Review: 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon

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View image at flickr

70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon is right in the middle of the product range for The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, priced at £44.99 or $49.99 and containing 544 pieces. Spoiler alert here: it's fantastic. You'll have to read on to find out exactly why and how, though.

Upon seeing Lloyd's mighty robotic steed make its debut in the film's first trailer, I was blown away by its design and sheer size. Of course, my hopes of the official set matching the scope of the film version were highly unrealistic, and unsurprisingly we ended up with a heavily scaled-down version.

But hope is not lost. With four fantastic minifigures and some fulfilling play features, the Green Ninja Mech Dragon still stands strong amongst the entire first wave. How strong? Let's see...

Minifigures

Lloyd is the leader of the Secret Ninja Force tasked with defending the island of NINJAGO, and the evil warlord Garmadon's son. In the film, Lloyd will struggle to fight his father, while at the same time getting to know him and why he has the goals he does. This dynamic looks like it will prove to be as emotionally hard-hitting as it was in the show, and I am very much looking forward to it!

View image at flickr

Lloyd's shinobi shozoku is perhaps my favorite of the six movie ninja, with very subtle diamond printing on the body only visible in certain lighting. The green belt continues onto the legs, followed by some knee detail.

The NINJAGO script down the robe lining represents the word 'ninja,' although it would have been nice to see Lloyd's element of 'energy' written instead.

View image at flickr

Lloyd's mask is in two pieces - mostly black but with some green highlights, particularly in the headband. The forehead is printed with a golden, unidentified symbol. Unfortunately, no hair piece is included but it can easily be found in cheaper sets such as the Lloyd Collectable Minifigure.

View image at flickr

Finally, the Green Ninja is equipped with a sword mold known as a dao, tailed by a pearl gold tassel. This mold debuted last year and is very welcomed in this color. He has two expressions, one on either side - determined and happy!

Wu is the sensei and master of Spinjitzu who has sworn to train the ninja to fight any evil that may threaten their home. He appears particularly wise here, with a calm but battle-ready facial expression not unlike the original, as well as his consistent white beard. A brown 6L bar as a staff also complements the look.

The old rice hat is the same as it has been in previous appearances of the character - though a new one, known as a coolie, appears in other sets from this wave on a couple Garmadon variants and generic citizens.

View image at flickr

The robe has a grey lining going down the center of it which continues onto the impressive fabric skirt. While it looks great as a continuation of the robe and its material is quite pliable, the open area on the right side slightly bothers me.

The symbol on Wu's back has largely been kept the same as before, and appears on all of the ninjas' backs in some way as the supposed logo of the team. Wu's legs are a plain tan color - with the exception of some brown sandals on his toes, which are appreciated.

View image at flickr

One might also notice the lack of arm printing. While this would have been accurate to the film and its absence is indeed unfortunate, the cuffs do appear solely on Wu's Collectible Minifigure. Sneaky LEGO!

Otherwise, this minifigure is very appealing to me as the general design of Wu as a character hasn't changed too much, despite the change of universe.

Garmadon is the self-proclaimed 'worst guy ever' who just so happens to be Lloyd's father. He stands tall amongst the other minifigs in this set, for he has a second torso that fits over the normal one's neck - thereby supporting two more of his unusual four arms.

View image at flickr

Garmadon also sports some printing hiding beneath the wonderful dark blue cloth cape and drapes, with a ribcage design and belt very similar (if not identical) to his 2011-2013 minifigures.

View image at flickr

He is complete with a maniacal facial expression on his face. The head itself is topped with a beautifully-sculpted, ornate horned helmet piece, which reminds me of a samurai.

View image at flickr

Garmadon is equipped with not only a couple silver katanas, but also a brick-built laser pointer. I rather enjoyed the real-world objects used in the first movie and look forward to seeing how this one will factor into NINJAGO - though the second trailer does give us some hints! However, the laser does tend to rotate on the axle on its own. Therefore, it is hard to pose.

The majority of the shark army has simply been identified as nameless goons but Charlie obviously rebels against this trend. It is unclear at this time if the name means a bigger role in the film, as not just your typical thug - perhaps even a commander. I guess we will see!

However, it should be acknowledged that an identical minifigure appears in both 70609 Manta Ray Bomber and 70620 NINJAGO City, but is unnamed.

View image at flickr

Regardless of the role he may assume in the end, Charlie has the weakest minifigure design in the set. However, it is by no means bad. I greatly appreciate the dark blue toque which contrasts with the dark orange found in other sets. The sand blue, light grey, and dark grey details on the torso and legs also contrast nicely.

View image at flickr

Charlie only has one face, with a gruff expression. This is entirely satisfactorily, as the hat would not be able to hide a second face from the back. He wields a medium blue fish with a spear in its mouth, which may act as a sword. Perfect!

The Completed Model

The entire piece count of the set, besides the minifigures themselves, is devoted to Lloyd's Green Ninja Mech Dragon. A blueprint tile is included in Lloyd's Collectable Minifigure, which suggests he designed and built it on his own. As he is a skilled Master Builder, his abilities shine through quite a bit in this model, don't they!

There are four bags dedicated to the model, with the minifigures dispersed through each. Bag one constructs the torso with jets, while bag two contains the front legs and back body segment. Bag three has the hind legs and tail, and bag four the neck and head.

View image at flickr

Once all is said and done, the model measures an impressive 23 inches long. As is apparent on the packaging and indeed in the final model and film, it is based on the mythological Chinese-style dragon (a lot like a serpent) as opposed to a European one (normally with large wings). The dragon offers a beautiful sand green and gold color scheme, with hints of black and trans-green.

View image at flickr

Perhaps the most impressive part of the entire model is the head. The trans-yellowish green eyes are the most striking bit, but my favorite detail is the two golden bananas as eyelids. This technique recalls 41546 Forx, which featured grey bananas as eyebrows. Standard, golden NINJAGO blades are the eyebrows, and two pre-molded parts create the snout and lower jaw, which does not bother me at all.

The back of the mouth features a purple and magenta tongue - this is slightly bothersome and clashing, but not very noticeable when the mouth is closed. I do enjoy seeing the flag piece in a rare color, too. The head is complete with a pair of two gold, decorative molds for whiskers. These have appeared in four other sets, including fellow NINJAGO Movie set 70618 Destiny's Bounty.

View image at flickr

The four legs are rather short, but do their job. There is a bit of articulation in them through click hinges. Stud shooters are built into the two front legs, while all four make use of the CCBS HERO Factory beast feet - appearing for the first time in sand green.

Although the dragon is fairly organic in its outward appearance, there are indeed some mechanical bits hidden. The most obvious are opening hatches with twin engines. I do like the sticker (of which there are a lot in this set) with a 'no step' warning, However, I am unaware of what the large, Asian-inspired symbol could represent, as it does not correspond to any particular character in the new NINJAGO script.

View image at flickr

The hatches cannot be closed fully when the engines are folded in, but they suffice. I am happy that the designers decided to appeal to people uninterested in the sci-fi elements of NINJAGO, by allowing different methods of displayability - and playability.

View image at flickr

The cockpit section on the neck is another interesting inclusion, with the control panel on a trans-green NEXO Knights book cover, as well as a stickered console. The screen looks brilliant, particularly as it is mounted on some sand green droid arms which could be rather useful. Alongside it, there is a clip to store Lloyd's dao while not in combat on foot.

View image at flickr

Plenty of articulation points exist in the body - the lower jaw, neck, torso, tail, legs and feet can all be positioned as you please. Despite some limitations, they do not hinder much and things can be moved around to allow even more posability.

There are some extra appendages throughout, as well. Posable, small winglets on Mixel joints represent some vestigial limbs rather than full-on wings. Plus, spiked black scales go down the body on click hinges. I greatly appreciate the little details on this set that make it all the more pleasant.

View image at flickr

This one final play feature is definitely the most fun: a whipping tail! The same exact action, using identical internal segment pieces, can be found in 70725 Nindroid MechDragon and works just as well here.

Verdict

This set is near-perfect. Almost every section is rife with details and no stone appears to have been left unturned. I particularly like the details in the head, as stated earlier, despite the couple pre-molded parts used for features that would indeed be harder to replicate using bricks. The body sections are also full of articulation, allowing you to pose in almost any way. Of course, there are some restrictions but they do not detract from the set at all.

View image at flickr

The price is also commendable and appropriate in relation to the piece count - generous, actually. Furthermore, the minifigure selection is very appealing, with three important main characters and a goon to grow the conflict. Of course, one more minifig - perhaps a sea creature unit - would have been great, but I am entirely pleased with the contents of the set and can't think of much to improve it at this size.

This is certainly a contender for the best LEGO dragon of all time and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Don't miss out!

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

Thanks to Huw for the photos.

38 comments on this article

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By in Denmark,

Excellent review!

I just love that there is no crappy accessory model.

And congrats to people in the UK: The lowest price in Europe.
And "congrats" to people in Denmark: The f*** highest price in Europe! On par with NZ/AUS.

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By in United States,

Nice review! Looks awesome, plus so much sand green...subassemblies are cool (in looking at you, flying jelly sub fishing boat), but it's nice to have sets like this with all the parts dedicated to a single build.

Also is Garmadons robe really purple? It looks dark blue to me.

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By in United States,

This is by far my favorite Ninjago dragon yet, and also the best designed.

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By in United States,

^ I agree! :-)

^^ It's a very dark purple to me, but I guess dark blue works too! You're right, it's probably more blue, to be honest...

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By in United States,

I'm really tempted to get this, the NRG and Morro dragons are the only Ninjago sets I ever got and this one blows both of them away, while I'm dead set on picking up Ninjago City when I can I might get this and the Fire Mech as well. The Ninjago Movie sets are really top notch and noticeably better than previous Ninjago sets.

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By in Netherlands,

Great review! Huge thumbs up for the awesome photography!

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By in Puerto Rico,

Excellent review, seems the serie designers are forgoing magic and replacing it with technology in this universe.

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By in United Kingdom,

@TheBrickPal - It's dark blue/earth blue.

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By in United States,

^ I got that, thanks. That's what it would be in LEGO's inventory, anyway. The trailers and other promotional photos really make it look purple! And it's not hard for people to mistake it for a dark shade of purple in the set.

Also, the physical version only appears here, which is a shame...

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By in United Kingdom,

The only things I don't like about this set are that it's only 2 claws per foot, I'd have preferred 3. The mid-body articulation point, I'd have liked it to be more mobile, and I wished they'd have included a hairpiece for Lloyd.

Those couple of points aside, this is a great set and definitely one of my favourite dragon models by Lego. My other fav being the Goblin kings dragon from the Elves range.

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By in Austria,

I've already seen this set in the shops. Well, at first look (even after a few), sorry I have to be honest, it looks like a house lizard more than a dragon maybe because of its color. No doubt the design and function seems to be good. I don't think it shall affect any of your view point, everyone sees things a little differently.

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By in Switzerland,

Its a great set but to be a good dragon it needs wings - solution was to buy a second set and use this to fashion posable wings in the same style as the rest of the model.

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By in United States,

I wasn't going to get this one at first, but I saw it when I visited a store location recently that had it built for display, and it was not only much bigger than I thought, but much more awesome than the box art made me think it was. With double points on it (till August 31!) I decided to pick it up, and I'm glad I did.

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By in United States,

I am curious how articulated this thing is. I'm wondering if it could be perched wrapped around the tower atop Ninjago City and how structurally sound the tower would be. Thanks for the review!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ The head has about a 120 degrees of side to side movement on a clicker joint, but here the neck joints to the main body it only bends up and down about the same. The middle 'waist' joint is held by two rubber stopper pieces so maybe wiggles about 45 degrees at most. All the tail joints are pretty loose and sway at least 120 degrees each.

You could probably mod it to be more flexible, but as is you'd not be able to completely wrap it around.

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By in Canada,

Love lego dragons and own a number from the Lego Ninjago theme. This was another that was a great addition to the collection! I in fact love the colour the function wasn't a huge deal for me as mine are just on static display but the details are all really nicely done!

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent review.
Must admit though I only read it for the sake of reading as I liked the look of the set so much I brought it last week. :)

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By in Norway,

I love the colour and the fact it's an Asian style dragon, just had to buy it :)

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By in Canada,

There are WAY too many nice sets out now or coming soon that I want to buy, including this one. LEGO is putting a serious strain on my wallet and priorities.

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By in United States,

Good review! I actually quite like the purple and magenta inside of the mouth, as it helps it look more monstrous and fantastical than if the designers had gone with a more conventional tongue color like red. It's a bit unusual that it uses such organic-looking specialized mouth pieces, considering Ninjago has otherwise transitioned to entirely brick-built heads/jaws even on dragons that aren't robotic. However, it doesn't at all detract from the creativity of the dragon's design and construction.

The writing on the engine and neck flaps says "Lloyd", with the letters stylized and joined together (LL on top, O in the center, YD on the bottom). A similar style is used for the names "Nya", "Jay", and "Kai" on the flags of the Water Strider, the cockpit of the Lightning Jet, and the flags of the Fire Mech. Zane's tank, however, uses a more pixelated font

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By in United States,

^ Thanks! I do like the unusual coloring, but I just wish they had stuck with one or the other rather than incorporating both.

Writing: That's quite an intriguing detail, actually. I didn't notice before! Thanks for pointing that out.

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By in Canada,

@TheBrickPal
Don't worry, I'm working on a version more accurate to the movie. look for it in September! ;)

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By in United States,

What are thoroughly well written review! Well done! What a beautiful set this is. The dragon is gorgeous to look at. I love all that sand green color. And I love the use of the banana and the flag.

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By in United States,

"He wields a medium blue fish with a spear in its mouth, which may act as a sword." Wouldn't it just act as a spear since its like...a spear?

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By in United States,

^ Not with the way it's being held...

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By in Canada,

@Aanchir is there a place somewhere online that someone has bothered to translate all the various printing on the Lego Ninjago Movie sets. Perhaps I'll get to trying but haven't. Jangbricks was going to for Lego Ninjago City apparently but realized the review would get to long so unfortunately didn't. This is the set I would be most curious about.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks to TheBrickPal for the fantastic review and to Huw for the great pictures!

I have this set but haven't had time to assemble it yet. When I do, I intend to mod it into an actual dragon (or giant lizard) rather than the mech it's supposed to be. Its overall shape and motion when its legs are tucked away for flight is reminiscent of a crocodile's swimming action: WARNING - not for the squeamish - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAgOs-1X4d0

@GrizBe
Someone online (and apologies to that person but I can't remember who) suggested replacing the pearl gold 2 x 2 plate in the neck with two 1 x 1s (or a 2 x 1). Doing so detracts slightly from the visual flow at the neck/shoulder boundary but adds to the articulation: you can lower the head further.

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By in New Zealand,

The first comment in this section is the best comment I have ever read on Brickset.

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By in United Kingdom,

That's a awesome dragon I will get this set!

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By in Austria,

I'm tempted to get this to put it together on display with Ninjago City. The backside of the city needs some sprucing up and this dragon crawling the wall might just do the trick.

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By in Sweden,

I was really surprised by how BIG this thing is when I built it. Yeah, you can see it on the box but that always seems to trick your brain in either directions (even though you know how large the bricks you're looking at are). Completed model is really majestic.

I do have one major complaint though, and that's the lack of ball joints. I don't really see any reason they couldn't have used the larger-style ball joints for all the connections. The tail is especially annoying as it is so flimsy. Sure, it's an action feature but it would've been much better (even for kids) if you could actually pose it in any way you want.

Sadly, lack of articulation seems to be a major issue with a lot of sets lately. The Ninjago Movie mechs for example have really poor articulation (considering their size especially), which is kinda bizarre considering these are meant to be toys first and foremost.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. I think this is perhaps one of the most majestic if not the most majestic dragon I have ever seen. Even though it is a robot, it still looks fairly organic to me.

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By in United Kingdom,

^I agree on that point. Would be pretty easy to sub the clicker joints for ball joints to give it a little more movement, and to make the tail more solid. Couple more green plates and it'd be well covered and would add more scales to the look too.

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By in United States,

@Graysmith: I think a lot of people overestimate how important articulation is for play. Limbs that can only pull two or three good-looking and stable poses might actually be a benefit compared to limbs that are more articulated but can't hold a pose as well when a kid is swooshing the set around or putting the set down momentarily to interact with another figure. I think the desire to bend each joint individually for the perfect pose is honestly more of an adult consideration than it is for kids with shorter attention spans and more active imaginations.

That's not to say articulation is a bad thing. I loved last year's Nexo Knights King's Mech, one of the first mech sets in some time to feature working knees, and hate that Zane's Ice Tank doesn't even have articulation in the cannon to aim at foes at different elevations. But ultimately articulation is not the only factor or even necessarily the most important factor when it comes to playability.

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By in Finland,

I already have this, and it's really great set and sand green & golden parts pack.

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By in United States,

amazing review, great pics too. I am planing to buy this set.

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