Have you heard? Winter is coming. That means it’s time to start thinking about festive decorations built out of LEGO! Let’s take a look at LEGO 40426 – a mysterious 510 piece set that will be released on October 1st. LEGO sent us a review copy, but didn’t provide any additional details, so we don’t yet know prices, or where exactly it’ll be available, or even the official set name. In the meantime, though, we can explore the parts, packaging, and multiple building options that this set has to offer. It sure looks like a wreath, but maybe it’s a Yuletide Frisbee or something.
The packaging for this set is a little unusual for LEGO in that it has a lid-style closure. The box is sturdy and easy to open and close. This is a pretty decent plus in and of itself, as it seems likely that people will want to store their set in it, and keep it with their holiday decorations from year to year. The art focuses on showcasing the “2 in 1” building options. You can go with either a wall-mounted wreath or a tabletop centerpiece.
Inside the box are two center-stapled instruction booklets and six numbered part bags. As expected, each booklet focuses on building one of the two versions of this set. Book 1 (the wreath) is 76 pages long compared to the 56 pages in book 2, giving a good hint as to which build is going to be a bit more fiddly.
There aren’t any unique or particularly special parts in this set, but don’t let that get you down. What this set does have is tons of plant elements in high quantities. There are 40 of the 1×1 plant plate, 36 small plants leaves, 8 of the 7-finger fronds, and 2 of the small palm leaves. Toss in 4 of the bright green plant stems, 14 gold flower 1×1 plates, 8 each of the red and white “berries“, and 6 brown carrot tops and you have enough vegetation to make a great start to any custom jungle scene.
I started out by working through book 1 to build the wreath. The first impression I had is “boy, is this a repetitive build.” You start you by making the sixteen parts of the ring – 15 of them identical, with one variant with an integrated bit of string to serve as a hanging loop. This parts-hound in me was happy to see so many parts in quantity. However, as this set gave me 16 left-side 2×4 wedge plates in dark green with no right sides to balance them out did make future-me a bit cranky.
Once all 16 segments are built, they snap together easily. The click-hinge construction works just fine, but the latest molds of these parts don’t seem to snap together with the same grip strength as their earlier versions. The ring is actually a bit fragile, which became an annoyance during later steps and very painful when it came time to move things off of the building table.
The next large set of steps adds the greenery to the ring. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a lot of variation in the placement of parts. This could easily have been another “x4” or “x8” building step, but each segment was just different enough to keep things interesting. The use of the sloped brick and 1×2 plate locked in the leaves pretty well. I had more problems with the smaller 1×1 leaf plates in the center of the ring – they’re fairly easy to knock off and a pain to reattach once the upper-level parts are in place.
At the end of the second set of parts bags the wreath is pretty well decked out. The mix of leaf elements really works great to give things an organic feel. There are no obvious gaps, and the colors all play well together.
At the end of book 1, you have a complete wreath, and a good selection of extra parts. The bow is pretty sturdy, with some nice shaping from the use of layered plates.
Hanging on the wall (or door), the wreath looks great. The exposed studs on the bow really point out that this is made from LEGO bricks, and leaning in to look at the details shows some great textures and complex-looking building.
Now, some of you might be thinking back to my earlier comment about using the set’s box for long-term storage of this set. The good news is that the completed wreath does fit back into the box without having to take it back apart! It would be pretty easy to just pack this up at the end of the season and unbox it again the following year. The bad news? Remember when I said the connections were a bit fragile? Well…
As an experiment I put the wreath into the box, closed it, and gave it a good shake to simulate being knocked around while being put into and taken out of storage. The results were mixed. Most of the build stayed together, but there was very much a need for some rebuilding and repair. I guess that’s a reasonable requirement of making LEGO a part of a holiday tradition.
The second build for this set is a tabletop centerpiece design. The initial ring build is almost identical to the wreath, although you leave out the mounting assembly and replace it with the same 1×4 plate that appears in the other 15 ring segments. There is a lot lower level of detail in the foliage this time around, leaving you with a larger pile of surplus parts.
Now, you wouldn’t expect a display set like this to have much in the way of play features. Well, hold on to your hats, as LEGO actually tried to include one. If you look at the back of the box, you can see they consider the fact you can vary the height of the candles as a real plus.
I mention this as the instructions have you build the candles at a variety of heights. They provide enough 2×2 round brick to have all the candles use five of them, but I guess it just looked more interesting to have them burning unevenly.
At the end of book two, there are four additional build ideas. It seems strange that there isn’t a link to a LEGO webpage with instructions for these – I can see a lot of casual LEGO families being frustrated that they can’t easily make these versions. It seems like a no-brainer to want to draw those people to LEGO’s website to spend even more holiday dollars. Personally, I like the look of the “D” model – the bow looks a lot nicer than the one in the main model to me.
Conclusion and recommendation
It’s hard to give a recommendation on this set without knowing what price LEGO is going to set on it. If we assume a something like .08 cents/part, we’d expect to see this in the $40 US range. If that turns out to be accurate, then there’s very little to dislike about this set. As a holiday decoration, both models look fantastic. They are both sturdy enough to hold up to light handling, so if hung on a wall or displayed on a non-high-traffic table they shouldn’t require much maintenance. The construction is fun and engaging, with both “easy” steps for younger builders in the ring, and more intricate steps for adults in the later steps. For fans looking for parts packs, there are tons of useful parts in larger than average quantities. But, really, the main audience for this set is anyone who wants to add a bit of LEGO cheer to things. And I think this set will let them do that with style.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
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