Hands-on: LEGO’s Bonsai Tree set impresses as the most popular creation of the year

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The LEGO Group kicked off this year with the launch of hundreds of new creations, but one in particular caught the eye of builders both new and old, the Bonsai Tree. Since its launch, the popular build has been almost impossible to find in stock. But now that the dust is starting to settle, it’s finally starting to be readily available. So nearly six months later, we’re taking a hands-on look at the creation to see if it’s actually as much of a must-have as all the commotion would have you believe. Head below for all of the details on the LEGO Bonsai Tree.

Hands-on with the LEGO Bonsai Tree

The last time we checked in with the LEGO Botanical Garden theme, we found the Flower Bouquet that launched at the beginning of the year to be one of the more novel kits assembled in recent memory. We had originally planned to publish our review of the Bonsai Tree shortly after, given that it launched alongside the brick-built blossoms. But with stock being few and far between over the past five months, we’re just now seeing the popular new creation’s stock level out, which makes it a perfect chance to return to take a hands-on look at the kit.

Living up to its name, the LEGO Bonsai Tree assembles just that, a brick-built version of the iconic miniature saplings rooted in Japanese heritage. Stacking up to 878 pieces, the set pairs the tree itself with a planter and bamboo stand. Of course, because we’re talking about LEGO here, it’s not actual wood but does manage to accomplish the effect quite well.

Once fully pieced together, the entire model stands over 7 inches and manages to fit in quite a bit of detail. There’s a fun technique in the base that has you pour in a handful of 1 x 1 circular tiles to similar the soil, alongside plenty of other unique parts usage to give it about as life-like of an appearance as possible.

And then there’s the actual foliage. While the LEGO Group could have just stopped at including the signature green leaves found on Bonsai Trees, the kit goes even further to incorporate a pair of additional builds that you can swap onto the build. Cherry blossoms are every bit as iconic in the botanical world as these Japanese shrubs are, and so included are some bricks that let you put spring in bloom.

Much like the other kits in the LEGO Botanical Garden theme, serving as brick-built home decor is the name of the game with the Bonsai Tree. While assembly is quite fun on this one, thanks to the interesting techniques utilized throughout, this is one creation that you’ll be putting up on display to admire rather than swoosh around the room like with the Star Wars ships we typically check out.

And for a display model, it absolutely delivers on that. All of the foliage and clear parts usage combine to assemble a kit that catches your eye from far away but is packed with details under closer inspection. Take a closer look, and you’ll notice that LEGO frogs have been repurposed to resemble cherry blossoms thanks to a pink coat of paint, as well as plenty of other interesting design choices that transform your typical bricks into a pretty life-like recreation of a Bonsai Tree.

All that said, the $49.99 price tag makes the LEGO Bonsai Tree even that much more of a must-have. No matter which angle you look at this set from, be it sheer part count and value to the final model, the LEGO Group has nailed the execution this time around.

9to5Toys’ Take:

This year kicked off to a pretty lackluster collection of new LEGO kits by some accounts, but amongst them was arguably one of the best creations to ever officially be assembled: the Bonsai Tree. It has easily been one of, if not my favorite kit of the year so far, and I’ve been waiting for it to actually go back in stock to write about it and gush a little at this brick-built marvel. After all, I wasn’t going to spend all this time singing the kit’s praises only to wrap things up with a notice that you can actually buy it.

But here we are, five months later, and it’s the most readily available the set has been since launch. Almost half a year later and the LEGO Bonsai Tree is just as eye-catching of a model now as it was when I first assembled it. Of all the things I can highlight or call out about what makes it 2021’s best set so far, the fact that it has been sold out for so long is really all you need to know.

I can’t really recall seeing a public reception to a set like this in recent memory, as there are few kits that have been sold out continuously for this time. Sure the pandemic played some part in supply constraints, but while other kits that quickly sold out at the beginning of the year have long been replenished, it has still been a fight to secure the Bonsai Tree.

The set is almost a perfect storm in the LEGO world. It’s a top-notch set at a steal of a price and enters at a time when so many of us are trying to add a little bit of personality to our at-home workspaces. So whether you’re hoping to assemble a new piece of greenery for the desk or just want to expand your collection, now is the time to finally bring home the LEGO Bonsai Tree.

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