With the VIP Weekend of double VIP points immediately followed by the Black Friday weekend of deals, promotions and lucrative gifts-with-purchase, the LEGO Group is finding itself increasingly light on stock this December (perhaps an impact of the pandemic on production now making its way through to the consumer experience).
With any number of sets on sold out status at LEGO.com and many more teetering on back order status, now wouldn’t ordinarily be the time to bring in a promotional item requiring big spends. Reduced choice and a longer-than-usual wait for what you buy is hardly enticing, just so as to pick up a GWP.
Worse, going into LEGO stores at least in the UK won’t offer you a parallel GWP 30628 Monster Book of Monsters either – Brick Fanatics has been told it isn’t scheduled to come to the UK market at all, let alone this month where it is showing up in EU stores.
Combined with the poor taste that is following very expensive GWPs of Teal Brick (£200 / $200 required spend) and Charles Dickens (£150 / $150 required spend) with another that also requires a spend of £150 / $150 to get, and 40416 Ice Skating Rink is on the back foot before anyone has taken a look at what it is.
Let’s do that anyway – available from December 1 right through to December 24 (or while stocks last), 40416 Ice Skating Rink will be offered as a gift with purchases of £150 / $150 at LEGO.com and in LEGO stores.
As a set, it’s a cute winter scene featuring two ice skaters on a small ice rink, more the size of a pond or someone’s water fountain that perhaps they really shouldn’t be skating on. There’s a mechanism built into the thick base of the display scene that turns the skaters around the centrepiece fountain, transforming the set into something with some personality. Winter sets are a popular sub-theme of LEGO and combining the LEGO Group’s recent offerings can make for a really fun and Christmassy display.
The designs of the minifigures are also noteworthy for the pair of brilliant Christmas jumpers that they are wearing.
Whilst the piece count and interactivity of the set does push it to the same level as the impressive 40410 Charles Dickens Tribute, the issue of timing hampers 40416 Ice Skating Rink.
From the LEGO Group’s perspective, navigating an ongoing pandemic when you work on products a year to two years in advance of release is going to be difficult. And sometimes, like in this case, what could have been the perfect product leading up to Christmas in a normal year is instead an overly-expensive product that fewer people will be able to afford, and with less choice of what to buy in order to pick it up.
A £50 / $50 gift with purchase would have been a more modest, well-received and reasonable offering heading into this particular Christmas, following a hectic VIP Weekend and Black Friday, a financially challenging year for many, and with the reality of very little LEGO left to choose from at LEGO.com in order to get it.
Unfortunately, and somewhat unavoidably, 40416 Ice Skating Rink should be in line for criticism not for what it is (which is a great little set and a high-quality GWP) but for the misfortune of the situation it has skated into.
The LEGO Group provided this product for review.
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