LEGO released another culturally-relevant set to coincide with the Chinese New Year festivities of year 2020. It's simply known as the Lion Dance (80104) set. As part of the Chinese Festival Special Edition series of year 2020, this is the smaller set among the two that were released not long ago. We opted to review the smaller Lion Dance set as opposed to the larger Chinese New Year Temple Fair set for its rather cute "lion costumes".
In real life, lion dance is still a mainstay performance and tradition of the Chinese communities in Asia during Chinese New Year or special occasions such as business opening events or weddings. The key here is to ascertain if LEGO successfully captures the lion dance performance and the festivities with their bricks.
- Watch the video above to watch us build it!-
The main highlight of this set is none other than the lion dance costumes. There are five in total to be built and the result is quite amazing. We were impressed by the creators over at LEGO in modeling the lion dance costumes as they do resemble those in real life.
One small pet peeve that we have is that LEGO creatively used bananas to represent the eyebrows, frogs for the horns and a minifigure head (and hair) to represent a cabbage. While it works perfectly, we're a tiny bit miffed.
But if you can overlook those small choices that LEGO made, the lions are really cute. It uses two sets of LEGO minifigure legs each, making is quite posable especially when you place them on the platformed poles. The hinges of the legs are quite robust, enabling you to make 'suspended' poses.
Another part of the set is the Chinese gateway with red pillars and ornately-designed rooftops. The gate accentuates the entire set, acting as a backdrop or centerpiece - giving it an overall Chinese vibe.
It's great to mention that there are no stickers for this set, so all the fine details are printed directly on bricks. That's a real win.
The next part is the percussionists, the group of people who creates the music for the lion dance performance. A small rectangle platform holds the large drum (aka tanggu) and a gong pole. The minifigures can then be placed on the platform as an ensemble.
The small gimmick of this part of the set is that the main drummer as a special platform that can be swiveled with a small lever. This allows the drummer to hit the tanggu drum - making it quite playable for kids.
All in all, it's a pretty simple-to-build set but the end results are quite unique and relevant, especially to those who love the Chinese culture and tradition. It will make for a great display and yet being quite playable on its own.
We highly recommend it as a gift for those who are into lion dance or the Chinese traditions.