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LEGO Santa’s Sleigh & The Evolution of LEGO Reindeer

LEGO released several brick-built, minifig-scale reindeer for the holidays through the years. The #10245 LEGO Winter Village Santa’s Workshop from 2014 was especially popular as it came with five brick-built reindeer with printed eyes and fur. While brick-built reindeer were welcome, some people felt that LEGO should make a special mould for a deer. LEGO started releasing more moulded animals, so there was hope that this will eventually happen.

LEGO Reindeer 3

In 2016, LEGO finally released not one but two reindeer moulds. Both the adult and baby reindeer came with rounded features to match the aesthetics of LEGO mini-dolls. The larger reindeer appeared in dark-gray in two sets; the #41066 LEGO Disney Frozen Anna & Kristoff’s Sleigh Adventure, and the #41166 LEGO Disney Frozen Elsa’s Wagon Adventure. This second set is the only one to date featuring the baby reindeer. The adult reindeer is especially detailed, but because of the rounded features, they don’t match the aesthetics of standard LEGO minifigs and animals.

LEGO Reindeer 1

Then in 2019, we finally got a deer mould in a standard LEGO set! The #75945 LEGO Harry Potter Expecto Patronum features a glittering, transparent blue mythical stag representing Harry’s guide. A proper reindeer shouldn’t be far now!

LEGO Reindeer 2

The following year (2020), LEGO released the #10275 LEGO Elf’s Club House with the very first realistically colored reindeer. Unfortunately, only a single reindeer was included with this $100 set, so it remained a rare item.

10275 LEGO Elf Clubhouse 7

But soon, you will be able to build a full herd of reindeer with the upcoming #40499 LEGO Santa’s Sleigh set, already referred to by fans as the “reindeer battle pack”. The set features four reindeer pulling Santa’s enormous sleigh. The sleigh is so big because it is full of presents as well as snacks for Santa and the reindeer to sustain them during their long trip.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 1

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 8The set comes with 343 pieces and two sets of bags. Bags #1 feature the pieces to build eight simple but colorful gift boxes and other gift items like a teddy bear, guitar, ski set, and a printed 2×3 tile with Santa’s Nice List. This printed tile and the guitar are the only printed accessories. By the way, the list includes 16 names that are printed really small and blurry, but some are a bit easier to read than others. I can only make out Claudia from the first row, and Pablo, John, Donald, and Oliver from the second row.

Bags #1 also include Santa, with a nicely printed torso (front and back), and dual-moulded legs, and hat.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 5

The reindeer has two versions. They are of course one moulded piece, but the gap on their back can either get filled with a plain brick and tile (which is what you would use when you just want to let them roam freely), or when you yoke them up, you replace the first assembly with a slightly more complex one. This second option is provided to you at a later stage of the building process. I appreciate that LEGO gave us both options in this set. In the image below, the reindeer are yoked up, and you can see the four plain fillers on the side.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 2

The sleigh itself is enormous. It is 8 studs wide and almost 14 studs long. Santa looks comically small riding it, but it is great for carrying all the gifts. In fact, besides the gifts included with the set, you could easily pile up even more. And if you want, you can also add Mrs. Claus or a couple of elves into the cockpit from previously released sets.

The interior space of the sleigh is split up into three separate sections; the cockpit where Santa sits, the slightly higher up cargo area for all the gifts, and a slide-out drawer at the back used for snacks. The entire sled is very sturdy and well built with no weak connections.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 7

There are a total of nine stickers that come with the set. Five of those are for the sleigh, and the remaining four small stickers decorate the yoke of the reindeer. The stickers are nice, but if you don’t want to apply them, that’s fine too. The sleigh has plenty of nice golden decorative pieces. The two more unusual stickers are Santa’s dashboard screen plotting his worldwide route and the license plate that reads 54N74. I’m not sure what that refers to, but if you know, feel free to share in the comment section below.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 6

Once you finish building the sled, it’s time to gather up those reindeer and hook them up! The connections are done with long rods and tubes as well as small pieces with clips and bars. I was worried that this will be a bit finicky, but once you connect everything, everything is very sturdy. There are also extra connections between each pair of reindeer, which makes the connections even stronger. In case you need to know, Santa’s sleigh, including the reindeer train, measures over 3 in. (8 cm) high, 11.5 in. (30 cm) long, and 2.5 in. (7 cm) wide.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 3

I wouldn’t recommend picking up the assembly by grabbing the reindeer and trying to whoosh the sleigh around in the air because the sleigh is too heavy. Nor would I recommend grabbing the sleigh only, because the clips will make the reindeer bend down and the connections eventually separate. But if you hold the reindeer with one hand and the sleigh with the other, you can totally do some whooshies.

40499 LEGO Santas Sleigh 4

The #40499 LEGO Santa’s Sleigh is going to be available starting October 1st. Prices are as follows: Price: 36.99 EUR/59.99 AUD/34.99 GBP/36.99 USD/49.99 CAD. For a 343-piece unlicensed set that’s a little high, but I believe the reindeer and nice Santa figure makes up for it. If you want to check it out, the set is already listed at the seasonal items section of the Online LEGO Shop.

Shop LEGO Winter Village 2021 2 1

What do you think? How do you like Santa’s Sleigh? Are you planning to add this set to your Christmas shopping list? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!

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