LEGO Set Review: 40235 Year of the Dog

40235 Year of the Dog is a promotional Gift with Purchase set released in commemoration of the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. My birth year is the Year of the Sheep, but disappointingly 40148 Year of the Sheep looks too goofy to be taken seriously and I can't say I want to go out of my way to own that set.

But this set was nice to get as part of my first ever LEGO Certified Store haul. It looks to be a delightful little build of a Shiba Inu. I'm more of a dog person than a cat person so I figured I'd enjoy this set despite not being born in the Year of the Dog.

The box

The front of the box contains To: and From: labels, as the intended use for this set is as a Chinese New Year gift to a relative or friend.

On the back, you can see a step-by-step guide as to how to prepare the set as a gift. Inside is a money packet which you're supposed to place money in, as is tradition for Chinese New Year, put back into the box along with the LEGO bricks and building instructions, and present it as a gift.

Notice that the box itself is unusual in that it opens with a flip top in much the same way as LEGO Architecture sets and many LEGO Ideas sets. This is to aid in the gift presentation as I imagine it'd look pretty bad having a loose flap like regular LEGO set boxes!

What's inside

The box contains 3 bags of parts sorted by size, a money packet, and building instructions.

If you're giving this as a gift, you're supposed to give the set unassembled. That doesn't mean you couldn't open all the bags and dump the parts back into the box, but I wouldn't recommend it. Keeping the parts sealed in their bags makes it less likely that they'll fall off and be lost during transportation.

The money packet

The money packet features the box art on the front, and a stencil of the model itself in a shiny gold texture. The inside is red, which is unusual because Chinese New Year money packets tend to be red on the outside instead.

Unfortunately since it's way past Chinese New Year by the time I open this, I won't get a chance to use the money packet even on its own. Nice little souvenir though, I guess!

The model

As mentioned, this appears to be modeled after the Shiba Inu, with the dark orange and white color scheme. Obviously the proportions are quite stylized which makes it a really cute model.

The back of the box shows that the ears and tail can be articulated. The ears use bars and clips while the tail uses small ball joints (which are really tight by the way). The head is attached to a 2x2 turntable representing the collar and so can face any direction you desire.

There's a lot of sideways building going on in both the body and the head. Those SNOT bricks and plates have really been put to work! The best part is that you can barely see any of them (though bits of them are visible if you look at the back of the dog).

There's a lot of culpting done with the numerous curved plates in conjunction with the sideways building, something I'm really not used to having been out of touch with LEGO building for so long. For such a small build it really is impressive in this regard!

Obligatory comparison with the octopus chef from 10404 Ocean's Bottom, because of the 2x2 eye tiles both models use.