Ninja... GO! One the most succesful unlincensed theme from LEGO is going on 8 years now. The bar is set high. Does the new summer wave of 2019 pass?
Introduction into Ninjago
My oldest daughter (9) is a Ninjago hyper fan. It’s her most popular theme, and her bedroom has loads of posters and stickers. Her favorite ninja is Lloyd, because green is her favorite color. Or green is her favorite color, because Lloyd is green. The order of this changes from day to day. She will join me in the build to give her opinion on this set.
Ninjago, at the start Ninjago: Master of Spinjitzu, is an animated television series, created by The LEGO Group. It plays in the fictional world of Ninjago, where a group of Ninjas battle against forces of evil. The series started with 2 pilots in 2011, followed by a 13 episode 1st season. When this became a great success, more series followed quickly. The original plan was to go for 3 years, but they kept adding seasons as the popularity kept up. Currently season 11 is running.
Along with the series comes a long line of LEGO sets. At first, it was loosely based on the Ninja sub-theme of the Castle theme in 1999/2000.
Long before the events of the series, the First Spinjitzu Master used the power of the Golden Weapons to create the world of Ninjago. Trained in the legendary art of Spinjitzu by the wise Master Wu, a group of young ninja (Kai, Jay, Cole, and Zane, and eventually Lloyd and Nya) with mastery over the elements fight to defend their land against those who wish to conquer it. Each season focuses on a different one or more of the Ninja, as they use their skills and mechs to fight various otherworldly beings and evil masterminds.
Through most seasons, the villain Garmadon (brother of master Wu) plays a roll (sometimes as a good guy). His son Lloyd starts out as a (wannabe) villain, but later turns into the Green Ninja.
All ninja in the group have an Elemental power.
Cole has Earth, making him able to move rock, and have great physical strength.
Kai has Fire, making him create and control fire.
Nya is the sister of Kai, first in a minor role. But she made a mech suit, and secretly helped the ninja as Samoerai X. When she got exposed, she got a bigger role in the team. She's now the mechanic, building all the mechs and vehicles. She has the Element of Water.
Jay has the element of Lightning. He can shoot lightning bolts. He is also a intuitive talent to turn scrap metal into machines.
Zane is an odd duck. In season 1, we find out is is not a real boy, but a droid, or Nindroid. He has the element of Ice. In season 4, he becomes the Titanium ninja.
Lloyd is the Green Ninja. This means he is the most powerful of all, with lots of abilities. His Element is Energy. He was the choosen one to stop the evil Overlord. He also turns into the Golden Ninja in later seasons.
In season 4, we learn that there are more people (not necessarily ninja) with elemental powers. It also turns out that every Element comes with his own Elemental Dragon. (what is a good way to create Dragon sets...)
The seasons usually have a long story arc, bringing up a central new villain with every season. And new villains require new mechs and vehicles to fight them. And with each new vehicle and mech comes another wave of sets. We currently have 330 sets listed on Rebrickable.
The Destiny's Bounty is an flying ship that homes the ninja. In the 3 seasons I've seen so far, it got destroyed 2 times, captured once and fail to fly once. So turning it into a land vehicle is to be expected at some point. (It might already have happened somewhere in season 4-10)
The LEGO Ninjago Movie
In 2017, The LEGO Ninjago Movie was released. It’s not completely true to the story line in the series. Later seasons of the series, starting at S08, the series takes over some designs from the movie. Along with The LEGO Ninjago Movie came (of course) a line of 27 sets. Personally I think this line is the best line of the whole theme. But that can also be because I have only seen 3 seasons of the series, but watched the movie with my daughter in the theater, and about 10 times at home. Simon will review one of the best sets, the Destiny Bounty, later on.
From what I’ve seen of the show so far, The LEGO Ninjago Movie doesn’t really follow the storyline of the show. For instance, in the show, Garmaddon was responsible for raising his son, and he’s aware he’s the Green Ninja. His mother is (at first) out of the picture. Lloyd didn’t know who she was. In the movie, it’s switched. Garmaddon is the absent parent, and he doesn’t know Lloyd is one of the ninja.
I was not able to watch the 11th season yet. In short, the story:
After the last victory, the nija are bored that there are no enemies to fight. While searching for thing to do, they stumble upon a legend about the Scrolls of Forbidden Spinjitzu. By mistake, the evel Serpentine sorceress Aspheera gets awakened. She and her Pyro Vipers try to get their fangs on the scrolls and rule Ninjago.
Kids will love building the versatile LEGO® NINJAGO® 70677 Land Bounty toy truck for play battles between the ninja action figures and snake queen Aspheera’s Pyro Vipers. This mobile ninja HQ features a steering function, 2 shuriken slicers, rotating shooting cannon, retractable spring-loaded shooter and an easily accessible, detailed interior to inspire creative play. For even more action, lift off the detachable flyer with dual minifigure cockpit, stud shooters and foldout boosters, or place a minifigure on the quad bike. Ninja kids will love reimagining scenes from the NINJAGO TV show and role-playing their own stories with 9 LEGO NINJAGO minifigures and lots of cool weapons and accessory elements, including a new-for-June-2019 ninja spinner.
The box measures 582 x 3778 x 87 mm. Inside are 8 numbered bags, 2 unnumbered bags, and a package with the instructions, stickersheet, 2 sails and a foil with plastic flags. Of the flags, only 1 is used. It looks like this is 1 standard part that comes with most sets in this wave. It was probably cheaper to design 1 part than 3 seperate.
The instructions measures 270 x 192 mm. It has 251 pages with 353 building steps.
The pdf can be downloaded here.
The set contains 1129 parts and 37 spare parts, in 34 different colors, and 40 different categories, with a total of 406 unique parts/color combinations.
Main colors are:
Main categories are:
- Plates: 46 parts, 133 quantity
- Plates Special: 39 part, 118 quantity
- Bricks Curved: 23 parts, 65 quantity
There are a whooping 10 new parts for this set. Some of them are also used in the other sets in this wave.
41125 - Weapon 6 Blade Ninja Star
41159 - Weapon Naginata with Rubber Tip
41179 - Rim 30 mm with Pin Hole
41202 - Minifig Shoulder Armor, Dual Sides
50663pat0005 - Brick Cone Reverse (Ninjago Spinjitzu) with Glitter Trans-Orange Marble
51488 - Wheel 43,2 X 26
55637 - Plastic Ninjago Banners, Complete Sheet
57994 - CAPE, NO. 23
58004 - Sail with Dark Red Dragon Tail, Symbol
58005 - Sail with Dark Red Dragon
41201pat0001 - Minifig Head Special Snake, Cobra with Open Mouth with Trans-Orange Eyes, Flames
41201pat0001 - Minifig Head Special Snake, Cobra with Open Mouth with Trans-Orange Eyes, Flames
49588pat0001 - Minifig Head Special Snake with Trans Orange Flames, Eyes
41163pat0003 - Headgear Ninjago Wraps with Trans Orange Flames
Getting sidetracked: Dual Molds
There are a lot of dual molds in this wave. They are present in the Pyro Viper heads, a lot of ninja mask have flames or ice, and the new spinjitzus also have 2 colors. I most say, they look amazing. There is only 1 major downside to them, that only applies to us admins, and that is the way LEGO provides the information for this parts.
Take for example the spinjitzus of the 50663 family. When I imported the inventories using our bot, all 12 color combinations were put into 1 part, the 50663. For normal parts, we also get color information, like BLACK. In this case, all color-combinations got the color MULTI. That's it. Good luck.
For each color combination I first needed to determin, which color is the main color, and which is the second mold. I decided to use the bottom one for color selection, and use the top one in the pattern description. 50663pat0001 for example got the name Brick Cone Reverse (Ninjago Spinjitzu) with Trans-Green Marble, and comes in the colors Pearl Gold and Light Bluish Gray. I hope I picked the right order. If for instance BrickLink decides to go the other way around, all exports will get errors.
And for all colors in the parts, I have nothing else to go on than the images that comes with LEGO's Element IDs, and the set images. (Side Note: This also goes for all new printed parts.) And the colors are not always very on par compared to the real thing. So sometimes it's a guess. So if you have a printed or marbeled/dual mold part in hand, and you spot an error, please submit an Change Request for that part, so we can fix it.
Next step is to create new part numbers, based on the 'plain' version, in this case starting with 50663pat0001 and counting up for each new one. Then all the element IDs from LEGO need to be moved to the correct part, and all parts in inventories need to be corrected. It's time consuming, error-tricky and a pain in the a. But, when you have the parts in hand, they really look amazing ;-).
Parts in new colors:
This set comes loaded with minifigs, 9 in total. There are 4 ninja, Master Wu, Aspheera, Char and 2 Pyro Vipers.
Bag 1 builds the start of the frame. This was the first time the test audience build a set with active steering, and she really liked it. Next step is Technic? Also there is a lttle quad bike.
Bag 2 finishes the frame, and we get an idea of the size. Looks massive!
Bag 3 adds an arcade, weapons and the cockpit.
Bag 4 starts the top deck.
Bag 5 adds the back deck and a working cannon. Great to see more Technic functions hidden in this build. That enhances the playability much more.
Bag 6 finishes the Land Bounty itself. The wheels with the new rims look great. The spinning blades are bad-ass. The test audience likes that they work with the driving of the Bounty.
Bag 7 starts a detachable aircraft. Here to is some Technic involved to spread the wings with engines.
Bag 8 finishes the aircraft.
This set proves the Ninjago theme is still going strong. The build is very enjoyable, and the endresult looks amazing. The testaudience (9) was able to follow the instructions very well. The Technic functions are well recieved by the test audience. This might have sparked something :-).
The new minifigs look very good, especially the Vipers. I imagine designing the same ninja over and over again would get tiresome, but the designers made them look outstanding again.
The only downside is that there are 4 ninja in this set. But no Lloyd... No idea why he's not here. Maybe I'll have to watch the show to find out.