This week, we saw the launch of Monkie Kid, the LEGO Group’s new theme, based on the classic Chinese Novel, Journey to the West. While the sets look great, I was even more excited by the fact that there were only 12 hours between the official announcement and the release of sets in the local LEGO Brand stores – both LEGO Certified Stores, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.
I was standing on the doorstep at opening time – third in line, and the only one who wasn’t planning to pick up the Monkey King Warrior Mech 80012. I am looking forward to getting it at some point, but I suspect there will be many reviews online in the next few weeks. So I headed to the antagonist: Demon Bull King 80010. This set has 1057 pieces, three minifigures and sells for $AUD129.99. To be honest, my interest was raised primarily by the colour scheme, as well as the windscreen elements used on his shoulders. I wanted to get a closer look, as the packaging was giving me a Space Police or Ice Planet 2002 kind of vibe. But we will come to that a little later.
Around our local Certified Store, they had most of the range available – the only one missing was the Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ.
I am a little disappointed that, at present, there are no sets in the theme available for less than $AUD49.99. I appreciate that the Australian dollar has undergone a beating in recent months, but this puts virtually the entire range outside the price point for a pocket money set. A small set – perhaps Monkie Kid and The price point did not seen to be a worry to the people in the queue ahead of me, who were happy to pick up the 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech. Within minutes of opening, stocks were dwindling. Anyway, I picked up my set, along with an unanticipated sticker sheet, and headed home.
So, the first thing that became apparent as I embarked on this build was that despite initial appearances, the Demon Bull King is not a Mech. That implies a piloted exosuit. The main build is the Demon Bull King!
We will look through the build, focussing on some of the more interesting aspects of the building techniques used, particularly with regard to constructing a large, sturdy figure; the take a look at the three minifigures included. I’ll include images of all elements in use, but I shan’t exhaustively declare ‘the new elements and recolours are…’. I shall mention it when I find it interesting.
The set comes with 9 bags of elements, and a seperate package containing the (200 page) instruction book, sticker sheet, and foil accessory. The instructions have some interesting features, which I suspect have been around for a few months – however, this is my first 2020 set to be assembled since January. Along the bottom of the pages in the manual, is a small picture of Monkie Kid. As you progress through the instructions, he moves across the page, giving you an idea as to his overall progress. At the end of each significant sub build, there is also a small triumphant ‘Star spangled explosion’ – it sounds like the ring you get at the end of a sub build if you are using ‘Instructions Plus’. By the way, Building Instructions is now available as a seperate app, not only as part of LEGO Life. It is linked to your LEGO ID, and keeps a record of the sets that you have scanned the instructions of between apps (well, sets released since early 2019, anyway).
As we get underway, it becomes how apparent the colour palette used in this set is: Based on Black, titanium metallic, medium lilac, bright reddish violet and fluorescent transparent reddish orange. There are a small number of new dark red, yellow and pearl gold elements visible as well. There are certainly a number of recolours here. Some elements have been seen in prepublication for sets being released later in the year, but will make there way into consumer hands here, first.
On with the Build
The head starts with a single plate, and using bricks with studs on the side, and brackets, rapidly becomes a core of SNOT (Studs not on top) elements – with the frontmost studs offset half a stud compared to the back. The ‘side studs’ to the back are on a bracket, which brings them out half a plate thickness, compared to those at the front. It rapidly builds up – a little to the sides – with the Bright reddish violet curves. Before long, we get the chance to place some of the few printed elements in the build.
The set has only a few printed elements, and two are used from the Demon Bull King’s eyes. The Ring element, previously seen silver and Azur, makes its first appearance in gold. The jaw is attached upside down, and features a ‘Metalbeard’ element at the front. There are four others in the set, used as toes on the figure’s feet.
The second bag sees us start work on the torso of the figures: to becomes apparent that the legs/hips will be held in place by double click-ball joints. The shoulders will rotate using a technic turntable mechanism. A small gear, attached to a ball joint provides resistance to movement here.
The body tapers down from the chest to the hips.
The third bag contains the element that left me most curious about this set: the fluoro transparent reddish orange windscreen. I had been trying to identify this element from the publicity photos, however, by seeing it in real life, I can see that it is in fact a recolour of the 6x6x2 windscreen element – around since 2011 – it was last seen in last year’s LEGO City-Space 60225 Mars rover. This bodes well for fans of Ice Planet and Nexo Knights as far as MOC Building, even Space Police I, if you don’t mind a little fluoro excess…
The build adds another layer of click hinges to the legos – making it three in total. This makes for very substantial strength in the hip joints.
We also build up the torso, including the inclusion of a light brick, behind a double trans layered chest – add some ribs, and the demonic nature of this build is apparent.
The head attaches onto the top of the torso with a very simple clip and bar connection: the head can only move up and down, and there is not a lot of friction in the connection to allow the head to stay looking up. as such, left to his own devices, the demon king is always looks slightly down – just as if he is looking at something (or some one on the ground).
We continue, with the hips and thighs. the hips move in and out on the triple click joints previously seen. the hip flexes thanks to the pair of elements that form a click/flex joint. Its relatively straighforward, and comes with some gruesome stickers, designed to give the impression of broken skin, revealing muscles and sinews beneath the skin.
We continue with the lower legs, the knees are built in such as way that they appear flexed. During this section, we pass the half way point of the build.
With the legs completed, we have single pegs on each side to attach into the foot.
Bag six sees the construction of the feet. Beginning with a simple swivel that ensures the feet are level, regardless of the abduction of the hips. The feet are large, stable platforms. The rounded 2×1 plates are used to the full here, to splay the toes. Extra podiatric assistance is applied through the use of Metalbeard’s…errrr… beard element to complete the toenails.
Next, we move on to the shoulders: more windscreens, and the appearance of the ‘Nexo wedge’ in metallic titanium. The colours here really pop. the pegs join in the turntables attached to the shoulder girdle, and the double ball joint forms the figure’s elbows. this is similar, in part, to the technique used in the construction of the LEGO Ideas ‘Voltron’ set.
As we star our bag eight, we seem to lose the boundary between demon and mech suit: the right arm appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a flame thrower, complete with caution signs. I hope it is explained in the series how the Bull Demon King’s arm comes to be this way. The left arm is more straightforward – with 3 fingers, and a couple of peg connectors that will aid the holding of any weapons.
Of interest in this bag are the new gold lacquered handles, designed to attach to the ends of the Monkey Kid’s staff: 2 1/2 studs long. here they are compared with the traditional handle in pearl gold.
Our final bag contains lots of fluoro trans reddish orange. We build up tanks that sit on the back of the figure, with the ability to spray orange studs across the room. Coupled with a flaming axe, the final figure becomes somewhat daunting.
The final figure is rather impressive. I shan’t spoil the full looking sunlight…rather here is the Demon Bull King, lurking in the shadows.
This set comes with three Minifigures – in order of appearance, we see: Princess Iron Fan: Wife of the Demon Bull King; Pigsy and Monkey Kid. Each figure features new prints.
Princess Iron Fan has a dual sided head print, as well as a new wig. Her torso has front and back printing which continues onto the on to the lower ‘dress’ element.
Pigsy has a new head mold. The shape of his head does not allow any old wig or hat element to be attached, but the chef’s hat fits nicely. In this set, he wearing the same clothes as in set 80013 Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ. His vest is over a striped singlet – and his arms are uncovered. The back of the vest features additional pockets, as well as a picture of a smiling pig-chef. Pigsy is a little shorter than Monkie Kid, and has the mid length articulated legs, with a nifty cargo pant print.
Finally, we have Monkie Kid. This is a great figure. He features a new wig element, with the Monkey King’s traditional headband. His head has a dual print: a relaxed smile, and a determined grimace. Around his neck, he wears a pair of turquoise headphones. His torso features a printed bright yellowish orange Jacket, with two pockets, and some Chinese script on the front. It is unzipped at the front, relvealing a t-shirt underneath. My best efforts with Google translate read it as ‘sky’, but I would love someone to correct me if I am wrong – send me an email or comment below. On the back of the jacket is a picture of a grinning Monkey King: selling Monkey King Merchandise is part of MK’s side hustle, along with delivering noodles for Pigsy. MK wears red tracksuit pants, with whit stripes on the side, along with what appears to be black hi-top sneakers. He has a printed keyhanging out of the pocket. The black shoes/boots are dual moulded with the pants.
Overall, the prints are of a high standard. I look forward to seeing the style of animation used in the animated series when it is released, and how it compares with the minifigures. The figures are a pretty strong line up, in a midrange set for the theme.
I tackled the Demon Bull King with my blacklight, and the overall effect was incredible. I was delighted by the effect on the ‘NEXO Orange’. the overall colour scheme works well, and I have no problems imaging the figure as a demon king. With 2 exceptions: The flame thrower in the place of the right arm feels incongruous, as well as the tanks on his back. We see the Bull Demon King both with and without these enhancements during the course of the pre-release trailer.- I hope we see the origin story of the modifications in the Movie or series which are to come.
Otherwise, it is tall and imposing: a force to be recked with. He is sturdy – and quite posable. The light brick makes for a suitably evil glow! I am delighted to have started with this build in my Monkie Boy experience. The figure printing is terrific, although I wonder if there was an opportunity missed to include some arm printing. MK and Pigsy seem reasonably overwhelmed in the face of the Bull Demon King and Princess Iron Fan.
The colours of the Demon Bull King himself work well together, and make him a suitably intimidating figure. The build took me around three to four hours with some local distraction, but was enjoyable. There are plenty of ideas in the instructions for putting together a large, sturdy figure of your own design. There is an interesting selection of elements, which may well appeal to the MOC Builder. I am particularly interested in taking the windscreens on the shoulders away, to put into some space planet type builds. At $129.99 for just over 1000 pieces, it is not far off similar size sets in other themes for price per part, but would represent better value if slightly discounted. As it is a LEGO Branded Outlet exclusive at this time : LEGO Shop, LCS and LEGOLLAND parks/discovery centres – discounts are unlikely, so the use of VIP points or other loyalty programs may help soften the blow.. Personally, I give the set four out of five arbitrary praise units. This set has left me with high expectations for the rest of the theme. I look forward to building a couple of other sets in the theme over the next few months. I’m sure you will hear from others before then.
What do you think of this set, and theme? I’d love to know what you think: why not leave your comments below, and until next time,