LEGO has a long reputation for producing high-quality toys for kids of all ages spanning decades, so the introduction of the Friends theme in 2012 wasn’t surprising. In this LEGO Friends Friendship Bus review and guide, I’ll focus on one of the most popular sets in the Friends theme.
The set takes children on a Heartlake City tour and allows them to explore different play scenarios in an urban setting. Models from this theme are made primarily for girls aged nine or younger, and they usually feature two or more of the theme’s main characters.
The Friendship Bus 41395 set isn’t an exception, as it comes with multiple mini-doll figures, a broad spectrum of accessories, and all other key characteristics of sets from the LEGO Friends theme. Most importantly, this model is easy to construct despite having a relatively high piece count.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Friendship Bus 41395 set is designed for inexperienced LEGO builders, and assembling it is far from difficult. This model is ideal for girls and boys aged eight or older who already know how to build a LEGO set.
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The Nitty-gritty of the LEGO Friends Friendship Bus 41395 Set
More than two years after its release, the Friendship Bus 41395 is still in high demand, so you may not be able to find it in a local LEGO store. LEGO published this model on January 1. 2020, and its estimated exit date is mid-2022.
However, the set is still available on the manufacturer’s website and in LEGO-certified stores, but online retailers have already started increasing its price. The Friendship Bus 41395 set has 778 pieces and three mini-doll figures.
Although its recommended age group is eight or older, it’s also suitable for younger kids with basic set-building skills. The set also encourages creativity and prepares kids for more challenging builds from the LEGO Friends theme.
The Friendship Bus 41395 is the only active LEGO Friends set featuring a bus toy, although most models in this theme contain different types of vehicles.
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Packaging and Building Instructions
The set’s box has a recognizable look of the LEGO Friends theme, with the large illustration of the bus toy dominating its front side. The piece count recommended age group, and the pictures of mini-dolls included in the set are also located on the box’s front side.
The illustration of the fully assembled Friendship Bus can also be found on the box’s underside, accompanied by several images of the set’s key features. The sticker sheet and the building instructions leaflet are packed in a plastic sleeve.
The building instructions leaflet has a standard layout, and it guides the builder through 247 steps of the assembly process.
The booklet doesn’t contain any information about the set’s story or characters. The box includes six bags that hold the pieces builders need to complete each stage of the assembly process.
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Guide Through the Set’s Pieces and Mini-dolls
Aside from a few LEGO Technic pins and bricks, all other pieces in the set are standard LEGO System pieces. Also, this LEGO Friends model doesn’t contain new parts, although several pieces appear in new colors. ½ dark pink circle tile and a white plate are among the noteworthy pieces you’ll find in the set.
The complete list of the set’s parts is included at the end of the building instructions leaflet, so you can browse through it if you want to get more familiar with the pieces that come with this set. Mia, Olivia, and Stephanie mini-dolls aren’t exclusive to this set, but they have unique costumes.
- Olivia has a light blue dress and a yellow vest over it. Both decorations are printed on the front and back of the torso element. The mini-doll has pink shoes.
- Stephanie is dressed in a light blue skirt, a simple t-shirt with a centrally positioned palm tree print in the foreground, and dark pink sneakers.
- Mia has unique lightning bolt prints on her orange-green t-shirt. The belt is printed on the t-shirt’s lower section and extends over the front and back sides of the torso element. Olive green shorts and orange-green shoes match the mini-doll’s outfit perfectly.
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Building the Friendship Bus is easy since you have to follow the steps to complete each stage of the construction process. I don’t recommend emptying all six bags into a single tray because you might struggle to find the pieces you need to complete a specific step.
It’s advisable to make sure that all pieces are positioned correctly before proceeding from one step to another because removing a Technic pin or other System parts can be difficult.
The construction process starts with assembling the Mia mini-doll and a worktable equipped with a renovation blueprint, hammer, paint bucket, and paint roller accessories. The first bag also contains pieces you need to build the bus’s floorboard.
During the second stage of the construction process, you’ll build the tennis table, sun umbrella, camera, and pool elements. Once it is assembled, the pool element is placed underneath the floorboard, and stoppers are installed to prevent you from pulling the element out entirely.
Stephanie and Olivia mini-dolls are also assembled during this stage of the assembly process. The third bag features relatively large pieces that allow you to build the bus’s interior, including benches, a table, and a steering wheel.
The final three stages involve building the windshields, cabin roof, windows, doors, slide, and the bus’s roof with a garden. It’s important to remember that this set has a lot of tiny pieces that can be difficult to fit into place.
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A Glance at the Finished Model
Carefully positioned stickers, easy access to the toy’s interior, or the ladder for quick access to the rooftop are some of the neat details that caught my eye after I built this set.
Also, you can gain access to the bus’s interior by opening the side doors or sliding the rooftop that functions as a canopy for the removable table and chairs originally placed in the bus’s interior.
The lack of the steering system and the pullback function are, in my opinion, the toy’s most significant downsides. All of the bus’s segments look stable, but some components might fall apart if you apply too much pressure.
The toy is 11 inches long and 5 inches tall, and it won’t occupy too much space on a play table or the living room floor. Moreover, the bus offers enough space to store all its accessories once kids are done playing with them.
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The Friendship Bus 41395 set allows kids to build a small playground that offers them endless play options. The bus toy has a variety of fun features like the pool, slide, and rooftop garden that enable girls and boys to develop a broad range of play scenarios.
The set features a laptop, camera, telescope, winch, and other accessories that contribute to its playability. In addition, the tennis table and worktable elements extend the range of activities the set’s characters can perform while resting from the Heartlake City tour.
Combining the Friendship Bus 41395 models with LEGO Friends sets like Forest House 41679 or Vacation Beach House 41709 will extend its playability further and increase the number of mini-dolls kids can play with.
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Value and Price
The LEGO Friends theme has 36 active sets, and more than half of the theme’s models cost less than $50. Hence, the Friendship Bus 41395 is among the most expensive sets in this theme. Its current price on the LEGO website is approximately $70, but some online retailers offer this model at much higher prices.
You may have to spend up to $100 to get this model, so it’s advisable to compare the set’s prices at different online stores to avoid overpaying for a LEGO set you can get at a lower price.
Although LEGO still hasn’t made the set’s exit date public, it is safe to assume that the Friendship Bus 41395 model will go out of production in the second half of 2022.
The set’s value will increase after it is discontinued, but it is difficult to estimate by how much. The Friendship Bus 41395 model isn’t collectible, so its value should remain under $150.
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Pros and Cons of the LEGO Friends Friendship Bus 41395 Set
- Straightforward construction process
- The bus toy has fun features
- The set comes with a variety of accessories
- It offers endless play options
- Mini-dolls have authentic costumes
- It doesn’t occupy a lot of space
- The bus toy doesn’t have a steering system
- Only a few spare pieces are included in the set
- It’s more expensive than most LEGO Friends models
The Best Alternatives to the LEGO Friends Friendship Bus 41395 Set
Busses are often featured in LEGO sets either as stand-alone or complimentary toys. However, the Friendship Bus is the only set in the Friends theme that contains this toy, so finding an adequate substitute can be tricky.
Sets that come with an ambulance car, a truck, or an off-road vehicle are some of the replacements for the Friendship Bus set you can consider. I’ve selected several alternatives to this set, so let’s see what they can offer.
Canal Houseboat 41702
Besides being incredibly fun to play with, the Canal Houseboat 41702 set is also educational because it teaches the children the importance of caring for the environment. The houseboat model has a solar panel, a garden, paints, and brushes for DIY repairs.
The removable deck and side grant kids access to the houseboat’s interior, which includes a kitchen, gaming area, and a bedroom. The set also has a market stall element so that children can sell the organic products they grow on the boat. Elijah, Layla, Sebastian, and Mia mini-dolls come with this set.
Forest Camper Van and Sailboat 41681
You should take a closer look at the Forest Camper Van and Sailboat 41681 set if you’re looking for a LEGO Friends model suitable for a novice builder. This set has 487 pieces, and assembling it doesn’t take more than a few hours.
The camper van toy has a removable roof that allows builders to place Emma, Stephanie, and Ethan mini-dolls inside the van. Camera, skateboard, and sunbed accessories are stored on the van’s roof, and kids have to unload them when they arrive at their camping location.
The sailboat has an adjustable sail, rudder, and detachable wheels that enable a young builder to sail smoothly over imaginary lakes.
Heartlake City Grand Hotel 41684
Despite having more than a thousand pieces, the Heartlake City Grand Hotel 41684 set is still easy to construct. The three-story model of the hotel has a beautiful facade and five rooms accessible from the backside.
The lobby with the reception desk and a bar equipped with a piano are located on the ground floor, while luxurious rooms are located on the floors above. Also, the top floor has two balconies decorated with flowers and other accessories. This set comes with four mini-dolls and three animal figures.
Besides the hotel model, the set has an outdoor dining segment that contains a fountain, trees, and a dining table.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Friendship Bus 41395 Set
Question: Does the Friendship Bus Set Need Batteries?
Answer: This Friendship Bus isn’t powered by batteries, and you can move it by simply pushing it with your hand.
Question: Is LEGO Still Producing Spare Parts for the Friendship Bus 41395 Set?
Answer: Yes, all pieces of this set are still in production. Moreover, the Friendship Bus doesn’t have many unique pieces, so finding replacements for the pieces featured in the set should remain easy even after LEGO retires it.
Question: Can I Buy Mini-dolls Separately from the Friendship Bus 41395 Set?
Answer: Buying mini-dolls included in the Friendship Bus set separately from the set isn’t an option unless you can purchase them from someone who already bought the set.
Question: How Long does it Take to Build the Friendship Bus 41395 Set?
Answer: The construction process shouldn’t take more than a few hours, even if you have never tried building a LEGO set before.
Endless play options, fun features, and an entertaining construction process are some of the reasons why I think that the Friendship Bus 41395 set is an excellent choice for novice and experienced LEGO builders.
Its relatively high piece count might trick you into thinking that building this set is challenging. Still, the assembly process is straightforward, and children don’t need previous set-building experience to complete it.
Three mini-dolls are also a nice addition that allows kids to imagine different scenarios for some of the Friends theme’s main characters. Was this LEGO Friends Friendship Bus review useful? Let me know in the comments, or continue reading our LEGO Jeep review to find out more about this amazing toy.