makoy

Review - 70623 Destiny's Shadow

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Following my previous NINJAGO review, let’s take a look at another interesting set from The Hands of Time season. Let’s dive right in my 5th Reviewers Academy review, set number 70623 - Destiny’s Shadow.
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Overview

Name:  70623 - Destiny’s Shadow
Theme: LEGO System / NINJAGO /  The Hands of Time
Year: 2017 (1H)
Pieces: 346
Minifigures: 3
Price: USD 29.99 / EUR 29.99 / GBP 24.99 / SGD 39.99 / MYR 129.90 
Resources: Brickset and Bricklink

Quote

 

Fight the Vermillion for control of the Pause Time Blade with Lloyd and Cole aboard Destiny’s Shadow. This convertible boat/flyer features flip-out wings for flight mode, two stud shooters, plus two detachable canoes and two oars. Dial up the ninja vs. Vermillion conflict with Vermin’s V-shaped hoverboard and Vermillion axe. Includes three minifigures.

  • Includes three minifigures: Vermin, and Lloyd and Cole with swamp outfit decoration.
  • Destiny's Shadow features a two-minifigure cockpit, two stud shooters, flip-out wings for flight mode and ninja blade details, plus two detachable canoes and two oars.
  • Flip out the wings to convert Destiny's Shadow from a boat into a flyer!
  • Detach the canoe for stealthy swamp missions.
  • Vermin is equipped with a V-shaped hoverboard.
  • Includes the translucent-red Pause Time Blade.
  • Weapons includes Lloyd and Cole's katanas and Vermin's Vermillion axe.
  • Accessory elements include Lloyd's compass and Vermin's Vermillion helmet.
  • Recreate and role-play epic scenes from the NINJAGO® Masters of Spinjitzu TV show.
  • This set offers an age-appropriate build and play experience for ages 7+.
  • Destiny's Shadow measures over 3” (8cm) high, 11” (30cm) long and 3” (10cm) wide in boat mode, and 9” (23cm) wide in flight mode.
  • Vermillion hoverboard measures over 2” (6cm) long, 2” (6cm) wide and under 1” (1cm) high.

 

 

Introduction 

If you have been reading my post in the Ninjago topics, I have been sharing that I prefer playsets over vehicles. Occasionally I do make exceptions such as this. I was not supposed to buy this one but I ended up buying this set anyway. Why? Read more to find out.
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When I first heard the name “Destiny’s Shadow” I can’t help but relate the set to the Destiny’s Bounty. First thing that came to my mind is that it must be smaller because it’s only a shadow. Apparently all these are true because if you look at the front box art you’ll think it is just a scaled down Destiny’s Bounty without sails.
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At the back of the box, we see Lloyd and Cole teaming up to fight Vermin, the only Vermillion soldier included in the set.

What’s striking about this set is the inclusion of 2 olive green canoes that appears detachable from the main boat. I’ll talk more about that later on.

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At the side we see the common stuff like the minifigures included -- Vermin (villain), Lloyd, Cole and a frog. There is also the “money shot” and an small logo of LEGO Life promoting the new app for kids.

Let's do the unboxing!
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Inside the box, there are 3 numbered plastic bags, 2 plastic cutout sheets, 2 olive green canoes, 2 instruction booklets and... *drum roll*... no sticker sheets.

Yes, what you see is not a mistake… there are indeed an extra plastic sheet of the cut-out wings.

 

Build

Here is the preview of the booklet and how each bag contributes to the build.
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Bag #1 contents
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We’re off to a great start because we are not even on the 5th step of building and we already have an interesting part such as this 2x2 wedge in bluish dark grey.  Few steps later we complete the hoverboard used by Vermin. Of all the Ninjago hoverboards I’ve seen and built I think this is one of the better ones. The details provided by the iron ingots and copper Uruk-hai swords make this hoverboard very sharp and edgy.

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The remaining steps make the hull of the boat if you can even call it a boat. Ok, it is a flying boat or an airship just like the Destiny's Bounty.

We also get Cole with the Pause Time Blade. I’ll spend more time on minifigures later.

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Notice that here are angled plates and ball joints used to construct the stern. Right from the first bag we are greeted with seemingly simple but not-so-basic building techniques.

Bag #2 content

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In bag #2, the wheel holder is used with the Exo-force robot arms to achieve the angle needed for the bow of the airship. I have not built all LEGO sets ever created (I don’t think anybody has) but this is the first time I see robot arms and wheel holder combination to attach something in an angle.

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The warm gold [BL: pearl gold] hoses are held by 4 pairs of clips in an odd way that the hoses form a shape of a bowling pin or sexy soda bottle.

On the sides of the airship, the titanium metallic [BL: pearl dark grey] elbow pieces, which others affectionately called macaroni pieces, give the airship a very industrial look and steam-punky vibe.

Moving on, hold your breathe because we are opening the last bag...

 

Bag #3 contents

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Bag #3 adds the wing frames. The wings are attached using the ball joints to the stern. You’ll find out later why it has to be connect with ball joints. You can see the back of the wing frame here.

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It seems that the wings are smaller than what I saw in the TV series. Also, due to how the plastic wings are fastened to the wing frames with those holes, the already curvy wings curves even more than it should be.

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The build is already complete at this point. What you see above is the boat mode of Destiny’s Shadow with its wings retracted.

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Attach the 2 olive green canoes on the sides, expand the wings and you get the flight mode of Destiny’s Shadow. The 2 reddish brown oars for the canoes are attached in front for easy access.

I prefer this mode but I really wish those puny little wings on the side are slightly bigger/wider, sharper and less floppy.

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Remember the ball joints? The wings can be expanded by pushing the yellowish orange protruding part below the engines. Both wings will extend as both wings are attached to the central mechanism with ball joints. Consequently, when you push one wing inwards the other one also retracts back.

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Notice the solar-panel looking tiles on top of the black wedges? Those are all printed. Remember, there are no stickers in this set.

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It does look like a proper airship when viewed by the side profile but I love the back view even more.

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Just look at the big pearl gold jet engine with purple accent.

I like big boats and I cannot lie; You other brothers can't deny!
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Frankly, I was expecting this set to be smaller as the pictures online and even the box art does not give justice to the product in real-life.

I find that almost all angles are camera-friendly. It is narrow and slender, and the pearl gold pneumatic hose creates a very unusual curve that makes this airship “sexy” for the lack of a better term.

The build is very enjoyable but not free of criticism. Apart from the wings, the other gripe I have on this set is that there isn’t enough firm parts to hold this airship to swoosh it around with one hand. The reddish brown 2x4 tile at the stern doesn’t help either because the moment your hands get a little bit oily those tiles get very slippery. So, you need to pay extra attention to support the weight of the airship below or you’ll find this crashing on the floor.

One more thing before I proceed to the next segment -- the official description mentioned about “Lloyd’s compass”. I’m 100% sure there is no compass accessory in this set. I double confirmed it. Maybe when they mentioned compass, they meant the green frog pointing at the north direction?

 

Hey Lloyd I think your compass is a little bit cranky. I think you need to feed it first.

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Here are the extra parts not used on the build after following the instruction booklet thoroughly.

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Parts

This set is also not shy of new parts. For me, the stand-out parts here are the 2 olive green canoes and macaroni elbow pieces.

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I won’t go through all the new parts but here are my remarks for the notable ones.

The 2 olive green canoes are outstanding. Olive green is not my favourite colour in LEGO colour palette but it is starting to climb up the list of my desired part colour. I think this will be a great fit with the upcoming City sub-theme Jungle if you wish to add some river scene. Fun fact: Don't you know that the first ever LEGO canoe was released in the Islanders sub-theme of Pirates I back in the mid-90'. It came in classic (bright) red colour.

The macaroni piece looks great in pearl dark grey and you get 4 of them!

If you need to make solar panels the 1x2 trans-black printed tile is very handy.

The pearl gold hose which is 16 studs-long is also found in this set for the first time. Having new gold part is always welcome.

The new Vermillion sword with the jagged blade is great to have for sci-fi weaponry.

There is also 1 stray medium nougat [BL: medium dark flesh] 2x2 round plate that ended up in this set. At the time of writing this review, only this set and 70904 Clayface Splat Attack uses this part.

 

Minifigures

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Just like what I mentioned in my review of 70621 The Vermillion Attack, the level of detail in this wave of Ninjago minifigures are top-notch. Both Cole and Lloyd wear tabi-boots as the printing extends all the way to the tip of minifigures legs. The tabi boots are more obvious on Cole since he has a dark bluish grey legs.

Cole has a black shoulder pads armour but Lloyd does not have it. I am sure the only reason why Lloyd does not have that armour is to differentiate the Lloyd minifigure in the Iron Doom set. Fortunately the black shoulder pads are common enough that it is easy enough to ‘upgrade’ the minifigure with the additional armour.

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Remove the armours and headgears and you’ll see that Lloyd continues to be the odd one out because he does not have an alternate face print.

 

Conclusion

 

Hold tight Cole, we’ll do a barrel roll!

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I think that the design of this airship is brilliant even though it appears odd at first sight. As I build it, I find some creative and uncommon building techniques such as the use of wheel holder plates to put angled parts at the bow, as well as the ball joint mechanism used in the wings expansion at the stern.

The major factor that attracted me to this set is the price. Even though I initially wanted to skip this, the set is right there at the sweet spot that it does not makes sense for me to give it a pass.

It is very easy to dismiss because it looks awkward. I don't know if you can consider this airship steam-punk or diesel-punk. If you ignore the canoes, this is basically a Ninjago version of Star Wars Desert Skiff which is not something you can brag about. Upon building it -- I start to appreciate the design aesthetics more. Piece by piece it became more attractive. It’s like the girl you find awkward and nerdy in school and once you learn how beautiful she is beyond the surface, you suddenly realize how great she is inside out.

Finally, if It helps in your buying decision, it's good to know that this airship enjoyed a respectable amount of time in The Hands of Time season.

 

TWO Olive green canoes FTW!

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Review summary

Playability: 8/10 - Fun is written all over it but needs extra care while swooshing
Design / Building Experience: 8/10 - Eccentric design that translates to enjoyable build
Minifigures:  9/10 - Great minifigures; wish that Lloyd has an armour and alternate face print too 
Price / Value for money: 9/10 -  In terms of parts per piece this is the 2nd best value of all the Hands of Time sets. Also, this is like a 3-in-1 boat set because you get 2 olive green canoes!
Overall: 8.5/10 - An excellent attempt to offer a down-sized airship with interesting parts to boot; however, I wish that the wings are more rigid and slightly bigger too.

Thanks for reading. As always, wubba lubba dub dub.

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Thanks for the review @makoy. It seems to me you like Ninjago quite a lot :) I think this set is pretty good.

9 minutes ago, makoy said:

I like big boats and I cannot lie; You other brothers can't deny!

;) very funny!

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1 hour ago, VaderFan2187 said:

Thanks for the review @makoy. It seems to me you like Ninjago quite a lot :) I think this set is pretty good.

You're welcome. I like anything with Ninja and Samurai references (that includes Star Wars)

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1 minute ago, BubbaFit45531 said:

When did Cole end up with that green lightning/slime scar?

Since the Day of the Departed season (2H 2016)

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Thank you for doing this fine review. You have convinced me to acquire this set very recently. In fact, I didn't pay much attention to this set, until I have read your review closely and found some nice hidden gems including useful printed parts and the olive classic canoes. The minifigures are some plus points but getting this set is also paying close liking to previous Destiny Bounty(s). Keep up the great reviews and appreciate your time to do these for our EB community. 

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6 minutes ago, WhiteFang said:

Thank you for doing this fine review. You have convinced me to acquire this set very recently. In fact, I didn't pay much attention to this set, until I have read your review closely and found some nice hidden gems including useful printed parts and the olive classic canoes. The minifigures are some plus points but getting this set is also paying close liking to previous Destiny Bounty(s). Keep up the great reviews and appreciate your time to do these for our EB community. 

Welcome!  I always photograph my sets when I build them anyway so the only thing I need to invest time is writing the words. Now I hunting for a new set to review soon.

Btw, I'm curious how can you miss the olive green canoes. They are the first thing that captured my attention here because they are half as long as the airship. :laugh:

 

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Personally I was very attracted to this set from the first time I saw it. I love Final Flight of Destiny's Bounty, so it's sort of neat to see how that ship's "little sister" can implement similar ideas and a similar design language in a much different way (a stealthy riverboat rather than a majestic sailing vessel). I think it offers a very creative build, a modest price, a good value for money, some fun play features, and a good balance of traditional and futuristic bits. Its design really suits the wave's swamp setting without feeling overly specific to that sort of environment. Throw in a Cole minifigure that only appears in this set and it's hard as a LEGO Ninjago fan to justify skipping it!

Specific techniques that excited me include the use of ball joints for both structural and functional aspects of the design, the nice half-stud offsets of the short staircase, the use of Exo-Force robot arms and axle plates to create the angled bow, and the clever mini-dragon figurehead. I feel that these days the intricacy and creativity of even kid-oriented Ninjago models rivals many more AFOL-oriented sets.

The parts in this set are very useful indeed, and last month my brother and I challenged ourselves to come up with an alternate model. That resulted in a cute little scene we dubbed Ninja Boat Chase.

Great review!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Aanchir -- I was just reading a New Elementary blog post awhile ago and saw you and your brother in the credits... and it took me awhile to figure out your brother is @Lyichir (and I'm not sure if it's a common knowledge here in EB)... and then this led me to seeing that link you posted in Flickr few hours before you shared it here.

I agree with you that the level of creativity of Ninjago sets can rival AFOL-oriented sets from time to time. Ninjago has a special place in my heart because it is exclusively the action theme that my son and I play with... (he hates Nexo Knights) :grin:

Edited by makoy

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Excellent review Makoy!

I was already planning to pick up this set, but you've convinced me that it won't just be for the parts!

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Umbra-Manis said:

Excellent review Makoy!

I was already planning to pick up this set, but you've convinced me that it won't just be for the parts!

52 minutes ago, JACKATTACKS said:

Very nice review!

Thanks! You're all welcome.

Edited by makoy

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18 hours ago, makoy said:

Welcome!  I always photograph my sets when I build them anyway so the only thing I need to invest time is writing the words. Now I hunting for a new set to review soon.

Btw, I'm curious how can you miss the olive green canoes. They are the first thing that captured my attention here because they are half as long as the airship. :laugh:

Somehow, I just missed those canoes. :tongue: 

It didn't occur to me or perhaps I didn't even paying much attention to it. Yes, do share with us on the next set review soon. 

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Nice review! I wasn't sure about the set OR the olive canoes (I prefer them in red tbh) but upon reading your review I might reconsider. Anyway, thanks again for your time and effort! 

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4 hours ago, blackdeathgr said:

Nice review! I wasn't sure about the set OR the olive canoes (I prefer them in red tbh) but upon reading your review I might reconsider. Anyway, thanks again for your time and effort! 

Thanks. You're welcome. I prefer the canoes in reddish brown but I can see why the designers used olive green as it looks more appropriate on swamps. I personally think that reddish brown could have worked as well.

 

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Excellent review again! :classic: :thumbup: The set itself doesn't convinces me though, but it features some really intereting parts and building ideas! 

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A weird and wonderful set. Very nice parts selection. This one is going on my list.

Excellent review.

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On 3/6/2017 at 3:46 AM, Littleworlds said:

Excellent review again! :classic: :thumbup: The set itself doesn't convinces me though, but it features some really intereting parts and building ideas! 

 

16 hours ago, PaddyBricksplitter said:

A weird and wonderful set. Very nice parts selection. This one is going on my list.

Excellent review.

Thanks for taking time to comment on my review. :sweet:

 

Indeed this set is quite polarising for several reasons I talked about on my review.  It's also evident on the poll results.

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