The two 2021 LEGO® Chinese Traditional Festival sets announced at the 3rd China International Import Exhibition (CIIE) on Friday 6 November absolutely blew me away. Not only are they great display pieces, these two upcoming sets are like the Cave of Wonders for builders who love elements, like us here at New Elementary. Unable to wait for the release of these awesome sets, I decided to go on a visual “part hunt” to find interesting parts for our readers in advance.
LEGO 80106 Story of Nian
Nian is a beast that terrorises villages in traditional Chinese myths, and the story is essentially an explanation for all the loud celebratory traditions, as the villagers have to scare away Nian. The instruction booklet will include the story for educational purposes, presumably in a similar fashion to the facts in the Architecture set instructions, so I will leave out these details for the time being.
However, I would like to applaud the descision of the design team to turn this fascinating Chinese folktale into a LEGO set, instead of giving us another generic Chinese architecture with festive decorations (which would have been awesome anyway). To me, this shows their commitment when developing products related to different cultures (unlike some Hollywood blockbusters that think the mention of chi would make it “Chinese” by default). A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. Set designer Chris Perron and the creative lead Dennis Fong worked closely with Xiaodong Wen, who is responsible for the concept design of the graphics that were then designed by Paul Turcanu.
Exclusive Recolours in 80106 Story of Nian
Just like their predecessors, these Chinese festival sets come with an amazing selection of recoloured elements. Here are the ones I can identify so far from the official images of 80106 Story of Nian.
- Exclusive Ox Hat and a collection of new exclusive Chinese festive torsos
- Weapon Hilt Symmetric (66909) in Black
- Bar Holder with Clip (11090) in Bright Red/ Red
- Fence 1X4X2 W/ Shaft No 1 (32932) in Red
- Gold Ingot (99563) in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray
- Brick Curved 1 x 1 x 2/3 Double Curved Top (49307) in Dark Bluish Gray
- Mop Head (24085) in Bright Green
- Banana (33085) in Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise
- Plate Special 1 x 4 Offset (4590) in Dark Turquoise
- Flat Tile 2X3 W/ Angle (35341) in Dark Turquoise
- Plate Round 1 x 1 with Hole and Horizontal Bar (32828) in Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold
- 1 × 6 Tile in Gold Ink/ Metallic Gold
- Wedge Sloped 45° 3 x 3 Left (42862) and Right (48165) in Sand Yellow/ Dark Tan
- Ice Crystal (42409) in Transparent Fluorescent Reddish Orange/ Trans-Neon Orange
Printed Elements in 80106 Story of Nian
The only printed elements I spotted in this set are the full set of new year greeting couplets (or Fai Chun 揮春) at the entrance: printed Red 1×6 tiles on each side and a printed Red 1×4 tile across the top. For our non-Chinese-speaking readers who are curious, here are the meanings of the couplets:
- Top: “Out with the old, in with the new” (辭舊迎新), as I believe we all hope for a better year to come around the world now
- Left: “Enjoy yourself in the celebration of New Year” (樂在其中慶新春)
- Right: “Welcome the festival with a full house of friends” (高朋滿座迎佳節)
The designers have included an extra treat here. If you put the first two characters in the two sentences together, you get the Chinese name of LEGO (樂高). Probably one of my favourite Easter eggs ever in a LEGO set!
Regarding the use of stickers for the decoration on the door, as I have read a number of people complaining about the use of stickers over printed elements here: I would like to point out that in real life these are meant to be posters of the Threshold Guardians (or Menshen 門神) stuck to the doors, so I tend to think it is a conscious choice by the designers instead of a cost-saving decision.
Rare Parts in 80106 Story of Nian
- Elephant Tail/Trunk in Dark Orange (6327544 | 28959) only appeared once in the promotional polybag 40474 Build your own Monkey King, and this set has 3 of this rare piece (quite an expensive piece on the aftermarket too, at the moment).
- Wedge Sloped 45° 2 x 2 Corner in Dark Tan (6186256 | 13548), returning after its limited appearance in 2 sets from 2017 to 2018.
- I can spot at least 7 of the newly released Brick Curved 2 x 2 x 1 1/3 with Curved Top in White (6299937 | 67810), which only appeared in 21324 123 Sesame Street so far, and the upcoming 10274 LEGO Ghostbusters ECTO-1.
- Wedge 4 x 3 Open with Cutout and Four Studs [Wheel Arch] in Pearl Gold (6116007 | 47755) returns after its exclusive appearance in 2015’s Ninjago set 70734 Master Wu Dragon.
- I am sure some of you are wondering where you have seen those whiskers on the Nian. It is the Bandana in Pearl Gold (6253219 | 44740) that only appeared once in the Overwatch set 75971 Hanzo vs. Genji. The element has only been used on minifigures before. I always love to see these minifigure accessories find their way into models through the genius of the LEGO designers.
For minifigure fans, Grandpa’s Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray hair piece (6310479 | 99930) is also quite rare; it has only appeared once, in this year’s 75968 4 Privet Drive for Harry Potter’s mean uncle-in-law Vernon Dursley.
LEGO 80107 Spring Lantern Festival
Spring Lantern Festival isn’t exactly another celebration of the Chinese New Year, it is the first full moon of the year (15th day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar). While lanterns are commonly associated with another Chinese festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival (which confusingly is also known as the "Lantern Festival” in some places), the two should not be mixed up. Again, it is expected that the instructions of the set will include a short introduction to the Spring Lantern Festival, so I will keep it short here.
The garden is designed across 2 modules; one on a 16x32 baseplate and the other on a 32x32 baseplate. Familiar? Not only does this allow builders to rearrange the garden, you will be able to fit them into your Modular street setup perfectly. And once again, I really appreciate the design team’s passion to explore these more specific aspects to the Chinese festivals – in this instance the set was designed by Justin Ramsden, again collaborating with Dennis, Xiaodong and Paul.
Exclusive Recolours in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival
If you are a huge fanatic of new elements, this set is a gold mine for you - or perhaps a dark blue mine?
- Technic Ball Joint (32474) in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue
- Brick Round 2 x 2 Sphere with Stud (37837) in Dark Blue
- Bar Holder with Clip (11090) in Dark Blue
- Candle (37762) in Dark Blue
- Banana (33085) in Dark Blue
- Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° Left (65429) and Right (65426) in Dark Blue
- Cylinder 1 x 5 1/2 with Handle (87617) in Dark Red
- Technic Axle Connector Smooth (59443) in Dark Red
- Candle (37762) in Bright Green
- Cone 1X1 Inverted W. Shaft (11610) in Bright Green
- Plate Special 4 x 4 with Curved Cutout (35044) in Dark Tan
- Wedge Plate 6 x 3 Left (54384) and Right (54383) in Dark Green/ Green
- 1/4 Arch Brick 5X5 W/Cut Out (6213792 | 24599) in White
- Fence 1X4X2 W/ Shaft No 1 (32932) in Light Bluish Gray
- And more Weapon Hilt Symmetric (66909) in Black, at least 7 of them by my reckoning
Printed Elements in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival
Unsurprisingly, 80107 Spring Lantern Festival also comes with tons of wonderful printed elements.
- The 2×4 tile in Brick Yellow/ Tan beneath the roof states the name of the building, “The Moon Watching Pavilion” (望月亭). Kudos to the designer who paid attention to how ancient Chinese is often written from right to left.
- Another pair of greeting couplets represented by 2 printed Red 1×3 tiles at the entrance, saying “Decorated with Lanterns and Streamers” (張燈結彩, an expression to describe “festivity” in Chinese) and “Felicity for Your Whole Family” (闔家歡樂)
- Red 2×2 tiles saying “Celebrate the Spring Lantern Festival” (鬧元宵)
- Trans-Red minifigure heads with lanterns with Ox decoration
- Printed eye on Red 1×2 Curved Slope for the big Ox lantern
- Printed decoration on Transparent Red 1×2 Brick for the big Ox lantern
- Two different versions of printed koi on Transparent Blue 1×2 tiles, probably one of my favourite printed elements ever produced!
On a side note, this set brings us a really nice collection of exclusive civilian torsos, including one for the statue saying “Celebrate the Spring Lantern Festival on 15th day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar” (正月十五鬧元宵 – yes, all that in 7 Chinese characters) and one with a Monkie Kid reference. In addition, there are the White 1x1 Round Tiles with new tangyuan print and a printed rabbit lantern.
Rare Parts in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival
Besides the impressive amount of exclusive new pieces, this set also includes a lot of rare elements.
- Dish 3 x 3 Inverted in Dark Blue (6309134 | 43898) returned earlier this year since its last appearance in 2013 (or 2012 if you don’t count the highly exclusive Yoda Chronicles Promotional Set given away to the press at the New York premiere of The Yoda Chronicles). The only current set with this piece is 75283 Armored Assault Tank.
- Plate, Modified 1 x 1 Rounded with Bar Handle (26047) in Dark Turquoise is back for its second appearance since this year’s 80104 Lion Dance.
- Fence 1X4X2 in Dark Red (6295360|3185) was first introduced for 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair and only appeared once afterwards, in the recently-reviewed 21324 123 Sesame Street.
- Tile Round 3 x 3 in White (6300017 | 67095), another piece that was just introduced in 21324 123 Sesame Street.
- I am counting at least 10x Bamboo Leaves 3X3 in Bright Yellowish Green/ Lime (6175572 | 30176), which would be the biggest appearance this 2020 recoloured piece has made in a single set. It has only appeared in 5 sets before, most of them Friends or Disney Princess sets.
- Black Weapon Sword Hilt with Dragon Head in Black (6315915 | 36017) makes its second appearance since the recent 75978 Diagon Alley, with a total of 4 included.
- Dark Tan Wedge Plate 4 x 2 Left (4583977 | 41770) and Right (4583978 | 41769) returned after a decade since their limited run across 4 sets from 2010 to 2011.
- Dish 4 x 4 Inverted with Open Stud in Trans-Red (6252269| 35394) only appeared once before in last year’s 70684 Spinjitzu Slam - Kai vs. Samurai.
- Plate Round 4 x 4 with 2 x 2 Hole in Red (6314067 | 11833) only appeared in this year’s LEGO House exclusive set 40501 the Wooden Duck. A rare piece from a rare set (and extra rare given the current travel bans around the world)!
- 1x2 Rounded Plate in Lime (6264062 | 35480) appeared only in this year’s Modular 10270 Bookshop and 31095 Fairground Carousel before.
- Leaves 6 x 5 in Lavender (6097450 | 2417), a 2020 recolour, appeared only in 3 Trolls: World Tour sets and 1 Disney Princess set and is still relatively rare and expensive on the aftermarket.
- Fans of the Collectible Minifigure Series may be quite familiar with the Bar, Angled with Stud on End in Transparent/ Trans-Clear(6285587 | 65578) already, and even my colleague Kevin Levell has written an impressive article about all the fancy tricks you can achieve with this element back in March but I must say the use of it as a straw here is just delightful and brilliant.
Another thing I found out, while constantly zooming in on the images during my “part hunt”, was the ingenious construction of the hexagonal pavilion using the Technic Plate Rotor 3 Blade (32125) in conjunction with 1x2 Rounded Plates, something I will keep in mind when I have to make hexagons in future MOCs.
On that note, I conclude my part hunt through these two incredible sets. Needless to say, I cannot wait to get these sets myself to experience the build and discover more hidden details… and more importantly, to see if I have missed out on any of the interesting elements! Did you spot any? Let us know in the comments.
All images are ©2020 The LEGO Group. LEGO 80106 Story of Nian and 80107 Spring Lantern Festival will be available in China and Asia Pacific markets from 1 January 2021, and from 10 January on LEGO.com and other markets in the world.
Thanks to Jonas Kramm for research assistance.
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