It all started with two very iconic mice.
You see, the LEGO® Ideas team was facing a hiccup in their plan – they couldn’t release 21317 Steamboat Willie without Mickey and Minnie. However, the Collective Minifigures team were already planning to release black and white Mickey and Minnie in Disney Collective Minifigure series 2.
“Normally the Collectable Minifigure line has exclusivity of their Minifigures,” Explained Sanne Dollerup, Project Manager on the LEGO Ideas team. “They were very reluctant to have us ‘borrow’ those Minifigures, but we convinced them we could do some alternations.”
But how to change the Minifigures in Steamboat Willie to make them different, while keeping them black and white to fit the rest of the set?
“From that, the idea arose – what about adding silver? Doing this very exclusive, unique, retro thing.”
So now, the Minifigures you see in the Steamboat Willie set differ from the ones in the Disney Collective Minifigures series – they have some reflective silvery printing.
“After we started doing the packaging layout – we thought how about we do the packaging in silver as well?” she explained.
This was trickier than expected.
The supply chain wasn’t prepared for it. The silver printing, or foil, on the box wasn’t standard. It had to be sourced from Germany and sent to three vendors in the individual regions. The vendors prepared the packaging and then distributed it to our packing facilities in Jiaxing, Kladno and Monterrey.
“The project team, very usually, was in close dialogue with the three factories to see what they were capable of,” Sanne said.
Originally, they had plans of making all silver parts on the model appear silver on the box, but quickly they had to scale down their ambition.
“If we were to print silver on the packaging to reflect the silver decorations of the model (Minifigures) it would require a specific printing method –e.g. print the silver, then print the dots of the skirt on top of the silver—that not all three vendors could confirm,” Sanne goes on. After that was scaled down, they found printing on a small surface area, such as the piece count in the North American version of the set, in silver foil was impossible. All versions of the packaging of the set – the North American version, the European version, and the Chinese version, had to be aligned on the placement of the silver foil.
“The company and our vendors were not familiar with silver foil on packaging before, so it was hand carried all the way through and we had to postpone production ready date two times. It was a tough project and quite amazing that we were successful without any impact on planned launch.”
And in case you were wondering, no, the silver packaging did not contribute to the price of the set.
Check out the silver packaging (and the rest of the set!) on 21317 Steamboat Willie, now available for sale.
Also if you’re in the able, stop by and get your copy signed by fan designer Máté Szabó at:
3rd April, 2019 - Orlando, Florida, USA
Time: 5 PM - 8 PM
Location: The LEGO Store at Disney Springs (Store locator)
6th April, 2019 - Paris, France
Time: 10 AM - 1PM
Location: The LEGO Store at Disneyland Paris (Store locator)
Internally, the Community Team couldn’t agree if this kind of silver packaging has been done before – certainly not in recent memory. If you can recall a past set with silver foil, please let us know in the comments below!
Edited by Sara Skahill