LEGO DOTS 41930 Bag Tag Panda [Review]

The latest wave of DOTS branches out from bracelets to include “bag tags” – cute, cubic animals that can be clipped onto a backpack (or other things) to add a bit of LEGO flair. DOTS 41930 Bag Tag Panda is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $6.99 | CAN $8.99 | UK £5.99, so we picked one up to take a closer look…and found some interesting new parts for our troubles! Come along as we take a 84 piece trip into the realms of adorableness.

The box and contents

The Bag Tag sets all share similar packaging; a small box with an integrated ring-shaped hanger. In a small departure from standard LEGO package design the back of the box lacks a product shot. Instead there’s a wall of legal text and choking warnings. The sides of the box are much more interesting, with pictures showing off the customization possibilities for the set.

Inside the box is a single parts bag, a loose white cube, and a folded instruction sheet.

The same sheet appears in all the Bag Tag sets, a nice bit of cross-promotion for the line. You can see the dog, leopard, narwhal, and panda versions that make up the first assortment.

The parts

The exclusive parts in the Panda set start with some printed tiles. You get a total of 9 bamboo prints on square 1×1 tiles, three eye prints on 1×1 round tiles, and two copies each of an open mouthed and bamboo-chewing face print on a half-circle tile. The eye and mouth designs may look familiar to you if you read our review of DOTS 41931 Extra DOTS – Series 4. The printed tiles in those booster bags provide a great way to further personalize your panda.

The real star of the show, though, is this white 6×6 cube. Dual molded in soft plastic around the edge and harder plastic for the stud surfaces, this feels like a part that will challenge and delight LEGO builders. The white version of this part is exclusive to the panda set; the other tags have the cube in other colors.

If the shape of this new element feels familiar to you, you might be remembering the die element from the 2009-ish LEGO Games theme. The molded hanger ring keeps this cube from easily serving the same purpose, sadly. I suppose you could just cut it off…but I think that’d probably result in a pretty biased die. (The board game and RPG fan in me weeps quietly and hopes we see an alternate ring-less mold in the future.)

The bright orange attachment ring is a new element, common to all the Bag Tags. The dark azure key is also new, but appears in seven of this year’s DOTS kits. Its purpose is to pop off tiles, which works pretty well on most surfaces. Unfortunately the soft plastic edge on the cube doesn’t play well with the needed leverage, so it’s not as useful as a standard LEGO minifigure crowbar.

The rest of the parts are a descent assortment of tiles, with the rarest element being the bright reddish violet round tiles, which has only three other appearances. There’s also a single 1×2 jumper plate in white, and seven 1×1 bow bricks that do double duty as both panda legs and ears.  Why seven? Because LEGO has generously “overfilled” on most of these parts, giving us an extra copy of each. That brings the “actual” part count on the set up from the listed 84 to 101.

The panda

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of options available when building the panda. The instruction sheet suggests these two designs, both of which have quite a bit of character. Of the two, I prefer the one on the left. While the bamboo tiles are well designed, and will probably have plenty of uses in custom creations, they don’t really mesh well here. I think they were going for the illusion that the panda was hiding in a bamboo thicket, with green leaves and whatnot. But the end result looks more like a drunken St. Patrick’s day panda wearing a bamboo-print shirt as he wanders the pubs.

On second thought, the one on the right is a lot more fun.

The side and back have a decent suggestion of spots and tail. Again, these work a little better without the bamboo elements, but with them the result is undeniably more colorful.

The top has a mysterious pink dot in the center of the panda’s head. Maybe he’s balding? The key ring attaches easily, but can pop open just as easily if you apply light pressure. I don’t know how sturdy that makes it for actual bag-tagging.

Conclusion and recommendation

This is a fun little set. At $7 US for 84 (really 101) pieces, the price-per-part hovers around the 7-8 cent mark. Even though the majority are 1×1 tiles, that still feels decent considering the exclusive prints, cube, and ring elements. The end result is really adorable, with a lot of customization options to make this panda your own. There’s no build challenge to speak of here, but in general the parts are either instantly useful for other building, or present an interesting challenge for creative builders. As a low-priced LEGO set, I think this one delivers enough to be worthy of consideration.

DOTS 41930 Bag Tag Panda is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $6.99 | CAN $8.99 | UK £5.99. It is also available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

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