LEGO Gift with Purchase 40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute [Review]

LEGO has been exploring a new trend with gift-with-purchase sets in the form of models celebrating influential personalities from history, and the latest set is 40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute. Amelia Earhart is best known for her disappearance in 1937 while attempting to circumnavigate the globe by airplane, but she was a pioneer in the field of aviation in many other ways as well, including helping found the Ninety-Nines, an organization for women pilots. In 1932 she was the first woman to make a non-stop solo transatlantic flight, a mere five years after Lindbergh. LEGO’s new gift-with-purchase set celebrating her achievements contains 203 pieces and is available now in Australia and will be available globally soon. Although the precise timing and purchase requirements are yet to be officially revealed, it is rumored to be available March 6 to 14 with a US $100 | CAN $100 | UK £100 purchase from LEGO.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with a copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute is the third in the Tribute series of sets, following 40291 Creative Personalities featuring Hans Christian Andersen, and 40410 Charles Dickens Tribute. When I reviewed the Charles Dickens set, I mused that I would love to see not only more tribute sets, but also ones that branched out from just authors to include artists and musicians. I have to admit that aviation pioneers didn’t cross my mind at the time, but I am thrilled that a role model like Amelia Earhart has been chosen. LEGO would do well to continue on this path of providing children with fantastic real-life role models in addition to the latest Ninjago warriors, Friends dolls, and construction workers.

The box and contents

The box is the same medium size as the previous two Tribute sets and bears the same red wax seal in the upper right corner. The box design on the back is a fun vintage map style, a more fitting design here than the ink-stained papers of the previous two. Inside the box you’ll find the instruction manual, a decent-sized sticker sheet, two large red slopes, and five parts bags spread across two numbered steps. There are no new elements, and only a single recolor: the light grey paddle heads used on the propeller. The only new prints are Earhart’s head and torso.

The instruction booklet contains a short introduction to Earhart. It doesn’t mention her circumnavigation attempt at all, instead leading up to her transatlantic flight, for which she became the first woman awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. While Earhart’s disappearance may be what’s stuck in our collective mind, it’s a small part of her accomplishments. And the plane that LEGO has chosen to depict here is the fire-engine red Lockheed Vega 5B from that transatlantic flight in 1932, not the silver Lockheed Model 10-E Electra that she and her navigator flew nearly around the world (they disappeared during the last leg returning to California across the Pacific). The sticker sheet is mostly the tail and wing numbers for the Vega 5B along with the yellow pinstriping on the sides.

The build

The set’s two bag segments complete the plane and the base, respectively. The three bags in segment one are mostly red, naturally. The Vega 5B starts with slice of SNOT bricks sandwiched between the two large 16×4 red slopes.

The build moves very quickly, since at 203 pieces, this isn’t a large set. Apart from the sandwiched fuselage, the rest of the build is very straightforward without any complex techniques, which don’t feel needed anyway.

Next up, the second bag segment contains the large black base. Like the plane, the base is a very simple affair that’s all studs-up except for the use of a few brackets on the stand to turn the top studs upside down so they can grab the downward-facing studs on the bottom of the Vega 5B.

The completed model

Introduced in 1927, the Lockheed Vega 5B is a six-passenger airplane with entry via doors on each side of the fuselage, so even if you hadn’t figured out already that it can’t seat a minifigure inside, it’s clear now that this is not a minifigure-scale airplane. However, it is a great-looking model. The Vega 5B’s streamlined art-deco wheel housings look perfect, though they don’t actually contain wheels.

If I had one nitpick, it would be that the pinstriping on the real plane (which is on display in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C.) is gold rather than yellow. LEGO has been very reticent to produce standard bricks and plates in gold though, for some reason.

The display stand is larger than I would have expected, but looks appropriately suited to the model and gives it a great foundation. I can imagine someone improving it by adding a bit of tarmac or grass and some crates to turn it into a little diorama. The stand holds the model quite well though it attaches with only two studs.

And the display stand has a little placard along with a couple of exposed stands for the minifigure to attach.

The minifigure

And speaking of the minifigure, here’s Amelia Earhart. She’s sporting a leather flight jacket with a kerchief that’s a new print. The single-sided head is also a new design. She carries a 2×2 tile that’s stickered with a map of her transatlantic flight, showing her route from Newfoundland across the north Atlantic to Ireland.

Conclusion and recommendation

As I’ve mentioned on previous gift-with-purchase sets, it’s hard not to recommend a set that’s free if you’re already buying something else. But should this set persuade you to buy $100 worth of LEGO that you might have otherwise waited on? In this case, yes, absolutely. This is a phenomenally cool set if you have any interest in aviation or history. It would make a wonderful display model, even in a professional office. From a building and parts perspective, there’s not a lot of excitement here; apart from the grey propeller tips and the stickers, you can build this set entirely out of your own parts or maybe with a few purchases. But it’s great that LEGO is celebrating bold pioneers like Amelia Earhart who not only advanced female empowerment in an age and field dominated by men, but also made lasting contributions to her field and inspired generations. This is the perfect subject for a freebie set, and hopefully LEGO will continue to explore history with great role models.

40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute contains 203 pieces and is available now in Australia and is likely to be available March 6 to 14 with a US $100 | CAN $100 | UK £100 purchase from LEGO.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with a copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

4 comments on “LEGO Gift with Purchase 40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute [Review]

  1. Jimmy

    Thanks for the review. Am I correct that the propeller does not spin? For whatever reason I firmly believe that if possible all airplane models should have spinning props.

    The lack of wheels doesn’t really bother me though, (I suspect that’s part of when the display stand has the model lifting off).

  2. Ant

    Initially I thought the stand pivoted to allow the plane to display levelled out in flight but the contact area (and hinge) isn’t beefy enough by the looks of it, shame.

  3. Brandon H

    Ant, the hinge does pivot enough to allow the plane to level out, but you would probably have to put something between the rear of the plane and the base to counteract gravity pulling the rear down.

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