40501 The Wooden Duck Review

Theme: LEGO House Limited Editions
No: 40501
Release Year: 2020
Cost: 599 DKK
Pieces: 621 pieces

A couple of weeks ago we saw the announcement for 40501 The Wooden Duck – the first in a new series from LEGO House called The LEGO House Limited Editions. This series will be celebrating key moment in LEGO’s history, in the form of LEGO sets. They’d be very limited, only being sold at LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, not even online at LEGO.com. It will set you back around 599 DKK, which translates to around AU $130.

Designed by Stuart Harris, the Senior Experience Designer at LEGO House and Jme Wheeler (his first official set), this was bound to be exciting. LEGO were kind enough to send me a copy to review, and I was thrilled at the chance to be able to build it!

The Wooden Duck is crucial in LEGO’s history. It tells the story of Godtfred Kirk Kristiansen’s attempt in the early 1930s to save his father’s manufacturing costs by reducing a layer of lacquer on the duck, only to have to do them again. This would then be the motto for the company – “Only the best is good enough”.

The lift-the-flap style box outlines that it’s a limited edition, although it’s a mystery as to how many sets are planned, how long they’ll be available for, and when and what the next one will be. There’s also a LEGO logo from 1953, and some information on the back about the story, Ole Kirk Kristiansen working away, and the set with one of the original ducks.

Inside the box are six numbered bags, one un-numbered bag of larger parts, and the instruction booklet. The first pages give some history of the company we all know and love, and where the different ducks are on display throughout LEGO House.

The build starts off at the base, where it’s all dark blue. The width of the base is unique – 7 studs wide. The axles are built securely into the base itself with a cam mechanism on the axles – something is going to push something else when it moves. It’s not obvious at the start what this will do, but it becomes clearer.

The body of the duck contains a wide assortment of colours – orange, blues, greens, even some vibrant coral all mixed in. There are also a few holes for the wing attachments. The dark red body brings in the sleek curvature of the duck and a gap between the chest and the body, before moving on to the head.

The lower beak stays still and the head and top part rotate back. The eyes are printed on 2×2 round tiles, and it slots nicely into the hole in the front. A white beam is added to connect the cam to the head. As the duck rolls forward, the cam hits the follower which pushes the head up. It’s so elegant!

A couple of lime green Technic L-beams connect to hold the duck’s head in place. It’s now strong enough to pick up by the head.

The final build portions for the duck are the wings – with an abundance of dark green elements and plenty of SNOT, they’re quickly constructed and attached. They clip nicely into place. I did notice a pretty substantial amount of colour variation in both the dark green and dark red. It’s a pity, but adds to the “handmade” aspect. These were originally hand painted so would have had plenty of variations in painting. I’m not overly fussed.

To complete the build four red wheels are attached, as well as a black display stand for the duck to perch on.

All in all it’s a nice set. There’s play with it but not a great deal, and the quacking aspect is clever, but it’s ultimately a nod at the Wooden Duck in LEGO’s story. I’m really keen to see what’s next in the theme. This will prove to be an interesting ride!

BUILD: 18/20

OVERALL: 77/100

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.