2021 marks a major milestone for LEGO® NINJAGO®, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Although the theme was originally intended to only last for three years – from 2011 to 2013 -–popular demand from fans led to Ninjago becoming an “evergreen” theme alongside the likes of City, Space, Castle, Friends and Star Wars.
With such a long lifespan, it’s not surprising that Ninjago has been a breeding ground of exciting elements for LEGO builders, and will surely continue to be into the future. In honour of Ninjago’s 10th anniversary, I’ve decided to highlight a selection of the most notable (and versatile) elements introduced by the theme, and take a first look at some of the upcoming elements coming in new Ninjago sets in March 2021.
History of new LEGO Ninjago parts
Ninjago was originally launched in 2011 as a “big-bang” theme which meant that the theme received extra budget for both marketing and set development, including new elements.
With a focus on the conflict between ninjas and Skulkin, it’s unsurprising that the 2011 range of parts would be characterized by a number of new skeleton and bone elements, including (but not limited to):
- Animal Body Part, Dog Bone [Long] (92691)
- Arm Skeleton [Bent / 2 Clips] (93609)
- Arm Skeleton Bent with Clips at 90° [Vertical Grip] (93061)
In the early years of Ninjago, emphasis would also be placed on the Spinjitzu spinner gimmick and the accompanying weapon building system. This would lead to the creation of several now-common elements, including:
- Bar 1L with Top Stud and Two Side Studs (92690)
- Weapon Throwing Star / Shuriken with Textured Grips (93058)
- Chain 5 links (92338)
2011 would also mark the introduction of the Minifig Conical Asian Style Hat (93059) for Sensei Wu which has since appeared in nine colours across over 80 sets, used for everything from umbrellas to architectural details.
2012 would see the world of Ninjago expand further, featuring the introduction of the Serpentine and the Green Ninja.
This same year, additional complexity would be added to the Spinjitzu game with the addition of spinner rings such as Ring 4 x 4 with 2 x 2 Hole and 4 Arrow Ends (Ninjago Spinner Crown) (98341).
The selection of accessories available to LEGO builders would also be expanded, with the introduction of several new blade and weapon elements, most notably:
- Weapon Sword, Big Blade (98137)
- Weapon Sai (98139)
- Weapon Scythe / Crescent Blade Serrated with Bar (98141)
With Ninjago originally slated to end in 2013, a reduced number of new element moulds were seen that year, limited mainly to minifigure accessories.
First, it’s worth highlighting Weapon Sword with Jagged Edges (11439/21548), which was introduced for the Elemental Blades, but has since appeared in various themes including Collectable Minifigures, Mixels and DC Super Heroes, where it has been used as a general-purpose effect element.
Another curious element to debut in 2013 is Headwear Accessory Ninja Helmet Horn Elaborate (11437), which originally adorned the helmets of the Stone Army warriors but has appeared since in over 30 sets across nine themes, where it has served as everything from antlers to bonsai leaves.
In a departure from the original plans for the theme, 2014 would see the theme receive another wave under the banner of NINJAGO: Rebooted. This wave would see the ninja again face off against the Overlord, now commanding an army of evil ninja robots known as Nindroids.
Breaking from the format of previous years, 2015 would see Ninjago receiving two disparate waves. The first wave, known as “Tournament of Elements”, would see the ninja travel to the island of the evil noodle-baron Master Chen, where they were forced to compete against other Elemental Masters. The second wave, “Possession,” would see the ninja learn Airjitzu and face off against Morro and his ghost army.
Despite the expanded scope of Ninjago in 2015, I would only call one element truly notable; Weapon Holder Ring (20612). To the excitement of builders everywhere including our own Tim Goddard, this element would pack seven connection points of three types into a compact space, all in an unusual triangular configuration.
In 2016, Ninjago would headed to the skies with the “Skybound” wave focused on the djinn Nadakhan and his band of sky pirates, before revisiting previous enemies in the “Day of the Departed” subtheme, a precursor to NINJAGO LEGACY.
In these waves, two notable new elements would be introduced. The first of these would be Tassel with 1 x 1 Round Stud (25375) which first appeared in Black in two sets before appearing in Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold the following year.
The “Skybound” wave would also see the introduction of Weapon Sword Hilt with Skull and Bar (Djinn) (23985) which, despite appearing fairly specialised at first glance, offered a variety of connection points marking it as a useful element adapter.
With the “Hands of Time” story arc and the release of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, 2017 would see a return to form for the theme and a major investment in its future. As is to be expected, numerous new elements would also be introduced.
For the “Hands of Time” wave a new decorative element called Animal, Snake Head with Open Mouth, Fangs and Curved Neck with Bar (28588) would be introduced, which would go on to also appear in future Ninjago sets and other themes such as Harry Potter and Disney.
Several new accessory and detail elements would also be introduced to coincide with The LEGO Ninjago Movie, including:
- Minifig Hat Conical Asian with Raised Center (26007), which proved popular at New Elementary workshops
- Ornament with Bar (28870)
- Weapon Sword / Saber with Curved Blade and Hilt (25111)
Following The LEGO Ninjago Movie in 2017, a new, year-long story arc would begin in 2018, encompassing the “Sons of Garmadon” and “Hunted” waves of sets.
For these waves, a renewed focus was placed on the construction of weapons. A Ninjago-specific weapon multipack was introduced in the form of Weapon Pack Hooks, Knives and Swords, 10 in Bag (Multipack) (37314). Additionally, Weapon Sword Hilt with Dragon Head (36017) would be introduced for use as both a weapon component and a decorative architectural element.
2019 would see the theme split in two with the mainline Ninjago theme and the Ninjago Legacy themes running concurrently. Legacy would focus on revisiting subjects from earlier seasons of the NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu TV Series, while the main theme centered on “Secrets of the Forbidden Spinjitzu,” and the ninja versus the Pyro Vipers and Blizzard Warriors.
That year, several exciting new elements would debut. Two of these, Cone Reverse with 4 Handles (Ninjago Spinjitzu) with Marble (40923) and Cone Reverse (Ninjago Spinjitzu) with Marble (50663), would mark the joint first appearance of the eponymous Spinjitzu tornadoes that appeared in the TV show.
Also distinguishing 2019 was the introduction of a new wheel cover element, Rim 30 mm with Pin Hole (41179) and a new large shuriken element, Weapon 6 Blade Ninja Star (41125).
In 2020, Ninjago would again be divided into two distinct waves, with the “Prime Empire” arc seeing the ninja transported inside of a videogame controlled by the vengeful Unagami A.I., and the “Master of the Mountain” story following the ninja as they journey into the Dungeons of Shintaro and encounter the Skull Sorcerer.
Like in previous years, these waves would bring with them a slew of new elements. Of particular note to builders were a set of surprisingly versatile collectable arcade cabinets, consisting of Pod Arcade Machine (65067) and Plate Special 6 x 8 x 1 with Bar, Door (65068).
2020 would also see the addition of two new gimmicks in the form of an adventure game playable with “Master of the Mountain” sets, and Spinjitzu Burst launchers. The former would introduce a strange new die-inspired spinner element, Ninjago Die Spinner - 6-Sided (66962). For the Spinjitzu Burst sets, several new elements would be introduced, most notably the odd Energy Burst with Hinge (66960) which Aron Gerencsér explored recently.
New Ninjago parts coming in March 2021
We now come to the current year of 2021, as Ninjago celebrates its 10th anniversary. To mark this milestone, LEGO has already released eight Ninjago Legacy sets with another two coming in June, and has today announced the addition of four new mainline Ninjago sets in March with another five in June. As if that wasn’t enough there is a set for ages 4+ coming in March with two more in June plus a highly-anticipated expansion to the Ninjago City series on 1 February.The March 2021 wave of Ninjago sets based on the TV show is comprised of the following four sets:
|71748 Catamaran Sea Battle ©2021 The LEGO Group|
|71747 The Keepers' Village ©2021 The LEGO Group|
|71746 Jungle Dragon ©2021 The LEGO Group|
|71745 Lloyd's Jungle Chopper Bike ©2021 The LEGO Group|
Let’s take a look at some of the new elements we’ve spotted in these four mainline sets. They feature many of the element designs discussed above, plus a few new additions.
The most obvious of these is the bladed dragon disc element, which appears in each of the four new sets.
Several new hats and hairpieces can also be seen. Among these are an elaborate new headdress, an Islanders-inspired tiki mask, and an alternate hairpiece for Jay featuring a headband.
In 71746 Jungle Dragon a new mould can be spotted, used as the upper portion of the dragon’s head.
Last but certainly not least, LEGO has also now officially unveiled 71741 Ninjago City Gardens, a long-rumored successor to the popular large sets associated with The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
|71741 Ninjago City Gardens ©2021 The LEGO Group|
While no new moulds can be distinguished from images of the set, there are a plethora of recolours to look forward to, as well as some fantastic techniques. We’ll be examining this set in more detail in future but it is available now. Buying Ninjago sets? Consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission.
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