LEGO is really good at creating exclusive products, especially those that are only available at LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. One thing many LEGO fans will know, is that LEGO started with wooden products. One of the most famous wooden toys created by LEGO was the Wooden Duck. This unassuming rolling toy is the inspiration behind many builds in LEGO House, and now it’s able to be in your houses too, provided you can get to Denmark!
LEGO House is introducing a new series called The LEGO House Limited Editions. To kick it off, they’re releasing 40501 The Wooden Duck. The duck is the first in this exclusive range of collectable products celebrating key moments in LEGO history.
This set is only available in LEGO House. Now that LEGO House is back open again from Monday, it will not be available online. It will also be the first of a series, so expect a new set to follow! I wonder what it will be? This is exciting!
The set will be selling for 599 DKK, and available from Monday! That equates to around AU $130.
Let’s (duck) dive in to the story behind the LEGO duck that all started in the 1930s, thanks to this press release from LEGO House.
More than 100 years ago, 24-year-old Master Carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen buys a wood workshop in the tiny town of Billund, Denmark. From the very first toys coming out of Ole Kirk’s workshop, the dedication to quality and functionality is obvious. The design and the carving, sanding, and painting of each piece of toy is done to perfection because Ole Kirk is convinced that children deserve toys of high quality, made of the finest materials, so that they will last for many years of play.
In an interview from 1982, Ole Kirk’s son, Godtfred Kirk, shares 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.
This fantastic product also rolls and will open it’s beak, just like the old one did.
– Between 1932 and 1947, the LEGO® company solely produced wooden toys.
– From 1947 onwards, the LEGO company produced both wooden and plastic toys before switching solely to plastic in 1960.
– The wooden duck went on the drawing board in 1935 and was produced until 1960.
– The duck was designed by LEGO founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen. Through the years, the wooden duck has been produced in various sizes and shapes.
– The most popular duck was the same type as the one in the exclusive LEGO House set: It has a moving beak which opens and closes when the duck is pulled back and forth.
Facts about The Wooden Duck:
– The Wooden Duck recreates an iconic moment from LEGO® history. This display model perfectly captures the handmade style of the original.
– The ready-built, 621-piece model measures over 8” (20cm) high, 7” (22cm) long and 1” (3cm) wide and stands on a base measuring over 5” (13cm) square.
– Base comprises printed tiles with the words ‘ LEGO® House’ and ‘The wooden duck’.
– Ideal for fans of LEGO® building and collectors of toy memorabilia. Suitable for ages 100 and up.
I was lucky enough to be a part of an online press conference on Wednesday night and after a few technical issues, we got to hear about the whole process of creating the duck. It was very informative, especially hearing from Signe Wiese, LEGO’s Corporate Historian. As a Librarian, anything history is very exciting!
I’m also really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy – as a part of the press conference, a duck is being sent out to me! I’ll have it (hopefully) some time next week and will do a full review on it as soon as I can.
We then got to hear a presentation from Stuart Harris and Jme Wheeler, the designers for the set. Stuart created the initial design after looking at some very interesting prototypes, and then Jme tweaked the design to make it ready for release. The whole process took about a year.
It was shown to be very strong – the whole set (which is 7 studs wide) can be picked up by the head, and the wings can be removed to see the internal mechanisms. The wheels are able to apparently withstand 2 – 4 hours of rolling use. That’s pretty impressive!
A few questions were also asked by attendees, so I’ll briefly summarise them:
Why was the Tree of Creativity and Dinosaurs not considered in the new theme?
It takes such a long time to develop sets, they wanted to get some sets out for LEGO House’s opening. After they were done they focused on the new Limited Edition theme.
Does the set feature any new elements, or elements in new colours?
The eye decoration tiles are brand new, a 1×2 plate with Technic hole is new in Flame Yellowish Orange, and the curved 2×2 tiles in red are new.
Why this colour combination?
This colour version is the iconic Duck that links to the original story, seen above. It’s also the colour of the duck visible in the History vault.
The parts inside are a multitude of colours. How were the colours chosen? Did you (Jme) try to use as many interesting or rare ones as possible?
Yes, because it makes it a lot more fun!
This is super exciting. Stay tuned for the review!