[REVIEW] 40450 – Amelia Earhart Tribute
With this Gift With Purchase (GWP) set, LEGO continues the “Tributes” theme first started in late 2020 with the set 40410 – Charles Dickens Tribute.
Name: 40450 – Amelia Earhart Tribute
Theme: Tributes (Bricklink lists it as Airport)
Box size: 25,7 x 14 x 6 cm
Weight: 357 g
Between March 6th 2021 – March 14th 2021 you get this GWP if you spend over the $99 / €99 / £99 threshold, all themes.
“My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow’s planes.” – Amelia Earhart
As far as I can tell looking at Amelia Earhart’s biography, this set’s release date could be a reference either to the year 1921 when she purchased her first plane (a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow later nicknamed "The Canary"), or to Amelia Earhart’s first try at a world flight, which began on 17th of March 1937, though the plane depicted here, as well as the date and map on the side of the box undeniably honour her nonstop solo transatlantic flight in 1932 (May 20). In the end, I may be overthinking it and the release date is not that important.
EDIT - According to the LEGO website, the set is meant " Help children celebrate International Women’s Day 2021".
Anyway, let’s get started with the set review.
The front of the box shows the iconic Lockheed Vega 5B Amelia Earhart flew on her nonstop solo transatlantic flight in 1932 on a display base with Amelia herself strolling next to it on a cloudy hill-ish backdrop. The red sealing wax-like emblem in the top right corner reminds us this is a one-off special set, and this time it sports Amelia Earhart’s name and profile. It would seem we can expect more special sets from this Tributes theme in the future. Just like with Dickens’ and the Women of NASA Ideas (another tribute set in itself), LEGO has decided to go for a skin tone on the figure, to have a more realistic portrait of an actual human being.
The back of the box shows a comparison between the LEGO model and a schematic of the actual plane, some details and a close-up of Amelia Earhart’s minifigure, in nostalgic sepia tone, all of which is superimposed on a time appropriate geographic map spanning the Atlantic Ocean.
The top of the box sports the classic 1:1 shot of the minifigure included in the set, along with the aforementioned map.
The side of the box makes clear that, as already said, this set is a tribute to Earhart’s transatlantic flight of 1932, what with the date and the repeated Atlantic Ocean period map.
The box is tightly packed; no wasted volume here. Inside, we find three bags numbered 1 and two Wedge 16 x 4 Triple Curved for the plane model …
… two bags with the number 2 on them, with the parts for the stand and Amelia Earhart’s minifigure …
… and, finally, the instructions manual and a sticker sheet complete the loadout. Unfortunately, the booklet came with a slightly bended corner.
There’s a small collection of new colours and/or rare parts in this set: two oar/paddle head pieces in Light Bluish Grey, four rare red modified 1 x 2 plates with handles on ends, four red round tile corner 2 x 2 macaroni (which only recently started to appear in just 2 other sets), four semi-rare (and last seen in 2019) Black round plate corner 6 x 6. The only printed element (excluding minifigure parts) is the Dark Bluish Grey round tile with hole and rotor blade pattern in use since 2015.
The first pages of the instruction booklet contain a very brief biography of Amelia Earhart, accompanied by the same graphics elements we already saw on the box art. As keen viewers will have already noticed in a previous picture, the booklet is (or will be) available in a collection of languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese) on the LEGO.com site.
The building process and the instructions are pretty straightforward, though some interesting techniques are employed. As you can see in this picture, there’s an extensive use of bricks with knobs on the sides to construct the tail fuselage of the plane.
Though I have checked a number of archive photos and some footage of Amelia Earhart, as far as I can tell, she never had a LEGO minifigure’s proportions… That said, the designers did a good job at capturing her usual aviator clothing style, often completed by the leather helmet and googles, as can be seen in her Smithsonian exhibit. The only possible complaint I can foresee from some is the use of plain Medium Nougat legs; a dual mould or a boots’ printing could have completed the look, some may say. On closer inspection, it turns out that Amelia Earhart usually wore flat shoes (Night at the Museum 2 notwithstanding), so the figure is pretty accurate in this respect, too. In the end, we have a new torso, with printing on both front and back, and tan hands, while the exclusive head has only one print/expression.
The build starts with the rear section of the fuselage, where a number of brackets and modified bricks with knobs on the sides give it a good level of sturdiness, while allowing for a reversed studs position on the lower side.
Next come the wings; a nice amount of detail in the shape is achieved with just a handful of wedge plates.
By adding the landing gear, tail fin and the propeller/engine block, we complete the model. I especially like the clever use of the modified plates to build the supporting struts for the nacelles. The oar/paddle heads are very effective as propeller blades, also. Keen readers will notice a trio of black parts under the cabin section; those are actually part of the display support, as we’ll see later on.
The base is quite large and sturdy, mainly thanks to the three Tan 6 x 2 bricks in its bowels.
A (quite thick) front pillar and some tiles complete the base, along with the tile for the sticker bearing the name of the model.
Putting the Lockheed Vega 5B and Amelia Earhart on the base, we get the completed set. It's a nice little display model.
In this picture we can see how the set looks with stickers applied: the amount of detail is really good for its scale, and they complete the model. I really like the idea of tribute sets dedicated to historical figures like this one. It reminds me of the old planet sets from Star Wars, only here the models can be the focus, and therefore be even better looking.
The set includes a few spare parts, all of which are common.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group, but all opinions and contents shown in this Eurobricks pictorial review are from 'LuxorV' and are not meant to represent the LEGO Group official views.
So is this set worth it for you?
Playability: 7/10 – Obviously you're not going to play as much with a display set as you would with a play-set (duh!). Still, once removed from its stand, the Lockheed model is quite fun to swoosh around. The main con is you cannot put the minifigure inside to pilot it.
Building Experience: 8/10 – The build uses quite common parts, but in clever ways to capture the peculiar shape of this plane.
Design: 8/10 – Again, the set designer(s) did an excellent job at capturing the shape of the Lockheed Vega 5B, and Amelia Earhart’s figure is very accurate to the actual photos we have of her. Also, while I usually do not like stickers, I have to admit they are essential in portraying the plane’s original look. It would be most excellent if these were replaced by printed parts, though.
Aesthetic: 9/10 – It’s a very nice display model which, also thanks to its red colour, will stand out in your collection. The pose of the plane is also very nice. My only possible complain is that I think the front support could use something of a diet and be a bit slimmer.
Minifigure: 9/10 – As discussed above, the minifigure is very accurate to the pictures and footage we have of Amelia Earhart.
Price: 8/10 – It’s a nice set in itself and a must have for any aviation and Amelia Earhart enthusiast. The set value is around $20 / €20, and I think it’s worth it to place an order to get it.
Verdict: 8/10 – If you like display sets and planes are your thing, this is a great set to honour one of the aviation pioneers. Moreover, if you are interested in the start of this line dedicated to relevant historical figures, you would not want to miss it!