Most of the larger LEGO sets are a bit lost on me. I’ve never bought a modular or a UCS set. The last set that I even left assembled for more than a month was my Sea Cow, which was eventually knocked off its shelf by one of my jerk cats. Now I finally have a set to replace it.
I’d been saving up my VIP points since spring, when I first saw pictures of this massive Ninjago set. I nearly had high enough balance on my own, but then the LEGO Store had a nice promotion that pushed me over the edge. I’m glad that it did.
Normally, I don’t bother to show the back of the box, but this set has so much to it. There is a cast of a dozen minifigures and numerous play features to show off. A massive box like this takes me back to being a kid and how I studied the back of the box for all the gold within.
Inside that massive box were 14 numbered bags of elements (there are two bag 2s), another unlabeled bag of large elements, a single loose 16×16 plate, and one last cardboard backed bag for the instructions and sticker sheet. It seems a bit odd to me that the dark tan 16x16s are bagged, but the single tan is all by itself.
Like a lot of the fancier sets, the instruction booklet for the Temple of Airjitzu has extras. Not only is the booklet more of a book, thick and perfect bound, there is a generous preface with character bios, designer notes and more. A nice perk for a big set that certainly makes the book worth keeping when the build is over.
I don’t usually bother with stickers. There are some nice ones here on a transparent backing. My build might suffer a bit for not using them, but I’d prefer not to have to peel them off when I want to reuse the elements later
Bag 1 opens up with the first pair of minifigures: Cole and Jesper. Like all of the ninjas in this set, this is the same version of Cole that was in the Ghost Army sets. These are all great figs, with intricate front and back printing and nice overmolded hoods. Jesper, on the other hand, is unique to this set. He is the temple’s caretaker and a nice designed figure with great accessories.
Though both figs have back printing, neither have an alternate face. Not too surprising, considering that we rarely see more than the ninja’s eyes and Jesper’s hat doesn’t cover the back of the head.
The first bag builds the ground floor of the market, one of the temple’s two out buildings. The model is airy little building with a nicely detailed floor and sand green walls.
From the back side, the building is open to play. There are lots of interior details including a little sink that makes great use of an inverted miner’s hat as a basin.
In bag 2, we finish building the market. There are some ingenious techniques here, especially the use of roll-up door elements to create the curving roofs. The addition of pearl gold elements spices up the sand green walls and brings the model to life. This is a great introduction to the rest of the build with a fine balance of architecture and play features.
Turning the building around, we can see that there is still plenty of room to access the inside. Under the roof you can just see the ‘hidden’ storage.
One of the cool features of this roof technique is that you can easily lift up and reveal those chests. Looks like we night have black marketeers in our market.
Inside bag 3, we get Kai and the caretaker’s daughter, Claire. Kai is consistent with the other ninjas in the set and Claire is a fine minifig that should be useful for city builders.
Nice back printing on the torsos, but no alternate faces.
The rest of bag 3 builds the ground floor of the second outbuilding, a smithy. There are some interesting techniques here, like the subtle snot work to create a stone foundation and the plaster and timber effect for the walls.
From the other side, we can see the interior with a central anvil and a nice little furnace on one wall. I would have liked to see a door with a window (there was a window on the sticker that was intended for it). All those tiles on the top tell me that I’ll be able to lift off the second floor after I build it. Just another nice bit of variation between the two smaller buildings.
Sure enough, bag 4 gives us the parts to build the smithy’s second floor. I love how different this building looks. Lots of nice textures and once again a perfect color palate with the medium blue and brown, accented nicely by the autumn trees. Notice those olive green flower stems along the water. It is great to see new color for this element.
The second story doesn’t really have an interior, but it still lifts off nicely to make play access.
So far I’ve already done a lot of building and I’ve finished less than a third of the bags. Join be tomorrow when I build the temple itself.
Enjoy and keep building!