26 December 2021

LEGO® Chinese Festival review: 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions

Tom Loftus (@inthert.lego) examines a 2022 LEGO® Chinese Traditional Festival set, 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions, which is available now in some markets – for local release dates, check LEGO.com. and please also consider using our affiliate links to purchase (New Elementary may get a commission): USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'. Products in this article were provided by LEGO; the author's opinions are their own.


LEGO® 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions contains 1066 pieces, 12 minifigures and will cost €69.99/ US$79.99/ £59.99. The age mark is 8+. The set provides a charming holistic view of Lunar New Year, embodies the spirit of the event with the build together format and all for a reasonable price. The only downside being, you have a little detective work to do once you're done.

New Elements in 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions

80108 features two exciting new elements.


The first is Brick 1x2, Rounded W/3.2 Shaft, No.1 in Warm Gold (6370621 | 77808). I can already see it being used for exposed pipework or steampunk thingymabobs. It also appears in 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival in Transparent Light Blue (6382737). 

With hollow studs, 3.18 vertical bars, rounded corners and anti studs, there's a lot going on for an element this size so let's get to it. As ever, my first instinct was to gather similar elements to the newcomer.


On the left is a trio of parts - 1x2 rounded plate (35480) and 1x1 round tile with bar (20482) - that form a fragmented version of the new element that looks the part but is less than practical. A much closer analogue are the two interlinked batman accessory pack (50018) parts in the centre. They come very close functionality-wise to the new element if not for having a single stud top and bottom instead of two studs and two anti-studs. 

Next I tried a few basic connections to see where this new arrival falls on the leaderboard of game-changing parts (assuming such a thing exists). Aside from a half plate difference in bar height or an extra rounded edge, I got pretty close with existing parts most of the time:


However, the key advantage of the new element is that you can clip items on and off without any disassembly - ideal for temporary connections on modular builds. Other members of the New Elementary team expressed enthusiasm for its potential for elbow and knee joints on mechs and brick-built figures - me being a spaceship head, I'll have to take their word on that one! 

Next up another new element, which upon first laying eyes on I exclaimed ‘What the heck is this!?’. Please enjoy the following recreation of the moment: 


Plate 1x1x2/3 W/Through Hole in Medium Nougat (6383946 | 86996) is essentially the equivalent of a couple of stacked 1x1 plates which makes it kind of a POOP but not quite - let's dive deeper.


It fits right in with the existing range of studded 1x1 2-plate high elements and is one of two in the line up to feature an open stud. The other is the relatively short lived Belville / Scala, Brick Round 1 x 1 x 2/3 Round (33286) available from 2000-2003, pictured here in medium orange.


Initially I took the open stud as just an easy way to avoid mix ups with 1x1 plates (3024) or 1x1 bricks (3005) when looking at those ‘parts required in this step’ boxes in instruction manuals. This feeling was compounded by how it’s used in the build which we’ll get into later. However, I’ve since realised this little guy may hold a lot of potential for interesting building techniques. 


I’m particularly keen to try out some subtle stud reversal by mounting a couple in opposing directions on a bar. I can also see potential for some fancy brick arches and architectural details by threading a bunch onto some flex tubing. Sadly with only a single one included in this set, I’ll have to wait until I can play around with such ideas. 

The goodies don't stop there though, 80108 has plenty of new and lesser seen recolours to explore.

New recolours in 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions

First up, a modest selection of golden elements:

  • 4x 3.2 Shaft W/ Knob in Warm Gold (6369112 | 79194) 
  • 1x Plate 1x1 W/ 2 Shafts Dia. 3.2 in Warm Gold (6372470 | 78257) Debuting simultaneously in this set and 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
  • 4x Bread Bun in Warm Gold (6368327 | 25386)

A hodgepodge of tasty new recolours next:

 

  • 1x Fabuland Pot in Red (6368329 | 4341) The first ever official recolour since its introduction in 1982
  • 2x Plate 3x3, 1/4 Circle in Olive Green (6252194 | 30357)
  • 12x Plate 1x4, W/ 2 Knobs, No. 2 in Flame Yellowish Orange (6257595 | 41740) Technically new since this is the updated mould however, it's less grovey counterpart has been seen in 5 sets previously.
  • 1x Mini Armour, No. 13 in Dark Azure (6312731 | 41637) 
  • 11x Gold Ingot in Sand Blue (6372479 | 99563) Debuting simultaneously in this set and 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
  • 12x 3.2 Shaft W/ 5.9 Ball in Bright Orange (6373074 | 67692) 
  • 4x Sausage in Reddish Brown (6380047 | 25994) Providing a middle ground between the undercooked dark red (6189341) and burnt black (6156414) varieties.


My favourite of the bunch is the new Ingot colour - not the most vibrant addition we could've got but it's still nice to see the palette expanding further beyond greys, golds and silvers.


There is a strange situation with the Cauldron element. Introduced for Fabuland in the early 1980s, it used to have the theme’s logo moulded on its underside until some point in the 2000s. According to BrickLink, any cauldron released after 2008 will have a strange Fabuland logo shaped blob instead. Similar edits to moulds have been known to happen, most notably the ‘Pat Pend’ wording so perhaps this is a topic worth exploring further in a future article. 

For now, it’s onto the rare but not exclusive recolours found in 80108.

Rare recolours in 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions

Earlier this year the L community was rocked by the addition of the 1x5 plate and fans speculated if and when they’d become commonplace. This set helps with the rollout with respectable quantities in 3 of the 4 colours currently available.

  • 5x Plate 1X5 in White (6350399 | 78329) 1 Other set 43115 The Boombox
  • 2x Plate 1X5 in Brick Yellow (6351905 | 78329) 1 Other Set 21171 The Horse Stable
  • 4x Plate 1X5 in Medium Nougat (6343854 | 78329) 1 Other Set 21327 Typewriter

A trio of white elements next:

  • 1x Plate 2x4, W/ 2 Knobs in White (6315024 | 65509) 3 Other Sets 
  • 2x Brick 1x3,Outside Half Arch,W/ Cutout in White (6357598 | 70681) 2 Other set 43197 The Ice Castle and 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
  • 1x Shaft 2m Dia. 3.2 W/ Stop in White (6357680 | 78258) 2 Other sets 21330 Home Alone and 43197 The Ice Castle

Some vibrant red and orange parts too:

  • 6x Flat Tile 1x1, 1/2 Circle in Flame Yellowish Orange (6313554 | 35399) 5 Other Sets 
  • 22x Brick 1x1x3 in Flame Yellowish Orange (6310276 | 14716) 2 Other Sets, 3 if we include the other upcoming chinese new year set: 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
  • 2x Brick 1x1x1 2/3, W/ Vert. Knobs in Flame Yellowish Orange (6328096 | 32952) 1 Other Set 71741 Ninjago City Gardens 
  • 6x Bow 1/4 4x4x1 in Bright Red (6368331 | 48092) First appearance since 2012 (Old Element ID: 4215466)
  • 2x Pyramid Ridged Tile 1x1x2/3 in Bright Red (6350414 | 35344) 2 Other Sets
  • 6x Brick With Bow 1x3x3 in Dark Red (6228924 | 13965) 4 Other sets

Lesser-seen earth tones for all you terrain builders out there:

  • 4x Plate 2x3 in Medium Nougat (6334099 | 3021) 1 Other Set 71386 Mario Character Pack, Series 2 - Ninji
  • 1x Plate 6x6 W. Bow in Medium Nougat (6346466 | 6003) 1 Other Set 41679 Forest House
  • 1x Plate 1x3 W/ 2 Knobs in Medium Nougat (6292145 | 34103) 5 Other Sets
  • 2x Plate 3x3, 1/4 Circle in Medium Nougat (6252194 | 30357) 5 Other Sets
  • 1x Plate 6x6 W. Bow in Olive Green (6218088 | 6003) 5 Other Sets 
  • 4x Plate 1x3 in Olive Green (6278088 | 3623) 2 Other Sets

And for our final group of recolours we have a collection of odds and ends:

  • 11x Plate 1x2 W/ Holder in Medium Stone Grey (6354568 | 78256) 1 Other set 10284 Camp Nou - FC Barcelona, great to see this useful piece starting to appear more frequently.
  • 2x Plate 1x1x2/3, Outside Bow in Earth Green (6312450 | 49307) 2 Other Sets
  • 3x Flat Tile 1x3 in Dark Orange (6340118 | 63864) 3 Other Sets
  • 2x Brick 2x2w.Inside And Outs.Bow in Dark Stone Grey (6360619 | 85080) 3 Other Sets
  • 9x Pl.Round 1x1 W. Through. Hole in Dark Green (6338221 | 28626) 4 Other Sets
  • 1x Plate 4x4 Round W. Snap in Brick Yellow (6302268 | 60474) 5 Other Sets
  • 4x Plate 2x2 in Warm Gold (6347982 | 3022) 6 Other Sets

Printed elements in 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions and their translations

We’ve come to expect unique prints in these CNY sets and 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions doesn't disappoint. A big thanks to former New Elementary contributor Lee for providing the following translations and additional insights:

 

  • 1x Flat Tile 2x4, 招財進寶 (Bringing in Wealth and Treasures) Print in Bright Red (6372551) Weirdly I received a two of these in the set so I guess there’s some truth to the wealth and treasures bit!
  • 1x Flat Tile 1x4, 玉虎迎春百業興 (Jade Tiger welcoming the spring with hundred businesses booming) Print in Bright Red (6372555)
  • 1x Flat Tile 1x4, 金牛辭歲千倉滿 (Golden Ox leaving the year with thousand granaries full) Print in Bright Red (6372554)
  • 1x Flat Tile 1x3, 虎年大吉 (Great Fortune in the Year of Tiger) Print in Bright Red (6372556)
  • 8x Flat Tile 1x2, Envelope with 福 (Good Fortune) Print in Red (6372552)
  • 3x Flat Tile 1x2, Sunflower Seeds Print in White (6372553)
  • 1x Flat Tile 1x1, Round, Orange Slice Print in Flame Yellowish Orange (6361440)
  • 7x Flat Tile 1x1, Round, Coin Print in Warm Gold (6372550)
  • 1x Mini Head, Tiger Print in Transparent Red (6372565)
  • 1x 8x8 Round Plate, 喜迎新春 (Welcoming the New Spring with Joy), 闔家團圓 (Reuniting the Whole Family)& Tiger Print in Flame Yellowish Orange (6372557) 

Stickers in 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions and their translations

While we’re on the subject of decorated elements, here are the sticker sheets with accompanying translations. (Thanks again Lee!)

4. The tiger is holding the character 福 (Good Fortune)

5. 海鮮 (Seafood), using the graphic of a fish for the first half of 鮮 because 魚 is fish in Chinese

7. 福 (Good Fortune) again, but this one is written upside down because in Chinese, upside down is “倒”, which sounds similar to the word “到”, meaning “arrive”, so people tend to put this upside down in their house as a blessing of “welcoming the good fortune to arrive”

9. 捏面人 (Flour Figure), a traditional Chinese folk art

12&14. 除陳布新 (Removing the Old and Setting up the New)

13&16. 置辦年貨 (Shopping for New Year)

20&18. 開門迎福 (Opening the Doors to Welcome the Good Fortune)

21&15. 除夕守歲 (Staying up for the Chinese New Years Eve)

22&17. 新春拜年 (Visiting Relatives during Chinese New Year)

23&19. 喜迎財神 (Happily Welcoming the God of Wealth)

Side note: Ancient Chinese is written from top to bottom, right to left; while modern Chinese is written left to right. That's why you see the characters are arranged differently between the pair of stickers; the ones with the drawings are intended to mimic the traditional Chinese New Year paintings, namely “nianhua 年畫”

Building 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions

Aside from the odd SNOT brick for attaching details, it's mostly standard techniques in play but there are some points of interest.


Firstly the aforementioned unceremonious use of our new two plate tall friend (86996). I’m sure it was introduced for greater things than filling a gap in a wall so it's surely only a matter of time before we see it used to its full potential. 


Not being the most mathematically minded builder, it took me a moment to realise the 7L technic liftarm (32524) placed across the hub’s hexagonal construction is completely sound, geometry-wise. Probably not a revolutionary technique for many but I thought it was neat:


Building six vignettes all based on the same format was a little repetitive but at the same time expected as the set is intended as a group activity. The unique style and details of each scene do quickly emerge as you pass ground level so even as a one man-band you’re never left in dejavu for long.


The final vignette’s base does break the mould a little with an amphibious Easter egg. Perhaps designer of the set Justin Ramsden is conspiring with known proponent of the LEGO frog (33320) and fellow set designer Nicolaas Vás. You heard it here first folks, the frog takeover has begun. Ribbit.


On the back corner of each vignette are a pair of Technic connectors. The upper one is the anchor point to the hub while the lower just provides support when the model is picked up from the centre - something I was tentative of doing at first but seems a relatively safe way of moving the model around. Probably best to have a second hand cradling the base just in case though. 

The build order was a little perplexing, booklet 1 contains the first vignette (Bag 1) - no complaints there - and also bag 2 which has us build up the hub. This throws out the numbering for subsequent bags & instruction booklets. E.g. booklet 2 uses bag 3, booklet 4 uses bag 5 and so on. 

Putting the hub last in the build order could’ve avoided this. However, the fact that each vignette's final step shows it being docked to the hub makes me think there must be a rule against showing a completed assembly before you're told how to build it. But as things stand, if the vignettes are built simultaneously by six different people as suggested, we potentially run into that situation five times over anyway. All told It’s not a massive issue, just not the most intuitive process either.

The Assembled Lunar New Year Traditions

Once complete any numbering issues are quickly forgotten as the gathered collection of traditions is quite charming. 


It's hard to appreciate the individual vignettes when they're all huddled together so let's take a quick look at each one in turn.


除陳布新 (Removing the Old and Setting up the New) depicts two minifigures giving a high rise balcony a through cleaning - good to know the magic multicoloured feather duster of levitation works. (C'mon Tom, think before you place the figures next time!)


置辦年貨 (Shopping for New Year) features a street stall which looks straight out of 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair with its Friction Cylinder (87617) columns and Flour figure display.


開門迎福 (Opening the Doors to Welcome the Good Fortune) has my favourite detail in the whole set - that lovely orange tree using the exclusively recoloured mixel ball with bar (67692) representing the fruit. 


除夕守歲 (Staying up for the Chinese New Years Eve) is our first true interior scene complete with fish tank, comfy sofa and a flat screen TV to watch the celebrations unfold. 

新春拜年 (Visiting Relatives during Chinese New Year) consists of a cosy looking living space with a magnificent vase and a bookshelf featuring some real page turners: 'The Ingot's new hue', 'Earth Green or Dark Green - The controversy continues' and 'The history of Dark Red (3rd edition)'. Okay so those titles aren't official but they were fun to dream up! 


喜迎財神 (Happily Welcoming the God of Wealth) is awash with riches as you'd expect. A golden hotdog bun (25386) and a 1x1 plate with a bar (79194) was a slightly baffling combination of parts until I saw images of traditional Chinese gold ingots. With new found understanding I really like this use of parts, it's great when existing elements can be used to good effect.

The common size and studded top edges of each vignette enable them to be displayed in different configurations when detached from the hexagonal hub:


Be warned though, while it's possible to stack all six into an impressive skyscraper, it will need some reinforcement - I found that out the hard way:


But what to do with the hub if you do choose to display the vignettes without it?


Pretend it's a spaceship of course! Even just built as per the instructions, it's quite a convincing space age design so with a bit of modification it could easily become a bustling intergalactic service station or perhaps the reactor of a high speed race craft. 

The style of the vignettes strongly remind me of the minifig habitat format developed by Handoko Setyawan, aka Pangeran Panda, that a growing number of MOC builders are using to display their figures. Our resident expert on the matter, Caz Mockett, kindly supplied this exemplary example of some of her own habitats:


Did this fan format feed into the design of the set? Well, as corner vignettes aren't a wholly unique idea, it's entirely possible the set was developed independently - but it sure would be neat if it did.

Conclusion 

After receiving looks of envy from family members as I was photographing the completed build, we all sat down and rebuilt a module each. It made for a fun half hour and it's safe to say the ‘build together’ aspect is successful minus the numbered bag shenanigans. 


It's a pity there’s nothing to say what each tradition is beyond the Chinese titles and what can be interpreted from the model itself. Fortunately the set is a delight to build though, so even when you’re unaware of the significance of what you're building, you’ll at least be enjoying the process.

‘Happily Welcoming the God of Wealth’ is appropriate in more ways than one since the value is definitely here. If we imagine the £60 total as being £10 per vignette (which is already a good deal), you also get the parts for central hub, 12 minifigures, some brand new elements and a small stash of exclusive prints. 

Available now in some markets, 1 January 2022 in others and 10 January in others, LEGO 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions is priced at €69.99/ US$79.99/ £59.99. Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'

READ MORE: LEGO® Super Mario 2022: New Parts in Luigi’s Mansion and Seaside Sets

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15 comments:

  1. Very nice review!

    The new 1x2 brick with rounded ends and center shafts seems like it'll be a great part. Previously, using vertical clips for attaching things together could be tricky due to a lot of bricks with vertical bar attachments not being ideal. You could use 2921—but the clip could slide vertically along it in some orientations. You could use 34816, but it's not very compact. You could use 20482, but that can't lock on both the top and bottom. This new part is gorgeously compact and the rounded corners should be great for hinges.

    The new 1x1x2/3 brick with hollow stud appears in some of the upcoming Minecraft sets as a short candle! Given that theme's blocky aesthetic it wouldn't surprise me if that were what it were designed for—with a square base and a hollow stud for attaching a candle flame. Still, the hollow stud makes it feel like it could be quite useful for lots of things—there are relatively few 1x1 square parts with hollow studs, let alone ones that let a bar all the way through! One simple, practical use that comes to mind would to use it in combination with 1x1 "Dalek" bricks to create a two-stud high square block with studs around all four sides.

    The Fabuland cauldron is certainly a dated part. I wouldn't mind if it got an update at some point, like adding a center stud holder to the underside like they did for the old 4x4 washtub that also originated from Fabuland.

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    1. Ah funny you mention the Dalek brick, I ran into a situation just today where being able thread a bar through a stack of them and 1x1 plates could've come on handy!

      Also good spot on the Minecraft candle, I reckon you could be on to something there!

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    2. I would put money on the new 1x1x2/3 brick being created for the upcoming sonic set. It would be an absolute pain putting together that many 1x1plates to make the checker board pattern. The new part would half the tedium.

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    3. It might be used heavily in that set, but with few exceptions Ideas sets don't get the budget for new molds. So it's probably more likely to have been introduced for another theme and used in the Sonic set out of convenience.

      Delete
    4. And I was completely wrong. What a missed opportunity not using them in that Sonic set.

      Delete
  2. 'Earth Green or Dark Green - The controversy continues'


    Metru Green, obviously!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll contact the publishers re volume 3 ;)

      Delete
  3. Ha, funny how they just ground the Fabuland part out of the mold. Makes sense to do so, as long as the rest of the mold is still functional and isn't worn down. While I'm no LEGO historian and haven't actually bothered to look into it, I suspect something similar happened with the original Kraahkan mold. Likely some damage to one of the hole-creating nubs that led to them grinding it off, leading to the temporary 5-hole variant, and then they made it symmetrical by grinding off the other which led to the later-day 4-hole variant.

    The new "plate" is interesting, it looks like something that could come in very handy in some niche circumstances when you're building at a smaller scale and need to pack details and connections in tightly.

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    Replies
    1. Also looks like there's a duplicated image in the section about the new 1x2 plate w/ shaft. It's missing the second picture of the connections.

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  4. Yeah, I remember the "Fabuland Blob Smudge" cauldron from my own collection. Surprising that such a rough mold would have stayed for so long... @_@

    As for the jokes about the books' colored covers, I came to think of the NYC Strand Bookstore's shtick of selling books by Foot and by color for interior decoration. I'm not sure if some of the rarer colors would be more expensive than others...

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/10/01/books-in-bulk

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  5. What did Tom do? Something to do with levitation dusters that I'm not getting

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    Replies
    1. I believe that vignette is supposed to be the balcony of a high-rise apartment building. Which would mean the fig posed to the right would be floating in mid-air!

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  6. i want 1x1 round plate with stud through it, but not like usual 1x1 plate round... more look like latest 35480, but half of it...

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  7. The element ID listed for the olive green 3X3 rounded corner plate brings up medium nougat when I search it on B&P. The element ID for that part in olive green is 6372468.

    ReplyDelete