Flying High with a Reindeer Battlepack [40499 Santa’s Sleigh – Hands-On review]

Over the years, we have seen many festive LEGO sets released for the holiday season featuring different versions of Santa and his Sleigh. In the past, we have typically had brick-built reindeer. However, after the appearance of a dedicated reindeer in 2020’s Elf’s Clubhouse, the element (6310336) has been almost continuously out of stock on the LEGO Replacement elements website, despite the $AUD8.72 pricetag. So plainly, it made sense to release a set with multiple reindeer. And here it is: 40499 Santa’s Sleigh.

With 343 pieces, the set is already from some LEGO Certified Stores worldwide, with the Australian price of $59.99. €36.99 /$AUD59.99 AUD/£34.99 /$USD36.99 /$CAD49.99. It might feel expensive for just 343 parts, but it feels like great value once you remove the $AUD35 worth of reindeer. It will be released through on October 1st. I was excited for the LEGO group to send this set along for an early review:

So, how does it come together, and how might you display it this year?

The set comes with two numbered bags and a small sticker sheet. On knolling out the parts (thanks, Ann), several things stand out: there’s a lot of red plates, bricks and arches, and a lot of gold trim. The remaining elements are predominantly dark tan, to say nothing of the parts required for the reindeer.

We start by building the new Santa Minifigure. It is a similar Minifigure to that seen in the 10293 Santa’s Visit, but not identical. This figure reuses a torso that looks similar to that one from the front but features a candy cane tucked in his belt printed on the back. In addition, we have a new bearded face print and BRAND NEW dual moulded legs, with black boots. This welcome addition to the Santa uniform has been a long time coming.

We also put together the four reindeer: identical to those seen last year (and sharing a mould with the deer Patronus seen in the 2019 Harry Potter Set 75945 Expecto Patronum.)

There are several seemingly random elements/presents also included: skis and stocks, a teddy bear, carrot, pretzel and a new white guitar element. I like the printed “nice list” on a 2×3 tile. Some names are almost clear enough to make out, but I suspect most people might be able to make out their name on it.
We start building with eight different presents for Santa to deliver. Various sizes, colours and decorative bows, it is an exciting collection.

The build on the sleigh commences with the base: SNOT elements (2x2x2/3 plates, with two studs on the side. As we build it up, we have a combination of clips, studs and rings on the sides of the sleigh.

A surprise is tucked in under the front seat. I shan’t spoil it too loudly now. Next, we build up the sleigh sides, adding a second layer to the rear section. In the meantime, we see a flowing curve run up the vehicle from the very front. We are interrupted in completing it by moving onto bag two.

One technique of note is the stacking of arched bricks. Next, we move onto the rear, completing a lower drawer and an upper SNOT treatment with curved slopes and stickers.

Of course, Christmas Eve is a big night for Santa, and he has a map on the Dashboard of the cockpit, featuring a world map, with a proposed route, but seemingly leaving out Australia. This might cause you to advance a theory of multiple Santa’s doing the deliveries, possibly using time travel!

A curved red rounded hinge gives us a beautifully streamlined front of the sleigh and features a large sticker, reminding us just who owns it!

After installing a few more red curves, we move onto the great gold greebles and apply the skids.
We have golden scrolls, bars, and spiralled domes, as well as stars and roller skates to provide appropriate festive trim. Next, we add some warm gold rods and light sabre handles, and it looks pretty elegant.

Finally, we assemble the harness and attach it to the reindeer. Some small stickers provide added detail but were a little fiddly to apply.

This set is the first time we have had Santa’s sleigh drawn by so many detailed animals. We saw a brick-built version of the reindeers in 10245 Santa’s Workshop(2014), as well as a smaller sled included in the Elf Clubhouse.

The tradition of LEGO Seasonal Sleighs goes back to 1977 with this brick-built offering:

This version followed in 1989.

We finally saw a Minifigure scaled version in 1995.

Take to the Skies:

I added some transparent bricks under the reindeer and sent them flying over the rooftops of the older LEGO Winter Village cottage and the modular police station. I did find myself wishing that the reindeer had more dynamic leg positions: they really look like they are hanging around in a paddock, rather than visiting the entire world over 12 hours…

I think this set offers a great way to get a detailed sleigh, with half the traditional number of reindeer leading it. However, whether or not you choose to add another $AUD35 worth of reindeer might be something up for discussion or negotiation around the house. I think this looks pretty good, and to add additional reindeer might make it feel ridiculously overpowered!

At $AUD59.99, the price is not unreasonable, allowing for the current market price of reindeer.
The sleigh itself is elegant, but perhaps the stickers are not necessary. The golden greebles really bring it to life, and the draw for reindeer snacks is a nice touch.

I give this set 4 out of 5 arbitrary praise units. The Minifigure is one of the better Santa’s that I own, and overall, the build is interesting. The accessories and presents complete the build, revealing the mission that lies ahead for Santa!

What do you think of this seasonal set? As an easy way to accumulate a few reindeer for a sleigh ride, it is quick and easy. If you already own a herd, it might feel a bit redundant. Why not let me know in the comments below, and until next time,

Play Well!

This set was provided by the LEGO Goup’s AFOL Engagement team for review purposes. All opinions however, are my own.


One thought on “Flying High with a Reindeer Battlepack [40499 Santa’s Sleigh – Hands-On review]

  1. Really looking forward to this build, (for a variety of reasons), but I’ll probably have all nine reindeer pulling the sled. There’s very little chance of having them ‘flying’, so I’ll have them on the ground which will take care of the, ‘grazing in the paddock look’. Maybe in the future, LEGO could make the Reindeer with moveable rear legs like the horses. As always, a very thorough & entertaining review of another LEGO set.

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