It’s been awhile since I last reviewed a LEGO Friends set – a relatively odd quirk as I buy a LOT of Friends sets. After DC and Marvel Super Heroes, I’d say that Friends & Elves make up the remainder of my LEGO purchases.
One of my aims in 2016 is to bump up the number of LEGO Friends reviews on my blog as I feel very strongly about the appeal of this supposedly girly theme to male AFOLs.
For my first Friends review of the year, I’ve decided to take you guys on a shopping trip to LEGO 41118 Heartlake Supermarket, one of the sets that you should checkout (heh) this year.
Name: Heartlake Supermarket
Set Number: 41118
Price: AU$44.99 | US$29.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA]
Exclusive to: N/A
Year of Release: 2016
Instructions: LEGO 41118 Heartlake Supermarket Book 1 Book 2
I don’t buy a lot of LEGO City sets, mostly because there’s not a lot of “City” to the sets. They’re mostly trucks or some other kind of vehicle. The odd building is usually either a Police or Fire Station which is a bit of a letdown since there is a huge niche of minifig-scale structures that desperately needs filling.
Enter LEGO Friends, the apparent heir of LEGO Town where you get all sorts of civilian buildings such as bakeries, beauty saloons, high schools and now, a fully-stocked supermarket!
Heartlake City sure seems like a really liveable location, what with its low crime & arson rates as well as an expansive collection of commercial buildings and local businesses.
I also probably don’t need to extol the virtues of the Friends theme with all the awesome LEGO elements and parts that often come in rare-ish hues as one of the main reasons why I love this theme so much. I bought Heartlake Supermarket for 2 reasons – I really wanted a supermarket for my LEGO minifigs and there were a few cool accessories and parts were in this set.
Let’s first take a look at the minidolls included in this set, Daniel and Mia. Male minidolls are extremely rare, so I was pretty stoked to add another male one to my collection. I have a pretty large collection of minidolls as I actually quite like their aesthetics. Sure, they’re not traditional LEGO minifigures, but I like their designs and feel they can co-exist with minifigs.
Daniel, the supermarket worker has a printed polo t-shirt, with some minor details like a nametag and a pen sticking out of his chest pocket.
Mia, one of the “main” Friends characters has a simple blouse with a small flower on her neckline and a baby blue skirt. Her outfit is pretty basic but it works well. She is doing her grocery shopping in this set, so looking casual makes plenty of sense as she’s not a diva or fashionista.
Here’s a look at the back of the minifigs – both of them don’t have back printing although you can see the back pockets moulded to Daniel’s legs.
Moving on to the build, you start by assembling a trolley park and a small shopping trolley to go along with it. The park is simple enough, with a stickered tile hanging above the rails.
The trolley is also a relatively simple build. It uses reflective stickers to create the illusion of criss-cross bars which looks all right, except for the fact that there’s a conspicuous gap on the front panels. It would’ve been nice if we had some extra stickers to cover that area up so it looks less disjointed. The trolley has handles that are perfect for minidolls to hold on to.
There’s also a stickered shopping list tile that attaches to the shopping trolley so Mia doesn’t forget the essentials. Shopping lists (and keeping to them) are extremely important. When I’m left unattended at a supermarket, I almost always seem to load up my carts with chips, Tim Tams and blocks of chocolate.
Here’s Mia loading the trolley back to its park. The raised studs make it a little awkward to just slide it in – adding some curved slopes to gentle ease it in would’ve helped make the movement a little more seamless.
Here’s the shopfront of Heartlake Supermarket. These Friends-style buildings are a tried and tested formula, and the Supermarket doesn’t break the mould.
Most commercial buildings in Heartlake City consist of a walled exterior, and is completely exposed from the back, much like a dollhouse – allowing you to interact with the interiors quite well. All buildings look like this, so when you line them all up at once, it actually looks a lot less stranger than you would expect.
Heartlake Supermarket’s exterior is a pleasant mix of yellowish orange bricks, some pale yellow bricks in the awning and mostly white walls. There are plenty of transparent sections, including the double doors which are quite nice as you can see most of the interiors from the outside.
On the outside, near the Supermarket’s window is a small crate filled with fruit. We get a lovely printed pineapple piece (a minifig head), and half a watermelon. Initially, I had expected that the watermelon round tile was printed, but alas it’s a sticker.
It still looks really good and could pass off as a printed tile if you manage to apply the sticker correctly, which should be quite easy given that it’s round.
The fun lies when you flip the building around to see what goes on inside. The interior of Heartlake Supermarket has just enough detail to look like it’s a grocery shopping haven but with enough room so that it doesn’t look cramped.
I also like the pale purple flooring as it contrasts quite well with the yellowish orange and lime green bricks which dominate most of the colour scheme.
There’s an isolated magazine rack which has 2 printed tiles and a small bouquet of flowers. You can place this anywhere you want, but it’ll be tricky fitting this into the main supermarket layout without obstructing the walkways.
Here’s a look at the cashier counter, Daniel’s domain. It’s a relatively simple section but has all the elements you’d expect from a supermarket checkout counter – the conveyor belt for groceries, a cash register, a small confectionery stand and even a shopping basket.
The printed chocolate bar tiles are awesome, making their debut in this set and one of the main reasons why I picked this set up.
Situated next to the checkout counter is a small rotating cosmetic/beauty product display with what I’m guessing are bottles of perfume, a blue comb, some lipstick and a stickered makeup slope piece.
The cosmetic counter rotates, and on the other side is a reflective mirror.
Out the front is a quaint little bakery counter where freshly baked goods such as cookies, muffins and biscuits are on display. A small detail which I really appreciate is the tongs that Mia can use to pick out pastries she wants.
An element that’s sorely missing from this section is a croissant piece!
On the far right side of the supermarket is a small section for what I think are beverages? I’m going to assume those brown bottles are coffee or something? There’s also a clear chiller which houses a carton of milk.
In the middle of the supermarket is a fresh foods section with veggies, fruit and all sorts of other greens.
The middle of the supermarket is the most interesting part – a combined seafood and meat counter. The seafood counter contains a bevy of interesting elements such as a brand new printed sushi round tile – the main reason why I bought this set. I also really like the stickered flag, which has a sushi roll being gripped by chopsticks.
There’s also an orange fish which is a relatively rare colour for this particular piece. On the side, there’s a small weighing scale for fruits and veggies.
On the other side is a small cheese and meat section. I really like that the flipside of the flag has a meat logo. A great accessory that should’ve been an actual cut of meat (from Series 6’s Butcher) which is one of my favourite minifig accessories of all time.
One of Heartlake Supermarket’s strongest features is the amazing selection of accessories. I’ve included some stickered pieces such as the cereal box, supermarket sign, and watermelon as I think they’ve got a lot of utility and are very well designed.
I’m also glad to report that everything else in this photo is printed, which is nice. My favourite pieces in this set are of course the sushi tile, and the chocolate bar. I really want an nigiri tile now!
Here’s a top-down view of Heartlake Supermarket. As you can see, the layout is quite sensible and there’s plenty of space to move around inside. It doesn’t look cramped, and all that extra space even creates the illusion that it’s a lot larger than the structure actually looks.
Here’s how it looks like when you populate it with the minidolls included.
A surprising mechanism built into the set is that you can split the supermarket open to alter its shape and layout.
Here’s how the supermarket looks like when configured in its alternative layout. It’s a really fresh and effective way of changing the look of the set, and even when it’s stretched out like this, the layout still works very well.
What I liked:
- Another great civilian building
- Superb elements, parts and accessories
- We get a male minidoll
What I didn’t like:
- Some sticker parts should’ve been printed
- Not much else!
Final thoughts: Like a successful grocery shopping trip where everything on your shopping list is discounted, Heartlake Supermarket is an extremely pleasing affair.
A well-stocked supermarket is almost essential for any modern town, so this set fills a much-needed niche for any LEGO town. Like most Friends sets, you will have to get over the bright pastel colours and minidolls to get the most out of it.
The Supermarket is incredibly well-stocked and has most things you’d expect from one. It’s definitely not as detailed as the Kwik-E-Mart but you get a lot of value for a $45 set – especially since this set gets discounted very often to within the $30-35 range.
Heartlake Supermarket blends in playability and displayability almost seamlessly. For younger fans, all the little sections of the supermarket make for great role-playing potential and there’s plenty of opportunities for the minidolls included to interact with all the different sections.
For older fans like me, the shopfront, bright colour scheme and the large transparent windows make for quite an attractive display model. The “open” back might also not appeal to some people as it does make it look like it’s an “incomplete” building, but to me, it isn’t as much of a problem, especially when viewed from the front.
My favourite thing about this set is the selection of food elements, as you get plenty of new and/or uncommon pieces – all of which are really useful for those into minifigure photography.
I’m really pleased with Heartlake Supermarket and can confidently recommend it to those of you with minifigure-scale City/civilian layouts. For those that cannot stand minidolls, you can easily swap them out for regular minifigs and the model still works exceptionally well.
41118 Heartlake Supermarket is one of the better Friends buildings to come out in recent times, so if you’re a fan of the theme, this should be a no-brainer purchase, especially if you can get it at a good price!
Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed it and want to check out more reviews, be sure to check out the Review Hub to discover reviews from a whole bunch of other themes. To stay up to date on the latest posts, be sure to subscribe to receive email alerts in the right sidebar or follow the Jay’s Brick Blog Facebook page.
Do you own the Heartlake Supermarket set? Let me know what you think of it in the comments section or if you have any suggestions on how it can be further improved.
Thanks for reading!