LEGO 71703 Ninjago Legacy: Storm Fighter Battle [Review]

The LEGO Ninjago theme has been around for nearly a decade and spans over 50 released sets. The “Legacy” sub-theme is LEGO’s way of bringing back classic Ninjago offerings, which is usually a win for both new and old fans. The summer 2020 set 71703 Storm Fighter Battle is interesting in that it’s a Legacy version of a Legacy set. In 2019 we got 70668 Jay’s Storm Fighter, the reissue of 2012’s 9442 Jay’s Storm Fighter. But this 2020 version is a “4+” simplified build, making this a very different take on the vehicle. This set also comes with Serpentine Quad bike (likely a call back to 2012’s 9445 Fangpyre Truck Ambush) and a temple holding the Sword of Fire. The set’s 165 pieces are rounded out by three minifigures: Kai, Jay, and Lasha. This set became available on June 1st, and retails for US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99. Is this “juniorized” version worth the price or time? Read on to see what we thought!

The box and contents

The packaging for this set showcases the very different art styles between the Ninjago “Legacy” theme and the current main product line. The illustrations here feature very clear images of the toys inside, compared to the cinematic chaos of sets like Wu’s Battle Dragon. There’s also that big “4+” logo, fair warning that this set is intended for younger builders.

On the back, we get a more posed look at the contents, a small action shot of each of the three builds, and a “Learn To Build” blurb calling out the larger-than-usual pieces and simple construction steps.

Inside the box are three numbered bags, three instruction booklets, an ad for LEGOLand, and three larger loose pieces. These are the core of the “4+” angle of the build. There’s a large blue fuselage for the Storm Fighter, a large grey base for the temple, and a large wall section in red. The fuselage and wall are both new elements, but the grey base has appeared before in other “4+” sets.

The parts

This set introduces a new, hefty launcher brick and missile. It’s essentially a 2x size spring shooter, a welcome upgrade to the look of the current Technic cannon.

Happily there are no stickers in this set, just a selection of printed parts. I believe both the tail fins and the snake-head curved slope are a new prints, but we’ve seen the control panel 1×2 cheese slope and 2×2 round tile in previous sets. The round dragon logo tile has only appeared once before, in the Legacy 71701 Kai’s Fire Dragon set.

The build

As you’d expect with a “learn to build” set, there aren’t many challenges or interesting techniques to share about the construction of any of the three models. Still, the designers managed to find a way to include some decent play features.

Bag one is all about Jay and the Storm Fighter Jet. The large brick base covers 90% of the structure of the vehicle. A small play feature with a hidden compartment to store Jay’s golden sais adds a bit of interest to the interior. As noted earlier, the tail fins and wings feature printed elements. Those wings also pivot on click hinges to provide a simplified version of the original jet’s swing-wing play feature.

Lasha and the Serpentine Quad bike is the focus of bag two. It’s built around a one-piece chassis and that missile launching brick. It’s a simple vehicle, but the use of hinged plates in the tail allows for some alternate looks. Meanwhile, that new printed curved slope does look pretty sweet.

Bag three features Kai and a shrine that holds the golden Sword of Flame. The back of the shrine has a jail cell and a crate to keep weapons in. The flag poles are removable, as is the stand that holds the sword. The giant base bricks for the floor and front of the temple make this a particularly quick build, but it’s solid and feels like a decent mini-environment at the center of a battle between Jay and Lesha’s mini-sets.

The finished model

Although each bag could stand alone as it’s own small color-coded set, they do combine into a decent whole. It’s easy to imagine a small battle scene with Jay’s using the Storm Fighter to disable Lesha’s bike, only to be shot down at the last minute by that huge missile. Meanwhile, Kai tries to defend the temple hand-to-hand. Eventually, Jay crawls from the jet’s wreckage and helps Kai subdue the serpent, locking him away in the shrine’s jail cell.

Now, why the shrine has a jail cell at all is probably a bit of back story that is best left untold. Dark secrets, shameful deeds, and all that.

The minifigures

The three minifigures in this set match the red, blue, and green hues of the models. We’ve seen all three characters previously, and there are no new parts or coloration present here. From a play standpoint, there’s nothing to complain about; these are highly-decorated figures with a decent array of accessories. Both of the ninjas come with dual-sided faces, and all three have front and back printing on their torsos, and printed leg elements. The ninja cowls and the snake hood are all nicely done with printed accents.

Conclusion and recommendation

This set doesn’t have a lot to recommend it to the adult collector. The price-per-piece is pretty high, there are no exclusive minifigures, and the build is a non-event. There are a few exclusive and hard to find elements, though. I could see the large piece that makes the wall of the shrine being useful in larger town or city-themed builds. But that’s probably not enough to justify the $30 price point. Most LEGO builders will probably want to see if they can snag this one on sale, or pass on it entirely.

However, if you’re looking for something for a younger builder, this set is a pretty good choice out of the “4+” LEGO offerings. It’s still a little expensive, but you do get three decent models, three characters, and well-integrated play experience. There are play features included in every build, and the minifigures are fun and colorful. It’d probably make a good gift for an aspiring Ninja.

71703 Storm Fighter Battle is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99. It is also available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

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