The LEGO NINJAGO Movie sets are one of the best, most detailed ranges ever released by the LEGO Group – inspiration from years of LEGO NINJAGO releases may have helped the designers to realise their creative vision…
LEGO NINJAGO has been around since 2011, when it started life as another big bang theme – but went on to become a smash hit for the LEGO Group. With a rich history of over 200 sets, designers of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie products had a lot of models from which to draw inspiration. Some share common names, others colour palettes, and some take obvious inspiration from the models themselves both in terms of type and construction. Brick Fanatics has delved into the LEGO archives to find The LEGO NINJAGO Movie theme’s heritage.
For many, the absolute highlight of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie line is the truly awe inspiring 70620 NINJAGO City, which scored a perfect five stars in the Brick Fanatics Review. It is not the first set to bear the name NINJAGO City – that was 70728 Battle for NINJAGO City, released in 2014 as part of the theme’s reboot after being temporarily displaced by the far less successful Legends of Chima. While noticeably smaller, despite being the fourth largest NINJAGO model produced prior to the movie, it is nonetheless a satisfying build with very distinctive architecture. It also reflects a hint of the tiered nature of the movie’s city though definitely not as distinctly.
9446 Destiny’s Bounty, 70738 Final Flight of Destiny’s Bounty & 70618 Destiny’s Bounty
Brick Fanatics extensively compared the various Destiny’s Bounty sets that have been released through the years. While they have grown in size and complexity since the first model graced shelves in 2012, each has had its own merits. In addition to sharing a name, they have also all been able to fly, although the movie model does not have the distinctive jet engines of its predecessors. Each has served as the home/command centre of Sensei Wu, and all have had distinctive sails and dragon figureheads. The latest Destiny’s Bounty also received high marks from the Brick Fanatics team and is a model that everyone should own, LEGO NINJAGO fan or not.
70593 Green NRG Dragon & 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon
Dragons have been an important part of the NINJAGO universe since the very first wave of sets. In the movie, 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon features heavily, especially in the first half hour. This is not the first time that the green ninja has taken to the skies riding a dragon of the same colour. Just last year, he flew atop 70593 Green NRG Dragon – a very cool model. It is substantially different to its cinematic counterpart, most notably for having distinctive cloth wings and a tiny mouth. A variety of similarities are present including articulated claws, a highly mobile tail and horns on the head.
9442 Jay’s Storm Fighter & 70614 Jay’s Lightning Jet
Poor Jay is nobody’s favorite Ninja. Likewise, his rides have rarely been anyone’s favourite sets. Despite his Lightning Jet from the movie being a solid build, it was not the highest scoring set reviewed. It is still a big step up from many of Jay’s previous vehicles, in particular his last aerial vehicle associated with lightning, 2012’s 9442 Storm Fighter. This model was anaemic at best, though that is largely the fault of the low price point. Fans looking for the set can pick it up for cheap on the secondary market, but that money would be much better spent on 70614 Jay’s Lightning Jet.
70751 Temple of Airjitzu & 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon
70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon is one of the few NINJAGO Movie sets that does not surpass its inspiration despite being an excellent set. It can be forgiven for this as that predecessor is the near perfect 70751 Temple of Airjitzu. Many folks who had never bought a NINJAGO set before took the plunge with 70751 due to it being so grand and eye catching. Along with both being temples, they are also similar sizes, contain three stories each and are topped with architecturally interesting rooftops. The similarities do not extend much into the interiors. 70751 depicts a peaceful temple devoted to teaching whereas 70617 fits more closely with the various trap laden models released in the Adventurers or similar product lines – as covered in this Five Connections piece.
70588 Titanium Ninja Tumbler & 70616 Ice Tank
70616 Ice Tank was not the most inspiring of the ninja vehicles from the film, as was reflected in its low review score. Part of the problem is the price, which was a departure for Zane as most of his past vehicles have been at the lower end of the spectrum. Accordingly, many of his previous rides have offered excellent value. 70588 Titanium Ninja Tumbler is such a model, sharing similarities with the Ice Tank. These include the colour scheme, being a ground based vehicle, featuring extensive armour plating, and having a front and centre cockpit.
70500 Kai’s Fire Mech & 70615 Fire Mech
There is probably no more dramatic change in scale than for Kai’s Fire Mech. With the exact same name as the original set, other than the omission of its pilot’s name in the movie version, Kai got a major upgrade for the film. His first mech was a 102 piece model from 2013, a fantastic little pocket money set. Other than colour and the general common traits of being mechs, the two models are almost nothing alike. Most notably the cockpit on the older model is placed further down, closer to the middle of the mech instead of the more common upper area as it is in the new Fire Mech. Interestingly, the smaller model includes articulation at the knees which was a major criticism of the movie’s version – and so the subject of a Brick Fanatics build experiment.