Happy Chinese New Year! To usher in the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram, LEGO released a super-special set that was only available in Asian countries. Why the confusion with what Chinese Zodiac this year? Apparently, there was some misinterpretation of the Chinese characters, which has led to people wondering if it’s the year of the Goat or Sheep. Personally, it’s always been the year of the goat to me, which is why I was pretty perplexed that we got a sheep from LEGO.
Name: Lunar New Year – Year of the Sheep
Set Number: 40148
Price: Retail bonus in Asian territories
Exclusive to: Toys R Us, LEGO Certified Stores in Asia
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO 40148 Year of the Sheep
I was quite lucky to have a friend of mine travelling to Australia and I engaged his help acquiring this set for me. I have to say that I’m a sucker for promotional and exclusive sets so it was pretty hard not to let this one go. Since this set isn’t available in Australia, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to share it with some of my readers since it’s the Chinese Lunar New Year and all.
The 2015 Lunar New Year Set commemorating the Year of the Sheep is available in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and others through selected retail channels such as Toys R Us or LEGO Certified Stores. I got mine from Malaysia, where you had to spend RM150 (~AU$55) on LEGO to receive this set for free.
As you can see with the box art above, it comes in a small squarish packaging which shows off the set, and has some brilliant colourful text wishing LEGO fans a happy Year of the Sheep. The box is also meant to be a gift (more on that later) and there’s space to address it to someone.
I really like the box, as it’s really colourful and has that unique promotional vibe to it as well as Oriental graphical influences such as a flowering cherry blossom tree. Apparently, this set was also available in Japan, who usher the Year of the Goat/Sheep in at the start of the year.
Also included in this set is a really cool Red Packet or “Ang Pau” as it’s more commonly to me. Yes, I know it’s not red, but yellow often works fine. Red Packets are a Chinese custom during the Lunar New Year where married couples fill these packets with money and gift them to unmarried individuals as a token of prosperity and good wishes.
When I was younger (and unmarried) this was one of my favourite things about Chinese New Year as you’d receive quite a substantial amount of money (especially if you have large families or visit your friends) in these red packets. I loved how LEGO went all out with embracing this element of the Chinese Lunar New Year and incorporated it into a LEGO set. The idea is to fill this packet with money, slip it into the box and gift it to someone, allowing them to receive both LEGO and money at the same time!
In Malaysia, they also handed out more traditional red packets at LEGO Certified Stores with any purchase of LEGO products. Here’s what I received.
I think it was a little silly to include the date on the front since that kind of prevents it from being used in the future. I got a whole stack of this – if you like and collect red packets, drop me a note in the comments and I’ll be happy to send you one if you cover postage fees 🙂
Here’s the completed build! It was a quick and easy build since it was a pretty small set, weighing in at only 99 pieces. It uses a lot of common pieces so you can easily replicate it without owning this set. You can find the instructions for the Year of the Sheep build on the LEGO website.
I think there was some miscommunication on LEGO’s end as well, as it looks nothing like a sheep and more like a goat. I don’t know about you, but to me sheep are usually a lot fluffier, don’t have obvious horns and don’t scale rocks. This is most definitely a goat.
Here’s how it looks from the side. The legs swivel back and forth allowing you to pose the Sheep-Goat in several different stances and it has a small 1 x 2 white plate as a tail, which is pretty adorable.
I really like the pink tongue, which adds so much to its appearance. The sheep is well designed, using lots slopes to give it a blocky yet organic look at the same time. The use of different greys for its feet are also pretty clever. If you had enough parts lying around, it shouldn’t be too hard to make your own legion of sheep-goats.
I also really liked the small stand, which is a patch of grass along with some rocks for the Sheep-Goat to scale. The platform has two jumper plates which allows you to affix the Sheep-Goat to it. Having a platform just makes this an excellent display model.
Here’s how the Sheep-Goat looks on the stand, rearing on its hind legs.
Here’s how it looks from the front. Admittedly, it looks way better from the side!
See why I think it’s actually a goat? Real LEGO goat inserted for comparison!
What I liked:
- It’s a Chinese New Year Zodiac animal!
- Goat is designed really well
- Looks great on display
What I didn’t like:
- Not available outside of Asia!
Final thoughts: It’s a shame that LEGO didn’t choose to release this worldwide. I think that this would’ve been a great exclusive that everyone could appreciate, especially since the Lunar New Year has become an international celebration.
The goat was a really pleasant build, and as an ethnically Chinese person, it does feel great that LEGO produced an exclusive set to commemorate an important cultural event. If you want your own one, I suggest picking one up from Bricklink as the prices on eBay are ridiculous. That said, unless you’re a purist collector who must own the box and red packet, you’re probably much better off using the instructions and making your own.
I think the Goat-Sheep is going to stick around my LEGO display area or on the entertainment unit for a while. It’s small enough that it’s quite inconspicuous and is a cute little brick-built animal that looks great on display.
Hope you enjoyed this quick review of the Lunar New Year Sheep. Wishing you a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!
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