Since long before LEGO® toys were made from plastic, the LEGO Group and Disney have enjoyed a strong partnership. In the last few years, this has seen a number of sets based on classic Disney characters and there are none more so iconic than a certain mouse. In 1928 Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks introduced Mickey and Minnie Mouse in the animated short Steamboat Willie, which was also one of the first cartoons with sound. Since that moment those anthropomorphic mice become icons of the Walt Disney Company. Over 90 years on the Mickey and Minnie are the focus of a new LEGO set which is focused towards adult LEGO fans. Since it was revealed a few weeks ago, the set has certainly divided opinion. In fact, when I first saw them, I wasn’t overly keen on them. When more images were released I warmed to them a little more but does actually building them change my view of the set? There’s only one way to find out…..
If you’re a Disney fan and love their original cartoons, this is the perfect fit! LEGO® ǀ Disney Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Buildable Characters (43179) gives you a chance to focus your mind and use your hands to create a truly display-worthy item.
Fantastic retro details
Based on Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks’ iconic characters, these figures feature Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in dynamic poses, with several buildable accessories including a guitar, vintage camera, tripod and a photo album with photos of their adventures. Mickey stands 14 in. (36cm) high and Minnie stands 13 in. (35cm) high.
- Set Name: Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Buildable Characters
- Set Number: 43179
- Pieces: 1739
- RRP: £169.99/$179.99/179.99€
- Measurements: 36 cm tall, 19 cm wide & 16.5 cm deep
- Availability: LEGO.com, LEGO Stores & Disney Retail Channels
As mentioned above, the Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Buildable Characters are part of the newly introduced LEGO range, which is aimed at older builders. In essence, it’s basically the equivalent of the Creator Expert line but these new sets have a different packaging design, different instructions and an 18+ age suggestion. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the size of the box, but I do love the design of it. The sleek minimal boxart evokes an air of classic Hollywood, with just the set displayed against a black background. As with all these new 18+ sets, the LEGO branded is relegated to the bottom section of the box, just above the greeble strip, which is also a new trait of the adult-focused line. I’m in two minds if I like this new packaging style. It works well for this set but has made others feel a little bland, especially the Haunted House. Within the box, you’ll find various numbered bags, along with a bag of larger pieces, a small sticker sheet and two instruction booklets. A little word on the instruction booklets, whilst I like that the booklet features a little history on the characters, the new back pages do cause a slight issue. Some of the darker elements are almost impossible to see against the black pages. This could be easily fixed by placing the required element’s box on a lighter background to the rest of the page.
Both characters follow a fairly similar style build. So you start with the bases, which are modelled to look like a classic section of cellulose film. The bases are mostly constructed with Technic elements, and the various pin connection points combined with System plates and bricks, which makes them nice and strong. Which they need to be in order to provide a stable base for the characters to stand. Each base has anchor points for the characters to be built upon, which makes them nice and sturdy. The actual characters are built in three stages so they begin at the feet, followed by the body and finally the head. You almost build a chunky skeletal base and then clad it with the body to create both Mickey and Minnie. In order to get Mickey and Minnie standing in a jaunty way, their lower limbs are angled in unique positions both from the base section and at the connection point at the body. They look a little sparse but offer a surprisingly strong connection. It could have been easy to simply whack a couple of ball joints here. Not only would it help to gain the same sort of angled pose, it could allow the characters to be moved around a little, but this would have most definitely caused a weaker connection and a less sturdy construction.
One thing the set does well is element usage. A selection of new parts or recoloured pieces are used in the set, these include larger tube sections. Think the Technic macaroni tubes but much bigger. These form both the legs and arms of Mickey and Minnie. A new opalescence coloured window plate is used for the reel strips on each of the base plates and an element dubbed a ‘top shell’, which is best described as a solid windscreen, is used on Mickey’s shoes and both of the characters face. Minnie’s skirt has a few printed pieces to represent the dotted pattern, this includes a large, solid colour windscreen element. Sticking with elements commonly used on vehicles, a plate element, often used for the roof or bonnet of cars, is featured on the hands of the characters to give them their unique gloved hands. A large printed half dish is used to represent the eye area of the characters and they really finish off the look of the characters. Although not a new element, I like the use of the barrel tub elements for Mickey’s shorts legs. This element started life way back in Fabuland, with many elements from that much-loved theme being mostly repurposed for the Mickey Mouse theme, which is a fun and probably unintentional link.
The most iconic visual cue of Mickey and Minnie is the head. This simple set of three circles is instantly recognisable as the essence of Disney. Translating that iconic, often 2D visual silhouette into a 3D structure has been done rather well. Face-on that well known Hidden Mickey shape is perfectly captured. The only thing I would say here is the ears can look a little odd if not positioned correctly. However, they are fairly manoeuvrable, thanks to the balljoint connection. The head also hides a fun little element, a Classic Space helmet is used as the tip of the noses. Of the two characters, Minnie is the more detailed, due to her skirt, heeled shoes and a tiny hat, but in essence, the base build of both is very similar, which isn’t a bad thing. The internal elements are brightly coloured compared to the outer appearance, not only are these well hidden, but they are also different between the two characters. Minnie’s internal palette is fairly feminine and Mickey’s feels a little more manly, well as much as colours can be.
Finally, once the characters are complete, there are a selection of accessories to create. These include a bunch of flowers, a box guitar, a photo book and a retro camera. The flowers have a simplistic look, which matches the cartoon-style and makes great use of an element introduced in the Unikitty theme, for the flower tops. The guitar may seem blocky, but it’s based on a cigar box guitar design, which was popular during the time Mickey was first animated. Both the flowers and guitar can be fixed to the hands of each character. Separate accessories include a small book, which I’m sure is meant to represent a photo album or scrapbook. This is the only part of the build to feature stickers, which is a shame but they look OK and feature retro artwork of the pair on holiday. To capture those moments, you’ll need a camera. This is a really fun looking build, partly due to the use of a new 2×2 curved corner piece. These give the camera shell a great retro feel, which is continued by the tripod legs and huge flash mount.
I really did think these looked a little iffy when first leaked. But once I saw a few additional images my opinion certainly changed a little. I think the era the character’s appearance is based on adds to their seemingly odd look a little, especially since Mickey has changed greatly over the years. But the style used is a blend of their earlier adventures, with a twist of their modern-day look. Then I got to build them and I was won over, they are much bigger then I expected which makes them a striking display piece. They are also surprisingly sturdy, I’ve built a few sets which offer a unique shape to them and many can be a little fragile. But not these, they can wobble a little when moved but nothing drops off just by looking at them. I love sets with play elements and functions, equally, I like things which can be nicely displayed. Before now sets have often had to cater for both, with this new adult-focused line, sets can be purely created to display. Something I hope will continue to shape future LEGO sets. Sure it’s a little pricey and when you compare it to say the recently released Pirates of Barracuda Bay set, which has more piece and a similar price point, the Mickey and Minnie Mouse Buildable Characters could be considered quite overpriced. However, you can always expect to pay more for a licensed set and to be honest the end result is a unique looking LEGO creation, with a number of new or rare elements. As with other large-scale Disney sets, I’ll expect this to be popular, especially with Disney collectors.
This set was provided to BricksFanz by the LEGO Group for purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are that of BricksFanz and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing the set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.
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