LEGO House launches new exclusive series
The Wooden Duck
691 parts, 599 DKK (approx. $91.00 USD)
An iconic piece of LEGO® building heritage is now available in Billund, Denmark. Ever since the opening of LEGO House in 2017 creating exclusive products has been important as they add significantly to the experience of visiting LEGO House – the pinnacle LEGO experience.
LEGO House is now introducing a new series called: The LEGO House Limited Editions. The Wooden Duck (40501) is the first in this exclusive range of collectable products celebrating key moments in LEGO history.
The original wooden duck is one of the most iconic features in the LEGO history and you can find the wooden duck replicated in LEGO bricks many places throughout LEGO House – in the Tree of Creativity in World Explorer and even in the Red Zone.
The first three exclusive products were the LEGO House Architecture set, the Tree of Creativity and the LEGO House dinosaurs.
The duck has an extensive history with the LEGO Group. Originally, the LEGO Company made wooden furniture, but by 1932, it had gone to making wooden toys. A wooden duck toy with a opening and closing mouth became one the company’s most popular toys, making them until the 1950s. The new set also does the same action – by pulling the duck, the mouth operates.
The Duck Story
The duck also became legendary with a oft-repeated story presented in an interview from 1982 with Ole Kirk’s son, Godtfred Kirk. He shared the following story about his father’s focus on quality:
Working in his father’s workshop as a boy, Godtfred Kirk is laying the finishing touches on a consignment of wooden LEGO ducks. This means applying coats of varnish, and finally bringing the boxes with the finished toy ducks to the train station for dispatch. Back at the workshop, Godtfred proudly announces to his father that he has done something really clever and saved the company money.
“How did you manage that?” asks Ole Kirk.
“I gave the ducks just two coats of varnish, not three as we usually do,” is Godtfred Kirk’s answer.
Back comes his father’s prompt response:
“You will immediately fetch those ducks back, give them the last coat of varnish, pack them and return them to the station! And you will do it on your own – even if it takes you all night!”
“That taught me a lesson about quality,”
Godtfred Kirk recalls and continues to explain how he then carved out wooden signs with his father’s motto “Only the best is good enough” to hang on the walls of the workshop to remind himself and the rest of the employees never to compromise on the quality of a LEGO product.
Throughout his life, Godtfred Kirk remembers his father’s words and to this day, “Only the best is good enough” – because children deserve the best.
The Duck Set Story
The LEGO house duck set, the Wooden Duck, is a replica of one of the many wooden ducks that were made by the company. LEGO Senior Experience Designer Stuart Harris made the first design sketches of the model inspired by a LEGO duck model that was made as a gift. This particular model was based on another duck toy by the company:
A later iteration of the duck closer matched the classic duck toy:
One design issue that Stuart had was with making a LEGO equivalent. His initial solution used a cam mechanism, but found a better solution using Technic elements to make a crankshaft. Two design sketches were made and presented to the Christiansen family (The LEGO Group’s owners) for final consideration. Out of the two, a model was selected to proceed forward.
At this point the duck was passed to Jme Wheeler, a LEGO set designer that was borrowed from the Ninjago design team to prepare the model to production. It took four months to complete the design.
Changes were subtle and done to make the model more stable. The wheels were moved back and the overall model shortened very slightly in the final model. The crankshaft was reevaluated at the point and remodeled to a more robust action that could be easier built.
The final model is a tribute to one of LEGO’s most famous icons. But the duck isn’t just in a set…
The Duck in LEGO House, or Hidden Duckies, or Ducks Amuck!
It turns out that the duck is in the History Collection of LEGO House as a display piece, but also hiding in plain sight. Stuart Harris not only made a duck for a set, he also set a duck in the Tree of Creativity!
Stuart built this as a “duck-print” much like a hidden Mickey at the Disney theme parks. This idea was something that was in LEGO House since the building was designed, so ducks can be found around other parts of LEGO House:
The Wooden Duck set is an exclusive only available at LEGO House. You can find information about visiting the LEGO House at its webpage.
You can find out more about Stuart Harris and his work at LEGO House at these interviews:
Scholastic Science Spin (children magazine) interview)https://sciencespin36.scholastic.com/issues/2018-19/110118/lego-master.html
Japan Brick Fest Magazine interview