WhiteFang

REVIEW: 80102 Dragon Dance

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Hello everyone,

Earlier last week, I had reviewed the highly anticipated 80101 Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner. Due to personal family emergency, I had to defer this review and it pained me to review this set due to the close proximity of this sad incident. Though the start of my new year is grim, but I had decided not to dwell on it and made the best out of this set review. Similar to the sister set of 80101 Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner, this set also suffered the same fate of being regional exclusive in Asia Pacific region. This set is currently available in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, etc. At this point of the review, I can sadly assume there are no more ready stocks available in retail stores in Singapore. There will not be any further replenishment. I half suspect the other mentioned countries had almost ran out of stock. If you are still on the fence, do not hesitate and get it before you go on to read my review or any others in the Internet. Because it will likely be gone even though you are willing to pay SRP for it.  Without further ado, allow me to share my perspective. 

Name: 80102 Dragon Dance
Theme: LEGO System / Seasonal / Chinese New Year 
Year: 2019
Pieces: 616
Minifigs: 5 minifigures
Price: SGD 84.90
Resources: Brickset, BrickLinkBrick Insights


An original box image of the 80102 Dragon Dance
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Back view of the original box image of the 80102 Dragon Dance
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This is another incredible special exclusive for the Chinese New Year festival
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This is the second official LEGO set released under the Chinese Festival Special Edition flag which is indeed a pleasant surprise. As mentioned in my opening paragraph, there are no ready stocks to be seen in Singapore. If you can get this set, the SRP is extremely reasonably priced and I had to admit that it is affordable for such a LEGO set design. Our Eurobricks member, badbob001 had shared that the designers for this set are Nick Vas (@princegalidor) who is former Eurobricks Action Figures Moderator and Niek van Slagmaat (@toothdominoes). Their tweet can be found in this link

The Dragon Dance  is a traditional Chinese dance performance involving a team of skilled performers using poles to rhythmically move a dragon prop. It is usually performed during Chinese festive celebrations. Dragon dance performers are usually martial artists or acrobats who are able to move their bodies rhythmically and synchronise their steps so that the dragon appears to move gracefully. When the performance commences, a man holding a long pole with a dragon pearl affixed to the top stands in front of the dragon’s head. He swings the dragon pearl from side to side, while moving in tune to the sounds of the dragon drums and accompanying music. The dragon chases the pearl and attempts to capture it, but is never successful. And so the dance continues, with the dragon pearl teasing the dragon and the dragon showing off its antics while trying to catch it. The Chinese believe that performing the dragon dance during festivals and celebrations drives away evil spirits and ushers in good luck and blessings for the community.


The content of the sealed box
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The sealed box come with four group of numbered mint packs. The box contain an instruction manual which also reveal the building stages overview. After completing the built, these are the remaining spare parts including a brand new teal brick separator. 


The Dragon Dance minifigures performers
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In this set, there are five well designed minifigures, largely featuring the four new dragon dance performers and the almost similar CMFs Series 12 - Piggy Guy in 2014. The minifigure head is different and more importantly, the new Piggy Guy minifigure does not contain back printing unlike the doppelganger in CMFs Series 12. In this case, the mold and leg are the same parts. Henceforth, this is still a good chance for fans whom had missed this minifigure previously and also don't mind the lack of back printing.

The dragon dance performers are nicely designed with some good attempts to make slight variations through the facial expressions of the minifigures' heads. The performing outfit are the same and so if anyone like to army build some sort of red henchmen specialised in martial arts, this could just be the right formula. All of the minifigures contain back printing with the exception of the new Piggy Guy. Only one minifigure contain an alternate facial expression


The entire building content for Packet 1
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The completed built for Packet 1
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The entire building content for Packet 2
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The completed built for Packet 2
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The entire building content for Packet 3
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The completed built for Packet 3
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The entire building content for Packet 4
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The completed built for Packet 4
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The Dragon Dance display is performing full swing
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The completed built of the dragon dance is coupled with amazing design and incredible playing mechanism which will make a fine desktop display. By unwinding the mechanism, you could see the entire dragon dancing by see the body sections moving up and down which can be quite therapeutic. The ingenious playing winding mechanism is encapsulated within the wooden blocks. It utilise different angles of technic pins to allocate in certain positions by distinguish its different movements. You can take a moment and view a short video right at the end of the review to experience the playing mechanism. The most important thing which pleased me greatly is the lack of stickers. I am so glad to see the dragon scale fins are printed and you get a total of 14 printed pieces in this set. The dragon head design is accurately designed with the excellent usage of uncommon animal parts like tan frogs and scorpions. The dragon tail is also equally articulated with a good combination of parts. The printed pearl is able to rotate together with the winding mechanism which is attached to the pole.  

You can enjoy viewing more of the up close viewing angles from the front view, bottom viewside view (L)side view (R), the performing act (1) and the performing act (2)

A closer look at the Dragon Dance performance
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Which dragon is more dangerous looking?
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Golden Dragon making a special performing appearance
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2019 - Year of the Pig
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These are the special exclusive Chinese Festival sets
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To conclude, this is another great exciting 2019 set which is released so far. There are so much building enjoyment and the only significant disappointment is that such an excellent set like this is restricted in limited quantities within Asia Pacific region. I hope I am able to get the next rumoured 80103 Dragon Boat set as well which is exclusive in China. and I had so much enjoyment building this set up. If you are still thinking and able to see these sets in stores, don't hesitate. Just pick it up first and think of what to do with it later if you end up not liking it. I highly doubt most will not dislike this new festive sets. 

Summary review
Playability: 10/10 (Very fun to play with on the winding mechanism for the dragon dance movement.)
Design: 8/10 (Above average minifigures' design and excellent dragon dance design.)
Price: 9/10 (Get this set at SRP if possible. The set is very reasonably priced and I got no qualms paying for SRP.)
Overall: 9/10 (Get this set if you are still able to.)

I gave it a "5" based on my Review Score Card. :wink: What about yours?  

I hope every one of you enjoyed reading this simple review of mine. Comments and Criticisms are strongly welcomed.

Pictures can be found in My Flickr.

 

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Awesome, thanks for the great review. I really, really, REALLY need especially this one, and the boat! :wub: Please Lego, make it available online?

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I think this may even be my favourite over 80101, but it’s a close call. I’ve seen some criticism of the mechanism not looking fluid enough, with some even modifying it to look more serpent like and smooth. But I think when you look at Dragon Dancers in real life there is a lot of darting movement that is replicated here quite accurately. LEGO really did their homework with these two sets, they really honour the Lunar New Year Festival in style.

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Really great set.  I wish it was available in the US.  Very nice details and functions.  

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Great review, it’s nice to get a good look at these sets. 

Any idea if it can be easily modded to be held together off the stand? If I’m fortunate enough to get it, I was envisioning it walking through town. 

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Thank you for the nice review! Could you confirm or deny if the head of the piggy suit is the same as Lester from the Leicester Square?

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I would love this set to be available in Germany/ Europe. How LEGO even thinks this would need to be region-specific totally eludes me, given how generic those sets, are after all. It's not that by now we haven't heard of Asian/ Chinese traditional festivities, Dragon Boat races and so on...

Mylenium

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Wow, this is also a very cool set. The moving snake is awesome :wub:

Thanks for reviewing this set!!

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22 hours ago, bigginsd said:

I think this may even be my favourite over 80101, but it’s a close call. I’ve seen some criticism of the mechanism not looking fluid enough, with some even modifying it to look more serpent like and smooth. But I think when you look at Dragon Dancers in real life there is a lot of darting movement that is replicated here quite accurately. LEGO really did their homework with these two sets, they really honour the Lunar New Year Festival in style.

The fourth section of the body (not including the head) doesn't appear to move up and down as much as the others. I don't know if it is the minifigure that has been placed to low to keep it from dropping down as low as it can, but that part makes it looks unnatural. The other parts seem to move more, and mostly in order.

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11 hours ago, Vindicare said:

Great review, it’s nice to get a good look at these sets. 

Any idea if it can be easily modded to be held together off the stand? If I’m fortunate enough to get it, I was envisioning it walking through town. 

The box had been designed so that’s you can easily plug the separate segments in and out of it. So you can take them out and put them in your cities!

Really happy to read people like the set. :D

Also, thanks for the review, @WhiteFang! I’m glad you like it, 

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Great informative review, thanks @WhiteFang!

I'm not a big fan of all those sausages used on the dragon. It seems the designers couldn't keep their mind off food when working on the model. :sceptic:

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Thanks @WhiteFang for the great review!  Looks like this set has lots of great parts, although I can't imagine breaking this one apart.

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Seems like this has room to support eight dragon handlers, but perhaps that many bodies would draw focus away from the dragon itself. I think would prefer the motion to be smooth and would make a better impression to others.

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Thank you very much for this as always complete and enjoyable review WF really appreciated you took time even you had difficult times, I hope you get feeling better with time.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and comments. :sweet: 

On 1/15/2019 at 2:17 AM, Chilis said:

Awesome, thanks for the great review. I really, really, REALLY need especially this one, and the boat! :wub: Please Lego, make it available online?

I also wish it will be available elsewhere but given this decision made on the availability. The exclusive is specified to Asia Pacific region. I hope this is not an one-off theme. 

On 1/15/2019 at 4:12 AM, bigginsd said:

I think this may even be my favourite over 80101, but it’s a close call. I’ve seen some criticism of the mechanism not looking fluid enough, with some even modifying it to look more serpent like and smooth. But I think when you look at Dragon Dancers in real life there is a lot of darting movement that is replicated here quite accurately. LEGO really did their homework with these two sets, they really honour the Lunar New Year Festival in style.

Yes, I agreed! 

On 1/15/2019 at 9:13 PM, julesvincent said:

Thank you for the nice review! Could you confirm or deny if the head of the piggy suit is the same as Lester from the Leicester Square?

Yes, it is the same as the Lester from Leicester Square. 

On 1/16/2019 at 2:48 AM, MAB said:

The fourth section of the body (not including the head) doesn't appear to move up and down as much as the others. I don't know if it is the minifigure that has been placed to low to keep it from dropping down as low as it can, but that part makes it looks unnatural. The other parts seem to move more, and mostly in order.

Not exactly sure if I had to turn it harder than before, to make the actions balance. The technic pins are allocated in the same line with different angles. 

On 1/16/2019 at 4:42 AM, Brickthing said:

Great informative review, thanks @WhiteFang!

I'm not a big fan of all those sausages used on the dragon. It seems the designers couldn't keep their mind off food when working on the model. :sceptic:

Nice to see you here! Great work done for the set and now I know why those sausages are used. :laugh: 

46 minutes ago, Niku said:

Thank you very much for this as always complete and enjoyable review WF really appreciated you took time even you had difficult times, I hope you get feeling better with time.

Thanks Niku for your kind words. 

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Thank you very much for this excellent review on a set I have been desperately waiting for! :wub:
The design of the CNY sets came out of nowhere. I was completely overwhelmed when I saw the first pictures. Really extraordinary sets, all of them. Nice (printed!) parts selection, clever details  - LEGO at it's best!

Now I'm counting the days to receive it.
(Finally it worked via Australia ... :wink:)

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45 minutes ago, Holodoc said:

Thank you very much for this excellent review on a set I have been desperately waiting for! :wub:
The design of the CNY sets came out of nowhere. I was completely overwhelmed when I saw the first pictures. Really extraordinary sets, all of them. Nice (printed!) parts selection, clever details  - LEGO at it's best!

Now I'm counting the days to receive it.
(Finally it worked via Australia ... :wink:)

Awesome, Holodoc! I am sure you will enjoy the built as much as I do. I am so happy that you had finally got them. 

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Nice review WhiteFang! I count myself lucky as being able to have picked up this set, and I haven't been able to stop playing with it since.

I've hooked it up to the Powered Up system from the App-Controlled Batmobile, so I could post a video if anybody is interested. It kind of feels like the model is going to explode at anything other than the lowest possible speed.

This set is both a beautiful model, and also something that feels like it was designed specifically for AFOLs. It's just such a generous parts feast, exceeding what anyone could reasonably expect out of a set. For example, why did they use such new colours for parts in the base mechanism, such as 2x2 round tiles in the brand new bright coral colour that debuted in the Pop-Up Party Bus? There was no reason for it other than to make AFOLs happy. Yet, at the same time, the majority of AFOLs worldwide can't even get this set.

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5 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

For example, why did they use such new colours for parts in the base mechanism, such as 2x2 round tiles in the brand new bright coral colour that debuted in the Pop-Up Party Bus? There was no reason for it other than to make AFOLs happy. Yet, at the same time, the majority of AFOLs worldwide can't even get this set.

It’s not to make AFOLs happy (I think). It has something to do with minimizing the number of different parts used during a production period. I see this in Technic a lot too. Apparently, it’s better/cheaper to use a part which they are using in another set and make more of those. It’s probably related to warehousing (space is limited and the number of different parts is growing and growing), so they can use the same stock. It’s something like that, I’m pretty sure about it.

If you look at the Technic helicopter you see that TLG uses white parts in the landing gear, which obviously should be black. But the white ones are already used in other sets, so it’s better to simply use white ones. I do see more cost (or profit) optimizations like this.

So TLG is minimizing the number of different parts used for the entire Technic line-up, which will be the same for other themes.

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1 hour ago, Jim said:

It’s not to make AFOLs happy (I think). It has something to do with minimizing the number of different parts used during a production period. I see this in Technic a lot too. Apparently, it’s better/cheaper to use a part which they are using in another set and make more of those. It’s probably related to warehousing (space is limited and the number of different parts is growing and growing), so they can use the same stock. It’s something like that, I’m pretty sure about it.

Thanks for the explanation Jim, this makes a lot of sense. However, do you think that LEGO mandates that once a colour change is made for a specific set, designers should find any and all reason to put the recoloured part into other sets? Dragon Dance contains three elements in its base that were clearly recoloured for other 2019 sets. More common colours of those three parts would surely be available in the warehouse too - in fact, the 2x2 round already appears in this set in a different colour. Given other interviews I've read, it seems that designers do think about incorporating parts in available rare colours for the benefit of the fans.

That's not to mention the parts that were recoloured and decorated just for this set, of which there are quite a good number, but those were to give the dragon its look.

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It could very well be the case that designer takes this into consideration. However, I am convinced this is a collateral bonus, next to the overall production/design strategy. The fact remains that I see lots of "unusual" colored parts in sets and when I dig deeper, I see that these parts are necessary in other sets, so they are in production anyway. This certainly goes for Technic. The truth probably lies in the middle, but I don't think TLG has the warehouse space (anymore) to store all the necessary/different parts at the same time. Or its simply more profitable to re-use common parts during production runs. The "shared part" strategy makes it possible to use more new parts in sets. I have called this the "Only the most profitable is good enough" philosophy in one of my recent reviews :tongue:

Maybe this warrants a separate topic, but take a look at the helicoper's landing gear and you will see what I mean. There's no valid reason to use white parts there. 

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13 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

Nice review WhiteFang! I count myself lucky as being able to have picked up this set, and I haven't been able to stop playing with it since.

I've hooked it up to the Powered Up system from the App-Controlled Batmobile, so I could post a video if anybody is interested. It kind of feels like the model is going to explode at anything other than the lowest possible speed.

This set is both a beautiful model, and also something that feels like it was designed specifically for AFOLs. It's just such a generous parts feast, exceeding what anyone could reasonably expect out of a set. For example, why did they use such new colours for parts in the base mechanism, such as 2x2 round tiles in the brand new bright coral colour that debuted in the Pop-Up Party Bus? There was no reason for it other than to make AFOLs happy. Yet, at the same time, the majority of AFOLs worldwide can't even get this set.

Interesting question and Jim had given some good insight. My guess is those uncommon parts which are tucked away are not meant to make AFOLs happy. I recall reading or heard from the designer that it was intentional to put distinct colours to illustrate the playing mechanism. It is not part of the exterior or interior playing facade. It is meant to be hidden away as part of the playing mechanism of the set itself. Hence, the designer would use bold colours of their choice to identify the mechanism. I would be wrong, but that's my guess. 

I am interesting to see what you have done with the Powered-Up system. I was exploring on using my PFs to power it up but I don't know where I had kept them now. 

7 hours ago, Jim said:

It’s not to make AFOLs happy (I think). It has something to do with minimizing the number of different parts used during a production period. I see this in Technic a lot too. Apparently, it’s better/cheaper to use a part which they are using in another set and make more of those. It’s probably related to warehousing (space is limited and the number of different parts is growing and growing), so they can use the same stock. It’s something like that, I’m pretty sure about it.

If you look at the Technic helicopter you see that TLG uses white parts in the landing gear, which obviously should be black. But the white ones are already used in other sets, so it’s better to simply use white ones. I do see more cost (or profit) optimizations like this.

So TLG is minimizing the number of different parts used for the entire Technic line-up, which will be the same for other themes.

Very interesting. Your thoughts are also highly probable based on the situation. We might not never know the actual reason but from a commercial perspective, it is entirely possible. 

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My sister is getting me 2 of each of the 3 Chinese New Year sets so I am thrilled.  Will pick them up in July on our visit to her...these look so much better than the little pictures I had.

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I was really looking forward to this set, but I can't help the designers of the set either have never seen a dragon dance in action before or they just didn't care. The mechanism is in no way incredible when considering how a dragon dance works. I'm not talking about sophisticated performances of a dragon dance. But considering the price, and assuming that the product is completely produced and packed in the Lego factory in China (which should decrease costs massively), I would have expected TLC to invest at least a bit more time into the mechanism, as this is the only play feature of the set. You can't do anything else, e.g. take off the minifigs and the dragon and let them run through your town or whatever, as it's only separate sections of a dragon. Now ignoring those big black bars, and ignoring that TLC was not willing to include additional minifigs for the remaining bars (and also unable to adjust the design so that four minfigs are sufficient to carry the dragon), you get a very bumpy up-and-down motion. The most ridiculous feature is the rotating pearl though. Well, it's great to see how one can "change directions of motion" with bricks, but this doesn't have to do anything with the real thing.

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