Show Me the Bunny: 40643 Jade Rabbit and Half-Year LEGO® Leporine Review

This year is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac. As such, we have seen rabbits cropping up in all sorts of places during the year. We have seen small figures, large figures, small builds and large ones. More than I care to consider. So, when the LEGO Group sent over a copy of the 40643 Jade Rabbit for review, I thought we might take this moment to look at all those occasions that rabbits and hares have been incorporated in this year’s LEGO® sets, a leporine review, as it were.

But first, let’s consider the set.

The Jade Rabbit

The Jade Rabbit is part of the legends in many Asian cultures and is often associated with the Mid-Autumn festival, which is typically timed around September. It pertains to the way that the shadows on the moon appear to be in the form of a rabbit when viewed from a certain point of view. The Jade Rabbit is often portrayed as a companion to the Moon Goddess Chang’e, pounding his mortar and pestle. In some stories, he is making moon cakes, and in others, mixing the elixir of life for Chang’e.

images from Wikipedia. Slide over to show how the rabbit shape is seen over the surface of the moon.

The Build

The set has 288 pieces and will be released on June 1 as a LEGO Store exclusive.

We start by building a base, similar to many other Iconic and Seasonal sets – on a rounded 12×12 base. On this occasion it opens up… but more on that later.

We build up a landscape, with a flowing river. While most of the elements in this type of set are pre-existing, I do not believe that I have seen the 1x2x2/3 curved slope in transparent light blue in the past.

We add in a tree, with a lantern hanging from it, and touch up the details in the landscape with some green and dark green tiles.

We build the rabbit!

The rabbit sits on a small turntable, so it can fit ‘off-grid,’ and we add the full moon (using 2×2 quarter circle and 3×3 quarter circle yellow tiles.)

The final model is quite sweet with the rabbit grinding away, next to to the stream..

The model is held closed with a simple clip, but opens up to reveal a small scene on the inside:

I love this little image: the two rabbits living underground in their network of tunnels? Or about to bound off into the sunset together.

There is even room for Chang’e, who was available in last year’s Monkie Kid sets:

Chang’e not included in this set.

Be Vewwy, Vewwy Quiet… We’re Hunting Wabbits!

As it is the Year of the Rabbit, we can expect that the LEGO Group, seeking to make inroads into the Chinese Market, is likely to release a few extra sets with leporine content, so I thought I would hunt them down, and Classify them. I considered dividing them up by type of builds, but it gets complicated in cases like this, where we have a brick built rabbit, as well as two smaller Rabbit elements. So, let’s survey themes through the year, and see how many sets (and rabbits in total) we have.

The Earliest images we saw came from the Chinese new Year sets – and this Duplo set 10411 is ‘Learn about Chinese Culture’ It features a toy rabbit, being pulled along on a string.

80111 Chinese New Year Parade features a brick built rabbit, along with a person dressed up in a rabbit mask.

We see another a couple of brick built rabbits: Brick Built Chinese Zodiac animal, 575 – continuing the series, as well as Creator 3in 1 31133. the Easter Basket appeared as a gift with purchase last month as well

Ozwald the Lucky Rabbit was long lost from the public consciousness, until he reappeared in the Disney 100 Brickheads, and CMF.

Let’s move on to sets containing the smaller rabbit elements…

The Jazz club sees a magician striving to pull a rabbit out of her hat.

LEGO City brings a couple of hares into the fray

LEGO Friends have continued to use a tried and true mold for the last few years, now in sand blue.

The Lunar New Year parts pack contains 2 bunnies, while the Spring pack contains one bunny. The Summer pack, coming soon appears to have a toy bunny

Upcoming in LEGO DREAMZzz is 71453 Izzie and Bunchu bunny: a brightly colored, rollerskating giant rabbit, as well as the toy element that it based on – appearing in a couple of sets. The toy appears in at least one other set – the shark-priate ship

and of course, finally, the model in question today: Jade rabbit. with a Brick built rabbit, with 2 of the bunny elements included

There was also a promotional make and take for a rabbit…

So… a quick total: 21 sets so far with Rabbit or Hare based content content, that we are aware of to date. that’s 8 brick built rabbits; 2 minifigures (one costume, one Ozwald); 3 friends sand blue rabbits, 6 white bunnies, 2 tan hares and 3 toy huggable bunnies and one pull along toy. Thats At least 25 rabbits tucked away in LEGO sets to date this year!

I quite like the overall appearance of this set. The rabbit is suitably cute, and it is great to see him grinding with his mortar and pestle. The Tree, with its lantern is also elegant, and I love the way the stream flows around it. Finally, the small vignette built into the base is really sweet.

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Play Well!

Until next time,

Play Well!

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