September 30, 2023

Friends in SPAAAAACE!!!

In an interesting and welcome turn of events, the denizens of Heartlake City are finally leaving their cupcake stalls and pet grooming businesses behind. These mini-dolls are actually leaving Earth behind and setting their sights on the stars, giving us Friends in SPAAAAACE! Incidentally, that was a reference to Pigs in Space, a sketch from the Muppet Show. I have Muppets on the mind following the release of a teaser from the LEGO® Group recently 😉 But, I digress…

While we do cover upcoming Friends releases here at True North Bricks, I do not personally tend to give the sets much fanfare. For my purposes, the Friends theme sometimes provides MOC inspiration, as well as a plethora of colorful bricks and windows. However, I have long felt the theme is a little tired. All we ever see is wave upon wave of shopping establishments, cafes, and pet shops. Granted, there was a sojourn into the wilderness for some wildlife rescue. But the theme has always steered clear of hard STEM topics. Instead, it has taken only a hobbyist’s approach with sets like Olivia’s Exploration Car (41116). In May 2022, that finally changes.

Friends in Spaaaaace! Olivia's Space Academy set.
Image ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

I have to applaud the designers of Friends for finally breaking the mold. I was quite surprised to see Olivia’s Space Academy pop up on the LEGO® site recently. Not only does the set feature a rocket launch, gyroscopic trainer, observatory, and working orrery, the shuttle also has NASA branding. No doubt this ties into the upcoming Artemis mission, similar to the amazing March 2022 wave of City sets. I must admit, I really like the Solar System sticker job on this set. Imagine it as the giant screen in a custom mission control build…

Image ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

In terms of the sets specifics:

  • NAME: Olivia’s Space Academy
  • SET #: 41713
  • THEME: Friends
  • COST: $89.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 757
  • RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2022
  • COST/BRICK: $0.119 (very good)
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: 189 bricks/fig (satisfactory)
Image ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

I still find mini-dolls creepy. However, Olivia’s Space Academy is a pleasant new direction for the Friends theme. While gender-related play stereotypes are a contentious issue these days, Friends is historically a more “girl-oriented” theme. With that in mind, I am excited to see a proper STEM-related set join the ranks. It is long overdue for Friends fans to play among the stars. No doubt, this set will inspire a few future astronauts. Hopefully the summer 2022 Friends wave features more of the same. What do you think of Friends in SPAAAAACE? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,


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