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Review - 21319-1 - Central Perk

I'm going back to my youth for the next set. Friends was the biggest thing when I was around 12 and I have memories of laughing so hard I stopped breathing. When this set was announced I knew it would be one I'd get, not really for me (the nostaglia isn't THAT strong) but my wife is an absolute Friends-fanatic. It wouldn't be hard convincing her on letting me buy this set.

Could I BE more excited for this set? Hopefully my opinion isnt Moo.

Contents:

The Set
The Box
The Instruction
The Parts
The Build
Conclusion

Background

LEGO Ideas is now an official global phenomenon. It has become one of LEGO's flagship themes. Which is kinda odd considering it's premise. LEGO are sooo secretive about future sets (thanks to IP theft mainly) but LEGO Ideas contradicts that massively. The whole point of Ideas is show this potential set to as many people as possible, and if enough like it they'll release it. New Ideas sets are some of the most anticipated of the year, often hitting backorder almost immediately upon release. Successful Ideas products are always the ones that receive the most exposure. There are hundreds of absolutly amazing Ideas on there that just don't get the the foot traffic.

Ideas is not short on critics too though. There are two conflicting points of view on the theme:

  1. Ideas has lost it's way. It should be about designers with great ideas, building things in interesting ways. But it has been hijacked by the IP band-wagon. The program has become Insert name of popular TV Show/Movie+LEGO=Successful Ideas set.
  2. Being able to get sets in themes LEGO would otherwise ignore, like Doctor Who or The Flintstones is awesome.

Obviously, these points of view don't have to be mutually exclusive. I actually think LEGO do a good job of balancing both ideals with Ideas releases. Yes there's far more IP Ideas on the website (mostly Star Wars) but if you look at actual releases, the sets LEGO actually picks, original ideas comes out on top. 17 Original ideas to 13 Licensed sets, with the next three ideas chosen being 2 original to 1 licensed.

And of course the Ideas theme speaks volumes to a community like Rebrickable, it's literally exactly what we're about. Personally, Ideas sets are some of my favourite in recent years. I hope LEGO continue this amazing program that connects LEGO to it's customers like never before.

The released Central Perk set is very different from the original Ideas submission but that's pretty common. LEGO have to make the set in a way that meets their internal criteria for stability, build experience, and probably most importantly, cost. They are often vilified for their changes. The recent release, set 21320-1 Dinosaur Fossils, is a quintessential example of a set that was changed to much criticism. But in this case I think they actually improved upon a lot of details. Yes it's a shame they shrank the floorplan losing some of the furniture, but they massively improved the decor, especially the iconic sofa.

The change I liked least was the addition of the lighting rigs. I don't get it. Either we have a model of the set of the TV show, if that's the case then we need more than just the lights. We need cameras, crewmen, audience seating maybe (for the record I hate this idea). Or we have a model of Central Perk as if it's a real place (like all other Ideas sets, The Big Bang Theory set for example), in which case the lights are completely out of place and unneccessary. I'm going to take off the lights once I've finished this review, just a waste of parts.

 

The Set

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Friends, the legendary American TV sitcom, with this highly collectible LEGO® Ideas 21319 CENTRAL PERK set! This wonderful LEGO recreation of the café TV studio set is packed with authentic details, making it a must-have Friends memorabilia item for fans. The iconic seating area with a couch, armchair and 2 chairs for the friends is removable for easy play. And check out the stage where Phoebe performed her songs on guitar (and where Ross once played his keyboard and everyone except Phoebe thought he was terrible). The 7 new-for-September-2019 LEGO toy minifigures of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Phoebe and CENTRAL PERK’s long-suffering manager Gunther each come with accessories to role-play famously hilarious scenes. An ideal Friends-themed gift for your own friends and family who love the TV show, this hot toy is great for play and will grab attention when displayed in any room.

The Box

The box measures 385 x 260 x 90 mm and is constructed in the style of Architecture sets. Inside are 7 bags numbered 1 to 6, an instruction manual, and a sticker sheet.

The Instructions

The instruction manual measures 270 x 190 mm. With 166 pages and 203 total build steps.

It opens with a history of Friends, and interviews with Fan Designer, Aymeric Fievet, and LEGO Designers Milan Madge and Crystal 'Bam' Fontan.

The pdf can be downloaded here.

The Parts

The set contains 1070 parts and 40 spares, in 37 colors, and 33 part categories, with a total of 369 unique parts/color combinations.

Main colors are:

Main categories are:

  • Plates: 72 unique parts, 268 quantity.
  • Bricks: 50 unique parts, 168 quantity.
  • Tiles: 41 unique parts, 112 quantity.

New Prints of Existing Parts:-

 

Parts in new colors:

First, new colors, unique to this set: Some really great re-colors here. I especially like the lamppost in Dark Green. They'll look great re-purposed into my Winter Village next Christmas.

This new mold of this part was previously only available in Black and White.

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It's always great when you get a new color of an old school part. This Disk was first introduced in 1994 and it's the first new color since LBG in 2012.

Parts in new colors in 2019:

 

Rare Parts (appearing in 3 or less sets): Interestingly the famous 'Rachel' haircut worn by every twenty-something in the 90's has already appeared in LEGO form, appearing in the Series 17 Collectible Minifigure set 71018-5 Veterinarian 

 

There's two other parts that are worth mentioning:

49307 Plate 1 x 1 x 23 Double Curved Top appeared in Light Bluish Gray in 2019 for the first time. But within months was used too much to be delcared a rare part. It now appears in 7 sets for a massive 95 total set parts.

And part 3068bpr0273 Tile 2 x 2 with Suspension Bridge Print. Worth mentioning because, whilst it appears in a bunch of sets (4 modular set alone) it also appears in the Big Bang Theory Ideas set, did the boys pick it up a the Central Perk Closing Down Sale?

 

This set comes with 7 minifigs, Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey, and Gunther. Please excuse me while I step on my soapbox for a minute.

Why do LEGO have a blindspot when it comes to Female head prints? This set is a perfect example of the weird habit they have of re-using different character heads for females but give males new prints. Do LEGO really not see how women look different? Is it becuase they know their (largely) male audience don't care? I think it's really instulting to some of these real people depicted.

To break down this set alone, Ross, Chandler, and Joey all got new prints. Whilst Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) head has been used to depict Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy), Monica (Courtney Cox) to depict Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), and Astronaut Sally Ride, and Rachels (Jennifer Aniston) to depict a whole host of female characters, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Mera (Amber Heard), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), and even a generic guard from a Jurassic World set. Is one of the most iconic characters in history really not worth a new print?

 

 

The Build

Bag 1: Opening with the base. It's a very complex, layered, floor with an interesting angle. Honestly, this seems unnecessarily complicated.

Bag 2: Building the Left wall first. The Counter area looks fantastic, absolutely spot on. Lots of intersting minifigure accessories to add to your collection. This is where we put in the chalk board which is printed, even though we have a sticker sheet. I'll never understand the economics of sticker vs printed part.

 

Bag 3: The back wall is completed. It looks a little bare, I think a bigger printed tile would look better.

Bag 4: Next we build some furnishings. The counter is scaled well and has a really nice register build. The first rug section is made. It slots into the floor with no clutch. An intersting choice, and one I don't really understand. I'm not sure why it's like this.

 

Bag 5: We now finish building the walls. Another interesting choice is made with the wall section with the main window. It clips in at the bottom. Again, this seems complicated for complicated's sake, but I guess it does make it a more interesting build.

 

Bag 6: We finish the set with the couch area. The rug is brick built and slots into the floor like the other one. The sofa looks great, the color is a little too orange but I don't think there's a current LEGO color that would be a better choice. The final thing to build is the lighting rigs. Nice builds that look realistic, but are completely superfluous.

 

Re-creating Some Iconic Central Perk Scenes

 

Conclusion

The finished model looks great, with enough references to please the most hardcore fan, but the build was just okay, a couple of interesting bits but for those critical of LEGO using more parts than is probably necessary (the thinking being LEGO do it to make the set seem better value for money) will probably be annoyed by some sections (the floor and rugs especially). I recommend this set to Friends fans but if you preferred Seinfeld then there's probably not very much in this set for you.

The Friends fan in me is happy enough with the set, I really need some other minifigs though, Janice, Richard Burke, The Gellers Parents, maybe if I get enough people to sign a petition we can get a Friends Collectible Minifigure Series!

Even though I liked the set and was happy with it I don't think the set is interesting enough to be a display model. However, I've seen lots of ideas on how to turn this set into a modular so I may just do that so I can keep Central Perk around a little longer, after all making Chandler live in a box again would just be cruel.

Build on,

Jared

Disclaimer: This LEGO set was kindly provided for review by The LEGO Group. Anything said in this post is the opinion of the author and not The LEGO Group.
Parts- and build photographs by Jared Hinton (© 2019 Rebrickable)

10 COMMENTS

  • 6 days, 20 hours ago ChristinaFeb Level 4
    I loved the "Friends" show as well. There were episodes that made me laugh so hard I laughed. I love this set! Now only if my hands were smaller..
  • 1 month ago vinternet Level 12 MOC Designer
    Great point about LEGO reusing female minifig heads. I don't mind re-used minifig heads in general (male or female) but the bias is clearly showing. I always thought it was fully on display with how off the Black Widow and Captain Marvel faces were in the last few waves (both the faces themselves as well as the hair pieces).
    I have a feeling the floor sections come out easily so that you can set up minfigs in different arrangements easily and then drop it back into the scene. I also think the chalkboard is printed because, while LEGO still isn't great about printing on black, stickers are always thin and light printing on stickers never shows up well on dark LEGO pieces. It looks like most of the other stickers wouldn't have that problem (haven't built it, feel free to correct me).
    • They definitely used some pale colors for the chalkboard but they used similar colors on the Phoebe board which is also on a black part (the colors may be identical, it's hard to tell if they're different or if it's just the process that makes them look slightly different.)
      • 4 weeks, 1 day ago vinternet Level 12 MOC Designer
        You're right, and there goes my theory!
  • 1 month ago jamesdm Level 10
    I really enjoyed the build.  And I think the lights are cool!
  • 1 month ago Pioneer4x4 Level 13 MOC Designer
    This set is on my short list, thanks for the review.
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