After a close examination of sets 80106 Story of Nian and 80107 Spring Lantern Festival on their own, it is time to take them apart and make something new with the awesome selection of LEGO® parts - as the festive banner suggested, “Out with the old, in with the new” (辭舊迎新)! However, before diving into the MOCs I created, let’s have a comprehensive look at all the noteworthy parts in these two incredible sets.
LEGO parts in 80106 Story of Nian
Here is an overview of all the pieces in 80106 Story of Nian, in case anyone is interested in the colour distribution in the set.
We already published a preview article back in early November covering the new parts we could spot from promotional images, however we missed a few! So if you don’t feel like scrolling through the parts we previously mentioned, you can skip ahead to the parts we missed.
- 1x Exclusive Ox Hat in Dark Orange (6331385 | 73120)
- 10x Bar Holder with Clip in Bright Red/ Red (6328911 | 11090)
- 3x Fence 1 x 4 x 2 W/ Shaft No 1 in Red (6309044 | 32932)
- 2x Weapon Hilt Symmetric in Black (6331084 | 66909)
- 12x Brick Curved 1 x 1 x 2/3 Double Curved Top in Dark Stone Grey/ Dark Bluish Gray (6333129 | 49307)
- 17x Gold Ingot in Dark Bluish Gray (6331866 | 99563)
- 2x Mop Head in Bright Green (6334134 | 24085)
- 4x Banana in Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise (6331854 | 33085)
- 1x Plate Special 1 x 4 Offset in Dark Turquoise (6331855 | 4590)
- 3x Flat Tile 2 x 3 W/ Angle in Dark Turquoise (6328050 | 35341)
- 3x Wedge Sloped 45° 3 x 3 in Sand Yellow/ Dark Tan Left (6331863 | 42862) and Right (6331861 | 48165) each
- 3x 1 x 6 Tile in Gold Ink/ Metallic Gold (6332144 | 6636)
- 2x Plate Round 1 x 1 with Hole and Horizontal Bar in Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold (6335111 | 32828)
- 2x Ice Crystal in Transparent Fluorescent Reddish Orange/ Trans-Neon Orange (6334135 | 42409)
Other Interesting Parts
- 3x Elephant Tail/Trunk in Dark Orange (6327544 | 28959), which only appeared once in the promotional polybag 40474 Build your own Monkey King, and this set has 3 of this rare piece (which is quite expensive on the aftermarket too, at the moment).
- 6x Wedge Sloped 45° 2 x 2 Corner in Dark Tan (6186256 | 13548) returns after its limited appearance in 2 sets from 2017 to 2018.
- 6x Brick Curved 2 x 2 x 1 1/3 with Curved Top in White (6299937 | 67810), which only appeared in 21324 123 Sesame Street and 10274 LEGO Ghostbusters ECTO-1 so far.
- 2x Minifig Bandana in Pearl Gold (6253219 | 44740) only appeared once in the Overwatch set 75971 Hanzo vs. Genji .
- 1x 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.
Parts we missed last time
As mentioned, there are elements we didn't spot in the preview imagery.
- 2x Minifig Shield Rectangular with 4 Studs in Reddish Brown (6328480 | 30166) is an exclusive recolour.
- 3x Brick Special 1 x 2 Palisade in Dark Turquoise (6325980 | 30136) is a 2021 recolour.
- 1x Plate 2 x 10 in Dark Turquoise (6249538 | 3832) only appeared in 3 other sets so far.
- 1x Brick Round 2 x 2 Sphere with Stud in White (6221773 | 20953) is a 2020 recolour and has appeared in 2 other sets so far.
- 2x 1 x 2 Rounded Plate in Dark Red (6212040 | 35480), surprisingly, has only appeared in 2018’s Marvel set 76108 Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown (and only one is in that set). Hopefully it will be used more in future sets by the designers, as I think it is such a useful colour for this piece.
LEGO parts in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival
Here is an overview of all the pieces in 80107 Spring Lantern Festival and again you can skip ahead to check out all the interesting parts we missed in the preview article.
As mentioned before, this set is a goldmine for Earth Blue/ Dark Blue fans and there are 7 new recolours in total:
- 12x Candle (6337523 | 37762)
- 1x Technic Ball Joint (6337523 | 32474)
- 6x Banana (6337522 | 33085)
- 1x Brick Round 2 x 2 Sphere with Stud (6337530 | 37837)
- 6x Bar Holder with Clip (tbc | 11090)
- 6x Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° Right (6337529 | 65426)
- 6x Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° Left (6337527 | 65429)
- 4x 1/4 Arch Brick 5X5 W/Cut Out in White (6334179 | 24599)
- 7x Weapon Hilt Symmetric in Black (6331084 | 66909)
- 1x Wedge Plate 6 x 3 in Dark Green/ Green Left (6328332 | 54384) and Right (6328329 | 54383) each
- 4x Plate Special 4 x 4 with Curved Cutout in Dark Tan (6328338 | 35044)
- 2x Fence 1X4X2 W/ Shaft No 1 in Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray (6328334 | 32932)
- 16x Candle in Bright Green (6328327 | 37762)
- 6x Cone 1 x 1 Inverted W. Shaft in Bright Green (6331087 | 11610)
- 6x Technic Axle Connector Smooth in Dark Red (6331093 | 59443)
- 6x Cylinder 1 x 5 1/2 with Handle in Dark Red (6331092 | 87617)
Other Interesting Parts
- 1x 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 (especially so given the current travel bans around the world)!
- 1x Tile Round 3 x 3 in White (6300017 | 67095), another piece that was just introduced in 21324 123 Sesame Street.
- 1x Minifig Bowl in White (6198979 | 34172), as mentioned in the article, has only shown up in the exclusive polybag 40394 LEGO House Chef this year.
- 4x 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.
- 1x Dish 4 x 4 Inverted with Open Stud in Transparent Red/ Trans-Red (6252269 | 35394) only appeared once before in last year’s 70684 Spinjitzu Slam - Kai vs. Samurai.
- 3x Wedge Plate 4 x 2 in Dark Tan Left (6338985 | 41770) and Right (6328445 | 41769) each returned after a decade since their limited run across 4 sets from 2010 to 2011.
- 1x 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.
- 6x Plate, Modified 1 x 1 Rounded with Bar Handle (6298944 | 26047) in Dark Turquoise is back for its second appearance since this year’s 80104 Lion Dance.
- 5x Rounded Plate 1 x 2 in Bright Yellowish Green/ Lime (6264062 | 35480) appeared only in this year’s Modular 10270 Bookshop and 31095 Fairground Carousel before.
- 10x Bamboo Leaves 3 x 3 in Lime (6175572 | 30176), which would be the biggest appearance of this 2020 recolour in a single set. It has only appeared in 5 sets before, most of them Friends or Disney Princess sets.
- 1x 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.
- 5x Fence 1 x 4 x 2 in Dark Red (6295360 | 3185) was first introduced for 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair and only appeared once afterwards in 21324 123 Sesame Street.
Parts we missed
- 2x Plate Special 2 x 4 with Groove and Two Center Studs in White (6315024 | 65509) is an exclusive recolour.
- 6x Wedge Plate 6 x 6 Cut Corner in Green (6328330 | 6106) has only appeared once in 4174 Max Goes Flying from 2001.
- 6x Wedge Plate 4 x 6 in Dark Blue (6337751 | 47407) has only appeared in 3 sets 2014 to 2017, and returns with a new EID.
- 13x Wedge Plate 3 x 3 Cut Corner in Earth Green/ Dark Green (6328333 | 2450) has only appeared in 2012’s 9498 Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter.
Alternate builds with parts from 80106 and 80107
To be honest I was a bit skeptical regarding the idea of making alternate builds from such large sets. To say the least, I had never tried it before. It didn’t sound too exciting to me as there are so many pieces at your disposal, but I was soon proven wrong. Not only was this extremely fun, it wasn’t easy at all when you take into account the types, colours and (most importantly) quantity of each element available. Foolishly, I even set myself up an extra challenge to make all my alternate builds related to Chinese culture. More challenges always mean more fun, right?
Like many LEGO fans, I am extremely excited about the Botanical Collection sets. Since I am yet to get my hands on them, what could be a better option than to build one with your own bricks?
Now I imagine some of you may be wondering, isn’t this called Bonsai and isn’t it supposed to be a Japanese art? Bonsai is indeed Japanese, but this art form actually originated from China around 700 AD, as a common gift item among the upper class. However, over the course of history, this art has developed steadily in Japan and eventually made famous outside Asia by the Japanese, and hence its English name “bonsai” is also Japanese.
The word bonsai is a loanword from its original Chinese name penzai (盆栽) but nowadays in Chinese it is given the more specific name penjing (盆景). The character pen (盆) refers to the shallow basins these peculiar plants grow in, and while the word zai (栽) refers to the plant itself, jing (景) means scenery, which in my opinion better describes these miniature landscapes.
In terms of my alternate build, the goal was to utilise the new Reddish Brown Rectangular Minifig Shield as the soil. It was quite a challenge to hide or blend the protruding handlebar at first, but eventually I came up with this rather clean solution that utilises the new Black Symmetric Weapon Hilts in combination with the Minifig Handlebars to lock the shield in place.
Just like the upcoming set, I have created an alternative version of the tree that can be easily swapped, also with the parts from the two sets. It may not be very realistic, but I find this colour scheme to be quite pleasant. Another fun fact for those who are interested, the style of tree I tried to replicate here is the semi-cascade style, which are trees that can be found naturally on cliffs and riverbanks.
Chinese Antique Furniture
I seldom build at minifig scale but all the intriguing small parts really got me inspired. I originally built the vase along with the penjing as a response to the Flower Bouquet in the Botanical Collection, but their scales don't seem to line up. I think it fits in perfectly here with these delicate items of furniture.
The more famous Chinese antique furniture is mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasties, beautifully crafted with top quality hardwood by masters excelling at the mortise-and-tenon technique. In the case of my LEGO representation here, it would be the clip-and-bar connections.
The chair on the left was mainly built to utilise the Dark Blue Bananas but to be honest, I kind of wish I could have come up with a more creative use for them. Regardless, I think the result looks decent enough, and I am glad that I managed to sneak in 2 Plate Special 1 x 2 with Racers Car Grill in Dark Blue (6176709 | 50949).
I am more satisfied with the chair on the right personally. It all started from the Black Paint Roller Brush Handle (6192778 | 12885), which works perfectly as the armrests. I am quite pleased to have incorporated the Black Dragon Head Hilt and the Black Symmetric Weapon Hilts again. I was also pleasantly surprised how well the seemingly fragile structure holds together, and even more surprised that the minifigure fits in so perfectly.
The vase is very simplistic but I really like the silhouette created by the simple combination of the 2 x 2 Round Sphere with Stud and a plain Minifig Bowl in White. Less is more sometimes - builds don’t always have to be very complex to be elegant.
Four Treasures of the Study (文房四寶)
The Four Treasures of the Study was the first thing that popped into my head when I was making my list of alternate model ideas. They are such iconic objects in Chinese culture as they are the basis of not only calligraphy, but also Chinese literature and paintings. The four 'treasures' are paper (紙), brush (筆), ink (墨), and inkstone (硯).
Apart from being a member of the Four Treasures of the Study, paper is also one of the Four Great Inventions of ancient China, and it played a crucial role in the spread of knowledge, culture and wisdom. Before the invention of paper, ancient Chinese used things like bones, tortoise shells and metal plates to record information. Not only were those heavy to carry around, they do not facilitate the art of writing, so paper was really key to the rise of many other Chinese art forms.
In terms of the build, instead of a plain piece of paper or a random painting, I thought it may be more meaningful to make a portrait of the gorgeous Moon Watching Pavilion from the set 80107. I am very happy with the result, particularly the fact that I managed to make use of a number of interesting parts here like the White 3 x 3 Round Tile for the Moon, the Dark Blue Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° for the roof and the Dark Red 1 x 2 Rounded Plate to represent the 1 x 4 x 2 Fence.
I have always been a big fan of brick-built calligraphy, so I decided to give it a go myself despite the limitation in scale here. If you look at this from a distance and try to be very imaginative, you can see my efforts in replicating the Chinese name of the pavilion, 望月亭. Given that this is an alternate build, I will give myself a pass on this.
The earliest historical record of a writing brush in China dates back to around 1000 BCE, making it the oldest member of the Four Treasures. Interestingly, the alternate build also started from the idea of using the Dark Blue and Bright Green Candles as the handles of the brushes, so it was also the “oldest” member of the build. Not to mention, bamboo is also the most commonly used material for the brush handles, but perhaps not as bright a shade of green in reality.
Writing brushes are generally made with hair from animals like goats, black rabbits and yellow weasels… sometimes even the very soft first hair of a baby’s head, as it is believed to bring good fortune. Different types of hair have different levels of ink capacity and hence lead to the distinct brush strokes they produce. Therefore, it is common for a professional to carry different types of brushes in his toolkit for different purposes. I tried to replicate that a bit here too with different combinations of parts to create different brush sizes.
While completely unnecessary, I thought a brush rack would make the collection more complete, and it allowed me to make use of more interesting parts in this alternate build, such as the Dark Red 1 x 4 x 2 Fences for decoration as well as connective tissue, the Pearl Gold 1 x 1 Round Plate with Hole and Horizontal Bar to “hang” the two spare brushes, and the Black Dragon Head Hilt again for decoration.
One of my biggest struggles with this MOC was building up the considerable height for the brushes to hang from. The Dark Red Cylinders 1 x 5 1/2 with Handle were really helpful but the protruding handle bar gave me a bit of a headache at first, I eventually came up with the two solutions you see above: hiding it with a gold leaf ornament and using it as part of the structure. As you will see later in this article, the same issue came up again in another alternate build.
Ink and Inkstone
Traditionally, ink comes in the form of an ink stick which you have to grind into a fine powder on the inkstone and mix with water to make ink. While I have practiced calligraphy for a while when I was a kid, I have to confess that I have never used this type of ink – I always just bought ink in a bottle, ready-made in liquid form.
Just like most objects from ancient China, the inkstones are often very well decorated but at this limited scale, I could only try my best and use the underside of the plates to mimic the decorative details.
While it isn’t a formal member of the Four Treasures, it is very common for the Chinese artist to carry a personal seal to leave their signature on their art piece. These seals too often have many decorative elements, either carved onto the body or appearing as a mini-sculpture on the top of the seal. Here, I tried to replicate the famous Chinese lion sculpture by simply stacking the Light Bluish Gray Roller Skates (6217791 | 11253). Again, you will need to be very imaginative; look at the two wheels on top as being its eyes and the four below as its legs… are you still not able to see it? Let me enlarge it for you then.
Lion Jade Seal
My fourth alternate build is a large version of the lion jade seal.
If you remember, I also made a Chinese rock lion as an alternate build for 40424 Winter Snowball Fight in my first New E article, but I think it is always fun to revisit the same topics and try to do them differently. This one is slightly smaller and a bit more intricate, and I can’t really put my finger on which one I prefer.
Perhaps more importantly, I can finally represent the actual stamp in the bottom at this scale. Here I made use of the Red 1 x 4 x 2 Fence recolour from set 80106. I think it works quite perfectly, in the sense that it does resemble some elements from a Chinese character.
The Monkey King
I can’t even describe the excitement I felt the moment when I finished this alternate model. It was one of those projects that is very exciting as an idea, but super-intimidating to realise. I questioned myself countless times during the process if it would be possible, but I am glad that I didn’t give up. This MOC is a tribute to designer Justin Ramsden, who designed not only the marvellous 80107 Spring Lantern Festival, but the incredible Monkie Kid 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech earlier this year.
The Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong (孫悟空), is the famous legendary character from the classic novel, Journey to the West (西遊記). As most of you have at least heard of a certain adaptation of the character (like the Monkie Kid theme maybe?) I won’t spend time introducing him. As you see from the above photos, this is also a model that can be viewed from any angle.
I always start with the head for character builds, because if I fail with the head it doesn’t really matter how gorgeous the rest of the character looks.
Here, the Black Symmetric Weapon Hilt once again proved its usefulness. I am also very happy with how the Pearl Gold Ornament with Bar (6172437 | 28870) is connected at an angle to the Minifig Shield with the help of the Red Bar Holder with Clip. Together with the two attached sideways and the two Pearl Gold Round 1 x 1 with Open Stud, it forms the golden crown Monkey King wears, which his master can use to restrain him with the Crown-tightening Spell (禁箍咒). I have also chosen the Trans-Orange Light Cover (6171764 | 58176) for his eyes to represent his “Golden Gaze Fiery Eyes”(火眼金睛), which enable him to see the hidden demons and evils.
The back of the head is once again connected via a Minifig Shield, and I am also pleased with the way I recreated his nose and mouth with the simple combination of a Hinge Brick and a Brick Curved 2 x 2 x 2/3 Two Studs and Curved Slope End in White (4494474 | 47457). You can also see here how the Pearl Gold Ornament with Bar helps seal the top of the head perfectly along the wedge plate.
The abundant hinge bricks from the roof of the Northern Chinese residence in 80106 really came in handy when I was shaping up the torso of Monkey King. With the limited amount of plates with ball cup available, I had to make use of this substitute connection I first learnt from 10242 MINI Cooper, with the Tile Special 2 x 3 with 2 Clips (30350) connected to a small towball. It doesn’t create as much friction as a proper ball cup, but it works just fine to hold the shoulders up at an angle here.
Here I encountered the “handle issue” again with the Dark Red Cylinders 1 x 5 1/2 with Handle. I think adding any ornament to cover it up would really ruin the look of the Golden-banded Staff (如意金箍棒), so instead I decided to make the handle a connection point hidden in the hands. As a compromise for this, I gave up my original plan of giving Monkey King a more dynamic pose, but I think the end result isn’t too bad.
One last thing I would like to point out is the usefulness of the Plate Special 1 x 4 Offset (4590). I wasn’t too sure what to do with them at first, but surprisingly I ended up using both of them in this build; I find them quite useful in filling up gaps with angles.
The aspect to these alternate builds that I am perhaps most proud of is that none of them required me to re-use parts from the other ones, so by the end of my 2-day intensive building session, I was left with this whole collection of lovely Chinese-themed MOCs on my desk... along with quite a big pile of wonderful pieces from the two amazing sets that I still hadn’t used. This proves just how amazing the part selections of these sets are. And now imagine the possibility these new pieces offer when you use them along with your own bricks, or when you purchase them in bulk.
Following my close examination of these two sets, they have surpassed my high expectations so it is only logical for me to recommend all builders getting them to start off their new year. If you can get hold of them quickly enough, that is! 80106 Story of Nian and 80107 Spring Lantern Festival are available in China and Asia Pacific markets already, and for the rest of the world from tomorrow 10 January on LEGO.com. If you enjoyed our articles please consider using our affiliate links; New Elementary may get a commission:
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