I’m not going to lie: when I first saw this set, I was a little baffled. Most of the imagery associated with Christmas holidays refers to the northern hemisphere winter: conifers, reindeer, references to the North Pole. The penguin does not appear very high on this list at all. Harking from the opposite side of the earth, you might understand why. Instead, I embraced this as the Southern Hemispheric attempt to embrace the Southern summer: if you were looking for snow at this time of year, it would have to be on the Antarctic or, at least, a nearby sub-Antarctic island.
I was very fortunate a few years ago to have the chance to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula, via Patagonia. It was January, and the sun dipped beneath the horizon around one am, only reappear around two hours later. Penguins were abundant, of several species, and I found myself wondering if I saw anything resembling the one depicted in this model. More of that later.
But I digress. The 40498 Christmas Penguin is the 4th ‘iconic’ seasonal set released this year, after the Valentines Day Bear, the Easter Rabbit and the Halloween Owl.
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 LEGO.com 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?
As we continue our Advent-ure today ( exploring Christmas holiday related sets, as it is the 20th Anniversary of the first LEGO Advent Calendar), I thought we might look at a couple of small vignette sets related to the theme. 40106 Toy Workshop was released as a gift with purchase in 2014. With two elf minifigures and a small, 8×8 stud workshop, with a few microscale builds as toys as well, it is a great example of what can be achieved with a low part count.How great is the detail in the vice, as well as the microscale train engine!
As I write this, we are somewhere between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. In Australia, this period of time is characterized by alternating between retail discounts, blockbuster cinematic releases and spending time with friends and family.
For the rambling brick family, we have been blessed by bright sun, warm days, and many opportunities for extended napping. We have been staying away from the family LEGO collection, but not entirely brick free. I was fortunate to discover NINJAGO City lying on top of my Christmas Stocking. It was never going to fit in. My wife and I were also given the wedding topper, by way of commemorating our 20th Wedding Anniversary during this period. I am currently writing in secret… Continue reading →