80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival: Hands-On Review

The Harbin Snow and Ice Festival is one of the more unique events associated with the period from late December to early February. Located in Heilongjiang, the northernmost province in China, the annual festival sees a large number of magnificent Ice and Snow sculptures on display.

This festival, and other like it are the subject of 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival. With 1519 pieces, it is one of two minifigure scale sets released this year celebrating the Chinese Spring Fesitvals.

Like the Temple Fair and Lantern Festivals, this set is rich in minifigures, and scope for story telling. Being set in a snow clad winter setting, it brings us a very different environment to these other sets. I was fortunate to receive a pre-release copy of the set for review, thanks to the LEGO Group. Let’s take a look at the build experience.

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Happy Holidays from The Rambling Brick

Just a quick note to wish you all a happy holiday, and I hope to see you back soon (I still have a few reviews to post between Now and New year!)

In the meantime, 2021 has been as full of challenges as 2020, both with pursuing LEGO fandom, as well as the consequences of having live go on in the face of the Pandemic.

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It’s Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas [40493 Hands-On Review]

I’ve been a little bit distracted over the last few weeks: a large number of new sets, which don’t seem to have been reviewed yet, arrived; Throwback Thursdays have been missed and I have been physically drained. I could blame COVID, or Christmas, but in reality, it has been Christmas Trees – and the selling thereof – as a fundraiser for our local Scout Groups. For the last few weeks, I have been part of a team procuring trees, selling them to our local community, all while fundraising for our youth facilities and programs. Aspects of the exercise have been a little harder this year: one of our team for the last 5 years passed away unexpectedly during the year, and his absence was sorely felt over the last few weeks.

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A Simple Holiday Project (ion)

Halloween is greeted with varying enthusiasm by Australians. From an awesome opportunity to dress up and beg neighbours for lollies, through to downright detestation of Imported Celtic/American rituals and celebrations.

I am probably somewhere in between.

However, many of my neighbours appear to be a little more enthusiastic, with the houses and gardens being decorated with spiderwebs plastic pumpkins and skeletons for some time in the weeks running up to October 31st.

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Just Go With The Floe: 40498 Christmas Penguin [Hands On Review]

I’m not going to lie: when I first saw this set, I was a little baffled. Most of the imagery associated with Christmas holidays refers to the northern hemisphere winter: conifers, reindeer, references to the North Pole. The penguin does not appear very high on this list at all. Harking from the opposite side of the earth, you might understand why. Instead, I embraced this as the Southern Hemispheric attempt to embrace the Southern summer: if you were looking for snow at this time of year, it would have to be on the Antarctic or, at least, a nearby sub-Antarctic island.

I was very fortunate a few years ago to have the chance to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula, via Patagonia. It was January, and the sun dipped beneath the horizon around one am, only reappear around two hours later. Penguins were abundant, of several species, and I found myself wondering if I saw anything resembling the one depicted in this model. More of that later.

But I digress. The 40498 Christmas Penguin is the 4th ‘iconic’ seasonal set released this year, after the Valentines Day Bear, the Easter Rabbit and the Halloween Owl.

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80107: The Spring Lantern Festival – a Masterclass In LEGO® Landscape Design [Review]

For the last couple of years, the larger of the Spring festival sets has been one of the highlights of the building year for me. Last year’s 80105 New Year Temple Fair is one of my favorite sets to build ever, between the details of the maket stalls, the characters , the different produce, and the temple itself.

This year, we are looking at the 80107 Spring Lantern Festival: traditionally on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, it marks the final day of celebrations for the Lunar New Year period. This year (2021) it will fall on February 26th. The lunar new year starts with a new moon – a moonless sky. On the night of the lantern festival, we expect to see a full moon.

I cannot recall any LEGO set that focusses on external landscape in any detail with the possible exception of the LEGO Ideas Treehouse, and in that situation, the landscape, apart from the tree and treehouse itself, was fairly limited. In this set, designer Justin Ramsden presents us with a masterclass in landscape design.

This is a larger set than 80106, with 1793 parts. It will cost $AUD169.99/USD119.99/GBP89.99/CAD159.99. It is due for release in the Asia Pacific region on January 1, and throughout the rest of the world on January 10.

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80106: The Story of Nian Review

Over the last couple of years, the LEGO® sets released in association with the Spring Festival/ Lunar New Year have been some of the most delightful sets that I have experienced in recent years. With their bright colours, families celebrating and insights into Asian Cultures, they have been a highlight of the new year releases in 2018-19.This year, we have two new sets: 80106: The Story of Nian, and 80107: The Lantern Festival. I was delighted to be given the chance to look at both of these sets ahead of time. The Story of Nian will be released in Mainland China and the Asia-Pacific Markets on January 1 and rest of the world from January 10th, 2021. It will retail for $AUD109.99/USD79.99/GBP59.99/CAD109.99, and has 1067 elements.

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Countdown to the Year of the Pig: Dragon Dance 80102 [Review]

As we approach the eve of the Year of the Pig, I would like to look at another of the sets released for the Chinese ‘Spring Festival’

The 80102 Dragon Dance has been enthusiastically awaited after the initial images arrived last November, and the set has been hotly sought after, in part due to its relative scarcity outside of Asia. In Melbourne, both this set and 80101 Chinese New Year Family Dinner have literally flown off the shelves, with long queues, household limits and disappointed customers being frequent occurrences at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre store.

I can see the appeal of this set on many levels: as a seasonal set, it is one of the first sets released, outside of the ‘Year of the…..’ series, for this significant day in the Asian Cultural Calendar, touching on subject matter rarely covered previously, featuring bright colours, and a movement function, coupled with limited global distribution to the Asia Pacific Region – this set has very little to be negative about.

This set has 622 parts, and costs $AUD79.99 new. The retail channels for this set have been limited in Australia. Certainly, demand for this set has been high in the rest of the world, and it will be interesting to see what approach might be taken with this type of set in the future.

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Countdown to the Year of the Pig: Brickheadz Dragon Dance Guy [review]

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, I though I might take a look at the Dragon Dance Guy, the first Brickheadz character to be released for this particular seasonal event. The dragon dance is a frequently performed at Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, traditionally to celebrate a successful Harvest. The dragon is thought to bring prosperity and good luck. It is also believed that the dance will scare away evil spirits.

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Countdown to the Lunar New Year [Year of the Pig 40186 – Review]

We are now counting down to the start of the Year of the Pig. This year, we have seen a number of sets released to commemorate this event, as the LEGO Group seeks to increase its market share in Asia. We have previously mentioned 80101 New Year’s Eve Family Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance – these APAC exclusive sets have been in high demand: literally flying off the shelves as soon as they arrive. We have also seen the release of the Brickheadz Dragon Dance Guy, and the Year of the Pig 40186.

This last set is one I would like to look at today. The fifth in the series – following on from previous sets Year of the Dog, Year of the Rooster, Year of the Monkey and Year of the Sheep – 40186 The Year of the Pig is available as a Gift With Purchase at selected locations now. In Australia, it is available through the LEGO Certified Store (GoldCoast), LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Store (Melbourne) and selected Myer Stores (including their online store). Before you get to take it home, however, you have to spend $88 in store. I found mine at Myer Doncater, during the closing days of their stocktake sale ( which meant that most LEGO® sets were selling for 20% off).

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