Learning from our Friends: Sitting Side by Side in LEGO® City [41348 Service and Care Truck-review] [Building Techniques]

In which we take further inspiration from LEGO® Friends, by looking at Olivia’s Service and Care Truck.  We follow up by developing a modification to allow two minifigures to sit side by side in a contemporary vehicle, that otherwise only seats one.  Now read on…

Last time, we looked at a couple of Olivia’s vehicles from Friends – from 2016 and 2018.  Both of these cars have our friends sharing the two seats in a 4×3 space, allowing them to sit side by side in a vehicle that is six studs wide – within the constrains of a four stud wide cabin (so long as there window are open). Today I would like to look at another of  her sets from this year. Who knows how it might inspire us…

Looking out for her Friends on the Track: Service and Care Truck 41348

Zobo takes the Wheel

The Service&Care Truck (41348) which was released in the mid-year wave of friends sets in 2018, and has 244 parts. It seems to fit in a similar  part count and price point (AUD29.99/€19.99/£14.99/USD19.99) as Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. 

Interestingly, this vehicle has not appeared in any of the sixteen episodes of Friends: Girls on a Mission. As a go kart assist vehicle, it fits in with the theme of the second part of the series and fits in easily with any play based around the go-karting theme.

Predominantly azure, with the pale yellow and bright purple highlights, this truck seats 2, and carries the go-kart on the tray. Again, construction is simple, but provides an interesting approach to the bonnet and grille. The tray can be tipped, and seems to have a large oil spill in the middle. The go kart is decked out in Olivia’s new colour palette and features clips on the side to attach a few tools – allowing running repairs to be performed mid race.  The full set of tools is available in flat silver. A far cry from the first time I saw it in a friends set, made of dark violet! A detail that I am quite fond of this the dry chemical powder fire extinguisher – red with the white stripe across.The Olivia minidoll comes dressed for the race, complete with a helmet, with some of her hair coming out below its rim. 

Compared with Olivia’s Mission Vehicle, the sides of the cabin are 4×1 panel elements rather than swinging doors, or bricks ( as with Olivia’s Exploration car). This ensures lots of room to the sides.  This might be providing me with ideas…. but we will come to that later.

The build is not too challenging, as is appropriate for the target age group, and there are a few stickers of varying utility: some are functional ( the treads on the ramp to the tray), some purely decorative (Olivia’s gears on the front of the go kart, and others somewhere in between: any number plate!

Finally, an end is in sight to the habit of underage driving in Heartlake City: this vehicle is designed to be driven by Olivia’s Robot, Zobo – a sign of things to come.  Behind the driver’s seat, there is an offset plate, for the purpose of placing Zobo’s stabilising rod, so he doesn’t slide all over the cabin as it drives. 

As far as the figure is concerned, we get Olivia in her racing suit: the same face we previously saw, along with a bright purple helmet, with hair flowing out below. Interestingly, there is very little pale yellow on her race suit.  Here she is with her former selves…

You get more than you see on the box…

Where is the Launcher? It’s included in the set, but not in the artwork!

As well as the vehicles, the set comes with some ancillary builds: a speedbump/hamster crossing for the track (as well as Rumble the Hamster) and a go kart launcher.  The speed bump is only just wide enough to accomodate the go kart, and would represent a significant hazard on the track. The launcher is a simple lever arrangement,and appears in all sets containing go karts. For reasons I do not fully understand, it does not feature on the artwork of the box at all.

The front of the truck is a reasonable recreation of a single cabin lorry, reminiscent in styling vehicles from the 60’s or 70s, but the tip tray is a more contemporary development.  The effect works, but feels a little incongruent.  The go kart is great, embracing elements that makes it truly Olivia’s. I like the inclusion of Rumble the hamster.  I wonder if he knows the plans being developed on the sticker sheet for the Mission Vehicle? while I appreciate Olivia in her racing gear, it would’ve been nice for her to have a spare hair piece, independent of her helmet.

Even though this vehicle  doesn’t appear to be in the current series of animated episodes, it fits in well with the story telling, and would integrate well with locations such as the 41351 Creative Tuning Workshop or 41352 The Big Race day. I give this set 3.5 out of five Arbitrary Praise Units.

Side by side:

We have previously compared relative sizes of minifigures and minidolls, when looking at the pizzeria last year. Today I would like to look at another way that our friends fit in, in ways that minifigures seem unable to; specifically, side by side in a six stud wide vehicle.

Lets put two minidolls and two minifigures side by side: minidolls can stand side by side, with only their hands overlapping. Minifigures cannot stand so close, as their shoulders try to occupy the same point in space. The problem seems to exist at the shoulders. So, you need five studs, to attach minifigures side by side, and there is some overhang required for their outer arms.

While considering Olivia’s Service and Fix truck, it became apparent that there is enough SPACE to fit two minifigures in side by side: four studs wide, with a panel element at each end. Functionally 5.5 studs worth of space. This could allow us to ensure about a stud of space between our figures, and to stop them bring pushed out the side.  In order to stop them sliding around randomly, we could use offset tiles, to stop them from sliding around. I took inspiration from the layout of the Service and Care Truck, substituting a collection of offset plates for the 2×4 tile.  

As an alternative to the panels on the side, swinging doors could be used.  Be aware that modifying a car in this way may well elevate the driver by one plate.. which in turn has implications for the roof.  

What about a vehicle from LEGO City this year? I revisited the Pickup Truck from 60182 Pickup and Caravan, released earlier in the year. Junior is a little upset, because he cannot ride in the pickup truck with his Dad.

 Lets perform some remodelling: We’ll start by removing the cabin of the truck, and gathering a few elements.  This vehicle has a four sud wide cabin: too narrow to fit minifigures side by side.  Taking our lead from the truck above, let’s replace the doors with tan panels 1x2x1 to widen the available space, and fill the floor of the cabin with offset plates.

Next, we will need to build up the cabin: we might need to add some extra plates to keep the roof off our head.

We add the windscreen and roof, and in order to allow the boy to sit, we add some ‘adult legs’. I guess the rebuild took a little while!

Road Trip!

Now it’s time for a Road Trip!  Most of the elements I used I had lying around the house. The one aspect I am not entirely happy with is the fact that the minifigure hips sit above the top of the panel.  A substitution with a 1×3 door would probably work here, alsoadding 1×2 tiles to the outer floor of the pickup.  Unfortunately, I had none to hand today.  Why don’t you give it a try. 

This is a simple modification, that helps to add to the ‘real life realism’ of a vehicle in your LEGO City!  I’d love to see what readers come up with here, so why not post your pictures in the comments on this post on the Rambling Brick Facebook page, or post them on instagram using the tag #ramblingsidebyside 

Don’t forget to follow the Rambling Brick, and to share this post with any friends who you think might enjoy it. Until next time,

Play Well.

I would like to thank the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement team for providing the sets used in this set for review and discussion purposes.  All opinions are my own.

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