Review by Troy Chelin (SAFOLs Member, jhbLUG Member)
Set number 21319 FRIENDS™ THE TELEVISION SERIES is #27 of the LEGO® IDEAS range and was released on the series 25th Anniversary. The first LEGO® Ideas or Cuusoo as it was known was released on the 17th of February 2011. This is not the first television series Ideas set to be released the first was The Big Bang Theory set number 21302 which is #10 of the LEGO® Ideas range.
If you are new to the LEGO® Ideas range it basically works as follows, you build your own LEGO® idea and share it on the LEGO® Ideas webpage, if it gathers over 10 000 supporters, it will then go to the review panel for approval and if your project is approved it becomes a new LEGO® product of which you get a 1% share of the sales.
The American sitcom had 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004 following the lives of 6 friends who spend most of their spare time hanging out in a coffee shop. This set has many Easter Eggs hidden around the set. An Easter egg is an undocumented reference to popular culture or in the case of friend’s fans favourite television moments.
Box Art Work
The cardboard box is the standard LEGO® ideas box that flips open showing you the contents inside. The front of the box has the iconic friends TV series name with the full set pictured in the centre and the minifigures pictured below with their accessories. The sides of the box have fantastic graphics and drawings drawn in black depicting iconic sayings and images for the TV series with splashes of orange, yellow and blue on a white background and in the centre is the Central Perk coffee shop logo. The art work folds around to the inside of the box which is black inside. On the other side of the box you see the minifigures pictured in windows and again the white background with the black graphics and iconic sayings like “How you doing” a pick up line used by Joey with coffee cups, umbrella’s, Phoebe’s guitar, the fountain and taxi cab with the iconic orange couch randomly displayed in the foreground.
What’s in the box?
There are 6 bags in the box marked 1 to 6, 155 page instructions manual and with 5 stickers. This set comes with 1067 pieces and includes 7 mini figures. On page 4 of the instructions you will find a brief overview of the friend’s television series. On page 5 you will see photos of the 6 main characters in the set with background descriptions for each character unfortunately Gunther is not mentioned. On page 6 & 7 Meet the fan designer Aymeric Fievet from France who was full of joy and pride when his submission which he altered several times reached 10 000 votes. On page 8 & 9 you get to meet the LEGO® designers Milan Madge the designer and Crystal Bam Fontan the graphic designer and they share their thoughts via a question and answer session. On page 10 and 11 you get to see the how many bags there are and what bag completes the section of the build. From page 12 onwards the instructions begin all the way to page 149. Pages 151 to 153 are the piece counts and part numbers.
In bag one you build: GUNTHER
Gunther is the manager of Central Perk coffee shop and a great inclusion in the set, he has a bright lime green torso with a colourful tie and black pants. He has a white hair piece and face prints on both sides which have been used before on Luke Skywalker mini figures. His accessory is a reddish brown push broom.
In bag two you build: RACHEL
Rachael is in her waitress outfit with a sleeve less light blue blouse with an apron print on the top half of her black pants. I do wish the apron was a cloth piece. The torso has nice lines for the back of the blouse. Her hair piece comes from series 17 the Veterinarian CMF mini figure series and it does justice to Rachel’s character. Her head has two different facial expressions, the first being her normal face and the other an annoyed smirk. Her accessory is pearl silver serving tray and white tea cup.
In bag three you build: JOEY
Joey is wearing a red button up collared shirt with a very light red shirt underneath and it has pockets on either side which is a really good torso print with plain black legs. The black hair piece really captures Joey’s character well and the two different face prints are keeping with Joey’s attitude. His accessory is a reddish brown “mans bag” and it’s a reference to one of the episodes in the series were Joey carries the bag in hopes of it helping him get an acting job. The set includes food items for Joey of a pizza slice and box, which is a fan reference in the series. The pizza box is a white 2×2 tile with printed red and green stripes on either end with pizza printed in the centre. The pizza slice is a quarter round 1×1 stud tile piece with printed pizza toppings.
In bag four you build: Chandler
Chandler has a black waste coat over blue collared long sleeve shirt for his torso and tan pants for legs. He has a very Chandler face print and the alternate face print is of an annoyed Chandler. The brown hair piece has very good detail. Chandler comes with a black laptop which is difficult to open and close and I have a feeling if you open and close the laptop to much it will end up in two pieces. In my opinion this is my least favourite mini figure out of the 7.
In bag five you build: Phoebe and Ross
Phoebe has a lovely gold leafed vest torso with which sparkles in the day light. The vest design is based off an episode called ‘The one with the blackouts’. She comes with dual face prints, one of shock which really looks fantastic with her blonde hair that flows down from a pony tail and the other is a just breaking a smile. Phoebe comes with her guitar.
Ross features an exclusive dual printed head that really depicts his character well, with a concerned and smiling expression. His torso print is a tan jacket with a striped tie with light brown legs. His black hair piece has good detail. Ross comes with a. Ross comes with a piano which was in one of the episodes that included Phoebe singing together.
In bag six you build: Monica
Monica does not have an exclusive head piece but it does justice to her character, she is wearing a white shirt with suspenders which also relate to her back with dark tan legs. The mini figure design relates to the very first episode of Friends where Monica reconnects with her childhood best friends while getting ready to go on a date and wearing a pale yellow jacket with suspenders and khakis, hey it was the 90’s. Monica has a chocolate brown cup cake piece for her accessory.
Central Perk is a coffee shop and what do you expect to find in a coffee shop but coffee and coffee mugs and this set does not disappoint with 15 in total, 3x yellow LEGO® mugs, 2x white LEGO® Mugs, 2x red LEGO® mugs, 2x pink LEGO® mugs, 2x transparent LEGO® mugs, 1x transparent pink LEGO® mug and 3x white tea/coffee cups. If you like the iconic LEGO® coffee mugs this is the set to buy. It includes 2 umbrellas a pink and a black one at the entrance of the shop and above the umbrellas is a red city workers cap.
The coffee machine built with the gold pieces is very simple but very effective and fits in well with the well angled shop front counter with nice build for the cash register and the biscuits in the glass bowl are a cool addition. There is a print of the golden gate bridge in the back of the set which was also included in the Big Bang Theory set I think that’s a good way of linking Ideas sets.
I like the carpet modules that you can pull out (look like islands) and place your mini figures where you want them and you can put it back or leave it in front of the set. You build the carpet inserts like a wall and lay them flat to place the furniture and figures where you can in relation to the studs that are placed in convenient places, you can customise this for better placements if you would like.
The iconic orange chair is a good build but you can only fit three figures and Phoebe’s mini figure’s blond hair protrudes out so you cannot sit her flush against the couch she has to sit one stud section out. The table that is placed in front of the orange couch as a nice use of tan and bright green with inverted studs to be able to put a newspaper, coffee cups, flowers and the reserved sign with black background and white writing is a sticker which is placed on a angle transparent piece and looks exactly like the TV series sign. Now we know how the Friends characters were always able to sit around the same table in busy New York City, maybe Rachel placed the reserved sign at the table?
The set has great angles and at the outside of the front entrance is a sticker placed on a 2×4 tile showing a advert that Joey worked on for a lipstick advertisement. On the opposite inside of the wall is a sticker on a black 2×4 tile promoting Phoebe Live tonight! I like the arrow pointing to the coffee counter with a printed service tile. Another printed piece is the coffee menu with great pastel blue, pink and yellow colours which is representing chalk. The Central Perk logo is printed on a window piece and is a very nice addition.
In the area where Phoebe usually setup to sing is another section that can be removed and is secured in place by two black 1×1 clips. A red chair with brown sides and a round table with flowers are placed in this area and it includes a black microphone and stand for Phoebe to sing into.
My pick from the pieces for this set is #6289117 the dark green 2x2x7 lamp post.
I really appreciate the time and effort the fan designer has put into the build of the set, he has really captured the iconic Central Perk coffee shop scene and has included many memorable moments from the ten year running series. I have read a number of other reviews where the reviewers are complaining about the lights on either side of the set; however you can remove those lights and the lighting grids if you don’t like the inclusion of the lights. You have to remember this was a TV series filmed in a TV Studio but I don’t think that this distracts from the set as they can be removed. This is a play or display set either way it’s well worth the money.
I did find one alternative build for this set which I thought was very interesting you can copy the link to find out more. https://rebrickable.com/mocs/MOC-33700/beewiks/LEGO®-frame-friends-central-perk/