80031: Mei’s Dragon Car – [Hands-on Review, With a New Hue]

MK’s friend Mei is descended from dragons (and in particular, a dragon that took on the form of a horse). As such, she has acquired a number of Dragon themed vehiclesover the last few years.The latest wave is no exception, bringing us 80031 Mei’s Dragon Car.

The set comes with 4 minifigures, 456 parts, 3 vehicles and an eye burning new colour. Due for release on January 1, 2022, it will cost $AUD 69.99 / £34.99 / $USD49.99 / 39.99€. How does this set stand up for play value and building experience? Read on to find out.

The Minifigures.

This set comes with 4 mini figures: Mei, MK and two identical henchmonkey’s for the Evil Macaque. They all come with their own accessories.

Mei is iridescent. Quite literally. Her torso is a new vibrant yellow colour, printed with the dragon motif on the front, and featuring a golden armour plate front and back. This new colour fluoresces under ultraviolet light, and is featured in a few other elements in this set. The printing joins up with her teal leg elements. she has a dual printed face – enthusiastic one one side, and smirking on the other. Her hair element has been used previously, and features two pigtails as well as green strands at the front. She weilds the dragon blade – featuring a white drand shaped handle, as well as a transparent bright green blade.

The two monkeys, Rumble and Savage, are identical, with great torso printing: the evil macaque’s insignia is a suitably garish parody of the Monkey King logo used in other sets. They feature the rubber tail element that sits between the legs and torso elements, and have a single sided head print, with a suitably evil demonic red face over a black head, with peircing yellow eyes. they also have a spiked pauldron over one shoulder. Their head is covered with the macaque head element, dual molded with black hair and red ears. One caries a chain and grappling hook, while the other carries a double ended trident/staff. Their legs are unprinted.

MK is a standout figure, with a high level of detail front and back of his flame yellowish orange torso. There is a teal strap crossing his torso, with a red shoulder padding, as well as a buckle. A red stripe, with a target on each sleeve is a lovely touch. He has a double sided head print, with a smirk on one side, and a angry/exerting expression on the other. His air is tousled, and the red headband has gold printing representing the Monkey King’s markings. The legs are dual molded and feature detailed printing with pocket and shoe detail. The Money King’s staff clips onto his back, using a neck bracket and plate with clip. He also carries a scroll, featuring a map, highlighting the fire rings – an essential collectable in the quest featured in the series during this wave, I suspect.

All of these figures are terrific, and provide a great variety of play value, straight out of the box!

The Elements and Build

The Contents of the first two bags are here: the first brings us MK and one of the Macaque’s henchmen, along with transportation. Bag 2 stars work on Mei’s Dragon Car. MK has an established colour theme: yellow/bright light orange/tea/white – and these elements constuct a powered skateboard. In the mean time, Black and red, along with titanium metallic and transparent purple elements make up the macaques’ motortrike. Red wheels have been relatively rare over the last few years, appearing on just a few sets. I see Monkie Kid (along with Ninjago) as being the current ‘space fantasy’ theme in the LEGO portfolio, and seeing those red wheels brought forward a degree of nostalgia for the more Classic Era, when red wheel hubs were the norm.

The motor bike comes together monthly, using a technic Ball Joint to helpset the angle. The use of transparent purple bars as forks gives the vehicle an otherworldly look

Next, we build MK a nifty little powered skateboard – a plate, a few wheels, and some teal tiles for the deck, along with a small jet, with a cloud element as the propulsive plume. It adds a little bit of the Mankey Magic into the ride.

Finally, we move onto the vehicle proper. Of the 3 bags dedicated to putting it together, the first focusses on the chassis and the cockpit. O am particularly enarmoured with the driver’s seat – with a couple of studs to attach to the back of the legs, and the use of angled ingots to construct the cushioning. I really like the final effect here.

The next two bags give us more of the teal/bright bluish green elements, as well as plenty of white slopes. The final bags presens us with the canopy and missile in transparent bright green, as wellas a number of tiles and cheese slopes. The new vibrant yellow appears as two 2×4 wedge plates (left and right) as well as two brick/plate brackets.

Here are the elements for these bags under white and Ultraviolet light. The new yellow is intensely fluorescent!

The elements in this bag go towards constructing the front en and rear ends of the car. I got a little carried away and added the windscreen. I appreciate the was that the roof tiles give a scaly effect to the vehicle, while the front end presents us with an elegantly piercing Dragon’s head.

In the final bag we add the remaining decorative detail: we add a controller to the cockpit, as well as filling up those technic holes with 2×2 plates with 2 pins. Adding in the bright green cheese slopes gives us a feeling of more and more scales. We add fins at the rear, which fold over the rear section, as well as attach some long blades from the rear.

The Dragon’s arms reach forward, incorporating the vibrant yellow bracket, and bringing their claws over the outside of the front wheel.

The final vehicle seat Mei nicely, and rolls very smoothly. the large missile fits in under the dragon’s head, and is launched by pushing gently on the head. The blades protruding from the back give a feeling reminiscent of Tron, or indeed any cartoon motion, as the vehicle sweeps along.

I really like this as a car, and feel that it would not take too much effort to convert it into a spaceship. The scales and head design convey the Dragon theme very nicely, leaving no doubt as to the message being sent.

It is quite reminiscent of the 80020 White Dragon Horse Jet from 2021, and possibly one of the finest sci-fi fliers of the year. I am left wondering what might be possible, if these two vehicles had their elements combined.

The New Hue.

Vibrant Yellow is a… very aggressive colour to look at: burning hard at the back of the retina, even before attempting to view it under UV. Up close, it might have the very slightest greenish tinge, but it is definitely yellow – here is is, compared with other yellow/oranges, greens and blue:

I am interested to see where this colour gets its further use. The use of fluorescent transparent colours was a cornerstone of LEGO Space themes design in the front half of the 1990s. Th eappearance of such a colour here, along with the transparent bright green, makes me feel that Monkie Kid is certainly representative of the current generation of fantasy Space play-themes.

In Conclusion

I can see this set hitting the mark of a number of levels: a good playset, a good starter builders set, with an interesting number of options possible, and indeed a good selection of white and gold greebles. I feel this is a solid set, and give it 4 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units.

I enjoy the colour scheme, as well as the figure selection. The hero model is excellent, while the supplementary vehicles are still good fuin on their own. The I love the decoration of Mei and MK. I do feel that it would have been nice to have something distinguish the two macaques, but henchmen are typically pretty interchangeable.

I am looking forward to see how the use of vibrant yellow expands over the next 12 months: there is limited use in the current wave of Monkie Kid sets this year, but it would appear to feature fairly consistently in the 2022 LEGO City Emergency services sets:

How do you feel about the Dragon Car? A great looking set, or one to skip? How about the new hue?

Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play well!

This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes: all opinions are my own.

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