70620 Ninjago City (part 1: The Old World)

My set buying is mostly focused on interesting elements and I’d often prefer to buy a bunch of small sets. This wave of Ninjago Movie sets has me building sets just for display and the cream of the crop is the massive 70620 Ninjago City. I cleared out my VIP point balance and ordered one as soon as I could.

This is easily the largest set I’ve ever purchased, with over 4800 elements in a massive box. The box was so big and there were so many bags of elements inside, that two thirds of them were packed into plain white boxes (unprinted versions of the box my 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon came in!)

40 bags, numbered from 1 to 16.

In addition to the numbered bags, there was a baseplate and a bag of other large elements. Three thick instruction books, one for each of the layers of the build.

The set has two sheets of stickers. The one on the left is all transparent stickers with a lot of gold. I’m not a big fan of stickers, but since I’m planning to leave this set on display for a while, I’ll actually be using them this time.

The instruction books have interviews with the design team and numerous concept sketches. Many of these drawings have a story board quality to them that enhances the models play narrative. I’d love to see more of this kind of thing, maybe LEGO® will consider giving us stand alone books of concept art for specific themes.

The first set of bags gives us Kai, in his casual track suit. This is an awesome print. His excessive hair piece is identical to the one in 70608 Master Falls.

A bit of print on the arms.

A great back print too, with a much larger version of the symbol that was on the front. This is an echo of the way that the character’s ninja outfits are designed.

There are so many interesting elements in this set. I’ve tried to highlight the ones that I could find, but I’m sure that I missed many more. I was excited to see these new 1×3 jumpers getting used right away.

The first set of bags just barely covers the base plate, laying the foundation for the buildings above and color to give the water a sense of depth. Notice how they’ve included the modular standard connections. I’m not sure how this model is going to fit into anyone’s town layout!

There was an interesting technique used here, to lock the larger turntable at a 45° angle by connecting it to a small assembly on a second, smaller turntable. I can certainly see myself stealing this one for my own builds.

The second set of bags gives us this fisherman. His name is Konrad. I really like the older, more traditional style of costume for these residents of the lowest levels. Figs like this will wind up the basis to Asian villagers in future AFOL builds.

This new printed element has a bright future for solar panels and other sci-fi builds.

In fact, that seems to be exactly how the designers have used it, as a small solar panel at the front of Konrad’s boat. As for the boat itself, I found it a bit weak and I particularly disliked the technique that forms the housing at the back. The sections are fragile and it really doesn’t hold its shape well.

The rest of the ‘2’ bags build out the water, placing a layer of translucent tiles over the top. The play of colors is nice and helps give the impression of deep still waters below the city.

The next character we meet is a nameless villager. Again, his printed torso will work great for generic Asian peasants.

Nothing too exciting at this stage, just building up the base, where buildings will eventually stand, and the beginnings of the bridge.

A maintenance robot lives down in the Old World, by the name of Sweeps. He’s a cleverly constructed little bot and has that new coolie hat element in medium nougat.

A wealth of cool new elements and colors here. Those new half-jumpers are used extensively in this set and to great effect. The real prize is the new ‘espresso baskets,’ a 1×1 round plate with a bar sticking out the side. This might be a game-changing element for people who like to build small and detailed.

Now we finally start to see some city: a fish market and Sweeps’ charging station. Some fun intricate detail is already starting to pop up, though more focused on natural colors and textured here in the old part of the city.

A little girl and her frog. Her name is Sally.

Some good stuff here. Nice to see those palette elements without the print. They’ll be taking on the role of lily pads soon enough.

Things start to get a bit taller with the fifth set of bags. The old stone bridge is gorgeously detailed and there are lots of sweet details all about. The more traditional buildings are becoming surrounded by the support for the new layers that will be above them.

The sixth set of bags gives us Ivy Walker. She seems like an interesting character. Her torso print continues onto the matching legs with bird motifs and a colorful edging.

Ivy’s alternate face is even more worried looking than the first. The bird motif from the front of the torso continues on the back.

More good stuff. Those railing elements are new for this set, but I hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of them. With any luck, LEGO® will provide us with a curving element to match. The printed window glass makes lovely rice-paper screens. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to exhibit ugly mold marks that disrupt the print.

The ‘6’ bags build out second stories for the two old style buildings. A nice variety of roof techniques are on display here, with each building having its own look.

Looking from above we can see all the detail, with nearly every space full of interesting details. That little tea room is my favorite.

The first layer of Ninjago city is built. This is already a large build and I’m only a third of the way through it. Join me tomorrow for The Street!

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