LEGO has been producing these cute little models of the Chinese Zodiac models since 2015’s Year of the Sheep as promotional sets released around Chinese New Yea – initially just in Asia, but are now available worldwide.
For those that want to learn more, the Chinese Zodiac comprises of 12 animals that repeat in a 12-year cycle, and 2021’s zodiac animal is the Ox, known for its hardworking nature!
No official details of LEGO.com/US/UK/Europe availability, but I suspect these will become available in early February, closer to Chinese New Year!
40417 Year of the Ox Set Details
Name: Year of the Ox
Set Number: 40417
Price: N/A – Only available as a Gift with Purchase
Exclusive to: LEGO.com, LEGO Brand Retail Stores, Myer (Australia)
Theme: Seasonal / Chinese New Year
Release Date: 2021
The box design has largely been kept the same with its square shape, and flap lid design.
On the back is a cute illustration of all the posable parts of the Ox, and a 4-step diagram of how you’re meant to use the set as a gift during Chinese New Year.
Here are the contents of the box, when opened – you get a few polybags of LEGO, an instruction manual and a commemorate LEGO Year of the Ox red packet.
Each year, the Chinese Zodiac set includes a red packet, with the year emblazoned onto it in reflective ink.
For those that are unaware, one of the primary traditions during Chinese New Year is the giving and receiving of red packets – children and unmarried individuals typically receive these red envelopes (hóngbāo) filled with money as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.
With these red packets, LEGO intends for these promotional sets to be given out to younger kids, and have these red envelopes filled with cash, obviously to buy more LEGO.
I do wish they were a bit more generous and included more red packets in these sets, as they are rather collectible, especially if you’ve been collecting these since the Year of the Sheep.
The Year of the Ox, being a sub-200 piece set is a fairly easy and straightforward build. The design of these Chinese Zodiac Animal has remained fairly consistent since the monkey – with a head that swivels and is attached to a seated body, resting on small base.
The Ox’s colours are much more muted and earthy – and I really like the way they posed him with his feet sticking out.
The Ox’s arms and feet are also fairly posable thanks to the ball-joints used as connectors.
One of the newer developments compared to previous models is that he has 2 new printed eyes, which have a light brown iris, which I’ve not seen before.
It follows on from last year’s Rat, which had its own unique printed eyes as well, which are a nice way to differentiate each animal from each other – especially since the Dog, Monkey and Pig had identical eyes.
Oh, and I also love the black hooves that the designers included on each limb, which are a cute touch.
And here’s a look at the Ox’s tail, which uses a chocolate fudge piece for its bushy tail.
The base has similarly earth colours, and I especially like the olive green elements use, which complement the pearl gold, red and orange parts quite nicely.
The Year of the Ox model pairs really well with the Ox Suit minifigure from 80106 Story of Nian, and any other cows you might have in your collection – as a celebration of all things bovine in 2021.
With the 2021 Year of the Ox model, we are now officially more than halfway through the LEGO Chinese Zodiac Animal cycle!
The Ox now joins 2020’s Year of the Rat, 2019’s Year of the Pig, 2018’s Year of the Dog, 2017’s Year of the Rooster, 2016’s Year of the Monkey and the one that started it all – 2015’s Year of the Sheep
It’s going to take 5 more years to complete the cycle, or maybe 6 if LEGO decides to redo the Year of the Sheep/Goat in 2027 but I’m excited that there are only 5 Zodiac animals remaining!
When LEGO first released the Year of the Sheep in 2015, I dreaded thinking that it would take another 11 years to collect the set, but the finish line seems to be in sight now that we’re more than halfway through!
And here’s a shot I took of all the Chinese Zodiac Animal models, with their minifigure and animal counterparts!
What I liked:
- Earth colours work really well for the Ox
- New printed eyes are a nice addition
- Quite easy to get with a lot GWP purchase threshold
What I didn’t like:
- Still only comes with 1 red envelope
As far as long release cycles go, I believe nothing will beat the Zodiac Animals for the time it takes to collect the entire lot – and for someone who has been collecting since the very inception, I’m pleased that LEGO are still committing to this.
I just can’t wait to get to the Year of the Snake, which will be my Zodiac Animal – for a personal connection, and as I’m also curious how they’d design a limbless animal!
The Year of the Ox is a great addition to the lineup, and manages to retain its sense of identity, but still introduce some interesting design features such as the generous smooth design, hooves on its limbs, and posable features.
It’s a cute addition to my collection, but unless you’re determined to collect all 12 Zodiac Animals, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a must-buy. Like the Year of the Pig, they’re not hard to come by, and stock levels seem relatively high, so it won’t be too much of a fight, and will be a nice freebie if you have any LEGO purchases lined up in the next few weeks.
Like previous years, I think the LEGO Chinese Zodiac animals are another great tool to expose Western LEGO fans to Chinese traditions, while still being a really cute, accessible and fun gift with purchase, especially if you were born in the Year of the Ox (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)!
Rating and score: 3/5 ★★★✰✰
Build  – Build is fairly standard, and doesn’t deviate much from previous animals
Real Value  – It’s a gift with purchase, and with so much new LEGO on the market, it represents decent value.
Innovation  – Not a lot of innovation here – the design of these Zodiac Animals are pretty fixed, and there’s not much to go beyond the established
Coolness  – It’s a cow and it’s cute, and contains plenty of charm
Keepability  – As part of a limited edition GWP cycle, I can see these being sought after in a few years, especially when people get serious about completing the set.
Thanks for reading this short review of 40417 Year of the Ox! Hope you enjoyed seeing all the LEGO Chinese Zodiac animals all lined up!
Stay tune to the blog for details on a global launch and release details – but if you’re in Asia or Australia, these sets should be available from your local LEGO Certified Stores. I expect them to become available from 1 February 2021 from LEGO.com/
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