Aron Gerencsér (@_pohaturon) completes his 2021 LEGO® Monkie Kid set analysis today with 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain. Don't forget, it is Double VIP Points at LEGO.com until 20 April 2021 so if you're buying this set, or anything, please consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.
The largest set in the first 2021 wave of LEGO® Monkie Kid sets is a stark departure from the usual aesthetic of the theme. 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain is a 1949-piece set retailing for £159.99 / US$169.99 / 169.99€ (more currencies listed at the end of this post) which instead of a fancy futuristic vehicle or mech depicts a beautiful mountain vista with a mythic vibe, straying much closer to the theme’s Journey to the West roots. Let’s see if this dramatic shift works to the set’s advantage.
In a rather disappointing turn, 80024 only includes a single new non-minifigure mould, and just one instance of it too. What’s more, this is a part that has appeared in several other 2021 Monkie Kid sets and always in greater quantities.
The part in question is Brick Curved, Internal, 1 x 3 x 3 with 1/3 Inverted Cutout in Black (6338499 | 73682) which we’ve examined in previous Monkie Kid reviews, but since there aren’t any other new moulds to talk about I figured this was a good time to address a specific question that came up when we looked at it prior: the curvature of the rounded corner doesn’t seem to interface with any other curve in-System. While this may be a bit disappointing, I’d rather take it as an interesting challenge for incorporating the mould in unusual ways.
Though 80024 fares better on the recolour side of things, it still isn’t stellar. Occasionally while building, an uncommon piece cropped up which I thought would be new in that colour but simply turned out to be a rare example, leaving the final recolour count at 5, including a minifigure hood piece prominently featured throughout this wave of Monkie Kid sets.
Recolours featured in The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain are:
- 4x Wall Element 1X4X3 in Transparent Blue Opal (6327952 | 35323)
- 2x Handle, No. 2 in Tan/ Brick Yellow (6294552 | 66909)
- 8x Newel-Step in Sand Green (6334521 | 40243)
- 6x Flat Tile 1X4, No. 161 in Gold Ink/ Metallic Gold (6332155 | 75703), stickered here
- 1x Hood in Dark Turquoise/ Bright Bluish Green (6337294 | 15428), pictured later
It’s always nice to see the small pool of pieces with the relatively new opalescent colour effect expand, and I was frankly surprised that a piece as common as a 1X4 tile hasn’t appeared in drum-lacquered gold until now. Fantasy and castle builders will welcome the new sand green stairs, though I’m most excited to get the immensely versatile Handle, No. 2 in tan. Browns and tans are among my favourite colours to use when building and I always appreciate small bar-based pieces which hold a great deal of potential for structural and detailing purposes.
Notable and rare elements
Now this is where the strengths of 80024 lie. The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain comes in a bit too pricey to really be a 'parts pack' but nonetheless the inventory features a few rarer elements, occasionally in decent quantities too. Additionally, while not necessarily rare, several parts appear in huge numbers that might appeal to builders of specific themes.
First up, the rare pieces:
- 10x Plate 3X3, 1/4 Circle in Lime/ Bright Yellowish Green (6338239 | 30357) in 1 other set
- 3x Plate 4X4, 1/4 Circle in Bright Green (6070506 | 30565) in 3 other sets
- 11x Plate 3X3, Heart, No. 1 in Bright Green (6294357 | 39613) in 3 other sets
- 3x 1/2 Circle Plate 4X8 in Bright Green (6133847 | 22888) in 3 other sets
- 1x Gear Wheel 2X2, Z6 in Green/ Dark Green (6328186 | 35442) in 1 other set
- 6x Tile 1X1, Heart, No. 4 in Bright Pink/ Light Purple (6305864 | 68428) in 2 other Monkie Kid sets
- 1x Right Plate 1X2, W/ Bow, 45 Deg. Cut in Lime (6296104 | 29119) in 1 other set
- 2x Handle, No. 1 in Light Bluish Gray/ Medium Stone Grey (6326748 | 65578) in 2 other sets
- 1x 3.2 Shaft W/ Knob in Black (6356406 | 79194) in 1 other, rather expensive set; 76161 1989 Batwing
- 9x Handlebar W/3.2 Shaft/Bar Ends in Reddish Brown (6327818 | 98397) in 2 other sets
- 3x Cockpit 2X5X2 W/ Shaft in Transparent Blue Opal (6290571 | 35375) in 2 other sets
- 5x Wall Element W/ Curve 3X4X6 in Transparent Blue Opal (6299884 | 35251) in 3 other sets
If your own mocs are in need of some greenery, then you’ll definitely appreciate the broad selection of botanical pieces in 80024 that come in bulk. Even though these parts aren’t rare per se, them appearing in these quantities in a single set is definitely worth attention:
- 40x Flower 1X1 in Bright Green (6206150 | 24866)
- 15x Stalk W. 1,5 Shaft And 3,2 Shaft in Green (6269940 | 19119)
- 24x Bamboo Leaves 3X3 in Lime (6175572 | 30176)
- 55x Plant, W/ Plate 1X1, No. 1 in Bright Green (6182261 | 32607)
- 21x Plant, W/ Plate 1X1, No. 1 in Lime (6286831 | 32607)
While too numerous to list out individually, as you will see this set is an absolute goldmine for various grey and green elements that are perfect for rockwork and vegetation, in case you end up buying 80024 but scrapping the main model.
Minifigs in Monkie Kid set 80024
80024 comes with 8 minifigs, the majority of which are exclusive to the set. We see extensive usage of the new minifig tail mould, and a new cloth piece debuts in the set as well. What’s particularly interesting is that four of the minifigures depict Sun Wukong at different points in his life, and I’m pretty sure this is the first example of a LEGO set with multiple minifigures of the same character in this way (I wouldn’t count 'empty' suits in superhero base sets).
New minifig-related moulds include the following:
- 1x Cape, No. 41 in Red/ Bright Red (6334478 |76790) - found on Macaque
- 4x Mini Tail, No. 13 in Dark Orange (6338523 | 75513) - some printed
- 1x Mini Tail, No. 13 in Black (6342023 | 75513)
While the new tail mould also appears in 80022, I didn’t mention the fact that it can clip to bars in that review! Rather than using this prehensile tail to grab the theme’s iconic weapon, my mind instantly went to clipping these figs onto String 21M W/ Shaft Dia. 3,2 W/ 2 Knob in Green/ Dark Green (6195813 | 14210), but didn’t have any to hand.
It immediately became apparent that The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain’s differences from the rest of the assortment do not stop at its aesthetics. The entire design philosophy behind this set is different, approaching the build and play experience from another angle. Although it does not possess the “Adult Portfolio” or 18+ branding as many of the more premium sets do, it absolutely feels like one - I’ll be elaborating on this more, but I also feel like most of my complaints would have been solved if it was.
Before we start building, there are a few elements of the packaging and instructions I think bare mention. First, the instructions, spread across three books, are separately packaged in a cardboard sleeve together with the sticker sheet. On the one hand, I appreciate the extra level of security to protect from creasing in a larger, more premium set, but I also feel like this is antithetical to The LEGO Group’s sustainability initiative.
When we open the instructions, we are greeted by a few pages of design process photographs as well as a small interview with Lin Li-Yu, designer of the set - this is another feature typically appearing in the Adult Portfolio sets (though I’m glad the black pages are not a shared feature). The instructions also strangely have several blank pages scattered throughout them.
In a fun nod, the set is built in sequence, from right to left. There’s some modular DNA going on with three easily separable sections forming the completed model, which also handily get one instruction booklet each. As a whole, I was ultimately left slightly let down by the building experience, as so much of it feels like laying down the same handful of grey, brown and green pieces in marginally different arrangements over and over again. There are a couple of play functions to construct that break up the monotony, so instead of a full walk-through of the build we’ll highlight these instead.
One of the first things we build is a nice little abstraction of how Sun Wukong is born out of a stone on the mountain. Two halves of a hollow rock formation open up to reveal a minifig inside by pulling out a tab resting on two Technic axles. This is an entirely gravity based function, but it works effectively.
Another interesting technique on the first mountain is how the steps are implemented. Using stacks of grill pieces connected at an angle with a clip, the stairs are topped off with a cheese slope so that they sit flush with the platform in which they culminate. Interestingly, the backsides of these substructures are reinforced with bars, which is where the new tan Bō end is used. The size of the steps are a bit odd in relation to the minifigures included, but scale is something we’ll return to when looking at the completed model.
The huge waterfall of the central mountain is the dominant visual feature of the model, and also has a function wherein its two halves can part down the middle, allowing the Monkey King to pass through into the cave behind. This function is achieved with surprising simplicity, as the two halves of the waterfall aren’t actually connected to anything. I’d call it entrapment, but even that only applies loosely - they sit on some tiles at the bottom and slot into rails near the top, with a small platform just forcing them apart when pushed down. I was surprised by the simplicity of this function - but there’s no need to overcomplicate it if it works, right?
The third mountain is much more dense than the other two, both in terms of the number of “scenes” it incorporates and how many distinct locations it depicts. As a result, it also has the most features and some of the most complex builds - though that isn’t saying too much. The central pillar, if you will, is built at some odd angles achieved with hinge bricks and filled out with a bit of SNOT work.
There’s a wee bit of gappiness going on, but it becomes barely visible by the time we are done, and sort of works with the whole mountain thing - crevasses are natural, after all. If anything, it’s a bit weird there aren’t any more!
At the end of the build, we use those funky gear pieces to put together the small battle scene where Monkie Kid squares off against the Evil Macaque, utilising a small empty space in the layers of ground to fit turntables and the aforementioned gears under a Technic plate, with little platforms placed atop axles. Our combatants will have to balance on these small outcroppings while duelling. That just about covers it for any building techniques worth mentioning, which is a little less than what I’d expect from a set this big and seemingly intricate.
The Completed Model
The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain is definitely an imposing, beautiful set that is bound to command attention on any shelf it occupies. It certainly feels like a one-of-a-kind – I can’t think of many other with a similar appearance or vibe – and these are all factors that make me feel odd about not loving it. Let’s dig into why.
We learn from the designer interview at the beginning of the instruction booklet that a major source of inspiration was Shanshui, a traditional Chinese art form that captures landscapes with a focus on mountains and water. This is why the designer eschewed the more common square footprint of such sets in favour of an elongated form, something I really appreciate as it makes display easier, which is something I feel the set is best suited for.
Drum-lacquered gold tiles with stickers depicting Chinese characters are placed at various points throughout the set, denoting important scenes from the Monkey King’s life, closely adhering to the original Journey to the West text. The designer states that the set was developed with a sort of interactive story-telling play pattern in mind, where children and adults would use the figures and features to go from scene to scene, recreating Sun Wukong’s ascension to the throne.
Naturally, an important moment of this story is its very beginning - the birth of Sun Wukong from the stone, here depicted with a small play feature on the first, rightmost mountain. This is the only feature and denoted scene on this mountain, which also includes those stairs we showed off earlier and a pair of trees for the young monkey siblings to pluck fruit from - and we come to the first few examples of the overarching issue of this set struggling against itself.
The use of grill pieces for the stairs is a great technique, but the steps themselves are, as a result, tiny. This leads to a scale discrepancy between the environment and the figures we’re expected to recreate the story with. This incongruity is repeated throughout the entire set - the trees, the mountains, the rockwork, the waterfall; essentially everything that doesn’t directly interface with a figure (like the throne, for example) feels like it’s microscale. One could say that it’s because the monkeys are meant to be monkey-sized, not human-sized, but this compounds the issues - the set includes Monkie Kid, a regular sized human and since the steps are small compared to the monkeys, if the monkeys are small, that makes them even tinier.
Another, though less significant issue I noted is that sometimes the pieces used to support the trees can’t bear the weight of the structure. The apple tree at the top of the first mountain won’t stay upright.
Moving onto the middle, largest mountain, we have the central waterfall function. At the front of this section is an outcropping where the Monkey King-in-training can contemplate his trial. A sort of land-bridge attached to frictionless Technic pins rests on the bottom section of the two waterfall halves. The end has some inverted slope bricks on the bottom acting as a wedge, pushing the waterfall sections to either side when pushed down, revealing a cave and some (big) stairs.
This section is very easy on the eyes - I’m an immense fan of the opalescent pieces used for the waterfall, which are decorated with stickers in this case, adding further detail. That said, if you choose to leave the stickers off, I feel like the end result would look just as great - this can be said of just about every sticker in the set, though I inexplicably felt compelled to apply them nonetheless.
Up top, we have a nice little stork flying around the highest point of the set. The bird is a nice little build, using some of those rarer handle pieces.
When viewed from the rear, both this and the first mountain are pretty cavernous, though the caves lack any kind of detail or apparent role, save for two small sections on this middle mountain. First, we have those sand green stairs that the Monkey King can access after parting the waterfall.
These lead up to a small alcove with a pair of parchments on the inner wall. I don’t know what these designs are supposed to depict, but maybe someone in the comments can enlighten us!
While there is a lot to love about this section too, I am not without my gripes. Despite being the largest of the three sections, and definitely the most eye-catching, only a single “scene” takes place here, just like in the first section. This will leave the third awfully cramped, but more on that later.
The third, leftmost mountain is definitely the most dense, in many ways. There are a lot of scenes taking place here, and each of them require a distinct environmental feature which means this has the most variety crammed in, too. Despite not being as immediately eye-catching as the central section, this is my favourite part of the set.
Down at the bottom area, we have a little berth for the Monkey King’s dinghy, and a small area where he can chop firewood. There’s a small axe affixed to a frictionless Technic armature to simulate this action.
On the other side of the central pillar is a cute little piece of architecture utilising the sole instance of 6338499 in the set. It’s a rather atmospheric section of the build, but again, exceedingly out of scale.
Atop the central pillar is Sun Wukong’s throne, the final step in his journey to becoming the Monkey King. Here we can place the fully armoured up minifigure, depicting him at the height of his power.
Leading to the throne is a rope-bridge, which connects this section to the alcove on the central mountain. Behind it, we can see the location where Monkie Kid and the Evil Macaque duel.
Using the exposed blue gear, we can rotate the platforms the two opponents stand on, so that their Bō will clash in the middle. I thought that, from some angles, the tiny Pagoda-looking piece of architecture may be an attempt at a sort of forced-perspective backdrop for the fight scene, but it didn’t quite look the part.
The density of this third section was definitely a welcome change of pace - as beautiful as the rest of the mountain is, it is ultimately just a mountain. We come back again to a sort of overarching thematic issue here; the difference between this and the entirety of the Monkie Kid theme seems so stark that I can’t quite place it.
Usually, my “conclusions” section is a nice and short summary of things I already touched upon, but 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain has some 'meta' aspects that I feel need to be mentioned without muddying up a more or less matter-of-fact description of what the set does.
This was an awfully difficult set to review, because it imprinted its own internal struggle on me, in a way. It’s detailed, well designed, vibrant and beautifully captures the picturesque, almost mythic air of Shanshui, and I can’t help but give it some serious style points for uniqueness alone - but! I also wish the set wasn’t torn between two different design mentalities. First up, this shouldn’t be a Monkie Kid set.
80024 is a much more faithful and literal adaptation of Journey to the West than the action-packed Monkie Kid theme with its jets and mechs and “Dronecopters” and massive mecha-spiders that are also evil lairs, putting the most dastardly 1990s Saturday morning cartoon villain to shame. If you take out the sole Monkie Kid minifigure, this could have been an actual Journey to the West set which would mean that I don’t bring my expectations of the Monkie Kid theme into the mix, and it could have received a slot in the Adult Portfolio, where it feels like it belongs. I can feel the set fighting against the theme.
Another facet of this set’s apparent inner turmoil is the dichotomy between trying to be what I’ve dubbed an “AFOL-bait” set and also trying to achieve the storytelling play pattern - let me explain. Since the Monkie Kid theme is restricted to LEGO Shop @ Home and official brand stores in the West, it doesn’t quite have as major a presence locally, be it in terms of promotion or discussion. When the embargo for these sets was lifted and the whole wave was officially revealed, I posed a question in the largest Hungarian LEGO fan group I could find on Facebook. In broad strokes, I just asked what people think of the theme. The answer was nearly universal, and boiled down to “I guess it’s neat, but obviously for a different audience. The only set I’d see myself being interested in is 80024 because it isn’t like Monkie Kid at all”.
They’re not wrong - instead of a cartoony, over the top mecha lathered in vibrant colours, The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain is trying to juggle the intricate, visually appealing display qualities aimed at adult collectors with playful storytelling and drops the ball. I’m not saying these two design directions cannot coexist, but they sure don’t here. Honestly, I’d have preferred a greater focus on the storytelling aspect. The idea of making what is essentially an interactive 3D storybook out of LEGO bricks, loaded with plot-relevant play features and physically divvied up into scenes is absolutely fantastic and in perfect sync with the company’s sensibilities. The set should have been allowed to unlock the full potential of this concept instead of trying to spread itself out.
Between being Monkie Kid but also not, being an Adult Portfolio set but also not, being a pseudo-Creator Expert intricately detailed display piece and also an interactive narrative-play experience, 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain should have been two sets. As it is now, despite the surface-level beauty on display, it stumbles in both fields it attempted to excel in.
Here are more of the global pricings: £159.99 / US$169.99 / 169.99 EUR/ 167.23 EUR - Ireland/ 64990 HUF/ 1359 HKD/ 269.9 SGD/ 18980 JPY/ 229900 KRW/ 749.9 MYR/ 1899 NOK/ 1899 SEK/ AU$279.99/ 299.99 NZD/ 769.99 PLN/ 849.99 RON/ 14499 RUB/ 1799.9 TRY/ 5699 TWD.
Help New Elementary keep publishing articles like this. Become a Patron!
Massive thanks go to our 'Vibrant Coral' patrons: Joe Fontana, Elspeth De Montes, Megan Lum, Markus Rollbühler, Jorgito Mozo, Mevits Bricks, Font Review Journal, Baixo LMmodels, Andy Price, Anthony Wright, Chris Cook, London AFOLs, Gerald Lasser, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Huw Millington, Neil Crosby, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Sue Ann Barber & Trevor Clark, and Kevin Gascoigne. Vale Iain Adams, a great supporter of New Elementary.
LEGO® Shop at Home
USA: Save up to 30%. See what's on sale!
UK: Free delivery when you spend £50 or more at LEGO!
Australia: Discover the latest promotions and offers on LEGO.com
All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.