80036 City of Lanterns Review

Theme: Monkie Kid
No: 80036
Release Year: 2002
Cost: AU $229.99
Pieces: 2187 pieces (with seven minifigures)

Finally, the biggest set of the 2022 Monkie Kid wave, and one that would fit quite well with the impressive Ninjago City trio of sets. With multiple levels and removable builds, plus an elevated rail line, this definitely fits the description of an eye catching build. There’s a whopping 77 stickers, but they all add so much more detail, so it’s worth using them. For those sticker haters out there, this is probably not the set for you!

With seven minifigures and two brick built robots, there’s no enemies in this set, so it looks to be a peaceful place! Monkie Kid looks relaxed with no fighting necessary – he’s in civilian clothes, with a hoodie, red pants and sunnies. He has a waistbag printed on his torso and carries the Golden Staff on his back and the map and a compass in hand. I like the cheesy grin and sunnies face, with an alternate smile on the other side. Mei is also relaxed with a green dragon jacket and blue bag underneath. This is a really great looking torso! Mei has a big smile on her alternate face and carries a mobile phone.

Pigsy has had a torso upgrade with some more detail and colour added. The back in particular looks quite good. He’s also got a mobile cooking kit on his back. It looks interesting. Mr Tang has a fantastic torso with a white singlet and noodles printed on it. He’s got a red scarf and the alternate mouth open face is great! He could either be eating something, or telling a story. The most exciting thing about Mr Tang is that he’s carrying a bowl of food and a new element – minifigure accessory chopsticks! These are brilliant! Super excited about these.

There’s also three civilians included. Han has a fantastic flame jacket torso, last seen in 60295 Stunt Show Arena, and a remade hair element. This element has been done in rubbery plastic before, but this time it’s in the normal plastic. I like the change. Huang is a bit more standard, with the torso appearing in a few sets already, and the train driver has been seen plenty of times before. Han carries a LEGO shopping bag, and Huang has a lantern on a pole. The robots are a fun addition, with the heads being nice additions.

The set is huge – 38cm wide, 39cm high, packed with detail and vibrant signage. A comfortable mix of modern and vintage architecture, this is a set to behold. The back has most of the rooms open to play, but this is clearly a set to be viewed from the front. I’m not quite sure the name lines up – I would have expected more lanterns from the City of Lanterns? There’s nine attractions plus the elevated rail across the set – let’s take a look one by one.

First up is a small detail that’s probably overlooked but there’s a scooter charging station around the back. It’s very simple, with a stickered panel and a folded up scooter. I love that these sorts of details are included! At the bottom there’s a Bubble tea station. Pretty simple but there are a couple of details I like – the little glasses with straws, and the bar detailing. Transparent purple 1×1 round tiles are placed in the inside of a clear 1x2x5 column. It’s a great use of space. Just next door is a simple karaoke booth. I like the colours around the door. Maybe that’s what Mr Tang is doing? Singing? Across the front are some basic filler details – an Octan barrel and some boxes, as well as some very nice stairs using lattice – the smaller ladders. On the opposite side is a large array of screens for an information point. It looks very futuristic.

In the centre of the build is the main building – the Noodle House. The front is dominated by the large sign with the monkey head and bowl I like the use of the 3×3 tiles to get the yin and yang shape. The green ingot roofing looks nice too. On the inside are some smaller rooms down below – a dumpling shop on the right and a market stall on the left, but the best part is upstairs. The restaurant itself. There’s some great looking tables with bowls inside, and four more sets of chopsticks! So good.

On the roof of the other side is the lobster restaurant, with the oversized sign of a chef lobster and a table set with lobster all served up. The use of small red horns in bowls was great. I also appreciate the Znap sticker, harking back to the very strange theme from 1998! It only lasted a year, but it’s legacy still lives on. Just underneath this is the station for the train. Simple but elegant.

On the top level there’s a Panda Store – a bit like a 7-11 I’m assuming. This one is very simple, but the roof is where the fun is. The big happy panda sign and the tree on top, even the sweeping shape of the sign, this was a nice inclusion. The interior is much more stripped back, with some basic items on a shelf.

The best building has to be the LEGO Store. There’s two giant plates, a Brickley wrapped around, and some of my favourite stickers – the LEGO logo on the studs. Inside? It’s small but it packs a punch! A Pick-a-Brick wall and the iconic yellow floor, with a shelf of sets ready to display – actual sets too! Iconic ones like 6416 Poolside Paradise, 6285 Black Seas Barracuda, 497 Galaxy Explorer, 700 Automatic Binding Bricks, 80107 Spring Lantern Festival, 5988 Temple of Anubis and 375 Castle. This was a great inclusion and my favourite in the entire build. There’s also a copy of 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech in a display case. I absolutely adore these stickers!

The final building is the Lotus Hotel. The exterior is small but very grand, using some quality new curved windows and the large lotus flower on the roof, capped off with a fire ring. This is a very regal looking building. The inside features a lobby with some briefcases, and a bed and lamp upstairs.

The elevated rail is simple but is a fun play inclusion. Pigsy is obviously doing quite well as the train is branded by him! A pink pig train just tops this set off. A minifigure can also fit inside a carriage quite nicely. I absolutely love the teal coloured tracks. So vibrant!

The extra little build is a hot air balloon with what looks to be a chef’s hat as the balloon? It’s odd, but that’s Pigsy. It’s just a shame that a minifigure can’t actually be secured inside easily.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s still enough walkway area for the minifigures. I was half expecting this to be forgotten. The power pole above the billboard for Chang’e’s Moon Cakes looks fantastic. Something that can easily be replicated elsewhere. Hanging off the power pole is a small sign with a minifigure and 90. This is to celebrate the 90th anniversary of LEGO this year! I love that it’s celebrated in this set in this way. This is a phenomenal set for Monkie Kid. I was very excited to build this one, and seeing it put together is great. My daughter loved seeing all the little details and all those colours. Each building also has it’s own Technic pin holes, so they can be connected together to form a more standard street.

That brings us to the end of the Monkie Kid theme for 2022! I’d love to know what you thought!

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.