After building Ninjago City (click here to read my review), I was inspired to expand the China Town in my LEGO city. I really like the Asian style architecture. So, I have been slowly planning what the next city block will look like, using the same tiered approach seen in Ninjago City. I saw Dragon’s Forge, and thought I could adapt it pretty well for the base level of the block, where the more traditional part of town is located. But, before I tear it up and customize it, let’s see how it fares on its own.
NAME: Dragon’s Forge
SET #: 70627
COST: $99.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 1137
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2017
Summary Review: 91%
VALUE: 100% ($0.09 per brick is an amazing value.)
BUILD: 80% (Most of this set is really nice, but the Buffmillion Mech is not so great.)
MINIFIGURES: 90% (Nice Minifigs with loads of accessories, decent brick-to-fig ratio.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (Excellent build-time value, overall great set.)
Dragon’s Forge costs $99.99 in Canada. With 1137 parts, each brick costs $0.09. That is an amazing value usually reserved for larger sets with twice as many bricks, like the Creator Ferris Wheel or Carousel. In 2017, the year this set was released, the average cost per brick for the year (based on all of the LEGO catalogues that came in the mail) was $0.13. Needless to say, this set earns a full 5/5 (100%) for value.
The first bag of bricks in Dragon’s Forge builds the “Buffmillion Mech”, and two Vermillion Minifigs. We’ll chat about the Minifigures later. I don’t watch the Ninjago series (but I loved the movie), so I don’t know exactly what a Buffmillion Mech is, or even what role it plays in the Ninjago universe. But, in my outsider’s opinion, this thing was a waste of bricks. You get two partial big-fig arms (minus the hands), and a few snake heads. I am not a fan of this thing. Maybe if I knew the series a bit better, this might interest me more. But, I bought Dragon’s Forge for the building. Buffmillion is a definite fail for me.
The next few bags allow you to assemble the Fusion Dragon for Kai and Nya to ride on into battle. On the box, I was not overly impressed with this dragon. But, my appreciation for it grew as I actually built it. The end product is quite large, and features 34 points of articulation for a huge amount of poseability. The younger version of myself would have just eaten something like this up. The Fusion Dragon would have given me countless hours of play, and I was fairly rough with my toys, so the re-build value would have been hugely important. Growing up, my LEGO dragons were the original green and black Castle series dragons. The Fusion Dragon would have eaten those for breakfast. I don’t know what other brick-built dragons are like, but I like this one.
My whole reason for buying the Dragon’s Forge was the forge itself. As a stand alone set in my LEGO city, it simply would not do. It has a hinged design that opens up from the front to reveal the interior. It also only has the appearance of a roof. Looking down on it reveals the full interior. But, again from a play perspective, I would have loved this. I bought this set knowing about the swing-open design. However, I also bought it with the full intention of modifying it for my custom China Town project. So, even for my purposes, it is just fine. It will be on the bottom level of my city, so the open roof really won’t be an issue, and I will make it modular.
The interior of the Dragon’s Forge is divided into three. There is a whetstone on one side for honing the edge on the blades produced in the forge. In the center, you have the forge, a couple of anvils, and some hammers. The hammers are hinged, so they can actually smack down onto the brick-built anvils. The forge has a really cool geared play function that causes the flames inside to actually move, and the stone decor above the forge to rotate and change images. The final corner is a break area for serving tea and sushi. It comes with a tea kettle, and printed sushi pieces. The exterior of the building is equally nice, and I really like the round windows. They are actually what drew me to the set to begin with.
All things considered, I am quite happy with the build for Dragon’s Forge. I learned some new techniques too. If I was rating this as a stand alone, without my planned modifications in mind, Buffmillion would lose this set a point for sure. I would also deduct one for the hinged design and lack of a complete roof together. Overall, I would rate Dragon’s Forge at 8/10 (80%) for build.
There are six Minifigures included in Dragon’s Forge. The first two are Vermillion warriors, by the names of Commander Raggmunk, and Slackjaw (according to LEGO.com). Again, having never watched the show, these characters don’t mean much to me. But, from a design standpoint, both are fairly detailed. Each has a double-sided face, front and back printed torsos, and front printed legs. Both come with a menacingly detailed helmet, while the Commander also has an armored breastplate. One has a sword as an accessory, the other a battle ax. Using my rating scale, I give them 21/30 collectively.
You also get Ray and Maya, who are apparently the parents of Kai and Nya. They come with the same amount of printing as the Vermillion warriors, but more of an Asian style of dress. These Minifigs get 18/30 for design.
Finally, you have the ninjas themselves, Kai and Nya. These are the show variants of the characters, not the movie versions. They also have double-sides faces, front and back printed torsos, and front print on their legs. They come with shoulder protectors that allow two katanas to be attached to their backs. What I really liked about these Minifigures is that they each came with a ninja hood and a separate hairpiece. Often Minifigures will come with just a hat/helmet or hair, so I really like having the option here. Kai also comes with some sort of flaming fist. I give them 22/30 for design.
Adding up those design scores gives us 61/90 (68%). But, we’re not done yet. You also get four snakes, 3 printed sushi tiles, a tea kettle, two cups, about 20 swords, 3 battle axes, and 6 sai (and I probably missed a few things in that accessory count). That easily beings the design score up to 90/90. With 1137 pieces, you also have a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 190:1, which earns a respectable 4/5 (80%). Averaging out the design and ratio scores gives an overall Minifigure rating of 90%.
Dragon’s Forge took me three hours and five minutes to build (185 minutes). That means that at a price tag of $99.99, this set cost me $0.54 per minute of build time. That is excellent in my book, and earns a full 5/5 (100%). This set does lose some points in terms of my enjoyment of it simply because I don’t like the Buffmillion Mech, and the forge does not come ready to just drop into my city. On the flip side, that will give me hours of entertainment as I figure out how to best modify it to suit my needs. Since I will be keeping most of the look of the building, I will give Dragon’s Forge 4.5/5 (90%) for my enjoyment of it. Averaging the build-time value and enjoyment scores gives Dragon’s Forge an entertainment rating of 95%.
Dragon’s Forge is an excellent value set, even when purchased at full price. You get an great per brick value, and an amazing build-time cost. I think that kids will love the forge building, as well as the Fusion Dragon. The set also comes with heroes, villains, and civilians for all sorts of play options. For the adult fans, the building has a nice design that would fit nicely with Ninjago City’s “old town” section. With the exception of the Buffmillion Mech, I really like this set. As I write this, the set is already a year old, and has been sold out for some time at the LEGO Store. But, I found my mine at Walmart, and have seen them around at other stores as well. So, I do recommend picking up Dragon’s Forge before it is officially retired.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time!