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LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie press-release

As we discussed last month (see: Latest LEGO Ideas Review Results & More!), one of the recently approved LEGO Ideas projects is Steamboat Willie by Hungarian LEGO fan Máté Szabó (a.k.a. szabomate90). The model celebrates over 90 years of Disney’s Iconic True Original Mickey Mouse with its nostalgic design. Máté beautifully captured the classic animated film in rarely seen grayscale using white, black, and gray pieces only. Once a project is approved by the LEGO Ideas team, it can take several months for LEGO’s own designers to get the original submission ready for production. In the case of Steamboat Willie, however, we didn’t even have to wait a month! Below is the full press-release with pictures and other details. Enjoy! 🙂

All aboard Steamboat Willie to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s birthday! Disney Mickey Mouse fans will love the #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie building toy, marking the 90th anniversary of the most famous cartoon character ever. Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in a 1928 black-and-white animated short film called ‘Steamboat Willie’, which was also the first Disney film to have synchronized sound. This LEGO brick version of the S.S. Willie features steam pipes that move up and down and paddle wheels that rotate when the boat is pushed along. The boat’s bridge has room for a minifigure and play-inspiring nautical details such as the ship’s wheel, life buoy, and buildable bell. On deck there is a working crane to lift the ‘potato bin’ cargo aboard and this unique toy building set comes with new-for-April-2019 Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse minifigures, each with special silver-colored decoration, plus a parrot figure. An ideal LEGO set for kids and adults to recreate scenes from the original Mickey Mouse cartoon or simply build and display this striking monochrome model.

  • Build and display this collectible LEGO set or recreate your favorite scenes from the classic Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon, ‘Steamboat Willie’.
  • This unique toy building set includes 2 new-for-April-2019 minifigures: Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, each with silver-colored decoration, plus Mickey Mouse’s parrot figure.
  • The iconic Steamboat Willie boat features a black-and-white color scheme, hidden wheels, moving steam pipes, rotating paddle wheels, adjustable crane and assorted elements including the ‘S.S. Willie’ boat name sign, ‘1928’ year sign and a ‘potato bin’.
    The boat’s bridge has space for a minifigure, a brick-built bell and assorted elements including the ship’s wheel and life buoy.
  • The 2 steam pipes move up and down and the 2 paddle wheels rotate when the boat is pushed along.
  • Accessory elements include Minnie Mouse’s guitar and music sheet.
  • This LEGO Ideas creative toy building set comes with a booklet with building instructions, fun facts about the historic 1928 animated Disney short film ‘Steamboat Willie’, and information about this awesome retro set’s fan creator and LEGO designers.
  • Steamboat Willie toy boat measures over 5” (15cm) high, 10” (26cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.
  • Includes 751 pieces.
  • Recommended for ages 10+.

The most surprising feature of the finalized #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set is how large it is compared to the original fan-designed model. Máté specifically designed his model to be tiny, easy to build, and playable, with only 156 pieces and one minifigure (Mickey). I suppose, LEGO felt that the popularity of the famous mouse would justify a much larger set, and LEGO fans and Disney fans will happily pay for a more substantial set. Personally, I do prefer the larger model, but this (again) brings into question who is really the designer of the set, how much say the original fan designer has in the decision-making process, and what exactly are LEGO Ideas project supporters are voting for.

Another feature I wanted to point out about the finalized set that is not visible on the pictures, is that the box has some really pretty silver foil accents all around the box. Most prominently behind the yellow Mickey Mouse name at the front and back of the box, the Steamboat Willie name and logo on the sides of the box, in the waves under the ship, and on the side and nob of the LEGO Ideas logo at the front of the box.

Below, I have included the original 1928 black-and-white Steamboat Willie animated short for your reference. You will see the steamboat the LEGO Ideas set is based on, as well as many of the props used in the set, like Minnie’s guitar and music sheet, the bird, and the pumping effect of the steam pipes.

The #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set will be available directly from LEGO starting on April 1st. Prices are as follows: US $89.99 – CA $119.99 – DE €89.99 – UK £79.99 – FR €89.99 – DK 749DKK – AU $129.99 (Euro pricing varies by country). For more pictures and details, as well as to see all the other currently available LEGO sets originally designed by LEGO fans, visit the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set? Do you prefer the original submission or the finalized set? Are you planning to get it when it becomes available? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • brickmaster March 18, 2019, 10:04 AM

    Oh, wow! So much bigger and better than the original! I know they made a lot of changes, but this time it was for the better.

  • Tito March 18, 2019, 10:08 AM

    Looks much better than I expected. Great job from the design team. I bet this will sell like crazy at Disney stores!

    • kingcobra March 18, 2019, 1:36 PM

      Yes, and disney fans won’t bet an eye. Prices like this are normal for them. Ha-ha.

  • waverider March 18, 2019, 10:35 AM

    I’m so glad they kept the black and white color scheme. It looks unique, but can still work as a regular steamboat. And the black and white Mickey and Minnie are great collectibles.

  • TomTom March 18, 2019, 10:46 AM

    I like the set, but I think the price is too high. Around $75 would make more sense. All you are getting is a boat and a couple of minifigs. I know it’s a special anniversary set, but still.

    • LEGOJeff March 18, 2019, 11:02 AM

      That’s Disney tax for you. It’s a shame because it’s a great set. Maybe it will go on sale if nobody buys it at full price. It reminds me of those expensive souvenirs at Disney and Seaworld.

  • hushpuppy March 18, 2019, 11:10 AM

    My only concern is how will all that white hold up over time? White pieces are prone to yellowing. I like the set otherwise. It looks like it could work very well as a standard steamboat.

    • Håkan March 19, 2019, 7:30 PM

      I’m not sure if yellowing would be much of a problem if you avoid sunlight…

      • admin March 20, 2019, 10:48 PM

        Yellowing actually also happens in storage with no light as reported by many LEGO fans. It’s just a color that doesn’t age well.

  • Legostuff14 March 18, 2019, 11:47 AM

    Now that’s an ideas set worth getting ( well maybe, the price is a little too high for me).

  • Hippie-Hudson March 18, 2019, 12:59 PM

    Really nice looking set and packaging and so much better than the original (sorry máté) but what a shame about the greedy price point! I will be wit for sales for sure.

  • sammy March 18, 2019, 2:53 PM

    I’m wondering how Mate feels about the changes. Is there an interview with him about this? Or did he say anything publicly yet? He probably won’t say much as he doesn’t want to sound critical and jeopardize sales (and anger The Mouse), but they did change his project completely. Do they talk to the designers if they like and approve the changes?

    • Will March 18, 2019, 4:20 PM

      Given how much you actually sign away in the LEGO Ideas project, all a designer can expect is that the “Idea” of the project is considered.

      The bonus though is that 1% of a set at this price point will make a lot more money than the original creation.

      Personally I have considered putting up a creation or two on LEGO Ideas, but I’m still weighing the pros and cons of what rights I sign away.

      Still this is a satisfying model and the price point may be a bit high for other LEGO sets, but it falls right in line with other Disney products. As it is, the parts are large so the amount of plastic does indeed price up a set. Although I hadn’t thought about the white pieces and their tendancy to yellow.

    • admin March 20, 2019, 10:43 PM

      There was an interview with him previously, but that was before the project was even approved. I haven’t heard him say anything publicly since the reveal. As you said, even if he doesn’t like the changes, he likely won’t say that openly. And he may like it very much. We just don’t know.

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