Welcome to the Year of the Rat [80104 review]

When we got our first peek art the 2020/ Year of the Rat LEGO Sets, my first impression was that they were some of the most beautiful LEGO sets I have ever seen. The design aesthetic is quite different to that seen typically with LEGO City, Castle or even Creator Expert sets. What I must say is that I appreciate the work done by the AFOL Engagement team at LEGO, who made representation to the Global Marketing team last year – and as such, these sets are now available around the world – not merely limited to the Asia-Pacific region. When they became available locally, I headed out to pick them up, and I must say, I am delighted.

We have 80104: Lion dance and 80105: Chinese New Year Temple Fair. Both sets depict common aspects of traditions associated with the Chinese New Year Celebrations.

Neither set features any new molds. However, there are plenty of recolours. Bright orange, teal, red and black abound. There are compnents of a temple in each set, and there are design cues borrowing heavily from each, although they remain different enough to have their own identity. A highlight of both of these temples is the use of new printed elements. One includes a dragon motif on a dark blue tile, while the other is a geometric design printed on a teal tile, giving the impression of caved jade.

There are other recolored elements, and I shall endeavour to discuss them as they appear in the building process. I’m sure I’ll miss some. Some I might not mention until I discuss the Chinese New Year Temple Fair. Others probaly just sneaked right past me.

Today, I shall present the Lion Dance, and before long, will present the Temple Market.

Lion Dance 80104

Depicting the traditional lion dance, this set contains 864 parts, and costs $AUD99.99/€69.99/$USD79.99/£64.99. The set comes with one manual and six bags.

There are a large number of new printed elements – the eyes, (technic ball), teeth (tile 2×2 quarter circle); forehead (a ‘slide shoe’ 2×2) and the body of the dragons – (2x2x2/3 curved slope) These elements are common to eachof the 5 dragons that are built up across the set. The set also builds a stage for thre lions, a stand for the percussionists and 8 minifigures, including a town official, the band, 3 more characters invlved in the celebration, and the highlight: a man in a rat suit, continuing on from last year’s year of the pig.

Bag 1

The first bag gives us the elememnts we require to build the 2 red lions, as well as a man carrying a cabbage. These lions are prdominantly red, but feature white frogs and bananas as part of the decorations on their heads. The ball forming the eye, sits in an inverted dome element. A bright green hair element, over a bright yellowish green minifigure head forms the cabbage. Unfortunately, the ‘exoforce hair’ featured in the Modular green groceer set is no longer current, but the hair element used suits the role well.

The lions come together easily enough. Each lion comes with 2 sets of minifigure legs ( a new print, unique to this set), but no torso or head to go with them. The I found it was a good time to share the building duties with other members of my family, as we built the lions up. There are subtle changes with each, mainly from the point of view of color, although the gold and white dragons also feature the use of golden ivy leaf elements under their printed sides.

Bag 2

The second bag builds the white dragon, the percusionists and their stage, as well as the white dragon. The band’s stage is a simple design, and includes red and gold elements in keeping with the theme. At the front of the traditional drum, a golden sausage element debuts as part of the decoration.

Bag 3

The next bag builds the stage and features eight poles on which our lion dancers can demonstrate feats of acrobatic skill. These poles are made using the ‘Functional element, female – 619594) which attaches to the underlying plate with an antistud, as well as the bar from the sie clicking into a clip on top of a modifies plate. This is the first time these clip elements have been seen in medium nougat.

Bag 4

This time we build up the gold lions, with identical design elements as the white lion: except for some colour variations. This is the first time that the inverted dome of the eye socket has been seen in flame yellowish orange. Again, these lions are best built with team work.

The minifigure is carrying a printed tile, with Chinese script translating to ‘Great Luck’ with the aid of Google…

Bags 5&6

the final 2 bags bring us the temple build. With red pillars, teal details, and a roof making the most of the ‘plate 1x1x2/3 with outside bow’ in orange, it also sees the use of golden frogs for detail at the corners. The orange and flame yellowish orange make for a nice contrasting pattern on the roof, and we also see ‘gold ingots’ of each color debut here.

The round plate 1×1 with bar in teal is used to provide some of the detail on the side of the pillars. As the panels build up, we have the chance to use the decorated tiles, that we spoke about earlier.

These two bags come with one minfigure each: the first being a serious looking man in a suit and red scarf. As mayor, he wields a paint brush to complete the painting of the eyes. The other figure is a man in a rat costume. He features traditional patterns on his torso, as well as a molded mouse ‘helmet’, to wear over his head.

In Conclusion

Over all, I really enjoyed building this set: with the lions spread out between other elements of the model. The build is not complicated (evidenced by the 8+ label), but there is a meditative aspect to the contruction of similar elements, which surprisingly never became boring. The lions are posable to an extent, with flexing legs, opening mouths and the ability to nod, but the head is unable to turn from left to right, which has been a standout element in the lion dance, when I have seen it performed. The presence of the percussionists is in keeping with the real experience.

The temple looks beautiful, with the printed elements really enhancing the look. The minifigures are dressed in a way that gives us a sense of teamwork. We do have a couple of dual sided head prints (but only 2) I loved setting it all up, and working on posing the minifigures and lions. It has been a highight of my building over the last 6 months – I give it 4.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units.

Have you built this set? what did you think? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well!

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