With all the new August 2021 LEGO releases, I couldn’t of course miss out on increasing my VIP points warchest as well as nab the really sweet LEGO Ideas Sailboat Adventures, a free gift-with-purchase when you spend over US$200 / £200 / AU$279 on LEGO.com
The LEGO Ideas Sailboat will be available until 29 August 2021 while stocks last, so if you’re on the fence about the set, I hope this review helps you decide!
Name: Sailboat Adventures
Set Number: 40487
Price: N/A (Gift with Purchase from LEGO.com)
Exclusive to: LEGO Brand Retail Stores, LEGO.com
Theme: Promotional, Ideas
Release Date: 1 August 2021
Purchase Threshold: US$200 / £200 / AU$279
Firstly, I love the box and instruction manual design. It rejects the bleak all-black Ideas box design we’ve come to expect, and instead boasts a postcard-worthy illustrated background of the Sailboat over open waters, with the sun setting over the horizon.
I also don’t know why – but I really like the aesthetics of these square-ish instruction booklets. Over on the inside is a lovely profile of the competition winner – Yan Chevalier, and the story behind his contest submission and original design.
Yan is an accomplished toy photographer, and you can check out his amazing work over on Instagram @yc_solo.
The set comes with 2 minifigures, which I like to imagine are LEGO personifications of yc_solo and his wife – the hairstyle and good-natured expression absolutely line up.
Under their orange lifejackets are 2 delightfully appropriate nautical outfits. Are you even allowed on a sailboat or yacht if you’re not wearing stripes?
The male Sailor’s torso is new I think as I’ve not come across that particular design before, and I love that he has a navy neckerchief printed on it as well. I certainly hope we see more of this torso in future sets.
Here’s a look at the detailed back printing, which really allows you to appreciate the sailor’s neckerchief! I have to say, safety aside, both these minifigures look way better without their lifejackets.
You get 2 dolphins in the set. If they look familiar, it’s because these sand blue versions are identical to the one from Series 21’s Paddle Surfer.
Both dolphins are attached to a large round plate, and the way they’re posed really create a sense of movement, as they leap out of the water at different heights, with a dramatic splash of water in their wake, thanks to the crystals and transparent elements.
This mini-diorama works really well here.
Here’s a look at the completed Sailboat – which is impressively tall at 26cm high thanks to the large white sails. I’m not a boat person and have never been on a yacht, so this isn’t something I relate to, but I really appreciate just how clean and pleasing the design is.
The colours in particular are pleasing to the eye – with earth-tones like dark tan punctuated by pops of pearl and drum-lacquered gold, followed by the sharp contrasts of the white sails and black beams.
I really like the cabin, which is a little small but remains in-scale with the entire model. It exudes luxury, with the smooth stud-less exterior, and gentle curves as well as the pearl gold portholes.
The cabin’s exterior can be easily removed, revealing a small plank for a bed and comfortable sleeps one.
You can also pose the minifig emerging from the cabin entrance!
The Sailboat is perched on some plates for a sense of stability, and it has transparent cheese slopes to give the impression of waves created as the sailboat cruises along the ocean, and there’s an anchor hanging out the side as well.
If you’d like less of a “sailboat on a water-look”, you could swap the plates out for a more traditional black display stand to make it look more like a model sailboat that you can decorate your desk with.
The boat is named Éloïse, after Yan’s daughter and the detail is brought to life with stickers on both the starboard and port side of the yacht.
The shape of the sailboat’s bow is greatly enhanced by the use of these dark tan shells which give it a realistic shape.
The Sailboat has two rather large forward pulpits (?), which protrude out the front. I found these to be quite clumsy, and kept knocking them out of place when moving the sailboat around.
The sails are seriously big, and really steal most of the sailboat’s thunder thanks to just how much space it takes up. I really enjoyed the fact that these were entirely brick-built, cobbled together by a number of white bricks and slopes to create a very classic sailboat sail shape.
I don’t know if I was unlucky, but I found that there were several white bricks that looked to have discoloured, or oxidised – especially the large slopes on the right. When placed against the other stark white bricks, the discolouration is evident if you stare at it hard enough.
Last but not least – for an extra dash of luxury, I also really liked the generous use of these wood-print tiles scattered across the yacht. They really class it up, and gives it a pleasing organic and natural look.
What I liked:
- One of the best GWPs that LEGO have ever produced
- A unique and engaging build
- Sailboat has great display presence
- Nice selection of minifigures and 2 dolphins
What I didn’t like:
- Discoloured white bricks
- The forward pulpits and some other parts are a little fiddly
- Purchase threshold is a little high
LEGO have (pardon the pun), blown this one out of the water, and is a truly fine LEGO Ideas gift-with-purchase set. The fact that LEGO did not have to deviate much from yc_solo’s contest submission, just speaks to how well crafted the Sailboat Adventures set is.
Like the Vintage Car GWP from earlier in the year, this set exudes a certain sense of carefree adventure, and reminds me of when travel was still possible, and we could dream about sailing of into the sunset on a stupidly expensive rental yacht.
There aren’t many particularly glaring flaws with 40487 Sailboat Adventures – there are lots of minor niggles, like discoloured bricks, and fiddly bits, but for a “free set”, it really sets the bar really high on what can be expected from a LEGO gift with purchase.
The purchase threshold was disappointingly high, which does run the risk of pricing out those that don’t have a ton of disposable income, or have nothing on your list that screams “buy now!”, but for 330 pieces, you are getting a really substantial set, that would otherwise retail for US$30-$50 dollars easily – plus it’s free if you were already planning to purchase something. Thankfully, August 2021 had plenty of new releases, so I imagine the calculus not being too challenging here.
This is a superb display piece, sized rightly and with proportions and a sense of size that is more than the sum of its 330-pieces, and will appeal to a broad spectrum of LEGO fans.
If you’re on the fence about the 40487 Sailboat Adventures, I highly recommend taking the plunge, as this is a particularly memorable and special set that will only be available for a short time.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – A quick build with lots of interesting techniques, including the sails
Real Value  – A value-packed set, especially since it’s essentially “free”
Innovation  – A sensational model at this particular scale thanks to the brick-built sails
Coolness  – Yachts are reserved for the super-rich, so I’d say this makes the set cool
Keepability  – Ideas set. Limited-time GWP. This set is a prime collector’s model.
40487 Sailboat Adventures will be available as a Gift with Purchase from LEGO.com, from 1-29 August (while stocks last) when you spend US$200 / £200 / AU$279 online.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this really quick review of the the LEGO Ideas Sailboat Adventures set, and a massive congratulations to Yans Chevalier and his family for this outstanding achievement.
I’ll leave you with my interpretation of a “Sailboat Adventure”.
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