Friday, April 21, 2017

A Look Back: 1992 LEGO Magazine (Featuring Pirates and Space!)

A few days ago, I began going through this gem that I discovered from 1992.

That's the LEGO magazine that came (I think?) in large sets.  I deeply treasured that magazine back in the day - and as luck would have it, I kept it all these years.  I've already talked about my favorite theme (Castle) in the previous blog entry but today we get to take a look at my second favorite theme (from when I was a kid).

First though, we begin with my brother's favorite theme:  Pirates!

The Pirates theme has been popular for LEGO - so popular, in fact, that they seem to bring some sort of Pirates theme back every three or four years.  I believe there is a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out soon(ish) so I imagine we'll see another round of Pirate movie sets soon(ish) as well!

However, despite the popularity of movie tie-in sets, I don't think anything Pirate line can beat the classic Pirates of the early 90s.  I must say that I love how LEGO included a bit of a "bio" on each of the factions - they did that for the Castle factions and now here for the two Pirate factions.  As a kid, I didn't own a lot of Pirate sets - but my brother did (including Raft Raiders and Buried Treasure).  I think he might have also owned Smuggler's Shanty but I could be wrong about that.  I also know he owned a big Pirate ship, though I don't recall if it was the one shown here.  As for myself, a couple of years ago I found Forbidden Island for a (relative) steal on eBay and so I bought it...that was the one set that always caught my eye as a kid.

On the next page, we get sets from the Imperial Guards.

Once again, my brother gets the glory here - I know for sure he had both the Broadside's Brig set and the Lagoon Lock-Up set.  He also had the small Bounty Boat.  As for me, I always thought Sabre Island looked cool (and it's one that I've had my eye on a few different times on eBay, but I've never pulled the trigger).  I'd also like to track down the Imperial Trading Post some day - a great looking set!

While I didn't own a lot of Pirate stuff, I did have a lot from the next theme:  Space.

As with the previous two themes, LEGO took time to explain the various factions in this theme as well.  I always loved the MTron (and later Ice Planet).

Looking at the sets on the next page, I only owned the Vector Detector (in fact, that is my lone MTron set that I own to this day).  That said, I did almost win the Multi Core Magnetizer on eBay a few weeks ago...so maybe someday I'll add to my MTron collection.  As for the Space Police, as a kid I only owned one little Space Police car (not shown here) but as an adult I have since bought Rebel Hunter (see my review here).  That's a pretty cool set - in fact, it's much nicer than it looks in the image on the page.

Finally, we turn the page to the last of the Space stuff:  Blacktron.

The Blacktron were definitely the "bad guys" of Space.  I remember getting the Allied Avenger as a kid (and loving it).  I think my brother had the Sub Orbital Guardian...neither of us had any of the big Space sets from this time unfortunately (the Alpha Centauri Outpost looks pretty cool).  Notice in the bottom corner of the page that there is a Space Mini Figures set.  I know my brother owned that as well.  I wish that LEGO did more things like that these days - for kids on a budget, that was a great way to add to our collection of figures without having to spend a lot of cash.

Finally, the Space section ends with the rest of the huge Blacktron diorama and then an advertisement for the Value Pack which includes a Blacktron vehicle, a small castle set, a pirate set, and an Octan race car.  As a kid, I always wanted that value set...but it never happened (in fact, I don't ever recall seeing it in a store).

That ends the Pirates and Space portion of the magazine, but there are still plenty of cool things remaining (including Town for which both my brother and I owned a few sets).  I'll have more from this magazine later on, so stay tuned!

PS:  If you happen upon this blog entry and you have some old LEGO that you no longer want.  Let me know, maybe we can work out some sort of deal!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

LEGO 40237: Easter Egg Hunt - REVIEW

Just in time for Easter 2017, I present my review of LEGO 40237:  Easter Egg Hunt.

This seasonal set contains 145 pieces and includes a pair of minifigures (and a white chicken).  The set retails for about $10.00 US.

As you can probably see from the back of the box, this year's Easter set has a definite "hide the egg" mentality about it.  In fact, the entire set is basically an Easter egg hunt.

Ripping open the box, we find three clear plastic bags with pieces (no numbering on the bags), an instruction manual, and a loose lime green base plate.

I can't help but immediately notice that two of the three mini builds will occur on dark green base plates while the third is on the lime green.  That seems really odd to me - I would have preferred all three builds with the same color "grass."

That said, I really shouldn't judge the set until I build it, so let's do so now.

One thing I like to do whenever I build a new set like this is to check out the new pieces.  While there are no true new pieces in this set, there were a few that were new-to-me.  Furthermore, the set itself proved to be full of good pieces, especially those masonry blocks!

Like most small LEGO sets, we begin this build by assembling the two minifigures.

For the Easter Egg hunt, we get a mother figure and a son figure.  The mother has a dual-sided face (the other side showing her wearing sunglasses) but the son's face is only "super happy."  I do like the mother's hair piece quite a bit...and it seems like a hair piece that I don't own many of yet (or possibly any?).

The Easter Egg Hunt is basically three small vignettes:  the first of which is a small vegetable garden (consisting of only carrots apparently).  I'm also not sure the mother knows how to pick carrots...you don't pull it 90% out of the ground and then dig a hole around the entire thing to throw in your wheelbarrow.  Very strange.

In this vignette, the blue egg is actually hidden underneath the garden.

That one seems sort of tricky to find...especially when you consider how obvious the next two egg hiding spots are!  I will say that I like the blue egg itself quite a bit - I wish the other two included eggs were as vibrantly colored as this one (they aren't, instead we get a white egg and a grey egg).

The second vignette is the "main" one consisting of a mailbox and a couple of lights on the fence.  This is also the vignette that is built on the lime green plate as opposed to the (nicer looking) dark green plates.

I do like the flower garden here - the paving stones are a nice touch (as is getting four different colors for the flowers).  The egg is hidden inside the mailbox (though where else could it be, really)?

I should note here that the fence pieces (three in all in the set) are really nice.  I could use about 20 more of those!

Finally, we get the third and final vignette, the chicken coop!

This one is probably my favorite simply because of the included chicken!  No surprise here though, the egg itself is hidden inside the coop.

As a whole, LEGO 40237:  Easter Egg Hunt offers up a lot of great individual pieces.  However, the actual build itself is uninspiring (and no interesting techniques are used).  Having three small vignettes, rather than one large one, is also disappointing - as is the fact that one of the three base plates is a different shade of green.


For me, this is not a set that I'll keep together to display - not even seasonally.  However, it is also not a set that I regret buying...in fact, I'd happily acquire a second copy of the set given the chance (and a discount) simply because there are so many useful pieces here.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  5
Play Value:  6
Kid Value:  3
Adult Value:  6

Overall:  5

Overall, this set does have some play value (in that you can actually hide the eggs and then have the minifigure find them).  However, there are only three eggs included...and really, there are only three or four hiding spots (maybe you could turn the wheelbarrow upside down and hide one there).  For kids, I don't think this set would have much long-lasting value...and given that it is made up of three little builds, I can imagine that this set wouldn't survive intact for long either.  For adults, the main value is simply in the included pieces.  There is plenty here to to use in custom creations - and that alone is worth the price.

As for the extra pieces that are included, nothing to write home about though the flower pieces are certainly always useful.  I also can never get enough greenery of any type, so I'll happily add the "carrot top" to my extras bin.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Look Back: 1992 LEGO Magazine (Featuring Castle!)

One of my big goals this summer is to completely overhaul my custom LEGO City table - and in doing so, I'd like to incorporate some of my other sets that I have sitting around in boxes.  As part of my preparation work, I went through one of my boxes of LEGO and discovered a true gem:

A 1992 LEGO Magazine from my childhood.

As you can tell by the cover, this little magazine is well-worn by 9-year-old me thumbing through the pages day after day.  Heck, even the cover of the little magazine is great!  I miss LEGO doing fun little dioramas that this.  There's actually quite a bit to unpack in this simple image (including Pirates, Space Police, and a knight blocking a City train).  Good stuff, and certainly enough to capture my attention as a kid.

Flipping to the next page, we find Jack, the LEGO Maniac.

I think I would have made a good "LEGO Maniac."  I wonder how Jack got that job.  I actually don't recall seeing Jack before - my hunch is that 9-year-old me always skipped this page and went straight for the "good stuff."

Speaking of good stuff, this magazine starts right away with my favorite line of sets:  Castle.

I loved Castle back as a kid - and I still love Castle today.  In fact, I recently bought an old Castle set that I never owned as a kid (more on that later).  For now though, let's look at those factions and my thoughts on them from when I was a kid.

The Crusaders were more or less on their way out of LEGO's set rotation by the time I started playing with LEGO.  I know that I owned at least one Crusader figure, but I don't think I had any true Crusader sets.  On the other hand, the Black Knights were in full force in 1992 - just look at the various Black Knight sets featured on the page.  I actually owned multiple copies of the Sea Serpent and the Black Knight.  I always wanted the big castle (because what kid didn't?) but I also remember thinking that the Black Monarch's Ghost set was pretty cool looking.  Looking that the sets today, I notice that the Black Monarch's Ghost set actually has a peg sticking out of it - which makes me think it was designed to connect to other sets (the Knight's Stronghold perhaps)?

The other two factions of the era were actually the two that I liked best.  The Wolfpack were clearly the "bad guys" of the land - and they happened to have one of the biggest sets in my collection at the time.  Finally, the Forestmen were my all-time favorite...and while I didn't own many of their sets, I still love 'em!

Speaking of the Forestmen and Wolfpack, the next page of the magazine shows them in action.

I distinctly recall loving the Forestmen's Crossing set - another set that I never owned (and still don't) though I think I may rectify that someday soon.  I did own, however, the Wolfpack Tower - my biggest Castle set at the time (and the subject of hours and hours of fun for me as a kid)!  My brother owned the Wolfpack Renegades set - though neither of us owned any of the featured Forestmen stuff.

Moving on to page 5, we find more Castle goodies including sets labeled "Crusaders."

Out of the mix, I owned the Castle Mini Figures set (which is where my lone Crusaders figure came from).  I also always loved the peasant figure with the pitchfork.  For years and years, I owned exactly one pitchfork and it came from that little set!

I also have to point out, once again, how awesome the dioramas are.  There's so much that is interesting to look at (and drool over) in that picture (especially for a kid).  I was certainly fortunate to have owned a ghost (from the Wolfpack Tower set)...and that ghost certainly gets some prime real estate on the pages of this magazine!

I hope you enjoyed a look through the first portion of the magazine.  Next up, the Pirates - which I'll cover in a later post (the magazine includes a Pirate set that I always wanted and eventually tracked down not all that long ago)!  More on that in the near future!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My Custom LEGO City: Preparing for a Huge Update!

Today is April 11, which means that the college year is rapidly winding down.  As it does, I'll have more time to use for my hobbies (and less time needed to spend on lesson planning, grading, etc.).  One of my major projects that I hope to complete this summer is to completely overhaul my custom LEGO City.

A couple of years ago, I bought four long tables and I figured that I'd probably never fill them up to capacity.  However, LEGO seems to have a way of multiplying around here and so, yes, I did end up filling the tables up.  That meant that I felt like I was justified in buying two more long tables...but in order to fit them into my "man cave" where my City resides, I'll need to completely reorganize everything.

As part of a "final farewell" to my old city, I thought I ought to take some photographs.  Who knows, hopefully some day I'll look back on the photos and think "how quaint, things are so much better now."

In the above photograph, the large empty space is where the rest of my amusement park used to reside.  You may recall that I already showed off a totally rebuilt "square" of the park...here's another shot of the new park.

Not too bad, it's a mix of official LEGO "bits" and some of my own custom builds.  Nothing real fancy, but I was happy with the wonderland vibe that it gives off.  It's certainly colorful!

The other major installation in my custom city is a large construction area / train loading yard.  The construction portion includes a fairly large tunnel - and a passenger train (on metal tracks) that runs above the tunnel.

I am not 100% satisfied with my tunnel, but it gets the job done for now.  One of my two freight trains has lights installed - and the lights look pretty cool as the train goes through the tunnel.

About a year or so ago, I also built one more large "square" - that being my train station.  The base of the building is on street level - but passengers have to climb up to the second story in order to load onto the passenger train.

I love the idea of a two story station, but I'm not sure my train station is as good as it could possibly be (given my relatively small number of available pieces it's not bad though).  You probably can't tell from the photograph but there are a couple of small shops that flank the station - both custom built including a bookstore that I do still like quite a bit!

The rest of the city is basically LEGO sets that I've built but have not yet taken apart and modified for my own purposes (all in due time I hope).

And that concludes the quick tour through my old city.  I have a lot of work to do to remake the city into a better metropolis - but I am excited to get started (despite the daunting amount of work required to move everything carefully)!

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates.  I also have a TON of other content that I want to get posted here (including reviews, some new sets, and some old sets from my childhood)!  I hope to do a much better job of updating the blog moving forward - so thanks for visiting!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

February 2017: My Pick-a-Brick Wall Experience

Back in October of 2015, I visited my first ever LEGO brand store.  As I am sure most of my readers already know, the LEGO brand stores are known (in part) for their Pick-a-Brick wall.  Basically, a wall full of various LEGO pieces (all sorted) that you can choose from as you fill up a single-price cup.

This past February, I was able to visit my second ever LEGO brand store (this time in Rochester, NY).  Once again, I made a beeline to the Pick-a-Brick wall and I filled up a cup.  As with the last time, I didn't do any "stacking" or other things that would have allowed me to maximize my cup space.  Instead, I simply kept adding pieces until no more would easily fit.

Before I show off what I was able to nab this time around, I should note that last time I ended up with a total of 298 pieces for $16 (or about 5 cents per piece).  That haul had a lot of plant pieces (which I loved...and which were sadly not present at this year's Pick-a-Brick wall).  All that said, let's see how I did this time around!

You'll probably notice somewhat of a theme with the pieces I was able to get this year.  While there were no plant pieces or square 2x2 flat tiles (both of which I wanted), I was able to nab a fair number of useful pieces...and in useful colors as well!  For example, I did quite well getting a lot of new sand green pieces for my collection.

In that batch alone, I managed to grab 95 sand green 1x2 bricks with two studs on the side and 70 sand green 1x1 bricks.  I would have liked to have the option of adding some slightly larger sand green bricks (1x2 and 1x4 would have been especially nice) but I'll take what I can get!

Next, I hit the white brick section pretty hard.

In this case, I grabbed 6 large white panels (this took up a lot of space in the cup but I didn't have many left so I needed them).  I also was able to grab 6 white seats, 17 clear 1x2 bricks, and 30 white grill pieces.  I have no idea how the 2 black cheese slopes also ended up in my cup but I'll take 'em.

Last time, I grabbed quite a few 2x4 bricks - and since it's been two years and I still haven't found a use for a lot of those, I mostly avoided the classic LEGO brick this time around (I couldn't help myself though and did grab 9 of the 2x4 bricks in tan).

There wasn't a big plate selection available either, but I was happy to add 7 of the 4x4 green plates.  I always seem to need those.  I also threw in a handful (14 in total) of the 2x4 tan plates and I grabbed enough pieces to complete 4 turntables.  Finally, I threw in 34 of the white 1x2 bricks (a piece that I am always running out of) and 24 of the white angle pieces with four studs on the side.

As you can see, I managed to pack in a lot of pieces without even trying all that hard - and I'm still not done with the cup!

Finishing off, I grabbed 53 gray bricks with 1 stud on the side, 56 of the green bricks that also have one stud on the side, and 68 sand green 1x2 plates (can you tell I love the sand green color yet)?!  Finally, I snuck in 44 of the white rounded pieces, 26 of the white tooth pieces, and 31 of the white angle/seat pieces.

All told, not a bad haul for $15.99 (plus tax).  In the end, I had a cup with 596 pieces (or about 2.6 cents per piece).  Based strictly on price-per-piece, I did much better this time around (but it should be noted that I didn't get a lot in the way of unique pieces, nor did I get any greenery or fence pieces).
Overall, I was happy with my cup of pieces.  Getting a large number of sand green pieces was the real highlight for me - and hopefully I'll come up with a neat use for that color at some point soon.  I was also happy landing a whole lot of pieces with studs on the side - my collection was woefully lacking in that department prior to the store visit.

I enjoyed my visit to the Rochester store, even if I was only there for about 15 minutes (I had a plane to catch that day)!  I do hope to make it back there sometime soon seeing as how it's the closest official LEGO store to where I live (and thanks to this purchase plus a few other sets I bought, I was even given a LEGO Batman movie poster and a LEGO Batman polybag as "free" gifts).  

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Custom Amusement Park is Taking Shape!

By now, you have probably seen my three reviews for various LEGO Friends Amusement Park related sets.  Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that I am now working on my custom amusement park.  My park isn't done yet (and to be fair, it'll be a mix of official sets and custom builds) - but I can give you a sneak peek.

I hope to have more done on this project soon!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 30399: Bowling Alley

This is the third LEGO Friends set that I have now reviewed in the Amusement Park subtheme (see here and here for the other two reviews).  While I definitely liked both of the other sets (I gave them a 10/10 and a 9.5/10), will this much smaller polybag live up to the same lofty standards as the rest of the subtheme?  Let's find out together.

For starters, this is a polybag with a very limited number of pieces (only 51).  For your money, you get a single minidoll of Stephanie and a bowling arcade game (calling the set a "bowling alley" seems a bit too generous/lofty on LEGO's part).
The extra hot dog piece is appreciated.

Instead of a full alley, you get a single bowling "lane" complete with a bowling ball and six pins (which you can set up in a 3-2-1 triangle formation much like real 10-pin bowling).  You also get a hot dog with the new hot dog bun piece (and I believe this is the cheapest set in which that piece is available, so that's something to consider if you are after the hot dog bun piece).
Three pins down, better eat a hot dog...(ew)

The play feature of this set is basically that you can try to roll the ball down the (very short) alley and knock over the pins.  I suppose the action works well enough - but the real problem is that the pins themselves slide all over (and constantly fall down) with even the slightest movement of the set itself.  I'm not sure what sort of alternative design LEGO could have done...but even if all they did was add in some "gutters" to catch the falling pins, I think this would have been a much better design for kids.
It should be noted that there are no stickers in this set (nor are there any printed elements besides the minidoll).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  2
Play Value:  3
Kid Value:  2
Adult Value:  1
Overall:  2

Quite honestly, the best thing about this set is the hot dog bun...and since that piece isn't nearly as new or exciting anymore, there isn't much else to go after in this set.  Even worse, who actually eats a hot dog while bowling - that sounds disgusting for so many reasons!  I think that this set is sorely lacking either gutters, a proper ten pins, or both...and a sticker (or better yet, a printed piece) showing a bowling "box score" would have been a nice addition as well.  I do appreciate that continued use of the same color scheme, but in the end, you could probably build a better version of this polybag out of pieces that you already have sitting around in your own collection.  This one is hard to recommend.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My Custom City: Custom Arcade Games

I mentioned a few days ago that I was planning on updating my custom LEGO City with a full-fledged amusement park area.  I figured what good is an amusement park if it doesn't have at least a couple of arcade games?  I don't have a lot of space in my "man cave" where I hold my LEGO City, so my arcade won't be all that big - but I think it will work out fine with what I've done.

I ended up making two of my own arcade game consoles.  The first is a green game that's a treasure hunt of sorts.

I should probably come up with a proper name for each of my two arcade games, but as of now I haven't given that much thought.  I do know that this game requires a single joy stick and a large button for "action" commands.

And the second is a heart themed game, probably aimed (stereotypically) at girls though I'm sure LEGO boys will like it too.

As you can (hopefully) see, I tried to make both arcade cabinets similar, yet distinct.  They are the same height though, and close to the same width which means they look natural sitting side-by-side.
This was a poorly taken photo, the console doesn't "tip" like it appears to here.  Sorry.

The heart game requires a pair of joysticks - and it's housed in a slightly slimmer cabinet.

When building these, I was severely limited by the pieces that I currently own.  In fact, I only had two 2x2 tiles with a design on them (hence the two games that I made).  I would have liked to have the "siding" be a little more seemless, but otherwise I think the two arcade games came out alright for my first attempt!

Monday, January 23, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 41127: Amusement Park Arcade

The LEGO Friends 41127:  Amusement Park Arcade set is my third set from the LEGO Friends line (and my second set from the Amusement Park subtheme).  I've already opened, built, and reviewed the Bumper Cars set from the Friends' Amusement Park line (see here if you are interested).

Based on the the first two Friends sets that I've reviewed, I must say that I've come away impressed with both sets.  In fact, I've scored the first two sets a 9/10 and the second set a rare 10/10.

Now the question is:  Was it a stroke of luck that I happened to get two of the better Friends sets?  Or, is the Friends line really that good?!

Let's find out together as we take a look at LEGO 41127:  Amusement Park Arcade.

The Amusement Park Arcade set comes with 174 pieces and a single minidoll (Mia).  In total the set contains three different arcade games, which is fairly impressive for the relatively light piece count.

The three games are a hammer the frog game (sort of a poor man's whack-a-mole I guess), a water target shooting game, and a basketball game.  All three games appear to be based on similar "real life" arcade games which is nice.

Of the three, the worst game is clearly the whack-a-frog game because you only get a single frog to whack!  I will say that the hammer build, though simple, is really nice.  I also like the stickers used on the frog game (but the sticker shows multiple lily pads with frogs to whack).  For me, I'm not sure how I can expand upon this game easily because it uses golden frogs (a piece that isn't common at all)!

Next up, the water shooting game.  This one uses a stud launcher (with transparent blue studs to indicate water).  You can actually swivel the gun around in order to hit each of the three targets (and each target will fall down on its own when hit).  Once again, it's a simple build but I think it works really well (though the stud launcher may be a bit too strong since when you hit the target the blue stud will go flying backwards)!  Luckily, there is a "water bucket" full of extra blue studs for when you inevitably lose the first one!  I should also note that the targets are all printed (the rest of the signs in the set use stickers however).

The final game is the basketball shooting game.  The over-sized basketball hoop is a bit off-putting to me...but the game itself works.  You can smash down on a gray "knob" to launch the ball into the hoop.  The only downside to the game itself is that the orange ball actually has a "soccer" design to it (hexagonal patches) rather than the typical lines of a basketball.  Still, that's nitpicking (and at least the ball itself is orange as it should be).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  8
Overall:  9.5
5 stickers and a small assortment of extra pieces in the end.

As with the other two Friends sets that I've built, this one doesn't disappoint!  The fun and play value is as high as it can be since all three games are "working" games to varying degrees.  I think kids would have a lot of fun with this set (and as with the other amusement park sets, this one doesn't scream stereotypical "girl" either).  For adult collectors, I think this set offers a lot of good parts to start building your own custom arcade.  I do wish it had another golden frog or two, that's a bit of a bummer (especially with the sticker showing multiple lily pads) but otherwise it's a good base for a nice arcade.

I must say, I enjoyed the first two Friends Amusement Park sets so much (these were both Christmas gifts to me) that I found one more set on sale at my local Wal*Mart that I picked up for myself.  I haven't built it yet (I try not to build a new set before I write a review of the last set built).  All that said, I must admit that I have high hopes for that set too...even if it is smaller than this one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 41133: Amusement Park Bumper Cars

My Custom LEGO City in my "man cave" has a portion of the city dedicated to an amusement park.  In that park, I currently have the Ferris Wheel set and the Fairground Mixer...but unfortunately I wasn't collecting LEGO when the Merry Go Round was released (and I'll never be able to afford that set now).  Thus, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that LEGO Friends would have an entire amusement park subtheme last year!

I now own three different LEGO Friends sets from the Amusement Park subtheme.  This is the first of the three (and the largest) that I own:  the Amusement Park Bumper Cars (LEGO 41133).

The Amusement Park Bumper Cars name is a bit of a misnomer because this set really involves two different rides, the aforementioned bumper cars and a swing ride (that has a bit of an action mechanism).  As a whole, the set contains 424 pieces and two minidolls.

To begin the build, you start by assembling the small bits (which happen to use up all six of the stickers in the set as well).

In the first bag, you get both of the minidolls (Olivia and Ben).  I have to admit, all of the small builds are quite nice.  The cotton candy cart is particularly nice (the flag is a sticker, but you get two stickers so the decoration is on both sides of the flag).  The ticket booth has a sticker for the bumper cars sign and there are two other stickers representing a radio and music for inside the booth (those stickers aren't really necessary but I built the set as designed to begin with).  The final two stickers are the "1" and "2" on the two bumper cars (which are otherwise identical builds except for some color variations).

Next, you build the bumper car "arena."

This build wasn't nearly as interesting - though the large purple plates with studs along only three edges are new to me.  The speaker builds are alright, though I think it makes this look more like a dance floor...you really need to add the bumper cars to make it look "right."

There, that's better.

Finally, you get to the final bag of pieces - and the second amusement ride of the set, the swing.

This build was certainly more interesting - and there is even a Technic-lite aspect to the build with the gears along the left (as you see it in the photograph).  There is a knob that you can use to rotate the swing around 360 degrees - and while you do so the swing itself also rotates (making for a nauseating ride I'm sure)!  I will say that this is the only part of the build that felt overly "girly."  There are way too many unnecessary flowers along the base of the ride.  I don't mind the two "potted" plants on the corners but the red flowers scattered about the rest of the base plate are out of place (they'd be trampled by the guests)!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  9
Overall:  10

This is one of those sets that really knocks it out of the park for me.  You get two rides which are both very nice (honestly the swing might even be better than the bumper cars for which the set is named).  You also get a ticket stand and a nice little cotton candy cart...  Even if you don't own any other amusement park sets, this one by itself will give you a nice little park area.  The ticket stand can easily be used for the park at large (just remove the bumper cars sign at the top).  As with most (?) Friends sets, this one does have some "girly" elements to it - but it's not overdone (and the bright color scheme that Friends is known for works well for amusement park sets anyhow).