LEGO Monkie Kid

The LEGO Monkie Kid range is a colourful series of sets that draws inspiration from Chinese mythology. Focussing on a successor to the mantle of the Monkey King, the theme sees its titular kid facing a band of sinister enemies. He’s joined by a rambunctious group of friends, and an exciting and imaginative range of LEGO products to enjoy.

Read on to learn more about the Monkie Kid theme and the mythology that inspires it.

LEGO Monkie Kid history

The Monkie Kid theme first launched in 2020, reflecting the LEGO Group’s relatively recent expansion into China. Historically speaking, LEGO sets have been absent from the Chinese market – although, with a population of 1.4 billion, it clearly represented a new opportunity for the company. As such, a number of sets heavily inspired by Chinese culture have emerged over the last few years.

From 2013 onwards, the LEGO Group has produced sets inspired by the Chinese zodiac. Some of these – like 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner – were only released in select territories, and paid subtle tribute to the year they were released in. 


The complex, detailed nature of some of these builds made them highly desirable – and their limited release highly controversial. This eventually spurred the LEGO Group to release such sets more widely going forward. As such, the Monkie Kid theme has enjoyed a comparatively wider release.

The Monkie Kid theme takes much of its inspiration from Journey to the West – a 16th-century novel that has inspired numerous films, TV shows, comics and video games. As such, the theme has a number of named characters and a strong narrative element. 13 sets were released in the initial 2020 wave; although familiar subject matter like planes, mechs and boats made an appearance, they enjoyed a distinctive Chinese flavour we hadn’t seen in most LEGO sets of this ilk. 

The theme has continued into 2021 and 2022, with new builds and enemies for LEGO fans to enjoy. In addition to more outlandish models, sets like 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain dipped more toes into Chinese mythology. The theme has also received a tie-in animated series, in keeping with such as NINJAGO and Legends of Chima. While it hasn’t seen a particularly wide release, the show has been nominated for an award at the 20th Screen Producers Australia Awards. Its kinetic art style certainly differentiates it from other LEGO animations in the past.

While Monkie Kid sets aren’t as widely available at retailers as other LEGO themes, a number of ambitious models have been announced for 2023. This indicates the Monkie Kid theme is doing something right for its target audience.

LEGO Monkie Kid sets

Monkie Kid reimagines an ancient mythological story with modern elements, allowing for some interesting set designs. The Monkie Kid himself enjoys a number of different vehicles to use during his adventures. 80008 Monkie Kid’s Cloud Jet is an early example; in addition to a colourful aircraft with unusual shaping, it features a detachable motorcycle for ground-based adventures. The mix of red, yellow and teal instantly differentiates these vehicles from other ones that the LEGO Group has released.

Naturally, the Monkie Kid’s friends have gotten vehicles of their own. Female friend Mei has enjoyed a few different vehicles, the most striking of which is 80020 White Dragon Horse Jet. Its mix of teal and green elements is rather unusual, as is its futuristic design. The porcine Pigsy pilots 80026 Pigsy’s Noodle Tank, built around a giant noodle bowl, while the hulking Sandy utilises a powerful robot in 80025 Sandy’s Power Loader Mech. 

When they aren’t fighting bad guys, Monkie Kid and his friends can retreat to their floating hideout. 80013 Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ is the most ambitious set in the early product release slate. Built around a large cargo ship, the set can unfold to reveal its interior. Inside are vehicle bays and relaxation areas, while outside is a crane, an observation post and ironclad henchmen to battle. 

Of course, a hero is only as good as the enemies he fights. 80010 Demon Bull King offers a mighty mechanical bovine for Pigsy and Monkie Kid to battle. Armed with an axe and flamethrower, and accompanied by Princess Iron Fan, this remains a striking entry in a toy line deluged with mechanical creatures. 

More recently, 80028 The Bone Demon has pushed the limits of LEGO sets. The set features an abundance of glow-in-the-dark elements; while these have appeared in LEGO form for some time, they’ve never done so in such large quantities. The set features a collection of smaller, skeletal creatures that can assemble into a large entity, providing notable play value for LEGO fans. 

Although some cultural references may be lost on the average builder, the Monkie Kid theme is certainly fun enough to overlook some familiar vehicle concepts. 

LEGO Monkie Kid Journey to the West

To understand Monkie Kid properly, we need to understand what inspired it. The original text of Journey to the West is a sprawling story with 100 chapters. It follows a monk known as Tang Sanzang, who embarks on a journey to obtain a set of sacred texts. Although it has roots in real-life events, Journey to the West adds various elements from both folk tales and the author’s own imagination.

Tang Sanzang is protected on his journey by three disciples, all of whom have counterparts in the Monkie Kid theme. Mr Tang (the counterpart to to Tang Sangzang) has only appeared in a few sets to date. He can be found in 80023 Monkie Kid’s Team Dronecopter, as well as 80036 The City of Lanterns. His disciples have enjoyed a few more appearances in LEGO form. 

 Sun Wukong appears early on in Journey to the West, embarking on the journey after five centuries of imprisonment. He is renowned for his strength, speed and myriad magical abilities, including the ability to change shape. This latter ability is referenced in 40474 Build your own Monkey King.

Sun Wukong’s early life is explored in great detail via 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain. This highly unusual set takes a deep dive into an obscure (at least by Western standards) mythological tale. It features Sun Wukong at four different stages of his life; as a baby, as an apprentice, as a king, and as a battle-ready version. 

Naturally, the set surrounding him recreates certain events; we see Sun Wukong’s birth from a magic stone, him and his siblings at play, his rushing into a waterfall (which crowns him king) and his battling a fake Monkey King, among others. While it’s lavishly detailed (and reportedly draws inspiration from traditional landscape paintings) it may be a tough sell for the average fan. 

Elsewhere, Tang Sanzang’s other disciples enjoy their own sets. One of these is Pigsy; in the original story, Pigsy is a former immortal banished to the mortal world by the moon Goddess Chang’e. He is renowned for his greed (and various other appetites) which may explain why his vehicles revolve around food.

80009 Pigsy’s Food Truck features various Asian foodstuffs, as well as heavy artillery; the truck’s front grille may be a reference to his jiuchidingpa, or ‘nine-tooth iron rake’. A smaller, simpler version is wielded by Pigsy in some situations. 

80026 Pigsy’s Noodle Tank is much more unusual; the cab of the tank features different foods in varying stages of preparation. A shoulder-mounted fridge and other armaments make this set a force to be reckoned with, giving the included robot panda a run for its money. 

Sandy is another exile to the mortal world, made monstrous after smashing a crystal goblet. After this incident, Sandy takes up resident in the Flowing Sands River; upon being subdued by Sun Wukong and Pigsy, he joins them on their epic pilgrimage. 

This association with water might explain some of the set designs. 80014 Sandy’s Speedboat allows Sandy to ride the waves instead of living in them. A representation of his wooden staff also appears, ensuring Sandy is ready for anything. A later model, 80025 Sandy’s Power Loader Mech, plays to the character’s presumed strength instead. The mech receives its own version of the staff, allowing it to take on the Syntax and Huntsman enemies.

The Bull Demon King is a major enemy in Journey to the West; Princess Iron Fan is actually his wife. The original story sees him attack Sun Wukong and Pigsy before being brought to Heaven. The Bone Demon, meanwhile, was a monster who hungered for Tang Sanzang’s flesh. Luckily, despite some tribulations, she was defeated by Sun Wukong in the end. Despite some apparent deviations from the source material, the Monkie Kid theme clearly knows its mythology.

LEGO Monkie Kid Monkey King Mech

LEGO Monkie Kid

80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech is one of the most lavish (and expensive) sets in the Monkie Kid theme. It measures 40cm high and includes many unusual elements.

Recreating the Monkey King in mechanical form, the set features many familiar features like his ears, brown paws and swinging tail. His famous red and gold staff is also included, and its size can be adjusted as required. 

Of course, thanks to themes like NINJAGO, giant LEGO mechs are fairly common at this point. A key point of differentiation is the heavy use of drum lacquered metallic gold elements. These feature a subtler hue than the pearl gold pieces we usually get, and are sure to be highly collectible.

The shape of the mech is further differentiated by foil and fabric elements. These are similarly lavish, and allow for better shaping and detail than bricks alone could accomplish.

While the mech is the main attraction, other elements are similarly interesting. Pigsy’s noodle shop offers a cosy eaterie that’d be right at home in a LEGO CITY layout. A tiny model of the Flower Fruit Mountain appears, as does the Monkey King himself—a surprisingly rare character across the theme.

Despite its striking design, a lack of leg articulation and a £129.99 RRP take some of the shine off. Still, this is certainly a unique entry into any LEGO mech collection.

LEGO Monkie Kid Galactic Explorer

LEGO characters have been going into space for several decades at this point, but never in a spaceship like this. 80035 Galactic Explorer sees the Monkie Kid and his friends blast off for the first time.

This direction isn’t too out of character for the theme; Journey to the West features various gods and heavenly beings. As such, a journey into space may be the LEGO Group’s way of embracing this aspect with less controversy. The vibrant red, yellow and teal colouring of the Monkie Kid’s vehicles is retained, with several other interesting features included. 

The ship enjoys extensive infrastructure, including an Octan logo with what appear to be Chinese characters; clearly, the Octan company enjoys an international presence. The ship also features a detachable moon buggy and large, angular thrusters in a creative interpretation of similar vehicles.

Set pictures suggest ample interior space for passengers. This is a far cry from more realistic LEGO rockets, which tend to downplay passenger space. Even if a deep understanding of the mythology is lacking, this should result in a compelling toy for LEGO fans. 

LEGO Monkie Kid 2022

Around a dozen different LEGO sets have appeared in the Monkie Kid theme in 2022. These push the theme’s scope to new heights, making it one of the more intriguing in the current LEGO lineup.

At the smallest end of the scale is 30562 Monkie Kid’s Underwater Journey – released as a promotional item at at the start of the year. This simple set depicts Monkie Kid’s staff in an underwater scene, surrounded by coral. Two skeletons guard the staff and a treasure chest filled with gold ingots. Monkie Kid himself has a small underwater vehicle, a turquoise scuba mask and matching flippers; these reflect similar accessories in prior models.

While released later in the year, 80037 Dragon of the East may prove a suitable companion. This large set depicts a mechanical dragon, with a smaller, detachable pilot’s seat occupied by a humanoid counterpart – revealed in the show as Mei’s relative. The dragon and its pilot feature a mix of white, turquoise and pink elements, immediately differentiating it from similar models.

Other builds in the set include a small submarine (inspired by Monkie Kid’s staff) and another small craft piloted by the evil Savage. A golden Fire Ring is also included, as one of the theme’s MacGuffins for this year. Monkie Kid and Mr Tang appear in diving gear, with the latter holding an attractive map assembly.

80030 Monkie Kid’s Staff Creations offers greater creative opportunities. It allows you to build three different vehicles – a car, a mech and an aircraft – which each feature a simple modular assembly. This allows you to mix and match their components, allowing many unusual vehicles to be assembled.

Two minifigures can be found in this set – the Monkie Kid himself, and the Monkey King which inspired his creation. While this version of the Monkey King has appeared on several occasions, this version of the Monkie Kid is unique to the set. It features a sleeveless white top and black trousers, offered a more subdued outfit than we’re used to seeing in the theme.

Mei also receives a new vehicle to drive, in the form of 80031 Mei’s Dragon Car. This large vehicle retains the draconic theming of her last vehicle, featuring a stylised dragon head on its front. A pair of claws grip the front wheels, although each finger can be repositioned. As you may expect, the car can actually fire a projectile from its ‘mouth’.

The vehicle immediately stands out for its use of a new chartreuse colour, known officially as Vibrant Yellow. It can be seen on the ‘arms’ of the dragon car and Mei’s torso, although it doesn’t mesh particularly well with the car’s other colours. However, that hasn’t prevented the colour from gravitating to several other sets. Around 80 different elements are currently available in it, within and without the Monkie Kid theme.

A small skateboard is provided for the Monkie Kid, who (alongside Mei) must fight a pair of evil macaques. These come with a tiny motorcycle, which mirrors their black and red colour scheme. Several transparent purple elements are also used in its construction, lending it a greater sense of identity. Another scroll and fire ring accompany the set’s characters.

The macaques can also be found in 80033 Evil Macaque’s Mech, a large model which mimics the appearance of the smaller macaque minifigures. Analogous to 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech, this model features a striking black and red colour scheme and various points of articulation including a tail. These don’t extend to the knees, however – a common oversight in LEGO mechs at this scale.

Like the Monkie Kid, the Evil Macaque and his mech wield a large staff. Each of these uses transparent purple elements, which may prove of interest to custom builders. Monkie Kid’s staff appears in a similar capacity; it’s been transformed into a large cannon which can fire LEGO studs.

Minifigures of Monkie Kid, Mei, Sandy, the Evil Macaque and a generic macaque soldier are included here. Mei is particularly striking thanks to her neon yellow torso and trio of fire rings. These can be attached and detached as you see fit.

The Evil Macaque reappears in 80034 Nezha’s Fire Ring. This set features a highly unusual vehicle design, exemplifying what the Monkie Kid theme is capable of.

Within the original Journey to the West story, Nezha is an enemy of the Monkey King – although they later become friends. His LEGO vehicle appears to be an interpretation of the fire-wheel, a weapon which can he uses as a magical means of transport.

The cockpit of Nezha’s vehicle sits within a large golden ring assembly, which is built using rollercoaster track elements. This rolls independently of the cockpit, which uses a smaller set of tyred wheels beneath it. This allows it to remain upright when the vehicle as a whole is in motion. White and teal elements help the cockpit to stand out from the wheel itself, and multiple fire elements are positioned within and without the wheel.

Other builds in the set include a speeder bike for the Evil Macaque, a ‘hoverboard’ staff for the Monkie Kid and a throne for the White Bone Demon. This throne includes both a prison cell and a hanging cage, which the Monkey King can be placed in.

Nezha is a natural addition to the set, alongside Evil Macaque and White Bone Demon minifigures. A generic macaque figure, a skeleton, the Monkey King and the Monkie Kid can also be found here. The latter figure features an elaborate suit of armour, as well as a red visor on his head printing. As such, there’s plenty of reasons to pick up this set.

Another unusual Monkie Kid set this year is 80032 Chang’e Moon Cake Factory. Within Chinese mythology Chang’e is the Chinese goddess of the moon, dwelling there after gaining immortality. Mooncakes are Chinese pastries, typically filled with lotus seed paste and eaten during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival. The date of this festival differs from year to year, although it usually takes place between mid-September and early October.

80032 Chang’e Moon Cake Factory combines both of these aspects of Chinese culture. The set depicts a small factory on the moon, which contains a small, non-functioning conveyor belt. Blobs of dough move along this conveyor belt where they are baked, stamped and packaged for delivery to Earth. A small delivery rocket can be loaded with boxes of mooncakes, and resembles a carrot.

That carrot is a connection to another aspect of East Asian culture: the moon rabbit. This figure is inspired by the shape of a rabbit and a mortar, which can (in some cultures) be seen on the moon’s surface. As a result Chang’e is often portrayed with rabbit companions, who produce mooncakes and/or the elixir of life.

Three rabbits are included in this set: two regular ones, and an android one. The former pilot a large mech which resembles a rabbit, thanks to its round shape and large ears. The mech’s cockpit can be ejected as a separate vehicle, which may also make inserting and removing the rabbits easier.

The latter bears a superficial resemblance to protocol droids from the Star Wars franchise, thanks to the exposed wiring on its torso. However, it has a considerably wider range of emotion. Its face can display either happy or angry expressions depending on your preference.

Pigsy, Chang’e and Mo the Cat are also included. Chang’e is obviously of greatest interest thanks to her exclusivity in this set. She wears a striking white outfit, and feature a moon ornament in her hair. Like her rabbit companion, she can be displayed with either happy or angry expressions depending on your preference. With such unique subject matter, 80032 Chang’e Moon Cake Factory is a compelling addition to any LEGO collection.

If you’re looking to snag more of the theme’s main characters, 80038 Monkie Kid’s Team Van may be what you’re after. This absurd vehicle acts as a mobile base of operations for Monkie Kid, Pigsy, Sandy and Mei, and may be the only Monkie Kid set you need.

The van is built in two distinct sections, which can be separated for play and easier access. The van itself has plenty of interior seating for passengers, with a go-kart for Monkie Kid stored in the back. A small turret for Pigsy can also be pushed out from one side; this can rotate and fire a stud. If you need to, you can also lift the entire roof off the vehicle.

The upper sections of the vehicle feature plenty more play features. The bottom section is styled after Mo the cat, and features exterior details like a climbing wall, a fuel can and even a cat door. The top section features a small recreational area, completed with a swimming pool, a parasol and a telescope.

This entire structure can hinge apart, revealing features like a ping-pong table, an arcade machine, a scratching post, a kitchen and a maintenance bay. The arcade machine is particularly interesting; turning the wheel causes the car behind the screen to move back and forth. The wall of the maintenance bay can also fold outwards, allowing Mei’s small hover bike to be deployed. The pursuing tuk-tuk (driven by a pair of evil macaques) provides a fitting opponent, and caps off a fully-featured LEGO set.

In addition to all these vehicles, 2022 has added two new locales to the Monkie Kid theme. The first of these is 80036 The City of Lanterns: an urban environment inspired by Chinese culture. On a surface level it is similar to the NINJAGO theme’s NINJAGO City models, although this one is self-contained – and vastly cheaper to purchase.

Like NINJAGO City, 80036 The City of Lanterns is built over multiple levels. The bottom level features a small karaoke booth, a bubble tea shop and Flaming Mountain – an extravagantly detailed building that sells gifts and food. This building features several references to prior Monkie Kid sets, with two dining tables on the first floor.

Other features of this bottom level include an information booth and an electric scooter charging station. Several references to older LEGO products can be found here including BIONICLE, 6399 Airport Shuttle and the LEGO Island video game.

The middle section of the city is dominated by a loop of railway line, which bridges the lower and upper city sections. A small train (inspired by Pigsy) loops round endlessly, and the train can accommodate three minifigures – one driver and two passengers.

The upper level of the city includes a Speedy Panda store, the Lotus Hotel, a brick-built LEGO store and a small crayfish restaurant. The relatively small size of the set means that space in each of these buildings is tight. The Speedy Panda only has a handful of groceries for sale, while the Lotus Hotel has only a single bedroom.

The LEGO store captures they key details of its real-world inspiration: namely, a Pick a Brick wall and several real-life LEGO sets. These are drawn from across LEGO history, although the likes of 80107 Spring Lantern Festival – a Chinese New Year set – are an obvious inclusion.

Nine characters populate the set, with Monkie Kid, Mei, Mr Tang and Pigsy natural choices. The latter character has a small aircraft to move around the city, and also wears a backpack with various kitchen supplies. Other characters in the set include the women Han and Huang, a train driver and a pair of Citybots. These latter characters are inspired by the ’90s Time Cruisers theme, and appear responsible for city maintenance.

While 80036 The City of Lanterns is suitably grand, 80039 The Heavenly Realms feels even more extravagant. This set depicts a large temple in the clouds, with smaller sections either side and a bridge leading up to it. The set as a whole boasts a simple transformation feature. Pushing the gate at the front of the set causes the side sections to hinge outward and the clouds to part, allowing full access to the main temple.

Ironically, the temple may be one of the weaker aspects of the set. There’s no interior space to speak of, although the side sections do help to redeem this oversight. A peach tree (complete with ‘no monkeys’ sign) and a furnace can be found here, each of which references the Monkey King’s exploits.

Like 80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain, this LEGO set contains several different versions of the Monkey King character. The Warrior Monkey King is particularly impressive thanks to its elaborate golden armour. However, the Warden Monkey King (with a printed skirt element) is also delightful. Other minifigures to be found here include the Heaven Fairy, Nezha, Erlang, Taishang Laojun and (of course) the Monkie Kid himself.

These minifigures represent an unusually deep dive into Chinese culture. Taishang Laojun is a god in the Taoist religion, and regarded as an incarnation of the philosopher Laozi. Erlang is another Chinese deity, who (within Journey to the West) is the son of the Jade Emperor. It’s unusual (but not unprecedented) for LEGO to draw inspiration from mythology in this way, making a set like this appealing to a very particular audience.

LEGO Monkie Kid Black Friday

Check this page around Black Friday for predictions on Monkie Kid discounts.

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