After a long wait, the summer 2022 line of Ninjago sets are available world-wide. We’ve taken a close look at several so far, but there’s still a lot of fun left to explore. Up next is Ninjago 71769 – Cole’s Dragon Cruiser. This 384 piece set can be yours for US $44.99 | CAN $59.99 | UK £39.99, and comes with four minifigures in addition to the vehicle. What do you say? Ready to take a ride?
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 Dragon Cruiser comes in a smaller-sized thumb-punch box. Like the rest of the Crystalized sets, the color scheme here is very neon, with the oranges of the car and Golden Dragon Kai standing out against the dark pink elements in the foes and background. The upper right corner has Lloyd and his Golden Ultra Dragon, and we get the Ninjago logo down the left side. The age range for this set is set at 8+, a reasonable benchmark for the complexity. Like other sets in this wave, the buildings in the background have a bit of Ninjagon text to decode. Nothing is fully shown, but the vertical and red signs probably reading “Team Up”, and the blue one spelling out “Ninja”.
On the back, we see the Cruiser with its movable blades angled forward, with that play feature shown clearly in the small inset shot in the bottom left. Other than the lack of the Ninjago logo and set IDs, this product shot could easily have been the graphic chosen for the front of the packaging.
The sticker sheet also has a tiny bit of Ninjargon to decode. The large symbol on stickers 2 and 6 is the letter “R”, a marking that appears on several of the hero’s vehicles and cowls. It’s a bit harder to make out, but I think the text on sticker 3 reads “Join!”
While the majority of the parts in this set are fairly common, there are two standouts. This set contains one new exclusive recolor – a transparent orange 6×6 canopy. This mold has had only one other appearance – in Jurassic Park 76956 T. Rex Breakout where it came in transparent black. Also new are the dual molded blades in transparent orange and gold. They currently share only one other appearance, also in the Crystalized theme: 71773 Kai’s Golden Dragon Raider.
The build starts off with a solid chassis with a small amount of SNOT connections and Technic beams to provide a rigid frame. The Cruiser is a two-seater, with a steering wheel on one side and a storage area on the other.
As this is a smaller set, things come together pretty quickly. The sides of the Cruiser get the first stickers, adding a bit of detail to the black and gold brick-built bodywork.
The vehicle’s weapons get added next, with the movable blades in the front and a pair of stud shooters mounted in the rear. The colors here reflect the signature hues of Cole, the earth ninja.
At this point you can pivot the blades forward if you want, creating a much more aggressive look over the streamlined version above.
The front end of the car has a hinged and stickered hood, with some interesting pipe detailing made from minifigure paint roller accessories.
The nose of the car gets a golden sword mounted on a robot arm. Because, clearly, there weren’t enough pointy bits on the bodywork.
The final bit of assembly sees some gold armor plating added to the rear wheels. This is a great bit design that we also saw on 71768 Jay’s Golden Dragon Motorbike .
The finished model
The completed Dragon Cruiser is a pretty sharp-looking vehicle. Must be all those dagger-like protrusions. More seriously, it has a nice low profile, beefy tires, and a well-balanced color scheme.
From other angles, you can tell this is a lower part count LEGO set, though. From the side and rear, you can see a lot of exposed Technic pings and connections. It’s not bad, per se, but it does detract from the sports car experience a bit. the underside is particularly ugly, but that’s pretty standard for any LEGO vehicle. And most real-world vehicles, too, when you think about it.
The opening hood play feature works well. According to the instructions, you’re meant to store Cole’s brick-built hammer accessory here.
Cole’s sword, on the other hand, doesn’t have a designated spot. You do have to remove it to allow for the minifigure to sit down properly in the cabin, so I just put it in the passenger area. As noted earlier, the blades and spikes don’t do the driver any favors, as they introduce quite a few blind spots. This may be why you need to be a ninja to steer this thing.
The movable sword on the front of the Dragon Cruiser does lower to a “ready to skewer a minifigure” height. Of course, to hit a foe with enough force to impale them you’re probably also going to go fast enough to smash them with the car itself if you miss. So win/win from an attack perspective.
If you do miss with the “run them down” approach, there are two tile shooters mounted in the back. I’m not the biggest fan of these, as I hate when I lose important (to me) 1×1 round elements under the couch or down the heating vent.
The main play feature is the rotating blades on the sides of the Cruiser. They look fun in either position, but the short clearance at the front of the car makes me question their utility as a slicing implement. Once again, if you’re close enough to be hit by them, you’re only microseconds away from being run over too.
Side by side with the Dragon Raider, you can see the common design elements in the hero vehicles of the Crystalized theme. Those beefy dual-molded blades are intimidating, and the repeated use of the gold wheel armor helps unify the look as well.
The Dragon Cruiser set comes with four minifigures, two of which are exclusive to this set. (Well, in the US at least. This version of Kai was also available as a promo with the Ninjago Magazine.) You get two baddies: General Aspheera and a Vengestone Brute. On the heroic side of the fence, you get Cole and Golden Dragon Kai.
The Vengestone Brute is a soldier/army-building figure for the Crystalized theme. Matching the build in other sets, it sports two transparent arms, a transparent leg, a dual-molded head, and printing on the legs and both sides of the torso.
If you follow the show, you’ll know that General Aspheera is the former leader of the Pyro Vipers and a Hypnobrai sorceress. If you don’t you’ll just know you scored a cool-looking figure exclusive to this set. She comes with a unique dual-molded head, transparent shoulder armor, and a ghostly trans-purple base.
Cole has the same outfit that we saw in 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon , but this set is the cheapest way to acquire him. He has a new part in a golden cowl with an “R” logo in Ninjargon, a dual printed torso, and printed legs. He gets a standard Cole head print, though. So at least he’s recognizable.
Golden Dragon Kai is the figure most people will be clamoring for. He shares the same basic part design as we’ve seen in the other Golden Dragon figures in the Crystalized there, but this time in dual-molded gold and transparent red.
The wings and helmet are removable, exposing a base transparent-red figure that is decked out with some intricate detailing. All the prints here are new.
Conclusion and recommendation
One of Ninjago’s core themes is “cool vehicles”, and Cole’s Dragon Cruiser certainly fits into that category. The Cruiser is a sharp-looking roadster with just enough play features to feel like more than just another racer. The minifigure selection is great, with two exclusives and two theme-specific entries. At 384 parts for $45 US, the price-per-part comes in at 11 cents, which seems fair for what you get. (Considering the recent LEGO price increases, anyway.) That said, there are cheaper Crystalized sets (like 71768: Jay’s Golden Dragon Motorcycle) that provide a bit more bang for the buck. But if you’re looking to complete your Golden Dragon ninja set, you probably won’t be too unhappy adding this one to your cart.
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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