Thank you for reading this review.
(This will be photo-intensive as I will try to show the build progress of the set.)
Release August 2011
Price US $124.99 / € 119.99
This has got to be the largest Ninjago set to date. It is also probably the flagship Ninjago set. The Ninjago series has been progressively building up towards this set, which is sort of the finale set. If you remember the Pharoah's Quest series, each set gives you a golden artifact, and you need to buy all of the sets to get all the artifacts. For Ninjago, you need to collect the various sets to collect all the golden weapons. If you watched the DVD, this ties in with the storyline where the ninjas' full powers will be unleashed if they have all the golden weapons.
This is the first set from which you can obtain the Fire Dragon Sword from the story. (Edit: seems that you can get it from the upcoming set 2254 Mountain Shrine too. Thanks to White Cat for the heads up!) I used to think that the pearl gold katana was it, but this is the actual Dragon Sword. Lego making a new mold just for this purpose.
Another thing Ninjago fans are crazy about is the appearance of Sensei Wu in a brand new black robe!
This is not a Spinjitzu set, which creates an arena for you to play spinners with. This is a playable set, something like the castle/kingdoms/old ninja sets style, with a main building and certain movable parts/features.
Here is one side of the box. The artwork at the top shows Sensei Wu in black robes. The set contains the Fire Dragon (Kai's dragon), which is almost like the red version of the Ice Dragon, and a Japanese-style temple. The temple has moving parts (more on that later). The dragon can spread its wings and spits a fireball (similar to the Ice Dragon or the shooting mechanism in Battle Arena).
The other side shows that the set is quite playable.
The side shows the Minifigs. Sensei Wu (black robes), Kai DX, regular Zane, Nya with grey daggers instead of gold in the spinner set, the baddies would be Lord Garmadon with the blue lightning staff, Krucha and Samukai.
You need to break 2 sticky tabs on the side to open the box (not the kind where you have to press a tab in).
Here's the contents. Bags numbered 1 to 7, 3 books of instructions, and separately sealed parts for the dragon's head. There are no stickers!!
The instructions tell you that completing Bag 1 gives you all the Minifigs, the Fire Dragon Sword, and half of the Fire Dragon.
Bag 1 contains the usual bags within a bag kind of style. Opening it gives you 2 smaller bags and separately sealed skeleton Minifig parts.
The parts look like this.
When you finish the Minifigs, here's what you get. The Dragon Sword is pretty special.
Here's another view, showing Kai DX and Zane with ninja wraps off, and Sensei Wu's back view. Samukai's mouth opens as it is fastened with a Lego hinge.
A close up of Sensei Wu. The hat and head are the same. The beard is soft rubber instead of hard plastic. He carries the reddish brown staff, but I wish they gave him a different and less boring weapon instead. Golden Japanese (or Chinese?? I am not sure) characters adorn the front. I am unable to make sense of the characters. Can anyone help? But it looks good.
The back shows a golden dragon motif, which is really very impressive Minifig design.
A closer look at the Fire Dragon Sword. The detailing is impressive for a Minifig Weapon.
After progressing a bit into the build of the dragon, I noticed the medley of colours. Yellow + Dark Yellow + Orange. Looks great.
The completed dragon torso.
The completed right wing. The golden claws look great.
You can spread the wing. Note that the feathers are really helicopter rotors in a different colour. Haha!
And here's what you get at the end of Bag 1.
Bag 2 gives you the rest of the dragon.
A bag within a bag. You will need the dragon head parts too.
Here's what's in the bags. There's a flag piece which says "Dragon God" in Japanese.
Here's the completed dragon's head.
Mid-build. It is starting to look like the Ice Dragon but in a different colour scheme.
The Fire Dragon is thus complete. It looks majestic in this colour.
2 bags of number 3 will give you the base of the temple.
It will include some rubber bands for the temple mechanism.
The following will show the various stages of the build.
Note the rubber bands.
End of bags 3. Not very exciting for this part in my view. But it gets much better.
Bag 4 gives the next layer of the temple and some of the interior features.
Here's a look at the parts.
You need to build 2 of the grey setups which form the movable mechanism of the temple. The tan platform will become the dragon's perch which will be shown again at the end.
At this point, note that the mechanism allows the temple to be split right in the middle.
This shows the features of the interior. Flames spew inside the Fire Temple as well.
The temple grows vertically as you proceed to Bags 5.
2 bags with one smaller one within.
Here's the parts. There are 2 pairs of window panes. Each pair put together make up the image of the golden dragon. This is similar to the dragon on Sensei Wu's robe.
Here is how it looks like, mid-build.
After you finish Bags 5, the temple is looking very good. 2 green dragon statues guard the entrance.
Bag 6 will allow you to complete the rest of the main part of the temple.
You will find 2 smaller bags inside the big bag.
The contents look like that.
When you finish all the parts, you get the main section of the temple, with a large hole at the top. Flames spew at the corners of the temple. My gripe is that the corners of the roof move about too easily, as they are attached only by a small plate hinge. Otherwise, it is pretty impressive. The style of the temple vertex is very similar to that found in the Spinjitzu Dojo and Battle Arena sets. The wall lamps are also identical. I like how the sets have a common style.
Bag 7 will give you 3 sections to add to the main section of the temple.
2 bags within a big bag for 7.
When you are done with the first section, it creates a pedestal of fire for the Fire Dragon Sword. The mechanism allows the pedestal to rotate. You will need to attach this section to the middle of the temple.
This section is placed on the right of the main section of the temple and is not directly attached. The Japanese drum is a nice touch. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a Lego depiction of a Sakura/Cherry Blossom tree, and it is in bloom, with pink flowers amongst the leaves. Bamboo is prevalent in most of the Ninjago sets.
I removed the drum to show that it sits on 4 pearl gold wedges and a modified plate with a vertical bar, which goes into the hole of the drum. This is quite ingenious.
The left section of the temple is also not directly attached to the main section. It has a rack of katanas in 3 different colours and a Sakura tree for the left side. The swords are not held by clips this time, but are slotted in the small gap which is created when 2 modified log bricks are placed side by side. Very ingenious.
Put everything together and the set is complete. The Fire Dragon sits on the platform shown earlier, and its head sticks out of the hole on top of the temple. Cute and scary at the same time. Kai goes up the steps and pulls upward on the Fire Dragon Sword...
The temple splits into two, and the Fire Dragon is awakened! (The rubber bands in the structure of the temple cause the 2 halves to spring open!)
Kai DX rides the Fire Dragon, which rains fireballs on the enemies, and Lord Garmadon is defeated!!
Here's a view of the temple from the back. The dragon has left, so the platform on which it rests upon is visible. The details on the interior are a nice touch.
The temple will click shut when you are finished playing and push both halves of the temple back together. I have discovered that the temple crumbles into pieces if you try doing it by pushing at other parts of the temple other than the 2 green spots on each side.
The Build: 8/10
Building the dragon was fun. It gets a little boring at the base of the temple, but gets exciting again as the temple ascends. Putting the sections together, adding the final touches, and finally placing the dragon in the temple would be the climax of the build.
This set looks really good on a tabletop. I love the colour scheme. The dragon looks really majestic.
There is no baseplate, which is typical for a Ninjago set. Some parts crumble easily, especially when you are removing or replacing the dragon, which might be a problem for younger or clumsier owners. But it manages to stay intact. I wish the parts would stay together more securely.
A dragon emerging from a temple which splits into half. Now that's exciting!
Overall score: 8/10
Definitely buy it. It is the flagship set of the Ninjago series, and it is really fun too. Plus you get Sensei Wu in black robes and the Fire Dragon Sword!
Thank you again for reading this review.
Edited by Peppermint_M, 24 July 2011 - 10:39 AM.