Poodle-tastic Care – LEGO Friends Magazine, September 2022

As you may have noticed, this blog isn’t as much about LEGO Friends as it used to be (I could go into all the details why, but maybe that’s for another time), but that doesn’t mean I’m not into it at all anymore and still follow developments in that theme just as I still read the magazines. So here we go with the September issue.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Cover

One of the big topics in the series this year has been animal care with multiple sets and I reviewed the Pet Adoption Caf├ę (41699) and Pet Playground (41698) earlier this year. This months edition of the mag is all about that, too. The comic deals with some mayhem at the pet daycare center. The story is nothing to write home about, but the kids will buy it. It’s also an interesting observation that the more the comic veers away from slavishly rendering the characters in the style of the actual minifigures, the more tolerable it becomes. The protagonists looking more like regular people really does the whole thing good.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Comic

Unlike the previous issues this one comes up short in the coloring department with only a partial page as opposed to the double spreads before. that seems a bit odd, as no doubt kids would love to color their favorite dog breed or kittens.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Coloring Page

There’s an info page with a few rather generic photos, but it’s really not that specific on anything.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Info Page

The poster is kind of okay, but I’d bet most people will prefer the back side featuring quadruple Labrador/ Golden Retriever puppies. ­čÖé

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Poster

The extra is one of those “pet grooming” scenarios we’ve gotten a few times over the years featuring the standard brush, a small basin with a water tap and some accessories. The teeter board similar has been seen before just as well. The poodle is the version with the Dark Turquoise print for the collar that otherwise can only be found in two other sets, so at least that’s a simple way of getting it here.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Extra

This issue is pretty mundane and even boring, so there’s no real urgency to buy it. It has very little to offer on all fronts. This becomes even more apparent after the pretty decent horse-themed previous issue.

August Pony Ride – LEGO Friends Magazine, August 2022

Little girls love horses. That seems to be one of those universal cosmic mysteries that nobody can explain. So literally Blue Ocean are right on the money with the August 2022 issue of the LEGO Friends magazine being centered around the subject.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Cover

As you know, I can’t quite get behind the Friends comics due to the unnatural faces looking like ugly grimaces. That said, this one is at least okay in terms of the visual density. Some panels would actually look quite nice if you substituted the characters for more appealing versions.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Comic

As is now an established standard feature there’s a coloring page, this time depicting the girls at the stables. As usual it would be even better if they didn’t plaster everything with those wannabe “funny” text overlays and graphical elements.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Coloring Page

There’s an info page providing some factoids about foals along with some cute photos, which will please the kids.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Info Page

That also goes for the reverse side of the poster, showing yet another of the little horses. The front shows two of the girls with the horse in the middle.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Poster

The extra this time is rather elaborate with a feeding and cleaning station, a water pump, some bales of hay/ straw and – surprise, surprise – an actual horse. It’s just LEGO‘s old foal mold in black that has been around forever, but it’s better than nothing. What’s even better is the fact that this extra would make a nice addition to the Pony-Washing Stable (41696), a low price set that contains another white foal and some more horse-centric elements to enrich your kid’s play fantasy. It’s definitely worth considering, even if only now after reading this brief magazine review.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Extra

Overall this is a pretty neat edition of the Friends magazine. As I’ve written in another such article, a consistent mono-thematic publication is always preferable over scattershot issues that try to cover too many different topics only to fail. The lucky coincidence of out there being a complementary set that would boost the experience can only mean to buy this issue, so just do it! ­čÖé

Chasing the Horse

As you well know by reading this blog I regularly LEGO Friends sets. That does however not mean I’m picking them randomly and indiscriminately, so I do not necessarily cover certain subjects. One of those is all that horse stuff, which most of the time is simply contained in sets that just don’t interest me. I therefore welcome every opportunity to catch up on this using other means on my modest budget and lo and behold – this year we are getting a horse special for the summer.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, Horse Special 2019, Cover

The issue has been out for several weeks already as I’m writing this, but Blue Ocean somehow decided to only release it in limited distribution, meaning my local newspaper agent was unable to obtain it through his channels. I therefore had to wait until I got a chance to pick it up when I was on the road for medical appointments in the next big city this Thursday.

Let me cut to the chase right away – a price of 4 Euro doesn’t bode well from the start and you can’t expect that much from the magazine. The actual print product therefore is pretty limited to put it kindly. The comic is pretty uninspired and drawn rather poorly. The funny thing is that it hints at this year’s boardwalk amusement park sets, but apparently at the time of planning the magazine and creating the artwork no finalized designs were available, so they made up their own stuff. As a result it lacks all the details that would make the comic rich and vivid and feels rather meh.

The magazine comes with the usual mix of posters plus a few games and on one page even features a cutout horse stable. Unfortunately unlike in past years they didn’t bother to print it on thicker card stock nor did they make it a double-sided print or at least a consistent solid color for the backside. Instead you are supposed to glue it onto stronger colored paper yourself. Less than ideal and really not great for a special issue.

Of course the main reason for me were the parts and within what you can expect this is actually quite nice. The black pony/ foal makes up a good chunk of the value, but the rest isn’t bad, either. It even includes one of the newer 1 x 3 on 2 x 1 jumper plate in white and overall you have a good volume of stuff, if not a huge parts count. There have definitely been less useful Friends magazine extras, so I’m happy with that.

As it is this is an okay issue and should make your kid happy for what it is. It feels a bit barebones, though, and if they keep reducing the useful stuff further while also cutting down on distribution and print numbers in upcoming years it may simply not be worth it any longer.