LEGO Ninjago 71759: Ninja Dragon Temple – This dragon has the blues [Review]

The majority of the 2022 Ninjago summer wave is taken up with the new Crystalized theme, but there’s also another entry to the “core” sets – LEGO Ninjago 71759 Ninja Dragon Temple. This 161 piece set features styling similar to last years EVO theme, and is aimed at younger builders in the 4+ age range. These sets tend to be a bit expensive – come along and see just what you get for your US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99.

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

Like last year’s EVO sets, this offering doesn’t tie directly into the animated Ninjago lore, but rather focuses on the “core” Ninjago concepts of vehicles, dragons and mechs. There’s no mech this time, but we do get a vehicle and a dragon. The packaging has a nicely subdued line-art style, with the set’s contents easily identifiable.  This is a set aimed at younger builders, as the “4+” logo in the lower left strongly points out.

The back of the thumb-punch box has a very neatly organized view of the set’s contents, as well as a “learn to build” teaser and an action shot of the characters in battle.

Inside, there are four center-stapled instruction booklets, a loose 8×8 modified plate, and four numbered parts bags. As is common for 4+ sets, there are no stickers.

Book One

This set is broken up into four distinct subsets, and we’ll tackle each one separately.  First up is Nya with a blue and red dragon. There’s also a small stand-alone flame element, which feels a bit out of place/unnecessary.  Maybe it’s part of some unusual Ninjago/Canadian curling sports event?

The dragon is fairly chunky but does feature a lot of interesting parts. The wings are a new element, with a tri-color molded treatment. The head and jaw have exclusive colors/printing.   The legs have been seen only once before in another 4+ Ninjago set, 71701: Kai’s Fire Dragon.

Best of all there’s a new Technic connection piece! (Listed as “4.85 BUSH 3 M, FRICTION, W/ 5.9 BALL” on Brickset)

I think you’ll understand if I don’t go into my normal level of detail about the build. The completed model looks pretty good for a junior-sized dragon, with a strong range of vibrant colors.

It does feel a little weird that the designers didn’t go with the well-established “saddle” approach, but rather have Nya sit in a hole in the back of the beast.

Genetic mutation or just a concession to easy building? You make the call!

Book Two

The second model is a Dragon Temple, a small playset featuring a tree, a training area, and a place to sit and contemplate just how cool dragon-themed golden swords are.

This model also has a new part – This 2 x 8 x6 frame appears in dark brown for the first time.

Once again I’ll skip over the build as by design there’s nothing challenging. The end result looks good, though, with a nicely organic (if a bit bare) tree, a suitably spiky roof, and a bit of a play feature in the training area.

The temple does make use of the back of the wall frame element to add some texture, a nice design choice. The inclusion of the tea cup adds a bit of introspective inspiration to what would otherwise just be an outright celebration of dragon-themed weaponry.

The training zone has a pair of sai mounted on a spinning base. The added touch of rocks and greenery do a good job of making this feel like an actual location, rather than just “ninja things stuck on a baseplate.”


Book Three

Now that we have our dragon and our temple, it’s time to bring on the bad guys.  This set includes two –  Cobra Mechanic and Sneaky Snake. You also get a small catapult and a swanky serpent bike.

The bike includes a new printed slope element for the front cowling, some teal accent elements, and a handful of the relatively new yellow Technic pins. The vehicle frame has had only one other appearance in dark grey: 76189: Captain America and Hydra Face-Off.

The completed bike looks pretty good for only using a handful of pieces. The colors are bright and integrate well with the other EVO/Core sets we’ve seen.

I do like that they had included handlebars for the snakes to steer with. A lot of times control surfaces are just left up to the imagination.

The catapult build is very minimal but does give us four transparent bright green cones to add to our after-market arsenals.

Book Four

The final build is another temple, with a visiting Kai minifigure. Could it be that the set from bag 2 wasn’t the Dragon Temple, and this one is? Are they just part of the same temple? The set description lists “2 temples”…so the Dragon Temple has to be one or the other, right? Questions that have no easy answers. 

Why would this be the Dragon Temple? Well, it comes with a very, very young Dragon with an enormous eye. This printed part has appeared only once before in the 60302: Wildlife Rescue Operation set, making that CITY offering an inadvertent Ninja crossover. Do dragons count as wildlife?

Anyway, this smaller temple is a very fast build, with another minimalist tree, a bit of greenery, and that egg.

Happily, this little sub-set also looks okay from the rear angle. The mix of brown shades in the tree isn’t great, but I doubt too many kids will complain.

The minifigures

Kai, the fire ninja, has printing identical to his EVO appearances,  including the 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech. He has a dual-sided torso print, a very common dual-expression face, and printed legs.

Water Ninja Nya also has the same detailing as her EVO appearances, like in 71766 Lloyd’s Legendary Dragon.  Like Kai, she has a dual-sided torso print, a common dual-expression face, and printed legs.

The two snake baddies are identical except for their choice of weapons. The LEGO site names them Cobra Mechanic and Sneaky Snake. The head design used here first appeared in the 2019 Pyro Whipper and Char figures, and the printing is common across the EVO/core theme.

Conclusion and recommendation

If you’re a younger builder you’ll likely love this set. There are four distinct models to make, plenty of good and bad guys to create your own battles, and some interesting playsets to stage those battles in. As advertised, the builds are non-challenging, yet they look good and are a good stepping stone towards more advanced techniques. Plus there’s a cool and unique dragon.

If you’re the person shelling out the cash for this set? Odds are you’re not going to be as happy. For $40 us you get 161 pieces, meaning you’re looking at nearly 25 cents per part. Sure, there are four  (non-unique) minifigs here, and some new recolors and prints for elements…but…really? That’s just way too high for a set that doesn’t have licensing fees to deal with. At half the price this would be something to consider. Unless you just have to have every dragon variant I’d pass this up and put that $40 towards a different Ninjago offering.

Ninjago 71759 Ninja Dragon Temple is available now in the UK, and August 1st worldwide from the LEGO Shop Online for US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99. 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.

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