Being a LEGO® brand ambassador has brought me a lot of satisfaction as well as a sense of validation for the years of work I have poured into True North Bricks. I often feel the LEGO® Group appreciates my hobby more than my employer appreciates my salaried work. Case in point, the holiday gift. The LEGO® Group sends me the same amazing gift they give to their employees to thank me for being an ambassador. Last year, I got the phenomenal Star Wars Christmas X-Wing. The 2020 Employee Christmas Gift (4002020) is a masterfully designed automaton celebrating 40 years of LEGO® Education.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set as a gift. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.
2020 CHRISTMAS GIFT SUMMARY
- NAME: 2020 Employee Christmas Gift
- SET #: 4002020
- THEME: N/A
- COST: N/A
- BRICK COUNT: 919
- MINIFIGURES: 1
- RELEASE DATE: December 2020
2020 CHRISTMAS GIFT QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 100% (You cannot beat 919 free bricks and almost three hours of build time.)
- BUILD: 99% (Amazing built techniques and near flawless execution.)
- MINIFIGURES: 93% (One Minifigure used as an embellishment with several accessories.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Seasonal, niche-interest set.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 93%
2020 CHRISTMAS GIFT REVIEW
This automaton was free. The LEGO® Group gave it to me in thanks for being an ambassador. However, that may not be the case for many collectors. A set consisting of 919 bricks usually retails for between $100 – $110 in Canada. Given that this is not a retail set, it will cost you a lot more on secondary channels. Already, the “buy-it-now” price on eBay is over $300 CAD in most cases. Additionally, on Bricklink the set is over $200 CAD currently. However, if we assume the retail price is around $105, the cost-per-brick is $0.11. By comparison, my average is $0.14/brick. Based on that, the value-per-brick is 90%.
I got 160 minutes of build time from this set (two hours and 40 minutes). Once again, if we assume a retail value of $105, each minute of build time costs $0.66. Comparatively, my average cost-per-minute is currently $0.83. Therefore, this set earns a value-per-minute score of 89%. Averaging this with the value-per-brick rating gives an overall value score of 90%. However, given that I got this kit for free, I am bumping that up to 100%.
This set is a super clever design. It consists of four modules that can each work independently. However, they also connect so that turning one crank causes all the automata to work simultaneously. The first module employs gear trains and bevel gears to rotate a Christmas tree. Additionally, a toy train drives around the base of the tree. Interestingly, the tree consists of gears as well. I never thought to use gears like that. Now I find myself wanting more to build additional trees. Given that the set celebrates 40 years of LEGO® Education, this scene also contains an Easter egg. There is an NXT brick on the shelf next to the elf Minifigure.
An axle through the first module connects it to the second. This segment uses a dual cam and follower set-up to activate levers. The levers move the arms of an elf on the display side. Subsequently, he looks like he is toiling away at a work bench. Additionally, the pendulum of the clock on the wall behind him swings.
The third module features another elf who rotates at the hip. She is transferring gifts from the work bench to a present conveyor belt in the final module. Her hips rotate thanks to gears, a universal joint, and a sort of slider and crank. This segment contains a We-Do lookalike robot.
Look carefully and you will find LEGO® Education Easter eggs!
As previously mentioned, the last module is a present conveyor belt. An axle from the previous segment activates a chain and sprocket system. The “chain” in this case consists of tank treads. If you look carefully in this module, you find an EV3 brick Easter egg. My only complaint about this module is that the elf if not attached to the set.
Overall, the 2020 Christmas Gift is an amazing build. There are so many wonderful techniques employed. I particularly love the Christmas tree. Additionally, you learn a lot about how to build motion transmission and transformation systems. My only minor issue is the unattached elf. I rate this build experience at 99%.
The 2020 Christmas Gift comes with one Minifigure. It is an elf on a shelf. The hat and torso are identical to elves in the 2020 Elf Clubhouse set. However, rather than including stumpy, unbending legs this Minifigure has full-sized red ones. The character only has a classic smiley face though. In terms of accessories, a frog tops the hat of each brick-built elf to give it shape. Additionally, the clock pendulum is a golden frying pan and there is a rat on the floor. While the Minifigure is a little generic, the accessories make up for it. Consequently, I rate this design at 14/15 (93%).
Generally, one Minifigure in a 919-piece kit is not particularly good. I expect six Minifigures from a set this size. However, the 2020 Christmas Gift is not a Minifigure centric set. It is a display piece that focuses on automata. Therefore, I will forgo the ratio score this time around.
I was very entertained throughout the building process with this set. It works wonderfully. Consequently, I have continued to marvel at its functioning. I may store it with my holiday decorations and Christmas X-Wing for seasonal use. It also has high educational value as an example of common mechanisms. However, the seasonal nature makes it a niche interest set that may not appeal to everyone. Given that it is not a retail set, it is also too expensive for educational acquisition on secondary markets. Additionally, there is not much here for AFOL city builders, except for a multitude of good parts. Finally, the set has limited play value. I rate the entertainment value at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 93%
If you were lucky enough to get this gift, then you are in for a treat. Additionally, the build is amazing and teaches a lot of interesting techniques. However, I do not recommend scouring the secondary markets for this. Already, the price is exorbitant. As a retail set, I estimate it would not cost more than $110 in Canada. Good luck finding it for that price. Ultimately, I think very few will get to enjoy this build. Basically, only those fortunate to get this as a gift, as well as a handful of collectors for whom cost is not an issue. Kudos to you if you fall into one of those categories 😊. I am certainly thankful to be one of the lucky few.
Until next time,
What do others think?
Brick Insights is an awesome site that aggregates LEGO® set review scores from around the web. Based on their statistics, you can see what other reviewers think of the 2020 Employee Christmas Gift (4002020) below.
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