Saturday, March 5th, 2011 at 5:03pm by Andrew M, BZPower Reporter
[Source: Comrade Gato]
One of the themes Lego pushed most heavily at Toy Fair this year was the Ninjago line, which invites us all to become MASTERS OF SPINJITSU. We attendees were even given complimentary spinner packs with minifigs and cards for the associated game. The Ninjago line, however, encompasses far more than the spinners and cards, and in fact is comprised of a number of standard Lego playsets with a Ninja-inspired theme. Today, BZPower Forum Mentor Comrade Gato treats us to a review on one of these sets, the Ice Dragon Attack. Is the this set as cool as it appears, or is play frosty without the game? Read on to find out.
I like to ask the big questions in life. What is my purpose here? What is wisdom? Why do evil men go unpunished while good men suffer? What could ever be cooler than a ninja? While I may not have found the answer to most of those, I have found the answer to the last one.
The only thing cooler than a ninja is a ninja riding on an ice dragon.
Ice Dragon Attack features Zane, our local Ninja hero, riding his Ice Dragon into the underworld in an attempt to retrieve the shuriken of ice. But alas, the evil skeleton Krazi has got there before Zane! Can Zane retrieve the shuriken before it's too late? Is this set worth picking up? Hopefully, I'll be able to help you answer these questions.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The first thing that catches your eye on the box is the dragon. It doesn't waste any time in flaunting the main selling point. He's swooping in, ridden by Zane, and firing off a blast of ice at the dastardly evil Krazi as he runs away. While the set description mentions this happening in the underworld, the background doesn't seem to be a cave. It actually looks as if it's outside. Continuity error? In addition to all of this, there's the usual set name, number, piece count, and choking warning.
The back features Zane dismounting and fighting Krazi in direct combat. They're really going at it, with Zane deflecting a blow from the shuriken. Meanwhile, the dragon is content to chill in the background while they duke it out and as a handy identifier shows that he can indeed fire blue zamors from his mouth. Why he doesn't join in on the fight is anyone's guess. In the bottom left corner, there's a little weapon diagram. Only two weapons, the katana and the shuriken, are present in the set. It's really kinda disappointing that they didn't use the back to show off more cool dragon action, but then again I suppose he can't be the whole show.
I think it's also worth noting that this isn't Zane that comes with this set. Oh no. It's Zane... DX! Why the fancy DX!, I have no idea. Is it some indication that this Zane is far more X-TREME! than the other Zanes? Also, is Krazi the skeleton related at all to the Ko-Matoran Kazi? The world may never know.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Upon opening the box, three bags and an instruction manual spill out. There's an additional small bag in the larger one. One of the original bags contains the two pieces that make up the dragon head, which is made out of rubber.
The minifigs are the standard minifig build that we've done a million times before. That's not to say that they're uninteresting, quite the opposite! However their build lacks innovation so there's not that much to go over.
The dragon is pretty neat. It's simple, effective, and gets the job done. The trans-blue pieces look very nice, and help bring home the point that this is an ice dragon and not the run of the mill fire breathing one. The legs, while simple, are sturdy and do the job well. I like that they used the three toed piraka foot as opposed to the two toed shadow matoran one.
The wings are built using this cool hinge design, which makes it surprisingly sturdy. I really like it, as I came in expecting more of a Technic build to the wings. It's really clever, and it works really well.
The head is fairly simple. The skull has been molded so that it fits snugly over the orange thornax launcher. It's rubber, so it doesn't quite feel as sturdy as it should for a dragon skull. It serves it's purpose though, and the chains that allow Zane DX! to steer attach to holes in the side.
All in all? It's a pretty amazing build. While the body is easy and intuitive, the wings are really nice and a true pleasure to make.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There's quite a few interesting pieces. There are a few gold pieces, which are always fun. There are six claws in black and then six of the big claws in orange. There are also six of the black arms that originally showed up on the Exo-force villains. There's not that many technic pieces, which left me wondering how they were going to pull off the wing design. Also puzzling, the skeleton's jester hat comes in it's own separate bag. I have no idea why.
Before I get to the design of the the dragon, I want to take a moment to talk about the minifigs.
Zane DX! is your generic ninja that we've seen time and time again in the ninja sets through out the years. Except this time he's X-TREME! or something like that. He's got the hood with the part on the back that let's him hold his sword in the back. He's sporting a very nice golden dragon design. We've seen him before, but the design on his clothes makes him interesting enough.
Krazi on the other hand? Krazi is amazing and quite easily just as awesome as the dragon that makes up the majority of the set. Lego made a whole new skeleton design for this series, and I am in love with it. Gone are the arms of the old skeleton. You no longer have to deal with flail arms. And flail arms? More like fail arms. He now has these very nice battle droid arms. Even better is that Lego made it so that way he can hold weapons normally and not sideways like the old battle droids. The main torso piece has been revamped to something more stockier and with a little more oomph. He has a very scary looking face design, and the jester hat only cements the fact that he's unhinged.
In short? I adore him.
And don't get me wrong, as much as I love the skeleton, I love the dragon just as much. He's sporting a very nice design. The torso, leg, and head are simple, sturdy, and work well. The wings have a pretty cool and sturdy design. You don't have to worry about the feathers flapping around. The actual joints that connect the wings to the body though are kinda flimsy and they tend to move on their own. It's kinda disappointing given how amazing the rest of the wings are.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
And here is where we hit upon Ice Dragon Attack's biggest problem.
He's not very playable. There's just so many ways you can abuse Krazi's new molds before it gets old. Sure, it's fun to run around the house with him roaring and pretending you're the terror of the skies, but that's about as far as you'll get with him. The minifigs don't add much, and poor Krazi just doesn't stand a chance against the ice dragon's might. Now then, the last set I bought was Vezon and Kardas during '07 when Target was clearing out old sets. I can't remember when the last time I bought an actual Lego set. So I was kinda at a loss for what to do with this guy. Sure, I could pose him on top of my computer and, sure, he looked really cool, but I felt like he would be so much more fun with some other sets to interact with.
So I improvised.
As you can see, he's pretty cool when you pair him with other sets, or in my case anime figures. He works well as a big bad scary dragon, or he could just as well fill the role of being the hero who comes in to save the day. He has some pretty great pose-ability, and that really helps with action scenes.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- The ice dragon looks amazing
- The wings in said ice dragon are pretty amazing
- The new skeleton design is just as cool as the dragon
- The dragon has some nice pose-ability
- The ice ball shooting function works well
- The price is just right.
What's not to like?
- The part that connects the wings to the body is a little loose.
- Doesn't play well alone.
I think the bullets speak for themselves. I haven't bought a Lego set in years, and this was the set that finally broke me. It looks nice. It plays nice when you have other sets. If you don't have other sets, he'll do just fine perching on top of your computer and just looking awesome. Honestly, there is no legitimate reason for you to not own this set. You can not win against the Ice Dragon in a set fight. He is simply the best there is.
I'm the strongest!
Be sure to thank Comrade Gato in the Talkback thread!
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