This past weekend, we celebrated the 11th Anniversary of the first episode of Ninjago going to air.
The latest drop of Ninjago sets does not specifically tie-in to a current series of the show, but rather returns to the core material of Ninjago: Mechs, Dragons and Vehicles, aimed at a variety of age groups
Today, I would like to cover several sets in the wave, all of which are aimed at a 6+ audience. They represent most of the collected EVO sets of the wave:
Have you ever thought about building a LEGO set as a social activity? Have you given it a try? Join me as I seek the help of a few friends to put together 71741 Ninjago City Gardens.
In Melbourne, we have spent a little bit of time lockdown over the last 18 months (individual definitions of ‘a little’, and ‘lockdown’ may vary). As such, we have spent quite a lot of time unable to catch up with friends In Real Life™. A couple of weeks ago, we regained the privilege to visit friends in their homes. As such, it has been quite exciting.
But first, let’s go back a few years. I have known Andrew, Kris, Dan and Cameron since school. That takes us back to the mid-eighties. We have all headed in different directions in our lives, but have kept in touch. A few of us are married with kids – and as such, around 15 years ago, we started a regular monthly catchup poker game to… reflect on the responsibilities of fatherhood with a jury of our peers. Exceptionally low stakes: no cash, not even jelly beans. After a while, this regular catchup has evolved in a number of directions: late-night geocaching, escape rooms, board games. My professional life seemed to involve a little more weekend work than the others, but I still keep up with the gang when I can. During our lockdowns, we moved over to the virtual catchup – shared online card games and first-person shooters!
After the pandemic put a hole in everyone’s plans last year, the Skaerbaek Fan Weekend is back in 2021. The Thursday before the weekend has, for 3 of the last 4 years anyway, been associated with a trip to the LEGO House for an AFOL Day. Last year, in the absence of the true physical event, an online event took place.
This weekend, LEGO Fans from around the world – well, the parts that can travel to Denmark, anyway, are heading back to Skaerbaek. And once again, there will be an AFOL Day at the LEGO House. As well as unveilling new exhibits in the Masterpiece gallery, there will also be a number of presentations from Vice President for Design, Matthew Ashton, the Ninjago Team, as well as an update on the LEGO Groups Sustainability developments. Perhaps this is more like what AFOLs were expecting from LEGO Con, held earlier this year.
The last time I was having a chat to adult visitors at a public exhibition (remember those?), something came up on more than one occasion: LEGO® Themes these days are not what they used to be. It used to be pretty simple – you’d build the set (and it was probably Town, Space or Castle. Unless you were a bit younger – then it may well have been a Pirates set) – and you’d pull it apart and build something else. It might be one of the alternate builds on the back of the box, it might be something completely different. It may not have even been related to the original theme.
These days, many sets thrive on 3rd party IP, and the majority of the in-house, story-driven themes are tied in with either an animated series or an overly complicated app.
For those of us yearning for a simpler time, in a world where things have become increasingly complicated, things are looking bleak! Unless you want to go straight to the 4+ sets.
Now, I don’t have the greatest collection of Ninjago sets or minifigures. I just haven’t really focussed on collecting the theme. But I was recently wandering through my local newsagenct, and saw a collection of LEGO themed magazines, mostly imported from the UK, and one in particular caught my eye:
Ninjago Legacy Magazine #7, an alleged special edition. A huge picture of Jai on the cover. But lets be honest, this isnt what caught my eye: it was the attached blister pack of minifigures! It might not be the latest magazine – travel time to our side of the world is often a bit prolonged, but that doesn’t change the personal value of the figures on the cover to me!
It was 2011, January, and extraordinarily hot. Brickvention was underway at the Melbourne Town Hall. And there, at one of the vendor’s stands I saw it: a strange new theme: it seemed part ninja, part card/spinner game. I was getting mixed messages. Anyway, I handed over $10 to buy one of the smallest sets in theme: 2516 Ninja Training Outpost. I took at it home, stared at it a little while, and put it in a cupboard. Today, I found it again, stil in the box.
Brickvention is not on this year… not in real life. We will miss out on our regular January fix of AFOL company and fellowship, but there is still time to catch the action with this year’s virtual event: You can find out more at Brickvention.online.
This week, we are celebrating 10 years since the first release of Ninjago on an unsuspecting world. It was never expected to last as as long as it has, now becoming an evergreen theme:
“Originally, the NINJAGO theme was supposed to end after season 2 in 2012,” says Tommy Andreasen, Sr. Manager, Entertainment Development at the LEGO Group, who worked on the LEGO NINJAGO product line and show from the beginning. However, sets of the theme were still planned to be on sale throughout 2013. The continued success led to both the TV series and products continuing to the current day. “It just shows an incredible commitment from our fans that we are still going strong 10 years later,” he adds.
In this post, we will look through some of the concept art, as well as marketing artwork that has been released over the years. Some will be new, and some have been taken from the LEGO® archive, for a special exhibition at the LEGO House in Billund.
All images have been supplied by the LEGO group as part of a celebration of the 10 years of LEGO Ninjago.
Before we go any further, lets take a quick look a Ninjago Timeline:
This week, around about afternoon tea time on Thursday, we celebrate 10 years since Ninjago made its debut on Cartoon Network. Today saw the release of the latest Ninjago® City set: Ninjago City Gardens. An epic modular set, following in the tradition of 70620 Ninjago City from 2017, and followed up in 2018 by 20657 Ninjago City Docks. Chances are you have seen the images elsewhere, so I’ll take a quick dive into what we have seen in the set, and point out some of the obvious highlights.
For reasons best known to the LEGO marketing team, first official images for this set came from the North American Shop at Home print catalog. Why does an online store still get a print catalog in this day and age? Are there that many sales that are placed by phone? These images were followed up with a scattering from the LEGO Certified Store in Singapore. Finally, on Wednesday, the LEGO online store listed the set, going on sale on Thursday 14th January. So, by the time you have read this, it has been available for the better part of a day depending on where in the world you are standing! (so long as you are a VIP at your local LEGO retailer, and they had stock in a timely fashion.)
In which I am confronted with another set that is predominantly sand green in appearance; I need to reconsider ‘Sand Green September’ as a concept and take cues from Lord Business and the Australian Football League. I go to the movies and have mixed feelings but a predominantly positive experience about the LEGO Ninjago Movie. I build a set and am amazed at the number of relatively uncommon/recently released elements. If you thought you had never seen anything quite like the Green Ninja Dragon Mech before, it might just be because 25% of the 516 elements are fairly new! Now read on…
I recently spoke about the three sets which I am in the process of building, with sand green as a dominant colour. Sand Green September. A lofty idea, and I suspect almost unachievable, unless I take a cue from both Wyldstyle in the LEGO Movie (Freedom Friday, but still on a Tuesday), and the Australian Football League.
For those without a classical Victorian Education, the AFL (and Previously VFL) Grand Final is traditionally played on the last Saturday in September. Today in fact. This ‘One Day in September’ was immortalised in song by Mike Brady in the early 1980’s in the theme song for Channel 7’s Big League. Of course, occasionally, this one day in September occurs in October ( I am looking at you 2011, 2015 and 2016. I could look at 2010 in accusatory tones as well, except the Grand Final in October was a replay of the drawn match from the previous weekend. The AFL have taken steps to ensure this does not ever happen again…)
Yes… we are looking at the final instalment of Sand Green September being released in October. But I digress.
A meta-post In which I draw together a summary of the works of others, in order to solve the mysteries of the Ninjago Language. Only to discover the ultimate tool was waiting to be unveiled all along. Well Played, marketing department, well played!
One of the exciting things regarding the LEGO Ninjago Movie over the last few weeks has been watching one of the mysteries slowly unravel and drop into place. I am particularly thinking about the Ninjago script.
It has been discussed on brickset.com that the graphic designers involved with the LEGO Ninjago Movie have developed a written script – essentially a substitution cipher, where each symbol represents a roman alphabet character – to be used in most of the writing in the movie. Following some obvious cues, and then using applying logic to help fill the gaps, most of the letters were able to be filled in.
This was confirmed recently in the Designer Video, which surfaced a couple of days ago, and some further clues were provided there as to completing the alphabet. Not the least of which was “As you put the set together you get a chance to learn it using the building instructions.” Now, these instructions are yet to be made available on LEGO’s servers, so further details are not yet available.