Review: 40226 Birthday Buddy

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

Every year LEGO produces a number of sets that are destined to be sold only in particular shops or countries. They are usually numbered in the 40xxx series. Their limited availability makes many of them difficult to acquire and thus, to me at least, more desirable.

40226 Birthday Buddy is one such set. It was introduced last year and I had hoped it would surface in brand stores but, alas, it wasn't to be: it seems it was sold only in Asia. I therefore had to resort to the secondary market to buy it.

Thankfully the Star Bricksnesia store on BrickLink has a large number in stock for a reasonable price ($11.90). I placed a order a week or so ago, and two arrived in perfect condition yesterday.

So, what exactly is a birthday buddy? And what inspired the design?

To find out I asked its designer Mel Caddick. She said her brief was to produce a birthday set for the Asian market that would appeal to kids.

It's thus been designed with a kawaii aesthetic: "a Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasises the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance." (source)

As a cross between a cupcake and a creature with colourful attire and big eyes it is certainly cute!

View image at flickr

It's also a pretty good parts pack, with 25 in medium azur (sic) among its 133 elements.

View image at flickr

The set comes with stickers for both male and female eyes, and two sets of 2x2 round tiles to enable them to be switched easily. Here's the female variant:

View image at flickr

The sticker sheet provides alternative birthday greetings for the sign, in German, French, Spanish and four Asian languages (excuse my ignorance, I can't identify them...)

Overall, then, this is a great little set that's particularly appealing to collectors of the hard-to-find. A number of BrickLink sellers have it listed but their stock won't last forever, so if this review has piqued your interest you had best order it ASAP...

Finally, an interesting coincidence: I found out on Facebook this morning that it just so happens to be Mel's birthday today, so happy birthday and thanks for all the great sets!


Other Birthday sets

LEGO has released a number of birthday sets over the years, either for gifting, for putting in 'goodie bags', or for sending out invites:

10081 Heart Birthday Pack (2004)

This is one of three Clikits birthday packs that contain everything a girl needs to invite guests, fill their goodie bags and write thank you notes afterwards


852998 Birthday Party Kit (2010)

This one includes ten invitation cards, thank you cards, various booklets and, most interestingly, unique minifigures.


40048 Birthday Cake (2012)

This polybag was sold in brand stores and was re-released in 2013 with a green base.


850791 LEGO Minifigure Birthday Set (2013)

One of six table decorations released over the years for various events.


40153 Birthday Table Decoration (2015)

Another table decoration, but much more robust that that above.

Parts are provided to construct numbers 0 to 9, but not all simultaneously.


5004931 Birthday Card (2017)

This small set, packed in an odd-shaped box, contains a minifig and parts to make a cake and present.

It appears to be available in France and other mainland northern European countries if the location of BrickLink sellers offering it is anything to go by.


View image at flickr

27 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Definitely the basis for an Obelix Brickhead...

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Based on the letter shapes I'm pretty sure that's Korean on the top, then two Chinese versions and Japanese at the bottom. But as I speak none of these languages, I might be mistaken.

Gravatar
By in United States,

That birthday party minifigure is awesome! I'm definitely going to buy a heap of them.

Gravatar
By in United States,

It's so cute! Thanks for the review.

Gravatar
By in Poland,

One world - WALRUS.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Did you photograph the packaging?

Those eyes or similar are being used more and more (like the money box), shame they didn't print them.

Gravatar
By in Belgium,

Here in Belgium we get the 5004931 Birthday Card (2017) in exchange for the first voucher of the 2017 calendar. I assumed this was the case for everyone who got a calendar.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^^ No but I can do. It's just a regular box much the same size as those used for the seasonal sets.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

If 40153 is anything to go by, which was also very hard to come by in the beginning and thus quite expensive for a while, yet later on readily available, I am sure that 40226 will eventually be available over here in Europe as well. Especially considering that the sticker sheet has European languages on it as well. Wouldn't make much sense to have Spanish or German versions if the set is meant only for Asia imho.

Gravatar
By in United States,

SO ADORABLE!!!

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

Ugly

Gravatar
By in United States,

I'm pretty sure 40153 contains enough yellow and trans-clear parts to make any two digits simultaneously, so you can make any number from 0 to 99.

Gravatar
By in Puerto Rico,

Looks like something out of Five Nights at Freddy's.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Ah- I just noticed a typo! In the second paragraph, first line, you said 'it' instead of 'is'

Great review!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Interesting now the last language on the sticker sheet is Japanese Katakana, the Japanese pronounciation of "happy birthday" as "Happii Baasudee", but there is actually a Japanese birthday phrase pronounced "Tanjoubi Omedetoo". I wonder why they chose Katakana instead.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

That is so cute. At least i think it is! There is a chance it's eyes have hypnotised me into believing that!!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

That final set was/is available this year in the UK in exchange for the first voucher from last year's 2017 calendar.

Gravatar
By in Sweden,

Really cute! I could have an entire shelf with those, in different colors.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Are you on commission Huw? Ordered.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I was referring to the store owner. It must have made a fortune this week - he's sold out. :)

Gravatar
By in Australia,

@Legoboy, he probably didnt realise he was being bought out, but when he did, its prob too late to jack up the prices. Someone in Malaysia relisted his at almost AUD$100!

https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?S=40226-1#T=P

(only one on BrinkLink at the moment)

Hopefully Lego will release this set internationally (as suggested in the sticker sheet). No, i didnt buy out the lot. Good to see people usually buy only one or two for collection purposes (mostly, including myself).

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^ Would be interesting to see which greedy sod bought the last 10 though. There's always one.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Again, think of 40153. This went for crazy prices for a while. Then it became available on [email protected] and prices on the secondary market went back to normal. I find this "Birthday Buddy" hideously ugly, but might get it as a parts pack once it becomes available over here, preferably during a sale like the one currently running.

View more reviews »
Return to home page »