For the last few years LEGO has produced some beautiful, detailed sets around Chinese (or Lunar) New Year. They’re always a hit and come with great colours and a big selection of minifigures. This year was no exception, with the two 2022 CNY sets coming my way for review. There’s 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions, and 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival, both celebrating the Year of the Tiger. They’ll be available to purchase from 25 December in China, and 1 January, 2022 everywhere else. 80108 will be AU $109.99, and 80109 at AU $149.99.
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
80108 Lunar New Year Traditions
Release Year: 2022
Cost: AU $109.99
Pieces: 1066 (with 12 minifigures)
First up is a very unique build, but something that LEGO fans have been known to do quite a lot – minifigure habitats. The Lunar New Year Traditions set depicts six different festive traditions during Chinese New Year. They can be clipped onto a carousal, or stacked up. There’s also 12 minifigures included. Let’s take a look one by one in no particular order, and the minifigures that come with them. Unfortunately I can’t read the stickers, so we’ll have to just marvel at their print quality.
The first habitat shows two people adding some banners to the entrance of their house, with a mandarin tree and red packets next to it. I absolutely love the mandarin tree! Apparently this is also significant as the Chinese word for mandarin (kam) sounds similar to the word for gold. Having mandarins around at New Year is said to bring riches to your life. The way they’ve been done with ball joints on bars in orange is superb. The two minifigures include a man in a blue jacket (who looks like he’s ready to spew), and a girl in a lovely floral embroidered jacket. He’s got a paint brush and a packet of sunflowers and she’s got scissors and a red 1×1 tile. There’s stickered tiles all over the place, but the mandarin tree is just excellent.
Next shows a living room of some grandparents with their grandson. This tradition revolves around the grandparents giving red packets filled with money to kids and unmarried people. They’re surrounded by presents, have a great little bookshelf above them and a vase in the middle, but the best detail here has to be the LEGO bag! The grandparents look good, especially the grandfather with the scarf around his neck. It’s got a bit of a Gryffindor vibe to it too!
This one shows a family (the same one from 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, with the girl a bit older) watching shows on TV, waiting until midnight to celebrate. We’ve seen these minifigures before, but the torso on the girl is great. It looks like her hair has grown! The star elements here are the aquarium and the clock that shows it’s 11:59pm, but my favourite one is the picture behind them, with the family in front of the red bull from 80107 Spring Lantern Festival. The continuity through these sets is marvellous.
We’ve got a couple cleaning in this one – the same couple from 80107 as well – with the matching outfits. They’re matching here too, in cleaning overalls. They’re cleaning before CNY, as it’s important not to clean on Chinese New Year’s Day, or you’ll sweep out the good luck and prosperity. This is a really clever build. Colourful feather duster, sponge and water bottle, and the window cleaner matches up very well with the water print on the sticker. I really liked this one. The torso prints are also nice – they’d work well as tracksuits too.
There’s also a stall selling toys, food and more. I love getting more minifigure trophies, and the sausages are great to have as well. Not as exciting as the rest, but the roof using light bluish grey ingots is good. The torso on the stall owner is good, with a satchel across his waist.
Finally, there’s the gold laden God of Money or Prosperity, called Cai Shen. He’s worshipped in the hope that you’ll be blessed with wealth in the coming year. He’s got a big pot (a cauldron new in red) of gold items and is also surrounded by it! The minifigure looks great with a long black beard and a winking eye. He has blue shoulder pads and an ornate costume on, using the new sweeping dress element. The headgear is particularly interesting, using a combination of gold and red elements, plus there are a few gold hotdog buns with minifigure clipped studs inside. I’m not sure what it’s meant to represent, but it looks great. I’ve also just noticed that the lantern is crooked! There’s also a couple of red money packets in the pile of gold goodness.
The carousel core holds the whole lot together and it’s very strong, but also easy to get the habitats off. You can easily pick up the centre and move the whole thing (although there is a bit of flex in the habitats, and underneath are some stickered 2×4 red tiles with some more traditional representations of the habitats. A nice touch, even if they are mostly hidden.
The printed dome on top has some fantastic tiger face prints and some more script.
This was a lot of fun to build! The base structures of the habitats are repetitive, but the details inside each one are of a high quality, so it’s worth it in the long run. On to the next one!
80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
Release Year: 2022
Cost: AU $149.99
Pieces: 1519 (with 13 minifigures)
The bigger set of the two, this features a beautiful scene around a frozen lake, with an ice sculpture, photo booth and a huge amount of minifigures, one of which is the Year of the Tiger minifigure!
There are some really exciting elements included here – trans blue penguin, photo cut outs and more transparent options, but the most exciting element in here is the use of new large opalescent panels (yep, not tiles), for the ice rink. These look incredible, and I’m so glad they went with panels because it allows for the opportunity to hide elements underneath! There’s a few fish and a mobile phone under the ice to check out. The panels work so well as ice, and the edges are nicely masked to make it more natural. I’m looking forward to seeing a few more of these in circulation hopefully soon.
The snow capped pine tree looks stunning, and makes use of a rather simple technique of clipping the leaves on to great effect. The stone path that flanks either side of the build looks great with the large 3×3 round tiles, and the ice sculpture just steals the show! It’s large and really eye catching made up of transparent blue elements with a splash of white. I really like the ice fishing hole! Underneath the snow layer is a transparent blue panel, so the designers have thought about all the little details, no matter how insignificant. The shack in the corner is home to the equipment rental and makes use of not a lot of space really well. Inside there’s a cash register, grindstone to sharpen the skates and a wall of skates ready for hire. There’s also a hidden drawer underneath the floor, with more skates and poles.
Off to the right side is an artist making an ice sculpture of a penguin with a chainsaw, and there’s a penguin with an orange ingot on it’s back. I’m not sure of the significance of it, but I’ll happily take them! Just behind is a face cutout photo booth, seen in pretty much every tourist destination I’ve come across. It’s a thicker printed plastic that feels really solid, and slots in nicely between bricks with vertical grooves. One of my favourite little details in the set is the curved staircase in the front corner. It’s incredibly well done, and the 3×3 variant of the quarter curved tile is new in light bluish grey.
At the front is a small fence and a poster with some people enjoying the ice. Speaking of people, there’s a huge amount of minifigures in this set – 13 in total! Four kids, a lady skating with the penguin ride on (which is just brilliant), the shack owner, a roasted chestnut vendor (with a brilliant mobile tub full of them), a grandmother, hockey player, Tiger guy (with spare tail), fisherman, photographer and artist, this is a massive amount of minifigures for a set this size.
My favourites are the dual sided head on the hockey player, the torso on the shack owner, and obviously the Tiger guy. Some of the minifigures have double sided heads, some don’t, but that’s totally ok. The scenes you can create with this army of people is wonderful.
This is a truly excellent set, and one of the best we’ve seen in the CNY range so far. The ice is incredible and there’s so much to look at. I’m a massive fan of the CNY sets – I can’t wait to see what’s next!
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.