Review: 21303 WALL•E

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When we learned that the WALL•E Ideas project had passed review there seemed to be a lot of people adding the set to their wishlist. I was certainly one of them. Despite stock issues I managed to track down one of these sets at my local Toys R Us store and built it over the weekend.

21303 WALL•E

RRP $69.99
677 Pieces ($0.10 per piece)
Temporarily out of stock online. Store stock very limited.

For those interested in the “neck issue” I address it later in the article.

When I cut the tape and opened up the box the first thing I noticed was that the bags aren’t numbered. I personally love the process of tipping everything in to a big pile and sorting the bricks out before getting stuck in to a build. It gives you a chance to appreciate that those little pieces all combine to create something cool.

The only alike parts bagged together are the tread pieces for the wheels.

The second thing that I noticed is that there is no sticker sheet. The few decorated elements are all printed. For a set that seems designed as a display piece I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about getting the stickers perfectly applied.

The build of the body begins out fairly easily. The overall shape of the body is very boxy but the build manages to not be boring or overly repetitive. There are more details on the body than you may initially release from the pictures.

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Rather than just being fixed to the side of the body, the arms are attached to a sliding mechanism. The way they have build the arm slider means that it is easy to move the arms forwards or backwards, but they shouldn’t move when you are handling the model.

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The body has detailing in various ways, such as a clip on panel that adds detail to the rear. Up until that point I had wondered what the grey bit sticking out the back were for. Once it all comes together it looks great.

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The main body is complete by step 68. It’s surprisingly bulky and heavy. On to the wheels!

The wheel construction is very ‘Technic’. It’s not overly complicated but does use some parts and techniques that people may not be familiar with. Connecting the treads is a little tedious – there are 20 pieces that need to be clipped together. The second wheel is essentially the same – just a mirror image.

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Adding the wheels to the sides of the model immediately make it much more impressive.

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Once the wheels are in place the build moves on to the head. When building the centre of the head you can notice where the much talked about spin issue occurs.

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I was quite surprised to discover that the eye assembly is actually quite extensive and fairly complicated. There are lots of SNOT elements and techniques used to produce the shape of each eye. Each eye also uses more parts than I would have thought from pictures.

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The second eye is, like the wheels, a mirrored version of the first. Once both eyes are in place the cuteness increases by about 1000%. I’ve got to give credit to the Disney designers there. The eyes give the character so much personality.

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Once the eyes are in place the final parts are added – the arms. These are fairly simply constructed but still look very accurate. The design of the fingers is absolutely fantastic and very poseable.

The plant is a nice addition, and I appreciate that they added extra parts to make it easier to put in WALL•E’s hand. The plant is an essential part of the film so I’m glad it’s included.

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The final model looks amazing. It’s a fantastic display piece and is a fair bit bigger than I expected.

The Neck Issue

Much has been made of the neck issue that affects this model. To explain in detail I recorded the following video:

The neck certainly spins around under certain circumstances and it does limit the poses that you can place WALL•E in; for example you can’t have him looking upwards at all.

It is disappointing that this excellent set isn’t perfect.

Final Verdict

This set is a fantastic build – not too difficult but just enough complexity to make it interesting. There is nothing that I can fault with the appearance either. The size is impressive too (see the minifigure chef for scale in the following picture).

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The only negative is the neck issue. Does it ruin the set? That’s likely to be a personal preference. While there are various fixes online I don’t feel the need to alter my set to address the issue. I will be putting my WALL•E on a shelf and not really ‘playing’ with it. I am happy with my WALL•E looking forward; which he does fine.

If you are on the fence about this set I still highly recommend it.

Build Gallery

This gallery is fairly extensive, so consider this a spoiler warning.

7 Responses to Review: 21303 WALL•E

  1. Angela says:

    Thanks for the review and especially the video. It’s great to get a clear picture of the ‘issue’ in order to make an informed decision about whether to go ahead and but the set. :)

  2. Mark says:

    Fantastic review and pictures as always Michael! Thank for the video too, its the clearest demonstration of what the actual neck issue is. I was hoping to motorize mine once I get it as BB-8 is looking for a pal. I may have to mod WALL-E to stabilize the joint. It will be interesting to see how Lego have addressed it (if at all) once WALL-E is released into the North American market …the US S@H website still has it listed as ‘coming soon’. Its a little concerning that the only official acknowledgment from Lego suggested it only affected US versions yet the sample you have reviewed came from a Australian retail store.

  3. Monty says:

    Excellent review.

    The neck ‘issue’ was never going to prevent me from purchasing Wall-E !! Your video does, however, clarify the ‘issue’ very well -which gives me a greater peace of mind with my decision to purchase.

    As for the issue itself, my favourite ‘fix’ so far is for the PVC electrical insulation tape where it is basically wrapped once or twice (depending on how sturdy you want the result) around the connector piece – and no damage so that I can motorise him…. :)

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks for the review. Has this set actually shown up in retail stores yet???

    • Michael says:

      There has been an initial release that has likely gone by now. I picked up my set from Toys R Us, but I know that Toyworld and smaller independent stores did receive stock.

  5. Steve says:

    Has anyone seen these at Myer Emporium in Melb, or have they gone already??

  6. Mark says:

    UPDATE: TLG have officially recalled WALL-E to redesign the neck. For details see https://ideas.lego.com/blogs/1-blog/post/45

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