LEGO Ninjago 71774: Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon – Are four heads are better than one? [Review]

Dragons and Ninjago: This fan-favorite thematic pairing returns in Summer 2022 with Ninjago 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon, part of Ninjago Season 15’s “Crystalized” theme. This 989 piece set will available June 1st in the UK, and August 1st worldwide, from the LEGO Shop Online for US $139.99 | CAN $179.99 | UK £124.99.  Featuring a giant cast of nine minifigures, a weapon-studded throne, and a massive four-headed dragon, this is the most expensive set in the wave…but it’s not the set with the most pieces. Does LEGO manage to justify the cost with the contents? Read on as we take an early look and decide for yourself!

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 and instructions

Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon comes packaged in a large tab-sealed box. The Crystalized theme’s package style returns to a more cinematic feel, ditching the more line-art stylings of the previous EVO wave. The Ultra Dragon fills the center of the scene, with the minifigures duking it out around the fringes on the left hand side while the Crystal King looks on from near his throne. Lloyd gets an inset shot in the upper right, surrounded by an artistic rendering of the Ultra Dragon. The age range is set at 9+, which feels appropriate for the build complexity in this set.

The back of the box has a slightly less energetic view of the Ultra Dragon, with the minifigures getting a bit more focus as they surround it. There’s an inset shot showing the dragon’s play feature of expanding wing vanes, but otherwise there’s not much else to see here. Interestingly, not shown is the Crystal King’s throne. Maybe the marketing team didn’t think it was worth diverting any focus from the dragon and figures.

Inside the box are seven numbered part bags, an eighth bag containing golden weapons, and a final bag with the instruction manual. There are no stickers in this set.

The manual’s cover has a very clean and minimalist look to it. It’s perfect bound, and 168 pages long. The tan stripe on the color carries over into the interior as the background shade for the instructions.

The parts

This set is….well…a gold mine for metallic gold elements. Of particular note are new scalloped wedges. 3×3 angled wedge brick, 2×2 corner slopes, and 2×4 angled wedge brick, all of which are new in gold. Rare pieces also include the 5×5 Rounded corner brick (in 2 recent Disney sets) and the 2 x 2 45 degree Elbow pipe which has only one previous appearance: 71391 Bowser’s Airship. The red 1×2 click hinge bricks in red are also a recent addition to the LEGO parts catalog, showing up in the upcoming 10302 Optimus Prime.

We’ll focus on the eight dragon head/jaw elements a bit later in the review, but here’s a group shot of them to whet your appetite.

Finally, we have some interesting Technic gearing (including the first dark tan appearance of the 6×6 quarter-circle gearing) and a six golden wing-vane elements. These blade-like parts shows up with dual-molded colors in several other Crystalized sets – but here we get a classy “basic” version in gold for the first time.

The build

Before we start in on the dragon, we first get to build the Crystal King’s weapon-laden throne. I’m sure this will feature somehow in the tv show, but for now it’s just a cool way to corral a copy of all the different golden weapons that come with this set.

I’m assuming this is the Crystal King’s throne, as transparent dark pink accents of crystal blades and 1×1 pyramid tiles, along with the purple base, are all colors associated with this season’s baddies. Lloyd might have something to say about that, though.  He is shown sitting on it in some of the product shots at, so I guess time will tell if that’s a plot point or not.

The build

The core of the Ultra dragon is a solid box of layered plate surrounded by SNOT connection points. The top edge gets a saddle in reddish brown, a detail I normally expect to see show up much later in the build.

The connection points for the dragon’s wings are held securely in place with slotted Technic beams and long pins. There’s zero wiggle in the mounting points once everything is locked in.

The dragon’s chest uses layers of curved angle brick to create a ridge of scales. Bar and hinge connections here help make a smoother curve along the lower edge of the body.

Once the core is assembled, a thick layer of gold plating is applied. The end result is a hefty metallic meatball.

The tail assembly relies on click hinges to help support the weight and keep things from flopping about. The first section might not actually qualify as “tail”, though, as it has the hinges for the rear legs.

The gold plating really does look formidable, though. It’s chunky enough to look like armor, rather than just an accent color. I do chuckle, though, at the straw hats that serve as circular medallions on both the chest and the tip of the tail. That’s one versatile part.

The allure of the Ultra Dragon is that it has four heads – one for each of the original Ninjas. First up we start with the lighting head. It uses the same gold and transparent yellow dual-molded piece we saw in 71768 Jay’s Golden Dragon Motorcycle, but this is a unique variation with additional eye and lightning effect printing.  Transparent yellow cheese wedge slopes bring the color scheme down along the neck segments.

The element of earth is represented in the second head. Black and dark grey accents on the next are the main identifier, as the head is all gold with cute little side horn detailing. The printing here makes for another exclusive part.

Fire comes next, with a head that uses transparent orange elements for some visual flair. The print is exclusive, too.

Rounding out the cast is the ice head. The dual molded gold and transparent blue head has the same shape as the lightning head, but the colors are so different you might now spot that at first. This makes for the fourth unique dragon head print. Maybe some adventurous builder will split these out into their own dragons. (Hey, if it was good enough for Tiamat…)

The front legs contain a portion of the build I’d like to caution folks about. The two Technic angled connectors at the elbow are joined by a black Technic pin. Be sure not to skip that step. I did, and wondered why the legs kept breaking on me when trying to pose the completed model. Without the pin, the front of the legs can twist, but this will pull the elbow connection apart in the process. Anyway. An easy thing to miss, so keep an eye out.  A model that can actually stand up is a fair trade for having the legs locked in position.

Anyway, when built according to the instructions, the legs have plenty of strength to hold up the weight of those four heads.

The rear legs are also locked at the knee, but that’s mitigated by the click hinge hips and ball joints on the feet.

If you prefer your dragons wingless, this is where you’d want to stop. It’s also a good time to pause and appreciate the overall body shaping of this dragon. I really like the chunky feel here, and it’s pretty necessary to counterbalance the abundance of heads. That area of things is unavoidably cluttered and hard to read in photos, but in person the separate heads stand out from each other pretty well.

The wings have some interesting Technic construction, with a knob that uses both a Ninjago spinner crown and another straw hat as decoration.

Assembled, there are three “fingers” in each dragon wing. I’ve complained about spiky dragon wings in the past, but the extra thick vanes look okay here.

The completed Ultra Dragon

The completed Ultra Dragon is one of the heftier entries into the Ninjago world.  The thick plating of gold armor is offset by just a touch of white in the chest, feet, and wings, with small pops of color from the four elementally-themed heads. The overall look is a bit busy, but there’s legitimately a lot going on here.

From the rear there are few weak points. The backside of the wings and the underside of the tail both feel a little unfinished. You can at least reposition the tail easily enough to hide this angle if you want to. And, in general, there’s great articulation throughout. There are plenty of possible poses, and they all are fairly stable.

The wings have a distinctive look in both the open and closed position. As play features go, it’s not a bad one. At least they didn’t try and shoehorn in flick-fire missiles somehow.

The motion here is smooth, and pretty eye catching, really. It should be able hold up to some heavy play.

As usual, the small saddle for the dragon’s rider feels underwhelming. It does its job well enough, though. Sadly, Golden Oni Lloyd is pretty much invisible against the armor of the dragon.

The multiple dragon heads are pretty fun. Here they are enjoying a between-meals snack.

Comparison to other Ninjago Dragons and other big lizards

Lloyd was treated to a large dragon set in the EVO wave: 71766 Lloyd’s Legendary Dragon. That series of sets wasn’t tied to a season of the TV show, though, so maybe it doesn’t count. Side by side, you can see some similarities in design – both share the same rounded torso, foot design, and even have similar tail tips.  They’re clearly different dragons, though – the head mold on the Legendary doesn’t match up with any of the four in the Ultra.

I mentioned my dislike of the earlier Ninjago “finger style” dragon wings earlier, so I thought I’d break out the Overlord dragon and see how they looked side-by-side. The thicker wanes and more integrated wing really do help. I still think the Overlord looks way too spindly in comparison. To be fair, though, the Overlord was $30 US vs the Ultra’s $140. So it’s not really a fair fight.

And, for you Jurassic World: Dominion fans, I thought it might be interesting to see the Ultra next to the Giganotosaurus  from the 76949 Giganotosaurus & Therizinosaurus Attack set. This is one cross-market battle I’d be more than willing to watch.

The minifigures

This set comes with an impressive nine minifigures. On the hero side, you get most of the main hero characters – the four original ninjas in new golden outfit variations, and an exclusive Golden Oni Lloyd. All of the base ninja characters share the same features: A new dual-molded cowl with a Ninjargon “R” on the color-coded headband, new dual sided torsos, and new leg printing. They also comes equipped with a golden sword accessory and shoulder armor.

Golden Kai is also available in 71773 Kai’s Golden Dragon Raider.

Golden Zane can also be found in 71770 Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet.

Golden Cole can also be found in 71769 Cole’s Dragon Cruiser.

Golden Jay can also be found in 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech

Golden Oni Lloyd is the only exclusive figure in this set, and he’s a pretty unique variation. We last saw Oni masks in 2016’s Sons of Garmadon wave. but this is an all new take on the visor. Llloy’d dual sided torso and legs are also new prints.

Will Lloyd be a match for the Crystal King? At least he has some history fighting bad guys with four arms.

The foes in the Crystalized theme all feature a transparent dark-pink and black color scheme. I have to say, I’m a sucker for transparent elements, and seeing them show up in minifigures is always a treat. This set comes with four villains – two Vengestone Brutes, a Vengstone Warrior, and the “my, aren’t you a tall drink of water” Crystal King.  None of these minifigures is exclsuive to this set, but all are exclusive to the Crystalized theme.

The Vengstone Warrior (left) and Vengstone brute (right) are identical except for their torsos. Both feature a theme-exclusive dual-molded head, and printed lower bodies with a transparent dark pink leg.  The Brute has two transparent dark pink arms, while the Warrior has to make due with just one.

The back printing on the torsos is also different between the two characters.

At some point, LEGO was going to make the Brutes stand out a bit more. On the front of the packaging, they have transparent dark pink shoulder armor. Sadly, that doesn’t carry over into the actual set contents.  The piece in question does exist – it comes with the Mechanic figure in the 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech set.

Interestingly, the instructions don’t include that shoulder armor – and neither does the rest of the box. Every other time the Brutes appear, they’re “naked.”  Which is a bummer – without the armor they’re almost indistinguishable from the Warriors. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even realize there were two different types until I was mid-way through writing this review.

At least you’re not going to mistake the Crystal King for one of his subordinates. He has a “torso extender” with an extra set of arms, a feature we’ve seen Garmadon sport in several earlier seasons. His oni mask, torsos, and legs are all new prints. The same version of this minifigure appears in 71771 The Crystal King Temple.

Conclusion and recommendation

Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon is the most expensive of the Crystalized sets, coming in at $140 US for 989 pieces. (The award for most parts goes to the $120 US 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech with 1003).  That gives this set a pretty unimpressive cost-per-part ratio of just over 14 cents per. There are factors to justify that higher ratio, though. Nine minifigures (one of which is exclusive to this set) and a ton of new part recolors and rare elements all drive up the core cost of the set.  The selection of characters here means you have most of the core cast in one set (with the sad lack of any female characters) as well as a decent amount of baddies for them to interact with.  As to the Ultra Dragon – I do like the build quite a bit. It’s hefty, stable, durable, and has an interesting play features in the adjustable wingspread.  The four heads make for an interesting and different creature to add to the Ninjago bestiary, too. The Crystal King’s throne is pretty much a throwaway build, though, and doesn’t really at much to the set or its play value. So this set earns a qualified recommendation from me. The cost is a little high for what you get, so waiting for a sale or other promotion might be the way to go if you want to add this set to your collection. But if you have deep pockets (or feel the set contents justify the full price) then why wait? 

LEGO Ninjago 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon will available June 1st in the UK, and August 1st worldwide, from the LEGO Shop Online for US $139.99 | CAN $179.99 | UK £124.99. 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.

Check out our full gallery of images