Weighing in at a whopping 4,827 pieces (plus 16 minifigures!), Ninjago City (70620) is LEGO's fourth largest set to date and is jam-packed with detail. Whether you're an avid Ninjago fan or not, there is no denying that LEGO's recreation of Ninjago City (from the motion picture release) is simply breathtaking!
If there is a single word that encapsulates the Ninjago City it would be, "flamboyance". The range of colours, the abundance of detail and the dynamics of this model have quickly made this a fan favourite amongst the Light My Bricks crew (and LEGO fans alike).
This 3-storey building represents an eclectic mix of traditional and modern Japanese architectural themes, and they fuse together quite well to create a fun and interesting neo-Tokyo style.
Upon emptying the set's contents, we're presented with two smaller boxes that contain bags numbered 1 through to 15. All up there are 50 bags in total. If the piece-count didn't give it away, the bag count will. Buckle up and get the coffee pot ready, as you'll be in for quite the build journey.
One of the first things that the Light My Bricks crew do is to hunt for the minifigures, and this set does not disappoint. LEGO has gone all out in this department, with a massive 17 minifigures included. While not as high as some sets like the UCS Death Star, it's still right up there in the minifigure count hall of fame.
The lineup of characters includes Jay, Kai and Lloyd Garmadon, Green Ninja Suit, Misako, Sally, Ivy Walker, Konrad, Severin Black, Tommy, Guy, Juno, Mother Doomsday, Jamanakai Villager, Shark Army Gunner and Officer Noonan, plus Sweep the maintenance robot.
With a huge cast of characters, there are tonnes of playability and opportunities to recreate scenes from the movie and television series.
Now on to the building itself.
Unlike a lot of LEGO building sets, Ninjago City's doesn't have a single point of focus, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The eye is naturally drawn to all corners of the set because the abundance of detail commands it. Given the amount of detail and the number of features this set presents, builders will instantly know that this will be a fun build from start to finish.
The first level of the set is the more traditional part of Ninjago City, called the Old World. Unlike the modular building series, where everything is set on street pavements, Ninjago City is a floating city, built on top of a canal or stream.
Therefore, the first part of building this set involves laying down plates to define the depth of the water. After applying the plates and transparent blue tiles, a striking and realistic take on the water system begins to appear.
Once the water foundation is complete, the actual building component of the Old World consists of a really neat stone bridge that arches over the stream, a Japanese style house that makes up the living quarters for Sweep and a realistic looking fish shop. All these elements blend perfectly together, giving off a vibe of a realistic traditional Japanese town.
One of the more surprising and welcomed features of the Ninjago City is that it is compatible with the modular building series! With technic bricks allowing for connector pins to join up with other buildings from the series, Ninjago City will make for great if not at least interesting addition to your building collection.
Next, we have the Street Level. The street level has perhaps the most intricate level of detailing of the entire set. There is a tonne of colour and interesting features, including street signage, multiple shops, ATM machine, transferrable movie billboards, plus a whole lot more!
The comic book store has some really cool building techniques to make up the signage and the crab shack restaurant is a wonderful addition to an already vibrant build.
The third level is called the Highrise. This area consists of a shop filled with all sorts of weird knick-knacks and presumably representing a make-shift department store for the townsfolk. There is also an incredibly detailed sakura (cherry blossom) tree that really adds to the overall thematic of the building. The introduction of the soft pink hues helped break up the vivid colours of the rest of the set and the addition of something organic helps create a lot of character in an otherwise densely packed urban sprawl.
Overall, this set has a bucket load of building entertainment value. There are so many neat little internal features that will delight you as you put this massive structure together and unlike some modular buildings, there is very little repetition involved in the bricklaying! Honestly, time will fly by so quickly as you put this beautiful set together.
However, there is one downside. If there is something we'd have to nitpick over this set, it's the sheer volume of stickers. Often a bane of many LEGO fans, Ninjago City comes with 56 individual stickers to apply. There is at least an hours worth of sticker application and we highly recommend the dishwasher liquid and water technique if you want the best results.
Overall, whether you're a Ninjago fan or not, this is a must have set, especially if you're a fan of the modular building series!
Adding lights to the Ninjago City (70620)
The moment we saw Ninjago City, we instantly knew that the set would turn out amazing when lit up. How exactly, we weren't quite sure, but that's half the fun when we start out any new project.
The natural first choice for lighting up Ninjago City were the street lanterns. The structure is adorned with lanterns that are made up of transparent red minifigure head shaped bricks.
Because of the abundance of red lighting, we wanted to balance out the colour spectrum to give the model a more natural feel. We also wanted to complement the colour splash that the Ninjago City gives off, so we achieved this by placing a blue strip light in the bridge/tunnel area on the Old World level. This area was one of our favourite lit up pieces and the end result, which we're sure you'll agree, turned out great.
Next up, we turned our attention to the Street Level, where advertising and signage beckoned for a dynamic and vibrant feel. To complement the ambience LEGO was trying to create, we decided that flashing bit lights were in order! This helped create dynamic effect needed to bring this area alive.
The next feature we wanted to illuminate was the crab shack. LEGO implemented some interesting build techniques by filling up transparent 1x2x5 bricks with transparent orange round plates. We immediately knew this had to be lit up. Fortunately, application of a couple of bit lights was a simple process, but with great effect!
One of the many eye-catching features of this set is the cherry blossom tree. Although trees don't naturally light up, we also wanted to make sure it was visible in its own right when the lights were activated. Initially, we placed white bit lights and concealed them within the branches, but the lighting was too overpowering. Therefore, we purpose-built some pink bit lighting to help capture that iconic cherry blossom colour. This is the first time we've used the colour pink in any of our light kits and is now available as a colour option in our DIY range!
The other major feature we wanted to bring some life into was the tower.
Now the tower required some slight modifications. Originally the tower is simply held together with two 1x1 studs, which meant it was easily knocked over. And with wiring installed, this was the last thing you'd want.
Therefore, we added an extra 1x8 plate to reinforce the bonding of the model. Once again, we knew this area needed something more than an ordinary white light. After a bit of experimentation with the lighting colour palette, our blue strip lights proved to be the best choice. With the flexible nature of our strip lights and their adhesive backing, it was a simple task to apply to the curvature tower.
After connecting everything up with our connector cables and expansion boards, we finally flicked the switch. We're often very proud of how our lighting turns out (that's the whole point, to make your collection look good), but Ninjago City is simply breathtaking when lit up!
Much like the build process, Ninjago City has turned out to be our favourite LEGO set to light up to date. It was a challenging, yet immensely rewarding experience given all the different features and options available to us. Everyone in the team is really proud of the end result and we know owners will definitely be pleased with the end result.
The Light My Bricks, Ninjago City Light Kit is now available via our online store.