With the release of the new Mickey and Friends subtheme, LEGO announced an improved design to their 4+ range, intending to make it more accessible for the younger builders.
Huw sent me three of the sets to review, and I passed them all onto my daughter to build, who has recently turned five, to see how she would get on.
The smallest of the five sets in the line, 10772 Mickey Mouse’s Propeller Plane, contains 59 parts in a compact box. Emptying the parts onto a blanket on the floor (her preferred building method!) my daughter got to work.
There’s only one minifigure in the set, and it’s everybody’s favourite mouse, Mickey Mouse. Of the five sets in the theme, Mickey appears in all but one of them, and each time in a different outfit. This time, both Mickey’s head and torso are unique; he’s sporting a pair of flying googles, and wearing a traditional sheepskin flying jacket, similar to those worn by RAF pilots during WWII.
There’s an impressive amount of detailing on both the front and the back. The jacket zips up to a fur-lined collar, and an insignia showing the iconic Mickey silhouette in front of a pair of wings is attached. There’s the hint of a red scarf beneath the jacket, which continues onto the rear, along with the white fur of the collar.
Starting with this range, LEGO have revamped the design of their instructions for sets aimed at their youngest target market. Gone are the small boxes that detailed the parts required for each step, and multiple steps are no longer shown on a page.
Instead, the left side of a double-page spread shows a pair of illustrated hands holding all parts needed for the step, and the right side shows where to place them on the model, with improved highlighting of the parts that are being added. The outline around the newly positioned parts seems thicker (to my eyes) and changes colour depending on what the most suitable colour for the surrounding may be. In the example below, it’s green.
In talking to my daughter as she built the model, she told me that she much preferred these instructions as the hands were fun, and she could see what she needed to get first very easily. When I’ve watched her build sets before, she’d often not pick up enough pieces because she’d miss the tiny little “2x” next to the part in the box. This is no longer an issue with this new style; they’re more verbose, but they’re a vast improvement for the age group.
Interestingly, the steps are no longer numbered. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind removing those!
Before building the plane, a small maintenance rack and flag are constructed. They’re very basic, with the rack holding a wrench and a bottle. The most interesting bit to me is the new snappily-named DESIGN ELEMENT, 3X4X2/3, NO. 1, which is essentially a 2×2 round tile two plates thick, with a pair of ears, forming the world-famous Mickey Mouse silhouette. There’s one in each of the five sets in the range, and it’ll be interesting to see if it has any use beyond the Disney theme.
The rest of the parts make up Mickey’s propeller plane. The fuselage is predominantly red, with flame yellowish orange wings and blue highlights. It’s a very Disney colour theme.
There’s space behind the engine for Mickey to sit, and a pair of exhausts just behind the propeller. The wheels sit just below the wings, giving the plane a realistic upward tilt when stationary.
The only two printed parts in the set are a pair of 2×2 tiles printed with the same Mickey silhouette insignia that adorned Mickey’s flying jacket. They’re unique to this set, and look fantastic attached to the wings.
With Mickey seated inside, he can just about see through the windscreen, though forward visibility doesn’t look great! He could also do with some form of steering mechanism, even if that was as simple as a standard steering wheel piece. However, the overall appearance of the plane is great, and just the right size for little hands to swoosh around the room.
For a model with less than 60 parts, there’s a fair bit packed into it, and I was surprised at the relatively low price of £8.99 / $9.99 / 9.99€ given the Disney licence.
The new 4+ instructions are a great improvement for younger builders over the previous version, and my daughter was able to build the set in less than 20 minutes or so (with distractions!) completely unaided. The plane is a great hit with both her and her younger brother, who barely let me take the set away for photographing. I suspect it will live on one of their bedroom window sills and get regularly played with.
To me, the best part is the unique Mickey minifigure. This range comes with Mickey in a variety of outfits, but I think this retro-styled flying jacket is my favourite.
For classic Disney fans, what’s not to like? A small, fun, playable set with a unique minifigure of an iconic character.
Thanks to LEGO for providing this set for review. All opinions expressed are my own.