Vietnamese builder Khang Huynh is welcoming in the lunar new year with a beautiful LEGO bonsai apricot tree packed with new ideas. One of the best things about LEGO is that its elements can be repurposed nearly endlessly, limited only by your imagination. Here Khang has used several propeller pieces to sculpt the large, delicate petals of the yellow apricot blossoms that dot the tiny tree. Don’t stop looking there, though, take a close look for other wonderful reimaginings, such as ski poles, horns, and even a stud shooter.
Chinese New Year is fast upon us, and this year’s celebrated zodiac animal is the rat. What if another rodent got in on the game, though? Last week’s proposal was the Year of the Guinea Pig. This week, CK Ho suggests the Year of the Hamster. Specifically, this adorable duo represents characters from the hit children’s manga and TV show, Hamtaro. The little red pouches they’re holding likely represent the red packets given out to children during the holiday. That and the kumquat trees are especially festive.
I’ve never watched the show but enjoy the sculpting of each character. Sausages used as eyebrows allow them to clearly emote, with one looking happy while the other seems a bit nervous. What’s there to worry about when both of you have packets?
Chinese New Year is little more than a week away and, according to the Chinese zodiac, we are entering the Year of the Rat. When it comes to heavenly rodents, Ian Hoy has another cute critter in mind. Of course, I’m talking about the guinea pig! This little guy is beautifully sculpted with angled and curved slopes to capture the adorable chunkiness of domestic itty-bitty piggies. The facial expression is priceless. As for that bit of yellow in his hands, if you thought it might be a morsel of cheese, you would be sadly mistaken. It’s actually yuanbao, a gold ingot that was used as a form of currency in China from the Qin Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty. I wouldn’t mind dropping a few yuanbao myself if it meant this little fellow could join the colorful cast of zodiac animals.
Throughout Asia, the lion dance is a traditional event in which trained acrobatic performers impersonate the movements of a mythical Chinese lion. Of all the festivities in which the lion dance appears, the most significant is during Chinese New Year celebrations in which they are supposed to invite fortune and luck to businesses, events and festivals. This set was released alongside the 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair, both of which can be combined to create a larger atmosphere of a celebration. 80104 Lion Dance comes with 882 pieces, a new rat costume minifigure, and retails for US $79.99 | CAN $109.99 | UK £64.99. Let’s take a closer look at this set to see how it captures the spirit of such a unique event.
My wife calls me a hobbit because I like spending time in the great indoors. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy getting out for some fresh air and delightful scenery, but inside the house is where it’s at for me. It comes as no surprise, then, that I enjoy interior LEGO builds, too. Take this one by Hoang H Dang, for example. It’s a home all ready for the Tết Holiday. The warm colors, the charming furniture, the trees indoors…I mean, with trees indoors, why ever go outside, right? Sure, the walls are a bit decrepit, but that’s to be expected when it is the 1990s in Vietnam, and the buildings haven’t been repaired since the colonial days. Perhaps if one of the larger pictures on the walls were moved over the cracks, it would hide the exposed masonry. That’s what I would do in my own house, at least.
Of course, this is a LEGO model and not the real thing, so everything is where it is intended to be. Plus, there are some elements in this build that are fantastic in their usage. The upside-down DUPLO crates as tables in the back are brilliant, and a DUPLO swirl element forms the top of the vase for the tree on the right. And there is still more DUPLO with the purple Winnie the Pooh arch as a TV stand. Gosh, I love DUPLO elements used in regular System builds. I also love the eclectic mix of trophies and dolls on the shelves, along with the Mirror of Erised as a family picture on the wall. And then there are the rock star Friends, too. And yet, despite all of the odd places the parts are gathered from, it makes a beautiful home, perfect for celebrating the Lunar New Year with family in Vietnam.
Last year, LEGO released sets 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival, also known as the Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year). At the time, the sets were only sold in the Asia Pacific region, causing an uproar among fans elsewhere in the world who felt slighted by their regional exclusivity. The extent of this reaction was influential in LEGO’s decision to make this year’s Chinese New Year sets available worldwide. Today, we take a look at this year’s LEGO 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair to give you insight into a brick-built celebration filled with fun and beautiful details. The set has been available in the Asia Pacific region since December 26, 2019 but is being released worldwide today. It consists of 1664 pieces and retails for US $119.99 | CAN $159.99 | UK £89.99
Adding to the flood of new LEGO sets announced for this upcoming this summer, LEGO has officially revealed the highly anticipated 80103 Dragon Boat Race. The set will be the third Asian-themed exclusive set launched this year following the two Lunar New Year sets, 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance. The Dragon Boat Race set features two racing dragon boats, 15 minifigures and a viewing dock. The set will retail for SGD84.90 (around $65 USD) beginning May 1st.
While the previous two exclusive sets were very difficult to obtain in other parts of the world, LEGO announced earlier this week that regional exclusive sets like this one would have broader availability in LEGO retail stores worldwide and the LEGO Shop Online a few months after they launch. According to that information, 80103 Dragon Boat Race should have worldwide availability in several months, though we will post updates as we learn more.
Over the past year, LEGO has produced quite a few special sets with limited availability, including regional and retailer exclusives like the Chinese New Year sets and the Darth Vader Bust. Access to these products has typically been extremely limited, forcing many frustrated LEGO fans both in the US and abroad to go out of their way and pay exorbitant amounts of money from scalpers and other sites to obtain the sets. Starting in May, all that is about to change for the better.
With the Chinese New Year less than a week away, we’re seeing a number of creations inaugurating the Year of the Pig and a new calendar for over 20 percent of the planet. Joseph Zawada provided a detail-filled scene of how the Lunar New Year is likely to be enjoyed next month in San Francisco, California. Held since the 1860s to celebrate Chinese culture in the United States, this parade draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is the largest Lunar New Year event outside of Asia. The builder recreated a lively portion of the parade in front of the Dragon Gate in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The scene features a ton of popular references to the Lunar New Year, such as dancing dragons and children carrying red envelops containing gifts of money (hóngbāo). There’s even a C-pop float to round off the sensory experience.
As a quick note, Joseph states he recently worked with LEGO China’s Integration and Engagement team and fifteen other builders to highlight the Lunar New Year in LEGO form (including the Nian beast we recently featured). We’re hoping to see many more creations in the days ahead. We wish our readers great happiness and prosperity for the year ahead!
LEGO is giving away a free 40186 Year of the Pig set with eligible purchases over 88 USD, 80 GBP, or 88 CAD. The set celebrates the 2019 Lunar New Year, and comes with a rotating head, movable ears, arms, and legs. Also enclosed is a red money envelope with traditional gold color prints.