Panda Jungle – LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422)

This year isn’t necessarily a good year for LEGO fans in that due to the ongoing Corona virus crisis a lot of sets are in short supply and thus you either have a hard time to get them at all or at least getting them with an ounce of discount. At least I regularly feel quite stressed out from hunting for low prices, which in my situation is an inevitable thing. That’s why actually being able to purchase the LEGO Friends Panda Jungle Tree House (41422) was a bit of a pain in the rear parts.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Box

Contents and Pricing

Next to the Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421) this is the second cheapest set of this year’s jungle-themed series. At 30 Euro it isn’t that terribly costly, but of course it’s always good to save a buck or two and so I got it for 23 Euro. I’m willing to concede that buying it for full price isn’t beyond the realm of possibility without feeling bad, though. The reason for this naturally has to be that the contents of the package are adequate, meaning you need to feel like you got your money’s worth. this is definitely the case here.

Aside from the main attraction, the three Panda babies, you are getting two minidoll figures, some small side builds and the main build, which is some sort of office built on top of a tree stump with a sizable piece of “land” around it. Simply put, there’s enough volume/ bulk to the set to not feel like you got a bad deal.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Overview

Figures and Animals

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Figures, Mia and OliviaThe Mia and Olivia minidolls are unique to this set. That is if you do not have the funds or do not want the two “big” sets, the Jungle Rescue Base (41424) and the Alpaca Mountain Jungle Rescue (41432), where one in each of them is also used, respectively. The prints and designs are okay, but even so this doesn’t change the fact that the minidolls still look all to same-y to me and overall this is getting a bit stale and boring. I think they really need to throw in more alternative characters and at the very least change the hairstyles every now and then.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Pandas

The pandas are of course cute and on top of their dual-molded black and white bodies have some fine print details. You get two standard versions with green eyes that in my mind are girls and a third one with blue eyes and bushy eyebrows that has soiled himself while being fed, which I imagine could be a rambunctious boy. The specks and splotches are likely supposed to represent some sort of porridge or similar.

Unfortunately those Tan colorations aren’t as visible as one would conclude from the photo. They are much fainter in real life and depending on the lighting are barely noticeable or look like actual dirt stains. I feel that a different color would have made them stand out more and a different shaping like for instance a contiguous drip/ drool pattern would have looked better.

On that note, it would have been nice if there was at least a third eye color like Dark Orange to make each Panda distinctly its own. Ideally there also would have been a walking version, but I guess expecting them to produce another mold would be too much.

The small Stuff

The side builds are not that extraordinary or unusual, in the Friends world at least. You get yet another version of a hand-pulled cart, a seesaw and a small scale for weighing the Pandas. Really nothing you haven’t seen before with the only “highlight” being the inclusion of an extra separate bamboo stalk.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Extras

The main Build

The main build/ building is the tree or more specifically the decapitated remnants thereof with the office built on top of it. A first glance also immediately shows what bothers me the most in this set: the Dark Pink slide and ladder. No, this has nothing to do with wrong expectations for realism – after all, I’ve bought enough Friends sets in my life already to know that weird colors are part of the game – but here it really feels out of place and forced for no good reason.

I suppose the actual point indeed is that these elements could have been in the traditional yellow and the model therefore had been all the better for it. Of course I’m not denying that in an ideal world at least the ladder would be Reddish Brown, Medium Nougat or Black like in so many other sets, but hey, one can’t have everything. Still, I maintain that the pink color is perhaps not ideal, no matter how you spin it.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Front Left View

One good thing that contributes to this model feeling “rich” is that it’s pretty decked out with greenery and in addition has a lot of smaller details in the right places, providing an overall nice balance. It doesn’t feel too overstuffed and cluttered, but also not too barren. Even more importantly everything remains quite accessible despite those details, including the fact that those bits and pieces are reasonably fixated to not fall off if your hand gets near them. This is a feat not often achieved in a good chunk of Friends sets, so props to that.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Back Left View LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Detail, Office

The office area is built on a semi-open deck and in its reduced, yet slightly chaotic layout is likely pretty close to how it could exist in the real world as an improvised daytime surveillance shelter on a platform somewhere up in the trees. It doesn’t really offer much beyond that.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Back Right View

The backside of the model allows access to the hollow tree underneath the office and even has a bed-like area, which is unfortunately a bit uninspired and only presented with flat tiles. That being the case, I’d almost prefer they had designed this area as a utility shed/ storage and thrown in some stuff to put in there. In fact having a wheelbarrow would have made perfect sense for cleaning up the Panda poop in addition to the shovel and broom and I’m sure you could have fitted in some other little gimmicks as well.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Detail, BathtubAnother interesting little detail is the bathtub/ trough. They even went through the trouble of not only adding a bunch of pearlescent 1 x 1 tiles for the “water” and a smoke puff for the foam, but also threw in a Yellow 1 x 1 tile for the washing sponge.

LEGO Friends, Panda Jungle Tree House (41422), Detail, More BambooA small thing that kinda bugs me, and you can call me silly  and obsessive for it, are the bamboo stalks. Don’t misunderstand – they are fine as they are – but still could have been done better, at least in my opinion.

What I’m specifically aiming at are the actual growth segments inbetween the knots, represented here with Sand Green cones. in my thinking this would have made a perfect use case for the new candle elements introduced a while ago. Naturally, with bamboo just being oversized grass, the optics would have benefited immensely from a more slender appearance.

The actual point, however, to me is that this technique would have allowed for more stalks and also potentially building some very long ones as well. This wouldn’t have been as limiting as only allowing two cones height for stability reasons (The stalks are not reinforced with bars inside!). And of course going entirely crazy you could even have represented different growths/ ages by varying the colors from Lime Green to Dark Green and anything inbetween. I really think LEGO need to do this one day. The idea is just too cool to me!

Concluding Thoughts

After my long and trying journey to even get the set, I’m quite satisfied having bought it. Within the limits of the weirdness that is LEGO Friends this isn’t all that bad and if I were serious about integrating this into a greater jungle scenario/ play world, it would be a good basis and not too difficult to swap out the more colorful parts or just leave them out for a more realistic look. Of course it’s also true that with just a few more pieces and a few changes here and there this could have been positively awesome.

Overall I’m not complaining, though. The build process was reasonably enjoyable, I got a few useful parts and the theme as a whole is not bad, as much as I may have wished for a continuation of the oceanic rescue series from last year. Now I only need to figure out how to get my hands on the other sets from the series without ruining my finances…

Baby Alarm – Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421) and Dr. Wu’s Laboratory – Baby Dinosaurs Breakout (75939)

One of my more specific obsessions with LEGO is that I try to get my hands on as many of the molded animals as I possibly can. Unfortunately the company has the bad habit of putting many of the coolest creatures, be that mammoths, dinosaurs, sharks, polar bears or whatever in rather expensive sets. It’s of course just a sales tactic, but it’s not particularly nice of them, even more so since it means that those animals remain costly even on the secondary market such as Bricklink. So I have to make do with what I can afford and lucky enough, there’s some interesting sets this year with the LEGO Friends Jungle Rescue series and also some new molds for LEGO Jurassic World.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Box

First let’s have a look at the Friends Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421). This is the first set I was actually able to procure because due to the Corona virus crisis product availability for these new releases still isn’t that great, especially when you need to keep an eye on the price. At a regular price of 20 Euro it’s not entirely out of reach, but the typical discounts make this effectively a 15 Euro set, which is even better. For that it’s pretty good, actually. I can tell you that beforehand.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Overview

The main attraction is of course the little blue baby elephant. Some people have complained about it not being grey, but hey, it’s Friends we’re talking about! The Bright Light Blue isn’t that bad, especially when you consider that the mother and sister elephant in the Jungle Rescue Base (41424) are Medium Blue and Lavender, respectively. There’s really no reason to get wound up over this. For me it’s also a bit of a funny coincidence in that it reminds me of some elephants in video games I used to play in the 1990s that similarly used such colors, not “realistic” greys.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Baby Elephant

In the play fantasy of the set the little unlucky elephant is supposed to be caught in a mud puddle somewhere in the jungle under a tree. This is displayed in the main scenery piece. Rather untypical for Friends sets it’s actually executed reasonably well and very usable. It’s also looking nice enough.

The mud is represented by some Dark Tan bricks of different types forming a tray in which a panel is sliding upon some tiles. You’re meant to put the elephant on this contraption and then literally pull it out. The one weak spot here is that the panel itself isn’t locked into place by rails or similar and thus falls out of its position easily. This gets a bit annoying over time and would have been easily avoidable with some extra elements.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Tree, Front Left View

On that same not, a few bricks more would have helped to avoid this feeling of things only being half finished. The many exposed studs on the mud and the tree give the impression that they had to stop to not stretch the brick allotment budget at the cost of things being not fixated as firmly as they possibly might have been. E.g. the Lime Green bamboo stalk element is easy to break of accidentally. It seems to obvious me that they could have clamped it into place with another curved slope on top.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Tree, Front Right View

As I said, the tree is small, but fleshed out enough to convey that idea. Still, I feel that that one extra branch could have been added on top with an arch element. that might also have allowed to add a web for the spider or include a second one. Another idea might have been to include a parrot, a small bird or a nest to cover the top.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Tree, Back Side View

While the front is structured reasonably, the back side is rather plain. The Dark Orange studs are alternate positions for the spider, by the way, but sure enough could have been used for something else.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Vehicle, Front Left View

The rescue vehicle is your standard run-off-the-mill Friends car with the necessary modifications and variations to fit this particular set. It literally has been done a million times and at this point is nothing special. For me it would have made more sense if they had created a somewhat larger pick-up truck with a sufficiently large platform and an actual hoist.

LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Vehicle, Aft Left View LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Vehicle, Aft Right View LEGO Friends, Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421), Vehicle, Front Right View

Moving on, the other set is Dr. Wu’s Laboratory – Baby Dinosaurs Breakout (75939). It’s in the same price range as the Friends set, so no extra comments on that. The same rules apply.

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Box

In addition to the two bay dinosaurs the set comes with two minifigures – Dr. Wu and Owen Grady – plus a sizable chunk of lab equipment. The latter often feels like thrown on after the fact, that is it gives the impression of having been constructed around the dinosaurs to bulk up the content of the box, not organically create an environment for the little tykes. It seems they wanted to do the baby dinos, but didn’t quite know what to do with them once the decision was made to create the new molds.

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Overview

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Baby Dinos, Left View

You heard that right, both of the creatures are completely new creations just for this set. I’m pretty sure, though, that we’ll get them in different  colors in other sets down from here on.


LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Baby Dinos, Right View

The baby Triceratops would of course mix well with its “parent” in Triceratops Rampage (75937).The Ankylosaurus isn’t an orphan child, either and finds its mom or dad in House of Gyrospheres (75941). This is insofar remarkable as the big version is also a completely new mold debuting in this particular set.


As a small side build there’s a lab table, which to me is actually a bit macabre. With its inverted slopes on the underside and the white “ceramic” tiles on top it more looks like a section table in a pathology lab. On the bright side, they included the transparent orange brick with the mosquito amber print, which is a new item and highly desirable as a decoration piece, not just for this dinosaur stuff.

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Table, Right View LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Table, Left View

As I wrote already, the lab itself looks kinda *meh*. In my case it looks even more bland because I never use the stickers, yet the set relies heavily on them to represent large computer/ video screens. That’s perhaps my biggest peeve here – they could at least have included one of the screens as an actual print to spice things up. More generally speaking, that’s also the one thing I feel is missing – just one more small extra. I could for instance also have gone for eggs in Light Bluish Grey with brown speckles. that would have been pretty awesome!

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Lab, Front View

Things don’t look much better from the back side, further seemingly reinforcing my point of this being mostly an afterthought.

LEGO Jurassic World, Dr. Wu's Laboratory (75939), Lab, Back Side View

Overall both sets are what they are – meant to sell the animals with everything around them being just a “free” extra. The Friends one surprisingly manages to fare much, much better in terms of actual usefulness and play value. The Jurassic World set on the other set would be rather disposable if it wasn’t the only way to get the new dino babies. It’s very forgettable, but hey, at least some new Dark Blue parts for my collection….! The consolation here is that the animals are executed superbly, so I don’t mind the rest being mediocre.