Sunday, January 2nd, 2022 at 5:55am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for another Ninjago set review, and today BZPower Reporter Xccj focuses on the largest set of the winter wave, 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple. This comes with the mechs and snakes and all the training centers you need for a classic Ninjago experience. Read on for a detailed look into this temple and the various Ninja elements it features, and check out our Instagram story for more detailed photos of the set.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box is quite large, and rightfully so for a set of this size. It features the full building with the training area, mech, and snake vehicles present. The background artwork actually depicts the Ninja Training Center set that can be connected to the dojo, which is a fun feature. (Most of the other Ninjago sets this wave feature the Dojo Temple in their artwork background.) Another cool bit is artwork of Nya and Master Wu featured in the corner. Nya hasn't shown up a lot in promo artwork, and gets to reappear here. (Although the other sets in this wave all feature different Ninjas, so they're mixing it up a bit.)
The back of the box is unusually plain with a white background showing the full model at a different angle. There are some shots of the various rooms and action features on the bottom, as well as Nya holding onto the flag element that is supposed to be the collectible for this wave of Ninjago sets. (Capture all the flags!)
This wave of Ninjago sets is set apart from the main show and is just supposed to capture the "essence" of the theme or something. As such, a lot of the sets have been pretty generic, remaking mechs or cars or dragons. (Not to mention the reuse of generic snake antagonists.) The classic Ninjago headquarters has always been their mountaintop Monastery, so this is a bit of a change from that, but the build does have some familiarity to it. The general shape reminds me of 2014's 70728 Battle for Ninjago City, with the rocky base, red siding, and dark green roof. The general shape is also similar to 2017's 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon. And that's saying nothing of the temples or castles from other themes that use this same kind of layout. Still, this is using current techniques with modern elements and various Ninjago themes spun into the design, so it's still something a bit different.
The set is selling for $99.99 USD and should be available now. (Although at the time of writing it's already showing as sold out in some regions! Wow, it was popular!)
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is not overly complex, although the sheer size of the thing means that it will take a while to put together. Although it is a little more complex than some of the other sets from this wave, which are aimed at younger audiences, it's still a few degrees simpler than what we'd see with modulars or Ninjago City. One fun thing that seems to be new for this wave is the artwork in the booklets interspersed with the building instructions. This helps tell the 'story' of the set which doesn't have a television season to go along with it. (Check out Instagram for captures of the various bits of artwork.)
What kinds of interesting pieces are included with the set? What are the minifigures like?
There are 1394 pieces in this set, which is a good deal for $99.99. You get a decent mix of large elements, new elements, figs parts, and generic parts for large buildings. Alas, I didn't gather all the cool and interesting pieces into one shot, so the above is just a selection of some of the rarer elements. (You can check out Instagram for a glimpse at the parts in the various bags as you build the sets.) In particular, a few new elements are included with the mech in red and orange, the base is made using tans and grays, the main building features brown and red and white siding with dark green roofs. There are a few interesting new elements included here, but nothing that jumps out to be as a reason to pick up the set purely for the part. Good, but not stellar.
You do get a whopping eight minifigures in this set, including four of the six Ninjas. (Jay and Zane are included in the attachable 71764 Ninja Training Center, so if you buy the two sets you'll get the full team. Unfortunately, that set won't be available until March.) They all feature new outfits, with interesting elemental textures on their left sides. Some of the leg colors are a bit different than what we usually get, and each Ninja also gets a color specific katana to match their element. Kai and Nya are the only two to get hairpieces included in this set; Lloyd's hair appears in another set of this wave, but it doesn't look like any of the sets feature Cole's hair, so I guess he keeps his headwrap on for now.
Still, I'm glad to see Cole is still around, even after the passing of his voice actor Kirby Morrow who made him such an iconic character. RIP. And if you're caught up on the last season, you'll know that Nya also departed from the team, which might cause some confusion with her inclusion here. Officially this wave isn't connected to the show so it's okay to include her. I'm guessing that her character is not gone forever, which is why they don't want to completely wipe her from the theme. I mean, they got rid of Zane, Master Wu, and Cole previously on the show and still brought them back, so I'm of the opinion that Nya will return eventually in some capacity. I will be annoyed if she's the first one they put their foot down on with "dead is dead!"
ANYWAY. . .
You also get two snakes, named Cobra Mechanic and Boa Destructor. They're reusing the snake heads introduced in 2019 but with some new orange and gunmetal colors. Cobra has two spikes on his back, because you know snakes are known for having multiple legs. (I could potentially forgive this if one was supposed to represent a rattlesnake tail, but there are two.) Boa instead has the big fist elements, which again doesn't seem like a snake feature but I like the accessories so he can keep em.
The two other supporting characters are Pixal (P.I.X.A.L.) and Master Wu. Pixal has a new printing to show off her Samurai X costume in great detail. The hairpiece is also in silver and the first time her fig has been without a helmet since her introduction in 2014. (I don't immediate recognize the hair piece, so I want to say it is a brand-new mold, or at least new in silver.) Master Wu gets a new tan robe design over his usual getup, with the text on his back spelling out "Master".
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The first mini model is the snake drill vehicle. (Officially it's called a rammer vehicle.) It's a fairly basic design with big wheels on the front and the mech armor covering the drill mechanism. . . although the drill doesn't actually rotate, so it's just for looks. My favorite part of this is that the build makes it so the spikes in the wheels don't move with the wheels, so it looks pretty good with them all facing backwards.
Next we have Kai's Fire Mech. Ninjago has made a lot of mechs, and Kai has gotten a lot of them in his color scheme. This one fully utilized the new mech designs being introduced this year, primarily with the new limb elements. They're a single solid piece with a 45 degree bend in the center. They do have a bit more heft in them then a flimsier brick-build limb that we've seen in other mechs of this size, but older fans will likely still feel that this mold is Juniorized. (And the intent basically was to make it a simpler build for younger audiences, so we're not wrong.) Still, I think there might be some potential in this piece, and look forward to seeing how people use it in MOCs. (And it appears all over the place in this theme, from the dragon legs to Zane's similarly built mech.) A new armor cover element is also introduced here, shown on the mech's thighs. It has the shapes of some other slope elements but does a good job of filling out the limb, much like a System version of the Hero Factory CCBS shells. Is this the future of character building for LEGO? Maybe.
Outside the new elements, the mech is pretty decent for its size. The feet are a fun build with good detail, and the legs have joints at the hips and ankles. The arms unfortunately only have a joint in the shoulders, as the hand clips are built directly into the end of the arm, limiting mobility a bit. Although the limbs don't bend in the middle, I do like the angling of the armor elements to fill in the joint, such as with the pentagon tile. I was a bit confused as to why two socket elements were built into the shoulders, but this is for the shoulder mounted cannon, which includes the new stud shooter element. Kai fits in quite snugly and the front opens up to let him in and out of the mech, and the collectible flag attached to the back for full visibility.
The color scheme, size, and number of joints on this mech does remind me of a certain iconic Toa of Fire. Tahu Mata's ballpoints still offer a wider range of motion than the mech's Mixal joints allow, but the two are certainly comparable. The new limb elements are not that different from the Toa's one-piece leg element, after all. And Kai has not usually had this much orange in his vehicles (his secondary colors are usually gold or Keetongu orange) so this very particular color scheme feels very much like a callback to Tahu.
The main build is the Temple, which is adequately large. The front features the cool roof designs, and excellent stone pathway to the front doors, and a curved bridge to a training area. I particularly like the stairs, which use slopes and angles to give it a natural curved look. The bridge is also inspired, using a roller coaster track as the base with jumper plates cleverly attached to the inner rungs and curved guardrails attached to the sides. The roof designs are a lot of fun, built on hinges that are locked into place. I especially like the design choice for the central black elements, with use a bent tile to lock in the angle on the front. Gold weapons and hanging lanterns also decorate the roof, and some of the other fun features include the front balcony (even though it's quite small), trees with autumn leaves, and the stickers on the front that read JKN CZL. (These obviously represent the Ninja's names: Jay, Kai, Nya, Cole, Zane, and Lloyd.)
From the back you can see more of the temple's rooms. There are four levels. The basement is essentially the Ninja's Batcave, where all their high-tech hero stuff is located, and there's a ground access entrance off to the side. There's also a washroom located beneath the front stairs, with red and blue taps. (Which are strangely visible from the front of the model, which seems like an odd design flaw.) On the left, Pixal's computer screen can be swiveled out to reveal space to store the Ninja's headwraps. (Only Kai and Nya have extra that need storage, but there's room for four.)
The ground floor has the main entrance through the big red doors, and includes the tea room and training room complete with weapons storage. The white vases behind the front doors have a neat hidden feature in that you can hide things inside them, like a doughnut tile. The tea room has a small table with a tea kettle and plant and a cup for Master Wu. Another neat feature there is the decoder poster, which you can use to decode the Ninjago text in the various stickers. And speaking of stickers, the training room includes a small tile that spells out "Team Work."
The second level mostly features a shrine for Master Wu. (Or maybe I'm using that term wrong, because Master Wu is still very much alive, but it might just be a meditation place.) You also have some stylistic banners hanging from the red supports. Then at the top you have the attic with some storage space, which includes a NGC News newspaper with an article about Snakes. (NGC News = Ninga Go Channel News?) There's a cup angled over the newspaper; I don't know if this is supposed to represent a magnifying glass or just somebody spilling their drink on the paper.
Overall, it's a pretty big temple and great for essentially playing Ninja House. My problem is that the various rooms are pretty small and hard to access with my clunky adult hands. . . which is probably something children don't have to worry about as much. (And this is my complaint for other modulars, so it's not exactly a new trend or new complaint on my part.) It does make it difficult for me to position in figs and accessories, not to mention problematic to take decent pictures of for a review. On the basement level there are some technic holes on the edges, allowing you to attach the Ninja Training Center models. There are also some oddly placed Mixal joints on the second level that don't have an apparent use, as they don't connect to anything and I don't think there's anything in the other set that would attach there. Maybe they're just handles to allow for easy handling of the temple?
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
With a handful of rooms spread out through the Temple, role play seems to be the biggest feature of this set. The Ninjas can access the various rooms to train, monitor the computers, meditate, drink tea, and more. The space of each room doesn't exactly allow for all the Ninjas to hang out and throw a party, but they all make for fun little scenes. To add some conflict, you also have the sub models of the snake's rammer vehicle and Kai's mech that can fight it out.
Surprisingly there's not a lot of action features built into the main building. The primary one is a collapsible wall on the basement level. The idea is the snakes can use their vehicle to ram it and access the Ninja's headquarters. It kind of works, and there's a hinge on the front that can knock out the wall panels, but it also makes it particularly difficult to put them back into position after knocking them down. (Plus, the rammer vehicle is too wide to fit thru the gap; guess it stays outside.)
The next play feature is in the training center on the end of the bridge. Here there are three rock outcroppings with torches attached. But the trick is that the flame elements are only loosely sitting in their holders. A Ninja with a katana can stand in the center and practice Spinjitzu; as they spin they can knock off each flame piece. There's no mechanism for the spin, you'll have to rotate the fig yourself, but it's a nice play element. Although it also means the flame pieces will fall out whenever you move the set.
In the end, I think it offers plenty of play value and captures the essence of the Ninjago theme. Overall a good set.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Lots of pieces, plenty of good ones
- Also like the cast of figs, nice new Ninja designs
- Angled staircase is great
- So is the fancy bridge
- Many detailed rooms
- Lots of role play potential
What's not to like?
- Juniorized Mech build
- Snake enemies again?
- Various rooms are quite small to access
- Collapsible wall could be better
This set has a lot play value that does capture the essential Ninjago experience, from the mechs and snake enemies and training areas. The build isn't too complex but the building does look great, and it has a good number of pieces and figs too for those who want to part it out.
Thanks again to LEGO for sending us this set to review. The opinions and everything expressed here are purely my own, of course. And you can view the Instagram story for more photos, which showcase more of the pieces and build process and point out some of the other visual details that I liked. And make sure to stay tuned to BZPower for even more set reviews, because we're going to keep featuring Ninjago sets as we get em in. Thanks again for reading.
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