10 November 2020

LEGO® Ninjago review + MOCs: 70686 Spinjitzu Burst – Kai

A rather odd LEGO® Ninjago element caught our eye this year, so we sent it to two members of our team to review and build MOCs with. First up: Inthert (on Flickr) reviews 70686 Spinjitzu Burst – Kai. If you're buying this set, consider using our affiliate links: USA LEGO Shop at Home, USA Amazon, UK LEGO Shop at Home, UK Amazon. New Elementary earn from qualifying purchases. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.


Ninjago has always been known for introducing new elements, but the latest mini-wave of Spinjizu Burst sets have raised the bar – or should that be levelled the bar? More on that later but first let’s take a look at the build of one of the three Burst sets currently available: 70686 Spinjitzu Burst – Kai.

Building and Testing Spinjitzu Burst – Kai

In a set this size I wasn’t expecting to find anything worth mentioning build-wise and yet there is one oddity. 


When securing the launch mechanism to the base, the 1x2 brick with Technic pin hole is not studded-in, as you’d expect. Instead it’s just sitting atop the grey ingot. I can only assume this was done to reduce the stress caused when operating the action feature, though exactly how this helps I can’t say.


Provided you don’t pause to ponder an instance of questionable parts use, the launch pad and spinner take a matter of minutes to complete. Clearly the main thing here is the play feature so let’s test it out.


It took me a few tries to get the spinner to open up like a flower as suggested on the box. Evidently I was being too cautious at first because it does require quite a forceful impact to work.

There’s not much more to be said in regards to the completed model, it’s designed to spin – and it does! So before we get too dizzy, let’s move onto the parts since it’s quite literally bursting with new and unusual elements.

New Elements in Spinjitzu Burst – Kai

Ninjago Energy Burst with Hinge (66960)


The most eye-catching new element is Energy Burst (Ninjago) with Hinge, Pearl Gold Bottom in Transparent Red/ Trans-Red (6322845 | 66960). Four are included. Since this is Kai’s spinner, naturally the colour scheme is red and gold, but two other variants exist with colour schemes to match their respective characters:

  • Lloyd: Silver Metallic/Flat Silver Bottom in Transparent Green/ Trans-Green (6322846 | 66960) 
  • Cole: Pearl Gold Bottom in Transparent/ Trans-Clear (6322677 | 66960)


As evident in the set itself, the clip accepts any element with a 3.18mm bar. However, the usefulness of this connection is somewhat limited as there is absolutely no friction to be found. 

As soon as I laid eyes on these elements, I pictured the angular protrusion and recessed grove as facial features and thought they’d work well as a collection of tribal masks. Only problem being, how to connect the eyes? – the answer of course was rubber bands. Turns out lack of friction isn’t a problem if you don’t intend to use the one and only (legal) connection point!


 

Plate 2x2 with 2 studs and 4 Side Handles (66961)


Next up is an element that would’ve fit right in at our 2016 ‘The New Black’ parts festival: Plate Special 2 x 2 with 4 Side Handles Closed Ends in Black (6301380 | 66961). It’s another new mould introduced specifically for the burst spinners.


Here, my terrible ‘levelling the bar’ joke earlier pays off as the new mould makes it possible to have all four petals in line while also holding the minifigure in a central position – factors preferable for a balanced spinning top.


In fact, it takes seven existing elements which result in an additional two plates of height to even get close to the functionality of the new mould.


But there is one obvious blemish in its usefulness. The capital ‘I- shaped ridge on its face, which helps secure the minifigure in place, hinders the use of the studs quite a bit. Only parts with a thinner anti-stud wall, such as 1x1 round plates, 1x1 round brick or minifig legs will work here. I can only assume this extra stability for the minifig was deemed necessary at the expense of future potential uses of the part’s studded surface.

Its future use may be uncertain but what about its ancestry? To determine its family tree, I dug out all the existing parts I could think of that have something in common with this newcomer. 


The bars around its perimeter make its closest relatives parts such as the 2x2 octagonal plate with bars (75937) or the square version (30094). However, its central studs are offset by half a module which makes it a member of the 'jumper plate' family too. And it would be remiss to overlook its raised section which puts it in the loose category of parts commonly used for figure positioning like the 1x2x1 panel with central divider (93095/18971) introduced for Friends minidolls. 

It’s a pretty bizarre element, all things considered. I’m sure its design was finalised after much research and development yet I still can’t shake this mental image of a mad scientist mashing various parts together, so I decided to share that with you all!

Other parts of interest in 70686

While not new for 2020, I feel the following two parts are interesting enough to warrant a mention. Only one of each is included, both first appeared in 2019 and have each appeared in 7 sets so far.


Firstly, Spinner Launcher Base 2 x 10 x 2 in Black (6265769 | 50408). A rather bulky element and one I’d definitely classify as specialised. That said its smooth extension to the rear and curved frame makes it quite attractive for MOC purposes. 


Secondly, what’s a launcher without a projectile? Plate Special Round 2 x 2 with Rotation Stem and Screw in Black (6265768 | 50407) is equally specific with a single purpose; especially considering its base appears to be moulded in a slightly softer plastic than usual. That's no doubt an effort to minimise damage to the part itself and whatever surface is being used as a Spinjizu battleground.


It bears some similarities to another element also introduced through Ninjago: Turntable 2X2X1 w/ Function (6252373 | 40145) shown here on the right, which Sven Franic reviewed for us in 2019 and was included in our parts festival later that same year.

Conclusion

For such a small build there is a lot to like here: new and interesting parts, a well-designed play feature, an exclusive minifigure and all at a price point under £10. The only missed opportunity I see is the absence of a handheld accessory for the minifigure. It’s also a shame there are no bad guy Spinjitzu burst sets available at this time for our heroes to face off against. I suppose we’ll assume Kai, Lloyd and Cole are just in training with each other.

That concludes today’s review but we’re not quite finished with the Spinjitzu Bursts yet; we’ll be delving deeper into the potential these new elements have for custom builds. If you're buying this (or any other product), consider using our affiliate links: USA LEGO Shop at Home, USA Amazon, UK LEGO Shop at Home, UK Amazon. New Elementary earn from qualifying purchases.



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8 comments:

  1. Those are some interesting parts, and I love the illustrations. The ridge on 66961 reminds me of the 18663 Super Jumper base. And in terms of functionality, it also reminds me of Lord Business's leg extensions (which do come off, despite Bricklink listing them as one piece 970e01). Anyone know of any other parts with similar features designed to keep minifigs feet planted a bit more firmly?

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    1. Well, the original Ninjago spinners had sort of the opposite - they held minifig feet in place, but loosened to eject them when turned 60° (for instance, if the minifig had a bad bump or was hit into while holding a weapon). The mechanism is shaky but surprisingly reliable - though many matches would end with both minifigs launching off after hitting each other!

      This is the reason why the skeletons back in that first wave had big square boots - unlike all Lego skeletons beforehand, they had to match minifig feet.

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    2. In addition to those original Ninjago spinners, there's an odd instance of a cancelled piece related to those! The second year's spinners (and booster packs designed as an add-on for those spinners) included some minifigures with shorter legs, like Lloyd Garmadon (pre-Green Ninja). Early pictures of those sets included an "interface brick" of sorts that shorter figs could stand on that could slot into the spinners like full-size minifigure legs, presumably to cancel out the height difference that could otherwise pose an advantage or disadvantage in the spinner game. Ultimately, however, those sets ended up shipping without that piece.

      Curiously, that's not the only set that part got removed from. I remember some early pictures of 10226 Sopwith Camel using that same part, with the string that controlled the pitch of the aircraft being threaded through the "notch" at the base of the part. When the set itself was actually released, that part had been removed and replaced with a more traditional gap between bricks and plates.

      If anyone can find any of these old images, I'd really appreciate it. I remember them vividly yet can't find them anywhere.

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    3. That's fascinating! Any idea where you saw those pictures? I'd love to see it.

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  2. Great article! I believe the purpose of the ingot-technic brick connect is to make it easier for kids to assemble. This allows you to simply slide the piece into it's position. If it were studs, the whole thing would have to attach at once which, from experience, is a real pain.

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    1. But that wouldn't be a problem if you add the slope bricks last. I wonder if the purpose was to introduce an intentional weak spot. Given how hard you have to slam your hand down on this, if something gets underneath that lever I imagine it would be possible to break or damage the lever arm, or injure your hand. Reduce the degree of connection between the launcher and the base and it might be able to break apart instead.

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    2. The "pinch point" is between the black lever and the solid black base part, so there wouldn't be much point in having the black base be able to pop off the rest of the base.

      I think it's just meant to add a bit of friction to the lever action, and is built to be easily assembled as mentioned. Otherwise the connection could just use a normal 2L cross axle as a connector.

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  3. The shape of that spinner launcher base element made me think of another old specialized part...

    https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=827#T=C&C=3

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