Lion Dance (80104) Review

Back in November 2019, I reported on the upcoming release of the 2020 Chinese New Year sets. The news was exciting because the sets received a worldwide release. The 2019 sets did not. Additionally, the intricate designs of the two new sets quickly placed the kits on my wish list. Despite the worldwide release, I still had difficulty getting them. Both sets went on backorder in January in Canada. I received one in March, and the other in late April. Suffice to say, these sets have been popular. This week, we will look at Lion Dance (80104).

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of sets does not guarantee a favorable assessment. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.

Lion Dance (80104) front box art.
Lion Dance front box art.

LION DANCE (80104) SUMMARY

  • NAME: Lion Dance
  • SET #: 80104
  • THEME: Chinese New Year (seasonal)
  • COST: $109.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 882
  • MINIFIGURES: 8
  • RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2019
Lion Dance (80104) rear box art.
Lion Dance rear box art.

LION DANCE (80104) QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 82% (Fairly average value per brick and per minute of build-time.)
  • BUILD: 99% (Beautifully designed set.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 86% (Nicely detailed Minifigures, good ratio of bricks to figs.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Adults might appreciate it, but kids will not as much.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 89%
Lion Dance (80104) kit contents.
Lion Dance kit contents.

LION DANCE (80104) REVIEW

VALUE: 82%

Lion Dance costs $109.99 in Canada and contains 882 bricks. Consequently, the cost-per-brick of the set is $0.125, which is good. However, it is not amazing. By comparison, my current average is $0.14/brick. Therefore, even at full price you are getting a decent value for this set. I rate the cost-per-brick at 85%.

Lion Dance (80104)

This set took me two hours and ten minutes (130 minutes total) to assemble. At $109.99, each minute of build-time costs $0.85. Comparatively, my average cost-per-minute is $0.82. As such, Lion Dance is close to average, but still a little expensive. I rate the cost-per-minute at 79%. Averaging this score with the cost-per-brick yields and overall value score of 82%.

BUILD: 99%

I wanted this set for the gate structure, and it did not disappoint. The build techniques were not overly complicated, but result is still stunning. Additionally, even though the techniques are not difficult, the set still uses bricks in interesting ways. I am also happy that there are no stickers. All the imagery consists of printed tiles.

Lion Dance (80104) gates.

The second major build is the stage for the lion dance. It is a split-level platform that supports poles. Each pole, or “Jong”, has a circular platform. I do not know much about the traditional lion dance. However, I read online that international lion dance competitions take place on similar stages. Contestants perform the lion dance on these small, elevated platforms that can reach six meters high. Overall, the stage looks great and is nicely detailed. I especially like the angular shape.

How could a lion dance be complete without lions? The set comes with five. Two red lions, two gold lions, and one white lion. The assembly of each variant is identical except for the brick colors. Again, the set has printed bricks and there are no stickers. The lions use bricks in clever fashion and achieve amazing detail. However, my only complaint about the set is that building lion after lion gets repetitive. The repetition did not bother me much, but I know it bothers some builders.

Lion Dance (80104)

Finally, there is a small band platform. Drum-beat music traditionally accompanies the lion dance. This platform has a barrel drum and drummer. Additionally, two Minifigures play cymbal variations. Overall, Lion Dance is nicely detailed and built. The only issue I can find for some builders is the repetitive nature of the lions’ assembly. I do not feel that is a huge drawback, so I rate the overall build for this kit at 99%.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

Lion Dance contains eight Minifigures. Each one has front and back torso printing, and all but one have leg printing. I really like the torso prints. They are different from other LEGO® kits. However, only two have double sided faces. In terms of accessories, Lion Dance contains 10 extra pairs of Minifigure legs, 22 frogs and 10 bananas. However, the pieces show up as part of the build and are not “accessories” per-se. Additionally, there is a frying pan used as a cymbal, a green Minifigure head with green hair (a pom-pom perhaps?), a paintbrush, a red scarf, and a new Chinese lantern piece. Since the frogs, extra legs, and bananas are bricks in this case and not accessories, I will not award a point for each individual one. I rate the design score at 83%. The set needs more accessories and double-sided face prints for a high score.

Lion Dance has 882 bricks. With eight Minifigures, you get a brick-to-fig ratio of 110:1. Comparatively, my average is currently 152:1. Therefore, for a kit this size, you get a decent number of Minifigures. I rate that at 89%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure grade of 86%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 90%

As an adult collector, I love this set. It is beautiful and makes a wonderful display piece. Additionally, I plan to find a place for Lion Dance in the growing Ninjago district of my city. The gateway will look amazing as the entry to a market street or square. From an AFOL perspective, I rate the kit at 100%.

From a kids’ perspective, Lion Dance fares a little worse. I tried picturing myself playing with this as a child, and I think I would have liked it. However, I cannot see myself picking it over a pirate ship or castle. To affirm my suspicions, I called my nieces. Neither one said they would pick this over a Harry Potter or Friends set. While they thought Lion Dance looked nice, one said it was more for grown-ups, and the other called it “teenager-y”. But they said the box art looked nice and realistic since it featured the set on pavement. Given these expert opinions, I rate the KFOL score at 80%. A set like this might fare better with kids more familiar with the festival. Averaging the AFOL and KFOL scores yields an overall entertainment rating of 90%.

Lion Dance (80104)

OVERALL SCORE: 89%

Lion Dance comes at a good, but not amazing value. The build is stunning, and the product is certainly a display piece. Additionally, I like the Minifigure prints a lot. However, the kit lacks accessories and appeals to a niche market. Those building up custom Ninjago districts will find use for this for sure. Interest or curiosity about Chinese culture also makes the set appealing. However, kids will probably not go for this kit over more recognizable themes. Personally, I love it and it fits well with my current build plans and interests. What are your thoughts? Comment below or let me know through social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

Want to know what others think?

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