Completing the Lego Bonsai Garden

The Lego Bonsai Tree and Lego Tranquil Garden have been two beautiful releases by Lego in recent years that complement each other perfectly. The both do an excellent job of hiding the lego aesthetic while pushing forward the Japanese aesthetic that makes them excellent display pieces.

I built both of these before on stream. I wrote some words and took some pictures, too.

Putting both sets side-by-side shows how the sets can complement each other. Both bases are identical, and the cherry blossom motif uses the same colors.

The trees aren't exactly identical, though. Also, the balance very heavy on the left side.

Because I loved that Lego Bonsai Tree so much, I had bought a second one for cheap on Yahoo Auctions to make a slightly larger bonsai tree. So, rather than doing that, I could build it as normal and place it on the right side of the garden giving the scene more balance through framing.

Building a Second Bonsai Tree

It only took me an hour to put the set together, which is twice as fast as my previous build. Of course, this time I wasn't building to an audience on Twitch, and I had already done it before, so that accounted for the speed.

There were two things that were different this time:

The feet were different?

The first difference was the feet for the base. These feet were constructed using a 2x2 plate with a bottom technic pin, a technic tube, and a rubber something that went on the tube. These parts were totally different than my other Bonsai Tree and even the Tranquil Garden. The original set were made using a 2x2 plate with a bottom tire peg and a rubber tire. You can see the difference in the right photo below.

I don't know why this is different, but you really can't tell in the finished design and it works the same way. I haven't looked into it, but maybe the Chinese version uses the cheaper parts? I don't know.

Balance Mod

When I built my first bonsai tree, I used a building mod that claimed to make a more balanced tree, and overall it did. The main branch went down the center of the tree, and two other shorter branches were on both sides. I started doing the same mod to this tree. But after building it, I decided to change. Not all trees have the same shape, so I thought it would look more natural if the trees looked different. I took it apart and went with the standard build.

The original design (on the right) is really weird. Nature does have a lot of randomness, but there's still a balance to it. However, there is not a stiff coordinated balance like the mod. Maybe there's a nice in-between, but whatever. In the end, it results in a different tree, as you'd expect.

On its own, the modded balanced tree looks way better just by itself. The unmodified tree on the left feels like it's missing a patch on the right side. But that's okay because it's just one piece of the overall scene.

Branch Blending

The cherry blossom leaves of the Bonsai Tree and Tranquil Garden are similar, but not the same. Both have white leaves, although they're different pieces. Both use magenta flowers with stud pegs. But for pink flowers, the Bonsai tree uses frogs and the Garden uses stud flowers.

I wanted all the leaves of the cherry blossom trees to be more uniform, which meant sharing pieces across all of the leaves. The magenta pieces were fine, but the pink pieces were heavy on the Bonsai tree, light on the Garden trees.

Doing some math, each Bonsai tree has 20 leaves for its tree. The Garden trees have a total of 17. In total, 57 leaves across the three sets. Each Bonsai leaf had 5 frogs, for a total of 200 pink frogs across both sets. That means each leaf should have 3.5 frogs. Each Garden leaf had 4 small flowers, for a total of 58 flower pieces. Easy. Each leaf should have one flower peg.

I started taking things apart and moving pieces around, and in the end, things looked much better than before.

The Garden trees still look a little sparse. But, that's because the leaves are spread apart more than the Bonsai tree. Outside of other mods, you can't really help it.

Light Kit

When I bought the second Bonsai tree, I also bought a second light kit. Having installed one previously, it was WAYY easier to put together this time. I knew exactly how I was going to hook everything up and it all came together pretty quickly.

In the end, it came together quite well.

Both Bonsai trees bookend the Tranquil Garden perfectly and create a scene with the tea house slightly peering through the white and pink branches. I ended up switching the position of the Bonsai trees because of the empty patch of the unmodified tree fits well next to the trees from the Garden.

It looks great during the day with natural light, and looks great at night with the LEDs flipped on. The photo is a little blown out so it makes the LEDs look brighter than the are, but it looks great in person.

Perhaps the only problem is how dim the Garden looks compared to the tree. Again, in person, it's not as bad as the photo, but it's still dark. Maybe I'll look into the LED set for that.

But, I'm really happy how it turned out. :)

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