Following the welcome success ofCentral Perk, I anticipate The Friends Apartments achieving comparable popularity. This appealing model comprises two paramount locations from the comedy series, featuring fantastic detail and matching Central Perk.
Countless references to the renowned television series are distributed throughout both apartments, recalling some memorable episodes and providing superb variety to the model. Furthermore, seven splendid minifigures are supplied to populate these apartments, taking inspiration from classic appearances for each character.
Box and Contents
The packaging for 18+ models has sometimes proven appealing while other examples appear reasonably bland. Unfortunately, this design occupies the latter category in my opinion, lacking the vibrancy associated with Friends. I understand the considered uniformity between separate sets, although I think preserving such consistency detracts from their individual appearance.
Of course, the contents are significantly more important, comprising seventeen bags which are numbered between one and fifteen. The accompanying instruction manual contains 292 pages, including welcome information about Monica and Rachel’s and Chandler and Joey’s respective apartments and their inhabitants. Explanations for multiple referential details are also scattered throughout the manual, which is unusual.
Seventeen stickers are provided, displaying various interesting details which are recognisable from the television series. These include three different whiteboard designs, although only one can be positioned on the door at once. Of course, 18+ sets generally include numerous printed elements so these stickers might prove disappointing, although they are easy to apply.
Central Perk contained the six primary characters and different versions are available here. Chandler Bing accordingly sports his simple jacket and tie from ‘The One with the Cat’ which looks reasonable, although reddish brown was definitely the wrong colour choice. I am delighted with this double-sided head though, including an excellent laughing face.
Despite closely resembling the earlier design, Joey Tribbiani also features an updated head because his raised eyebrow has swapped sides. His colourful attire also looks appealing and makes reference to ‘The One Where No One’s Ready’, during which Joey famously sports an array of Chandler’s clothes! The resulting minifigure looks absolutely superb, although the red scarf does not appear onscreen.
Among these six characters, Monica Geller is the only minifigure to retain her head piece fromCentral Perk. I think this black hair element should have been updated and Monica’s smiling face appears awkward, with the mouth offset below her eyes. The exclusive torso component is nicely detailed though, originating from ‘The One with All the Candy’.
Rachel Green wears various iconic outfits throughout the series, actually establishing fashion trends! However, this white jumper and plaid skirt are among the most recognisable examples and the minifigure looks excellent. I love the red and white printing across the legs, which also continues around the sides and onto the torso. Differing from Monica, Rachel’s head is unique and features two smiles.
While these two apartments belong to the aforementioned characters, Ross Geller frequently visits and certainly belongs here. The minifigure features leather trousers which appear during ‘The One with All The Resolutions’ and their excessive tightness is nicely exposed by the torso decoration. Ross’ facial expressions also look splendid and this minifigure includes the powder container which relates to the leather trousers.
While several minifigures are dressed in particularly memorable attires, Phoebe Buffay looks uncharacteristically bland. Her pink jumper does match ‘The One Where Phoebe Runs’ but an alternative design might have been preferable. Nevertheless, the blonde hair component looks brilliant, following its introduction with Sally fromDisney Collectable Minifigures Series 2.
An impressive selection of accessories is provided, including an updated paint brush element which now features more paint. Monica carries a light bluish grey whisk, reflecting her culinary career, while Rachel includes a coffee cup. Various additional items are found throughout each apartment, routinely making reference to particular episodes and moments.
Janice Hosenstein accompanies the six protagonists, featuring an appropriately spectacular hair component. This element was originally designed for Bellatrix Lestrange but looks superb here, reflecting Janice’s elaborate curls. The unique double-sided head looks similarly suitable, displaying dramatic expressions on both sides and conveying perfect personality.
This conspicuous attire originates from ‘The One with Ross’ Library Book’, featuring a detailed leopard-print pattern and fur lining. Dual-moulded arms to represent short sleeves would have been welcome here, although I think this design was a good choice among Janice’s countless outlandish outfits! The figure carries a magenta handbag, loosely reflecting the episode.
The Completed Model
Corresponding withCentral Perk, these apartments evoke the conventional studio sets where Friends was filmed. However, their irregular arrangement reflects the onscreen location and therefore appears accurate, measuring 64cm across. The resulting varied depths produce an interesting footprint, hence I think the structure seems most attractive when displayed at an angle, as demonstrated below.
While the authentic arrangement is certainly appreciated, the model does seem challenging to display in this configuration. Fortunately, both apartments may be easily disconnected from the corridor and they look brilliant beside the successful Ideas set, especially with consistent lattice structures on each side. Additionally, their matching sizes are appealing, although Central Perk seems noticeably more colourful.
Chandler and Joey’s apartment is slightly smaller than the neighbouring residence, measuring 29cm wide which matchesCentral Perk precisely. The location is instantly recognisable and contains multiple realistic furnishings, providing welcome splashes of bright colour against the monochromatic medium nougat floorboards which are present throughout the set.
Numerous stickers decorate this apartment, including several around the entrance. The blue whiteboard was introduced during season three and moves fairly regularly, although the door position is common. This steaming coffee mug sketch originates during ‘The One with All The Resolutions’ and two additional stickers are supplied. They remain on the sticker sheet above, referencing ‘The One with Chandler in a Box’ and ‘The One with the Yeti’.
The stickered noticeboard displays reference to Emily, Ross’ partner during seasons four and five, alongside the initials ‘A.W.’ which belong to the set designer, Anderson Ward Grubb. This area also includes Joey’s encyclopaedia of topics beginning with ‘V’ while a printed light bluish grey 1×1 tile represents the ubiquitous intercom beside the noticeboard.
Particular detail and colour is focused upon the kitchen, which closely resembles the source material. The simple fridge freezer looks great and the neighbouring appliances are correctly positioned, including the cooker and microwave. Moreover, the chaotic arrangement of varied accessories works nicely, reflecting the customary untidiness of Chandler and Joey’s home.
Naturally, the prominent Manhattan poster is present beside the fridge, capturing remarkable detail from the original poster. The textured cupboards appear authentic as well, despite their inability to open and comparatively muted colour scheme. Thankfully, the green stools ensure continued contrasting colours and the duck is also provided, albeit represented by a standard LEGO bird.
After destroying their kitchen table during ‘The One with the Dozen Lasagnas’, Chandler and Joey purchase a table football table as a dubious replacement! This model looks spectacular, integrating extensive detail given the tiny scale. I like the rows of pearl gold and black players against the green playing surface, while the frame makes excellent use of bricks with studs on the sides.
Furniture rearrangements occur frequently throughout the television series. The dartboard is sometimes especially elusive, appearing beside the kitchen here. This element looks brilliant and the kangaroo boxing poster incorporates sufficient detail too, although including accurate Cyrillic script along the top would have enhanced the design further.
The entrance to the bathroom includes a tennis racket while the adjacent hockey stick makes reference to ‘The One with the Cat’, when Joey becomes locked inside his own entertainment unit. This yellow sofa also appears prominently throughout the series and its vivid colour looks lovely here. The glass-topped table appears attractive too, combining suitable colours.
Windows are accurately situated behind the sofa, each including stickers to represent blinds. Their white colour seems quite unusual against the trans-clear windows, although the narrow curtains complement the blinds nicely. Ideally, a radiator would appear behind the sofa but the appropriate space is completely covered, hence that feature has been excluded.
However, the infamous ceramic dog statue, named Pat, is included underneath a poster which has been nicely adapted from the television series. Its graphical style appears accurate but the poster now refers to Billund, rather than New York. The door to Chandler’s bedroom is correctly positioned too, beside an upright sculpture which is commonly visible outside this door.
Chandler purchases an enormous entertainment centre for the apartment during season four, flanked by two Martin Logan Aerius speakers. This structure looks accurate and the television shows Joey in the role of Dr. Drake Ramoray. In addition, the accompanying receiver and disc players are successfully integrated, although another shelf should appear above the television.
Central Perk contains an attractive rug which is constructed sideways and supports the predominant furniture. This model incorporates the same building technique, creating a superb textured rug which definitely recreates the appearance of its onscreen counterpart. The pattern has been simplified but these evoke an appropriate design.
The reclining chairs appear fittingly comfortable and incorporate the only function found within this set, reclining together. Their mechanism is connected through the rug and works perfectly, despite somewhat deviating from the source material. Ideally, the seat would slide forwards as the back reclines, although including such detail might affect the outward appearance.
Following the theft of their furniture, Chandler and Joey are memorably left with nothing other than a canoe. That canoe is accordingly included, occupying the vacant space beside the rug. This component has never appeared in dark orange before and does differ from the onscreen canoe, although I welcome its inclusion. The rooster which occupies the apartment, known as Chick, is also provided inside the canoe.
While doors are correctly positioned around the apartment, no additional rooms are included. Instead, the exterior is completely undecorated which is perhaps disappointing, although that matches the original filming set andCentral Perk. Fortunately, these unsightly walls are predominantly obscured when displaying both apartments.
Chandler and Joey’s and Monica and Rachel’s respective apartments are divided by a narrow hallway. The hallway appears particularly bland between the neighbouring structures, although its presence was necessary and such earthy colours correspond with the television series. This area does include the remains of a dropped cheesecake though, originating from ‘The One with All the Cheesecakes’!
Another stickered blind is present here, above a reddish brown radiator. These are both visible onscreen but the radiator could certainly have been improved, appearing extremely basic when compared with the design fromCentral Perk. Furthermore, including the dado rail around the walls would have introduced another visual feature, potentially negating such blandness.
Contrasting against the hallway, Monica and Rachel’s apartment includes fantastic colour and therefore reflects the onscreen location. This residence measures nearly 31cm wide, narrowly exceeding the boys’ apartment in size which appears consistent with the television series. The medium nougat floors are shared between them though, representing hardwood.
The lavender walls inside this apartment look marvellous and another striped 1×1 tile appears here, again depicting the intercom. Of course, the ornate frame which famously surrounds the peephole is mounted on the door. Unfortunately, the colour matching between that sticker and the lavender door looks absolutely dreadful which is frustrating because such problems should be easily resolvable.
Monica’s spectacular kitchen contains several medium azure shelves and cupboards, closely resembling the source material. Admittedly, the colours are exaggerated but that maintains an impressive consistency withCentral Perk, where muted shades are similarly brightened. The pearl gold frying pans look splendid too, alongside various other cooking accessories.
Additionally, the bright light yellow curtains and cupboard around the sink compare favourably with the original location, while the fridge is perfectly situated. Several magnets typically adorn the fridge onscreen so I am surprised no sticker was provided here. This appliance looks great though and I love the shiny cooker, integrating several metallic silver 1×2 and 1×3 tiles!
The dining table is reasonably simple, although the surrounding chairs are each unique which matches their most common depiction onscreen. The different colours and designs look lovely, although the central table is offset slightly which appears awkward from certain angles. I would have preferred a simpler arrangement, especially because that could occupy less space.
However, the wooden beam which crosses Monica’s apartment looks perfect and the elegant table, where a flower is displayed, also corresponds with the television series. Moreover, both the bathroom door and light fixture are suitably positioned, immediately beside the mysterious sand green door which is never opened between season one and season eight.
Fortunately, the enigmatic door can be opened here, revealing Monica’s chaotic closet where various unwanted items are found. These include two boxes, a stool and an aqua head which presumably represents a lampshade. The onscreen closet seems substantially more cluttered but providing relatively few items was sufficient for this model, in my opinion.
Other than its lurid walls, the most recognisable feature of Monica and Rachel’s apartment is probably the dramatic window. This is connected at an angle so matches the series and I like these bright light yellow curtains, complementing those in the kitchen. Two accurate theatrical masks also decorate this wall, although the area around the desk could potentially have been enlarged.
The balcony seems equally restrictive, lacking space for the patio furniture which is commonly present. Furthermore, I dislike the white panel that remains exposed here, especially since the medium nougat brickwork on the balcony looks great. However, my favourite detail is definitely the wrought iron fire escape, which makes ingenious use of black sausage elements to ensure absolute realism.
Two references are present here, including the cat which attacks Ross as he prepares to invite Rachel on a date during season one. The fragile poking device is provided too, comprising four connected telescope pieces and originating from ‘The One with the Giant Poking Device’ during season three. Such simple additions materially enhance the entire set.
Lavender doors to Monica and Rachel’s respective bedrooms are included, flanking the black television. This displays the American football game from ‘The One with the Rumour’ and may prove useful elsewhere, since American football is rarely acknowledged in LEGO sets. The dark orange and reddish brown cabinet beneath looks even better though, featuring fantastic texture and complementary colours.
An enormous French advertisement occupies the space behind Monica’s television onscreen. Corresponding with the poster in Chandler and Joey’s apartment, the design has been altered and now makes reference to LEGO. The company’s Danish motto, translated as ‘only the best is good enough’ is therefore shown above a rocking horse, which remains intact from the original poster.
Monica and Rachel’s apartment contains another textured rug, matching those in the boys’ residence and Central Perk. This example is more elaborately decorated than others, again featuringbut also integrating various bright light yellow, sand green and pink plates. The coffee table, chairs and dark green ottoman each reflect the television series too.
The white couch would accommodate three minifigures, although patterned cushions occupy either end. These printed 2×2 tiles were created forThe Illager Raid and they definitely remain recognisable as Minecraft pieces. Nevertheless, these colourful cushions appear quite suitable for this environment, given Monica’s notoriously eclectic taste in furnishings.
However, even Monica dislikes Phoebe’s disturbing artwork, which becomes known as Gladys. This three-dimensional depiction of a woman is immediately recognisable here and features an exclusive smiling head with lifeless, grey eyes. The black hair piece is also unique in this colour and elevated using a 1×1 round plate, recreating Gladys’ invariably displaced wig.
Phoebe’s handmade dollhouse is included as well, complete with the flames which eventually overwhelm the whole structure! The colourful combination of magenta and medium azure 1×2 panels creates perfect rooms, achieving impressive accuracy when compared with the source material. Monica’s competing dollhouse from ‘The One with the Dollhouse, is not provided.
While the interior looks magnificent, the exterior features a strange collection of colours and is certainly not intended for display. This seems appropriate given the comparable chaos of most filming studios, where anything not visible to the cameras would be unfinished. Even so, I think these colours should perhaps have been improved, since they are not completely hidden when displaying the apartments.
The studio environment is further reflected by the conspicuous presence of articulated lights, attached using ball joints. These vaguely correspond withCentral Perk, although their design has been updated since 2019 and now consists almost entirely of black pieces. While both lights look realistic, they can easily be removed if you prefer the apartments without any acknowledgement of the sitcom setting.
Central Perk achieved exceptional success during 2019 and considerable demand for these beloved apartments followed afterwards. The Friends Apartments preserves the standards established by the previous Ideas model, sharing consistent features and ensuring that they look excellent when displayed together, as demonstrated below.
However, comparing these locations withCentral Perk also betrays their most apparent flaw, since neither apartment offers the visual variety of Central Perk. Wonderful detail remains but the irregular shape and diverse colour scheme elevates the coffee shop above both homes, from my perspective, even though these apartments are arguably better known.
The value remains impressive though, matching its predecessor, since the set comprises 2048 pieces and costs £134.99 or $149.99. Several appealing minifigures are also included, evoking famous moments from throughout the television series. As expected, Friends fans should enjoyThe Friends Apartments, albeit perhaps less than the brilliant Central Perk.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.