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Review – 40436: Lucky Cat

While 2020 has been a terribly unlucky year so far, what do we think of the seasonal BrickHeadz set Lucky Cat? Let's find out in another BrickGeekz Blog review.

Don’t you wish you could return to the beginning of the year 2020 and start all over again? While unfortunately we can’t do that, we thought the least we could do is take a small step back in time and review Lucky Cat, the 2020 seasonal Brickheadz entry for the Chinese New Year.

Although 2020 hasn’t turned out lucky by any measure, how does Lucky Cat compare as a LEGO Brickheadz set? Let’s find out.

The Package

Lucky Cat contains 134 pieces. While it’s not the smallest seasonal BrickHeadz set, it is small compared to the 2019 Chinese New Year set, Dance Dragon Guy, which checked in at 170 pieces.

The rear of the box shows our first glimpse of one factor that makes this BrickHeadz set unique. Lucky Cat is based on what is actually a traditional Japanese figurine called Maneki-neko, which literally means “beckoning cat”. The figurine is often associated with Chinese culture because of its popularity with Chinese merchants. This BrickHeadz set contains a few Technic parts that makes his paw raise up and down, thus simulating the “beckoning” gesture of the figure. The raised paw can also be interpreted as a symbol of good luck.

Inside the box, the build contains three bags, two loose parts, and the traditional LEGO instruction guide.

The Build

Like this year’s Valentine’s Bear Brickheadz set, Lucky Cat is in a sitting position, much like the traditional figurine. And that’s where our LEGO build begins, a simple assembly of Lucky Cat’s lower torso, legs, and feet.

Next, we add on some simple Technic parts to create the mechanism for Lucky Cat’s “beckoning” paw …

… and add on another layer of pieces to complete the paw and hold the Technic mechanism in place. You can also see here the addition of a green collar with a gold 1 x 1 round plate “pendant”. We’ll get back to that pendant a little later in this review.

Lucky Cat’s head has a unique assembly compared to the standard BrickHeadz design, with fewer of the “Modified 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with Studs on 1 Side” pieces. Two 1 x 1 plates with open clips are also placed in the top-front to anchor Lucky Cat’s ears.

The finished assembly of the ears is cleverly accomplished using red 1 x 1 bricks with handles plus white 1 x 2 curved slopes and white 1 x 2 inverted curved slopes. The rest of Lucky Cat’s head is a simple assembly of additional white curved slopes.

Lucky Cat’s face includes a few special touches including yellow 1 x 1 plates to form the background of the eyes and the minifigure claw weapon for the whiskers. Lucky cat also includes a pre-printed 1 x 2 gold tile that represents a gold coin that translates as sen man ryou (千万両), or 10 million gold pieces.

Back to that collar now, it’s unfortunate that the pendant is a simple 1 x 1 round plate and not a pre-printed 1 x 1 round tile. Traditional Lucky Cat figurines often have a printed pendant on the collar that says fuku (福), meaning luck. The two symbols combined – the pendant and the coin – can be loosely translated as wishing good luck to receive a fortune.

The Verdict

Lucky Cat is a good BrickHeadz set featuring the first moving assembly for a BrickHeadz set, which sets the stage for a fairly accurate representation of the traditional Lucky Cat figurine. The pre-printed gold “coin” is a beautiful touch, although the set would have benefited from a matching pre-printed “pendant” on its collar, rather than a simple 1 x 1 round plate. The single stud visible between the ears kind of bothers me; perhaps a cheese wedge could be used there to eliminate that stud.

Lucky Cat does pale slightly in comparison to the 2019 Chinese New Year Seasonal BrickHeadz set, Dragon Dance Guy. Dragon Dance Guy is a beautiful build and one of my favorite BrickHeadz sets, so Lucky Cat unfortunately had a tough act to follow. Overall, however, with the low cost of BrickHeadz sets, Lucky Cat is another fine addition to your LEGO collection.

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