Lego Bonsai Tree

In 2021, Lego released the Bonsai Tree Lego set. This was one of two initial sets in the Botanical Collection, a series of Lego sets meant to show the vibrance and beauty of plant life. One of the goals of Lego has always been to replicate the real world within the constrictions of using Lego bricks. It originally did this as a child's toy, but has expanded year after to include sets specifically designed for adults. Modern adult Lego sets can feel a lot more like building a model, but with the ease and satisfaction of Lego bricks connecting together.

It has been a few years since it was released, but I finally decided to buy it. It retails for $50 in the US, or 6000 over here. I also bought a lighting kit for $30.

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The Bonsai Tree is meant to embody both the beauty and simplicity of an actual bonsai tree. Also, it's meant to give you the creative freedom to mold and modify the tree however you like. Much like how you cut and mold the branches of a real bonsai tree, you can do the same with the Lego tree.

To get you started, the Bonsai Tree set comes with two options. Once you build the trunk of the tree and the branches, you can add on green leaves. This would make it look like a normal bonsai tree. Or, you could add white leaves and pink flowers to make the bonsai tree look like a cherry blossom tree.

One of the reasons that I wanted to buy this set was seeing the cherry blossom version of the tree online. So, I had to go that route.

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Putting together the tree was so satisfying. It's really fascinating how far Lego sets have come over the last 40 years. People who work at Lego have grown up with Lego their whole life. They creatively use regular and unique pieces in different ways to create something that you wouldn't have noticed before.

It would've been so easy for them to make the tree go straight up from the ground, but the base of the tree uses hinges to angle it. Curved pieces are used to make the base of the trunk fatter and hide those hinges. Different colors of brown are used to make the tree look more dynamic and real. Tube pieces are used as main branches. Even both options of green leaves or pink flowers have different pieces and techniques to make the tree look different, and more like the actual tree they're trying to emulate.

Something that modern Lego LOVES to do is is hide all of their signature studs with smooth bricks. It turns the overall piece into something more like a model. Overall, it creates a very striking piece for your shelf.

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Before building the set, I looked online for ways on how people were modding their trees. Lots of people had very dynamic changes with colors and leaves. The booklet had some interesting ideas, too. On Rebrickable, I found instructions on how to slightly modify the branches to look more organic. (The original instructions have the branches fan out in a stiff Y-shape.)

The instructions for the Bonsai tree and this branch mod are included below:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dyreschlock/dyreschlock.github.photos/master/image/lego/10281_bonsai_tree_instructions.webp
https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dyreschlock/dyreschlock.github.photos/master/image/lego/10281_bonsai_tree_branch_rebuild_instructions.webp

LED Lighting Kit

Another mod that people were talking about online was an LED lighting kit. This was made by Lightailing, and they sell various LED kits for many popular Lego models. There are two variations sold for the bonsai tree: one for the green tree, and one for the pink tree. I purchased the appropriate one.

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There were a few other LED kits for the Bonsai kits, but I specifically liked this one because the LED lights were put compatible Lego bricks. Many other kits had LED lights stickers that you put on to the pieces, which I think completely goes against the spirit of Lego. You should always be able to take apart and modify an existing Lego set, and always be able to reuse pieces.

Several people online mentioned about how difficult these instructions were to follow, and they were absolutely correct. There are 3 strings of pinks lights meant to be put into the tree, but it's not clear which one is supposed to be used in which branch. In the end, I just ignored the instructions and put them up where they seemed appropriate.

This caused a mess of wires at the end. I assume all of those wires should have been the same length.

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But, besides the instructions, this kit is really nice. The wires are thin enough that you can place them between bricks to hide them. In the end, the only visible wires and the ones coming out of the back.

When the light are on, this set completely changes. All of the pink light from the LEDs wash over the white branches and turn everything pink. Once all of the gravel is added into the base, the light from the pot is very subtle and looks amazing when all other lights in the room are turned off.

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Overall, I think this model looks amazing, and with the lights it looks even better.

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Building Video

I built this model on Twitch over the weekend with a few people watching. I saved the clip on Twitch, so you can watch the comments. You can view that here: Twitch.tv/dyreschlock. But, if for some reason that link goes down, or it's no longer available, I uploaded the full video to Youtube, too.

Further Modifications

I keep thinking about how to modify the tree further with some more pieces.

I would like to add more branches, and make a second level to the tree. If I bought a second tree, I could use all of those pieces to make it higher. Also, if I bought a few different pieces, I could make the foliage on the branches a little different on the lower level. If I add a second level to the tree, maybe I could buy a second pair of lights for the high part.

Unfortunately Lego is very expensive, so it's hard for me to justify buying all this stuff for something that will just sit on my shelf. Lego is definitely fun to build, but if I'm going to spend the money on a second tree and second lights, that's nearly $90 that could go to something else.

But I dunno. Maybe it's fine to put some money into one set of Legos every 10 years.


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