Review: Official Set 10281 - Bonsai Tree
Official Set 10281, the Bonsai Tree, is the second set that helped to launch the LEGO® Botanical Collection in January of 2021. The Botanical Collection offers a brand new style of builds that incorporates plant based pieces into the builds.
The Bonsai Tree comes with 878 pieces and is labeled for ages 18+.
The box art is very closely depicted to the Flower Bouquet packaging. On the front of the box there’s a crisp image of the completed model in front of the black background. The font that shows the model name get pretty creative with an interesting design inside of the set name on the front of the box. The back of the box shows off more angles of the set and gives a good look at the alternate display option with the blooming leaves.
The Bonsai Tree comes with six numbered bags, the instructions, and two loose brown vines. It’s pretty clear that some bags are for distinct sections such as the green leaves, blooming leaves, and the soil fill.
I was able to complete this build in 75 minutes, which is just a hair shorter than I thought it would take. The building difficulty hit the mark in terms of what I expect out an 18+ set. It certainly wasn’t challenging to the point of frustrating, but it was a challenge that I enjoyed. Sometimes plates were more delicate to attach and required more precision. The leaves were a part that didn’t show as many steps and required more glances at the instruction manual to complete. The leaves were admittedly a redundancy because for both the green leaves and blooming ones it was a process of building nine iterations of the same leaf design.
The finished product sits on a neat brown platform almost like a plant sits on a shelf. The tree itself is attached inside of a black display block. The most noteworthy thing about the attachment is the geometry and angle of the tree. Rather than standing straight, the trunk is constructed on an angle, which is a touch that helps to bring it more life by being displayed at a different angle than the rest of the models. The trunk really steals the show for this build. There’s a ton of creative building techniques used here such as wrapping the brown vines around the trunk of the tree.
Something this set manages to incorporate is two different display options. The green leaves can be swapped out with pink blooming ones. The green ones make the tree look a little bit bare in my opinion, whereas the blooming ones leave no large gaps, but they don’t blend as well with the soil fill at the base of the trunk. Swapping out the color display is very easy, it’s just a simple pull and plug with technic axle-pins at the top of the trunk.
This set is a good one, but having built the Flower Bouquet at this point, it’s the lesser of the two. There’s some studs that stick out here, and it looks less like it was designed for an 18+ age range based on the final result. The geometry of the result is the main draw here, it’s a unique look and the base has a clean architecture to it. It would look really nice as a small display piece on a shelf or on your desk, but I would steer you to go with the Flower Bouquet first.
The Bonsai Tree certainly lives in a shadow cast by the Flower Bouquet, but it’s still a neat set and a creative concept that you should be keeping an eye out for when you hit a LEGO® store.