Review: 70652 Stormbringer

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View image at flickr

Despite the rumours of Summer arriving, my part of England has recently been treated to heavy rain, claps of thunder and fantastic lightning shows, so what better set to arrive at my door than 70652 Stormbringer. The new wave of Ninjago has some great looking builds and this dragon caught my eye from the moment I first saw it online.

An RRP of £34.99 / €39.99 / $39.99 buys you 493 pieces. We all know that piece count isn't everything so what does this set deliver for the money? Find out my thoughts after the break.

Box and contents

The box measures 38 x 26 x 5.5cm and is shown here with a minifig for scale. In hand, it feels about right for the cash.

View image at flichttps://www.flickr.com/photos/brickset/41900282764

The rear, as usual, shows the play features and also indicates that you can combine this set with 17101 Creative Toolbox. Unfortunately, I do not own Boost so I couldn't test this.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Opening the box reveals 4 bags and a manual. I looked and looked and found there are no stickers here – hurrah!

View image at flickr

Sifting through the bags reveals a pair of 1x4 bricks printed with scales and metallic silver eyes.

View image at flickr

Inside bag 1 you'll find a mini bag of weapons – not all are required for the build so there's a couple of handy extras to be had here.

MinifiguresView image at flickr

There are four minifigures – well three and a half anyway.

First up is Jay. He has a detailed print using some metallic silver for highlighting elements, and a small rip on one leg shows yellow flesh underneath. The bow print is quite broken between the torso and legs but looks worse zoomed up on a desktop screen than it does in real life.

View image at flickr

He has chunky shoulder armour and scabbard that hides much of the rear printing.

View image at flickr

Checking out the dual sided head we can see the rear print better. There's another little rip there with minifig flesh on show.

View image at flickrhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/brickset/42556675871

View image at flickr

Jay comes with a whole bunch of weapons – there are a pair of tantos, (short swords), that go in his scabbard, a kusarigama (sickle) with a fair reach on it, and a Dragonbone blade. He's pretty well tooled up.

View image at flickr

Zane has a super print, using a grey and a metallic to give the effect of two types of silver. The underlying patterns look to be based on the Sons Of Garmadon variant, and belts and buckles have been added over the top. There is one arm missing it's material. Again, the line up between leg print and torso isn't the best.

View image at flickr

The rear is covered by a quiver...

View image at flickr

...but we can see the backprint whilst admiring the head.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

To finish, Zane is equipped with a bow and a katana.

View image at flickr

Switching allegiance to the villains of the piece, and well, what a fantastic headgear this dude has. This minifig is aptly named Muzzle. The headgear is actually in two parts – the shoulder piece is a really cool mould, with silver grille to the face, spikes to the side and scabbard on the rear. It is finished with a simple black cap piece.

The front and back prints are equally impressive with some really small details and plenty of metallic silver – even his toe caps are printed. The legs appear to be the same as those in 70650 Destiny's Wing for the Jet Jack minifigure. To finish, the arms are in Pearl Dark Grey.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Underneath all that armour is a battle scarred and bandaged head.

View image at flickr

For attack purposes he has a katana and a nasty looking spear. The spear uses an orange bar with claw which I believe is a recolour.

View image at flickr

Now here's where things get a little weird. This is Daddy No Legs, a brick built foe with half a body up top. Unfortunately, the torso is a straight repeat of Muzzle's. The rest of him is a quadruped mini-build with various small parts making him up. The head is shaved with a ponytail coming from the centre.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

I do like the head – a useful MOC part for ghost and zombie minifigs.

View image at flickr

He is equipped with a large sword and the grand sounding “Vengestone Chain” – a type of harpoon. More on that later, and again it uses an orange bar with claw.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

I'm a man with simple tastes, and I prefer my minifigs to be whole. I find him a bit strange. I'd have preferred a complete minifigure with the leg device being a separate mini mech-spider that anyone could pilot. However, I'm not 9 years old and I don't watch the kids tv show, so I'm probably on my own here.

The Build

On to the build then, and I've really been looking forward to this. I'll show the steps bag by bag.

Bag 1 starts with the ancillary item, a pedestal which holds the gold Dragon Armour. The pedestal looks much like an anvil and the armour itself is superb. It has a dragons head on one of the shoulders, and scales detailing the breastplate. As shown here, the armour itself merely balances on a light sabre handle, and I found it really easy to knock off or rotate. Fortunately, one of the spare parts in the set is another trans clear 1x1 round with pin holder (as at the base) and this can be added to lock the armour in place perfectly if desired.

View image at flickr

Not much behind though – move along please, nothing to see here.

View image at flickr

Then the build moves to the dragon itself, starting with the torso core.

View image at flickr

Bag 2 adds to this and the first small elements of detail go on.

View image at flickr

Bag 3 builds the tail...

View image at flickr

...and adds it the torso.

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Bag 4 sees the legs, feet and wings attached.

View image at flickr

Finally, Bag 5 builds the head and adds the saddle – what a beast.

View image at flickr

Let's place all the elements together and see the set as a whole. It looks pretty good to my eye and I'm really pleased with the result.

View image at flickr

I always seem to mess up my timings either through distraction, or failure to restart the stopwatch after I've taken a picture, but I think there was about 80 minutes build time, probably less if I was just crashing through without having to worry about a review.

Features

Let's admire the beast and see what he does. At full stretch it's 48cm in length. You can see how effective the spiky scales work along the body from this angle.

View image at flickr

There's a fair amount that can be moved, starting with the legs of course. The knees are fixed, but the hips, shoulders, ankles and claws all have a lot of movement on them. For instance he can crouch...

View image at flickr

...and even lay down.

View image at flickr

The head is on a ball joint with good amount of travel and the wings move back and forth, up and down, limited usually by wherever the legs are positioned at the time. They have a small amount of rotation on them too. Anatomy-wise, I have to wonder if a pair of wings this size would actually let the dragon fly, but as we're talking about mythical beasts, I wonder why I wonder at all? Wherever that line of enquiry would lead, they suit the model well. I like the fact that they're not too large or cumbersome, and aren't made out of a fancy sail that has to be treated carefully.

View image at flickr

A really neat touch is having a pair of spring loaded shooters inside the mouth – just drop the jaw for loading or firing. This dragon shoots lightning bolts instead of fire, hence the blue missiles. Keeping the mouth shut also helps to avoid setting them off by accident.

I love the fact that the entire head is brick built instead of “cheating” with moulded pieces like the creature head and jaw on 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon. It looks superb with the printed eyes and black blades for spiked armour. The spikes can all be angled and rotated to taste.

View image at flickr

In the words of Sting: “Don't stand, don't stand so, don't stand so close to me”.

View image at flickr

On the dragons back, Jay (or whoever) can saddle up and take control of the beast.

View image at flickr

The seat is removable if you wish to have a bare, untamed dragon. It attaches by means of a pair of clips on the underside, and the chains are easily disconnected from the head. The saddle also uses a pair of 1x2 plates with handles recoloured in Dark Red. Also note the technic gear where the tail begins – the tail can be used as a weapon. Turning the gear thrashes the tail one side to the other – simple and effective. It's a feature robbed directly from 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon – and why not?

View image at flickr

All in all, there is a good range of flexibility for posing Stormbringer. It looks fab from many angles, and I've admired it on my shelf this week more than I'd care to admit.

View image at flickr

Remember the “Vengestone Chain” from earlier in the text? This is where it comes in. The idea is that it is thrown up at the dragon to hook it like a harpoon. Conveniently there are 4 attachment points on the torso for this purpose. It's these kind of simply implemented design choices that add play value to a set – genius.

View image at flickr

Once Daddy No Legs has made his move, the battle can play out as you see fit – that tail is coiled and ready to strike for instance.

View image at flickr

Of course the main event is Stormbringer itself, but there is also the collectible armour to fight over and obtain. There are ample play opportunities within this set and that is exactly what it is for.

Boost

View image at flickrA

Unfortunately I do not own the Boost Creative Toolkit, so I can't comment on how well the two sets integrate but it's a welcome bonus that more can be achieved from your purchase and it certainly looks intriguing. Adding Stormbringer pieces to your Boost lets you build a mechanised dragon. It's not as pretty by any means, but that's not the point.

Reading the info in the instruction booklet, there is control over the head movement, firing the lightning bolts (cool!), walking back and forth and the tail swishes as well. The colour sensor recognises the rider so presumably this makes something relevant happen on the tablet that is being used for control. I'm sorry I don't know more.... but I can't pull the trigger on buying Boost. Well, not yet anyway!

View image at flickr

Overall

If you've read all of this review instead of skipping straight to the conclusion, you might have noticed that I've been highly enthused about Stormbringer – and you'd be dead right. There will be obvious comparisons against 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon from the Movie range and as that set the bar quite high this isn't a bad thing. Make no mistake, this is a brilliant set and if you have the Mech Dragon this will happily coexist with it. If you loved the Mech, you will love this too.

The build is interesting and enjoyable and while you could say that the actual play “features” might seem limited, I mean, come on, it's a dragon – and a mighty fine looking one at that. It's all about the imagination and where it takes you. The colour and element choices throughout work well. Four minifigs seem reasonable to me and it works equally as a standalone set or with others to complement it. As a 9 year old I would have been thrilled to bits to get this - and as a 40 something it's impressed me a lot.

The only thing going against Stormbringer is that there have been a lot of Ninjago dragons before this, and if I owned most of those already it could take the edge of it being a "must purchase". The flip side is that this seems a mature product because of it's forerunners.

The RRP seems fair and I would recommend this set without hesitation. In fact I am already eyeing up it's partner 70653 Firstbourne to join ranks.


Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.View image at flickr

 

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42 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent review and cracking pictures. Many thanks and now added to my wanted list!

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By in United States,

Interesting the eyes aren't stickers.

It's a fine dragon, nothing special, nothing wrong though.

One thing I will continue to complain about. If LEGO can't make the print match between the torso and the 'belt' of the legs than don't do it. I have knockoffs that have better print than LEGO does and that's insane.

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By in United Kingdom,

I can't for the life of me remember when the last time we got printed 1x4 bricks..... feels like something absent since the early 00's.

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By in United States,

Lego is integrating real control to it's sets recently, cool I wonder if that is why there hasn't been an AT-ACT from RO. This dragon may end up being the base for a MOC but we shall see.

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By in Denmark,

Brilliant review, brilliant set!

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By in Canada,

Thanks for the review! I have been intrigued and frequent purchaser of Lego dragons since I started buying Lego. Have a number of them I wasn't so sure I would get this one however after reading your review you may have swayed me. Will take another look once they are available here in North America.

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By in United States,

Really good looking set, but the model looks absolutely terrible with the power functions added. If I grab this it will for sure remain as-is

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By in United States,

Does the 'weapons pack' in this set come with any other sets in Ninjago at the moment? I really dig that they're giving us more weaponry but I'm not a big fan of Ninjago (and I already have the green mech dragon).

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By in United States,

Absolutely a great review. Interesting set. Is there any chance you could add a photo juxtaposing Stormbringer with the Green Ninja Mech Dragon to show how they compare side by side? Thanks.

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By in Sweden,

A poor man's Green Ninja Mech (70612), except it costs almost as much. You're so much better off spending the little bit extra to get that one instead, which is a superior set in every single way.

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By in United States,

Heh, a lot of comparisons to the Green Mech Dragon, as if that's the only brick built Ninjago dragon. (Brick built heads and swishy tails have been done before.) Although the general build is fairly mild, I do like the color choices they used for the scale designs, which works pretty well. Thanks for the review of the set, it was very informative and the pictures were great!

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By in Jordan,

Cool set, but the neck and head look really awkward to me. I'd probably mod it if I got it.

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By in Germany,

Glorious set. I love that whole wave.

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By in United States,

"It's a feature robbed directly from 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon" - well, the Green Ninja Mech Dragon robbed that feature from 9450 Epic Dragon Battle, which in turn robbed that feature from 9445 Fangpyre Truck Ambush, which in turn robbed that feature from 2509 Earth Dragon Defense. I have all four of those sets, and it never gets old!

Interesting that the villains are using vengestone weapons. If I remember correctly, that's the material that inhibits elemental powers. Our ninja will struggle greatly against that.

I for one am quite happy with Daddy No Legs having a brick built lower half and no actual legs. I love when minifigs have cool add-ons like that. I haven't seen anything form the Hunted Season yet , but giving someone literally named "No Legs" a pair of standard legs seems dumb, so I prefer it that way.

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By in United States,

@MatuNui2009 the tail feature was also on the Nindroid Mech Dragon from 2014. You're right: it doesn't get old!

Overall, this set is decent, and I will be picking it up, but I'm not the biggest fan of how the neck is designed and how nonexistent the wings are. I think that it's a bit of an odd choice to include Zane here when Jay and Zane already come together in 70654 Dieselnaut. Maybe they should've put Cole in this set and Zane in 70653 Firstborne Dragon?

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By in Poland,

I am really impresed with 2018 dragons. Both on Ninjago and other themes.
Thanks to yoyr review I apreciate this one a lot more.

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By in United States,

Great review and great dragon! I needed no convincing to buy this set myself though. It’s 89 degrees during the day where I live ;)

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By in Canada,

^ Couldn't agree more.

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By in United States,

Awesome looking dragon - crazy how far Lego has come with those. Not sure how I feel about all the specialized parts, but the new weapons are neat. They look a lot like how Heroica weapons used to be packaged. The tantos are great going to need some of those.

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By in United States,

Loved the intro, and the obligatory "minifigure getting eaten by giant reptile" photo.

Yeah, the Dragon Hunters tend to reuse a lot of the same pieces. The torso used for these two is also used on the characters Skullbreaker, Heavy Metal, Chew Toy (though he has a breastplate piece to cover it up), and the as yet unnamed hunter from 30547. The legs, in addition to Jet Jack(ie) and Muzzle, appear on every character with conventional legs, so everyone but Daddy No Legs and Iron Baron. Muzzle's head is also reused for Skullbreaker, Arkade, and the aforementioned unnamed hunter. Jet Jack(ie), Iron Baron, and Arkade are the only ones with unique torsos, and the first two of those and DNL, Heavy Metal, and Chew Toy all have unique heads at present.

It's nice to see the Oriental dragon look continuing from GNMD, after getting so many dragons that seemed to follow a more European look.

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By in United States,

Great review as usual, @iso3200! I'm pretty excited for this set but not as much as I am for Firstbourne, both because it's not as big and feature-heavy and because we had a lightning dragon for Jay much more recently than a fire dragon for Kai (the 2017 Fusion Dragon notwithstanding). Truth be told I would have rather had a water dragon for Nya than either but I guess that's not the way the story was headed, what with her not being part of the team that went to the First Realm.

As far as build goes, Stormbringer has sort of a nastier look than the elegant Firstbourne — I mean that not as a value judgment but just a sense of the feeling I get from the scrawny and aggressively arched midsection. Both dragons convey the sense of being highly aggressive wild creatures, but this one in particular seems a little antisocial and not ready to "play nice" — I can almost hear him hissing at me with distrust! Some parts of the design also feel a lot blockier than Firstbourne's more elegant curves, but not to the point of feeling robotic, and the heavily textured SNOT building on the sides helps offset this.

As on Firstbourne, the removable saddle is a nice feature that really sets him apart from previous Ninjago dragons, whose saddles were integrated into the back construction. The wings are very small, but I think this works for him alright, partly because he's more of an Asian-style dragons and many of those can fly without any wings at all. I kind of suspect the wings are largely there to communicate to kids that it is a flying dragon. With the lightning bolts attached to the wings, I also feel a bit like the wings might work a bit like jet engines and propel the dragon by shooting out elemental energy behind them!

The new costumes for the ninja look pretty cool, carrying over the bright colors and textured fabrics of their Season 8 costumes but adding some nifty harnesses and battle damage. I still kind of miss their animal emblems, though, and these new costumes admittedly aren't so pretty to look at with their more scrappy-looking designs. I really like the new bad guy equipment for characters like Muzzle, too. The fact that the new mask and cowl are interchangeable with the ninja masks and hoods really boosts the customization potential.

I don't mind Daddy No-Legs not having regular "human" legs, and for me it actually makes him more interesting than if he were a standard minifigure build. More pieces, more articulation, more attachment points, more overall uniqueness… what's not to like? While Muzzle feels a bit like a generic footsoldier among the dragon hunter faction as a whole (and in fact, aside from his eponymous muzzle, is entirely identical to Skullbreaker from the Dieselnaut), Daddy No Legs feels like an elite soldier or even an officer of some kind. It's a great way to make the faction's figures feel less repetitive even with limited prints, something the Sons of Garmadon kind of struggled with.

The story behind the vengestone chain is that vengestone is a material in Ninjago that neutralizes elemental powers, and is thus great for safely capturing and imprisoning ninja and dragons so they can't use their powers to escape. These sets are the first to use it extensively and conspicuously. I suspect that most of the orange parts on the new bad guy weapons are meant to represent vengestone, even though I don't believe it ever appeared orange in the show. It's a nice way to give a fairly ordinary color some special meaning/significance and to make the weapons themselves feel special, sort of like all the black deepstone weapons and armor in the Season 5 sets.

Random question — when you talk about the box dimensions for sets in reviews like this, would you mind also talking about the weight of the box? I feel like that tells us a lot more about the set's relative value than the size and shape of the box do. And especially for new releases or exclusives that sort of info can sometimes be hard to come by online.

Thanks again for the review!

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By in United States,

@swiftlikessharpthings the weapons pack comes in all the sets larger than this one, this is the cheapest but far from the only way to get it.

I like Firstbourne more except for the vinyl wings, but this is a really great set in my opinion, and I want to see how it integrates to Boost. I haven't seen that demonstrated anywhere.

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By in United States,

when do the sets release in the US??

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By in United States,

@Skela

August 1st, though you'll most likely find some stores, such as Walmart or Target, putting them out early.

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By in Netherlands,

Iso,

very nice review.... and nice to see our opinions line up.... and yeah, go get Firstbourne!

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By in United States,

Dang I need a light tent that takes pics that look that good. Those pics are amazing. I really like these dragons. I picked up the green one from the Movie, and I'd love to collect a whole set this time. They just look so cool and fun to swoosh.

But I feel kinda bad for Daddy No Legs. His face looks more sad than evil. He just looks so pitiful!

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By in United States,

Pretty cool set, though the Dragon Pit is my favorite of this wave.

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By in United States,

Mr.Stud, thank you :)

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By in United States,

@David1985: LEGO seems to like printing the faces of brick-built characters lately, judging from examples like Giant-Man, Ares, the LEGO Elves buildable creatures, the Chima legend beasts, etc. Many of those examples even had sticker sheets for the other decorations besides the face. I suppose part of the thinking is that some builders might prefer not to apply the stickers or might want to be able to play with them a bit before applying them, so even without the stickers LEGO wants them to look more like living things and less like expressionless statues.

In this set, of course, it was probably a pretty easy call, since the eyes are the only two non-minifigure decorations. So printed bricks only required introducing one element more than a sticker sheet would have. The economics of printed bricks instead of stickers can get a little less forgiving when it's a dozen or more elements' difference at stake.

@Kabba: I think repetition is to be expected in any theme that's popular enough to last a long time, because every new wave is going to be someone's first, and the sorts of things that appeal most to new Ninjago fans today are often the same things that appealed most to new Ninjago fans years ago. And anyway, it's fun to see how the designers iterate on an idea. There have been a few times that I skipped a Ninjago set the first time around only to be more attracted to a later set based on the same general concept.

Oh, with regard to the Boost functionality, I've heard that if you put a figure with black pants like Muzzle on the Boost-equipped Stormbringer, it will get angry and try to shake them off.

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By in United States,

This series of 'dragons' looks to be inspired by iguanas - not sure I would consider this one a real dragon. Reminds me of the old '60s fantasy movies where they glued fins and spikes onto living lizards to simulate dragons/dinosaurs (ala Journey To The Center Of The Earth). Still, it's a refreshing take on an integral aspect of a long-lived theme!

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By in Australia,

I love it. It looks amazing.

And printed pieces? You had me at "hello".

The one issue ... there is a perfectly good katana piece that already exists. But they shortened the handle on the katana piece ... just to add an extra handle piece on the bottom for the minifig to grip. Why? Like, why? Lego has this habit, lately, of needlessly complicating things (for larger builds? Higher piece counts?) and I just don't get it.

That aside, the dragons are usually a highlight, and this one doesn't look like it disappoints.

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By in United States,

Dude how do U get these sets they R scheduled 2 be released on 8-1!

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By in Netherlands,

@ Legodude1

August 1st is the US release date. They have been released officially in Europe on June 1st (and hit many shelves just before that).

Rule of thumb: if the manual is available online in PDF, it has been released about a week earlier officially somewhere around the world.

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By in Sweden,

Looks like a fine dragon, but if you already have a couple of very similar ones, the appeal is limited.

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By in Poland,

@Zordboy
Custom handles. In terms of weapons - the more customizable they are they are better!

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By in United Kingdom,

I’m not keen on the wings, but I really like the eyes!

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By in United States,

@darkstonegrey: You know there are no "real dragons", right? :P I also am not sure what you mean by "this series", since the other Ninjago dragons that come out alongside this one are very different in size and shape.

@Zordboy: The shorter-handled katana piece is just part of the new weapon/accessory pack mentioned in the review. It's popped out of the same mold as the other parts in the accessory pack so it doesn't really require any new molds in and of itself. The uses of it in sets so far are kind of generic, and perhaps they could've replaced it with something else more unique, but I can think of a few potential uses a generic katana with a shorter handle could have.

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By in United States,

i was on the fence about this one, but you've sold me completely! gotta wait until August? oy ;)

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By in Belgium,

i predict that integrating BOOST in regular sets is the future for LEGO

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By in United States,

Great set! I love the minifigure with the four legs.

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By in United States,

Daddy No Legs reminds me of Spy Clops and Cyrus Borg, although interestingly this one only has four legs as opposed to six.

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By in Germany,

@iso3200
nice review, dude! I totally agree, it's a mighty fine dragon. And luckily quite "asian" in its design. And also the villain-figures are really creepy and menacing. Like some "undead dragon-haters" from a weird, weird world.
But one thing I have to mention: a tanto is not a short sword. That is the wakizashi. Tanto are just quite long "military" knives, and this one with the "pointed" edge resembles a "Hamidashi-Tanto" - that is a skull/helmet-breaker-tanto.
You mentioning those new weapons was my initial motivation to get a companion for my green dragon mech. And the price at Galeria Kaufhof (29,99 €) made the deal more tahn perfect. Anyway, I'm keen on your next review!

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