80106 The Story of Nian continues with the Chinese Spring Festival theme that LEGO first introduced in 2018 with 80101 Reunion Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance.

You will find our review on the set below.

Box Experience

The setup for this set seems to be the front courtyard gates of a traditional Northern style “Siheyuan” in China

The boxart showcases the set and accompanying minifigures with a painted background and features the traditional red and golden colours synonymous with the Lunar New Year. Graphical elements of fireworks, clouds and an Ox (the zodiac animal of the 2021 Lunar New Year) are outlined in gold.

Contents of the box

The contents of the box are the instruction manual, 8 packs (numbered 1-8) of LEGO elements, 2 loose 8×16 white plates, one pack of trans orange explosion effects and a small sticker sheet featuring the “Door Guardians”

The instruction manual comes with a nice cartoon of the traditional story of Nian, the lion-headed monster coming to eat livestock(and children) at the village and the villagers came up with the idea of using bright lights/firecrackers and the colour “red” to scare it off forever.

The Build

For this build, we will skip right to the finished article.

The build shows the snow covered front of a Chinese courtyard gate with snow capped roofs complete with some icicles, some fireworks going off in the background (positions of the fireworks can be changed with the various 1×2 bricks with holes provided at the back of the build), an ox mascot using a string of firecrackers to scare off the Nian monster and a family enjoying lighting up fireworks in front of the gate. Some spring flowers blooming and a ladder to clear the snow as well as cleaning the fences of the walls complete the scene.

For the life of us, we aren’t really sure what the two cabbage heads, which are represented with overturned green mop heads at the left side of the gate are for, though we suppose this must be a very familiar sign for families in Northern China.

One of the main features of the set is the main gate itself. A pair of in-swinging red double doors with golden knockers and golden door frames are adorned with stickers of “Menshen” Door Guardians are flanked with a pair of round “Mendun”(Stone piers) at the base of the doors. The Door Guardians protect the household from evil spirits while the Mendun carries a dual purpose of supporting the base of the door as well as being a symbol of status rank which round ones purportedly reserved only for army officials.

The printed couplets around the gate read : (Thanks to MJ)

樂在其中慶新春
Lè zài qízhōng qìng xīnchūn
Adapted from Google Translate : Happiness in celebrating the new year

高朋滿座引佳節
Gāopéngmǎnzuò yǐn jiājié
Adapted from Google Translate : Full of Friends, This Festive Season

辭舊引新
Cí jiù yǐn xīn
Adapted from Google Translate : Goodbye to the Old and Welcome the New

Taking the first word of the two main couplets, and you will get 樂高 (Lè Gāo) which is the Chinese word for LEGO. What a nice easter egg! as pointed out by thenewelementary in their article. According to our readers, these type of wordplay is commonly deployed in couplets.

Directly on top of the gate are 4 geometrical poles (in this instance octagonal) which according to this article, the use of which, were strictly regulated as a symbol of social rank in feudal China.

A pair of red lanterns with golden tassels hang from the underside of the roof. Ornamental and functional architectural elements on below the roof are brightly coloured with teal, dark green, red and yellow elements

The other main feature of the set is Nian, the mythical lion headed, dog body creature that eats up both livestock and humans alike. This brightly coloured animal is built up from orange, teal and gold elements (Teal bananas!)

Nian is very posable with nice articulation throughout and can even be made to sit. The mouth can be opened up to give a more terrifying appearance. Be careful with the ornamental golden flourishes while posing it though, as those may pop out from time to time once your hand brushes against it.

The tail is pretty uniquely shaped, with a heavy red bludgeon that the Ox Mascot needs to be careful of!

The Minifigures

There are 6 minifigures in this set. An elderly couple, a boy and a girl, a returning male adult and a Ox head wearing adult all wearing layered/padded clothes suitable for the cold weather.

All minifigures have nicely printed front and back torsos with only the Ox-Head mascot having matching prints on the legs and hips as well. Among the highlights for us are the Grandpa’s jumper is stuffed with hong bao (red packets) to be given out to the young ones, as well as the Red hoodie with the “Niu”/Ox word in gold lettering as well as a Nian head revealing a “Niu”/Ox scroll at the back.

Grandma’s Flowery knitted jumper as well as the girl’s flower/wave patterned traditional Chinese quilted jacket are very nice too.

Summary

This set is an excellent addition to the Spring Festival lineup with a lot of detail and an interesting lineup of minifigures. This 1,067pcs set will go on sale on Jan 1st/4th 2021 in Asia Pacific and on Jan 10th 2021 globally. We give this set a 4/5 rating and a good to get set for this Lunar New Year.


The set used for the review was sent to us by The LEGO Group for the purpose of a review. Provision of sets do not in any way influence or guarantee a positive review.


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