(Written by William)
Over the last few months, LEGO has been releasing quite a few sets to celebrate Disney’s 100th Anniversary. So far, every set that has celebrated the anniversary has been pretty interesting to build. The upcoming #43230 LEGO Disney Walt Disney Tribute Camera is no exception. The question is would the model as well as the included minifigures warrant the $99.99 USD MSRP? Well, we got our hands on a review copy, so let’s take a look.
LEGO WALT DISNEY TRIBUTE CAMERA – CHARACTERS
A big driving force why many Disney fans will want to pick up this set is the new characters. Mickey and Minnie are going to be popular of course, even though we have gotten black and white versions of the characters in the previously released #21317 LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie set and in the Disney Collectible Minifigures series. I prefer Minnie’s hard plastic skirt used here instead of the cloth version that she wears in some other sets (in my experience, the cloth skirt never seems to lay quite right).
Next up is Walt Disney himself. This is a version of the man in his early days. He has his iconic mustache and two grinning expressions on his face. His accessories include a pen as well as a 2×2 tile featuring an early sketch of Mickey Mouse. This might not be the most exciting minifigure to many, however, I can’t imagine he’ll appear in many other sets apart from this one. I think the potential rarity of this minifigure might intrigue a collector or two. Design-wise, he’s pretty nondescript with a dark gray suit, black tie, and white undershirt. Frankly, I just find it neat that he’s included, but I won’t claim the minifigure is all that memorable.
Then we get the true stars of this set. Bambi and Dumbo are both fully printed. Dumbo even has his collar and cap molded into the figure. Bambi does take up some considerable space with his legs all akimbo, which gives him a rather unique appearance. Sadly, both characters are solid pieces. They have no articulating elements. Bambi takes up a 2×3 stud space, while Dumbo sits on a 2×2 footing. Of course, parts of Dumbo do hang over and, in the end, he’ll most likely need a 4×4 space if you need to put him in an enclosure.
LEGO WALT DISNEY TRIBUTE CAMERA – FEATURES
Given the fact that the camera is a display model, LEGO designers have gone out of their way to cram in as many interesting little details as possible. For starters, the stand that the minifigures are placed on is designed to be a clapperboard. LEGO designers even made it a functional clapper. There is some smart use of triangle tiles to recreate the white and black angled lines at the top of the board.
Behind the characters is a version of Disney’s multiplane camera, which allowed the studio to break up a project into multiple layers. This gave animators the ability to easily play with depth as well as accomplish more sophisticated techniques. Inside the camera are three doorframes each with a printed window. The bottommost layer is the background shot and it shows off the sky and the moon. The middle layer features a mill. Finally, the top layer has a road and other foreground elements. Put together, all of these represent one of Walt’s earliest projects called The Old Mill.
Next, we look at the large camera. Despite the various elements that look adjustable on the tripod, all of those are purely decorative. The tripod is only functional to the extent that it holds something up and stands on three legs. It has no ability to be adjusted in any way.
This doesn’t mean the camera is devoid of functionality. At the front of the model, you have a sliding matte box, which can restrict exactly what the camera can see. Additionally, you have three lenses on the camera that are mounted on a turntable. This allows you to choose which lens the camera is using at any point.
Then you have one of the coolest play-features I’ve seen in a while. The crank on the side of the camera can only turn one way. The reason for this is that there is a gear inside that has a piece loosely resting on it. But it is not that functionality that is interesting. Rather, there is a hollow cavity inside the camera. Combine this with the sound the gear and the loose piece make, and it sounds like a working camera. It’s rare to have LEGO build something for its acoustics. The last time I saw anything like this was in the #71374 LEGO Super Mario Nintendo Entertainment System model with the TV dials making a clicking sound. So, it is really novel to have them engage more of our senses in their designs.
Now, let’s move onto the side opposite the crank and check out the viewfinder. I should state upfront, you can’t look through the viewfinder. It is a solid piece. However, it can be rotated and tilted a bit due to its connection. That’s not really meant to be a feature of the camera, but rather a way for it to be moved out of the way to open up the secret compartment inside the camera. Recall that I mentioned there was a hollow interior? Well, this is a little cubby where you can place Walt at a drawing desk to work on his various films.
Speaking of film, it is worth noting that the film you see that wraps itself around the model is stationary. It is a flexible plastic that connects to a number of ball-joints on the model. That does mean the two reels you see at the top that make up the 100 sign do not rotate.
LEGO WALT DISNEY TRIBUTE CAMERA – NOTABLE PARTS
When building a new model, I’m always stoked to find new elements to play with. As with most sets designed for adults, we have only printed elements in the model. This includes the sketch Walt holds, the printed scenes on the windows for the multi-plain camera, and the scenes featured on the filmstrip. The nice thing about the filmstrip is that each scene is shown at the beginning of the instructions. They are LEGO versions of some iconic Disney movies, and the instructions feature each scene with the movie it came from and the year it was released (just in case you don’t recognize some of them).
I was also impressed with the number of curved tiles this set has. You get everything from a 1×1 quarter round to a 4×4 macaroni curved tile. But the tile that I thought was extremely interesting was at the top of the number 1. It is a piece that takes up a 2×2 space, however, two of the corners that are opposite one another look like they are missing each a quarter round. In this model, it sits right above a quarter round, so I knew it was missing exactly that much from a full 2×2 square.
The other part I thought was worth mentioning was a new LEGO Technic half-pin. At least it is new to me. I do admit, I’m not the most well-versed when it comes to LEGO Technic parts, but I think I’ve built enough that this would have come up. Instead of a stud at the end of the half pin, you get the underside of a 1×1 round tile. This means you can take it and just stick it on a stud. This makes a fantastic transitional piece for those who are using both LEGO Technic and LEGO System parts in their creations. I know LEGO Technic designers like to stick with very few colors for their connectors, so look for a new green pin!
LEGO WALT DISNEY TRIBUTE CAMERA – FINAL THOUGHTS
Previously, I built the #43179 LEGO Disney Mickey and Minnie statues. Although that model was also targeting adult LEGO fans, it didn’t include any difficult building techniques. However, the Tribute Camera is not like that. The top part of the tripod, in particular, featured a lot more LEGO Technic connections and sometimes not the best visuals in the instructions. I can see less experienced builders getting a tad frustrated with the model. Additionally, the tripod is not the sturdiest of structures. I nearly broke the model when placing the 100 sign at the top. So, expect to have points that might spike the difficulty of building.
On the other hand, the pieces are separated into six sets of numbered bags. So, LEGO designers did a decent job breaking down the model to make it a little more accessible for novice builders.
Another key point is that, despite some play-features, this model clearly fits in the display category. So don’t expect to do too much with it after it’s built.
Overall, I do think the price is a tad high. However, I do know that the larger elements like the big round plates that make up the reel add costs, as does all the printing. Plus, you get unique molds with Bambi and Dumbo. On top of this, I keep forgetting that LEGO did raise prices across the board, especially for adult-oriented sets. So, I understand the price, but I can’t immediately recommend the set. In the video below, I will show you the set in more detail.
The long and short of it is that this is purely a collector’s item. I am a collector and I absolutely love Dumbo, so I would have picked it up. However, this set does feel more niche than other models. The real question is, is this the art piece you want for your home? Sure, it has some interactive elements, but it definitely is more art than anything else. I believe many will just buy Bambi and Dumbo on the secondary market, but I can’t imagine they would be cheap. If you do want to check it out, it will be available starting on September 1st at the LEGO Disney section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like this unique tribute to Disney’s 100th anniversary? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!
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