is added to the top floor together with very simple ladder. The map is the same as in the 41097 Heartlake Hot Ait Baloon. I consider myself an experienced builder, yet here I made a colossal mistake when building the cooler case for the ice-cream in the shop. I used the larger trans-clear panels. I discovered this mistake when I was looking for those large panels in latter steps. Obviously, the instructions to open one bag at a time make sense even if you’re a bit older.

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This is how the lighthouse and its adjacent building looks in the winter. The patio is empty, and more details can be seen that way. The new magenta curved fence is used at the top of the lighthouse, and the radar dish in magenta is used as a roof. Overall, despite the pink and magenta not being traditional lighthouse colours, the colour scheme is really pleasant, and even the yellow window panes don’t looks so disturbing.

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In the last few steps, more details are added to the patio in front of the house. There’s a small table where Kate is enjoying her chocolate ice-cream, and as it seems she has another portion of strawberry ice-cream waiting for her. In the back, there’s an advertising board showing the ice-cream selection. While this is a lovely detail, it’s a bit hidden in the back. Also, the before mentioned floor lamps are added to the patio, and I can almost imagine the atmosphere in the evenings. On the right side to the door, there’s a large model of an ice-cream cone with 4 scoops of vanilla, pistachio, chocolate and strawberry ice-cream. It’s a nice decorative element, and uses technic cross axle to position the scoops at different angles. Also, some greenery is added to the walls of the lighthouse tower.

The finished product

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After 103 building steps the Heartlake Lighthouse is finally finished. Considering the small patio, it looks full. In addition to Stephanie arriving to the lighthouse in her boat, and the little seal sunbathing at the rocks nearby, there’s not much more room for any other visitor. For some reason, while building the set I had an impression that the lighthouse is accessible only by boat, and that it is not build on the shore of the lake or sea. I’m guessing the tile map helped with this perception.

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There’s not much details left to reveal on the back side. The coolers in the shop are filled with the various ice-creams. A lamp is added to the loft area. It’s a simple design, and has a handle to carry the light around. All in all, there’s easy access to the back of the building, and the various areas allow lots of play action.

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There’s a cashier in the shop close to the window, so you can sell/buy the ice-creams outside the shop…

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…or you can go inside to have a better look at all the tasty ice-cream flavours.

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If you had too much to drink, you can use the toilet in the lighthouse tower. The space is tight, but at least the toilet seat is down. :grin:  That’s actually the only place for the minidolls to stand in the lighthouse tower. The other two floors are too low, and too small to fit a minidoll in, and it would be much better if only one floor was made instead of two.

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Kate has access to the loft above the ice-cream shop, where she can have a quick nap on the bed, or just sit and watch the view through the window.

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Stephanie enjoys the view from the top platform, observing the seal, and taking photographs. I tried to position her with a camera taking a selfie, but apparently with no wrist movement, that’s not possible.

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A view from the right side shows the plants growing at the bottom of the lighthouse tower. I like the leaves climbing on the walls, and there could be more of the new grass stems at the bottom, not so much to fill the space, but more to increase their availability.

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A view from the left side reveals the details on the patio. The advertisement board stands out more from this side, and it has a rotating base, so you can position it whichever way you like. At the table, there’s seating for two, so Kate can invite over some of her friends.

The Final Verdict

Design: 10/10

The overall design is great and I cannot think of any flaws or improvements. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the build is simple and well done. Also, it takes a while to actually build this large set, and the process is very enjoyable. Some of the parts included in the set are available in few sets only, and they add more value to the set. Overall, the colour scheme is lovely and amount of details is great.

Parts: 10/10

The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces in interesting colours. The not so common parts makes this set also a nice purchase as a parts pack. I like the variety of parts in bright pink, the magenta fence, and the ice-cream scoops. When I was deciding on buying the set, the parts list was an extra reason to get the set. Also, you get a lot of extra small parts, and there’s a bunch of flower plates in 5 different colours.

Build: 8/10

The building of the set is relatively simple and straight forward, and is appropriate even for the less experienced builders. The advanced level of the set can mostly be considered due to a large number of parts, as it takes more time to assembly it. The finished product is stable and allows lots of play action, however when building it, it didn’t feel this way all the time. The walls of the tower are built by stacking bricks without offsetting them. Due to the curved walls of the tower, there’s no other way to do this, yet I’d still prefer the sets to teach the kids how to build stable walls by offsetting.

Playability: 10/10

As it’s standard for the Friends sets, aimed mostly at young girls, playability is the most important feature of this set. However, there’s enough action for everyone, and the set doesn’t feel as it’s only for girls. There are not many moving features, the playability is based more on the imagination of the player. You can row the boat around the lighthouse and search for seals though. Also, the ladder at the back can be moved to allow access to the loft above the shop. The value of the set is in playing out different scenarios. You can play shop, or watch the view from the tower, or tell scary stories in the loft at night, or simply enjoy the ice-creams.

Minifigs: 9/10

Stephanie wears a lavender skirt, available only in this set, and both Stephanie and Kate have accessories that are not so common. The flower pin Kate is wearing can also be used as a real flower, although it can be connected to leaves only in combination with classic flowers. Also, their torsos are available in few different sets only. However, there’s always need for different tops and bottom of minidolls.

Price: 9/10

It’s a large set, so the price is not that surprising. The price per part is great actually, but if the size of the parts is considered, it’s not so great anymore as there’s a lot of very small parts. However, keeping in mind there’s some rare parts included in this set, the selection of parts is actually great for this prize. I’m not considering getting an extra copy, but the set as a whole is a great parts pack for builders oriented in creating houses and landscape.

Overall: 56/60 (93.3%)
As the overall score implies, this is a set worth having. The design is interesting and pleasing to the eye and offers a lot of playability. Building it is appropriate for both beginners as well as more experienced builders. The parts selection is nice, and has rare parts attractive to AFOLs. Considering the price, it’s not the cheapest, but it offers a lot of interesting colours and rare parts. The parts have a potential to be used in different themes, and the set is a great buy also for the parts alone.

It’s not the distance, it’s the goal that motivates you.
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