Lately we’ve been working our way through the new wave of Ninjago sets based on the latest island-themed season. Today we reach our final destination of Ninjago 71747 The Keepers’ Village. This 632 piece offering features five minifigures and a playset full of surprises. It’s available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £44.99. Is this a fitting conclusion to our Island adventures? Are there interesting perks for non-Ninjago fans? 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 packaging for this set matches up with the styling we’ve seen in the rest of the island sets. The background graphics are a little busier this time, though, as the tall totem pole adds a lot of vertical dead space that they had to fill with special effects. The set contents are still easy to pick out, with the five included minifigures highlighted along the bottom edge. This set’s suggested age range is 8+, nicely in the middle of the 7-9 range we’ve seen across the theme.
The back of the box has a more zoomed-in picture of the set’s contents. The main image showcases some of the set’s play features, including a hidden entrance and the fact that the large totem pole comes apart into three Stone Golems. (Hence allowing the product shot to be cropped differently.) The bottom edge of the box has more action spotlights, including one in the middle that threw me for a bit of a loop. More on that in a bit.
There is a good mix of general use parts in this set, although most are fairly common. Two, however, are stand-outs that deserve a closer look. The first is a newer modified 2×4 brick with Technic cross-connections. (We saw it earlier in set 76173 Spider-Man and Ghost Rider vs. Carnage) The second is the Storm Amulet, a four stud wide, dual-molded disc in transparent purple and gold. The amulet is the MacGuffin for this season of Ninjago and is included with each of the current Island sets. If you’re picking up multiple sets, you’ll end up with some spares.
The first part of the build focuses on the beach area where the ninjas presumably make landfall. To the left, there’s a single 1×1 modified plate with clip on the left side that will connect this section to the rest of the Village playset. To the right is a 6×4 circular plate in medium blue representing the sea. There’s a nice mix of tan and dark tan to create a sandy contrast to the grey rocks. There’s even a red crab to add a splash of color.
The completed beach is a decent play area. The suggestion of water and sand are enough to establish the setting, and the big green palm fronds and leaves add good atmosphere. There’s a surprising amount of action features built into this scene, too.
The thicker tree is mounted on a hinge, and works as a hazard for unwary visitors to the island. Step on the wrong leaf and the tree can be pulled upright, stranding the hapless character up in the air.
As traps go, this is a pretty fun one. The captured minifigure dangles above a field of spikes, and a grinning minifigure skull hints that others didn’t make it out alive. The only real complaint here is that the beefy trap-tree is a little light on foliage at the top, and the tree off to the side of it looks way too spindly. A little more balance in the decoration here, or maybe a second “thin tree,” would have improved the look.
Behind the tree, the snare is a small stickered warning sign hidden in some palm fronds. Beyond that is a plunger-driven plate shooter loaded with 1×1 round transparent purple tiles. The path leading up to that shooter is a seesaw rocker plate with an evil skull stickered tile on the leading edge.
There was nothing in the instruction manual to show how this action feature is supposed to work, so I took another look at the box. Those arrows show the ramp going up and down. Okay…
I gave that a try, trying to figure out how it was supposed to trigger the tile shooter. There’s not much range of motion on the seesaw, and there are no connection points to the gun, so obviously, I was missing something. Were the LEGO designers just trolling me something fierce?
Searching for inspiration, I put the Thunder Keeper in place to man the tile shooter. Strangely, the Keeper seemed pretty obvious to anyone walking up to the trap area. Hmmm.
And at this point, I discovered I was being an idiot. There were those big palm leaves off to the side. I realized you could swing one up and onto the seesaw, creating an action feature that actually did something. Learn from my mistake, friends; don’t try and work on LEGO reviews before you’ve had your morning coffee.
The next portion of the build moves to the other side of the Village. This is where the Keepers do their keeping, a grubby little prison cell under a giant snake head. The area is either dripping with lava or orange Kool-Aid, as seen by the variety of transparent orange elements. The ground level of the cell features a bucket, which is in line with LEGO’s recent trend of including bathroom facilities in their Creator Expert sets.
The cell walls take the form of a giant serpentine head. There are some fun details here, like the transparent orange teeth that echo the Kool-Aid flow. There’s a sticker in the center of the mouth that softens the transition from the grey stone to the orange accents. There’s also a 2×2 round brick in transparent orange that works as the eyes of the head. Enough light makes it through from the far side to create a nice eerie glow to it.
The mouth of the cave has a hidden entrance/exit. Pressing down on a leaf plate at the rear of the build will push the mouth up and out of the way. It has a satisfying “chomping” action to it.
The secret panel drops down as soon as you release the leaf, which makes play scenes a little harder to pose without direct intervention. But there is plenty of clearance for a minifigure to escape and/or infiltrate the Village. Just don’t kick the bucket.
The build for the prison isn’t quite done at this point, but the next steps start fleshing out the central portion of the village. From the rear, you can see that the cell door is made from two brown bars clipped together with white robot arms. A hinge brick connects the cell to the floor of the main island, allowing for easier access to both areas. On the far side of the central area is a modified brick with a rod that will connect to the beach zone.
The prison area is finished off with some SNOT building to add a rocky cliffside and more transparent orange elements, including small jets at the top made from candle flame elements. More flame appears in the center of the island inside a small cooking pit.
On the beach side, there’s a curving staircase decorated with a repeating pattern of curved dark tan bricks and leaves. The set uses both green and bright green leaves to keep things from looking too repetitive, and I really like the design of the steps. There are a two torches topped with transparent purple gems along the path, perhaps giving some context to the gems being transported in the 71748 Catamaran Sea Battle. At the top, there’s a white brick-built altar and a red Technic pin that will hold the Stone Golems.
The back of the set is pretty plain, but it does have decent access to that cooking fire.
It looks a little more elaborate when you add on the giant pot of fish stew and a Thunder Keeper chef. Not exactly inviting, but certainly more interesting.
The stew is prepared in a metallic titanium tub, and its ingredients include a bright light blue fish, carrots, and 1×1 transparent light blue plate for broth.
The final part of the build is to assemble the Stone Golems and mount them on the red Technic mounting pin to the left of the altar. Stacked, the golems form an impressive-looking totem pole, with the Storm Amulet atop the highest figure. This shot shows the full Village in its “compact” state, with the beach and prison sides folded in. This is nice for displaying in a smaller space, but the beach feels more like a pond at this angle.
Unfolding the hinges, you can spread things out for easier access. This has the downside of hiding the serpent-head, but the bonus of letting you interact with the prisoners. The beach also feels more “beachy,” with the suggestion that travelers must hike through the jungle to get to the Village proper.
A closer look at the Stone Golems shows how their sticker-based decorations and parts nicely match the deco on the Chief Mammatus minifigure. The teal accents in particular play across all the Island sets, with the most spectacular probably being the 71746 Jungle Dragon.
As shown on the box art, the Stone Golems can also be detached to create three separate figures. The build on each is nearly identical, with the main differences coming from the sticker-based faces and the selection of white weapons that are clipped into their hands. I think they look very nice, but I don’t care for the pointy teeth on the central figure – they obscure that great face artwork. The range of motion on the arms is also kind of bad, but they are more nimble than a minifigure thanks to the shoulder being ball-jointed.
Putting everything together, the Village makes for a great display. The Stone Golems give things a nice bit of height, the colors are vibrant, and there is a lot of interesting building techniques and textures to discover.
This set comes with five minifigures. All are new for the Island theme, and Island Cole is exclusive to this set. Considering this set is called the Keepers’ Village, I would have liked to see a third Islander figure or even a 2-3 split in favor of the natives. I suppose if you count the Stone Golems as “figures,” then the numbers are a little more on the Keepers’ side.
Island Cole is exclusive to this set. His face print isn’t new, but his hair, legs, and dual-sided torso are. He comes equipped with shoulder armor, silver sword, golden brick-built weapon, and a black mask.
Island Kai also appears in the 71748 Catamaran Sea Battle, but this is a less expensive way to obtain him. He also has new torso and leg prints, but his hair isn’t exclusive to the Island theme. It also appears in 2021’s 71730: Epic Battle Set – Kai vs. Skulkin. Matching his Catamaran appearance, Kai is equipped with two golden swords, a silver sword, shoulder armor, and a red mask.
Island Jay is another stowaway from the catamaran battle. He has new hair, as well as new leg and torso prints. He comes with shoulder armor, a golden knife-on-a-chain, a silver sword, and a blue mask.
The Thunder Keeper appears in the catamaran battle, too, as well as in the 71746 Jungle Dragon set. Like those other sets, the Keeper has a brick-built weapon, printed mask, and new head, torso, and leg elements. Considering the minifigure parity with the catamaran set, it’s interesting to note that the Village Keeper has a smaller tooth mounted in their weapon, compared to the claw in the catamaran set.
The final figure in this set is the impressive Chief Mammatus. He is identical to his appearance in the catamaran set, but I don’t think too many people will be upset if they end up with a duplicate of this figure. He comes with a great lightning-tipped spear, a dual-molded headdress, cloth cape, and unique prints for his face, torso, and legs. (This is notable as the other Villagers all share the same torso and leg printing.)
The headdress has removable tusks, so you can customize the look a bit if you want to.
That headpiece also looks great from the rear. It’ll be interesting to see how creative builders can work this part into non-minifigure creations.
Conclusion and recommendation
When I think about Ninjago sets, I tend to focus on the cool mechs and dragons. But this set reminded me that there are also a lot of great playsets in this theme, too. The Keepers’ Village has a lot of fun play features, some nice parts, a good mix of minifigures (including one that is exclusive to this set), and a satisfying building experience. At $50 US for 632 pieces, the price per part ratio is just under 8 cents, which feels pretty reasonable to me. Given a limited budget, I’d even consider picking this set up over the more expensive 71748 Catamaran Sea Battle. You get almost the same mix of characters, including the exclusive Cole, and a slightly more elaborate model. It’s not my favorite set in this wave (that’s the 71746 Jungle Dragon), but it’s a very close second.
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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