The second biggest LEGO Friends set from the first wave of Friends The Next Chapter is 41731 Heartlake International School, which features Heartlake City’s new International School that’s the focal point for the animated series, and where the new characters meet and get to know each other.
You can check out the new Friends The Next Chapter episodes on LEGO’s Youtube channel, and as of writing this review, we’re up to episode 4. A lot of the series takes place in Heartlake International School, and I’ve been inspired to finally write this review!
My 6-year old daughter is the Jay’s Brick Blog CFO (Chief Friends Officer), and helped put this set together, and has been really enjoying it, as it’s one of the most playable and dynamic sets within the theme.
Who is this set for? Fans of LEGO Friends that want a large building, with plenty of activities and spaces for their minidolls that also encourages creativity and customisation.
Check out some of my other LEGO Friends reviews from earlier in the year for more LEGO Friends content!
- Review: LEGO 41735 Mobile Tiny House
- Review: LEGO 41730 Autumn’s House
- Review: LEGO 41741 Dog Rescue Van
- Review: LEGO 41732 Downtown Flower and Design Stores
Special thanks to the LEGO Group for sending this set for review.
41731 Heartlake International School Set Details
Set Name: Heartlake International School
Set number: 41731
Minidolls: 5 (Autumn, Aliya, Olly, Niko, Ms Malu Hale)
Animals: 1 (Bunsen the Hamster)
Retail Price: US$99.99 / AU$159.99 / £89.99 / €99.99 / CAD$139.99 / €64.99 / CAD$84.99
Release Date: 1 January 2023
41731 Heartlake International School Minidolls
For a large set, you get 5 minidolls in 41731 Heartlake International School, 3 main characters and 2 side characters. As you can tell from the skin tones, and hairstyles, there’s also a real focus on diversity here, which makes a lot of sense given this is an International School.
Here are the 3 main characters: Aliya, the studious go-getter, Autumn, Mia’s daughter who is super compassionate about animals, and Olly, the ultra-stylish and hardworking media whiz.
It’s a great trio, and Autumn is definitely the “star” of the series with plenty of screentime, but it’s also great to get Aliya, and Olly. Olly in particular has a really nice torso, a white and blue varsity jacket with shiny sleeves, as well as very trendy horsebit loafers.
Here’s a look at their back prints. I really like Aliya’s preppy argyle sweater as well.
The side characters are probably bigger draw to me, as the main characters are pretty ubiquitous across the LEGO Friends range. In this set, we get 2 exclusive characters, Niko, and Ms Malu Hale.
Niko actually pops up quite a bit in the series, and plays on the football team. He’s also of Asian heritage, which is denoted by his skintone, and eye design, which I think is really cool.
Ms Malu Hale is the principal of Heartlake International School, and I believe she is of Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage, because of her name. She has a slightly uncommon hairpiece, which has coiled texture with a ponytail design.
Here’s a look at their designs from the back.
All up a pretty solid minidoll ensemble, and if you or your children watch the show, they’ll be delighted to play and interact with these characters, although for quite a pricey set, I think at least one additional main character minidoll would be nice.
Here’s a look at the completed set! There are 3 booklets, and 7 numbered bags within, and I pretty much gave my daughter an assignment to build it on her own, and apply the stickers herself which she managed to accomplish over the course of a few days.
The build is mostly modular, as each classroom is a 8×16 module, and they essentially stack or connect with one another. This enables you to stretch out the build, and let your child slowly tackle the build bit by bit, which I think parents will enjoy as this is quite a large and pricey set.
One nitpick I have is that the design of the school doesn’t quite match the depiction in The Next Chapter animated series BUT keep reading as it’s something that you can easily remedy.
Here’s an aerial via of the International School in its “default” configuration, which has a corner L-shape, giving it a slightly more interesting shape. As you can imagine with Heartlake City’s International School, the building is awash with bright pops of colour against the white walls.
On the side, there is a basketball hoop, and on the opposing side is a rainbow staircase which I really like as it fits into Heartlake City’s aesthetic so well. If you notice, the shutters/awning on the entrance to the side of the stairs also have the same rainbow sequence of colours.
Heartlake International School’s build impressed me by how clever it is. As mentioned earlier, each classroom has a 8×16 footprint and is its own self-contained module that can be stacked or connected via a Technic pin to the sides.
Let’s take a look at each classroom and space.
Going up the rainbow stairs gets you to an outdoor garden and open air cafeteria. There’s a tall pink table, with some stools for the students to have their lunch, and sip their green smoothies.
I really like this insect hotel here which houses some plants, bees and a ladybug.
Directly below is a cafe, equipped with a kitchen that students can get their meals from. As it’s an international school, you can expect the cuisine to be appropriately multinational, and there are what I assume to be chirashi bowls (think Sushi in a bowl of rice) and chopsticks for the students to use to tuck in.
The entrance to the school has a small reception desk, where Ms Hale can make announcements over the school PA from.
There are also lockers for students to store their belongings.
Next to the entrance on the ground floor is a classroom, which is currently being setup for a multimedia/content creation class.
I really like the sticker behind Olly, which has a suite of video editing tools, and what looks like a video of Olly and Liann currently in the edit.
There are plenty of multimedia equipment such as a large video camera, a green compact camera hanging from the wall, and even more recording equipment on the wall.
I really like the media class as it reflects contemporary curriculums where students are being equipped with technical creative skills. Not surprising as most American kids surveyed selected Youtube/Influencer as their most-desired job.
A really neat thing about the classroom are these chairs, which have these lecture chairs. I really like the use of the new-ish “Pill” tile for the writing pads, and how well they lock the minidolls into place.
To also encourage students to take up artistic pursuits, there’s a really-equipped art room as well. There are some really fun illustrations, paintings and drawings here, showcasing art from the various students – you can make out the names like Aliya, Liann and Paisley on some of the paintings.
The room doesn’t just cater to traditional art mediums, but there’s also a computer station for digital art too!
Next to the art classroom is a science lab which has plenty of stuff going on as well. Most interesting is the presence of a minifigure skeleton, which suggests minifigures do exist in the LEGO Friends universe… which begs the question, how did they get their hands on one.
There’s also some sort of chemical spill going on, and a bunsen burner that’s turned on, so safety standards are definitely lacking at Heartlake International School.
Only one animal is included in the set, the adorably named Bunsen the pet hamster!
Modularising 41731 Heartlake International School
While the set works pretty well as an International School and has plenty of interactive rooms and classrooms, 41731 Heartlake International School really comes alive with its modular design.
If you’ve noticed, each room has a standardised set, and that’s integral to the modular design, which allows you to switch up and alter the shape of the International School how ever you like.
You could build a long school, connecting each class side by side.
Or create a tall tower-type school.
Or just do whatever you like with the design and create unusual shapes.
I really love this mechanic built into the school, and if you have the right spare elements, it also encourages you to add and build your own classrooms to further flesh out the school.
If these modules look familiar, you’ve probably also seen them in 41704 Main Street Building, where the individual apartments and rooms are also built in that same 8×16 configuration.
It definitely seems like the LEGO Friends design team have quietly introduced this new modular room format, and it’s great to see it in action again with the Heartlake International School.
My daughter was delighted to discover that the modules in the International School and Main Street Building were compatible, and wasted no time mixing both together to create this massive School/Residential complex!
There’s a LOT going on here, but my daughter really loves these spaces, and she was also inspired to not only modify al the other rooms, but to also create her own multi-coloured room that you can see in the top left corner.
What I liked:
- Satisfyingly large, with plenty of interactive environments
- Diverse minidoll lineup
- Very bright and colourful
- Ties in very well with the animated series
- Modular format allows for plenty of customisation
What I didn’t like:
- Could’ve used an extra main character minidoll
- Facade design is quite plain
- Doesn’t quite match how the school looks in the show
If you’re looking for a LEGO Friends set that’s all about playability, that ties in really well with the TV series, you can’t go wrong with 41731 Heartlake International School.
It’s high piece count and large size have allowed for plenty of playable spaces, with a good mix of classrooms and other amenities like a cafeteria that you’d expect from modern school.
The minidoll lineup is great, with 3 main characters, and 2 other key side characters that you’ll come to emotionally connect with if you follow the series. If not, it’s still a great selection of minidolls of different genders, and enthinicities.
Where the set really comes into its own is when you embrace its modular design, and mix and match the classroom positions to create your very own school.
The fact that it integrates well with 41704 Main Street Building is another nice bonus, and it also encourages you to expand the school by adding your very own 8×16 classes.
If you feel that Heartlake International School lacks some History or Humanities class, build them! Feel like they’re short on STEM? Build a programming or robotics class! 8×16 modules are relatively easy to build, and as they’re made mostly rectangular, should also not require plenty of specialised elements.
On the whole, while this is one the pricier end of LEGO Friends sets, this time of the year is a good time to pick one up, as retailers begin clearing some of their older stock to make space for the Summer 2023 sets, so there’ll be a high chance you can pick one up on sale.
If you’re planning to buy for a young Friends fan, you can’t go wrong with 41731 Heartlake International School. It’s a big and satisfying set that will occupy the attention of your young LEGO Friends sets, so it’s an easy one to recommend, however if you’re an adult fan, I think there are slightly better alternatives that are more geared towards display you can opt for.
Build  – Very simple and straight forward build, so could also definitely suit those younger than 8.
Real Value  – You get quite a large structure for the price, packed with characters, accessories and more, but a little expensive at full price
Innovation  – Great use of the Friends room module, and the fact that you can easily change up the layout is a big plus
Coolness  – The facade leaves much to be desired, and doesn’t really match the depiction in the series.
Keepability  – Great to keep around, play with, modify and expand the school when you can
Rating and score: 3/5 ★★★✰✰
Thanks for reading this review of 41731 Heartlake International School! The set is available now from LEGO.com, but it’s likely that you’ll be able to nab it at a slight discount from Amazon or Amazon Australia.
If you plan on purchasing 41731 Heartlake International School please consider using the affiliate links found in the post to support the blog, as I may receive a small commission with each purchase.
What do you think of the Heartlake International School? Let me know if this appeals to the LEGO Friends fan in you!
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Love the colours in the set.
It would be nice to get an extra mindoll, but it does seem they are increasing the number in friends set, previously at this price range were getting 4 minidolls so good direction getting 5 plus a cute little animal.
I’m excited for the community centre getting 5 main characters and a Stephanie.
The name of the 4th episode is funny
[because Tap Tap Pup Pup, it’s funny, right?]