LEGO Ninjago Legacy 71736 Boulder Blaster [Review]

Ninjago Legacy – home of updated and reimagined hits from the 10 year(!) history of the Ninjago theme.  We conclude our tour of the January 2021 wave of sets with the Ninjago Legacy 71736 Boulder Blaster. Available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99, this set 449 piece set takes us back Season 4. Will the four minifigures and improved jet end our reviews on a high note? Maybe, maybe not. Read on and see if you agree with our conclusions!

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

The box and contents

This set updates 2015’s 70747 Cole’s Boulder Blaster. The box shows off the larger and more detailed jet, a new jungle-themed prison, and the four included minifigures. One of them, Golden Kai, is a limited edition figure celebrating the 10 year Ninjago anniversary.

The back of the package has another product shot showing more of the set’s play features. Along the right side are some pictures from the Ninjago TV show showing blurry images of the jet. The stills, as you’d expect, all show the original styling of the Boulder Blaster, so they don’t really match what you get in this set. (But they’re still good to give things some context.) There’s also a blurb urging you to “Collect All Six Golden Ninjas.”  The January 2021 wave has four of them (Kai, Cole, Jay, and LLoyd) with Zane and Nya expected to show up later in the year. The upcoming Ninjago Gardens set also has a Golden Wu figure that isn’t shown on the “wheel of six” here.

Inside the thumb-punch box are five numbered parts bags.  There’s also a loose canopy piece, a 108-page perfect-bound instruction book, and a sticker sheet. Unfortunately, “loose” meant my sticker sheet had a large crease. LEGO has been better about packaging the instruction booklets and sticker sheets together in their own bag, but that process isn’t applied to all sets. Maybe when we see the new renewable packaging implemented we’ll also see this common problem addressed in mid-range sets, too.

The parts

While the majority of the parts in this set are fairly common, there are a few standouts. Chief among them is a new dual-molded canopy in gold and transparent black. There are also some fairly uncommon elements in gold, including these Technic pulley elements.

The build

The 2015 version of the Boulder Blaster came with a small brick-built temple. The 2021 edition has swapped that out for a jungle-themed prison. The top of the cage has a Technic hinge connected to a stickered 3×3 Technic disk target area. When that target is pressed, the front of the cage falls open. Even a glancing blow to the disk will cause the cage to open, so it’s not the most secure enclosure in the world. But it does look very pointy.

The Boulder Blaster construction is centered around this bit of Technic gearing. Eventually, twisting the knobs on either side of the jet will drive the missile-shooting action feature.

The building process doesn’t have a lot of surprises, but it does have a very nice “modular” feel to things. The black, orange and sand-green brick all contrast well with the gold accents. The stickers are well integrated and feel like they add to the display value of the jet.

As you can see here, the jet’s core is very bulky. There’s a good amount of Technic brick and pins used and, as a result, it’s very sturdy.

The wings put some large stickers over 5×8 curved slopes in black. That’s a new color for that part, so some folks might want to skip applying them. The artwork is pretty cool, though.

With the various wings attached the jet already looks like a completed set. It would be pretty easy to add a couple of parts and create a custom “snub-nosed” variation if you stopped following the instructions here.

The last major construction step is putting together the missile launcher at the jet’s nose. Eight spring-loaded launchers are chained together and wrapped around a central core. That assembly is then slotted into the main body with a Technic rod. This is the same basic design as the initial version of the Boulder Blaster, but sometimes you don’t need to mess with a classic.

The finished model

The jungle prison is a good place to store your Lloyd minifigure when he’s not in use. His escape is pretty easy – just press on the target and let gravity pull the black cage front to the ground. This is designed to be activated by the missiles fired by the Boulder Blaster, but honestly, I’d be a little worried about accidentally blowing Lloyd up.

Speaking of the Boulder Blaster, I really like the upgraded styling. The stickers add some nice extra zing but don’t overpower the other details. That new canopy is sweet and begs for some reuse in a fan steampunk build down the road.

The Boulder Blaster looks good from multiple angles, too. The rear landing strut works well as a small handle if you want to swoosh things around.

The front landing pad also has some interesting construction. Inverted 1×3 tiles hold robot claws, that in turn hold a skid made of a modified plate with rod covered with a pentagon tile and an ingot. It’s the tile/claw combo that caught my eye here. It’s a technique I’m going to steal for my own builds.

Cole fits well into the cockpit, as you’d expect. There aren’t any hand controls to futz with, but a printed sloped 1×2 tile provides enough instrumentation that it doesn’t feel like the plane has to be on constant autopilot.

The main action feature of the set is the rapid-fire missiles in the nose. The general functionality is nothing new, but I thought it might still be fun to try and capture it in action. Less fun was trying to find all the missiles between takes. Thankfully LEGO provides a spare one as a bonus part. (I’m sure the one I lost will turn up eventually.)

The minifigures

One of the major draws of the Ninjago Legacy theme is the wide variety of minifigures that are often included. The Boulder Blaster does pretty well in this category with two unique figures, one new to this wave of sets, and one uncommon repeat.

The Eyezor minifigure is the same as the one included in 71735 Tournament of Elements, but is otherwise a new offering for 2021. The original version appeared in 2015’s 70746 Condrai Copter Attack, with this version sporting a new head, torso, and legs. He comes with a sliver-bladed bone axe as an accessory.

This version of Lloyd is also a repeat, having appeared once before in last year’s Ninjago Legacy 71704 Kai Fighter.  He has a green bandana and a silver sword as accessories.

This version of Cole is currently exclusive to this set, but it’s a subtle thing. The previous Legacy Cole (as seen in in Ninjago Legacy 71699 Thunder Raider) had a small typo in the Ninjargon on his sash, labeling him as a “Manter” instead of “Master”. That’s been corrected here, but that single Ninjargon character is the only change.  Cole comes with a black bandana, but no other weapons or other accessories. Unless you count the Boulder Blaster itself, of course.

Celebrating the 10 year Ninjago anniversary, the final minifigure in this set is a Golden Kai. Like the other Golden Anniversary ninjas, he comes with a small brick-built stand with a printed 2×2 round tile with the anniversary logo on it. It’s the same stand build as the other gold ninjas, only with red as the accent color for the two 1×1 round plates. Kai has a unique cowl and torso and shares a new leg print with the other golden ninjas.

Conclusion and recommendation

In general, I have positive feelings about this set. The Boulder Blaster is a fun, good looking build, and the upgrades from its previous look feel like improvements. The play feature stretches across both the plane and the prison, making for a nicely unified set. The main downside of this set is the price. At $39.99 US for 449 pieces, it comes in at nearly nine cents a part, which is on the high end for a set where LEGO doesn’t have licensing fees to deal with. The four minifigures help defray that a bit, with two of them being unique to the set and the other two each only having one other appearance. Even at the higher price point, I still think this is one of the best Legacy sets offered in the January 2021 wave. If you’re looking at it for parts, maybe wait for a sale. But if you just want some high-flying Ninjago fun, it won’t hurt to pick one up now. Unless you accidentally shoot yourself with those missiles. That might sting a bit. 

Ninjago Legacy 71736 Boulder Blaster 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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6 comments on “LEGO Ninjago Legacy 71736 Boulder Blaster [Review]

  1. Jimmy

    Thanks for this review, I saw this on shelves and am tempted, it looks like a fun set.
    That minifig shield (modified plate with rod) seems like it’s showing up everywhere I need to pick some up just to play with thanks for highlighting that use as a skid.

    I sort of agree with you on the price/part…but damn have you looked at some of the recent city sets? Anything with a drone or special water shooter or net shooter is well over $0.10 per part. Heck even the boring new farm tractor is well over that. It’s a bit odd honestly.

  2. Chris Doyle Post author

    @Jimmy – Thanks for the kind words. And, yeah, PPP has been all over the place lately. What are your thoughts on how minifigures and rare/new parts should be factored into that sort of evaluation?

  3. Jimmy

    @Chris Doyle That’s really tough to figure out and I’m sure very personal for most folks.

    In terms of what a set costs:
    I can understand how licensing adds cost to a set.
    I rarely think new “normal” pieces should add cost as the development costs of that piece are spread so wide. Complex multi-part pieces like spring launchers or electronics are a different story. I can understand how they might add cost, but the flipside is they don’t add any value to me personally and often detract from value as they are big ugly tacked-on features when other parts could have been included instead. Thinking of the city fire truck water squirters, various dart launchers, net launcher, etc.
    I don’t think rare minifigs should add cost to a set as the actual production of a rare fig is likely pretty much the same as any other similar fig.
    I understand how a set with say a motorcycle chain vs. a set with two boat hulls might have a skewed $/part count. Related to that is how a set with boat hulls or huge tires might require a larger box which affects shipping/shelf space/etc. and presumably price as well.
    The final thing is that I understand pricing is not just a question of “how much does it cost to make this plus some margin for operations and profit for the health of the company”. Pricing can just as often be “what will the market bear”.

    In terms of value:
    This is super personal. Here’s where stuff like rare figures or new parts or exciting colors might really skew me to say “set X is a good value for my money I will buy it”. For myself I realize that even if I want a set and think it is “worth” it, I get almost personally offended if I feel it has been overpriced by Lego -to the point where I won’t buy it! Makes no rational sense but here we are.

  4. Jimmy

    The new farm tractor 60287 is a good example for me. $20/144 pcs. New cool tractor tires, 2 figs including a cute bunny, no licensing. That should be a $15 set, to my way of thinking. My big attraction to that is the new tires, and the bunny. I forgot how much it cost and when I went to the store I was disappointed it was $20.

    Instead I looked over to the Jeep Wrangler 42122. $50/665 pieces. New cool tractor tires, and I haven’t built a decent sized Technic set in a while. So I bought the Wrangler.

    Even considering that small technic pins make up a bunch of the part count, I just couldn’t get over feeling like the $20 tractor was ripping me off for a single small city vehicle set. And honestly even with the Wrangler I’m a bit annoyed I wish they had skipped the licensing and “styling” elements to make it look like a Jeep and instead had used some of those $ and 665 parts to give me more technic functions. It should have had springs/”shocks” on the front axle, the turning radius should be smaller, the steering is OK but would be cool if it were a rack+pinion, etc.

  5. Jimmy

    OK one more -look at that new city 60282 Fire Command Unit. $60/380 pieces ouch!
    To me the value is just not there.

    And even if I were in charge of pricing and said “ignore piece count, how much should a 3-minifig tractor+trailer with small structure set cost”? The answer is rarely over $50.

    Looking through just the City catalog is making me realize this has been going on for a while, not many $0.10/part sets out there. It makes the speed Champions stuff look like even better value than they already are!

    Thanks for listening to me rant, cheers.

  6. Chris Doyle Post author

    @Jimmy – That’s some very insightful stuff. Thank you for sharing it. This is obviously a topic that deserves some attention, even if (especially if) there isn’t an easy answer.

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