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 32828examined 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.
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.
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
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.
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
RecoloursAs with any large set, there are a fair number of new (and recent) recolours in NINJAGO City.
Bricks, Plates, and TilesExclusively 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 GreenIt’s been refreshing to see the resurgence of Sand Green this year, and NINJAGO City’s doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
Trophies and Crabs, oh my!NINJAGO City includes two unique sets of elements, a number of which are new.
Odds ‘n EndsFinally, there are handful of interesting but disparate pieces worth highlighting.
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 RoofI’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the wonderful roofing techniques that give character to each property in NINJAGO City.
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.
ConclusionNINJAGO 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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