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  • LEGO REVIEW: LEGO Ideas Wall-E #21303


    thoroakenfelder

    LEGO Ideas sets are projects that were submitted by fans and voted on by other fans. If a project got 10,000 supporters, the LEGO Group brought it under review. In the review process, they decided if the project fit their standards, if there was a reasonable chance that the supporters would actually purchase it, and if the build itself was feasible. They make certain changes to the set to make it fit more appropriately within their standards and release only a small portion of those that hit the 10,000 supporter goal.

     Disney/Pixar's Wall-E is a unique set, in that the designer of the set actually helped to create the movie that this set is based on. The flowthrough gives this a degree of verisimilitude that does not exist in any other set. Plus, the guy had to love Wall-E immensely if he put that much additional effort into the character after being done with the film.

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    The story of LEGO Ideas set 21303 does not end with being chosen for release. It was plagued with design problems. It was recalled twice to create fixes for various neck issues. As you can see by the multiple seal codes on my sample, this set had a rough go.

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    Here you can see the standard instruction book, and the supplemental instructions for the fix.

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    REVIEW: SET DETAILS
    Set #: 21303
    Name: Disney/Pixar Wall-E
    Theme: LEGO Ideas
    Parts: 677
    Price: $59.99

    Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 59.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.09 each. This is on the low side of pricing for a licensed set. There are a ton of pieces in rare or new color combinations, mostly in the "bright orange" color. I don't know if anyone does a lot of MOCs requiring bright orange, but this is a great set for that color.

    BOX CONTENTS

    Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 10 unnumbered baggies, an instruction book, and a supplemental instruction book. (1 of the baggies contains the pieces to fix the neck issue.)

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    The instruction book is a heavy, thick book made of high grade paper. This is not your standard system instruction book. It also contains information about Wall-E and the designer in 3 different languages. 

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    The box itself is a sturdy box, designed to be reclosed and opened. It's a collector's box.

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    BUILD AND EXECUTION:

    You may recall from my LEGO Ideas Doctor Who Review that I dislike large sets with unnumbered bags. Well, here's my workspace after 20 minutes. Nothing is built, I just separated them by color, which is still a pain to search through.

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    Those orange brackets are rare. I can't think of a use for them in any build I want to do, but if you really need orange brackets, here you are. I was curious about the use of 2 2x2 corner bricks instead of a single 2x3 brick, but I realized it's because they've used  a bunch of the corner bricks throughout the build, and running this color on another machine to get 2x3's would probably cut into the production of some other set.

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    The base of this thing is pretty solid. The slope pieces on back help to create the shape of Wall-E. I was curious about the off-center hinge, but not terribly concerned.

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    I was really struck by the interesting gap between the slopes. You can also see here an error that I made that I didn't realize until almost the last steps. It was a giant pain to fix and wound up tearing apart my Wall-E in order to resolve. That 1x6 tile on the side is supposed to be grey. I am sorry if it bothers you throughout the rest of this build. It's sort of embarrassing that I wasn't paying attention here. However, it's sort of my thing with Ideas sets.

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    I couldn't figure out these things at first. I spent a good 10 minutes just wondering if there was some kind of lifting armature on the back of Wall-E. I just couldn't place it.

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    That sloped gap extends farther. I still like it. It really seems unique to me.

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    Effort was made to add interesting details and remove visible studs. You may remember from my Star Wars First Order Transporter Review how much I dislike dull, simplistic boxlike builds. This set was not dull or simplistic. Sure it's a box, but effort was made to make it more interesting.

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    Here, we get attachment points for the arms and the neck. The arms are going to be ball jointed, and also slide back and forth. That's a lot more motion than I expected at the shoulder.

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    Remember the stuff on the back that I couldn't figure out? Well, they're details that look like hydraulics.

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    Starting to see a lot more SNOT techniques as we come to the end of the main body build.

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    The treads are substantial. Unfortunately, I don't know if I made something too tight or if I just couldn't get any traction, but this wouldn't turn well at all for me when I tried to move Wall-E around.

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    Notice how my mistake is buried back under the treads, oh yeah it was not easy to fix. Also, notice the small object on top made from a 1x2 plate and a lever that represents the cockroach.

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    This is the point in the build where we switch to the supplemental instructions.

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    Tah Dah, neck and head joints built.

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    I honestly had no clue what I was building here. A lot of little techniques were used to create different shapes

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    Parts were twisted on pins and lots of studs on the side pieces were used.

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    It's Wall-E's Eye piece, and half his head.

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    Again, lots of SNOT. I like the use of the car wheel cover here.

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    Make another Eye, and he's really coming together.

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    See, here's where I needed that 1x6 tile. I could have used the Grey one, but I needed the authenticity. I couldn't remember how articulated Wall-E's arms were. I thought there was another joint, but upon further review, there is not.

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    Finally, you add his plant. Too bad it's not in a boot.

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    REACTION:

    I loved this set. I thought it wound up looking fantastic, and my wife loved it too. She wanted to keep it for herself. It gets displayed in our living room because she loved it so much. I appreciate the fact that they fixed the problems. A part of me thinks that if they had spent a little more effort on the neck than on all of the SNOT techniques, they wouldn't have had to recall it twice. I may be in the minority that doesn't care if there's studs showing. This final product is great, looks great and I couldn't come up with the proper words to actually describe it. I think that the pictures say a lot. if they don't sell you on this set, I don't know what paltry words I can come up with that would.

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    Wall-E's sad that you're thinking of not buying him.

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    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    I don't see how this set doesn't go up in value. Sure, it's going to be heavily hoarded, but it's not Exo-Suit. This is a set that Disney fans will want. Imagine all of those kids who started collecting Princess, Cars or Toy Story sets. If they stuck with LEGO, they're going to want a bigger challenge in a few years. He's a great display piece. I know several people that are not LEGO collectors that have already bought this set. The early distribution problems probably made some people skittish. I can say that there's no reason to be worried about the final design. I don't foresee 5X retail, but 3X within 5 years EOL is certainly feasible.

    Buy it here!

    EXTRA PIECES:

    Lots of extra stuff here. A bunch of it is due to the fixes that were implemented.

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    EXTRA PICS

    Here's a few more shots showing how flexible his neck and eyes are.

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    This is one of those rarities where the finished product can come off as a professional grade model accurately matching the source material and less of a LEGO build. I feel it is a prime example at what can be achieved with our favorite building block system. Sure the set was unfortunately plagued with a couple issues however LEGO did acknowledge such problems and address them accordingly going as far as sending out replacement parts to recalling unsold stock for proper treatment. A lesser company would have probably simply ignored the problem and just left the solution to the community.

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    This was my first "for me" purchase since coming out of my Dark Ages. Bought it in the 2nd or 3rd week it was available. Still unbuilt in the closet, with all the various fixes (the droop fix and the neck fix) next to it. Cannot wait until I finally get to build this one, but still working on convincing the lady that I've not gone off my rocker by meddling with LEGO.

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    One of the first Lego sets I bought when I came out of my Lego Dark Ages last year, and the first Lego Ideas set I built for my own collection. 

    I really love this Lego set, for how well the model is designed, how well executed and interesting the build is, how attractive the finished model looks and how universally appealing it is for both Lego fans and Wall-E fans. The sturdy box and quality instruction book really finish off this highly collectable Lego set.

    The future worth of this set after it retires is an absolutely no-brainer for me! 

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