When the LEGO fan community got our first look at this summer’s new LEGO sets at Toy Fair this year, some of the sets that excited me most were the new Ninjago “Airjitzu” spinners. That wasn’t just because I’m a diehard Ninjago fan, but also because I’m a sucker for functions and because as a long term Bionicle fan these flying spinners seemed like an evolution of the classic Bionicle “Rhotuka” spinners from 2005.
This past May, I was lucky enough to get a chance to participate on the LEGO Inside Tour. In addition to getting to meet with designers, engineers, and other high-profile LEGO employees, my brother and I got season passes for LEGOLAND Billund, and the shop there already had many of this summer’s new releases, including the Airjitzu sets. Over the course of the week we bought 70739 Airjitzu Kai Flyer, 70740 Airjitzu Jay Flyer, 70741 Airjitzu Cole Flyer, and 70742 Airjitzu Zane Flyer. On the last day of the tour, Nick Vas, a friend of mine and the designer responsible for the weapons in all six Airjitzu sets, showed up and gave us the last two Airjitzu sets (70743 Airjitzu Morro Flyer and 70744 Airjitzu Wrayth Flyer) as a gift from the LEGO Ninjago team. As a result, I’m happy to be able to review all six of these sets for New Elementary!
The first new part I’ll go over is the black spinner launcher (Element ID 6110042 | Design ID 18585). This part is two modules wide and six modules long. The key part of this handle’s function is the top section, which has a hole for the spinner to rest in and a slot for the ripcord. But the bottom section is also useful, essentially being a 2x4 brick with Technic holes that allows the launcher to be integrated into both System and Technic builds easily.
The black ripcord for the new spinners (Element ID 6109891 | Design ID 16965) is a new mold as well, different from the similar Chima “Speedorz” (middle) and Bionicle “Rhotuka” (bottom) ripcords from the past. Compared to those, the new ripcord is much larger—28 modules not counting the four-module handle—and while its handle resembles the handle to the Speedorz ripcord, it is a full module in width rather than a half-module. Of all of those past ripcords, I’d consider the new one superior, for one main reason—the teeth are the same as those for standard LEGO Technic gears. In other words, these ripcords aren’t limited solely to launching the spinners. They can also activate Technic functions, and in fact one upcoming set does just that—70735 Ronin R.E.X. has a launcher integrated into the back, but it also has a gear closer to the cockpit so that when you launch the spinner, it also activates gear-driven turbines on the front of the vehicle. But the ripcord could just as easily be used without the spinner launcher, so long as the build has a slot one module tall and one half module wide for it to be inserted into. This could make for an interesting and tactile new method of engaging Technic functions in MOCs.
The fourth new mold is the base that holds the minifigure (Element ID 6110044 | Design ID 18590), which is the part the spinner “spins” on when it hits the ground.
Like the launcher and ripcord, this part appears only in black, and is less obviously useful than the dome piece on its own. Still, it has several connection points, with two Technic holes and a 2x1 opening designed to hold a minifigure’s feet loosely, so it could be used for greebles or other detailing on a model’s exterior. This part is also the part that is geared to work with the ripcord, so it could potentially be made to function using other Technic parts with a bit of creativity.
- Bright Red [TLG]/Red [BL] in 70739 Airjitzu Kai Flyer (Element ID 6121338),
- Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] in 70740 Airjitzu Jay Flyer (Element ID 6121339),
- Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] in 70741 Airjitzu Cole Flyer (Element ID 6119134),
- Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL] in 70742 Airjitzu Zane Flyer (Element ID 6117275),
- Dark Green [TLG]/Green [BL] in 70743 Airjitzu Morro Flyer (Element ID 6121337),
- and Spring Yellowish Green [TLG]/Yellowish Green [BL] in 70744 Airjitzu Morro Flyer (Element ID 6117276).
By slotting the assembled base and dome into the center hole of this rotor and twisting, the parts are locked into place—firmly enough to stay assembled when being launched at high speed, but not so firmly that it can’t be easily disassembled to remove the figure. Both the spinner base and dome must be attached in order for the spinner to snap together firmly and thus be able to launch—this non-standard connection method was likely intended to keep young builders from attaching other (potentially hazardous) parts, but the adult fan community has already begun to find workarounds and are making great progress toward this rotor’s potential for that holy grail of Technic functions, powered flight!
There’s one other interesting new mold in all six of these sets, which I was not expecting at all. The Warm Gold shurikens (which, unfortunately, still only come in that color) may seem familiar, but they are a different mold than the similar ones that have been used since 2011 (Element ID 4600519 | Design ID 93058). The new ones (Element ID 6114925 | Design ID 19807) have textured grips like the Ninja swords. They also come on a sprue—a change that means that sets including them no longer need to include extras (which may be a downer for those who like extra parts but fixes the classic issue where even when representing the legendary “Shurikens of Ice”, they came three to a box instead of two). But what’s REALLY interesting about this new design is that the sprue for these, unlike those from the classic coins and flowers, is actually a functional element of its own even when the shurikens are separated from it! It features an indent that actually functions as an anti-stud, and is a full plate in thickness. This makes it like a 1x1 round tile with two needle-like points on either side, which will undoubtedly find great use for greebling with or without the shurikens still attached. According to Nick Vas, this functionality was something of a happy accident—the connection would not actually function as such if not for the rubbery plastic used for this piece. But as someone who always felt a pang of guilt when throwing away perfectly good LEGO plastic whenever parts came on a sprue, I would love to see sprues for parts like the classic flower and coin pieces follow this part’s lead.
Kai’s tile (Element ID 6115732 | Design ID 21304), Jay’s tile (Element ID 6115730 | Design ID 21289), Cole’s tile (Element ID 6115728 | Design ID 21287), and Zane’s tile (Element ID 6115727 | Design ID 21286) are Warm Gold, and all four are unique to these sets. Each one features an octagonal mandala-like pattern with elemental patterns and an Asian-inspired symbol (each one used on many of their respective ninja’s past designs, presumably to indicate that particular character).
Morro’s tile (Element ID 6115726 | Design ID 21285) and Wrayth’s tile (Element ID 6116776 | Design ID 21502) are Spring Yellowish Green. Morro’s tile, which is unique to this set, features his dragon emblem, which resembles a darker version of the Green Ninja Lloyd’s. Wrayth’s tile is the only one that is not unique to these sets, appearing in several other summer Ninjago sets as ammunition for the 1x4 “disk launcher” brick introduced in this year’s Legends of Chima battle packs. It features a goofy, slimy-looking ghost face.
Build and FiguresThe building process for the Airjitzu spinners and launchers is fairly straightforward, with all six launchers being built identically apart from their color. The main variety in the sets comes from the figures and the many weapons included in each.
Morro and Wrayth are two of this summer’s new spectral foes, and while they are not unique to these sets like Kai, Jay, and Cole, they are still quite distinctive. Morro seems to be the leader of these ghost-like enemies, while Wrayth is identified as a “Chain Master” in product descriptions and is presumably one of Morro’s lackeys. Morro’s tattered costume seems to take cues from the designs of the original 2011 ninja designs, with the emblem also featured on his printed tile, and his back features the Chinese character for evil ( 惡 ). Wrayth’s torso and legs are both wrapped in chain patterns, as suits his title. Morro’s ninja scarf hides a Trans. Fluor. Green face with a cackling grin, while underneath Wrayth’s new tattered hood element are black bandage patterns on both the front and back of his head. Both figures have ghostly Trans. Fluor. Green legs, with prints unique to their respective characters.
Since the construction of the spinners and launchers is mostly identical on all six sets, the weapons are some of the most interesting and diverse parts of the build. All six sets include shurikens (regrettably, the only weapons that fit inside the tiny Airjitzu capsules) and ninja swords used in the construction of the launchers. Kai’s additional weapons are 2011’s Dragon Sword of Fire, a massive fire sword, and a torch. Jay’s additional weapons are a spear, a double-bladed axe, and a very neat lightning device of some sort. Cole’s additional weapons include a giant battle-axe, an interesting sword/axe hybrid, and, humorously, a pair of sausages. Zane’s additional weapons are a polearm, two spiky ice-like weapons from the Galaxy Squad theme, and a bladed ice sword, along with a pair of ice skates. Morro’s additional weapons are a pair of claws, a thorny vine-like whip, a massive naginata, and a fluorescent spider. And finally, Wrayth’s additional weapons are a battle-axe, ghostly torch, and a dangerous-looking flail. It’s amazing how much personality is conveyed through these accessories alone, and I love the humorous touches like the sausages or skates.
Of course, the real appeal of these sets is their functionality, and there’s no better way to demonstrate that than a video!
By placing the spinner into the launcher and inserting the ripcord, the spinner is “locked” in place, not falling out even if the entire construction is inverted. By pointing the spinner upward and pulling the ripcord, the spinner flies high into the air. I felt that compared to the old Bionicle Rhotuka spinners, the increased size and weight of these new spinners gives you a good deal of control as to how high or far they launch. That weight doesn’t diminish the amount of lift they can achieve, though—the one time I attempted to pull as hard as I could outside my house, the spinner easily rose approximately two stories! When the spinner lands, provided it lands on a smooth surface like a smooth floor or thin carpet, it continues to spin like a top.
You can also launch the spinner DOWNWARD to achieve a more typical top-like spin from the get-go—the dome-like shape of the capsule provides a perfect point to allow the spinner to spin upside-down. In fact, you can spin it upside-down even without the fan-like outer ring, though the resulting egg-like structure doesn’t hold its balance quite as well!
Final ImpressionsSo how do these compare to classic function-focused sets like the classic Ninjago spinners or the Legends of Chima Speedorz? Well, there are positives and negatives. On the one hand, the function is much more dynamic than either of the previous gimmicks. Flying things will never stop being cool. On the other hand, unlike the previous sets of this type, there’s not much of a “game” angle. LEGO has shared videos demonstrating tricks like launching the spinners into basketball hoops (something I would not recommend, considering how merciless pavement can be to the bottoms of the plastic spinners) or hitting a spinner out of the air with another (which is easier said than done and will most likely result in both plummeting to the ground). But even skills like that amount to more of a toy than a game, and the new spinners lack the customization features of previous gimmick sets.
Still, I would consider these more fun than the classic spinners or Speedorz, and the new elements used for these spinners are incredibly versatile, making them less likely to languish in your collection once the novelty has worn off. The main test of a new element’s usefulness, as far as I’m concerned, is whether it opens up new possibilities that older parts couldn’t provide. I think making your minifigures fly is unambiguously a case where it does!
Thanks to Nick Vas and the NINJAGO team.
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