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Manekochan Review: LEGO Friends’ Olivia’s Tree House (3065)

Building this set, I wasn’t particularly struck by anything. It seemed normal, though not as tedius as the ones I’ve attempted (and given up on) in the past. It also didn’t hurt my fingers. That’s a huge factor in giving up on the other sets. The other LEGOs seem determined to destroy my fingers and I usually stop in annoyance after a few minutes of masochism. This set was blissfully free of that. I thought maybe I was just more determined to work through it or maybe those other nights I was just being a baby. Then I got to the birdhouse.

The birdhouse of the set is the last thing that you build. There’s a weird little cross-stick thing that you have to push down through the “log” pieces and it’s difficult to get in there properly so it took a bit of finagling. That was the only problem I had piecing anything together. When I started to build the birdhouse, though, with its stark red and white bricks, there, oh there, was that audible “SNAP!” rather than the tiny click I’d been getting for the entire build. The red and white bricks were the finger punishing little monsters that I remembered and with every loud “SNAP!” they reminded me of why I’d never finished a set before this one.

The cat bed and the (evil) birdhouse are nice little touches but they mostly serve to annoy me as they are so woefully out of scale. There also isn’t much room for them to sit on the base so it’s impossible to keep them all together. It’s kind of like having two mini sets and one big one.

Vault:  I thought I’d jump in a say a couple of words about what I liked in this set.  I was pretty impressed with all the new elements and colors.  Sure there’s a lot of pink and purple, but you also get a lighter brown shade that I haven’t seen very often and the tree leaves come in dark and light green.  I also really loved the new animal and plant pieces.  The cat and bird are a nice touch, but the ladybugs and butterflies are awesome.  It’s finally nice to get an insect that’s not a spider or an ant.  The three new flowers are a welcome sight too, and fit just as well on the three pronged grass pieces as the old flat flowers.

The new minifigure is pretty interesting.  She’s just a bit taller than a standard minifig, and her design is very different.  What disappointed me the most is how little articulation she has.  Her head and arms swivel, an her legs move together on a hinge joint.  Her upper and lower torsos are seperate pieces, but they are connected with an oval so they can’t swivel.  I also miss having the swivel hands, which usually helps to add personality to the minifigs.

One thing I really love about the Friends minifig is even though her head is a different shape, it’s still the same diameter as the classic cylindar heads.  This means any type of hat or hair piece will be compatible for both lines.  I know this will lead to some great hairstyles for the classic figures, but I’m also hoping it brings some traditional LEGO themes into the Friends line. I think it would be a great roleplaying sales point to see the girls dressed in classic Space or Castle clothing, having their own make-believe adventures.

Manekochan:  Overall, Olivia’s Tree house is a fun set with plenty of little odds and ends (20 various red bugs and flowers come to mind) to keep you building for a short while. It’s a nice piece to have around for your mini-figs, not just your mini-dolls. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t notice anything different in the method. I was hoping for something a little more drastic but maybe we just need to break out a bigger set to find out.

-Manekochan & Vault

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8 comments to Manekochan Review: LEGO Friends’ Olivia’s Tree House (3065)

  • Another great review, now with DOUBLE POWER!! 🙂

    I think it’s obvious that Lego would desire to keep new tooling costs to a minimum, but it still takes a little thinking ‘outside of the box’ to come up with ‘girl’ themed sets, altho something tickles my memory that they did try this before, like, what, 10 years back?

    Interesting thing, when I pointed this line out to a ladyfriend her first reaction was “Oh, Lego is going after Playmobile. Those look like Playmobile figures.” and maybe she has something there. I had thought, with the story aspect, this was meant to be a blending of ‘American Girl’ with Lego. I suspect there’s a concurrent line of story books out there.

    (her second reaction was to be tickled by the fact one of them is named same as her and has a set that matches her hobbies/interests. Ah, if only she wasn’t so far away *ahem* )

    What makes me most happy is that the new ‘Friends’ figure can use regular Lego wigs(hair) and head gear. Will Olivia wear the Monster Suit Head in her treehouse?

    I dunno if I trust that cat. It has a sly look to it. 🙂

    • manekochan

      They’ve had multiple goes at it. Belville, which you can occasionally still find in stores, Paradisa, which is a pink and white-themed island world, and Fabuland, which was their all animal set. Google each one for some interesting pics.

  • manekochan

    I should mention that Vault took the pictures.

  • Heli

    My daughter loves Lego; I may have to pick up a set or two from Friends to see what she thinks of them. I can’t decide if I think she’ll like them or not. She’s a huge fan of the standard minifigs, so I wonder if the new design will actually push her away.

    Incidentally, as much as I can appreciate stuff that’s marketed specifically toward girls, I have to agree with your “gender-neutral” comment. Again, my daughter loves Lego as-is. I suspect she’d like a regular ol’ Lego City house with normal minifigs just as much as she’d like the giant Olivia’s House set from Friends. Plus, when Luke Skywalker comes over to visit, he’d match everybody else.

    • That’s the thing for me too, as I’ve long thought of Lego as gender neutral, altho, thinking of the various lines currently out, there HAS been a bit of skewing towards the male side (Star Wars, Bionical, DC Heroes, the ninja game thing) so, who knows.

      Funny thing is, every time a company makes a very visible effort to cater to that girls marketplace, it always seems more cynical, artificial and forced.

      I have no solutions. I just want Applejack to get her cowgirl hat. 🙂

      • Heli

        Well, you just have to buy the one with the barn, then.

        Heck, I’ve even seen that set at places like Ross for cheap. There’s no reason for Applejack to not be sporting her chapeau.

        • The barn comes with a hat, but it’s not her proper cowgirl hat. It’s more like the hat you see on stereotype donkeys. Applejack’s hat in the cartoon is very specific in design.

          Blah blah blah 🙂

  • This looks like a fun little set!

    Great minds must think alike. When I first took a look at the box of the girls all together, the first thing I thought of was Disney Princesses. You’ve got Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella…