Ben Davies (@ProfBrickkeeper) takes on the astonishing LEGO® 71741 NINJAGO® City Gardens, detailing all its interesting parts and techniques. Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'. Products in this article were provided by LEGO; the author's opinions are their own.
When announced earlier this year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the NINJAGO® theme, 71741 NINJAGO City Gardens was met with much excitement, heralding the continuation of the popular NINJAGO City subtheme. With speculation about the possibility of further entries, we thought it was high time to take a look at the parts in 71741 NINJAGO City Gardens and the exciting techniques and innovative parts usage it features.
The previous two sets in the line, 70620 NINJAGO City and 70657 NINJAGO City Docks were both notable for the number of new and rare elements that they introduced. This is a trend which is continued in NINJAGO City Gardens, which heralds the launch of a myriad of new elements.
Only one new mould appears in NINJAGO City Gardens. That distinction goes to the 'Escalator Link' Technic Link Chain with Panel and Center Divider (69900) which appears here in Medium Stone Grey (6322917). Two copies of the element are included in the set.
The link’s bar has a diameter of 3.18 mm, allowing existing elements with clips to securely grasp it. The link’s clips, however, have an interior diameter of 3.24 mm, resulting in an intentionally loose connection with 3.18 mm bars.
The “fin” that juts out of the surface of the link measures 1.04 mm across; just thin enough to snugly fit between the legs of a minifigure or minidoll.
Since debuting in NINJAGO City Gardens, this element has also appeared in the set that it was originally developed for, 41450 Heartlake City Shopping Mall where, unsurprisingly, it is used for the links in an escalator.
We will be examining this intriguing element more deeply in future articles.
The majority of new elements in NINJAGO City Gardens are recolours. A total of 24 different designs appear in new colours here.
Bright Bluish Green
- 1x Tile Special 1 x 1 with Clip with Rounded Edges (6355014 | 44842)
- 9x Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front (6328106 | 60592)
- 2x Technic Plate Rotor 3 Blade with Smooth Ends, 6 Studs, 1 Bottom Ridge (Propeller) (6328094 | 51138)
- 3x Wheel 31 x 15 Technic (6328092 | 60208)
Dark Stone Grey
- 1x Brick Curved 3 x 1 with Round Ends (6328105 | 35477)
- 3x Tile 45° Cut 2 x 2 (6262025 | 35787)
- 1x Minifig Neckwear Baby Carrier (6328144 | 37822)
Flame Yellowish Orange
- 22x Brick Special 1 x 1 x 1 2/3 with Studs on 1 Side (6328096 | 32952)
- 3x Panel 3 x 3 x 6 Corner Wall without Bottom Indentations (6330366 | 87421)
- 2x Bracket 1 x 2 - 1 x 2 (6264026 | 99781)
- 2x Tile 1 x 1 Half Circle (6322997 | 35399) (This is the first unprinted version of this element. A printed version previously appeared in 2020’s 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System.)
- 4x Tile Round 1 x 1 Quarter (6311890 | 25269)
- 7x Plate 1 x 2 (6330401 | 3023)
- 15x Brick 1 x 1 (6330369 | 3005)
- 17x Brick 1 x 2 (6330371 | 3004)
- 1x Technic Gear Rack 1 x 14 x 2 Housing in Sand Blue (6330364 | 18940)
- 7x Game Controller in Black (6275175 | 53118)
- 5x Tile 1 x 3 in Bright Green (6318735 | 63864)
- 4x Weapon Bladed Claw Spread in Dark Green (6329651 | 10187)
- 1 x Minifig Neckwear Beard, Fancy in Warm Gold (6336258 | 93069)
- 1x Minifig Hair Short Bowl Cut in Brick Yellow (6336231 | 40240)
- 2x Container Box 2 x 2 x 1 in Medium Stone Grey (6318314 | 59121)
- 10x Plant, Leaves 6 x 5 in Spring Yellowish Green (6328135 | 2417)
- 10x Plant, Leaves 6 x 5 in Bright Yellowish Green (6328137 | 2417)
In addition to the new escalator element and variety of recolours, a single new printed tile has been introduced for the arcade cabinet in the set.
As the name would suggest, Tile 1 x 2 with Groove and Pixelated Ninja Print (6336769 | 3069) features an 8-bit depiction of a white and red minifigure ninja with power emanating from their fists.
For the discerning builder, NINJAGO City Gardens is also chock-full of hard-to-find elements. The majority of the parts highlighted below appeared in three or fewer sets upon the release of NINJAGO City Gardens.
Bright Bluish Green
- 12x Wedge Sloped 45° 6 x 8 with Pointed Cutout (6278039 | 22390)
- 2x Tile 1 x 1 with Swirl, Van Gogh Painting print (6253837 | 48277)
- 1x Brick Special 1 x 1 with Stud on 1 Side (6213781 | 87087)
- 1x Brick Curved 2 x 4 x 1 1/3 with Curved Top (6259798 | 6081)
- 2x Plate Special 1 x 2 with 1 Stud with Groove and Inside Stud Holder (Jumper) (6210399 | 15573)
- 2x Technic Disk 3 x 3 (6296502 | 2723)
- 8x Wedge Sloped 45° 2 x 2 Corner (6307898 | 13548)
- 2x Door Frame 4 x 4 x 6 Corner (6287868 | 28327)
- 1x Tile Special 2 x 2 Corner with Cut Corner - Facet (6265572 | 27263)
- 2x Tile 1 x 1 with Pixelated Eye Print (6253176 | 47144)
- 1x Minifigure Weapon Pack Hooks, Knives, and Swords, 10 in Bag (Multipack) (6299665 | 37341)
- 1x Minifig Helmet Classic, New Mold 2019 (6295184 | 50665)
- 2x Feet, 2 x 2 x 2/3 with 4 Studs on Top (6320320 | 66858)
- 1x Tile 4 x 4 Macaroni (6299427 | 27507)
- 1x Door 1 x 4 x 6 with 4 Panes and Stud Handle (6062650 | 60623)
- 1x Minifig Trophy Statuette (6301335 | 53017)
- 1x Tile 4 x 4 Macaroni (6310810 | 27507)
- 1x Minifig Neckwear Armor Shoulder Pads (6315048 | 41637)
- 2x Slope Curved 4 x 1 Inverted (6199906 | 13547)
- 3x Door 1 x 4 x 6 with 4 Panes and Stud Handle (6314882 | 60623)
- 3x Plate Special 1 x 2 [Open O Top Clip] (6375006 | 44861)
Flame Yellowish Orange
- 1x Plate Special 1 x 2 with Pin Hole on Top (6310196 | 11458)
- 1x Headwear Accessory Plume / Feathers with Pin (6299158 | 28958)
- 2x Animal Body Part, Cat Tail (6259037 | 37993)
- 4x Brick Arch 1 x 6 x 3 1/3 Curved Top (6328126 | 30935)
- 8x Brick 1 x 1 x 3 (6310276 | 14716)
- 2x Tile 4 x 4 Macaroni (6172431 | 27507)
Medium Stone Grey
- 1x Break Disc 6 x 6 (6285654 | 65416)
- 4x Brick Curved 3 x 1 with 2/3 Inverted Cutout (6329117 | 70681)
- 1x Tile Special 2 x 2 with 1 x 2 Vertical Plate (6328183 | 41682)
- 2x Sports Roller Skate (6300318 | 18747)
- 1x Technic Brick 1 x 2 with Axle Hole Type 1 [+ Opening] and Bottom Pin (6310833 | 31493)
- 3x Equipment Cup / Mug (6236213 | 3899)
- 1x Minifig Neckwear Shoulder Guards (6327807 | 37614)
- 18x Equipment Cleaver (6153591 | 98369)
- 3x Equipment Handcuffs (6252201 | 97927)
- 5x Slope 45° 1 x 1 x 2/3 Quadruple Convex (6312449 | 35344)
- 1x Tile 1 x 2 with Smartphone Print (6329698 | 73893)
- 1x Train, Track Plastic, Roller Coaster, Curve (6229115 | 25061)
- 1x Slope Double 45° 1 x 1 (6224794 | 35464)
- 1x Zipline, 22L with 2 Connectors - Flexible (6327837 | 27965)
- 6x Minifig Handlebars with Angular Handles (6327818 | 98397)
- 1x Equipment Paint Brush with Orange Tip Print (6359668 | 65695)
- 2x Minifig Shield Rectangular with 4 Studs (6328480 | 30166)
- 2x Minifig Neckwear Armor Double Shoulder Pad with Scabbard for 2 Katanas (6320673 | 65183)
- 1x Weapon Staff (Pharaoh) (6257454 | 28672)
- 1x Hinge Train Gate 2 x 4 Locking Dual 2 Fingers with 7 Teeth in Dark Stone Grey (6301930 | 52526)
- 1x Animal, Frog in Light Purple (6327825 | 28841)
- 1x Plate Round 1 x 1 with Solid Stud in Sand Blue (6315783 | 6141)
- 1x Bag / Messenger Pouch with Long Strap in Medium Nougat (6277469 | 61976)
- 5x Flag 5 x 6 Hexagonal with U Clips in Transparent Medium Reddish Violet (6331728 | 53913)
- 1x Plate Special 1 x 3 with 2 Studs with Groove and Inside Stud Holder (Jumper) in Light Royal Blue (6331339 | 34103)
- 2x Plate Round Half 3 x 6 with 1 x 2 Cutout in Dark Green (6303715 | 18646)
- 4x Brick Curved 1 x 4 x 3 in Transparent (6288587 | 65734)
- 7x Brick Special 1 x 1 x 1 2/3 with Studs on 1 Side in Sand Green (6328131 | 32952)
As was the case with previous NINJAGO City sets, the construction process is divided into the three different levels of the city, assembled from the lowest to highest. Accordingly, the instructions are divided into three bound booklets. The parts to the set are distributed across 22 sets of numbered bags, with an additional bag reserved for larger elements.
The Old World
Construction begins with “The Old World,” or lowest level of the city, which is home to a variety of shops and residences.
Several steps into construction, it becomes apparent that the set is going to be a treat for those who love clever parts usage. To construct a sewer pipe, the designer combines a Technic Linear Actuator Holder Block (6356106 | 65767) mounted horizontally with a Power Blast (6353237 | 78262) from the Super Heroes line to simulate flowing water. This construction is then tucked beneath an arch so as to lie flush with the canal walls.
Only a few steps later, sections of vegetation begin to get placed along the edges of the canal, revealing yet more unexpected parts usage: the various leaves and reeds are actually all repurposed weaponry from a NINJAGO Weapon Accessory Pack (6299665 | 37341).
Another highlight of the NINJAGO City series is the unexpected interaction between seemingly disparate elements. For one of the level support pillars, a layered construction of predominantly System plates and tiles is housed within a Technic Gear Rack Housing (6330364 | 18940). It’s a delightfully strange combination of parts, but one which proves effective.
Around the back of a model, a small island with a bonsai tree is constructed next. Keeping with the trend of parts being reused, recoloured Dark Green/ Green Claws (6329651 | 10187) are used to construct the leaves of the bonsai, and a Dark Stone/ Dark Bluish Gray Minifig Beanie (6155003 | 27059) is used to represent a rock.
Following construction of the lower level sidewalk and waterways, the focus shifts towards assembling the actual building sections that make up the city. The first of these sections is Ronin’s shop, which houses a variety of scavenged objects for sale. In order to achieve the angled wall with a window into the alleyway, a section of wall is built sideways, then affixed to the rest of the structure through four angled hinges, connected via SNOT.
This same technique is used for constructing the angled wall of the food stall along the opposite side of the alleyway. One of the most intriguing features of this section of the structure is the window that opens onto the sidewalk.
Plates with vertical clips are used to hold upside-down ‘nipple’ bricks (or 1 x 1 round tile with bar (20482)), which in turn support 1 x 1 inverted brackets (36840). A window sill is created using an upside-down book binding element (24324). On either side, layered plates and tiles are added to create the structure of the window, and an assembly of 1x1 inverted brackets, an ingot, and a 1 x 3 jumper (34103) are used to construct the upper frame.
After this, construction shifts to the “Tea Time Balcony” found on the second story of the city. The most interesting aspect of this section is the large, round window that is formed using the Brake Disk 6 x 6 (65416) that first appeared in 42107 Ducati Panigale V4 R.
A Pneumatic Hose Connector with Axle Connector (53895) is connected to the back of the Brake Disk, which in turn gets connected to two Skeleton Arms (49752). This assembly is then attached to a Plate Special 1 x 2 with Bar Handle and Closed Ends (48336) which is embedded into a section of angled wall, and positions the assembly in such a way that the Brake Disk is centered inside a ring formed by four 4 x 4 Macaroni Tiles (27507).
Next, the NINJAGO Fan Apartment is built. The apartment features microscale recreations of several NINJAGO: The Island and NINAGO: Legacy sets, a lava lamp, and a bed decorated with ninja.
Arguably, the most interesting part of the apartment is on the exterior, in the form of the roof section outside the window. Following a trend established in previous NINJAGO City sets, the designer has attempted to diversify the techniques used for roofing as much as possible. To create the roof outside the window, ten 1 x 3 Jumpers are connected to the bottom of a 2 x 10 Plate, which is then attached to the building. The underside of the jumpers is used to give the impression of a traditional Karawabuki tiled roof.
Lastly, the basic walkways of the second level of the city are constructed, completing “The Old World” portion of the city. During this stage, the decorated railings that line the elevated sidewalk are also constructed. This includes a decorative corner piece which cleverly integrates multiple Armored Shoulderpads with Double Scabbards (65183) to imply intricate metalwork.
In the second instruction book, construction shifts to focus on “The Street,” the second level of the city which features several shops, restaurants, a museum, and apartment.
The first section of the second level to be built is an ice cream shop themed around the Ice Planet 2002 space subtheme. The inside of the shop features both a serving counter, and a floating counter for eating.
While building the front of the ice cream shop, another new roofing technique is encountered. In order to recreate the look of staggered tiles, a number of Cleavers (98369) are attached to a roof constructed from layered plates via 1 x 1 Tiles with Clips (15712).
In order to create the angled back wall and sidewalk of the ice cream shop, a 1 x 4 Hinge Plate (19954) is built into the back wall. The hinge, one section of which is connected to the wall and sidewalk, can then be rotated so that the wall rests against an 8 x 8 Corner Plate (30504) at a 45 degree angle. A Skeleton Arm is then connected to a 1 x 1 Brick with Handle (28917) to keep the angled wall in place.
Yet another fascinating roofing technique is found along the back of the ice cream shop. To create a layered roof tile texture, several unprinted game controllers (53118) are placed next to each other in two layers, with a half-stud offset along the upper layer.
After this, building focus shifts to Chen’s Noodle House, one of the most popular restaurants in NINJAGO City. Despite the relatively small footprint of the restaurant, it manages to include both a dining booth and an ordering/cooking area.
The mentioned ordering/cooking area is actually quite interesting, as it exists at a 45 degree angle compared to the rest of the restaurant, overlooking the alleyway. To achieve this, a 8 x 8 corner plate (30504) is built into the restaurant. On top of this, three 1 x 1 Bricks with 1 Knob (87087) are attached at an angle, featuring 1 x 1 Round Tiles (35381) as a horizontal buffer. An additional 1 x 1 Brick with 1 Knob is subsequently attached, which has a Bar and Clip (41005) protruding from it.
The angled section is built separately on a foundation of 4 x 4 Corner Plates (30503), with a 1 x 4 Hinge Plate left open to connections. In the center of this section, two erling bricks are attached with an exposed 4L Bar (21462) held between them. Using the hinge plate, this assembly is added to the initial structure, and then held at a 45 degree angle by connecting the exposed bar and clip.
Above the entrance to Chen’s Noodle House, another fascinating technique can be found. To create the curved roof, a combination of Sausages (25994) and 1 x 1 Tiles with Clips are used. To achieve the corners of the roof which curve upwards, Robot Arms (49753) are attached to the ends of sausages at an angle.
The next several bags of elements are devoted to the construction of the NINJAGO Museum of History and adjoining Student Apartment. The NINJAGO Museum of History features a number of artifacts and easter eggs related to the ten year history of NINJAGO, including microscale models of the Temple of Airjitzu and Destiny’s Bounty, a Serpentine Staff, and the Realm Crystal.
The NINJAGO Museum of History spans the gap between the two towers that form the base of NINJAGO City Gardens, and accordingly has the front and most prominent wall positioned at a 45 degree angle. A diagonal row of alternating studs is first created along the base of the building section, to provide connection points.
The wall itself is primarily constructed as a studs-on-top assembly, with a row of 1 x 1 Double Slopes (35464) attached to either side. Several 1 x 2 Bricks without Bottom Tube (35743) are also built into the bottom of the wall, allowing for more freedom in terms of stud placement.
The wall is joined to the base by the previously-placed studs which interlock with the hollow bricks, and an 'Apollo Stud' round plate with hole (85861) locking with the pin of a central 1 x 2 Brick (3004). To lock the wall into place, two 1 x 8 Plates with Rails (4510) are featured along either side of the angled wall, meshing nicely with the 1 x 1 Double Slopes.
On the other side of the wall, a display place is constructed to hold a sword hilt. The case itself is constructed around a 2 x 4 Chest (4738), with the handles obscured by 1 x 2 x 2 Frames (60592). An assembly of several 1 x 1 -1 x 1 Inverted Brackets (36840) are lodged inside of the chest to provide a mounting for the sword hilt. Lastly, a 1 x 4 x 3 Glass Pane (35318) is connected to the notches in the chest normally reserved for a lid.
The Student Apartment is furnished with a similar eye for detail, and features a television set, bed, umbrella holder, and easel.
Both the front and back walls for the apartment are built as SNOT assemblies, affording the opportunity for extra detail. Accordingly, upside down Skirts (65753) first introduced in the Trolls World Tour theme are used to create the flower boxes outside the windows.
The third and final instruction booklet is devoted primarily to constructing the uppermost level of the city, known as “The High-Rise.” This level features a Rooftop Zen Garden, Museum Roof, The Ninja Zone, Hidden Room, Ninja Control Room, and Satellite Array.
The Rooftop Zen Garden is constructed first. The highlight of this structure is again the roofing. To create the roof tiles, the designer has used 2 x 4 Chest Lids (29336), which rest against a combination of tiles, ingots, and slopes in order to create the curve of the roof.
The Ninja Zone is constructed next, and features a menagerie of details, including a telescope, flat-screen TV, hat rack, chair, and a working arcade machine.
The aforementioned arcade machine is constructed around a 2 x 6 Plate (3795), with brackets used to affix the siding. The screen is created by using a transparent 1 x 2 x 2 Wall Panel (35378) with a sticker applied. Behind the screen, a 1 x 2 Tile with Pixelated Ninja Print (6336769 | 3069) is held in place by a 1 x 2 Plate with Rail (32028), but is able to move up and down freely.
Below the moving ninja, a small Technic construction is created, featuring a 3L Axle Pin (18651) connected to a Rubber Double Connector (45590) that is held in place. When the pin protruding from the connector is moved downwards, the axle end moves upwards, moving the printed tile behind the screen.
With the internals built, plates and tiles are subsequently added to form the body of the cabinet.
Hanging outside the Ninja Zone, a prominent Koi fish sculpture can be found. This sculpture has several instances of nice parts usage, including 1 x 1 Round Plates with 3 Leaves (32607) as fins and Small Feathers with Pins (88490) as barbels. The most interesting technique, however, may be the use of 2 x 2 x 2/3 Feet (66858) to create the tapered body.
The next tower section to be constructed is the Hidden Room. The building process is fairly straightforward, with the exception of the SNOT windows that are attached to the sides of 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 Bricks with 8 Knobs (67329).
The Ninja Control Room and Satellite Array are assembled next, completing the tower.
The control room section of the tower is built at a 45 degree rotation, using several 4 x 4 Turntables (61485) embedded into the center of the tower.
The outside of the tower is decorated with several 8 x 6 Wedge Slopes with Pointed Cutouts (22390). Combined with the rotation of the tower, the points of these elements mesh with slopes at the base, and 5 x 6 Hexagonal Flags (53913) at the top.
The roof of the NINJAGO Museum of History is constructed next, and features a skylight with hanging dragon skeleton, and a rooftop tree.
The front of the skylight is constructed by placing two 1 x 4 x 3 Curved Bricks bottom-to-bottom, through the use of brackets hidden out of view.
To achieve the angles of the tree branches, the leaves are all mounted to the handles of Submachine Guns (62885) which protrude from a 1 x 1 Brick with 4 Knobs (4733) at the center of the tree.
Before construction of NINJAGO City Gardens is completed, several smaller elements are built, including the central tree, an apartment balcony, walkway extension, and construction robot.
The construction robot, officially known as Scoop, approximates the appearance of an Exo-Force mech through clever parts usage. The robot head is constructed with a sideways Baby Carrier (37822), and various mechanical details are implied through the usage of a Binoculars Plate (52494) and Roller Skates (18747).
For the student apartment, the designer has attempted to create a curved balcony. To emulate the pattern of the 1 x 4 x 2 Ornamental Asian Fence, Train Hinges (37494) are angled along the contours of the balcony using rotated 1 x 1 Tiles with Clips.
The final section of NINJAGO City Gardens to be assembled is the Temple Island, which features a small temple and a statue of Zane as the Titanium Ninja.
The roof of the lower level of the temple is created through the use of 4 x 4 Macaroni Tiles (27507) for the shaping of the sides and 3 x 1 Curved Brick with 2/3 Inverted Cutout (70681) for the lofted corners. Plates with clips are used for attaching both pieces.
The roof for the upper level of the temple is constructed around a 2 x 2 Plate with Octagonal Bar Frame (75937). For the sides, Left (29120) and Right (29119) 2 x 1 Curved Slopes with Stud Notches are angled using a plate with a clip, For the lofted corners, four Large Claw with Clips (30936) are used.
The finished model is all that you could hope for from a successor to 70620 NINJAGO City and 70657 NINJAGO City Docks. Measuring over 29 in. (73 cm) high, 17.5 in. (44 cm) long, and 13 in. (33 cm) wide, the set is absolutely massive, but thankfully does not sacrifice details for scale. Every nook and cranny in the set has been packed with detail and easter eggs referencing past LEGO themes and the NINJAGO TV show.
Even if you are not a fan of NINJAGO, you may still find the set worth examining for the bevy of recoloured elements it introduces, many of which still remain exclusive months after launch.
For those more interested in techniques, the building process is packed with innovative, out-of-the-box techniques, particularly where roofing is concerned.
To the extent criticism can be levied against the set, it would have been nice to see the inclusion of more printed elements in a set of this size. However, the necessity of stickers is excusable given the number of decorations required.
Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'. Products in this article were provided by LEGO; the author's opinions are their own.
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