Over the past few years the LEGO group have released quite a few sets based on popular TV shows. The Big Bang Theory Ideas set was the first I can recall that represented the “stage” the show has been taped on. Since then a variety of other great sets have followed a similar format including the great “Central Perk” coffee shop also featured in the show. We enjoyed building the Central Perk and are keen to see if the Apartments provides the same fun experience.
Of course, you could argue that any set that covers the main characters is applicable, even if not technically a “stage”. The Flintstones and Winnie the Pooh are both sets that break my premise, but hey, lets work with the concept for now.
Looking at the set online, it’s not apparent that it’s actually quite a large set. With 2048 pieces and three “modules” – two apartments and the hallway, it’s actually quite hefty. Once built it clocks in at 64cm wide and 31cm deep so get ready to clear some space.
The One With the Instructions
The set starts with a single large instruction booklet. Like many similar Creator Expert sets it provides an overview of some of the key elements of the show and a brief commentary from the designer. Interestingly, often the designers comments may span several pages and include commentary from the show’s producers or others involved in the collaboration. This wasn’t the case in this set. I’d love to better understand the process. In great news, the front of the manual is the sexy glossy black, but then the build instructions revert to legible ones with a light grey background – Hoorah!
The One With The Minifigs
We love minifigs, and this set delivers. The 6 main characters from the show are present – Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey and Chandler. Each dressed from a special episode they starred in. The designers nailed the facial expressions for every character except Phoebe. Ross was a standout for us. Phoebe looks a little strange as her head seems to be a little “squashed”. Perhaps the team could have done a better job with the hairstyle to prevent this by adding a small fringe?
But the standout really has to be Janice Hosenstein. Joey’s ex girlfriend didn’t have nearly as many episodes as the team, but introduced a huge amount of laughs. I’m glad she made the cut.
The One With The Guys Apartment
The main build starts with Joey and Chandlers apartment. We kick off building the armchairs by building a “wall” of texture to form the base. It’s a nice technique to build the rug and also lets us introduce the first feature – the armchairs. Both are connected together by a technic element. This allows the guys to collapse into the armchairs and recline in unison. It’s a little feature, but had me squealing with excitement. Strange, I know..
The build continues with the bulk of the apartment. The chairs above are added later and not built into the foundation of the room. I’m not sure why this approach is taken, but it works well. A variety of signs and a whiteboard are all included with the whiteboard giving you three options to choose from. These are all sticker based, but I don’t feel like it’s sticker overload.
The windows do have the blinds added as stickers. It would have been nice to have these printed. I suspect that it would be a common enough piece to allow re-use in other future sets.
The foosball table is a fun little micro build and shows what you can display with not many pieces.
As we finish this apartment, we add the stage lighting. They are similar, but not exactly the same as those found in the Central Perk set. It’s not a major issue, but I think a missed opportunity to keep them the same. If the show was filming at the same time, it’s likely the lighting would also have been the same.
The corridor between the apartments is a very quick part of the build. Mrs Braverman’s cheescake was included which is a nice touch. If you’ve not seen the episode, then definitely check it out. Very funny stuff.
The One With The Girls Apartment
As we move to Monica’s apartment, we repeat the process for the main rug. However given Monica has a lot more class than they guys, it’s a little more intricate. The vertical build and layering of 1 x 1 plates looks a little more intricate than the plates used in the guys apartment.
The build of the apartment is very similar to the guys apartments, albeit with Monica’s walls a nice shade of purple. There’s quite a few throwback’s to episodes in the show such as the NFL (American Football) on TV so the gang can avoid helping Monica cook thanksgiving dinner. A nice easter egg shout out to LEGO is on the wall too.
I was glad to see the inclusion of the outdoor balcony and Giant poking device. Many episodes had some form of balcony laughs, so it’s a solid inclusion.
The build of the Monica’s kitchen was enjoyable. Most of the techniques we’re fairly common, but the finished product looks quite homely.
As we finish off Monica’s apartment, we build the blinds which used a combination of elements to great effect. They really suit the apartment and the use of a slightly angled window completes the scene nicely.
We complete the set with the build of Glady’s – Phoebe’s sculpture that only a mother could love.
If you’re a big fan of Friend’s then this set is a no-brainer. Similarly if you liked the Central Perk set then it should be on your shopping list. It has the same build enjoyment the Central Perk set, but just more of it. We enjoyed the Easter eggs and show references throughout and the build wasn’t too complex.
Although marked in the 18+ category, I’m sure most 12 year olds could complete the set without too much (any) assistance.
If you aren’t into F.R.I.E.N.D.S. then this set would take a bit more consideration. It’s a great set for sure, but the cost of AUD$259.99 is quite a different category to the Central Perk set at $89.99 (AUD). You’ll need a little more room to display it as well. I think it would have been better to split this into two seperate sets at $129.99. Ideally adding the ability to stack the sets would also help with displaying them on most shelving units.
For us, if you already have Central Perk, then definitely give this set your attention. If you don’t, then perhaps consider Central Perk first as it’s likely to retire sooner than the Apartments. It’s a great way to get into the ‘scene’ at a lower entry price.
A special thanks to our friends at Zavvi who supplied this set to us. Check them out for great deals on LEGO sets including some exclusive sets you can’t buy in Australia. At the time of writing, Zavvi have The Friends Apartments at $50 off plus free shipping, taking it into a sweeter price bracket for your collection.
Set: The Friends Apartments
Theme: Creator Expert
Set #: 10292
Number of Minifigs: 7
Number of Pieces: 2048