Way back in 2019, we shared news of the LEGO® Ideas FRIENDS Central Perk (21319) set. As an Ideas set, the original concept came from fan designer Aymeric Fievet. Subsequently, the concept attained the required 10,000 votes on the LEGO® Ideas platform. Ultimately, this resulted in the set coming to life via LEGO® designer Milan Madge, with graphics from graphic designer Crystal Bam. The set came out to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the iconic show. Oddly enough, I am probably one of the few people from my generation who never watched FRIENDS. As such, I did not acquire the set. However, it did appeal to me simply because of the customization potential as a café in my LEGO® city.
It seems Central Perk was a hit. The LEGO® Group recently announced a second FRIENDS set, this time under the Creator Expert (18+) moniker. True North Bricks has a pre-release copy of that set, with a review coming soon. Consequently, I decided to finally take a look at Central Perk as well.
CENTRAL PERK SUMMARY
- NAME: Central Perk
- SET #: 21319
- THEME: Ideas
- COST: $89.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1070
- MINIFIGURES: 7
- RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2019
CENTRAL PERK QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 97% (excellent build time and cost-per-brick for the price.)
- BUILD: 95% (great design, my only complaint is minor.)
- MINIFIGURES: 95% (A good number of well-designed characters with loads of accessories.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (Great display piece with lots of customization potential.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 97%
CENTRAL PERK (21319) REVIEW
At full price, Central Perk costs $89.99 in Canada. With 1070 pieces, the resulting cost-per-brick is $0.084. No matter how you slice it, that is a great value. Comparatively, my average cost-per-brick across all LEGO® themes is $0.14. For the Idea theme alone, it is $0.097. However, this is the best value Ideas set I have ever assembled. Taking both comparisons into consideration, I rate the cost-per-brick at 97%.
I assembled Central Perk in two hours and 55 minutes (175 minutes total). At full price, the cost-per-minute of build time is $0.51. By comparison, my average cost-per-minute across all LEGO® themes is currently $0.83. For the Ideas theme, it is $0.74. Either way, Central Perk represents a good amount of build time for the price. I rate the cost-per-minute of build time at 96%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score gives an overall value rating of 97%.
There is a lot going on in Central Perk. I have not watched FRIENDS to any extent. However, it was such a cultural phenomenon that I have seen snippets and images. From what I know, this set looks television accurate. It also features several interesting build techniques. Oddly enough, one of my favorites it the removable floor pieces. Anywhere there is a carpet, the carpet comes out. That is not what impresses me though. The set up causes the carpet sections to stick above the floor by just a hair. It makes them look like actual carpets on top of the floor. Incidentally, one of the removable sections is the famous couch seen in many images. That allows you to just display the couch section if you want.
Another area I found interesting was the angled entry and stage area. The use of hinged plates and angled plates to achieve the look and make it sturdy is neat. However, the area also features one of my least favorite details… the columns. They simply sit on the floor and do not connect to anything. I wish a beam went across the top stably attaching them to the rest of the structure.
Ultimately, the only aspect I can think of that I do not like about this design is the columns. That is a small issue in the grand scheme of things. This is a nice café. Even if it is designed to look like a TV stage, I want to incorporate this into a MOC building somehow. There are so many nice little details and signage to enjoy. I rate the build at 95%.
Central Perk includes seven Minifigures. You get Chandler, Joey, Ross, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, and Gunther. Each of them features all of the standard parts. Additionally, they all have double-sided faces as well as front and back torso print. However, only Rachel has leg printing. In terms of accessories, you get a lot. The set includes 11 mugs, 4 teacups, a laptop, a satchel, a pizza box and slice, a newspaper tile, a printed menu, a guitar, two umbrellas, a hard hat, a microphone, a painting, and a trash can. These are nicely designed characters who are easily recognizable. I rate the minifig design and accessories at 100%.
Seven Minifigures in a 1070-piece kit is good. The brick-to-fig ratio works out to 153:1. My average brick-to-fig ratio across all themes is currently 169:1. For the Ideas theme, my average is 349:1. Therefore, in general, you get a good number of characters for set this size. For an Ideas set, it is excellent. Taking both numbers into consideration, I rate the ratio score at 89%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 95%.
I waited years to bite the bullet on this set. While not a FRIENDS fan, but I was curious about this set. I ended up enjoying the build and product quite a lot. This set pleasantly surprised me, and those are the best sorts of builds. With that said, this is niche interest set. It will appeal to FRIENDS fans more than others for sure. However, I think the niche broadens a little to include AFOL city builders as well. This is a nice café that will incorporate well into a custom project or as a display piece. I rate the entertainment value at 100%.
OVERALL SCORE: 97%
I waited almost two years to acquire Central Perk (21319). However, I am happy that I finally did. As a city builder, I see nothing but potential here. The set is also a great value and includes fun characters with loads of accessories. I will find some shelf space for this while I think about how and where to incorporate it into my city. I write this just as I am getting ready to drop my review of the new FRIENDS Apartments set. Here’s hoping that build is equally enjoyable. What are your thoughts on Central Perk (21319) and the growing FRIENDS collection? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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