It’s been a huge year for Disney with its 100th Anniversary, and to cap off what has been a banner year for LEGO Disney fans, we have 40659 Mini Steamboat Willie GWP!
This set is a pint-sized miniaturised version of 2019 LEGO Ideas version, 21317 Steamboat Willie, but don’t let its small size fool you, it’s a really good model and arguably better than its predecessor!
40659 Mini Steamboat Willie is available as a gift with purchase (GWP) from 23-31 October 2023, when you spend US$100 / AU$170 / £95 / €100 / CAD$140 on LEGO Disney, Marvel and Star Wars on LEGO.com. Unfortunately, it’s sold out in Australia, but still available from the Dreamworld Certified LEGO Store.
The threshold is accessible for what is a pretty substantial GWP, and I really like LEGO opening up qualifying purchases from Marvel and Star Wars as well.
Who is this set for? LEGO Disney fans who missed out on the original Steamboat Willie, but this is arguably the superior version, and a nice way to cap off 2023’s LEGO Disney releases.
If you’re thinking of ordering the Mini Steamboat Willie GWP, please consider using these affiliate links as I may receive a small commission with each purchase that helps support the work I do here on the blog.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set for this review!
40659 Mini Steamboat Willie Set Details
Name: Mini Steamboat Willie
Set Number: 40659
Pieces: 424 pieces
GWP Threshold: US$100 / AU$170 / £95 / €100 / CAD$TBD on LEGO Disney, Duplo, Star Wars, and Marvel
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Stores / Shop.disney.com
Theme: LEGO Disney Princess
Release Date: 23-31 October 2023
LEGO Designer: Daniel Squirrell
For a small set that’s based on a greyscale cartoon, there’s a surprising amount of colourful elements on the inside. Designer Daniel Squirrell has also made really good use of the limited space he had to work with, cramming in plenty of Technic gears and axles into the body.
There’s also a weighty substantial feel to the build as it’s built pretty densely, giving it feel quite hefty in-hand.
Here’s the completed model which is a pretty decent replica of the S.S. Willie which features on Steamboat Willie, the 1928 American animated short film directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks that gave the world Mickey Mouse.
If you own the 2019 LEGO Ideas 21317 Steamboat Willie set, the model itself should be very familiar, except that this version is much smaller, more compact and a little more squashed than the original. Unfortunately, Minnie Mouse had to be dropped which is a bit of a shame, but here’s hoping she makes an appearance with Pete in a future Disney set.
Here’s a look at Steamboat Willie from the animated short, and the model from the side. You can see that all the major features have been captured here, such as the paddlewheel, two black chimneys, black flag, and crane at the back.
Despite the model’s smaller size, I really like how well features like the paddlewheel have been translated, which looks satisfyingly proportionate even at this scale.
If there’s one slight quirk that’s the result of shriking down a set to this scale, it’s that the canopy at the top of the steamboat, where Mickey Mouse famously whistles and steers the ship is comically small, compared to the minifigure, and this results in a weird look where Mickey is just too tall for the steering wheel.
It’s not all bad as it doesn’t really make sense for him to be positioned up there, but there’s plenty of space on the deck for the Mickey minifigure.
Despite shrinking down Steamboat Willie to this size, one would naturally expect many of the mechanical functions of the Ideas set to have been cut, but no, Daniel Squirrel is a wizard for shrinking down the play functions too.
Sliding Steamboat Willie along still rotates the paddlewheel and makes the chimneys bop up and down, which is really satisfying, and I think works even better at this scale because Steamboat Willie at this size feels so much more like a toy than the Ideas version which is more suited to being a display model.
40659 Mini Steamboat Willie was already a great looking model at a more manageable scale, but this play feature being retained just seals the deal for me.
Here’s a look at the exclusive Steamboat Willie minifigure in all its monochromatic black and white glory. It’s an exclusive variant because it features newly decorated legs, which are now fully grey and has his buttons printed on.
While he doesn’t have “shoes”, the colour is slightly more accurate as the legs are completely grey. Here’s a side by side comparison with the Mickey Mouse from 21317 Steamboat Willie (left), and the one from LEGO Disney Minifigures Series 2 (right).
What I liked:
- No stickers at all
- Relatively low and achievable purchase threshold
- Compact size and doesn’t compromise on features
- Doesn’t make the LEGO Ideas version obsolete
What I didn’t like:
- A commemorative tile would’ve been nice
- No Minnie Mouse minifigure
There’s a LOT to like about the 40659 Mini Steamboat Willie GWP. Despite Mini being in the name, it doesn’t feel like LEGO were forced to compromise on this delightful little build and it’s a great little build that will complement your other LEGO Disney sets.
Despite its smaller size, the 40659 Mini Steamboat Willie GWP is arguably a better take on Steamboat Willie than the LEGO Ideas version. I just like how compact it is, and at this size and weight, it invites you to push it along to show off its mechanical functions, which have been retained from its bigger brother set.
We get a new black and white Mickey Mouse minifigure that’s exclusive to the set, and the model itself is a solid take on the S.S. Willie, and ticks all the boxes for a set designed to celebrate Disney’s heritage.
If there’s a Disney, Marvel or Star Wars set on your list, I can definitely recommend getting it to trigger this GWP, which will likely be very popular as it does a great job of substituting the 2019 LEGO Ideas version if you missed out on it.
Most of all, I’m glad the purchase threshold for what’s a pretty substantial LEGO GWP is achievable and doesn’t require fans to spend a lot more than they should to qualify for it.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★☆
Build  – Fun build that’s a lot more technical than you’d expect from a set of this size
Real Value  – Great value for a low-ish purchase threshold, plus LEGO didn’t recycle the minifigure
Innovation  – Shrinking Steamboat Willie and retaining its proportions and functions is highly impressive
Coolness  – A nice nod to the debut of Mickey Mouse and Disney history
Keepability  – As it’s small, it’s easy to display and pick up and play.
Thanks so much for reading my review of 40659 Mini Steamboat Willie!
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for my review!
What do you think of 40659 Mini Steamboat Willie? Do you like this trend of LEGO miniaturising sets?
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