41353 Friends Advent Calendar Review

As per usual, with all three of the 2018 Advent Calendars, I’ll be updating this post daily. Each day will have an image of the day’s build, a quick comment, with a final overall review at the end of the month. If you want to keep up to date with the post, use the link to the right of the page – it’ll be there for the duration of December. I won’t be posting any pics on social media, so it won’t get spoilt by me!

Theme: Seasonal; Friends
No: 41353
Release Year: 2018
Cost: AUD $49.95
Pieces: 500

In the last couple of years the Friends Advent Calendar has been a little disappointing, but for 2018, things have changed in a big way. From what we can tell on the box, it appears the gifts are tree ornaments. This results in a much larger piece count overall, and no minidolls. I’m certainly looking forward to this calendar this year!

There’s only nine builds showcased on the box, which again, is a shame, but it could have been worse.

41353 Friends Advent Calendar

The display stand is also quite different, as it’s completely reversed. The play mat displays the five Friends, with the parts boxes on the bottom. The idea is that the ornaments can go straight up on the tree, which is an excellent idea. Let’s get stuck in.

Day 1: Heart

First up is a brick built heart. I’ve got to say – I’m already impressed! I think this set is going to be a winner this year. My wife built this one, and she also noticed a drastic improvement from last year. My daughter also loved this one – it took me a while to get a photo of it, as she wanted to wander around the house with it! So far the girls in my house are fans.

It’s a shame there’s no LEGO string included, but that would also shoot the set price up a little. The little eyelet on the side can have some string threaded through, or a smaller string with studs at the ends can connect as well. We are off to a strong start!

Day 2: Electric Guitar

It’s day two and today we’ve got a funky little electric guitar. We’ve also got our Christmas tree up, so I can display them properly! The LEGO string doesn’t come with the set. I like the guitar, but my wife wasn’t too happy with the exposed white studs. At first she wasn’t sure if she’d built it correctly, but I agree. It’s a strange choice. There’s a couple of options – remove one of the 2×3 white plates at the back and swap it for a 1×3, or use 2×4 yellow wedge plates.

I like the use of a lever, and the strings are very well done, but the white bits bug me. I wonder what’s in store tomorrow?

Day 3: Bells

To be honest, I’ve been looking forward to building this one after seeing it on the box cover. This pair of bells is beautifully done, and while there’s a lot of different colours going on at the top, the bells are great. We also get more of the new five petal flowers and leaves, which is great. I am absolutely loving this calendar! I wonder what’s in store for tomorrow?

Day 4: Fireplace with Toy Soldier

Friends Day 4

The first thing my wife said when she opened the pack was an excited “Oh wow!” She was right. This is a beautiful little build. There’s a huge amount of detail packed into it, with the stocking and toy soldier. Even the minimalist fire is beautifully done. Brilliant, LEGO, brilliant.

Day 5: Snowman

Over the years we’ve seen a number of different snowmen, all at minifigure scale. This year we’re treated to something a bit bigger! Making use of some 2×2 white round bricks with Technic holes, along with some other parts leads to this absolutely beautifully crafted snowman. The Unikitty horn as a carrot nose is perfect, and the top hat looking element just polishes it off nicely. I am absolutely loving this calendar! Looking forward to tomorrow!

Day 6: Stocking

We’re a quarter of the way through this calendar, and it’s been nothing but excellent builds! Today is no exception – a brilliant stocking, complete with more greenery in the form of a three leaf plant element. I love the shape of this build – it’s perfect. My wife knew this too. She said as she was building it this morning “You’re gonna like this one!”. Can this level of excellence continue? We’ll find out tomorrow.

Day 7: Camera

It turns out it can! Today we’ve got a lovely little camera, ready to take the holiday snaps. The detail on this is great – I especially like the flash!

Day 8: Candy Cane

Today’s build is a little more simple – a candy cane. According to my wife, it’s not the most exciting build, but it is extremely elegant. There’s no string holder in this one, but it doesn’t really matter does it?

Day 9: Rocking Horse

It’s simple, but very cute – a rocking horse! It is a shame the horse doesn’t actually rock, due to the 1×2 plate underneath, but it’s pretty close. The antlers are a nice touch. Hang on – that would make it a rocking reindeer!

Day 10: Candle

We’re continuing with the tree ornament theme today, with a very nice candle, complete with a stand and some holly at the bottom. It’s much more simple than what we’ve had previously, but it’s very effective. I’m so impressed with this set so far, and we’re not even half way! I wonder what else is to come?

Day 11: Lantern

What a build! My wife built this one this morning and sent me a text message during the day – “Oh my goodness! Wait til you see the Friends build today! 31 pieces!”. That’s right, 31 elements go into this gorgeous lantern, complete with candle. This is the standout build so far. It’s intricate and looks spot on. I am amazed with this one. Wifey said she could barely get it out of the box there was that many pieces! Friends Advent Calendar designers, you have gone above and beyond with this one.

Day 12: Trophy

This one’s a little puzzling – it’s a trophy, and it looks good, but I’m not sure why it’s included. Maybe to tie in with the Racing subtheme of Friends this year? It’s great, but a strange Christmas inclusion.

Day 13: Wreath

We’re into the second half of the month’s builds and it kicks off with a beautiful but simple wreath. It’s a pity the supporting ring is lavender – it would have been much better in green, so it’s not as obvious, but it’s still nice. I’m loving the new 3 leaf plant elements more and more, so getting eight of them in one hit is good. As a bonus, there’s also some of the new five petal flowers!

Day 14: Piano

To bring on that Christmas cheer, we’ve got a little tiny Piano (and I’ve just realised that my wife added the tile on upside down!). It’s simple, but still cute. I’m loving that nearly every build has a little bit of holly on it as well. The more the better!

Day 15: Tic Tac Toe

Today we get a great little interactive game of Tic Tac Toe. It’s pretty simple to put together, with some red and gold 2×2 jumper plates acting as the game board. It was so simple, my wife built it in the bag!

I wonder what we get tomorrow?

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