The Friends theme is getting a reboot in 2018. Not only are the characters redesigned but the theme has a new feel to it. Everything seems to be a bit more colourful and cartoonish than before.
The most radically different of the Friends characters is the 2018 version of Olivia, so I was keen to grab a set with her in it to review.
Here is my look at 41333 Olivia’s Mission Vehicle
This isn’t a large set so the build is only split up over two small bags. The first bag contains parts for the tree and the base of the vehicle, while the second bag contains the remainder of the vehicle pieces.
The built starts with the construction of Olivia’s Robot Zobo. There are about 13 parts to this little build and the end result is a pretty cute robot. The rear features an antenna for stabilisation as it obviously doesn’t balance on the two small wheels.
Next up we get in to the build of the small tree. There really isn’t a lot of interest with this part of the build other than the inclusion of new parts.
Firstly there is the new 1×1 flower element. This is a fantastic new element for adding decoration to sets. There are three used on the tree – two on the branches and a third on the ‘ground’. The one on the ground is paired with the other new element – three leaves connected to 1×1 round. LEGO’s official name for the part is PLANT, W/ PLATE 1X1, NO. 1. It’s always great to get new decorative elements and I really like these additions.
Once the tree is out of the way it’s time to start work on the car. It very quickly becomes apparent that the car is bigger than it seems on the box. It is 6 studs wide but a surprising 18 studs long.
The base features a layout that indicates you can fit in five minidolls. It’s a squeeze but I’ll admit that it’s technically possible to get them in. If you ever find yourself in Heartlake City going for a ride in Olivia’s Mission Vehicle then don’t call shotgun – the rear seat is clearly the best option. To get the five minidolls in there are lots of arms crossing over.
The body of the car is where the sets stickers are placed and they generally aren’t too bad. The worst one is the large sticker on the front. I managed to get it crooked.
The removable roof is another quick section of the build. There are some nice details but nothing remarkable in terms of the build experience.
The End Result
There are essentially two parts to this set; the vehicle and a tree. The tree is certainly the least impressive part. The narrative of the set is that Olivia is rescuing a cat from a tree; a tree that happens to be not much taller than a person. I get that this is a small set but honestly that cat is just being lazy if it can’t get down from that tree.
While the tree is underwhelming I can’t say the same for the vehicle. The colour scheme walks along that fine line between fun and garish. The liberal use of windows helps break up the colour and also keeps it nice and open so you can see the characters inside.
The roof of the vehicle features a selection of appropriate “techy” embellishments such as the satellite dish and a computer. Having a full desktop style PC on the roof of your car may not be the best idea but we are dealing with LEGO Friends logic.
The roof also features a hidden compartment between the two separate layers. The instructions have this used to store a Heartlake City map.
There are 10 stickers used throughout the set but they are all fairly inconsequential. Some of them feel a little forced, like the cogs on the bonnet or the TECH GRL licence plate sticker. Yes, we get it – Olivia is the science and tech member of the group.
In order to help Olivia “rescue” the lazy cat the set comes with a small folding ladder. A very simple addition but the designers have cleverly added attachment points the car so that it can be stowed for transportation.
One of the main reasons I wanted to get this set was to check out the New Olivia design for myself. While the other characters are also changed the Olivia redesign is the most radical.
I don’t love the new hair design that they have gone with. It looks great in the new media such as the 3D animated videos on the LEGO website but I just don’t feel that it translates perfectly to the minidoll design.
Olivia’s new torso design features a yellow vest with numerous pockets on top of a blue collared shirt and tie. The shirt and tie combo, while subtle, feels a bit odd to me. It just seems like extra detail that didn’t need to be there. Her outfit is different in the character video released online.
The legs with pink shorts and blue shoes match in nicely with the torso.
I still don’t really like that Olivia now wears glasses. This is not anything against people who wear glasses. I wear them. It just feels lazy to make the STEM girl the one who wears glasses. I want LEGO to be better than these sort of stereotypes.
Having said all of that; the new Olivia is worse in pictures. When you get the actual minidoll in your hands the changes don’t feel as significant or important. All minidolls are cute.
Zobo is Olivia’s brick-built robot companion. As I said in the build section of this review there is not many pieces to it but the end result looks cute. In the box artwork Zobo is shown holding the printed tablet/phone element.
Vega appears to be a calico cat based on the white, black and orange colour scheme. The printing is quite nice but it would be better if it was over the whole body more than just the front.
Value For Money
You may only get one minidoll but you do also get the Zobo build and Vega the cat. The vehicle part of the set is also great value in my opinion.
41333 Olivia’s Mission Vehicle may not have the sort of play features you get in City sets – exploding walls and net launchers – but there is a clear story in this set.
If you are a Friends fan I strongly suggest checking this one out.