Ninjago Legacy 71704: Kai Fighter [Review]

The Ninjago Legacy theme revisits classic Ninjago sets with updated builds and designs. Turning back the clock to Season 3, the 71704 Ninjago Legacy: Kai Fighter reprises 2014’s 70721 Kai Fighter, more than doubling that set’s 196 pieces to a much heftier 513 part count. This new version retails for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99 and is available now. Is it a worthy upgrade to the classic set? Come along as we run through the highs and lows of this new set!

Set contents

This set includes four minifigures and two main builds: a missile launcher and the Kai Fighter. Inside the box are four numbered bags, a sticker sheet, and a 131-page instruction book. There are a couple of rare parts spread across the build, including the new pointed and curved 2×2 bow plate in red, and white ingot elements.

The missile launcher is based around a spring-shooter brick, and comes with two transparent red missiles. The launcher is mounted on a robot arm, giving it a good range of motion. The base has four adjustable feet, and the control panel is a sticker on a 1×2 purple tile. There’s a red sword on the top, possibly a backup weapon for the Nindroid operators.

The star of this set is obviously the Kai Fighter itself. It’s been upgraded with some obvious changes to size and styling compared to the 2014 version. This departure from the Season 3 look of the jet might be a turn off for some Ninjago purists, but it does look close enough to the source material to feel like it’s a movie reboot or something. Considering the various versions of Ninja’s main transport we’ve seen over the years, I’m sure fans have already learned to cope.

Another downside that might impact the wider LEGO audience is the abundance of stickers on the completed build. The tail fins, engine intakes, front fins, and front forks all get a sticker. There are also stickers on the tiles surrounding the twin missile shooters. It would have been nice to see some (or any, really) of these as printed parts. We got printed tail fins in another 2020 Ninjago Legacy set, after all.

Still, the yellow and red flame patterns do look sweet, and stickers do keep the price-per-part ratio down.

The minifigures

The set comes with four minifigures, Kai the fire ninja, Lloyd the green ninja, and two Nindroid Warriors. All four figures feature prints that are new for 2020, but none are exclusive to this set. The ninjas have two expressions, dual-sided torso prints, and printed legs.

The Nindroids are essentially twins. Their heads are identical, using a dual-facial print to swap the side silver detailing appears on. In an odd twist, the instructions show the second Nindroid should be built without shoulder pads, but the part bag that he came in included an extra. It’s a nice bonus, allowing you to upgrade the second warrior to mirror the first if you want.

Play features

 The jet itself is very sturdy and swooshable, but isn’t balanced to sit on a flat surface very well.  The main play feature of the Kai Fighter is the swing-wing functionality. By tilting the nose down you pull the wings forward into an attack position.

Tilting the nose down is key, as the two spring-loaded missile shooters don’t have enough clearance to fire over the canopy otherwise.

Combined with the Nindroid’s missile launcher, there’s plenty of ranged combat play opportunities on the horizon with this set.

The last play feature is pretty obvious: the opening canopy. The pilot has to lean way back to fit properly, but that’s likely by design. This version of Kai has some seriously tall hair that wouldn’t fit if he were to sit upright.

Conclusion and recommendation

While not completely accurate to the Season 3 version of the Kai Fighter, this updated look is still pretty sweet. This set stands on its own just fine as a cool looking plane. It’s a fun, easy build with just enough complexity to be interesting.  There aren’t a ton of rare parts, but there’s a good variety of useful elements, and the four minifigures are all new for 2020. And, at just under 8 cents per piece, this set is a decent value for those looking to part it out for use in their own creations.  It’s a solid offering that was a lot more fun than I thought it would be at first glance.

71704 Ninjago Legacy: Kai Fighter is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99. 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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