Last year's Ninjago spinners were a real turn-off for me. I had no interest in the game, I didn't like the skeletons and, worse of all, the majority of the parts, including the minifig, were made in China.
While in Argos today I picked up 9562 Lasha on impluse to get my spend over £30 so as to get a free £5 voucher and I'm pleased to confirm earlier reports that this year it's a different story altogether.
The minifig is made in LEGO's own factories from high-quality materials. The snake head 'hat' piece comes in a polybag, indicating Chinese origin, but as with most other heads and hats that come packed like this, there's nothing at all wrong with it, perhaps because it's not made from ABS (as far as I can tell).
Last year's spinner piece was pretty poor, too. I only have one but its base is all scratched up and the metal weight is visible through the transparent top cover. This year's have been redesigned completely and are much higher quality.
On the way to the till in Argos, I noticed they had the three booster packs so I grabbed a Kendo Cole (9551) as well, purely for research purposes of course, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it, too, has a non-Chinese minifig in it.
So, it's not all bad news about LEGO quality: the company IS improving it in some areas. As a result, I suspect I'll be buying more of this year's Ninjago: the weird snake-things are growing on me :-)
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