This fun, quirky, and blocky rendering of Donald Duck is one of those really hard-to-get Disney Parks exclusives that is only available out of the Disneyland in Shanghai, China. I am humbled and honored to be able to build this model, because it was sent to me by a fellow builder, Instagram’s @tomz971. Not only that, he also sent me the two other character models, Goofy and Pluto, which will appear in later build posts. A big thank you, again, to @tomz971 for his generosity!
I’m really sad that this model is so exclusive. Because I agree with @tomz961, who said (when I sent him a photo of the finished build) that the rendering of Donald is much better than the Mickey and Minnie models sold at the US Parks. I love almost everything about how this model is shaped, even though it’s super-blocky. The open mouth, the body shape, the tail, and the feet. The one thing that I find really confusing, though, is the position of the hands. I promise, I didn’t put them on wrong, that contorted position with the palms straight up is how it was designed. I tried to hold that pose myself, and it was rather painful. But I guess that doesn’t matter to a cartoon.
Like most of these character models, it is both a quick and easy build, and a little more challenging that you might think. As such, this will probably be a shorter post than many of my others, as there’s not a whole lot to tell you about the build. That said, this model is giving me an opportunity to talk about a funny little quirk I’ve observed about sharing photos of models.
So, we’ll deal with that, first. I don’t know how to explain this, but I notice mistakes so much more in the photographs I take (and share), than when holding and looking at the models in person. This also holds true for the 360 videos. Ironically, I usually don’t notice these things until after I’ve edited, tweaked the light / contrast / color balance, etc. And sometimes even not until after I’ve uploaded them. And there’s another type of thing I don’t notice: fuzzies, hairs, fingerprints, etc. I honestly don’t mind the fingerprints, I don’t think I could build these models with those finger cots or gloves.
However, the fuzzies are a bit embarrassing. I do have a good excuse, though, as I live in a house full of critters (2 dogs, 3 cats, and 3 children). But you would think I would have noticed the little fuzzball hanging from the back of Donald’s head during the 360 video attached to this post. Or maybe I should have noticed at some point that one of the tabs on Donald’s head is not folded over. I mean, it’s sticking right out there, in your face, clearly visible, right? Well, I didn’t notice it until just a few minutes ago, while writing up this post. I will fix it, and I could have re-captured all the photos, but decided to keep it, and include this rabbit trail in the post. Because I really hope I’m not the only one who does stuff like this.
Anyways, back to the build. Most of this build is fairly straight forward, as can be expected from it’s appearance. However, there are a few sections where the folds are not clearly defined in the instructions (and probably couldn’t be). These tend to be rather small bends, and are best figured out by just putting it together and seeing what works. Where am I talking about? The shaping of the mouth and the buttocks areas.
The instructions for shaping the head give a suggestion about how to shape the lower and upper segments, but I found it easier to just line it up with the sides of the head to get a general idea. However, it’s not perfect, as the sides of the head also have some bends in them, so you end up having to average some of the angles, and just fine-tune it as you secure it together. Also, it’s kinda finicky trying to get the sides of the mouth to shape correctly, so you just gotta force it a little, but be careful, it’s easy to bend the side of the beak inwards during the process, and it becomes difficult to bend that back out. Trust me. Or watch the build video, I goof that up pretty early on.
On the buttocks / body, it’s a little more difficult. The instructions don’t really give any indication for how one of the fold lines in the sides of the body is supposed to be folded, and it can be a bit confusing. I found that the best approach (for me) was to fold the back and the sides to something that seemed to line up fairly well. Then I secured the lower two tabs, before fine-tuning the shaping / folds so that I could align and secure the top two tabs. When I’d done that on both sides, I ended up with the front gap being a little narrow, but was able to spread it out carefully when it was time to attach the front of the torso.
And before I finish off with the usual build video, I want to say thanks, again, to the amazing @tomz961, for sending me this gift. This community is a great community to be a part of. Anyways, here’s the build video, clocking in at about an hour long.