LEGO Ninjago Legacy 40490: Ninjago 10 BrickHeadz [Review]: A purchase with purchase to purchase, but only in person

Ninjago fans have been celebrating the ten year anniversary of the theme, and LEGO is helping out with a new three-pack of BrickHeadz. Golden Lloyd, Nya Samurai X, and the Firstbourne Dragon all get the cubist treatment in Ninjago Legacy 40490: Ninjago 10 BrickHeadz . This 406 part set will be available from June 1 – June 30th, 2021 (or while supplies last) at LEGO stores only for US $10 | CAN $15 | UK £10 with qualifying US $85 | CAN $110 | UK £85 Ninjago purchases. Yes, this isn’t a “gift with purchase,” but rather a “purchase with purchase” offer. Come along as we take an early look at these three Ninjago icons!

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 front of the tab-sealed box has pretty standard BrickHeadz multipack styling – a lineup of the characters, some logos, a suggested age range of “10+” and not much beyond that. The title of this Legacy set is “Ninjago 10”, which I assume is referencing the 10 year Ninjago anniversary. Seems a little terse to me, though. The three characters included are Golden Lloyd (148), Nya Samurai X (146), and Firstbourne Dragon (147).

The back of the package has the characters seen from a slightly different angle, and an inset shot along the right side showing the figures being attached to their display bases.

Inside the box are four numbered part bags and three instruction booklets. Our review copy arrived with some pretty severe bends to the manuals, a common problem with these smaller sets.

Unlike most BrickHeadz sets, there are only a few printed elements to add extra pizzazz to the characters. There are some standard 1×1 round tiles with the BrickHeadz eyes pattern for Nya, and a single “Ninjago 10 Years” 2×2 round tile that we’ve seen accompany the golden collectible figures.  I didn’t spot any new colorations or particularly rare elements, but like most BrickHeadz sets there are a lot of generally useful bricks and tiles.

Golden Lloyd

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ninjago characters get the BrickHeadz treatment. Back in 2017 the Ninjago Movie had two tie-in sets: Lloyd and Master Wu.  That version of Lloyd was clad in black, with the majority of the character decoration focused in printed elements in the torso and cowl.  By comparison, Golden Lloyd’s exterior is assembled from a big ol’ pile of gold-toned elements. The bright green 2×2 round bricks used in the interior are also somewhat scarce, having only recently reappeared in the Super Mario 71362 Guarded Fortress Expansion Set.

The lack of standard plates and other parts in gold did challenge the designers a little. For example, the core of Lloyd’s figure uses 1×2 toothed plate with the teeth hidden inside the body. (There are also a fair number of medium nougat parts used, which are a pretty close match to gold color-wise.) Beyond those small variances, though, the construction of Lloyd is very similar to just about every other BrickHead: A square, squat center with plenty of outward facing studs, and an outer coating of character-specific details.

The stand for the figure incorporates the 10 year anniversary tile, giving the completed build the appearance of a giant version of the other Golden Anniversary figures. Rather than standard BrickHead eyes, Lloyd’s are his signature green, built with 1×1 transparent green round tile.  The gold, dark green, and medium nougat elements all work well together, providing enough visual interest to keep Lloyd looking like an Oscar award statue.

Golden Lloyd looks pretty good from all sides, but the reliance on 1×2 gold tile does break things up a little. I’m sure if 1×4 and 2×4 tiles had been available in gold, we’d have seen them here.

Despite that “10 year” tile, this BrickHead doesn’t match the Anniversary Golden Lloyd minifigure from 71735 Tournament of Elements. Instead, we get an upscaled version of Golden Lloyd from 71742 Overlord Dragon. The yellow minifigure head color glimpsed behind the cowl identifies the source set, as the “original” Golden Lloyd from 71702 Golden Mech had a gold head. Seen side-by-side, I think LEGO did a solid job of capturing key details from the look of the minifigure.

Nya Samurai X

The character of Nya has had a variety of identities in Ninjago lore. Among them, she spent some time as “Samurai X”. Even that identity had a few costume changes, and this BrickHead is based on her Season 5 look. There are a few changes from a “stock” build, including car fenders as shoulder armor, and a gold minifigure Chakram weapon helping to recreate her insignia.

Assembled, Samurai X is a fierce, yet adorable, warrior. The golden horns are a little tricky to position and tend to move out of alignment easily, but since these figures aren’t really meant to be played with this is a minor nit. The 1×2 rail plate in her mouth guard works very well, as do those beefy shoulder pads.

Seen in the round, the back of the figure doesn’t offer a lot of visual interest beyond the ridges on the helmet. This is also a minor complaint, as the look matches the character’s appearance just fine.

For a comparison, a minifigure version appeared in 2015’s 70737 Titan Mech Battle.
The gold elements in the center of the chest are pretty close, but might have benefited from another tile or two to fill out the bird shape a little more. As it is, it’s more of a “Dr. Manhattan” logo.

Firstbourne Dragon

The final character is a big departure from the expected human Ninja characters. Instead, we get an adorable chibi of the Firstbourne Dragon. This version fits onto the same 6×6 baseplate as other characters, allowing for easy inclusion into a larger character display. The body of the figure is far from the standard BrickHead build, obviously, with connection points for the wings and tail and slightly posable feet.

The head head has some nice details, with curved wedge plate creating a very angry look for the eyes. The toothy underbite take a bit away from the “dangerous” look, though.

The back of the Firstbourne dragon’s head uses bright orange cheese tiles and 1×2 roof tiles to create a scaly appearance. The black horns are attached via 1×1 round plate with bars, creating another spot where things never seemed to line up quite right. It’s also worth mentioning that getting the dragon on and off of its display stand isn’t particularly easy, as you’ll likely end up needing to reattach at least a couple of the feet every time.

The Firstbourne Dragon had a LEGO version in 2018’s 70653 Firstboune. As you can see from the inset below, the color and shaping from that set have carried over well into this smaller rendition. The cute underbite, though, is something I’ve come to expect from current Ninjago dragon head designs.

As a set

As a group, these three characters do a pretty good job of representing some of the great things about the Ninjago theme. You get a complex female character, a cool golden ninja, and a snappy looking dragon. All three are good looking builds, with bold colors and some interesting details. They’re easily recognizable as the characters they portray, which is often a challenge when you shrink things down to this scale.

Conclusion and recommendation

Seen strictly as a three pack of BrickHeadz characters, this set seems very much in line with other LEGO offerings. While the build on the human characters is pretty similar, there are a few minor tweaks that make each assembly unique. The Firstbourne Dragon is a nice departure from the norm, with a great design and a surprising amount of articulation. Evaluating the cost of this set is a little more tricky, as it’s a $10 US purchase on top of an additional qualifying $85 Ninjago purchase, (coupled with rather severe limitation of being an in-store only offer).  For $10, 406 pieces is a pretty sweet deal, but “Gift with purchase” would certainly have been sweeter. As would making this available to those of us without a local LEGO store to patronize.  Regardless, there are a good range of fun parts to be had, including a huge pile of gold elements. I don’t know how much crossover there is between Ninjago and BrickHeadz fans, but this fusion of the two works for me. If you’re already planning on picking up some of those sweet recent Ninjago sets, dropping a little more cash to add these to your collection seems like a good move to me.

Ninjago Legacy 40490: Ninjago 10 BrickHeadz will be available from June 1 – June 30th 2021 (or while supplies last) at LEGO physical retail stores only for US $10 | CAN $15 | UK £10 with qualifying US $85 | CAN $110 | UK £85 Ninjago purchases. It may 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.

Check out our full gallery of images

1 comment on “LEGO Ninjago Legacy 40490: Ninjago 10 BrickHeadz [Review]: A purchase with purchase to purchase, but only in person

  1. Håkan

    As a non-collector, I’m happy that the set doesn’t seem to include any unique printed parts. I’ve always found the artificial scarcity for the minifigs and printed parts of the limited releases annoying. A minifig in a properly released, massive D2C set feels fairer, business-wise… (Although I still have problems motivating the price for a personal purchase…)

Comments are closed.