I like the Friends line a lot. They usually have broad color ranges and a generous assortment of elements that can’t be found in the other lines. I picked up the skate park because of all the fantastic orange and medium lavender elements and to see if it would make a candidate for drafting.
Getting the box open, the contents seemed a bit meager. Maybe I’m spoiled by the last set that I bought myself, the Master Wu Dragon. Under two hundred pieces for a $20 set doesn’t seem like much, especially for an un-licensed set like this one. There are some nice looking elements in those bags, but there is also a lot of boring 2×4 bricks, which I rarely use for anything other than filler.
I’m not all that interested in mini-dolls, but the fig is well-printed and looks good. I really like the orange skates that come with this set. As we’ve seen with the recent reverse engineering challenge on flickr, the skate elements are great for tiny snot constructs. The dog is nice too, and should fit in with minifigs better than many of the more cartoonish Friend’s animals.
The first bag builds the half/quarter-pipe and a vending machine. Not quite sure what the vending machine has to do with a skate park, but then I’ve never been to one, so it is possible that vending machines are an important part of the experience.
The builds here are all pretty basic, pretty much just stacked bricks, but the vending machine has a nifty little mechanism for dispensing soda cans. One of the nice elements here is the 1×1 round tile printed as a coin. There are two of them in the set and this is the first time I’ve seen them.
The second bag builds an obstacle for technical skate tricks and a little observation deck/pier. Again, the pier seems a strange addition, but I am assuming that this must be a seaside park of some sort. I like the boom box here and all of the medium lavender tiles. There is only the simplest of techniques again, with just a little snot for the railings.
The completed set is nice, if a little disjointed. Though I appreciate the lack of pink in this set, the color scheme is a bit forced, with lavender and orange highlights on what would probably be concrete construction. The half-pipe is a nice bit, and I like that it was designed with a hinge so that it can be swung open to act as a pair of quarter-pipes (or a single, wider quarter-pipe).
Some decent play features here, but there seems to be some non-sequitors. Sadly, I don’t think that I can suggest this as a draft set either, due to the large number of 2×4 and 2×6 bricks. I suspect that any draft would fall flat about half way through and there would be a lot of garbage picks at the end.
All in all a lackluster set. If skating is really your thing, then the play features could be fun, but not much here for an AFOL.
Enjoy and keep building!