21317 – LEGO® Ideas Steamboat Willie Review

By Barry Kay (SAFOLs Brick Boss, CapeLUG EXCO, Batman … Ssshhhh!)

When I first saw the LEGO® Ideas Steamboat Willie set, I felt that it was a very good depiction of the boat from the original Disney classic short film.

While reading some posts on Facebook regarding the set, I came across one comment saying “I don’t like it because it is Black and White. It should have been made in colour.” To that I replied “If it was in colour it wouldn’t be Steamboat Willie, but just Mickey Mouse on a boat.”

Although the set is not the small, quick and easy to build souvenir that the original fan designer, Máté Szabó, had intended, LEGO® designers John Ho and Crystal Bam Fontan have turned it into a functional work of art.

The Build

The build begins with the internal structure and workings of the boat, with a combination of System and Technic bricks. The internal structure is very well constructed to keep all the parts firmly intact. The setup of the wheel and gears form the basis of the mechanism that rotates the paddles and moves the funnels up and down as it is pushed along. It is quite remarkable to watch the pieces fit into place and the mechanism move as you build. It is also interesting that a black and white build is so colourful on the inside.

Once the interior structure and mechanism are built, we complete the hull of the ship and move onto the black and white deck and cabin. After building and mounting the funnels, they are able to move up and down, but not side to side. The remainder of the vessel comes together quickly and easily.

Some really nice details have been added to finish off the build.

  1. Monochrome Friends Bird on a Utensil Telescope to portray a Parrot on its’ perch.
  2. Printed 2×2 brick with Potato Bin printed on the sides, which can be placed on the deck or attached to the crane.
  3. The crane with a gear mechanism and handle to raise and lower the hook that is attached to a string rope.

The Minifigures

In this set we get monochrome Mickey and Minnie. Mickey has a tall sailor hat and Minnie a small round feminine sailor hat. Both connect to the head with a small pin (like the Friends head pieces).

Minnie comes with a white acoustic guitar and 2×2 printed tile music sheet for the tune “Turkey in the straw”.

One may ask, what is special about these minfigures when we are also getting them in the new Disney Collectable Minifigures Series 2?

Well, apart from the guitar and printed music sheet tile, these minifigures both have silver printed feet. Mickey has silver printed pants and Minnie a silver printed skirt. Both hats also have some sliver printing.

The Series 2 CMFs will only have plain white printing where these have the silver.


I feel the price is a bit high compared to some other Ideas sets, but it is a fun build and interesting to get the moving parts working. If you are a Disney fan then you will love it, as that is what it is; True Iconic Disney.