Since the very beginning, Ninjago sets have involved some sort of play gimmick – be it character spinners wihin an arena, flyers or fist powered tornado spinners, and the latest wave, coinciding with the new story of Dragons Rising is no exception. With the least expensive boxed sets in the theme, and containing one each of Core ‘veteran’ ninja that feature regularly in the series, these sets have some new elements, new minifigures and interesting play potential. To say nothing of inconsistent fluorescence under UV light.
We have 3 such sets in this Dragon Power range: 71777 Kai’s Dragon Power Spinjitzu Flip; 71778 Nya’s Dragon Power Spinjitzu Drift; and 71779 Lloyd’s Dragon Power Spinjitzu Spin. Each set comes with a Ninja minifigure, a Droid like figure from the Imperium, Some Gates and a trap, holding a golden Dragon Elemental Orb. The orbs are perhaps the most interesting new elements included in these sets. We will come to these shortly.But first, here are the elements included in all of these sets:
Nobody will deny that Dinosaurs are the principal non-human characters in Jurassic Park. They make the place unique and provide the narrative with a sense of drama. The humans share in their part of the heroics, but the Dinosaurs steal the show. There is, however, something else that contributes to the Character of Jurassic Park: The vehicles. They give the humans a way to travel at speeds that might be able to escape a rampaging Raptor, a terrifying Tyrannosaurus or a stationary Stegasaurus… wait- scratch that last one.
After years of waiting, the iconic Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler – used as a utility vehicle around the park – has finally arrived in LEGO® form, in not just one, but two sets.
They are 76958 Dilophosaurus Ambush and 76960 Brachiosaurus Discovery. Priced at $USD19.99/AUD42.99 and $USD79.99/AUD139.99, respectively, they represent the entry-level and premium sets in the range. One comes with a single minifigure, while the other has 3; one has a small side build, while the other dedicates half its part count to a most delightful tree. But they both have a JEEP WRANGLER, and that is what I want to focus on today.
It is time to start the Ninjago reviews for 2023. Today I’d like to focus on set that only includes NEW Characters appearing in Ninjago Dragons Rising – I’ll address some of the Classic Ninja soon. Set 71792, Sora’s Mech Bike Racer, features Sora, Arin and Baby Riyu, as well as Rapton – A member of the Imperium whose role we are yet to fully understand.
The set will be released in June 2023, has 384 parts, and will cost $47.99USD/$79AUD/£42.99/€47.99.
Read on to see whether or not this is an engaging and enjoyable set. And whether it glows under UV light…
There are over 2000 plastic souls in the City of Bricks. Each of them has a story to tell, and some are yet to be written. Here are 14 such stories, playing out against a backdrop of colour, lights, pizza shops and a colour scheme to challenge Heartlake city for its sheer variety.
This year, we have seen some changes in LEGO® City. In the past, when we have built a city centre, we have had a variety of shop fronts, occasionally with a business upstairs, a public transport hub, and very little tying the shops together. In fact, an undisciplined builder could occupy the entire room, with individual components disconnected from each other.
The Palace of the Dragon of the East Sea is a key location in both the animated series Monkie Kid, as well as in the classic novel, The Journey to the West. Set 80049 Dragon of the East Palace focuses on the original story, which tells of how the Monkey King gained his staff, while also providing references to the animated series. Let’s take a look at the set, one of the more splendid builds from the Monkie Kid range – due for release in June 2023. In fact, you might almost mistaken it for a castle set!
At the time I received this set (kind thanks to the LEGO group for sending it over for an early review: all opinions are mine), I had not spent any time reading The Journey to the West. I had watched the 1978 Japanese production of Monkey, featuring dubbed English dialogue, back when it was screened in Australia as an evening show for a few years in the 80s. But not since then. So I relished the opportunity to return to the source.
The Ninjago Core range has provided us with a number of sets featuring Dragons, Vehicles and locations that may not have appeared in the Ninjago animated series. As such, a knowledge of the Ninjago Canon is not required to be able to enjoy these sets. 71800 Nya’s Water Dragon EVO is the smallest of the buildable dragon sets in the first half of 2023. That said, it comes with 3 minifigures and has terrific play value. That said… when I first looked at it I was reminded of something strangely familiar…
There are three minifigures: The Nya and Lloyd figures have been seen previously in Ninjago Core sets, with this version, featuring a shoulder pauldron, appearing in four sets in this wave. Lloyd’s Torso has appeared in a number of sets, with and without hair, but this version features the shoulder pad, a gold katana as well as the standard Ninja Hood
They face off together against a Bone Guard, based on the same format as the Bone warrior, but with a broad red hat, this figure also comes with a neck bracket, with several of the ubiquitous bone weapons attached.
Dark Blue and light royal blue dominate the colour palette, with round plates and curved tiles dominating the parts. There is a collection of golden elements to add when the Dragon undergoes the EVO transformation, to power up. I really appreciate the contrast between the light and darker shades of blue.
The build starts off creating a serpentine form, with the lighter blue framing the dark colour along the sides of the creature’s body. The head looks brilliant, with the contrasting colour, while transparent light blue filagree elements give us horns resembling waterspouts – just perfect for this creature. I love the silver printed accents around the eye of the dragon.
The legs are attached at the hips and ankles by small ball and socket joints. The legs are fixed in shape, with the front longer than the rear – utilising the 45º angled plate introduced last year. The rear legs are more simply angled behind quarter circle plates. The front claws are brick built using a rounded plate and larger claw elements, while the rear ones involve several tooth elements. An articulated tail, trimmed with transparent light blue elements, finishes the base model.
The EVO aspect follows, building up golden shells on the front legs and wing-like blades, while a reddish brown saddle is added to the back, with a banner attached. This part of the build is previously demonstrated on the back of the box. A golden scythe completes the model.
The final appearance is simple and immediately playable. Unlike other dragons, this model holds its head yup relatively high – with posing slightly reduced. Having 3 minifigures in the set increases play options significantly. I have to admit, I looked for a couple of spare arrow elements and converted some of the bone shurikens into spinning tops – Spinjitsu V2.1.
But have we seen it all before? I was thinking this feeling terribly familiar – and then I flashed back to 2016, when LEGO Elves was on our shelves. The Elemental-based characters – Water, Fire, Earth and Air, take on Ragana, leading the forces of Darkness. While 41172 The Water Dragon Adventure presented us with some magical scenery, it doesn’t take much to give this water dragon an Elves Compatible version of 71800.
The Elves sets were wonderful for the way that they focussed on colourful scenery-based side builds, while Ninjago sets currently focus to a greater extent on conflict-based play. I was disappointed to discover that the Ninjago masks and Elves faces fail to line up properly…
That said, I really enjoy the whimsical curls that make up the dragon’s horns and the detail printed around the Dragon’s face.
Now, while the set contains plenty of play value, I also enjoyed the illustrations featured in the instructions, bringing us some of the story of how the dragon came to help Lloyd and Nya. This gives some context for the play while not being dependent on external media, which might not be readily available to all.
As a set aimed at a 6+ audience, it feels about right, and I give it 3.8 Arbitrary Praise Units out of 5, in particular due to the great minifigure count, as well as two of the core Ninja.
If you are interested in purchasing this set, consider using the attached Affiliate Links: the Ramblingbrick might receive a small commission on any purchases made.
I think this is a lovely small set with a great minifigure selection for younger builders. The Water Dragon is quite stable on its feet, and I am grateful that there is some variation in the shape of the front and rear legs, as I feel when the fixed flexion plate has been used used on the rear legs, it often makes the dragon feel as if it is facing head down.
What do you think of this smaller Ninjago set? Do you collect all dragons of a certain price range? Does this one appeal to you?
Why not leave your comments below, and until next time…
I hinted a couple of weeks ago about my fondness for the intrinsic ‘spirit’ of series such as Ninjago and Monkie Kid – they are both sci-fi fantasy themes and, as such, bring us the closest thing to Classic Space and Castle themes that we are likely to see on an ongoing basis for the time being.
We have seen the first half year present a ‘Core’ Range for Ninjago, while the second half of last year tied in closely with the animated series.
Earlier in the year, I joined several other Fan Media in a conversation with Niek van Slagmaat and Markus Rollbühler, both part of the Ninjago team, about the ‘Core’ Series – the sets we saw released in January, with seemingly no connection to the series, beyond the presence of those Core Ninjago values: Mechs, Vehicles, Dragons, Dojos and of course, Ninja.
This article is the result of a recent unexpected convergence: I’ve had this year’s first drop of Ninjago sets on my desk for a little while. I’ve put a couple together, but I have been trying to work out how to stretch it from ‘Just Another Review’ – something I used to do back in the early days of the blog, but less so in recent times.
I have found myself developing an increasingly soft spot for Ninjago and Monkie Kid: It has become apparent to me that they serve as the natural creative extensions of both Classic Space and Castle Themes: Fantasy, and Science Fiction, with their emphasis shifting in either direction from season to season.
In the past, I have predominantly observed the builds in Ninjago from a distance without feeling the need to understand them in the show’s context. As time passed, it became apparent that I was unlikely to fully catch up and appreciate the lore any time soon. As such, I was actually immensely grateful last year when we saw our first round of Ninjago CORE sets: These sets provide us with the opportunity to engage with the traditional subjects of Ninjago sets: Mechs, Dragons, Vehicles and Temples, without needing to be concerned with the 10 or more years of established Lore and Back Catalogue: just get in there and play, with models aimed at a variety of ages.
There have been some really interesting and desirable Gifts With Purchase (GWP) available with your LEGO Purchases this year. Some have, unfortunately, had required you pay a high price in order to ‘score the prize,’ as it were. Therefore, as we come into the late March purchasing period, it is quite a relief to see a fairly cute Easter-themed GWP available, with a buy-in price of $70USD/70€/£65. The promotion will run from 16th March to 9th April 2023, while stocks last.
I am fortunate to have been sent a pre-release copy of this set by the LEGO Group: Let’s take a look to see if it is worth the effort to make another online purchase this year? Or should you wait?
I seem to be slipping behind with my LEGO Super Mario Reviews: I have a few sets from the current wave remaining to look at (as well as some more from last year); sometime soon, we will see what the LEGO Group have in store for us later in the year.
The figures were released earlier in 2023, and cost USD6.99/AUD9.99 each. I picked up an unopened box at Toybricks. Read on to see who’s inside, and how they score:
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