Review of 40501 The Wooden Duck
This is the first set in the ‘The LEGO House Limited Editions’ series. There was a hint from LEGO House in the press conference that another set from this series is well on it’s way to the shelves soon.
The LEGO House opened in 2017 and they have been creating exclusive sets such as the 4000026 Tree of Creativity, 40366 LEGO House Dinosaurs and 21037 Architecture LEGO House.
The retail price of this iconic Wooden Duck set is 599DKK and will be again sold exclusively at The LEGO House in Billund, Denmark when it reopens on the 22nd of June, 2020.
The boxart features an unmissable “40501 The Wooden Duck with a number 1 limited edition” printed on the top right corner of the box. In 1935, The original Wooden Duck was designed by LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen. It was a very successful product and was continued to be produced in multiple variants and colour finishes until 1960 where LEGO decided to switch solely to plastic products.
A glance of the history in the LEGO logo. As you can see, the logo design changed throughout the years since 1934. At the lower right corner of this Wooden Duck box you can see LEGO chose to use the 1953 logo maybe because that is the year that Godtfred Kirk Christiansen created the “system of play” that led to the formation of the modern Lego sets as we know it (from Wikipedia). At the same year, LEGO also changed the name of the product from Automatic Binding Bricks to Lego Mursten, or “Lego Bricks.” As you can see, the current LEGO font didn’t really change much from that earlier 1953 design.
Interestingly the back of the box carries an inverted colour scheme when compared to the front. I love the black and white image of master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen drawing the sketch of the wooden duck around 100 years ago. The other picture features the side by side comparison of the current brick built duck and a version of the original wooden duck that is already 85 years old.
The eye element used in the 1:1 image is actually a new printed 2×2 round tile!
Contents of the box. Here we get 6 numbered bags and 1 bag without any number, which contains large brick and plates, alongside an instruction booklet.
In special adult focused sets, LEGO tends to give us more background information in the instruction booklet instead of going straight to the building instruction. It is included here as well as we get a story of the evolution of LEGO from a carpentry shop to a toy manufacturer and comes with a small forenote introduction to the LEGO House at the left side of the page.
Here you can see the amount of details given to a wooden toy in this sketch of the duck. All the measurements are accurately drawn and placed in a child toy which reminds us that Ole Kirk Christiansen was originally a master carpenter. You can truly appreciate the motto “Only the best is good enough” from the sketch alone. Okay, the History Collection part makes me want to visit The LEGO House.
The parts list. You can actually get these parts quite easily as the printed tiles are the only exclusive parts in this set but they would be easily replaced with normally available eyes and tile if one feels like it. (But the right parts really makes it feel just right..) haha
The build was envisioned and prototyped by Stuart Harris from the LEGO House. Mr. Harris made several colour variants and this particular variant was chosen by the family as the best representation for an official release.
It was then further refined into the final design by new LEGO designer Jme Wheeler (on loan from the Ninjago team)
Bag 1 completes the base of the duck with the front and back axles for the wheels. The broad 1×2 round Technic parts on the front axle are crucial to the mechanism (pushing the beak so that it can open and close while rotating the front wheels).
Bag 2 finishes the hip and tail part of the duck. The colourful-ness of the bricks inside, even those that will be hidden once the build is complete, seems to be done with intent by the designer and makes this build very eye pleasing from start to finish. The Technic pins are ready to connect the feathered wings.
Bag 3 comprise of mainly dark red bricks that cover the anterior part of the torso. I don’t know if it’s an Easter egg but the central portion does look like a mini cassette tape deck (young ones might not seen this before.) At this stage, it looks like a terminator duck as you can see the ‘inorganic’ insides of the duck. Haha.
Bag 4 contains the the magic of the mouth opening. The lower beak of the duck is connected to the long Technic bar but that part is fixed permanently to the neck of the duck. The red pin is connected to the head and the long white liftarm with the green liftarms are actually the moving part which will be pushed by the bottom part connected to the front wheels. In the end, the upper beak and the head will be moved by those liftarms.
First we snap in the end of the lower beak to the dark blue studs with the black Technic bar going down. The white liftarm with a little bit of green liftarm showing will be hanging freely as it needs to move upward to push the upper beak once it’s activated by the rotating liftarms that connect to the front wheel axle.
Then the upper beak along with the head will be connected to the red pin. Although this is a moving part, it is very tightly placed inside the duck and fixed using another lime green pin (will be shown later)
This image shows the mechanism of the mouth opening of the beak. The main force is from the rotating front wheels pushing the white liftarm bar upwards. This will cause the upper beak to be lifted up. After the turn of the wheels finished, the white liftarm will fall down by gravity and the beak closes by falling back to its closed position. Then the process repeats as the duck moves further forward or backward.
A short stop motion build of the duck moving and the beak mechanism.
The dark green feathered wings are now built and will actually snugly fit into the cassette space even if we were to remove the blue technic pins. This demonstrates the accuracy of the size of every LEGO piece produced.
Bag 6 give us the wheels and a stand of the duck if you wish to display it as such. To prevent tangling of the thread during shipping, LEGO taped it nicely inside the bag. I really love this little touch that LEGO did. Here you can see the exclusive printed tile of “The wooden duck” and “LEGO House” words. No stickers in this set, hooray!
The build is quite sturdy as I could really hold on the head and lift the whole build up without damaging the duck. Jme Wheeler has mentioned during the press conference that this design was intentionally done as some kids and kidults will undoubtedly pick the build up by the head at one time or another and they wanted to make it sturdy at that connection.
Overall this set reminded me of the LEGO Star Wars Porg UCS which also features mouth opening mechanism. The Technic part of the build did spice up the entire building process as you might have thought that this set is all brick and plates from the boxart. The playability carries a nostalgic aspect as pulling it brings back childhood memories of the adults as well as creating new ones to the kids that have their hands on this set. This is a perfect set to collect if you visit the LEGO House one day. I’m not sure on the specifics on how “limited” this limited edition will be, but let’s hope that there will be enough stock for everybody that loves LEGO since childhood!
Hope you enjoy my review and stay tuned for more. Thank you!
This review was brought to you by Mr. Beast.
This set was sent to us by The LEGO House. Provision of sets do not influence our review outcome and does not guarantee a positive review.