Book Review: Ninjago – Build Your Own Adventure

RRP $39.99
Available from most retailers

The Book

The Ninjago Build Your Own Adventure book is a new entry from DK books. Unlike older books that featured a selection of bricks, this title features a single set (and minifigure) with the book serving as inspiration for future building.

I suspect that there is going to be a mixed response to the format – some young LEGO fans might find it frustrating that they can’t build everything that they see in the book. It’s important to go into the book knowing what it is.

The book opens with the instructions for the included set. I liked that this is the opening of the book rather than stuck at the back as an add-on.

Once your model is built, you are greeted with a few pages of introduction. There are profiles of the Ninjago characters, and nice explanation of how the book works.

Ninjago Page Feature01

I really liked the included pages that explain the different types of parts that LEGO produce. It’s a great visual introduction to things like the difference between plates and tiles.

The book is then split into five different chapters; Trouble At Home, Jungle Battle, Going Underground, Volcano Quest and Icy Lands. Each chapter has a different overall design concept – the jungle chapter features lots of green while the volcano chapters will have you searching for the red bricks in your collection.

Generally, I found the smaller ‘add-on’ type builds to be more interesting- things that you can try and recreate to add character to your own creations. While the larger models are thoroughly impressive I didn’t feel inspired to recreate them. They aren’t so much examples of the sort of thing you can build, but more “you can build this”.

An example of the book being more instructional than inspirational is the first chapter – it features several different buildings that you can create and then at the end shows them combined. If you built something different then obviously they aren’t going to fit together the same way.

Ninjago Page Feature02

The Set

The Build Your Own Adventure books do not just come with a single minifigure – they also include an actual set to build.

The included model with this book is Lloyd’s Ninja Mech, and of course it wouldn’t be Lloyd’s if he wasn’t also included.

The included version of Lloyd appears to be unique, but made up of parts that have been used previously. Unlike some versions of the character there is no included hair piece – just the full, unprinted ninja mask.

Lloyd Minifigure Mask Off

I have always found the Ninjago theme a bit of an odd mix of classical ninja imagery and hi-tech gadgetry. In my mind having a ninja piloting a mech seems a bit weird. Having said that, I think the set is great.

There is definitely some interesting parts usage on display. The chest armour is constructed from seat elements on hinges. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it does a good job of holding the minifigure in place. I was also surprised to see window shutters used on the legs.

Mech With Lloyd

When you are designing a mech it can be hard to create something that is stable but also poseable. This mech design strikes the right balance. The use of ball joints means that you can pose the finished model in numerous positions.

One part that I am not a huge fan of is the rear of the model – the way it is build leaves the rear looking a little bare. Overall though it’s a minor complaint.

Mech Rear

In Conclusion

While I like Ninjago and find it an interesting theme, I am not what you would call a hardcore fan. As I flicked through the pages of the book I was always impressed by the quality of the included builds. While the book didn’t make me personally want to dig out my parts and build something ninja inspired, I have a feeling that may be a different proposition for bigger Ninjago fans.

Bricking Around was sent a copy of Ninjago: Build Your Own Adventure to review by Penguin Australia.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Ninjago – Build Your Own Adventure

  1. Dara Reply

    Does anybody have the instructions to this “Build your own adventure” set? Ours came without instructions and we are having trouble building the mech.

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