LEGO Ninjago 71822 Source Dragon of Motion – Will you be moved to purchase? [REVIEW]

A LEGO Ninjago wave would only be complete with at least one dragon, and while 71814 Tournament Temple City does come with a small dragon, there is a much more impressive dragon coming out this summer, and it is awe-inspiring! LEGO Ninjago 71822 Source Dragon of Motion is possibly the sturdiest dragon ever from the theme, and considering how long the theme has been around, that is saying something. Measuring 25 inches in length, with a 29-inch wingspan, this might even be the largest single-headed Ninjago dragon ever. Setting all kinds of records, LEGO Ninjago 71822 Source Dragon of Motion comes with 1,716 pieces and will be available starting on June 1st, for US $149.99 | CAN $199.99 | UK £129.99

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, instructions, and stickers

The set comes in a large rectangular box taped on all four sides. The Dragons Rising branding is also present. On the front of the box, the finished dragon is featured prominently against an illustrated background set in the foothills of the mountains. The dragon has been captured by the Wolf Mask clan, and they’ve attached an imposing saddle with a wolf’s head and a gong. There is also a line-up of the 6 included minifigures in the bottom right corner. Six small fire dragons swarm the characters doing battle around the dragon.

On the back of the box, the dragon has been liberated, and is shown rearing up on its hind legs while the heroes celebrate another victory over their enemies. There are two inset images: one of the dragon’s dimensions and the other of the Wolf Mask clan saddle.

Inside the box, there are 19 paper parts bags and a plastic sheet with the wings. There is a separate envelope for the 5 instruction booklets and a small sticker sheet.


The build

Booklet 1 covers the main torso, which is segmented in the middle to allow side-to-side movement in a limited range. This is accomplished by using Technic pins to attach to a pair of large click hinges and a variety of elements with studs on more than one side.

Building up the torso further, we add several angled slopes with sculpted edges. The sides are shaped with a variety of slopes in red and dark red, with Technic bricks left exposed for attachment points for the front legs. There are also a pair of double-pronged mech joints where the wings will attach.

The lower part of the torso is next and includes several transparent orange slopes and plates as fire along the dragon’s back. The two parts of the torso attach and allow a range of motion of about 30 degrees.

Before moving on to booklet 2 and the front legs, we finish building the underbelly, which uses clips and gold bar elements to attach assemblies with studs in multiple directions. A pair of 2×2 tiles with Technic pins fuse the underbelly to the top of the torso section before locking down the completed torso with a few well-placed parts.

Already the torso is sturdy and heavier than it looks. The use of gold elements along the top and bottom, as well as shifting from red to dark red along the sides, gives the dragon a very organic feel.

Booklet 2 covers both of the front legs, which are mirror build of each other. This starts with the shoulder joint, again shifting from red to dark red along the leg, and bearing gold armor details and a sticker. The lower leg is small and has a large ball joint to attach the foot.

The front leg attaches to the torso using a double-pronged mech joint for added stability. We repeat the build reversed for the right foreleg and attach it to the other side of the torso.

The front feet are next, and they are attached to the ball joint with a large socket joint. There is a small rubber element inside the feet to provide a bit of cushion when placing the dragon on hard surfaces.

Moving on to booklet 3, we build the left back leg, which starts in red and moves to dark red, but without the gold armor details. The rear legs only have a ball joint for the ankle, with the shape of the leg suggesting a knee joint without reducing the dragon’s stability. The rear foot uses smaller claws.

With only one rear leg attached, the dragon stands up perfectly without tipping. Both the front legs and back legs are longer in overall appearance than most other dragons from previous Ninjago sets, and the legs feel like they are realistic (for a dragon). What I mean is that the legs are built using the perfect blend of angled and curved slopes to suggest solid musculature.

Booklet number 4 covers the tail, wings, and head. Starting with the tail, stacked small ball and socket plates are used to make the segments of the tail sturdy, but limited to movement in one direction. There is a double-pronged mech joint at the base of the tail which allows the entirety of the tail to rotate and to lift up and down. This makes up for the tail joints only moving side-to-side.

Next, we build a neck in two sections connected by another large ball and socket joint. The sides are shaped with dark red slopes while the top and bottom have gold accents to match the torso.

The head starts with a core of sideways-facing brackets and uses a combination of dark red and nougat elements for the sides, and a gold bottom jaw part paired with a dark red top jaw which includes printed eyes. Gold elements like slopes and horns adorn the head on the top and sides.

Finally, a few more small horns are attached, as are a pair of large horns utilizing the rock climbing elements introduced in previous sets.

Next we move on the the wings, which again are mirror builds of each other. They start with an assembly capped by two Technic pin holes. These allow the wing to attach to the double-pronged mech joints on the torso. A large click hinge joins to the end of a lift arm that, in turn, attaches to three long finger bones that end in claws. The large plastic wing piece is then added to the arms using small ball joints.

Putting it all together, the finished dragon is impressive. The choice of joints allows for a variety of dynamic poses. Especially for the wings, which can extend forward, or fully out to each side.

Booklet 5 covers the elaborate saddle, which would be right at home in a Mad Max scene. The base of the saddle has a magenta-colored throne for Lord Ras and bristles with black claw elements in two different sizes.

Flanking the throne are two angled lift arms that will support the gong and a wolf head, along with banners, and blue flame torches. The wolf head is smaller than the one in LEGO Ninjago 71813 Wolf Mask Shadow Dojo, but more realistic in my opinion, as that head looked just a bit cartoony.


The minifigures

The set includes 6 minifigures in total, with 3 heroes and 3 villains. Starting with the heroes, we have Arin, Kai, and Wyldfyre. Each of them sport their signature weapon. Arin and Kai wear shoulder sword holders with two swords: a short ninjato, and a longer katana.

They each have torsos with front and back printing, as well as front-printed legs. Only Kai has an alternate facial expression.

The set also includes 6 transparent orange fire dragons that come in three pairs, attached to a transparent clear antenna element.

The three villains are Jordana, a Wolf Mask Warrior, and Lord Ras. The Wolf Mask Warrior includes a pair of phantom wolf claws attached to his back. They all have torsos with front and back printing, as well as front-printed legs. Jordana and the Warrior have alternate facial expressions, while Lord Ras has a special molded head.


The finished model

The finished model is impressive in both size and construction. The towering saddle construct does add a bit of height to the model. Personally, I would prefer to display the beast without it, giving the dragon the attention it deserves. I did attempt to re-create the pose from the back of the box, but was unable to do so due to the weight of the dragon causing it to tip forward. The box does show one front leg resting on a rock, though.

The only LEGO dragon I still had built for comparison was LEGO Monkie Kid 80047 Mei’s Guardian Dragon, which barely comes to the Source Dragon’s shoulder.


Conclusions and recommendations

With so many dragons from the Ninjago theme over the last 10 years, this may seem like a bold claim, but I think this is the most impressive dragon build I have seen. As I have already stated, the dragon is also very sturdy. And while that does come at a cost of slightly limited mobility, the result is a phenomenal dragon that would look great on display! I highly recommend picking this set up, even if you’re not a big Ninjago fan. As a red fire dragon fits into many fantasy themes as well, this could even be an alternative or addition to Cinderhowl in LEGO Ideas 21348 Dungeons & Dragons: Red Dragon’s Tale. One minor criticism, though: for a dragon that’s supposed to be all about motion, why is there no movement play feature?

LEGO Ninjago 71822 Source Dragon of Motion comes with 1,716 pieces and will be available starting on June 1st, for US $149.99 | CAN $199.99 | UK £129.99. It may also be available from third-party sellers such as Amazon and eBay.

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.


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