BrickJournal Review: 40501 The Wooden Duck (LEGO House Exclusive)

This year LEGO House began a series of sets that would be reflective of the history of the LEGO Group. Previously, sets were exclusive to LEGO House and released every year, but this is the first acknowledgment on the box of being limited. As such, this set already has already earned its place on many a LEGO fan’s wish list. The big question is, at a price of 599 DKK (approx. $91.00 USD), is it worth it? LEGO House sent a set for review. But first…

Some History

This set is a commemorative set dedicated to the wooden ducks that were made by the company before the LEGO brick and plastic were made. Different versions of the wood duck were made, and it became one of the company’s iconic products.

This set is not the first LEGO duck set either – there was one made as an employee gift for Christmas 2011. Where that set had 91 pieces, this one is a bit bigger, with 691 parts. With more parts, there’s quite a bit to see.

What You Get

The box is a different design from other sets and opens like an IDEAS set.

When the box is opened, there are 6 numbered bags, 1 large part bag, and the instruction book. Everything is snug in the box, so it feels heavy.

The book is magazine size, and is nicely designed.

What I didn’t show is the beginning of the book, which talks about the duck’s history with the LEGO Group. It’s a quick read and if you’re new to building, it’s new information. If you’re an AFOL, you’ve probably read it before in one publication or another.

The part bags are broken into 6 sections:

  • the duck’s base
  • the rear body
  • the chest
  • the head and mechanism
  • the wings
  • the display base

The unnumbered bag has large plates, a Technic beam and string taped in a loop. Usually, the string is in a small box, but not here. Outside of that aberration, the bags are what you would expect – a large bag for the majority of parts and a small bag for the smaller parts.

Building

Building is pretty easy to do – there isn’t anything terribly complicated in terms of construction. The only problem in the instructions are that the set includes black, dark, blue, and dark green parts. These parts print dark, and as a result, are not as easy to distinguish as you would think. Parts in a step are outlined in yellow on the dark blue, but the black parts all have white edges, but no yellow outline for each step. That’s a small inconsistency.

So here’s what you get at the end of Bag 1:

Bag 2 is a bit more colorful:

Bag 3 adds to the body and makes the channel for the neck beam coming in.

Bag 4 adds the head and neck beam and also attaches the duck to its base.

Bag 5 adds the wings by sideways attaching then to the body.

Bag 6 adds the string, the wheels, and the display base.

The completed model is a nice plastic rendition of a wooden toy. It’s unusual in that the duck body without wings is three studs wide. LEGO system sets use bricks and even numbers for measurement. while Technic builders are almost exclusively an odd-numbered bunch in terms of part measurements.

The mechanism is really clever in that the wheel axles are not attached to the neck beam. The neck beam doesn’t directly connect with top of the head, it just bumps it up. There is only one moving part : the hinge in the head. The head is heavy enough to return back to the bottom beak without any problems.

The duck is designed to have its beak open and close while the wheels roll. However, the wheels are made of plastic, which makes them slip on smooth surfaces.

So…

should you get this set? If you are going to LEGO House and want a really cool souvenir, this fits the criteria. If you want a replica wooden duck, this isn’t bad at all. It’s a little steep in price though.

The good:

  • Neat build
  • Fun function
  • Nice Color Assortment

The bad:

  • Color variances in the dark red and dark green parts.
  • Relatively high price
  • Wheels slip on smooth surface

The ugly:

  • Me! I need a haircut!

The Wooden Duck is now available only at LEGO House in Billund Denmark. For information on visiting there, you can go to their website. 

Many thanks to LEGO House for sending a review set.

And for the last word….

it fits in the box barely. The wheel pins stick out.

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