41131: Friends Advent Calendar

Like last year, with all three of this year’s Advent Calendars, I’ll be posting a daily update to this post. Each day will have an image of the build, and a quick comment, with a final review at the end. If you want to keep up to date with it, use the link to the right of the page – it will be there for the duration of December. I won’t be posting any pictures at all on social media, so you won’t get it spoilt by me!

Theme: Seasonal; Friends
No: 41131
Release Year: 2016
Cost: AUD$49.95
Pieces: 218 (with two minifigures)

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The display this year is the inside of a house, and gives us a good idea about what will be coming up. There’s enough to keep us guessing though! I like that little piano…


Day 1
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The first day in the Friends set is Emma, wearing a green and white Christmas sweater. This is a unique inclusion straight away, having never been seen before. I quite like it, but I’m not sure how it goes with riding pants and boots.
​Day 2
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Today’s gift is a couple of pairs of skates and a little seat for the minidolls. The seat is very simple, but the skates are always great to have. My wife put this one together and she was slightly disappointed, but she did like the skates.
​Day 3
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Letters to Santa can get mailed out now – we’ve got a mailbox. It’s a very simple build, but always good to have another box. Not much to say about this one really. It’s extremely simple, but effective at the same time. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Day 4
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Today’s a bit of a miss for me. I’m pretty sure it’s a candle, and I like the flowers on the plant, but it’s just a little meh. It’s very simple, a little unimaginative – almost like a filler. “We need something for Day 4. It can be anything…” Hopefully tomorrow is better.
​Day 5
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It’s our final minidoll today – Naomi. Her legs are brand new – never seen before, and her hair has only been seen in 41119: Heartlake Cupcake Cafe. Her torso is also quite rare, being only in another two sets, so all in all, she’s a good one! At least Emma has a friend now.
​Day 6
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We’ve got a pet today! A cute little hamster and it’s hutch. I quite like this one. The hamster is quite unique, having only appeared in one other set – 41111: Party Train. I always like getting new animals! The water feeder is quite good too. It’s been seen before, though, so not exactly a unique aspect.
​Day 7
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Day 7 is a fireplace and wreath! It’s rather modern looking, and I like the very small wreath above it. It’s a simple build, and good for the minidolls to keep warm, but the colours are a little out there.
​Day 8
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I love today’s build! It’s some snacks for Santa – milk and cookies, and a carrot for the reindeer. Simple, but genius! Not only that, but there are some rather good parts included too. The carrot has only been seen in four other sets, starting with a Friends Advent Calendar in 2014, the cookies on a round 1×1 tile are new to 2016, the white mug is relatively rare, with only being in eight other sets, and we get another printed milk carton. Brilliant!
​Day 9
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There’s always got to be one. A poor attempt at something that could have been much cooler. We had it last year in the Friends calendar on Day 18 with that table, and this year we get a terrible shot at a turntable. The addition of the mic is something at least, but that turntable is a shocker. Hopefully it gets better tomorrow.

Edit: Apparently it’s not a DJ desk, but a stage! Still doesn’t make it any better. They could have done a lot more.

Day 10
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Ok, this is a bit better. Today we’ve got a piano, and it’s quite good! It certainly makes up for the last one. It’s recognisable, is definitely Friends, and is a fun one. I like the music as well. I wonder if we’ll get another good one tomorrow?
​Day 11
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We’re taking a step back in the other direction again, with this very simplistic guitar stand. The guitar itself is great – it’s only been seen in two other Friends sets, and it’s only been around since last year. Apart from that, there’s not much to say about this one.
​Day 12
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This one is as boring as you can get. No building, just a pile of loose, and quite ugly yellow kitchen utensils. In a set, I guess they’d be a nice score, but as a standalone advent calendar “build” (and I mean that in the loosest sense of the word), it’s a bit rubbish.
​Day 13
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Today’s gift is some more furniture, with two chairs, and some cupcakes on what I’m assuming is a table? I’m not sure why the table is so low, and uninspiring, but I do like the chairs. The gold cupcake tops are always a nice addition. They’re around a fair bit, but you can never have too many.
​Day 14
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This is another very simple build, but I love that little teapot! It’s very new, only being available in two other sets, one in Friends, and one in Elves. The rest of the build is a little lacklustre, but the teapot makes up for it.
​Day 15
Today’s build is a quick one – a camera and stand, or quadpod as it’s got four legs! These are both elements of the more common kind, but still great to get one more of, so I’m quite pleased.
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​Day 16
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Today’s build is festive, and has some good parts, although it is on the simpler side. We’ve got a present wrapping table, with some wrapping paper, a pair of scissors, and what looks to be like a pot of glue. The 1×1 plate with shaft is a very new part, only appearing this year, but it’s already in 19 other sets, which I was very surprised about. It must be very versatile! I’m very pleased.
​Day 17
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We’ve got the standard Christmas Tree today, so there’s something to put the presents from yesterday under. I quite like these trees. They’re small enough for minifigures, and versatile too. I’m not sure about the blue circle plate underneath, but I’m not going to say no!
​Day 18
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It’s another simple one today, with some lovely wrapped presents. I really like this. It’s fun for the kids to see what’s inside the boxes, and the tops are quite rare still, having only been seen in a handful of sets from this year.
​Day 19
Today marks the first day of the last week of the advent calendar, and I quite like what we’ve got today – a turntable and some party hats in medium azure and yellow! I’ve never seen the party hats before – they’re new for 2016, and only in a handful of Friends sets, so I’m super impressed with those. They’re only compatible with Friends minidolls, but that’s ok. The turntable is very simple, and the record is printed.
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Day 20
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Today we’ve got a pretty shocking attempt at a BBQ. I like the addition of the chicken drumsticks, and I can see what LEGO is trying to do, but there are so many better ways to do it! This one was just unimaginative.
​Day 21
We’re sticking with the food theme with a Christmas pudding and what is apparently a piping bag, although I have no idea how! The tap is just odd. The piping bags I know are just the bag, and that’s it. The pudding is excellent, so it makes up for it.
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​Day 22
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It’s a very unimaginative table today. It’s marginally better than last year’s Day 18 that I’ve already mentioned, but only just. At least there’s some arches and a 2×2 jumper plate thrown in, but it’s not fantastic. Hopefully we’ll finish strong over the next two days.
Day 23
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With only one more day to go, we get a very nice looking snowman. I’ve never seen a snowman in an advent calendar like this one, and I really like it! The scarf and hat are brilliant, and even the shape is spot on. I like how he has arms. It appears to be gravity defying snow, but it’s still good. I wonder what tomorrow will be?
​Day 24
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Today’s build is not what I expected at all, but I’m really pleased! It’s not festive, but is definitely wintery (which is not what an Aussie Christmas is like at all). This little polar bear fishing is a nice addition to the advent calendar, as the bear cub is brand new, never been seen before. I also really like the transparent ring plate. They’re not new, but this is only the second one I’ve got, so I’m very happy.

The Friends advent calendar is one that tends to polarise people (pun intended). It can be hit and miss, which is exactly what we’ve seen this year. There’s been some great builds, and some terrible ones, but for parts like what we’ve got today, I’ll be coming back every year to pick one up. What did you think of this year’s Friends set? Let me know below. 

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