The LEGO NINJAGO Movie brings with it the third incarnation of the iconic vessel, Destiny’s Bounty. Debuting in the theme’s second wave back in 2012, it has served as the mobile home and base for Sensei Wu. While the most recent set, 70618 Destiny’s Bounty, approaches UCS standards of detail and quality, its predecessors are not without their merits. Could they possibly hold a candle to the magnificence that is the LEGO design team’s latest masterpiece?
To answer that question, Brick Fanatics has collected all three versions and pitted them against one another in a Battle of the Bounties to see which will emerge victorious, or at least how close to first place the second place set will come. This is a simple scoring system where first in the category shall earn three points, second will score two points, and third just one point – with me reserving the right to award extra points if I feel they are warranted, because there is only one decider in the Battle of the Bounties (cue dramatic music).
There has been a steady increase in the size of Destiny’s Bounty as the years have passed, increasing in lockstep with price and piece count. Deck space, presumably for ninja battles, has always been an important part of the ships –each iteration includes generous deck space. However, 70618’s enormous size clearly gives it the edge here in every dimension including length, height and width. It is worth noting that the other two ships are not far behind in terms of open deck space. Indeed, the second version from 2015 is only a few studs short in the length department, though that fact is obscured by the clutter of features that cover it.
As might be expected, the largest set of them all is going to be the winner here. An extra half point goes to version two for getting so close in length and not being abysmally shorter in height, with such a smaller piece count. After round one, the scores are as follows:
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 1
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 2.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 3
Sails were a major focal point for the first two versions of Destiny’s Bounty. This was because they were part of their respective set’s primary play feature – the ability to convert from a sailing ship to a flying one. The movie version omitted this feature and its masts are therefore a much simpler affair than previous models. Conversion to flying mode involved the sails expanding out in some direction, or in the case of version one both up and out. This was accomplished by depressing a lever that used either ratcheting or friction hinges to hold the sails in place against gravity.
Functionality did not comprise the sails as the first two versions both included excellent and distinctive sails in their own right. Appropriate colours and appealing designs more than match those found on 70618. Looking at the two older incarnations, it is the original with the most stunning sails as they begin horizontal and parallel to the deck, and transform into a position that is vertical and perpendicular instead. Version one gets kudos for standing the test of time, and is our winner here.
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 4
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 4.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 4
Dragons have served as the inspiration for every figurehead across the three ships. They have progressed from being moulded parts to intricately brick built features. There is no real competition here, 70618 devours the competition. A masterclass in parts usage, the dual figureheads on the latest Destiny’s Bounty are breathtaking. Gold bananas for eyebrows, a classic Chinese dragon aesthetic and perfectly selected colours – more like this please, LEGO designers.
Looking at them side by side, the second version really stands out as inferior. Where are its eyes? Why are we choking it with a mast? Although some fans prefer brick built solutions to moulded parts, in this case the moulded versions just looks better. Second place it is for version one.
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 6
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 5.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 7
Hidden Weapons Storage
Ample deck space was clearly included to facilitate combat on the decks. To that end, every version of Wu’s ship has included hidden weapons lockers accessible from the main deck. Simple but effective, they have ranged greatly in size and degree of stealth. Interestingly, the mighty 70618‘s version is the one I liked the least. Smooth plates with clips were used, standing out like a sore thumb from the heavily studded surrounding deck. While these parts get the job done, they are visually jarring. This is especially stark when compared to the inaugural version which included only two hidden knives, but the concealment was excellent and pop up function perfectly executed.
The top points this time go to version two though. A pair of large lockers, sealed with bars and tiles depicting locks, are both elegant and functional. They are sufficiently sized for multiple large weapons or other supplies. Visually they blend in perfectly and even add to the look of the deck.
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 8
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 8.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 8
The rear cabin has been a highlight of many LEGO ships, not just the various versions of Destiny’s Bounty. Designers have used this area to showcase interesting building techniques and, in the case of NINJAGO ships, a bit of Japanese architecture to really help place them. This trait is most often seen in the roofs that have included interesting angles, parts usage and shapes.
While all have been interesting, 70618 hit it out of the park. The choice to use garage door components to mimic the curved roof distinctive to the classic Chinese junk was as stroke of sheer brilliance. The curve is so graceful it is almost hard to believe that LEGO pieces are used in its construction. First place and an extra point for perfection are going to be awarded to this year’s version of the ship.
Second place is a bit of a toss up here, but version one edges it. The use of helicopter blades achieves the shape, but ends up looking a bit messy on version two’s roof. The cleaner lines and contrasting shapes of the original look better.
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 10
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 9.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 12
A design feature that binds all three Destiny’s Bounty sets together is the rear curve. This has manifested as a distinctive flair punctuated by a sphere, using a Sensei Wu hat. All three versions of the ship have included this in some form. On the two earlier versions, they were part of the transformation function, flipping to reveal engines that presumably lifted the ship while the sails propelled it. It seems that the aesthetic feature was included as a tribute on the latest seabound only version. Tribute or not, 70618 does it best with a dizzying array of angles all coming together at this point into an aesthetically pleasing design feature that really makes the whole model pop.
The first version was much simpler in how this feature was executed and looks a bit plain in comparison to its kin. If the hat was not there to add a bit of colour and texture, the whole rear of the ship would look way too basic. Points in this category are going to fall right down the line of age.
Version 1 – 9446 Destiny’s Bounty (2012): 11
Version 2 – 70738 Destiny’s Bounty (2015): 11.5
Version 3 – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty (2017): 15
The Battle of the Bounties verdict
Looking at these five categories, the results are unsurprising – the LEGO Group’s latest version of Destiny’s Bounty, 70618, is the clear winner. I am also not surprised that the previous two versions essentially tied, they are both excellent models with various merits when compared to each other. Each set is a satisfying model for both display and play, this has always been a successful model for LEGO NINJAGO. I am impressed that the LEGO Group has maintained such a high standard across the three ships.
All that being said, the quality of sets in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie theme is of course on the next level – 70618 Destiny’s Bounty is no exception. This exercise in comparing the three versions of the ship has demonstrated how even some of the LEGO Group’s most inventive work has been improved upon for this movie based range. If you only add one of these to your collection, the choice is abundantly clear.