Set Name: Christmas Penguin
Set Number: 40498
Pieces: 244
MSRP: $14.99

Why I Bought this Set

My LEGO journey started with set #40441 BrickHeadz Shorthair as a decoration for my desk at work. That choice was a no-brainer: I love cats; the set is cute and inexpensive. Once I saw the penguin, I had to have it as a Christmas desk decoration as I knew it would fit perfectly. I contemplated adding it to my winter village as a centerpiece (as the penguin is way too big to be an actual animal in the village), but it didn’t look right. So, I’ll stick with my original plan to have this purely as decoration.

The Build

As this is a small set, the bags aren’t numbered, and you do have a nice pile of pieces to work with. It comes with a small booklet of 80 pages, complete with a parts list at the back. Immediately, I am excited to see the colors in this build. They are vibrant and should pop out nicely when displayed.


The build begins with the base, which is comprised of two gorgeous blues. These sets (including owl #40497, Easter bunny #40463, and Valentine’s bear #40462) all have Easter eggs in the base. For the penguin, we are treated to a snowflake. It’s touches like these that make LEGO fun for me. Knowing the detail that is in there just lights up my soul. It would be nice if there was a way to see the snowflake without having to break the build apart. On the base, there is some white brickwork to create platforms for the future details and then some sparkly clear blue studs to make the base “pop.”


Once the base is complete, time to work on creating the penguin! As with other LEGO builds, the internal structural pieces are bright colors to make the instructions easier to follow. The internal build is a solid narrow rectangle, and once that’s done, it’s all about adding the polished back pieces to make the penguin. The first thing you add is the back and tail of the penguin.

To make the sides and hinged flippers, you use a clip connector. I wish this piece was black rather than grey, as it stands out in the current build. I will probably swap this put once I have pieces. The tapering and design on the flippers are wonderful, however. Again, it’s all in the details!


To make the other flipper, the build is inverted, and I was already playing with my penguin, finding great joy in making my incomplete penguin wave at me. My inner child is in a happy place. The breastplate for the penguin is simple polished white pieces, but the curvature and height differential across it make a belly you want to rub! Of course, no penguin is complete with a beak, eyes, and feet. All these aspects look beautifully in proportion.

Once the penguin is completed, it is mounted by a single foot onto the base plate. This allows the penguin to swivel, so you can change it to your desired angle. There are pieces in the set to make some presents to put near the tree. I think the colors of the presents could be a bit brighter, but that’s easy enough for me to switch out.


Well, without a tree, the set wouldn’t earn its Christmas title! The tree is small, but it looks good, and the colored studs work great as decoration. All that’s left to do is put the tree on its platform, and viola – the set is complete!

Set Review

You can tell from my overview of the build that I enjoyed this little set. It doesn’t have a lot of technical aspects to it, so it is well suited to a younger audience as well.

The best details are the hinged flippers, the swiveling penguin, and the hidden snowflake in the base. I really like the sparkly blue flat studs for the base. As I am new to LEGO, I haven’t seen these pieces before, and I am really chuffed with how they catch the light.

This is a display set, ideal for bringing out some holiday cheer each year.



Build: 4/5
The only reason this doesn’t get 5/5 is that I love the snowflake, but there is no way to see it. It would be excellent if you could lift the build and see it from below. Of course, there are many builds that have hidden things, so perhaps I am being too harsh. But, hey, I am new to LEGO!

Display: 5/5
This is visually spot on for a cute piece of LEGO to display on a shelf or desk or even as a Christmas decoration. The contrast of the black with the white and blue base makes the set pop.

Price: 5/5
There is a lot in this little set to bring value to the build. It’s a simple build, so there aren’t many expensive components. However, the connection for the snowflake is somewhat intricate. The build is solid, and for something you can use year after year for the entire holiday season – this is a cheap decoration.

Final Thoughts

You won’t be disappointed with this set. It’s an ideal set to build while watching a holiday movie as it isn’t overly technical, nor has many pieces. The end product is visually gorgeous, and if you put this near some holiday lights, they will reflect beautifully off the polished back surface.

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