LEGO Ninjago 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple – Building on the Ninjago EVO theme [Review]

We’ve been taking a close look at the new Ninjago EVO theme – a departure from the cartoon-based series tie-ins with a return to “core” Ninjago concepts.  This means a less obvious storyline, but a welcome invitation to be more imaginative with your own adventures. The largest of the first wave, LEGO Ninjago 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple is a 1394 piece set that will be available January 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £89.99. Come along as we take a close look at this new headquarters…and see if we can’t spot some hints as to where the ninjas might be headed next!

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.

Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

The box art for the EVO-themed sets are a departure from the more cinematic designs of previous waves. The background has been simplified to a more line-art style, with flat colors and no pretensions of being an immersive scene. This results in a high level of contrast between the package art and the set contents – a welcome change that should help shoppers know just what they’re buying. In this case, the dojo is front and center, with the EVO Fire mech taking on the snake’s battering ram vehicle. The action is very cartoony, with speed lines and little clouds of dust making for a dynamic image.

The back of the tab-sealed box is even starker, with a white background that looks a lot like a clip–art ready catalog shot. Again the only concessions to marketing are simple speed lines; the rest of the main photo is limited to the set contents. The inset shots along the bottom edge are a bit more playful, with shots of the various playset features and locations. Next to the LEGO logo is a shot of Nya holding a banner with the legend “Level up to complete the mission.” There really isn’t any hint as to what “the mission” is, but looking at the entire wave for context, the banner is meant to be a collectible reward for defeating the baddies.

The side of the package has a bit more about the EVO theme – the slogan of “Train. Progress. Reward” appears, along a yellow banner with ninjargon text reading “TRAIN AND PROGRESS.”  The URL shown at the bottom edge of the package (with the “Be Ninja” ninjargon above it) currently redirects to the Ninjago theme shopping page – maybe that’ll change once the theme is available for retail sale.

Inside the box are twelve numbered parts bags.

There is also a bag containing the 296 pages, perfect-bound instruction manual, and sticker sheet.

The sticker sheet is reasonably large, and contains some great art and tons of ninjargon to decode. We’ll cover those bits as they come up in the build.

The parts

This set has a few new molds that are currently unique to the Ninjago EVO line, cast in colors exclusive to this set. There are two chest-plates in red and metallic black, and new single-piece “locked hinges” in orange. There are also new flared armor parts in red. A new 1×1 round tile launcher appears in gold as well.

Another standout are these new curved slope 1×2 bricks in reddish-brown and white. Finally, there are two new printed elements. The 2×2 round tile appears in several EVO sets, but the 2×3 tile with dojo design is unique.

The Rammer

The build starts out with the bad guy’s vehicle, identified in the product text as “The Rammer.” It’s a relatively simple build with just a touch of SNOT building to keep things interesting. The large wheels are attached with Technic pins with a very sinister spiked hubcap.

There’s not much of a hammer-head for a vehicle called “The Rammer” to the design. There is a spike of sorts on the leading edge, though, and I suppose I certainly wouldn’t want to be hit by it. The giant front wheels give it an aggressive stance, regardless. The mix of orange and teal accents provides a lot of contrast to the metallic wheels and armor.

From the rear, you can see clips mounted under the teal 1×2 cheese slope. There aren’t any explicit uses for them in the instructions, but I’m sure you could clip a weapon on there if you wanted to.

Speaking of the instructions, there are full-page illustrations of the story for the set, starting out with the Boa Destructor villain chasing down Kai with the Rammer. It’s an excellent addition that breaks up the build a little, and the art is really fun.

EVO Fire Mech

The story continues with Kai running off to get his EVO Fire Mech, similar to Zane’s Icy version in set 71761. Unlike Zane’s, the instructions don’t call out the “EVO” options – you build the fully “powered up” mech. The core of the mech is designed to hold a minifigure, protected by that cool new scalloped chest plate.

The arms and legs make use of the new “fixed hinge” element. While it provides no actual articulation, it does pre-pose the arms and legs in an active stance.  The Fire Mech has a shoulder-mounted gun array that includes the new 1×1 round tile shooter.

The completed Fire mech looks pretty good, with a warm color scheme of red, orange and gold. The “Reward flag” for the set mounts to a pole on the mech’s back.

The mech is a bit more lackluster from the back but feels a bit more polished than Zane’s version, mainly thanks to that 2×2 boat tile smoothing out the torso.

So Kai (with Pixal’s help) can chase off the Boa Destructor. Go team!

Here’s a comparison shot of the two mechs. Similar to the subs in the Seabound theme, they’re pretty similar in basic design but distinct enough to feel like more than just recolored clones.

Ninja Dojo Temple Build

With the side-builds out of the way, we can move on to the Ninja Dojo Temple. The first part to be assembled is a small washroom on the ground floor. 2×4 rounded tiles are used to provide a smooth surface for the start of a curved staircase assembly. There’s also a light nougat spider lurking under those stairs, which is nearly invisible in the completed build.

If you look close, you can still spot that spider, but you’re more likely to notice the hot and cold water taps, and the bucket with a bit of pipe in it. A sink holds a single 1×1 round plate in transparent light blue, standing in for wash-water.

The washroom is in the center of the first floor, and the rest of the groundwork goes in next, extending the dojo to its full width. The stairs on the front of the building have a great-looking organic curve that makes use of some very non-standard angles.

One side of the dojo has an entranceway and storage for the ninja’s cowls. I’m not sure why hat-racks are such the rage in Ninjago sets recently, as I couldn’t help but be reminded of the perplexing display stand that came with the Hydro Bounty.

Just over the rack, though, is a flat-screen TV showing a very interesting ad. The ninjargon here translates to “Street Ninja: Coming Soon“. Could this be a teaser for the next wave of Ninjago sets? I know I’m curious about that red and white Street Ninja – and is that Akita in her wolf form?

The first floor next gets a roof, or the second story gets a floor. You make the call.

Opposite the TV room is this break-away wall section. It’s meant to work with the Rammer vehicle as a way for the snake forces to breach the dojo’s defenses. The wall holds together pretty well when you’re not poking at it and does come apart when you crash the Rammer into it. So kudos to the designers for making something sturdy-yet-fragile.

The second floor has two side areas – Master Wu’s tea room and an armory. The tea room has a very useful stickered tile – the Ninjargon alphabet. Considering the amount of coded text in this set, this is a great way to help new fans discover the easter eggs scattered over a lot of the Ninjago world. In the armory is a small stickered 1×2 tile that reads “Team Work.”

The tall banners on the front windows have the characters “J K N C Z L” on them – the initials of Jay, Kai, Nya, Cole, Zane, and Lloyd.

On either side of the front door are these two urns. One of them holds a secret, forbidden donut. This is a fun easter egg only the builder is likely to discover – sort of like the dagger is hidden in the urn in the 71735 Tournament of Elements set.

By this point, the dojo is really starting to come together. The individual rooms each have a strong play theme, with easy access to the spaces from the dojo’s open back.

The front doors of the dojo are stockade-style, appearing for the first time here in red. They get some brick-built accents with gold throwing stars for doorknobs. (Ouch – Not very inviting!)  Red lanterns are hung around the dark-green eaves, and the roof also gets some gold trim thanks to some more cleverly integrated weapons.

The third floor consists of a single room. There aren’t any stairs to reach it, but I guess ninjas live here, so they’ll be able just to climb the wall or something.

The final room is a small temple dedicated to Master Wu. His portrait here is a small sticker.

The shrine is flanked by more golden weapons because of course, it is. Maybe this is the “training area” described in the product description. The split-level floors here would make for a dynamic fight scene.

However, there is a danger if the fighting spills out onto the eaves. Case in point – someone knocked over a cup of tea onto their newspaper! The spilled cup is mounted on one of the “action stands” that appeared with the DC Collectible minifigures. The stickered newspaper reads “NGC News” and “SNAKES!” if you were wondering.

On the opposite eave is a bit of storage. A crate holds a set of roller skates, an umbrella rests in a box, and a small Master Wu sticker is on a 1×2 tile. Is it a travel guide? A secret Ninja handbook? I’m sure someone knows, but that someone is not me.

The final area to be built out in the dojo is Pixal’s workshop. It features a number of stickers with technical readouts, a control panel, a big red button, and some levers. The ninjargon here reads “MECH ENERGY” on the center screen, and “PIXAL” on the left.

The workshop connects to the TV room with a clip, and swings in to sit flush with the wall.

Outside, there’s a training zone (probably what the LEGO website was talking about, now that I think of it) that connects to the main building via a bridge built from some red roller-coaster track. The small island-like outcropping also has a spindly tree with a bit of autumn-hued leaves on it.

The “training” aspect is shown on the back of the box – it’s an area for Nya to practice her water blasts to knock the flame off of the three torches. The flames are just sitting on the inverted 1×1 cones, so they’re easy to knock off with her power-blasts and even easier to get lost under the couch.

The finished model

The completed dojo is an appealing playset. The red and dark green colors are bright and eye-catching without feeling overly garish. The bridge to the training island looks good, and there are plenty of little details to catch your eye when looking at the façade.

From the rear, all of the play areas are easy to reach, and there’s plenty for the ninjas to do. The only complaint I have is that the room with the collapsing wall should probably have had some minor level of decoration. Right now, it feels like the Snakes are exceedingly lucky to have an empty room to start their invasion from.

It’s worth noting that this set is designed to link up to the 71764 Ninja Training Center set.  Sadly, LEGO didn’t include that set in our review bundle, so we can’t show you how that would work out. In fact, while the set is mentioned by name in the product description (“Build and play – This 1,394-piece building kit can be combined with the Ninja Training Center (71764) playset“) but it doesn’t even have a product listing page at this time. Considering LEGO pulled a number of sets from their January 2022 releases, it’ll be interesting to see if the Training Center makes it out the door to consumers at all.

The minifigures

This set comes with eight minifigures – two snake villains, four ninjas, Pixal, and Master Wu.  Both Pixal and Master Wu are exclusive to this set,

The two baddies are Cobra Mechanic and Boa Destructor, snake-themed foes common to the EVO line. The shared head design first appeared in the 2019 Pyro Whipper and Char figures, but appears here with two inverted metallic black and orange dual-molded color schemes. You can find Cobra Mechanic in 71762 Kai’s Fire Dragon, although there they lack the drill backpack. The Boa Destructor is also in the 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech (Sadly another set not included with our review offering. I have a feeling I’ll be buying that one on my own as soon as the new year rolls around…)

Boa Destructor comes with gauntlets and shoulder armor, while the Cobra Mechanic has a backpack-mounted armature with two drills. Both figures have printed legs and dual-sided torso designs.

The assortment of ninjas includes Kai, Lloyd, Nya, and Cole. None are unique to this set, but all are new versions for the EVO theme.

All four feature a new dual-molded cowl and new designs for their leg printing and dual-sided torsos. The faces are all common versions, though, helping keep the characters recognizable.

Master Wu and Pixal are both versions unique to this set. Pixal is the standout, though, with her base figure made of entirely new prints and a new silver hairpiece.

Both figures have new designs for their leg printing and dual sided-torsos. Pixal’s back reads “Pixal”, as you might have guessed. As noted above, Pixal’s head is a new print, while Wu has the same expression he’s had in ten previous appearances.

Fans of ninja weapons will be pleased to learn that LEGO has “overfilled” (i.e.: “provided an extra”) of almost every weapon included in the set, leading to a great big pile of sharp-edged bonus pieces.

Conclusion and recommendation

The Ninjago EVO line is an exciting departure from the norm for this theme. The sets are very much stand-alone. Oh, sure, LEGO tried to make it a “collect them all” wave with the inclusion of “mission-specific” Wisdom Flag tiles, but honestly, there isn’t enough information on the packaging or instructions to make this much of a draw if you’re not obsessively reading to try and puzzle out what the heck they’re supposed to be. But that’s not a bad thing – these sets lean heavily into “imagine your own adventures” – something you don’t get with most Star Wars or Super Hero Movie-based themes. The play features here are somewhat minimal – a breakaway wall and some tipsy torch tops – but there are lots of adventure hooks to be had with the generic snake villains and EVO mechs. The dojo build is engaging and fun, and translating the ninjargon stickers gives you a little extra to do. For $100 US for 1394 pieces, the price-per-part ratio is just over 7 cents per, which is a solid value. For that, you get eight minifigures (two of which are exclusive), new parts and recolors, and a good mix of useful elements. As a “gateway to Ninjago fandom” set, this one is a solid winner that will also appeal to long-time fans. It should also appeal to folks looking for a parts pack or just a fun building experience. There are certainly worse ways to blow a hundred bucks.

LEGO Ninjago 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple will be available January 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £89.99. It may also be 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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