The upcoming season of Ninjago is an Island-based storyline, and LEGO will be releasing a number of sets to go along with the televised adventures. The 506 piece Ninjago 71746 Jungle Dragon will be available March 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99. It will feature Zippy the Jungle Dragon (yes, really), a small sailboat, and four minifigures. Previous Ninjago dragons have ranged from the really fantastic to the pretty lack-luster. Where does the Jungle Dragon fall on that spectrum? And will it earn bonus points for all that glorious teal brick? Read on and see!
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
The set comes packaged in a thumb-punch box. The front has graphics that emphasize the jungle themes, with plenty of foliage surrounding and image of Island Lloyd in the upper right corner. The dragon is front and center, with the other set elements easy to pick out. It’s a change in direction from the more cinematic (but confusing) box fronts seen in the previous wave of Ninjago sets.
The back of the box has a very clear shot of the set contents, and a series of detail photos showing off the play features. There really aren’t much in this set, though: The dragon’s mouth opens and its tail wags. The little skiff has stud shooters. They don’t call out the other points of articulation on the dragon, but I suppose “moving arms and legs” is kind of expected. The wings move, too, by the way.
Inside the box are five numbered part bags, an 84 page instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet. The instructions and sticker sheet are loose in the box, but the ones in our review copy arrived in good condition.
There are a number of fun parts in this set, and we’ll call them out as we work through building things. To start off, though, it’s worth spotlighting the cool Storm Amulet piece. It’s dual molded in transparent purple and pearl gold, and roughly 4 studs wide. It has standard bars sections built into the rim, so it can be held by minifigures or standard LEGO clip elements. The sticker sheet isn’t particularly huge, and has some fun designs in teal and gold.
Starting off the build, bag one handles all the non-dragon stuff. In this case, that’s Zane’s sailboat. The cool parts in this bag are a bunch of gold-toned elements, including a new 2×2 printed round tile with a throwing-star design. The same piece also shows up in the new 71740 Ninjago Legacy Jay’s Electro Mech.
The sailboat build is pretty standard, but makes good use of parts in Zane’s signature icy colors. Some callout features include the build design at the top of the mast. The dragon head pommel is capped off with a 1×1 round tile that sits flush atop a flagpole, rather than being connected. The clips on the flag elements hold that uncommon arrangement together pretty well. The stud shooters on the side add a bit of danger to things, too.
The remainder of the build is putting the Jungle Dragon together. As mentioned earlier, the dragon’s name appears to be Zippy, which is pretty fun. Zippy’s primary colors are teal and gold, but there are sand green accents, too. Teal and sand green are hues that are in often demand, making this set very nice for future building. I’ll be pulling out a representative sample of these colors as we go along. Standouts from this bag are the 2×2 corner bricks in teal and the 2×2 corner plates in sand green.
The first steps in assembling the dragon are putting together the core torso. There’s a good amount of SNOT building, and the early construction is pretty engaging. Six of the stickers get applied at this stage, nicely blending the gold elements with the teal. The sand green elements are a bit more hidden, adding a little pop of color to the underside of the build.
The final shape of the torso is pretty interesting, too. It creates a rigid bend to the dragon’s back, which helps give the final model a very active pose.
Bag three has a smaller assortment of teal and sand green, but the the ones that are present are some of the best in the set. There’s are 2×3 pentagonal tiles in teal, 2×2 corner wedge plates in sand green, and a dual-molded flexible 2×8 spike that combines the two colors. The head is also brand new, with the lower jaw sharing a mold with the one from the Overlord Dragon from late 2020.
The next stages of the build focus on the dragon’s tail Rather than using ball joints or hinges like many other Ninjago dragons, this one uses a set of sections held together by Technic pins. It’s still very flexible, but not quite as floppy as the Skull Sorcerer’s Dragon‘s tail.
The neck, however, does use a higher friction ball joint to provide articulation. It also gets another two stickers to continue the gold-and-teal integration.
The dragon’s head looks great, with a couple of skeletal horns attached to clips. The center of the brow uses up the last of the stickers on a 2×2 curved slope. The bottom jaw is attached with robot arms, which allows for a good range of motion. It also has a red claw element as a tongue, which sticks out between the dragon’s teeth. By all rights that detail should make this look a little goofy, but somehow it works. I guess we’ve seen enough dragon-based art where the tongue is exposed to just make this one look hungry.
More teal and sand green await us in bag four. The 2×2 curved brick in teal is pretty uncommon.
The next building stage gets the dragon up and off the ground with the hind legs. They’re attached with click-hinge articulation at the hip, and Mixel-style ball joints at the ankle. The legs are otherwise a solid build, lacking knee articulation. At this stage you can stand the dragon more or less upright, although the weight of the arms and wings will keep this from working well in the completed build.
The final bag of parts has one last burst of fun elements, including that 3×3 dish. We’ve only seen that part in teal once before, in 2019’s 70820 LEGO Movie 2 Movie Maker set.
The dragons’ front legs are nearly identical, but the left leg has a bit of added detail of a chain attached to what appear to be the manacles surrounding each foot.
This dragon also has wings, made from three splayed golden sword elements. While I’m usually not fond of this style of wing construction, it works for me here. I think this is mostly due to this feeling more like a land-based dragon with vestigial wings than something that’s expected to fly around.
The final bit of build is a small saddle that can attach onto the center of the dragon’s back. Nothing too special here, but I’m glad to see it’s a small, easily removable mount rather than a big saddle integrated into the larger dragon build.
Seen on the finished dragon, the saddle does feel a little out of place, though. But if you want to have Lloyd ride along like in the box art, you can make that happen.
The finished models
As mentioned earlier, Zane’s sailboat is well constructed. It’s a nice little addition to the set, adding some play value beyond just “a cool dragon and some figures it can interact with.” The Zane minifigure has a place to stand, and doesn’t have to ditch his weapons to do so.
The star of the show, though, is Zippy. I really love the colors, and the shaping feels fresh and dynamic. The curved back makes for an interesting and organic action pose, while the legs have just enough movement to let you arrange things in a variety of poses.
Zippy looks good from just about every angle, too. While the tail has the same basic floppiness seen in most Ninjago dragons, it has a really nice natural curve to it. The wings are also well built, with their Mixel ball-joint attachment letting them move easily out of the way when you want to interact with a figure in the saddle.
Speaking of, when you actually put Lloyd in the saddle, the lack of attachment points mentioned above feels like less of an issue. The contrasting colors let the rider stand out a bit, while making Zippy feel even more vibrant. And somehow that tongue still works. Amazing.
Since Zippy has the same lower jaw mold as the Overlord Dragon, I thought it would be nice to see both of them in the same shot. The Jungle Dragon has the same potential for a goofy underbite that I mentioned in the Overlord Dragon review, but the head doesn’t seem to want to fall into that shape as easily, probably because of the extra stuff filling the mouth.
A side by side image of the two dragons also helps illustrate the different feel for those blade-based wings. The Overlord still looks like a fan-dancing T-Rex to me, since the wings are integrated into the arms. Zippy’s four legs + wings design feels a lot more stable, and the wings just add decorative flair without feeling like an area where parts were omitted.
This set comes with four minifigures, Island Lloyd, a Thunder Keeper, PoulErik, and Island Zane. Only PoulErik is exclusive, but this set is the cheapest way to acquire Island Zane and a Thunder Keeper.
Island Zane has a new leg and dual sided torso prints, but we’ve seen the rest of his pieces in previous versions. He comes with the Storm Amulet, bow and quiver, and a white mask.
Island Lloyd also has new Island-themed torso and leg prints. Lloyd’s dual-sided face print is also new. His accessories include a couple of swords, shoulder armor, mask, and a big ole bone. Island Lloyd appears in several other sets, including a polybag, 30539 Lloyd’s Quad Bike.
The Thunder Keeper is entirely new for this wave of sets. They appear to be minion-type baddies, also appearing in 71747 The Keepers’ Village and 71748 Catamaran Sea Battle. The standout element here is the tribal mask. The Thunder Keeper also comes with a white spear, a relatively uncommon color for that part.
PoulErik is a pretty strange looking individual, sporting two heads and a pair of brick-built knives. He uses the same core parts as the Thunder Keeper figure, with a different print for his top head.
From the back, you can see the dual-printing on the heads, as well as having a better look at the dark green mask that hides the join between the heads.
Conclusion and recommendation
All in all, this is a pretty great set. The Jungle Dragon is a very solid design, with a few interesting building steps spicing up the experience. There are a good range of parts in interesting colors. There are four good looking minifigures, all of which are new for 2021, and one that is exclusive to this set. At $39.99 US for 506 pieces, the set comes in at just under eight cents per part, which feels reasonable to me. For people looking at this set as a parts pack, the wealth of teal and sand green elements should be a boost, too. (Provided you like those colors, anyway. And I do. So, yes, bonus points awarded for cool coloration.) Zippy is a great addition to the ranks of Ninjago dragons, and should feel at home in any dragon-lover’s collection.
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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