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LEGO Flintstones & Steamboat Designer-Videos

Two new LEGO Ideas were released recently; the #21316 LEGO Ideas The Flintstones became available last month, and the #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie was released just a couple of days ago. While the sets are very different, they do have some similarities; both are based on well-known IPs, and both were significantly changed from the original fan submission. Part of the process of turning a LEGO Ideas submission into an official LEGO set is that LEGO’s own designers will clean up the project to meet LEGO’s standards for building techniques, playability, parts-selection, price range, and a host of other considerations.

Since the LEGO Ideas program has been active, we have seen sets that remained very close to the original submission, while others went through significant changes. Whenever major changes are made, there is a risk of alienating fans who supported and voted for the original project. After all, they voted for one thing, and they received something else. In situations like this, it is always helpful to hear from the LEGO designer(s) who worked on a project and hear their reasoning behind the changes.

The designer video for both the #21316 LEGO Ideas The Flintstones set and the #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set was recently posted on LEGO’s YouTube channel, so in case you have been wondering about what went into finalizing these sets, now you can hear from the designers themselves. I have posted both designer-videos below, starting with The Flintstones set, originally submitted by LEGO fan Andrew Clark, and worked on by LEGO senior designer Ricardo Silva, and LEGO graphic designer Crystal Fontan.

As you can see, Ricardo does address many of the concerns raised by LEGO fans in regards to the changes, including the minifig face prints and Dino missing from the set. We may not agree with all the changes, but at least we can see that there are valid reasons behind them. And now let’s take a look at Steamboat Willie. This project was originally submitted by fan designer Máté Szabó as a simple and small memorabilia. Once it was selected to become an official set, it was then taken over by LEGO designer John Ho. Watch the video below to get some behind-the-scenes insights.

As the #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set went through significant changes, it’s very interesting to hear from John why those changes were made. Again, whether we agree with the decisions or not, learning about the design process is always educational. Personally, I really like the changes that were made to this set. I especially appreciate John taking into consideration the preferences of adult LEGO fans, the type of sets they like to build, and the building experiences they like to have. His explanation for the colorful interior, black and white exterior, and the box design were also illuminating. And it was nice to see all the different versions and scales that were considered for this set.

While I don’t like every single LEGO Ideas set, I feel that the current selection is very strong, and an excellent example of what can be achieved in collaboration between LEGO fans and the LEGO company. The #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V is a marvel of engineering. The #21311 LEGO Ideas Voltron has some incredible transforming features and is the largest robot LEGO ever released. The #21313 LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle is a lovely display set. The #21315 LEGO Ideas Pop-Up Book combines the magic of fairy tales, impressive mechanical details, and customization opportunities. And both the #21316 LEGO Ideas The Flintstones set and the #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set bring back nostalgic memories. You can find all of them at the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How did you like the designer videos? Did they give you some interesting insights? Do you agree or disagree with that changes that were done to these projects? Which is your favorite LEGO Ideas set so far? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • SPMom April 5, 2019, 1:02 PM

    I like the Flintstones set, but I so wish the faces were different. It’s really a shame. The figures have to look right for something based on iconic shows or films. They did great with Mickey and Minnie, why couldn’t they do that with the Flintstones? The faces in the original project were perfect.

    • Sascha Whitcomb XXXVI April 5, 2019, 3:56 PM

      This has been a hotly contested issue among the builders in my circle, but as I have pointed out to my friends, it is very possible that it very likely is only a matter of time before one of the many 3rd party companies see the demand for the original designer’s vision, and make them available.
      Over the years, I have purchased many mini figs, printed tiles and accessories that were made using 100% authentic LEGO parts and printed to the same high standard of quality as though they were made by LEGO themselves.
      In fact, I’ve even seen independent videos of actual LEGO QC workers presented with a handful of 1/2 real LEGO made parts and 1/2 recreations of official LEGO designs printed on official parts attempting to sort out the originals in the group. Seeing them struggle with the task was enough to get my attention, but when the very people who do this for a living couldn’t separate the real from the “fakes” even ONCE? It was enough for me to order some and get a good look up close.
      I won’t name any names of these companies, even though they are doing nothing illegal and it seems they have LEGO’s blessing, but they are very easily found. Some even will custom print submitted images on your choice of real parts.
      I’m less bothered by the change in design, but I do prefer the original look the designer had. If someone provides these for sale, I would gladly purchase a set of my own, and let my friends know where I got them
      …but I might take a few days to gloat about it before telling them 😈
      I’d guess chances are good that someone will respond to the outcry and be kind enough to take our money.

      • admin April 5, 2019, 5:05 PM

        Good points. And yes, customizers now easily match or even surpass the quality of LEGO’s printing. As far as getting The Flintstones done properly, I think minifigs.me would be the best option. They specialize in custom printing minifigs on demand, and their prices are very reasonable Other customizers often have their own designs, and while they are usually open to custom orders, they usually charge a pretty steep design fee.

  • Håkan April 5, 2019, 1:17 PM

    It seems as if the Mickey and Minnie figures already had been produced for the CMF series, so no significant changes were necessary.

  • DavidH April 5, 2019, 1:18 PM

    I liked Steamboat Willie already, but the designer made me appreciate it even more. Some people call it money grabbing from Disney, but I think the changes done to the set were for the better.

  • TomTom April 5, 2019, 1:23 PM

    I might pick up Steamboat Willie. It’s better than I expected. Like David said, I like the reasoning of the designer. And it is clear that he tried different designs and scales.

  • Legostuff14 April 5, 2019, 5:55 PM

    It’s too bad that the lego designer that created the set for The Flintstones ran out of time to make Dino, however, if the set seems incomplete then why put it out there? It’s kinda like handing in a home work assignment to a teacher that’s incomplete and just like the teacher not impressed with the excuse. It also tells the moc designer ( that put in so much into this set) that the effort to make it a set was limited and lego wouldn’t put the needed time in , to make it as the set that Lego fans had voted for in the first place. Maybe the Lego designer thought they had enough time and was wrong. It’s still an incomplete set. It’s like the student that hands in the incomplete homework assignment and just takes the incomplete grade. Takes it with a grain of salt and moves on. The Steamboat Willie set is awesome .

    • admin April 6, 2019, 4:13 PM

      Those are good points. I don’t know why they had to put an arbitrary deadline on the set. It’s not like there was some anniversary date or something they needed to comply with.

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