Just realised I never got round to posting my thoughts, so better late than never:
Young dragon Riyu - absolutely awesome impulse buy set, comes with new Sora hair and regular Arin, plus a wolf dude, which is nice to get another given the large army seen in trailers. Apart from the hair not much else going on figure wise. Riyu is an interesting build, all the images on the page do him dirty though. He looks much better in the 360 video, but I can’t lie the head looks awful from most angles over than side on. Like a confused owl most of the time. for £13 though it’s a solid deal. Can’t complain.
Lloyds elemental mech - another mech, ok? Lloyd and Nya are cool but come with Egalt anyways. Unless you want it for parts or for the mech combo feature, there’s nothing really going for it (apart from a cheap way to get cinder I guess). Decent price for what you get if it’s similar to Sora’s mech.
Arins buggy - very sleek build, I like the look of it. Quite similar to the rock roader which is one of my favourite ninjago sets, the back wings look awesome, cool hook and suspension. Figs are alright, climber Cole is absolutely stellar, love his suit, cinder again and Arin and wolf mask. I love the big wheels too, always happy to see those in a cheap set. Except it’s not. It’s £45. Absolutely ridiculous, I feel so bad for the designer who had to see this go for a ludicrous discount before it can be brought. I echo the sentiment that I hope Lego takes this as “overpriced won’t sell” not “Arin won’t sell”. hopefully it’s much bigger in hand.
Climber Kai mech - Ok this is incredibly cool. I’ve had a sketch MOC on my table for a while with the same leg design, so it’s actually really cool to see an official set with the same (albeit likely sturdier) design. When I saw the leaks of this I wasn’t sold on its spindly limbs but I’ve done a complete 180, I love its overall stance and design language. Very pacific rim crimson typhoon like. Big muscular shoulders are good, and the mounting of the second set of arms are great. I don’t like the lack of elbows, that’s a definite downside but it also makes up for it by introducing the EVO joints in black, shame we didn’t get those for the venom mech. Double swords are cool, and the cockpit is pretty exposed which is less cool. I’m with Jang on this one, Cockpits should be fully enclosed. The second arm set is also so damn cool, my MOC has a tiny set of arms then a much bigger one like the EVO combo mech, but I’m considering just giving it 4 big arms. Better to stay different though, they’re similar enough as is. Getting back on track, I love the new hook parts, and the fact it can just hang on the cable is an amazing play feature. I can’t wait to see this thing in animation. Figs are alright, Climber Kai, Jay and Wyldfire are the big draws, shame we get Jordana AGAIN though. After 4 figs in the £25 Kai mech set I’d expect more for one more than double it’s size and price. Speaking of which, It’s also decently priced, I’m so glad it’s £60 and not £75 because that was flat out ridiculous for the Lloyd and Arin mechs. Minifig gripes aside, definitely a contender for favourite mech yet.
Shadow dojo - This feels like classic Ninjago, big old temple with tons of play features, and a really fun look. Surprised at how accurate it is to the show. Figure selection is stunning, Nya, Kai, Lloyd and Zane all in climber suits, and the 4 main villain figs. Blood moon looks amazing, very foreboding, and the scenery around it is also cool. Matches what we see in the Sora mech. I love the arena at the front too. Temple itself feels a little sparse but I imagine the budget was stretched thin and far here, and at £105 it feels like a bit too much. £100 is a perfect price for it. Good nostalgic type of set.
Dragon stone shrine - the other £105 set, this is the complete opposite of the dojo. This is modern Ninjago at its peak. A more challenging build, again, decent figures, although it’s a shame we won’t get Nyas Hood to go with her figure if anyone was missing it. Nice to see Lloyd in his new robes here, but he really deserves a cape. Euphrasia is amazing, glad we are getting her in a set so soon, but where the hell does she put all that hair under the hood? Ras is cool, and a new Wu, which may mean he’s back now (I hope not, I hope we don’t get just one season with missing characters and then that’s it all done back to status quo. I would have used the budget to upgrade Arin a bit I think). The build itself is beautiful, stunning scenery and location design. I like the temple inside with the Chi crystal and the hidden book. The tree is a wonderful touch too. Unfortunately it falls short at the price. £105 feels way too much for this, I get it’s a detailed and parts dense build but at the end of the day that doesn’t look like £105 worth of plastic. More around £70-80 I would say. Which is a shame because it’s obvious that designers have put a lot of love and care into it. I’ll grab it on sale eventually, but it’s going to be an expensive year.
And thus ends my rambling of these sets, if you have read for this long I applaud you. Can’t wait to start seeing reviews of these sets appear now.