80039 Monkie Kid™ The Heavenly Realm Review

Reviewed by Richard Yang (SAFOLs Member, zaLUG Member)

When I found myself as an AFOL again in 2019, the only oriental LEGO® theme available was Ninjago, So I was pretty excited on the launched of the Monkie Kid™ theme in 2020. The first few waves of products were alright – cyberpunk style, cool mechs, highly detailed designed minifigs, and that was it. What changed my view on the theme was the launch of set 80039 The Heavenly Realm in June 2022, which gave me the same feel as the Ninjago set 70751 Temple of Airjitsu – EPIC!

The Monkie Kid™ theme was adapted from the classic Chinese fantasy novel “Journey to the West (西遊)” which is well-known to many Chinese households. The various storylines of the novel were depicted in many movies, TV series or storybooks which I thoroughly enjoyed as a child, journeying through the various adventures with the main characters.

First Impression

As the Monkie Kid™ theme are online exclusive in South Africa, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the box (48cm x 58cm) as unboxed my delivery.

Contained in the box was instruction booklet pack separately wrapped in plastic, 17 numbered bags, and 4 of the 16×16 brick bases, in white.

The instruction pack contained 2 instruction booklets, 2 sticker sheets as well as a shiny plastic sheet of clouds.

The build

The set contained 2,433 parts, with 8 minifigs and a dog. Overall build experience was enjoyable as expected of any LEGO® set (except the application of stickers!). There are some great SNOT techniques throughout the build, I am particularly impressed on the technique used to build a section upside down on the wall of the Peach Garden!

In terms of functionality, the initial form of the build is concealed behind the clouds, and as you push the Gateway section, the clouds move aside, together with the two other scenes, to reveal the palace behind the clouds.

The set is a great display piece as a traditional oriental structure. The model measures over 37 cm high, 42 cm wide and 34 cm deep. The model can be split into 4 sections, where it tells you 3 stories as part of the 4 chapters of Heavenly Realm saga, out of the 100 chapters. But more of that in the next section.

The Story

This set is adapted from Chapter 4-7 of the novel, The Heavenly Realm Saga. The first 3 chapters before this was about the story of the birth of the Monkey King in Flower Fruit Mountain (Yes – set 80024!), followed by the protagonist causing trouble across the different realms.

Chapter 4 starts with the Monkey King being summoned by the Jade Emperor to theHeavenly Palace (靈霄殿), for all the damages he caused in the different realms. The Jade Emperor assigned him the role of the Stable Warden (弼馬溫), to keep him at bay. However, the role was mundane and boring, and he soon realizes that it was one of the lowest and insignificant rank in the realm. He deserted the position and returned to the Flower Fruit Mountain. The only presence of this chapter in the set was the Warden Monkey King minifigure with the horse image on the torso.

The Jade emperor was infuriated by the disrespect towards his order and sent soldiers to retrieve him for judgement. This was not successful as the Monkey King and his army of monkeys defeated the soldiers, thereafter, he self-proclaimed the title of 齊天大聖, which stands for Great Sage of Heaven’s Might. This title can be seen on the banner of the Warrior Monkey King minifigure in this set.

Chapter 5 The Jade emperor summoned the Monkey king once again and promoted him as the Guardian of the Peach Garden (the Peach Garden is located to the left of the final build, with a plaque of 蟠桃園 on the wall, which means Peach Garden), he also officially bestowed the title of Great Sage of Heaven’s Might upon the Monkey King to keep him happy and out of trouble.

The Monkey took the liberty of consuming the fruits in the Garden as he wishes. One day when the Fairy came to harvest the peaches for a celebration, there were almost no fruits left. She interrogated the Monkey, and in that discussion, the Monkey realized that he wasn’t invited to the celebration, he then “crashed” the party, ate all the food, and drank the wines, before the arrival of the guests, and caused a big mess. The peaches on are printed on heart shaped 1×1 tiles, which was a great addition to the set.

Whilst being extremely drunk, the Monkey King stumbled across the Palace of Taishang Laojung (This scene is to the right of the final build, with a banner of兜率宮 – which means Tusita Palace). Laojung was in the process of making pills of longevity in the furnace through Alchemy. The Monkey king opened the furnace and ate all the pills and fell asleep in the palace.  The next morning he awakened to the realisation of the big trouble he committed, he fled the palace and returned to the Flower Fruit Mountain.

The Jade Emperor, once again infuriated, sent Erlang (with his Celestial dog), Nezha and other generals together with an army of Ten thousand soldiers to seize the Monkey King for judgement.

Chapter 6/7

After being judged and sentenced to be executed, no apparatus or method could harm the Monkey King a slight bit due to his gifted abilities. Taishang Laojung then proposed to burn him to death in the furnace.

This is depicted on the dual moulded facial expression, where one was suffering (in the furnace), and the other was chewing, likely from eating the peach / food / pills.

The furnace was opened after 49 days, and the Monkey King was still alive! And he started fighting everyone and wreaking havoc in the heavenly realm. This was shown in the box art of the set where he was fighting Erlang, you can also recreate the scene with the transparent stands provided and position the fight in front of the palace.

As the Monkey King is well gifted in fighting capabilities, no one was of match to him. The Jade Emperor eventually asked requested assistance from Sakyamuni Buddha who then captured the Monkey and locked him up under a mountain.

Overall

Minifigures                                      10/10

Display value                                   9/10

Building techniques                        8/10

Value for money                              9/10

Overall product experience         9/10

This set is one of my favourite sets released in 2022. I would recommend it to anyone who loves oriental themed LEGO® sets. The build experience was great, and I specifically loved the mechanism where the clouds spreads aside.