The Chinese New Year sets joined the international offerings catalog from the LEGO® Group a few years ago. Prior to that, the sets sold only in the Asia Pacific market. The annual additions to the theme are now one of my most anticipated announcements for the January releases. Consequently, I was thrilled when the LEGO® Group offered me this year’s kits. Today, we take a look at the first: Lunar New Year Traditions (80108).
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).
LUNAR NEW YEAR TRADITIONS (80108) SUMMARY
- NAME: Lunar New Year Traditions
- SET #: 80108
- THEME: Chinese New Year
- COST: $99.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1066
- MINIFIGURES: 12
- RELEASE DATE: January 10, 2022
LUNAR NEW YEAR TRADITIONS (80108) QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 96% (Excellent cost/brick and loads of build time for the price.)
- BUILD: 90% (Interesting style of vignette for Minifigure displays.)
- MINIFIGURES: 99% (Loads of minifigs with great, new designs.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (I find this set hard to connect with and will recycle it for parts.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 91% (Very good set.)
LUNAR NEW YEAR TRADITIONS (80108) REVIEW
The first point of interest concerning Lunar New Year Traditions is the price. It has one less brick than last year’s Story of Nian. However, that one brick miraculously shaved $10 off the price. This set costs $99.99 in Canada. Additionally, it includes 1066 bricks. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.094, which is excellent. You get a lot of bricks for the price. I rate that at 95%.
Interestingly, Lunar New Year Traditions offers less build time than Story of Nian, despite the sets having virtually identical brick counts. The disparity arises from Lunar New Year Traditions offering a repetitive build experience. The set consists of six Minifigure vignettes. The base structure for each is the same. Consequently, once you build one, the others come together more quickly. Nian, on the other hand, requires consistent reliance on the instruction book, thus taking longer to build. Overall, Lunar New Year Traditions took me three hours and four minutes to build. The resulting cost-per-minute is $0.54. That is also excellent, earning 96%. Interestingly, the cost-per-minute is identical to Story of Nian thanks to the reduced price of this set.
Minifigure vignettes are quite popular among AFOLs. The traditional 8×8 stud style decorates Instagram profiles far and wide. That is one reason to get excited about Lunar New Year Traditions. The six modules in this set feature a standard design that is easily applicable to other vignette displays. The curved edges look modern and refined. Additionally, the use of a consistent color for the edging and base ties all the vignettes together despite different scenes in each. You could use a similar concept to display an entire Minifigure series.
The linkages on each vignette are also great. The modules are stackable for a forward-facing display. Additionally, you build a central core section that each module attaches to. The set employs Technic angle elements and cross axles to attach each vignette from the rear to the central core. This allows for a 360° tabletop display. I like the look and versatility of the display. However, the stacked option is somewhat hard to balance and assemble.
Lunar New Year Traditions displays in two different ways.
Finally, the set includes a huge number of new pieces, prints, and recolors. More specifically, there are two completely new bricks, nine previously existing bricks in new colors, and 13 bricks with new prints. The new 1x1x2/3 plate and 1×2 rounded brick are the most notable parts of interest. However, Minifigure fans will love the five new torso prints.
As previously mentioned, the modules all feature the same basic structure. Consequently, some fans may tire of the repetitive builds. I did not find that to be an issue, but it might be important for others. Additionally, I wish the 360° display was sturdier. Each module has one attachment point near the base joining it to the central core. It needs a second at the top in order to make the set easier to pick up. Overall, I rate the build experience at 90%.
Lunar New Year Traditions include 12 Minifigures. As mentioned earlier, five of them feature new designs. Unfortunately, three of them are stumpy kids with unmoving legs. However, the set includes two full sets of legs used as clothes hanging from a line. Consequently, there is really only one stumpy child if you rearrange pieces a little. Additionally, four of the characters have double-sided faces, all have front and back torso printing, and one features leg (skirt) printing. Finally, Lunar New Year Traditions is stocked with Minifigure accessories, including loads of micro-figures, plant bits, food, gold bullion, cups, printed tiles, etc. Despite the legs, I still rate the character designs at 100%. The set includes a lot to make up for that one issue.
12 Minifigures in a 1066-brick kit is amazing. The brick-to-fig ratio works out to 89 bricks/fig. You get a lot of characters for a kit of this size. In fact, there is double the number of minifigs seen in last year’s Story of Nian. While I have seen better ratios on rare occasion, you will be hard pressed to beat this character count in a large-ish set. I rate the ratio score at 97%. Averaging this score with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 99%.
Personally, the entertainment score is where Lunar New Year Traditions takes a hit. I like the overall design, and I enjoyed building it. However, I have no connection to this set. It displays scenes that are culture-specific with no explanations. Many other LEGO® instructions give you tidbits of info. That is not the case here. You have to research to figure out what each scene represents, which does not make the content accessible to those with a casual interest in others’ traditions. It is a seasonal display without much connection for people outside of the Chinese market. However, the same goes for Santa’s Sleigh or Santa’s Visit sets where the North American and European markets are concerned.
One of the reasons that I love the Chinese New Year sets is because they span themes. In the past, sets made excellent additions to Ninjago City or Monkie Kid inspired builds. If your LEGO® city features a Chinatown, those builds also go well there. Lunar New Year Traditions does not lend itself well to MOCs for city displays. It is a parts and Minifigures kit for me. I rate the entertainment score at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 91%
Ultimately, Lunar New Year Traditions gives you loads of bricks and Minifigures at a great price. Additionally, many of those Minifigures feature new prints that any city builder or minifig collector can appreciate. Another plus involves the build techniques. The base design for each module lends itself well to future Minifigure vignette displays. However, from a personal perspective, I did not like the set as much as past Chinese New Year kits. This one holds no personal connection for me, and I do not feel the need to display it for any length of time. I cannot use it in my custom Ninjago district builds. To me, it just represents some interesting new build techniques in a fancy brick box and Minifigure kit. What do you think? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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