71741 NINJAGO CITY Gardens has quite the task to do. As many will know, NINJAGO has a very keen and dedicated fanbase that has grown up with the theme, who are eager for references and call backs. There’s also a huge number of LEGO fans who dipped into theme specifically for 70620 NINJAGO City, a set that many consider the LEGO Group’s finest minifigure scale model yet. When delivering this 5,685 piece set to celebrate 10 years of LEGO NINJAGO, the designers needed to please both constituencies.
The set does not just meet the expectations of both groups, but massively exceeds them. It delivers a model that is ridiculously epic, packed with richness and colour, full of references to NINJAGO lore. That the design team incorporated it all in such an efficient way, while having it be so visually satisfying, makes this the latest testament to their skills.
At the very beginning of this model, when building out the tiled water with layers of rock and plant life beneath, the sophisticated techniques employed become apparent. Incredible knowledge of the parts portfolio has allowed pieces like mini shooter w/ shaft to be used as water jetting out of a pipe. There are dozens and dozens of fantastic part uses like this throughout the build.
One of the many things that was fun in 70620 NINJAGO City was building roofs in many different ways, delivering them with ever more surprising parts. That continues here as roofs use sausages with clips, the new brick 1X3 outside and most impressively, black treasure chest lids.
It’s not just about using parts in unusual ways though – the set also provides yet another example of how many directions studs can go in. To achieve the beautiful designs on the individual little structures that make up the block, different sections are built in different directions, with SNOT bricks and more complex techniques shifting the direction of the bricks as required.
As the structure does build up level by level, the aesthetic changes. The lowest floor features a more traditional style of building, then things become more modern as the set gets higher, culminating with the futuristic control tower. With the aesthetic and technical differences in each part of the set, it feels like building ten different models rather than one, with the variety ensuring that putting the enormous number of pieces together never gets old.
Fans of NINJAGO will find references throughout this set, both to the in-universe story and products that have been released over the
Signs reference classic LEGO themes.
The museum holds many artefacts.
The lowest level is on the waterfront.
42 Blocks Issue 77
Ronin's pawn shop.
Three billboards outside HQ.
A roof made using game controllers.
What's in the safe?