Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 at 2:53pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Set Review: 40490 Ninjago 10
A new LEGO BrickHeadz set has been revealed, and it's a celebration of ten years of Ninjago with 40490 Ninjago 10, featuring BrickHeadz creations of Golden Lloyd, Nya Samurai X, and Firstbourne Dragon. The set will be part of a Ninjago purchase-with-a-purchase promotion this month, and LEGO provided us a copy to take a look at ahead of time. BZPower Reporter Xccj takes a look at these Ninjago BrickHeadz to see if they're worth jumping up, kicking back, whipping around, and spinning to get.
So the deal with this set is that it will be a purchase with a purchase in LEGO Stores, LEGOLAND Parks, and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers only. Starting June 1, 2021, when you spend $85 on Ninjago sets, you can add this BrickHeadz set to your purchase for an additional $10. And it sounds like if there's still inventory left, the full set will be available to purchase alone after July 1, 2021 for $29.99. It's mildly unfortunate that the summer 2021 Ninjago sets won't be available in North America for this promotion, but there's still plenty of neat Ninjago stuff around. It'll also be interesting to see if this set sells out quickly or not; a lot of promotional items from the last year haven't lasted very long, but scalpers might not target a Ninjago promotion as much as a Super Heroes or Star Wars promotion.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box shows off the three characters being made into BrickHeadz here: 148 Golden Lloyd, 146 Nya Samurai X, and 147 Firstbourne Dragon. The back features different angles of the characters (which is mostly beneficial for Firstbourne) as well as a preview of the display stands for the figures. The side of the package also features some of the main artwork of the characters these BrickHeadz are based off of, including the minifigures of Nya and Lloyd, as well as the cartoon rendered Firstbourne.
Inside the box you get four bags; one for each Lloyd and Nya, and two for Firstbourne. Three instruction books are provided, so you can basically start building whichever BrickHeadz you want first. One neat thing is that one of the instruction books includes a teaser image of the six Legacy sets that include the various collectible Golden Ninjas this year. Finally we'll be able to collect all six as Zane and Nya come with some of the summer sets!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
If you've built one of the BrickHeadz before, the construction is fairly similar and straightforward. BrickHeadz always make nice use of SNOT bricks, and that's applied here to create some flush layers and to build in some of the armor details on Lloyd and Nya. Firstbourne has a bit of a different design being a quadruped, but I don't think it's too dissimilar from other animal BrickHeadz designs from recent years. So nothing too complicated but still a decent process.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with 409 pieces and some extras, with a majority of them being black, red, dark green, medium nougat, and gold. One thing that is slightly disappointing to me is that this set has no exclusive elements. Normally a BrickHeadz set has some unique printed bricks or tiles, but the only printed tile here is the repeated Ninjago 10 Year Anniversary one. Instead of printing for the character's torsos, they opted to brick build the designs. While is does make the exclusiveness of this set a little lacking, it also means that you could reasonably rebuild the characters with pieces found in your own collection, just in case you're unable to pick up this set.
Most of the pieces aren't very uncommon; a lot of ones that I thought would be rare still ended up appearing in six or more sets. One element that only appears in one other set is the dark green quarter circle 1x1 tile, but there's always a chance it's going to appear in other summer sets whose inventories haven't been released yet. And the Hero Factory claw element in gold has only appeared previously in two Spider-Man sets, so it's also modestly rare. One piece that does stand out is the 1x2 tile in gold; this piece has been around before, but Lloyd contains a whopping 36 of them, which is the most that's ever appeared in a single set. You also get a smattering of other brightly colored pieces that are used in the interiors, such as their pink brains.
First we have BrickHeadz 148: Golden Lloyd. This is based off the Golden Ninja Lloyd as he's appears in various Legacy sets from recent years. The BrickHeadz itself is reminiscent of the Ninjago Movie 41487 Lloyd BrickHeadz, in that it uses a similar design for the headwrap. His torso's design is brick-built, with striped gold and dark green visible on the sides with the ninja horn element representing some of the dragon printing from the original torso. It's a fairly simply design as far as BrickHeadz go, but it's easily recognizable as Golden Lloyd.
For a color scheme, he uses a nice contrasting dark green and gold, although medium nougat is substituted in for some elements that just don't exist in gold. Luckily, the color blends in well enough with the gold that the difference is hardly noticeable. I'm sure the design of this character was really limited by the types of pieces that existed in gold, and so the fact that it is so cohesive shows off the clever use of the elements. For example, the 1x2 gold elements used in the torso are actually 1x2 jumpers and 1x2 claw elements, with the spikes hidden in the body's interior. And the bulk use of the 1x2 tiles in gold give Lloyd an interesting texture, considering the shiny details in the pearly color.
Next up is BrickHeadz 146: Nya Samurai X. This is based off the Samurai X figures from 2015. She gets a bit more of an intricate head design with the helmet, which is recreated using standard slopes. Her torso uses the chakram weapon element and a gold stud to recreate the circular phoenix symbol from the fig, and vehicle mudguards are cleverly used to portray shoulder armor. Another nice feature is the dark green tiles on the legs represent the green skirt of the Samurai X armor. The torso of the BrickHeadz is a little over reliant on dark green, which was more modestly used on the fig's printing, but I think it was probably a design choice to use dark green in both Lloyd and Nya and it blends in well enough with the black. The weakest part of the model is the golden horns, which have some fragile connections to get them in place. They can be tough to get into the right position and move out of it at the slightest touch, assuming they don't break off entirely. Overall, Nya's Samurai X armor makes for a unique looking BrickHeadz and pulls off the character well. (And hey, that means Nya beat most of the other Ninjas into being made into a BrickHeadz!)
Finally, we come to BrickHeadz 147: Firstbourne Dragon, based off the set that was released in 2018. She's not necessarily the first dragon I think of to represent the Ninjago theme, but the red and black color scheme fits with the Samurai X colors. The build is twofold; first you put together the body and then the detailed head. The standout of the body is the use of the wings, which are simple wedge plates, but the clip connections allow for some unusual angles that you don't normally get with BrickHeadz. (Although it is a standard for other LEGO animal designs.) The tail is pretty basic, but I do like the hoofed / clawed feet designs which make good use of the headlight bricks.
The head is mostly smooth on the front and sides, with some nice scale designs on the back with some Keetongu-orange mixed in. The front chin also includes a little beard, which is reminiscent of the original set's lower jaw. I also particularly liked the used of the angled slopes over the eyes, giving her a meaner gaze than the average BrickHeadz. I am a bit disappointed in the neck; when you attach the head to the body, there's a one plate tall gap between the back of the body and the scales on the back of the head. Maybe that gap is there to give some sort of illusion of separation between the head and body, but I feel that it's a bit unsightly, and the inclusion of a single 2x4 plate underneath the 2x4 tile would've made everything a bit more flush. The other odd design bit is the black horns, which try to recreate the curved look from the set. They look a little odd against the rest of the blockish BrickHeadz design, and also suffer from loose connections that push them out of position. I'm not sure what I would've done to improve them, but they're not my favorite and make the rest of the model look slightly off.
The red and black color scheme of Firstbourne does flow together really well. The orange on the back of the head doesn't look like it's directly from the set, but orange was used as a highlight color and it works well enough on the BrickHeadz. Meanwhile, the black layering on the wings really pulls it off and gives the dragon a menacing look. And unlike most BrickHeadz, the wings can be adjusted to alter the poses, from a resting position to fully spread out, and that does benefit the dragon's appearance. (Alas, I don't own the original set so I cannot take a comparison photo.)
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Represents the characters well
- Lloyd and Nya rely on brick-built designs for their torsos instead of printing
- Firstbourne Dragon does something different as a quadruped
- Lots of gold in Lloyd
- Firstbourne's wings are great
What's not to like?
- No real exclusive parts in the set (although this could be a Pro if you want to rebuild it yourself)
- Nya's helmet horns and Firstbourne's horns have loose connections
- Firstbourne has an unsightly gap on her back
- Availability as a promotional item could make it difficult to get.
I'm sure it's getting difficult to be creative with new BrickHeadz, but this set of Ninjago models does a nice job of representing the characters and celebrating the theme's 10 year anniversary. If you're a fan of the theme or just BrickHeadz in general, it'll be a set you'll want to pick up for sure. (And it's not too bad for parts either, especially gold tiles!)
Thanks again for reading through another BZPower set review, and a big thanks to LEGO for providing this set to us early to review it. The views and opinions in this review were solely my own. And stay tuned to BZPower for more LEGO and Ninjago news and set reviews; I know I have a few more that I want to get posted eventually!
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