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6411-1: Sand Dollar Café
Published 10 months ago
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The inventory is 100% accurate. All the decals are missing, and I had to use a different print on the windsurfer's sail, too.

=MISSING DECALS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/x66px9/sail-windsurfer-6-x-12-triangle-with-palm-tree-print/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3811p03/baseplate-32-x-32-with-beach-print/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3010apr008/brick-1-x-4-with-caf%C3%A9-print/
4. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3068bpr0068/tile-2-x-2-with-coast-guard-shield-and-stripes-print/
5. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3068bpr0087/tile-2-x-2-with-ice-cream-cone-print/
6. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3626bp07/minifig-head-freckle-nose-and-standard-grin-print/

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This set no. 6411 'Sand Dollar Café,' alternatively known as 'Club Paradisa' on the British market, came out in 1992 as part of a newly-launched "Paradisa" theme.

The theme lasted till 1997, with a couple of new sets each season— 16-18 came out in total. "Paradisa" was, essentially, Lego's first notable product line explicitly marketed at girls since the LEGO System's introduction, and had unprecedented women presence by Classic Town standards.

Lego designers created three new faces, adding thicker eyelashes and more detailed red lips, as well as freckles—some of the first non-male facial variations since the female head was introduced in '89 "Pirates." A typical "ponytail" hairpiece made its debut in the "Paradisa" theme, too. Of course, there were plenty of new outfits: pink strapless and strapped tops, lace collars, necklaces, etc. Paradisa also introduced new rare colors: pink, dark pink, and lime green.

Besides the softer, pastel colors and extra female characters, at its core, "Paradisa" was still a regular LEGO System theme, with tons of unisex scenarios: beach resorts, horseback riding, windsurfing, cafes, country clubs, etc. This, I suppose, sealed the theme's fate, as Lego dubbed it "not girlish enough," and all subsequent series were practically irrelevant for most boys and male AFOLs.

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=ABOUT 'SAND DOLLAR CAFÉ / CLUB PARADISA'=

Clocking at 163 parts, the 'Sand Dollar Café' was the smallest of three largescale "Paradisa" sets that came with 32x32 baseplates that year. The plate has an exclusive print, with wave-like patterns in various shades of blue, light yellow, and pastel green—to look like a sandy beach shoreline.

The cafe's elegant building features a bowed panoramic glass wall—another common "Paradisa" design feature. A detailed kitchen's interior includes two bar taps, a stove with a frying pan, and a coffee machine.

The rest of the elements are all, basically, free-standing, which makes the 'Sand Dollar Cafe' almost a vast accessories pack: a tiny lifeguard tower, an icecream cart, a windsurfer, a red bicycle, some beach furniture like a table under the umbrella or a lounger. Some missing decorations, like "Ice Cream Cone" flat tile and the 1x4 brick with a "Cafe" sign, were exclusive to either "Paradisa" or this particular set.

Next to the lifeguard's raised post, there's a 2x2 flat tile sign with a Coast Guard logo. Very curious cameo, as "Coast Guard" hadn't become a dedicated subtheme until decades later, so during the Classic Town era, it kind of migrated between various Lego themes.

This particular 2x2 tile is quite rare, as a matter of fact, and beside the 'Sand Dollar Cafe,' only ever appeared in two sets: decorating the Coast Guard's first proper headquarters, set no. 6387 'Coastal Rescue Base' in 1989, and '96 mini-set no. 6518 'Baja Buggy.'

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=BRIEF HISTORY OF "GIRLS-ONLY" THEMES=

On its ambitious quest to create the ultimate "toy for five-to-twelve-year-old girls," Lego went through five major product lines in four decades. An ongoing "Friends" theme, which debuted in 2012, is one of Lego's most successful series today.

----[1992-'97]=1st GENERATION: Paradisa=------------

The only female-oriented theme that used 100% standard Lego parts and ordinary minifigures.

----[1994-2008]=2nd GENERATION: Belville=----------

At this point, Lego managers must've realized that minifigs, even with more lady-like features and attire, are simply not that appealing for young girls. Thus, they replaced classic minifigs with brand-new, custom characters. The "Belville" sets still mostly utilized standard Lego parts, though.

Belville Figures were basically on the same alternative "macro"-scale as DUPLO and Technic Figures: much taller, with awkward-looking, exposed elbow joints.

The collection stood out with an unusually broad lineup, up to 20-30 new items each season—many contained just one Belville Figure with accessories or various non-playable merchandise: plush toys, textile, etc.

----[1998-2001]=3rd GENERATION: Scala, the Barbie Killer=------

"Scala" was Lego's attempt to enter a fashion dolls market, which had been dominated for many decades by Mattel, Inc.—inventors of legendary "Barbies," the most profitable dolls in history.

(Technically speaking, Lego already used the same brand in the late 1970s, even before "Paradisa," when they briefly marketed a few life-size bracelets and jewelry accessories made of Lego parts in '79-80).

Newly designed Scala Figures were a blatant Barbie rip-off—I'm talking not even replicas, a borderline patent-infringing resemblance! To be fair, they also looked precisely like Hasbro's first-gen '86-88 "Jem Dolls." Or any other Barbie clone on the market.

Most "Scala" sets came as just an individual doll with accessories and textile clothing, just like Barbies. Out of twelve or so Scala Figures, there was only one man, plus a male toddler. Lego designers also created an entire collection of new accessories, pet animals, household items to fit Scala proportions.

For the first two years, Lego even used custom, flower-shaped connectors instead of proper "studs," so Scala bricks couldn't even snap to a majority of standard Lego parts. By 1999, ordinary studs returned—but then again, "Scala" never had that many constructible elements in the first place.

(Ironically, some of the custom Scala molds, particularly kitchenware and lampshades, eventually crept back into the LEGO System universe, typically in a completely different context—as radar antennas, headlights, etc.)

----[2003-'06]--=4th GENERATION: Clikits=------

The "Clikits" was another Lego's side-project and a genuinely odd-ball theme, drifting even further from the familiar LEGO System world. Essentially, "Clikits" was an accessory line of bracelets, necklaces, hairpins, picture frames, and other similar "girls" stuff made of Lego parts.

No playable figures came in this series, just three penchant-like dolls; the rest of the characters were illustrations. In a sense, "Clikits" just revamped and renewed the initial "Scala" concept: https://brickset.com/sets/filter-Released/year-1979?query=Scala

----[2012-Present]--=5th GENERATION: Friends=------

In late 2011, Lego announced the latest girls' theme to date—"Friends." In a way, it was a jump straight back to square one—or rather "square two," and returning on Belville's path: using classic LEGO System bricks with yet another minifig alternative.

Mini-dolls developed for the series became the key to "Friends" success, in my opinion. Lego designers finally managed to incorporate more feminine, doll-like shapes in a standard Lego minifig's mechanics. Just a few mm's taller than a classic System figurine, "mini-dolls" include four similar parts: legs, torso, head, and a hairpiece/headwear. They have a bit less freedom of movement, though: both legs are a solid piece, while arms only swing up and down, without rotating wrists.

But the essential mini-dolls' feature is a full cross-compatibility: a standard stud on the head's crown and matching U-shaped hands. Thus, the array of new "Friends" molds and accessories are all legal LEGO System parts. So far, Lego designers have constructed over 25 brand-new molds: kitchen utensils, china, pens, hairstyling tools, several new flowers, redesigned horses, additional poses for cats and dogs, rabbits, birds, dolphins, butterflies, hedgehogs, squirrels, etc.

Judging by earlier themes' longevity, at least "Belville" must've been pretty profitable for the Lego Group, with 80+ sets released in almost 15 years. But "Friends" certainly blew all of its predecessors out of the water—as a result of just debut season's sales, it became Lego's fourth most popular theme in 2012: behind "City," "Star Wars," and "Ninjago." Since then, a whopping 500+ items came out.

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=SEE ALSO=

6419: Rolling Acres Ranch ('92)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/eDa5gA5Yjzg

6418: Paradisa Country Club ('96)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/0DvYGYqQ29e

6489: Seaside Holiday Cottage ('97)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/pyj6BAl9jRq

---------------

1720: Cactus Canyon Value Pack ('94)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Dp2lMpOnjMV

6334: Wave Jump Racers ('96)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/1k2qKYo7vE0

4644: Marina (2011)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Dp2loP8AaMV
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