I’ve just finished watching the first wave of episodes of Dragons Rising, and something struck my mind: Rapton, Lord Ras, and the Imperium Claw soldiers all fly the same type of small craft- a so called Chariot – which carries one rider and deploys a flotilla of drones to aid the hunters in their hunt for Dragons. That said, in the sets related to the series, the chariots are all a bit different to each other. At the same time they seem just a little bit familiar. And then there are the droids in the Dragon Power Spinzitzu sets…
And it got me thinking. Are these sets revisiting Classic Space, with a contemporary aesthetic?
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:
The news dropped yesterday that there were some new Ninjago related figures present in the Build a MiniStations at LEGO Stores Worldwide. (when is yesterday any more? I am currently in Scotland, this morning was in Dubai, and on Tuesday morning was in Melbourne).
This afternoon I touched down in Glasgow and made a B-Line to the Glasgow LEGO Store. While there I was able to check out the build a mini station – the new BAM elements were all present and accounted for: Lloyd Kai and Nya were there, in their ‘Core’ form, as seen in the first half year releases this year and last.
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…
With a little over a week before the first episodes of the new Ninjago Series are aired, I am excited to be able to reveal some new posters/desktop wallpapers for the new series, which have been released to LEGO Fan Media before they go live on LEGO.com on Monday.
The posters give us some of the clearest images that we have had of our heroes (and a couple of the leaders of the Imperium) to date.
A couple of weeks ago, the title of the new Ninjago Series: Dragons Rising was revealed. The series will arrive, along with new sets on the first of June in most of the world, although it might take a little longer to arrive elsewhere. – July 1 in Australia for example.
In the series we see the result of the Mergequake – the Realms that have been previously seen on Ninjago, as well as others not seen to date – join together to present a new world, with some familiar aspects. The series will focus on two new characters: Sora and Arin, along with a baby dragon names Riyu.
This will be a great opportunity for the Ninjago-Curious to step into the world, with no knowledge of previous canon necessary to watch the program, although the creative team assured us at a round table meeting a few weeks ago that there will be plenty of tidbits to keep the long time fans of the show happy.
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.
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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…
Over the last week or so, we have been playing a game of hide and seek with fragments of the latest Ninjago Poster scattered all over the internet. With fragments tucked away on the Ninjago Facebook Page, the LEGO .com Website, Instagram and Twitter, to say nothing of the part shared by LEGO Fan Media, we were given an idea of what a sizable part of the poster might look like over the weekend.
In a series of short videos on the campaign website, the full fragmented poster is presented and subsequently clarified…
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.