20 September 2017

70620 NINJAGO City

Today, Chris McVeigh (powerpig) reviews the fantastic new range of LEGO® parts found in 70620 NINJAGO City, the largest of the sets from The LEGO NINJAGO Movie range, which went on sale this month priced at £259.99 / US$299.99 / 299.99€.


At 4867 parts, NINJAGO City is one of the biggest LEGO® sets ever. It's visually rich, incredibly detailed, and great fun to build.

The city itself is divided into three sections, coinciding with three hefty building guides. Level 1: The Old World is built atop a murky waterway. On that level you’ll find a fish market, robot maintenance room, and the base of the elevator. Level 2: The Street is a busy pedestrian area that is home to shops and services, including a comic book store, clothing store, and crab kitchen. Up on Level 3: The High Rise, you’ll find Lloyd’s and Misako’s shared apartment, a rooftop sushi restaurant, and a luxury bathroom.




In this article I’ll discuss new parts and how they’re used, highlight some of the more interesting recolours, and then look at the set’s clever roofing techniques.

Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft 

Element ID 6196548 | Design ID 32828

One of this year’s most interesting new parts is Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft (6196548 | 32828), recently examined by Elspeth. It’s currently exclusive to NINJAGO City, though is already starting to become available on BrickLink, and in a few weeks it will appear in this year’s 10259 Winter Village Station. It’s a curious part – essentially a stud with a small bar – that opens up a world of possibilities for small creations.

It may surprise you, then, that the part’s use in NINJAGO City is rather utilitarian. It first appears in Level 1’s pedestrian bridge where lifebuoys are used as mooring rings. The lifebuoys could certainly have been mounted to Brick 1X1 W. 1 Knob (Design ID 87087), but by using Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft, the designers have opted for a much more secure connection. With the stud clamped into the bridge assembly and the bar supporting the lifebuoy, there’s no chance they’ll be knocked off with a brush of the hand.


The second and third use of Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft are in Level 2’s movie poster marquee. (This is where I first noticed that unusual new part in the set’s press photos.) Here we see the benefit of it being round rather than square: Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft is placed on either side of the poster, but is bent inwards to lock the glass pane into place. Similarly to Plate 1X1 Round W/3.2 Shaft (Design ID 26047), the flexibility of position afforded by a round base gives this part a much broader range of utility.


There’s storage space for three alternate movie posters behind the marquee, and a small technic assembly adjacent to the marquee lets you push the posters out into the open. Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft is used in the assembly to hold a sign. It may seem like an unremarkable use of the part, but it’s a good example of how it can be used to add a stud just about anywhere.


Plate 2X2, W/ Reduced Knobs

Element IDs 6196548; 6196221 | Design ID 33909



The amusingly named Plate 2X2, W/ Reduced Knobs, introduced with The Ninjago Movie sets on August 1, is put to great use in NINJAGO City. The set includes four in Black and a generous 22 in Reddish Brown. Both these colours are available on BrickLink.

The most visible use of the part is in seating in Level 1’s tea room and Level 2’s crab kitchen, and it’s a smart choice. Great aesthetics aside, the elimination of two studs reduce the clutch on a minifigure’s bottom and allow it to be removed more easily.

However, the key benefit of the part is that it provides both studs and a supporting surface for sideways building. On Level 1, Plate 2X2, W/ Reduced Knobs is effectively used in this manner to give the appearance of windows blinds in both the robot maintenance room and along the back wall of the fish market.

The technique is brilliant but straightforward. For the exterior of the robot maintenance room, Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs (6123809 | 22885) sits atop Plate 2X2, W/ Reduced Knobs, allowing two Roof Tile 1 X 2 X 2/3 (6127366 | 85984) to be positioned sideways.

Similarly, the wall at the back uses Angular Plate 1.5 Bot. 1X2 2/2 (6000650 | 99207) in combination with two Radiator Grille 1X2 (4210631 | 2412) to create a different style of blind. Note that both of these assemblies would be impossible at the desired height without 33909.

Plates with fewer studs (or as Bricklink prefers to call them, “Tile, Modified”) might be gaining in number these days, but they’ve been around for a while. A favourite of mine, Plate 4X4 W. 4. Knobs (Design ID 6179) dates back to 1994. 2010’s Collectible Minifigure Series gave rise to Plate 2X4 W. 4 Knobs (Design ID 17836), which is now offered in Black, Medium Stone Grey, and White. And Plate 1X4 W 2. Knobs (Design ID 92593) is now available in almost every colour thanks to Brickheadz. However, 33909’s smaller footprint gives it much greater flexibility than the others. I can’t wait to see it in more colours. (The air conditioners in NINJAGO City could actually have benefited from a white variant!)

34103 Plate 1X3 W/ 2 Knobs

Element IDs 6199908 | Design ID 34103

NINJAGO City is one of the first sets to include Plate 1X3 W/ 2 Knobs (6199908 | 34103). The other set is 76087 Flying Fox: Batmobile Airlift Attack. Again, these are starting to appear on BrickLink.



The main advantage of the 1X3 jumper is that it adds stability to small plate offsets. Offsetting a 1X2 plate (or brick, or tile) previously required a 1X2 jumper in combination with a 1X1 tile, and unless the offset plate was braced on either side by other parts, it could easily become misaligned. A single 1X3 jumper with its two offset studs prevents this kind of wonkiness. It’s also worth mentioning that a double-jumper allows adjacent placement of two offset 1X1 parts, something that’s previously been impossible.


In NINJAGO City, the double jumper’s use is simply a matter of efficiency. On Level 1, two are placed side by side to offset a drainage pipe; on Level 3, two are used to offset a desk stool. Both implementations could certainly have been accomplished with two 1X2 jumpers and a 1X2 tile, but there’s little doubt that the double-jumper provides a more elegant solution. (And less seams!)



Brick 1X1X1 2/3, W/ Vert. Knobs

Element ID 6201911 | Design ID 32952

This useful part made its debut earlier this year in Elves sets in Bright Reddish-Violet [TLG] /  Magenta [BL], but has since been offered in Bright Red [TLG] / Red [BL] in sets such as 10258 London Bus. It’s essentially Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs (Design ID 22885) sliced in two vertically, and that’s a very good thing. The part’s key benefit is that it allows you to build sideways in a single column at smaller heights with increased stability and clutch. The previous solution, a 1X1 Brick with 1 Knob on top of two 1X1 plates, requires a total height of ten plates to provide a two-stud connection; 32952 accomplishes the same task in half the height.

NINJAGO City includes seven 32952 in Reddish Brown, a brand new colour for the part. They’re used in two specific locations: the “CoMiCS” sign, and the sushi bar. The sign assembly is similar to those found in 10218 Pet Shop and 10246 Detective’s Office, but it’s streamlined by both 32952 and the aforementioned Plate 2X2, W/ Reduced Knobs (Design ID 33909). The new plate provides studs and a flat surface, allowing the sign elements to be built sideways from the new brick’s two vertical studs. And because the brick has a 1X1 footprint, the designers were able to put sign elements (like the middle of the M) at the front.

32952’s implementation in the sushi bar is similar to its use in 41186 Azari and the Goblin Forest Escape. The bricks allow pairs of arches to be laid on their side and placed opposite each other, creating a moat for the sushi bar conveyor belt. Ingenious.


Wider adoption of 32952 will likely hinge on the expansion of its colour palette. Bright Red and Bright Reddish-Violet have limited applications, so it’s great to see the part now available in Reddish Brown (it's on BrickLink too). Hopefully we’ll see it in a neutral colour in the near future.

Fence 1X4X2,W/ Shaft, No.1

Element ID 6195092 | Design ID 32932

This gorgeous new ornamental fence perfectly complements the series’ aesthetic. NINJAGO City includes a whopping 28; the only other set you’ll find it in is 10739 Shark Attack, so . The fence is peppered throughout the city, from the tea room on Level 1 to the sushi restaurant on Level 3, but never feels overused.

Recolours

As with any large set, there are a fair number of new (and recent) recolours in NINJAGO City.

Bricks, Plates, and Tiles

Exclusively available in NINJAGO City are new 1X2 Plates (6201647 | 3023) and 1X3 Bricks (3201646 | 3622) in Cool Yellow [TLG] / Bright Light Yellow [BL], part of a healthy complement of Cool Yellow elements that make up Lloyd’s and Misako’s apartment. You’ll also find new 1X3 Bricks in Light Royal Blue [TLG] / Bright Light Blue [BL] (6182777 | 3622) in the clothing shop.


Other rare parts in Cool Yellow include 1X3 Tiles and 2X6 Plates. Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG] / Bright Light Orange [BL] is well represented, too, with new 1X8 Plates, 2X8 Plates, and 1X6 Bricks. Also worth mentioning are 1X1 Plates in Dark Orange, 1X2 Tiles in Bright Green, 1X3 Tiles in Aqua [TLG] / Light Aqua [BL], 2X2 Tiles in Dark Brown, and 1X2 jumper plates in Earth Green [TLG] / Dark Green [BL].

Succulent Sand Green

It’s been refreshing to see the resurgence of Sand Green this year, and NINJAGO City’s doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Level 3’s ornamental communications tower/luxury bathroom is beautifully modelled in sand green using a selection of new curved elements: Wall W. Bow 3X4X3 W3.2 Schaft (6196587 | 18910), Brick 2X2W.Inside And Outs.Bow (6186082 | 85080), and exclusive to NINJAGO City, Wall 2X2X5, 1/4 Circle, W/ Cutout (6201648 | 30987). The tower assembly also includes recently reissued 2X2 and 2X6 sand green plates and a large allowance of 2X4 sand green tiles.

Trophies and Crabs, oh my!

NINJAGO City includes two unique sets of elements, a number of which are new.

First, there’s an assortment of seven differently coloured minifigure trophies that (mostly) are used as action figures in the comic book store. The Black (6107890 | 90398) and Earth Blue [TLG] / Dark Blue [BL] (6107891 | 90398) variants are new, having previously appeared only as printed ‘microfigures’ in Marvel Super Heroes sets. (As is customary, NINJAGO City includes one extra of each trophy.)

Second, there’s a trio of crabs. Level 2’s crab kitchen includes both the standard Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG] / Bright Light Orange [BL] crab and a new Brick Yellow [TLG] / Tan [BL] (6195283 | 33121) variant that is meant to suggest the crab’s been cooked. (The play feature that performs the ‘cooking’ is brilliant, but beyond the scope of this article.) A third crab variant in Silver Metallic [TLG] / Flat Silver [BL] (6173051 | 33121), only seen before in The LEGO Batman Movie’s Collectible Minifigure Zodiac Master, decorates the loudspeaker tower on Level 1. A return of the red crab (last seen in 2001) would have been a bonus, but it’s a small quibble.

Printed Parts


That NINJAGO City relies heavily on stickers is no surprise. That said, 12 different printed parts are included with the set, three of which are entirely new.

Glass For Frame 1X4X6, No. 14 (6202504 | 35330) is printed to look like a shōji door, and is used in Level 1’s tea room/apartment, Level 2’s crab kitchen, and in the luxury bathroom on Level 3. Although the shōji print is much less ornate than the printed door panels that came with 70751 Temple of Airjitsu, its understated, common design gives it a flexibility that will likely make it more attractive to builders.

NINJAGO fans will be pleased to see that the comic book store is well stocked with issues of Starfarer. Also known as Flat Tile 2X2 "No. 290” (6141578 | 25519), this comic book printed tile is a direct reference to the TV series. (Time will tell if it also shows up in the movie!)

And then there’s Plate 1X1, No. 13 (6202501 | 35329). I assumed this side-printed plate had been borrowed from the Minecraft series, but it’s an all-new print for NINJAGO City. It’s got a single black rectangle printed along one edge that’s used to dot the “i” and define the “s” in the comic book store sign. 11 are included in the set, but the printing is only visible on three. Swap in standard white 1X1 plates and you’ll have eight of these unique printed parts for your own creations. (Hint: they’ll make great squinty eyes for brick-built characters!)

Odds ‘n Ends

Finally, there are handful of interesting but disparate pieces worth highlighting.

Stalks in Dark Brown (6196067 | 3741) are employed as fine branches in the cherry blossom tree. The Mini Palet in Dark Green [TLG] / Green [BL] (6196583 | 93551) is ingeniously used as lily pads in the murky waterway, and Transparent Mini Fan (6156357 | 93553) makes for a great tail in the puffer fish atop the sushi restaurant.

Up on the Roof

I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the wonderful roofing techniques that give character to each property in NINJAGO City.

In Level 1’s Fish Market, a subtly curved awning is created by laying 19 black crowbars across a flexible hose. This awning is featured prominently in the set’s press photos, and on casual observation, I was concerned that it was going to require a frustrating amount of effort to curve correctly. Happily that’s the not the case;  by pressing your finger along the row of crowbars, the flexible hose bows in the middle, and gives the awning its unique shape. It’s a brilliant technique.

Also impressive is the roof technique used outside Level 1’s tea room, which consists of two flag parts. The square flag (6011815 | 11055) makes up the middle of the awnings, with the banner flag (4184617 | 44676) beautifully tapering the awning at the edges. At first look I suspected these awnings hung freely and would be difficult to perfectly align, and once again, I underestimated the design team. A gold Plate 1X1 W. Up Right Holder (6071259 | 15712) is placed under each flag to restrict the angle that it hangs, and in doing so, aligns all flags. And as a bonus, the appearance of the gold clips along the inner edge of each awning complement the overall aesthetic.


Further up, a series similar roof structures adorn Lloyd’s and Misako’s building on Level 2 and Level 3. These assemblies use the Technic Doub. Bearing Pl. 2X2 (281726 | 2817) and its cousin Plate 2X2 + One Hule Ø4,8 (6061032 | 10247) placed upside down to give the appearance of undulating ceramic roof tiles. It’s a very convincing technique, if perhaps a bit thick.



And lastly, there’s the creative use of Left Door 1X3 (6024114 | 3822) and Right Door 1X3 (6024113 | 3821) for roof segments outside the sushi restaurant. It’s a fantastic technique that adds a measure of intricacy to the roof design, even if it those segments feel a bit incongruent with the standard roof tiles that round the corner.

Conclusion

NINJAGO City is incredible an example of world building at minifigure scale. You can imagine its citizens walking to work, chowing down crab in the restaurant, jumping out of the way of oncoming ninjas, and arguing with the shopkeep in the comic book store. Every part of the city, from the lowly fish market to the rooftop sushi restaurant, has a personality of its own. And for us parts nerds, it’s also got new moulds, lots of recolours, and brilliantly inventive parts usage. I haven’t enjoyed building a retail set this much in a long time – and it’s got me hoping that there’s another NINJAGO City block just around the corner.



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16 comments:

  1. Great review! I really need to pick this up now! Part 32828 really is a fantastic little part, really hope it's availability increases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a bunch of them on their way to me, purchased by calling Lego (yes, that works, for most of the new elements!). They will be immediately used as guns for a nanofigure-scaled AT-ST.

      Delete
  2. The Starfarer comic actually previously appeared in the 2016 Ninjago Character Encyclopedia. https://www.amazon.ca/LEGO-NINJAGO-Character-Encyclopedia-Updated/dp/1465450947

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  3. The term "double-jumper" has already been adopted by the AFOL community (if not Bricklink) to refer to the 2x2 plate w/ single stud that was introduced eight years ago. As proof, I submit a quote from a site that many of us may be familiar with:

    "Plate 2x2 with 1 Knob - the 'double jumper' (6029163 | 87580) appears in 6 other sets." - Elspeth de Montes

    http://www.newelementary.com/2016/08/lego-review-10252-volkswagen-beetle.html

    This new element should be called the long-jumper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about square, and oblong jumper?

      /Håkan

      Delete
  4. There's a dark brown COnstraction piece in this set, what's that used for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you mean the shin, it's used as the base of the tree.

      Delete
  5. Here's my mini AT-ST using 32828's, which look even better as guns because of the holes for pins.
    https://flic.kr/p/YWcdvx

    You will see some other very new parts: 24299/24307 in LBG, 27263, as well as not-so-old parts like 23443 & 18649.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somehow I missed this. Awesome! It's like they were made for guns :D

      Also loving the roller skates.

      Delete
  6. You didn't mention the large white leaves! They've been absent from LEGO sets for a long time and are quite rare and expensive. Great review overall though!

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  7. "Plate 2X4 W. 4 Knobs (Design ID 17836)" - should be 3X4?

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  8. Fantastic review of the amazing parts! Only missing a big one, in my opinion, the "sword" spades on the sand green tower are brand new in a brand new colours called "Copper Metallic": https://brickset.com/parts/6167899/figur-sword-no-1 !

    Pau

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A new Copper color. That's nice. The last Copper (pearl?) doesn't seem to have been produced for about a decade.

      I like pastel colors, so I'm waiting for Reddish Orange and the return of Teal, and maybe some other glammy, glittering things...

      /Håkan

      Delete
  9. Bricklink doesn't seem to differ between the two Coppers, though. Occasionally, when there are no parts that's been published in the two color variants, they officially don't bother in their sorting.

    /Håkan

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the great review, and what a wonderful set the Ninjago City is (although I'm very hesitant to spend that much money on one set). It must be a delight to build with these exiting new pieces and interesting techniques. I think I've seen a black PLATE 1X1 ROUND W/ HORIZONTAL 3.2 SHAFT in LEGO's photos for the Winter Village Station.

    ReplyDelete