LEGO Ninjago 71770: Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet – Let’s imagine dragons again. [Review]

LEGO just revealed the first 2023 Ninjago sets, and that reminded us that we still had a little more to share from the (still available!) Summer 2022 Crystalized wave! LEGO Ninjago 71770 Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $34.99 | CAN $44.99 | UK £24.99. This 258 piece offering is one of the smaller sets in the sub-theme, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in coolness. Come along and see what we thought!

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

Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet comes in a thumb-punch box. Like the rest of the Crystalized sets, the color scheme here is very neon,  with the gold of the jet and Golden Dragon Cole standing out against the dark pink elements in the 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 7+, a reasonable benchmark for the complexity. This is a great set for younger builders.

The back of the box has a product shot very similar to the front, with a small added inset showing off the swing-wing play feature.

Inside the box are three numbered part bags, a unnumbered bag containing golden weapons, a sticker sheet, and a 100 page, perfect bound instruction manual.

The sticker sheet is printed on a clear background. There’s a small bit of Ninjargon to decode: On the heads-up display (sticker 2) the bar at the top reads “Target”, and sticker 5 has “Boost” along both edges. Like the team branding in other Crystalized sets, the large icon on sticker 4 is the letter “R”.

The parts

For a 258 piece set, there’s a good mix of interesting parts. The dual-molded dragon head and blades are both unique to this set.

The build

The construction on the jet begins with the cockpit area. It’s nothing too complex, mostly studs-up stacking with a bit of SNOT on the sides to allow for the armor plating to be attached at a ninety degree angle. The heads-up display sticker goes directly onto the cockpit. I’m not fond of that, but I don’t see a good option for alternate placement. The “R” logo on the nose is also a sticker, a fair choice as I doubt LEGO would have a need to reuse that particular print in the future.

The main body of the jet uses hinged plate and rail bricks for the swing-wing play feature. Blue Ninjago spinner toppers add a nice bit of flair to the turbines in the wings. More stickers go on the angled tiles at the leading edge – these are also nice prints that are rife for custom usage.

The wings are mirrored builds. The assembly here isn’t too complex, and the motion is sooth and unlikely to jam up.

Pulling on the white 2×4 area at the front brings the wings back in to the body.

The Mixel ball socket connection points for the cockpit is built into that 2×4 area. The detail on the 2×2 curved slope is another sticker.

The rear of the craft gets some beefy engines and gold-toned engine covers. The center rib of the jet is concealed by a large stickered 5×6 hexagonal clip-flag.

The finished model

The cockpit section of the Golden Dragon Jet serves as a great escape pod/mini-fighter on its own. The dual-molded dragon head nose looks good, and although I’m not thrilled with the sticker on the cockpit window, it does work well as a heads-up display. It does address my usual concerns about a lack of control surfaces for the pilot.

From the rear, you get a row of exposed hollow studs that make for a good jet array. The Mixel ball joints that connect this assembly to the main jet don’t look out of place, either.

When things are joined together you get a pretty swanky looking vehicle. The color scheme is unified, and gives a nicely icy feel to things. As discussed above, the dual-molded blades on the wings are adjustable – a play feature that harkens back to 2019’s 70668 Jay’s Storm Fighter.

Both positions for the wings look good. The “X-Pose”, above, looks good for an attack run, while the second position looks ready for some serious swooshing.

Here’s a couple of rear-angle shots to showcase the back end.  The engines look okay, but I think I would have preferred a round 2×2 or 3×3 dish in trans blue for the jet effect, instead of the 1×1 round tile we got. It’s an easy enough substitution, if you have the parts on hand.

One of the best features of this set is the integration with the minifigure selection. While you might normally see a couple of land-based characters primed for a strafing run, you get two wing-equipped combatants ready to take things into the clouds.

The minifigures

This version of Golden Zane also appears in 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra-Dragon, but this is the cheapest way to acquire him. He has new torso and leg printing, a new cowl, and a standard (30+ appearances) dual-sided Zane head print.

On the villain front, the baddie for this set is General Vangelis. He’s unique to this set, but the only unique element here is the new face print. Still, this is a pretty sweet looking figure. The crystal weapons look great, and the wings allow for better in-flight play with both the Golden Jet and Golden Dragon Cole.

Speaking of Golden Dragon Cole, here he is! Like the other Golden Dragon ninja variations, this is a real standout in terms personal favorites. The dual molded gold and transparent orange wings look great, the dual-molded helmet is swanky, and the base figure is awash in transparent plastic and dual-sided printing.

The complete set of four Golden Dragons are, of course, spread out throughout the Crystalized wave, requiring four different purchases:

It’s disappointing that the story didn’t also give us a dark blue Nya Golden Dragon. I suppose she did get a very high-end “dragon type” in 71754 Water Dragon.

Conclusion and recommendation

If I were gift shopping and needed to grab a mid-range LEGO set off the shelf, this is one that I’d seriously consider. This is a fun set. The build is pretty quick, but there’s some complexity in the swing-wing play feature to enjoy. There are also a bunch of cool parts, including dual-molded gold/transparent blue ones. The minifigure spread is good, too, with two exclusive figures and one 2nd-appearance. The price point is a steep (particularly after the 2022 LEGO price hike) at 13.5 cents/per, but there are a lot of quality elements/figures here to make that ratio feel…well…not terrible.  Maybe I’m just a sucker for those Golden Dragon ninjas. There are worse fates.

LEGO Ninjago 71770 Zane’s Golden Dragon Jet is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $34.99 | CAN $44.99 | UK £24.99. It is 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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