LEGO® Friends is not my forte. I have not built many items from the theme, and most Friends sets I’ve purchased have been for parts. However, when the opportunity arose to review a larger set from Heartlake City, I figured: why not? The Main Street Building (41704) looks very much like a city-growing set AFOLs might be interested in. Additionally, it comes with a lot of great accessories to stock your custom town. All the same, I decided not to build it myself. I enlisted the help of two LEGO® Friends experts to give me a different perspective. My nieces built Main Street Building, took some of the photos, and provided me with their opinions for this review. Let’s see what they thought!
MAIN STREET BUILDING SUMMARY
- NAME: Main Street Building
- SET #: 41704
- THEME: Friends
- COST: $199.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1682
- MINI-DOLLS: 8
- OF INTEREST: 4 animals (2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 chicken)
- RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2022
MAIN STREET BUILDING QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 82% (Good value despite the higher price tag.)
- BUILD: 90% (The target audience will love it, and AFOLs get some great ideas and bricks.)
- MINI-DOLLS: 86% (Great character selection and accessories but needs more mini-dolls.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (Lots to offer for both AFOLs and KFOLs!)
- OVERALL SCORE: 90% (Great set.)
MAIN STREET BUILDING (41704) REVIEW
Main Street Building retails for $199.99 in Canada and comes with 1682 pieces. Consequently, the cost/brick works out to $0.12. I do not have many Friends sets to compare that to. However, compared to LEGO® sets in general, it represents a pretty good value. I suppose you are buying bricks in bulk with this set. All the same, it is not quite as good a price as some of the larger, adult oriented sets that I’ve built. I rate the cost/brick at 86%.
Main Street Building took my nieces 3 hours and 42 minutes to build in a team effort. They assembled the kit in a comparable amount of time to what I would have done for a set of similar size. Consequently, I am comfortable saying the cost/minute of build time was about $0.90. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, that is a satisfactory value earning 78%. In this case, I don’t have enough Friends theme data to make a more direct comparison. However, averaging this score with the cost/brick grade gives an overall value rating of 82%. Main Street Building is a good value despite the higher price tag.
Main Street Building (41704) is an interesting design. It uses a modular concept similar to the Creator 3-in-1 Modular Modern Home from 2017, but the execution is better. In this case, most apartments and levels have the same footprint with limited attachment points. This allows builders to stack and organize the apartments in multiple configurations. Additionally, the design makes it easy to create your own additions to the buildings, creating higher structures. Unlike the “customizable” Modular Modern Home, these units have a sturdy structure and feel complete.
The instructions layout three buildings. One features a book café on the bottom floor with a two-story apartment above. Another has a hair salon on the ground floor with a similar two-story apartment on top. Finally, Main Street Building has a corner building housing a grocery store on the bottom level and an apartment on the second floor. All of the apartments come loaded with buildable furniture and accessories galore. That is certainly one of the highlights of building this set. The neat details had my nieces chatting through the whole build and joyfully showing off the features in the rooms.
You’ll find Heartlake City staples like a hair salon, café, and grocery store.
Among the highlights, my nieces loved the following details:
- The sliding window balcony doors.
- The bike rack on the street.
- The bookshelf and sign in the café.
- All the food and packaging in the grocery store.
- The chicken coop on the corner building roof.
- The truck.
- The street lamps.
In terms of dislikes, there were not many. The child’s room (blue in images above) in one of the apartments struck one of my nieces as a little bland. Additionally, despite the corner building being a hit overall, parts of it come off unfinished. In order for the sidewalks to lineup on all the buildings, you have to move the corner building forward more than it shows on the box. Consequently, the unfinished interior walls of the grocery store and upper apartment show when playing on the street. The LEGO® Group could have remedied this easily enough with one or two 1x2x5 bricks added to each floor, or ideally an extra 1x6x5 for each floor.
There are two sections that feel a little unfinished in the Main Street Building (41704).
For adult builders, Main Street Building is an interesting set as well. While there are no totally new bricks, there are an astounding 59 parts that appear in fewer than five other sets. Of those, 21 are unique recolors for this set. Custom city builders get some colorful buildings right out of the box. However, if MOCs are more your thing, these unique pieces are amazing. There are door and window frames, transparent bricks, and wall elements to name just a few. This kit certainly adds a splash of colorful bricks and/or buildings to your city creations.
Interestingly, the set is big on diversity and inclusion. We’ll talk more about that later. For now, we’ll chat a bit about the wheelchair. This is the first time I have seen a Friends wheelchair. While I do not like the design as much as a Minifigure wheelchair, it is a nice touch. Because of the wheelchair, designers made some effort to make the set accessible for mini-dolls with disabilities. For example, the sidewalks have wheelchair ramps. Additionally, Main Street Building includes an elevator.
Heartlake City just became more accessible!
I love the elevator. In other sets, I often complain about the lack of stairs or other access to higher levels. But in one swoop, the elevator appeased me. The design is simple, but effective. It clips to the side of the building using Technic pins. Your finger lifts or lowers it, and the elevator platform latches in place in line with each floor. It does the trick and offers a really easy design to replicate with limited pieces in your own creations. You can build your own walls around it to make it more realistic. Despite not being very visually appealing, it is a great touch.
This build was a hit with my nieces, and I found myself enjoying many of the features as well. The unfinished corner building walls were a disappointment though. Additionally, while not as disappointing as the aforementioned walls, the lack of décor in the child’s bedroom was also a contentious issue. I rate the build for this set at 90%.
Personally, I don’t like mini-dolls. However, my nieces loved the selection in this set. There are a large number of unique mini-doll pieces only available with Main Street Building (41704). Additionally, the set includes a load of accessories to customize characters and enhance play. My nieces kept a detailed list of the accessories for me as the built. Consequently, I can share that you acquire:
- 1 bicycle
- 1 phone
- 1 book
- 1 teddy bear
- 1 guide dog
- 1 mop dog
- 1 kitten
- 2 printed sushi tiles
- 2 popsicles
- 2 bread loaves
- 2 cherries
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 apple
- 2 baskets
- 2 sets of chopsticks
- 2 forks
- 2 spoons
- 2 pans
- 1 pot
- 3 teacups
- 1 hairbrush
- 2 pairs of scissors
- 1 hairdryer
- 1 broom
- 1 purple wig
- 1 short, black wig
- 2 plates
- 1 crate
- 1 printed keyboard tile
- 1 skateboard
- 1 pink garbage can
- 2 helmets
That list contains only the actual accessories. While many AFOLs are less than thrilled with large sticker sheets, my nieces loved the assortment of stickers in this kit. Many regular bricks took on new life for them through the application of a sticker. This included details like the bookshelf mentioned earlier. Additionally, smaller items like the cereal boxes in the grocery store were a huge hit.
Unlink AFOLs, my KFOL nieces loved getting a big sticker sheet.
As for the dolls themselves, you get eight. They are a nice selection too. Krista wrote a more detailed piece about them earlier this year in her Diverse Minifigures Series post about the set. This kit includes a variety of skin tones for customization and developing characters representative of the person playing. Additionally, you get a new wheelchair bound character, and a blind mini-doll with a guide dog. It is hard to rate mini-dolls using the usual True North Bricks Minifigure rating system. But based on my nieces’ enjoyment of the characters, the clear effort at diversity and inclusion, and the plethora of accessories, I rate the characters designs at 100%.
Where Main Street Building (41704) falters is in the number of mini-dolls you get. The official LEGO® site advertises 12 characters, but it counts the little animal figurines, which I do not. Additionally, one of the mini-dolls is a stumpy kid with only a moveable head. That makes the Friends kids even worse that the stumpy minifigs without bending legs in my book… but let’s ignore my opinion for a moment. Say we include the child in the mini-doll count. That means you get eight characters. In a set this size, the brick-to-fig ratio works out to 210 bricks/fig. Across all LEGO® sets, I typically see 172 bricks/fig. A set this size needs more characters. With that said, it is not the worst character count I have seen either. I rate the brick-to-fig ratio score at 72%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 86%.
I didn’t build any of this set, but I still found the build entertaining. Listening to my nieces building and getting excited about the set was a completely different LEGO® experience for me. I usually build alone. While I have built with my nieces before, they certainly enjoyed this set a lot more than the previous one. It was fun listening to their conversations about the all the little details, planning who would live in which apartment, and where everyone would work. Both girls gave the set an enthusiastic recommendation. As such, I think it is safe to say this set will be a hit with kids, and especially with Friends theme fans.
From an adult perspective, Main Street Building offers a lot as well. The set is not ready to simply drop into a custom city layout. You need to complete the back wall of each building first. However, the colorful designs will add some bright fun to your layout. As an added bonus, each building separates to display alone in any part of your city. The look of the corner building in particular inspires me to custom create. It meshes well with sets like Assembly Square. Additionally, the brick selection in this kit is excellent for city builders even if you don’t fancy the buildings themselves. I had a wonderful time not building this set. However, I think building it would have been a great experience as an adult as well. I give it 100% for entertainment.
OVERALL SCORE: 90%
The Friends sets I’ve acquired in the past served primarily as parts boxes. The theme gives a lot of windows, doors, and accessories for custom projects. However, Main Street Building (41704) changed my perspective a little. This set offers a lot for Friends fans as well as for city-building AFOLs looking for inspiration and great bricks. Kids will love it too; I know my nieces certainly liked it. I’ve felt for a while that Friends is a bit of a tired theme… how many cafés, salons, and grocery stores does one town need? While Main Street Building includes all of those Friends staples, it offers them in a new way that breathed a little life into the theme for me. Couple that with this year’s Space Academy set and Friends is looking up! What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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