Icy Summer

While we currently have a lull with quite low temperatures the summer is far from over, the next heatwave is bound to hit and so it seems fitting that the LEGO Friends magazine for August/ September offers us some cool refreshments by ways of a little ice cream machine.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2019, Cover

The build of said little device is solid enough and with a little extra work it could fit well into Olivia’s Cupcake Café (41366) or Emma’s Art Café (41336). that would mostly extend to either converting it from a tabletop to a standalone machine or at least reducing the height slightly so it lines up with the rest of the kitchen appliances used there. Nothing extraordinary to be sure, but nonetheless done well enough. The only piece that stands out is the 1 x 1 round stud in Reddish Brown, which apparently is new in this color and used in a few Harry Potter sets.

The magazine itself is once again pretty awful with its terrible CG and poorly drawn comic, which makes me think that it won’t before long that I’ll stop buying it regularly (unless there’s really some cool model pieces included). It seems that indeed it is faltering and the reduction of the publishing frequency to only every second month was only the first step and it’s declining further….

BFF Gang – Unikitty’s Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822)

By now you probably won’t need to read my take on the Unikitty’s Sweetest Friends Ever (70822) set since everybody and their mom already have reviewed it, but I’m giving it to you, anyway. 😉

As part of the run-up for the upcoming The LEGO Movie 2 there are already quite a few sets and a ton more are previewed or at least teased, so there will be plenty to choose from for everybody. A few of the sets are great, some of them look okay, for others I don’t particularly care. Since I only got into LEGO a few years ago, I consider myself rather immune to nostalgia, a factor they are playing heavily on with these movies. Funny enough this is easily reflected even with these small sets – I’m not saying that Benny’s Space Quad (70841) is bad, but it does not the least bit resonate emotionally with me like with those many other people that owned the figures in their childhood. That’s why instead I went for this one right away.

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Box

Before delving into the details, let me just say that I love this set like crazy. As you know I tend to be very critical about LEGO‘s missteps and I’m not easily satisfied, but on my internal ratings scale this set would score a near perfect level with something like 9.5 out of 10. It’s full of amazing details and good ideas plus it’s a cornucopia of new (to me, anyway) and useful parts with many of them being exclusively printed parts for this set. What more could you ask?

Well, of course a better price! That’s pretty much my only grievance with this set as it feels like you get way to little value for 10 Euros. By all means this clearly feels more like a 7 Euros set even if you account for the printed and new parts. That little bit of extra cost can’t justify the price for 76 mostly small pieces. Considering that long-term of course those parts will also be used elsewhere, making up for the initial investment, even less so. In any case, it’s a minor complaint on my part. It just would have been nice.

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Overview

The first figure in the set is Unikitty herself. Unfortunately it’s a character that, while crucial to the films themselves, doesn’t really do much on its own. I never even remotely considered getting one of the collectible figures or one of the few sets and it appears at least here in Germany most people feel the same. It’s not a subject anyone takes particularly seriously and aside from a few completist collectors, probably most people only used the collectible blind bags to pad out their shopping cart in order to be entitled for freebies in LEGO stores or get one to pacify their kids.

I’ll defer to smarter people for the specifics, but as far as I have researched the matter, aside from the once again different face prints the only real difference is the color of the tail and horn, which is Bright Light Blue instead of Dark Azure. Otherwise it’s really just basic Unikitty as featured in those sets from last year already.

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Unikitty

The ice cone, a character who in light of nobody (outside the production team and test screening audiences) actually having seen the movie must remain unnamed is easily the highlight of the set. Not only does it contain almost all remaining printed parts, but it also prominently uses the new large dome part and the unique new arms with pins (see further down). In its simplicity even a three-year-old can plug it together and it still looks great with only its few parts.

Those pieces also make it highly desirable to have more than one instance of them, with the figure providing a template to decorate your own ice cream stand/ parlour in your City or Friends environment. Even I’m tempted to buy at least one more set just because of that. It just looks so darn cool!

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Ice Cone

The chocolate bar with the bitten-off corner is another of those little models that make you gasp with amazement. It nicely illustrates what LEGO could/ can do with already existing parts if only they were a bit more forward-thinking and progressive with producing those parts in more colors. For all intents and purposes, this is a model that could have existed ten years ago when the gold bar/ ingot part was new and people would have loved it just as much, I’m sure. If you get my meaning: We could have entire confectionary sets already, if only this part had come out sooner in Reddish Brown (or Dark Brown, or Tan, or Bright Pink…).

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Chocolate

To bring things together thematically, they included a serving tray on wheels, which is an okay side build, but doesn’t really do much for me. The scale doesn’t match, anyway, so personally I would have preferred another figure. Ultimately it becomes a case of “Why did they even bother?” and loops back to my argument about the price. On the bright side, though, they at least built it with the new rounded-off 2 x 1 plates and you get five of them just in this set, so it could be argued that this gives you some nice value, being that those plates are still relatively rare.

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Tray on Wheels

As pointed out earlier, for me this was a “first encounter” situation with many of the newer parts, so to some extend I’m a happy camper just for that, too. In fact, upon researching the matter I was surprised that the arm already exists since 2017 but has never been used except in some Nexo Knights sets. Bummer! It seems odd to me that LEGO would not produce and use it more often, given that it could be used to e.g. attach bars and other details.

LEGO The LEGO Movie 2, Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever! (70822), Parts

Overall I’m pretty happy with this set and it just triggers the right buttons with me. Naturally you may feel differently about it, but I’m of the opinion that we’d be a lot better off if every LEGO set offered at least a tiny fraction of the fun, love and joy this set has been imbued with. Way to go! You should definitely consider this set, be it just for the pleasure of figures smiling at you from the kitchen shelf while you do the dishwashing…