As we get ready to welcome 2021, the Western New Year isn’t the only thing that’s on the horizon – for those of us that live in Asia or have East Asian heritage, one of the biggest cultural holidays, Chinese New Year is fast approaching (on 12 February 2021).
For the 3rd year running, LEGO continues to expand beyond Western holidays with two brilliant new sets for 2021 (announced so far), and today, we’ll take a look at the largest one – 80107 Spring Lantern Festival.
The new 2021 LEGO Chinese New Year sets will be available from 1 January 2021 in China and Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world (and LEGO.com) will receive them from 10 January onwards.
Let’s take an in-depth look into the set, and I’m pleased to get share parts of my culture with you!
Thanks to LEGO for sending a review copy.
Name: Spring Lantern Festival
Set Number: 80107
Pieces: 1,793 pieces
Price: AU$159.99 | US$119.99 | £89.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Seasonal – The Spring Festival / Chinese New Year
Release Date: 10 January 2021
First, let’s get into the historical context of the set: The Spring Lantern Festival is a celebration held at the end of Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year holiday is actually 15 days long, with each day having some sort of cultural, or historical significance.
Day 15 (also known as Chap Goh Meh in my Malaysian-Chinese culture) is the grand finale to conclude the Chinese New Year, and is typically celebrated with lanterns, and the making and eating of Tangyuan (glutinous rice balls in sweet soup).
Each country, or sub-section of Chinese heritage has their own twist on the Spring Lantern Festival, and in my Hokkien culture (originating from Southern China), it’s also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, where singles throw oranges into rivers, or the sea, as a means to eventually find love.
Also, shoutout to LEGO for retaining the great packaging design for the Chinese New Year sets, with the bright red background, and illustrations on the box.
I really love this two-page illustration in the instruction manual, which helps tell the story of the traditions associated with the Spring Lantern Festival.
I’m also pleased to report that this set has no stickers, and is filled with all sorts of printed elements, with the highlights being these utterly gorgeous printed koi fish on trans-blue tiles!
The LEGO Spring Lantern Festival set comes with 8 minifigures (an auspicious number) and if some of them look familiar, you’re not wrong as it features the main family from 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner – the kids, the man with glasses, and the lady in an orange jacket.
Note: sorry there’s only 7 minifigures in this shot, I forgot to add the boy in!
The minifigures are highly detailed, and I loved the continuity with the family, as they navigate all the key seasonal celebrations of Chinese New Year.
This couple with matching maroon hoodies have an exclusive new print, with the year 2021 and with a Bull illustration (2021 is the Year of the Ox in Chinese Zodiac) on them, which is really cool as I like references that date specific sets.
One of the things I love about these sets is how they capture distinct parts of my culture, and the inclusion of bowls of Tangyuan, a sweet dessert made up of glutinous rice balls in a sweet soup commonly eaten on the last day of Chinese New Year.
The Chinese people believe that the round shape of the balls and the bowls in which they are served symbolize family togetherness, and that eating tangyuan may bring the family harmony, happiness and luck in the new year.
And here’s the completed set! If you’d like to see me put this set together, check out my speed build video on Youtube to see how it all comes together.
The build was a lot of fun, with varying techniques employed, and I especially loved the zen feeling of building the koi pond, where you lay all the tiles down.
The build is split into two sections, one for the Chinese Pavillion, and the other the Koi Pond/Bridge and are connected via Technic pins.
On the left side, there is also another set of pins, which makes me think that we could possibly get an expansion to this set, which is a really exciting thought.
The Technic pins also mean that yes, you can connect and integrate the entire model into your modular street.
Here’s the Spring Lantern Festival connected to the Modular Police Station which looks utterly brilliant – serving as a Chinese garden to breathe some green space into your dense modular street.
Here’s the Chinese Pavillion entrance – I really love the circular doorway, which is a staple in traditional Chinese architecture, as well as the classic gable-and-hip style-roof is a fantastic nod to Chinese Temple architecture.
The red minifigure statue is some sort of lantern, and has Chinese characters printed on its torso.
Combined with the printed tiles that flank the doorway, they combine to say the following:
First month and fifteen day, chap goh meh celebrations
闔家歡樂: happiness to the whole family
張燈結綵: putting up lanterns and steamers – lights and colours
Special thanks to my sister in law, Fen for help translating some of these!
Walking through the circular doorway, there is a short cobblestone path leading towards the pavilion.
There is a series of lanterns (with a gold bull printed on the trans-red heads) flanking the walk in, which really set the festive mood as you approach the pavilion.
The Chinese Pavilion has a traditional hexogan shape, which is a staple of Chinese-style pavilions, and I love all the little details included. Even the rock formations around it are beautiful in their own way.
The roof of the pavilion is a tad flimsy, but I love the use of dark blue bananas for the tips, as well as the lattice pieces that hang below.
There are jade carvings that grace each hexagon pillar of the pavilion and a white stone table in the middle.
In Chinese culture, these pavilions are commonly found on temple grounds, or parks and are used as places to rest in the shade, or meet.
Another great Chinese tradition is the inclusion of this white rabbit with skates. I was very surprised to see printed detail on the rabbit, and it’s meant to be a toy that is pulled by the little girl.
This white rabbit is a nod to the Jade Rabbit, a mythical figure who lives on the moon. Traditionally, as the Chinese Calendar is based on Lunar cycles, the 15th day of Chinese New Year or Chap Goh Meh is traditionally celebrated outdoors (as opposed to Chinese New Year dinners, visitations that are indoor) as the moon is typically full and so you’re encouraged to be outside, amongst the lanterns to gaze at the full moon.
Next to the pavilion is a koi pond, and this bamboo grove which clever uses a bunch of green candles, as well as fronds to create a dense bamboo grove effect.
I really like the use of bamboo shoots (the short light green ones) at the base of the bamboo, which typically appear in the Spring, when Chinese New Year is celebrated – bamboo shoots are also a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
My absolute favourite part of the LEGO Spring Lantern Festival set is the koi pond, which is not only fun to construct but contains a bunch of printed koi fish tiles, which are such an amazing visual touch.
The pond is also filled with lotus flowers in bloom, which create such a beautiful visual spectacle.
Here’s a top view of the pond, and the bridge that connects both sides of the Gardens.
Bridges are staples of Chinese/East Asian garden architecture, and I love how well this was captured, with soft curves and the pond/stream running beneath it.
I also really love how the designers manage to angle it diagonally which creates such an aesthetically pleasing view, especially when you have minifigures on it.
Also, special shout out to LEGO for including a Bubble Tea/Milk Tea/Boba drink for the male minifigure. Bubble Tea is an absolutely sacred modern part of Chinese culture, and my heart swelled when I realised they had included a cup in this build.
On the other side of the bridge lies a massive lantern created in the shape of a Bull to celebrate 2021 – the year of the Ox in Chinese Zodiac.
The bull’s design is nice, created with a mix of pearl gold, red and trans-red elements, with printed elements for its eyes and sides.
I also really like the raised pedestal that the Bull Lantern is situated on.
There is a light brick embedded within the bull lantern, which lights up, to bathe the entire garden complex in a bright red glow.
The only flaw is the light brick button’s position which is… unfortunate, to say the least.
Here’s a look at the main entrance, which leads into the Gardens, which is similar in style to the other entrance, but with the square steel windows which look great.
On outer fence, there are several banners filled with Chinese characters. These are a little hard to translate (I’m waiting on a friend to get back with some help) but they’re essentially Chinese riddles.
The first banner says: sometimes it’s round, sometimes it’s a crescent, which of course is a moon.
The second banner says: it has curved horns, and eats grass, which is of course a cow.
The third banner says: white sugar plum, which is of course a reference to the tangyuan balls.
What I liked:
- A really beautiful celebration of the Spring Lantern festival, which gets so many details right
- Built on baseplates, it makes for a neat, compact and easy to display model
- Looks incredible on display
- All the printed elements especially the koi fish tiles
- Return of Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner family
What I didn’t like:
- The connection between both sections isn’t the strongest
- Not much else
Final Thoughts: LEGO have once again hit this Chinese New Year set out of the park and produced a smash hit that will truly resonate with not only those of Chinese descent, but any LEGO fan that enjoys great architecture.
I think it’s safe to say that apart from 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, this may be my favourite Chinese New Year set of all time.
The decision to create a rich temple complex on baseplates is a great one, as it doesn’t feel as messy as 2020’s Chinese New Year Temple Fair. With all the models and builds centered on the plates, it allows for a tight, and controlled design, which looks superb on display.
The hallmarks of Chinese architecture are on full display here, captured within the exterior walls, Chinese pavilion and even the angled bridge.
The rich garden scene with the bamboo grove and koi ponds are standouts in my opinion, and really tie the entire model together.
At this price point, you’re getting a set packed with great minifigures, details, and looks incredible as a display model, all within a compact form factor, which is great for those with limited display space.
I can’t recommend this set enough, and this gets a convincing perfect 5/5 score in my book.
Thanks so much for reading!
Let me know what you think of 80107 Spring Lantern Festival, and its design. Will you be picking this one up?
80107 Spring Lantern Festival will be available from 1 January 2021 in China and Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world (and LEGO.com) will receive them from 10 January onwards.
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Special thanks to LEGO for providing this set for a review.