Building the Lego Duck

This is a very exclusive set – it’s only available in Billund, so you have to go there or get a friend to pick up a copy. It retails at about £75 for 621 pieces, or about 12p per brick.

What’s in the box? Six numbered bags, plus one containing baseplates & beams, and an 88-page instruction booklet branded ‘Lego House – home of the brick’. The first couple of pages give you some background about the Lego House and retell the famous story about how Gotfred Kirk Kristiansen thought he could save money by giving their wooden duck toys only two coats of varnish instead of three, and how his father, Lego Founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen, made him give the offending batch of toys a third coat before sending them off to the shops. This leads into the motto ‘only the best is good enough’. Was old Ole Kirk a closet Everton supporter? ‘Nil satis nisi optimum’, after all…

Bag 1 is the base of the duck, an Earth Blue platform 7 studs wide by 24 long. There’s a new(ish) development here – the newly-added bricks at each stage are highlighted on the picture by being outlined with a thin yellow border. This lasts throughout Bag 1.

At step 14, you have to place eight 1×2 inverted sloped under the platform, and the yellow outlines help, but just to make sure you get it, there’s a helpful plan of the underside as well as the regular three-quarters view.

   

At steps 17 and 18 you build the axles, and although they are identical, the two steps are shown separately (none of this ‘x2’ nonsense) and there’s another helpful plan shot to make sure you put the axles in the right position in the platform.

In Bag 2 we start building the duck’s body on a 3×14 footprint. Lego have used a couple of 2×3 bricks in Bright Orange (steps 28 & 31), and so you don’t mix up the colours, where a 3×2 part in Flame Yellowish Orange is needed (steps 37 & 39) this is made up of two 1×2/1×2 corner bricks (6034175) instead.

Much of this part of the build is going to be hidden by the wings assembly, so if you fancy pinching (say) the 3 1×2 bricks in Aqua for another project, fill your boots and replace them with those faded old bricks you thought you’d never find a use for.

Finally the tail is done with a SNOT technique, and you are left wondering why your creation has three long technic pins (6299413) stuck in it. All will be revealed…

Bag 3 is the New Dark Red bag, for the body of the duck. Again, if you feel like repurposing some of the 1×3 Cool Yellow plates, be my guest. As you work through this bag, you’ll notice you are building a vertical hole in the duck’s body, below where the head will go – this is the space for the mechanism that makes the beak open and close.

In Bag 4, we build the duck’s head and some of that mechanism.

Bag 5 is the Earth Green bag, for building the wings and there’s some satisfying building-in-all-directions here. This is where you realise that those long technic pins in the body were for sticking the wings on. And you have a couple of bright orange coloured gold ingot pieces (6149656) that you appear to be able to liberate with no ill-effects.

Last bag is #6, for the wheels and the stand. There is no escaping a ‘x4’ building instruction, then the wheels and pull-lead are on and the duck’s complete. The opening beak operates by the rotation of the eccentric front axle pushing up the technic beam built from Bag 4. The rest of the bag is a stand for displaying the model (when you’re not playing with it, that is).

Conclusion:
A very enjoyable build, with ingenious SNOT construction and good use of colour during the build, to make it easier to see where to place the next bricks. I’m curious why the yellow outlining of newly-placed parts stopped after Bag 1, and I’m also puzzled why the rear axle is built to the same design as the front one, as only the front axle has to be eccentric to operate the opening beak. Maybe having the axles different would risk builders placing them the wrong way around? Well worth getting one (or three) on your next trip to Billund!

And here’s an easy ‘guess the leftovers’ puzzle…

—oooOooo—