LEGO NINJAGO

LEGO NINJAGO 71766 Lloyds Legendary Dragon lifestyle featured

Over the last few years, NINJAGO has become one of the LEGO Group’s most enduring original themes. It’s not hard to see why: its lovable cast of characters and diverse product selection offer plenty to draw us in. Having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, NINJAGO has gone on to surpass successors like Legends of Chima and NEXO KNIGHTS in terms of longevity and popularity.

Head over to LEGO.com to see which NINJAGO sets are currently available.

LEGO NINJAGO history

The NINJAGO theme first debuted in 2011, running in parallel with the animated TV show NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu. The two continue to enjoy a symbiotic relationship, as characters, vehicles and scenarios in the show inspire models in the NINJAGO range. To date, more than 180 episodes have been produced across 14 seasons.

We can see the roots of NINJAGO in some of the LEGO Group’s older product releases. The most obvious antecedent is the Ninja theme, which ran from 1998 to 1999. Twenty-nine models were released in this range, with a mixture of ninja and samurai fighting across strongholds and fortresses. While its historical accuracy may be disputed, this was still a fairly sober, grounded take on the concept.

The Exo-Force theme, first launched in 2006, also shares some characteristics with NINJAGO. This range of sets took inspiration from Japanese mecha fiction, with humanoid robots and characters inspired by Japanese culture. With 44 products over three years, Exo-Force offered a lot for mecha fans to sink their teeth into.

On a basic level, NINJAGO could be said to have built upon these themes; indeed, explicit references to both Ninja and Exo-Force have popped up in NINJAGO sets. Early models focused upon a quartet of ninja – Kai, Jay, Cole and Zane – defending their island home from villainous and supernatural forces.

These early waves mixed outlandish vehicles and characters with more realistic settings, which drew heavily from traditional Japanese architecture. A range of spinner sets was also introduced, allowing children to replicate the Spinjitzu martial arts technique from the show. Similar toys would prove a fixture of the NINJAGO theme more generally. 

As the theme continued through the 2010s, NINJAGO sets would continue in a similar vein. Guided by their teacher, Master Wu, the ninjas would face anthropomorphic snakes, robots and ghosts. Their ranks would also expand – Lloyd, a son of their enemy Lord Garmadon, joined the team, as did Kai’s sister Nya.

By mid-decade, the NINJAGO theme had started to move into more exciting territory. 70751 Temple of Airjitzu launched in 2015, delivering a NINJAGO set with new levels of detail and complexity that to this day attracts significant attention from older LEGO fans. A year later, the Skybound theme introduced a range of pirate-inspired sets. This precluded a broader push into more diverse subject matter for NINJAGO products. 

While the Japanese influence continued to run deep, the ninja would go on to fight mummies, enter cyberspace and explore lava-filled dungeons. 2021’s The Island subtheme is reminiscent of ’90s Pirates sets, while the Seabound wave continues a rich tradition of underwater LEGO products.

What does the future hold for NINJAGO? It’s hard to say, but given its success so far, we anticipate trips to NINJAGO for a while to come.

LEGO NINJAGO sets

The NINJAGO theme boasts more than 400 sets, which broadly correspond to successive seasons of the TV show. Much of the product range has an explicit focus on younger fans. However, the increasing quality and diversity of sets has attracted many a LEGO fan, regardless of age.

NINJAGO’s target audience can benefit from some seriously fun playsets. In their fights against evil, the ninja employ many different vehicles – bikes, planes, cars, mechs, drills, and other things that defy easy classification. Recent examples of these include 71737 X-1 Ninja Charger, 71736 Boulder Blaster and 71750 Lloyd’s Hydro Mech.  

Other sets have proven a little more ambitious. 70596 Samurai X Cave Chaos offers an impressive base of operations for the ninja to inhabit, and includes a sophisticated modular vehicle construction station. The Destiny’s Bounty ship has also frequently served as a base of operations, and 71705 Destiny’s Bounty is its latest incarnation.

However, there’s plenty for older LEGO fans to enjoy as well. Models such as 70627 Dragon’s Forge offer more realistic buildings (albeit with plenty of play features woven in). 71755 Temple of the Endless Sea – a more recent release – delivers a lavish underwater environment; its vivid colour scheme, detailed minifigures and hulking, brick-built sea serpent are instantly attractive to many fans.

In the last few years, the Legacy subtheme has re-imagined older NINJAGO sets with more sophisticated building techniques, drawing inspiration from across NINJAGO history. A number of excellent sets have been released under this banner, including 71738 Zane’s Titan Mech Battle

LEGO NINJAGO minifigures

With its emphasis on a core cast and fantastical environments, the NINJAGO range has brought us many different minifigures over the years. The repeat appearance of its main characters makes collecting them relatively easy, in a welcome break from other themes.

Given its long life, NINJAGO’s minifigures have seen many changes. Early minifigures used the original ninja head wrap from the 1990s, with relatively simple printing on legs and torsos. The enemies, on the other hand, frequently enjoyed custom head pieces that betrayed their sinister nature. 

NINJAGO would even introduce new arm and leg pieces. 9450 Epic Dragon Battle featured new serpent tail pieces for their reptilian minifigures, while big bad Garmadon gained an extra pair of arms. The Possession subtheme – which ran in 2015 – featured a band of ghost ninja, and a new ghostly ‘leg’ piece. This would go on to appear in many other spooky themes like Ghostbusters and Hidden Side, as well as later NINJAGO sets.

With the release of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, the core characters would see a refreshed visual style that drew inspiration from their film appearances. While these were mostly in line with broader detail improvements, Lloyd gained green eyes – a rare privilege across LEGO minifigures in general.

LEGO NINJAGO movie

In 2017, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie arrived in cinemas. Following in the footsteps of 2014’s The LEGO Movie, the spin-off reinterpreted the NINJAGO franchise. It featured the lavish animation and celebrity cast of its predecessors, as well as an impressive range of tie-in sets for movie fans to purchase.

In some respects, the movie’s tie-in sets may be its strongest legacy. The range offered bold new vehicles for the ninja (now known as the Secret Ninja Force) to use in their fight against Garmadon’s sinister Shark Army. 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon is a particular highlight thanks to its detailed construction and distinctive sand green colour scheme. 70611 Water Strider also demonstrates a creative approach to mech design, as well as a striking titanium metallic colour scheme for Nya.

Garmadon’s forces show spectacular creativity as well. The Shark Army’s vehicles and uniforms all draw heavy inspiration from sea creatures; when combined with their tasteful sand blue colour scheme, these sets are a highlight of any NINJAGO collection. 70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON! is the crown jewel of the army, offering a mechanical shark and hot dog stand for additional play value.

Of course, the biggest and best set is undoubtedly 70620 NINJAGO City. Boasting almost 5,000 pieces, the model depicts a slice of a pseudo-Japanese city in unparalleled detail. Each tier of the set represents the city at different stages of its own history, introducing different architectural styles as it goes. There are also numerous play features including an elevator, a working cash machine and a crab restaurant that actually cooks its crabs.

The set would go on to inspire two complementary models. 70657 NINJAGO City Docks, released in 2018, can connect directly to the city and offers a dockside area to explore. 71741 NINJAGO City Gardens was released in 2021 as part of the Legacy range, allowing even more expansion of the city environment. 

Fans will naturally point to the likes of 75192 Millennium Falcon in any discussion of the best LEGO sets. However, with their vivid colour schemes, intricate designs and multiple nods to LEGO history, the NINJAGO City models are fierce contenders for the top spot.

LEGO NINJAGO dragon

Everyone loves dragons, and they’ve made frequent appearances across LEGO sets for many years. NINJAGO is no exception, but its nods to Japanese culture and its dynamic world have allowed for some fresh interpretations of the concept.

Before they received dedicated vehicles, the core ninja team employed dragons in their adventures. 2260 Ice Dragon Attack puts Zane in the saddle, marking one of the first times a NINJAGO dragon would appear. 2509 Earth Dragon Defense and 2521 Lightning Dragon Battle were also released in 2011, offering their own unique approaches to the dragon concept.

Dragons are a well the NINJAGO theme has continued to draw from over the years. 9450 Epic Dragon Battle lives up to its name with a four-headed beast commanded by Lloyd. 70725 Nindroid Mech Dragon is particularly innovative; besides featuring a robotic design, it also introduced brick-built heads to the NINJAGO dragon family. 70736 Attack of the Morro Dragon offers a rippling, serpentine body – one that more closely mimics dragons from Eastern mythology. Its colourful cloth wings are another unique selling point. 

The NINJAGO dragons haven’t slowed down lately; in fact, they’ve appeared in places you wouldn’t expect them to. 71721 Skull Sorceror’s Dragon is perhaps unsurprising, given the fantasy theming surrounding it. However, its skeletal design is a radical departure from previous dragon designs. 71713 Empire Dragon provides a beast to stalk cyberspace, its trans-orange highlights arguably drawing inspiration from Disney’s Tron franchise. 

2021 brought us three dragons. 71746 Jungle Dragon prowls the jungles, whereas 71754 Water Dragon lurks in the depths of the Endless Sea. 71753 Fire Dragon Attack – another entry in the Legacy subtheme – is obviously more traditional, and even resurrects the moulded dragon head for the nostalgic NINJAGO fan.

More recently, a brand new range of customisable dragons – aimed at kids moving between the junior 4+ range and standard System sets – has landed on shelves, alongside a meatier beast in 71766 Lloyd’s Legendary Dragon.

Whatever flavour of dragon you prefer, the NINJAGO theme has more than delivered – and it’s safe to assume NINJAGO will provide a few more dragons going forward.

LEGO NINJAGO games

As a major LEGO theme, NINJAGO has enjoyed a number of tie-in video games over the years. The first console game, LEGO Battles: NINJAGO, appeared in 2011 on the Nintendo DS. This was a spin-off from 2009’s LEGO Battles, offering simple real-time strategy gameplay for LEGO fans. Players could introduce a variety of fighters into battle, while building various structures and collecting gold LEGO bricks. The game also offered a multiplayer mode, where two friends could compete in modes such as Annihilation, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill.

With the launch of the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, two new NINJAGO titles graced our screens. 2014’s LEGO NINJAGO: Nindroids took inspiration from the show’s third season, as well as recent LEGO games more generally. Players could engage in simple combat and platforming, but they could also pilot mech suits and engage in rail-shooting gameplay. Its cyberpunk visual style and exciting characters helped to distinguish it a little, though it wasn’t radically different from other LEGO games overall.

2015 brought us LEGO NINJAGO: Shadow of Ronin, which saw debut villain Ronin stealing the ninjas’ memories. This game included plentiful (if simplistic) combat, and plenty of gold bricks to collect. Returning to find these gold bricks gave the title some replay value, but the game didn’t necessarily build upon the ideas of its predecessor.

The NINJAGO theme would go on to have a major presence in LEGO Dimensions, a toys-to-life game that launched in 2015. All six ninja (as well as Master Wu) would receive dedicated characters and rebuildable vehicles inspired by the TV show. The theme received a dedicated story level in the main campaign, as well as an open-world segment with tasks and references to the TV show.

The arrival of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie also inspired a tie-in game. The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game continued to ape the core LEGO formula, but it also introduced a more sophisticated combat system than older titles. In a similar manner to games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, players could chain attacks together and bounce from one enemy to another. Unique moves helped distinguish one technique from another, and level traversal also received a shot in the arm. While long load times and an underwhelming ending may have marred the experience, there was still plenty for NINJAGO fans to enjoy.

LEGO NINJAGO 2022

The summer 2022 wave of NINJAGO sets draws inspiration from the Crystalized storyline of the NINJAGO TV series. These sets offer some bold new designs, although they are a little less colourful than similar sets that precede them.

As you might expect, each ninja gets a new vehicle to drive. These different greatly in scope, offering a few different entry points to the theme. At the cheaper end of the scale is 71768 Jay’s Golden Dragon Motorbike, which features a new vehicle for the blue ninja to ride. This bike is dominated by golden elements, although some translucent yellow pieces hint at crackling electricity. 

Jay himself wears elaborate golden armour that mimics a dragon. He also wields a new nunchuck assembly, which uses new dragon head elements for the handles. The included Vengestone Warrior minifigure is similar interesting: he wears an elaborate helmet with translucent pink detailing. Some of his limbs are also moulded in this colour, contributing to his monstrous appearance.

71770 Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet offers a sleek aircraft for Zane to pilot. Like 70668 Jay’s Storm Fighter before it, the wings can be adjusted during play. Ironically, the small cockpit means Zane’s dragon armour is absent from this set. Instead it can be found on Cole, whose torso offers a striking black and orange colour scheme.

The Crystalized product collection also includes characters from previous NINJAGO waves, albeit in new outfits. This set includes General Vangelis, who first appeared in the Master of the Mountain product collection. While he retains his mask and wings, he now wears a new suit of armour with pink crystalline highlights. He also wields a pair of crystalline weapons, with rough, rocky designs that are very effective.

71769 COLES DRAGON RACER 1

Cole receives his own rough ‘n’ ready vehicle in 71769 Cole’s Dragon Cruiser. The vehicle features a mix of black, gold and orange, echoing previous vehicles driven by the ninja. A particularly interesting feature is a large pair of blades which just out from the back. These can be folded forward, presumably as a defence mechanism.

The large size of the vehicle (and some pieces borrowed from the Speed Champions theme) means that two people can sit in it at once. This is a welcome feature, although ironically Kai may struggle to fit inside! His dragon armour uses an effective mix of red and gold elements, producing a fearsome appearance in the process. 

A generic Vengestone Brute and General Aspheera provide some opposition. This serpentine character appeared in the Legends of the Forbidden Spinjitzu subtheme, although her appearance is very different here. Her golden head element is now dark and metallic, with crystalline pink highlights. When combined with the black, pink and purple colours on her other elements, the result is one of the better-looking minifigures in the product collection.

71773 KAIS GOLD DRAGON RAIDER 1

Of all the ninja vehicles in this wave, 71773 Kai’s Golden Dragon Raider is probably the most unusual. It’s ostensibly a four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle, but many parts of it can shift position. Like 71769 Cole’s Dragon Cruiser, its blade assemblies can be folded forwards. Spring-loaded shooters sit between them and provide some additional defence capabilities.

However, the wheel assemblies can also shift around. The front ones can splay outwards and the rear ones can be raised up. This allows the vehicle to take on a more bestial appearance, and justifies the ‘dragon’ naming a little more than the other vehicles using it. A small drone can also be deployed from a rear compartment. 

Kai, Skylor and Zane represent the heroes in this set, with Zane appearing in his golden dragon armour. This features several transparent blue elements, reflecting Zane’s association with ice. On the side of the villains a Vengestone Brute, a Vengestone Warrior and the mysterious General Mr F provide some opposition. 

71774 Prod

Lloyd sometimes gets particularly extravagant vehicles to ride, and 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon may be one of the grandest so far. The four-headed dragon boasts a riot of golden pieces, with the tail literally capped by a massive samurai blade. Plenty of articulation points can be found here, across the limbs, the tail and even the torso.

Other highlights of the set include the four dragon heads. Each of these draws inspiration from a different element, with translucent moulding helping to differentiate them. Multiple ball-and-socket joints allow for a wide range of movement.

Kai, Jay, Cole and Zane – the original four ninja – can also be found in this set, in one of their ‘standard’ armour sets for the subtheme. Lloyd, on the other hand, wears a suit of ‘Golden Oni’ armour. This features a new Oni mask with curving horns, which attaches like a visor to a new samurai helmet. However, this visor cannot be lifted up without physically detaching it. 

Lloyd and his fellow ninja must face off against the Crystal King, the persona of another NINJAGO enemy. Like big bad Lord Garmadon, the King features four arms; he also wears a mask of his own, although it appears a little more bestial than Lloyd’s does. A simple throne adorned with weapons is provided for him to sit on, as are two Vengestone Brutes and a Vengestone Warrior to bolster his forces. 

71775 NYAS SAMURAI X MECH contents

Nya reappears in the theme as well, although she has abandoned her water ninja persona in favour of her Samurai X one. Her accompanying vehicle – 71775 Nya’s Samurai X MECH – may prove one of the more appealing in the product collection, thanks to its subject matter and vibrant colour scheme.

The set is similar in concept to 71738 Zane’s Titan Mech Battle, depicting a large, pilotable mech. Sloped pieces are used to create a giant red X on the front, making it clear who the mech belongs to. Like its predecessor it also features multiple points of articulation, including its knees – an overlooked design feature in several LEGO sets of this type.

In terms of defences, the mech comes with a pair of swords and a pair of shoulder-mounted spring-loaded shooters. These can be rotated freely, allowing the mech to defend itself properly. The cockpit includes several details, including a stickered picture of 9448 Samurai Mech on one side. 

Eight minifigures are included with this set, each of which boasts impressive detail. These may help to justify the set’s RRP, which (unlike 71738 Zane’s Titan Mech Battle) is in the triple digits. On the hero side is Nya, Jay, Master Wu and Lil’ Nelson; the latter character has appeared in LEGO form on a handful of occasions. Nya and Wu are especially interesting; Nya’s Samurai X uses dark azure rather than its usual red, while Wu’s head features a printed hair braid on its back. His golden armour chest piece is also attractive, featuring the texture of dragon scales.

The villains are represented by Oni Garmadon, Pythor, the Mechanic and a generic Vengestone Warrior. Garmadon has just two arms this time around, but he also sports an Oni mask with a fearsome facial expression. Like other villains in the Crystalized theme, Pythor has undergone some colour changes. He features a purple torso and pink, crystalline armour, with similar detailing on the Mechanic as well. 

71772 THE CRYSTAL KING 1

The Crystal King himself receives two LEGO sets dedicated to him. 71772 The Crystal King features a massive, quadrupedal creature that resembles a centaur. While it’s a great display model, it’s reportedly difficult to pose. There are also some limits in terms of articulation, which may affect its appeal as a plaything. 

Even so, there are some impressive features of the set like clawed hands, crystalline wings, and a hollow chest cavity with room for a minifigure. There’s also a long tail studded with crystals, and a bladed spear the King can carry for defence. 

lego ninjago 71772 the crystal king characters

As befitting his royal nature, the Crystal King minifigure features gold highlights and a mask that resembles a lion. This mask can be flipped up to reveal the king’s true identity. His weapons are also striking, using transparent pink elements to reflect their crystalline nature. 

A Vengestone Guard, a Vengestone Warrior and a new version of Harumi join the Crystal King in this set. This character has appeared in a colourful mix of outfits over the years, although here she wears the metallic grey/purple armour as other villains in this wave. She has both gleeful and angry expressions, although her pink eyes suggest some supernatural influence. 

A single ninja – Lloyd – is included on the hero side. While his outfit is unique to this set, it’s not necessarily distinctive from his past outfits. Still, it’s a solid option for NINJAGO minifigure collectors.

A base of operations for the Crystal King can be found in 71771 The Crystal King Temple. This model boasts a pair of highly organic structures, with craggy stonework and parts appearing to float above the ground. Several jagged pink crystals can – naturally – be found here, including one which is used as a prison cell.  

Golden weapons for each of the ninja are scattered around the set, although various traps and obstacles make finding acquiring them difficult. The king himself sits atop a throne surrounded by crystals; its columns of spikes hint at the malevolent nature of its owner. 

The Crystal King can be found in this set, although unlike his counterpart in 71772 The Crystal King he has four arms instead of two. The horns on his helmet are also notably longer, suggesting he has grown in power. 

LEGO NINJAGO 71771 The Crystal King Character Lineup

Although this is the King’s home turf, he has surprisingly few soldiers to defend it. A single Vengestone Guard accompanies this set, with Kai, Zane, Jay and Cole accompanying it as well. These ninja outfits lack the gold detailing found in the other Crystalized sets, and are exclusive to this set – capping off an interesting period of NINJAGO history.

LEGO NINJAGO Black Friday

Embark on some epic ninja adventures thanks to our LEGO NINJAGO Black Friday deals page.