My study of LEGO® dragon anatomy continues with the Water Dragon (71754) from Ninjago. I am learning to build anatomically correct creatures with the goal of building a custom dragon in the near future. In order to reach my goal, I am building my way through a number of dragons sets in hopes of picking up interesting build techniques. It is almost like taking a course in LEGO® dragon building. My first foray into this was Fire Dragon Attack (71753). Let’s see how Water Dragon (71754) compares.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).
WATER DRAGON (71754) SUMMARY
- NAME: Water Dragon
- SET #: 71754
- THEME: Ninjago
- COST: $99.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 737
- MINIFIGURES: 5
- RELEASE DATE: August 3, 2021
WATER DRAGON (71754) QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 72% (Satisfactory cost-per-brick, but not a lot of build time for a Ninjago set.)
- BUILD: 75% (The tail design is really great, but the rest is just okay.)
- MINIFIGURES: 90% (Great character designs, good number of figs for a set this size.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Fun playset, not much of a display piece.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 79% (Satisfactory set)
WATER DRAGON (71754) REVIEW
The Water Dragon costs $99.99 in Canada and the kit consists of 737 pieces. Consequently, the cost-per-brick is $0.136. That is fairly average compared to LEGO® sets in general. However, for a Ninjago set, it teeters on the pricey side. Based on all the Ninjago sets I have built so far, the average cost-per-brick for the theme is around $0.114. Considering both of these comparisons, I rate the cost-per-brick for Water Dragon at 75%. That means the bricks are a satisfactory value, but a worse than the Fire Dragon.
Water Dragon took me one hour and 48 minutes to build. At full price, the cost-per-minute of build time is $0.93. My average cost-per-minute across all themes sits at $0.85, while for Ninjago it is $0.66. Consequently, Water Dragon does not provide a great build time for the price. Considering both comparisons, I rate the build time at 69%. Once again, Fire Dragon was a better value. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score gives Water Dragon an overall value rating of 72%. That is satisfactory in my mind but bordering on being a little too expensive.
Before we delve into the dragon, let’s talk about the side builds. Water Dragon includes a mini-submarine and an underwater shrine. I do not love either. If this set really needed a side build, it should only have one. The bricks from these two builds do not add much value to the set. Either include a really nice little sub or include a really nice little shrine. The sub is the nicer of the two builds, but it has no minifig controls. However, these bricks could add more detail to the dragon.
This is an aquatic dragon, and its body structure is a little different from the Fire Dragon as a result. The Water Dragon’s body is elongated and more crocodilian, with stumpier legs that keep its belly close to the ground. Additionally, the wings do not support aerial flight. They are much too small compared to the body size to lift this creature off the ground. Instead, they remind me more of the fan-like fins of a lionfish. They also flap lightly like those of a ray when you push on a lever on the dragon’s back. However, other than the slight up and down motion, the wings do not move or fold, which was mildly disappointing. I also find the cloth does not stay on the wings as well as the Fire Dragon’s wing membranes.
The Water Dragon has fan-like wings reminiscent of a lionfish.
In terms of body structure, I like the Fire Dragon more on the whole. The torso musculature was more detailed, and the back spines merged more nicely with the body. The Water Dragon features little ventral detailing. Additionally, many of the ball joints giving the creature mobility and poseability are very exposed. I would like to see a model that conceals them more effectively without compromising mobility too much. I also wish the Water Dragon had at least one midriff joint. The torso is very long and rigid. Between the neck and hip, nothing moves.
With that said, I do like the addition of the hip joint. It adds to the crocodilian quality of the creature’s motion. However, it would be even more realistic if the upper torso could also swagger a bit. Where the Water Dragon really shines is its tail. The tail features five very fluid joints. It does not pose exceptionally well, but it achieves a very snake-like motion. The tail is the feature I love the most about this dragon. In fact, I love that aspect of the model much more than the Fire Dragon. Also, while the joints are visible, they look more natural than the ball joints in the neck. This kit was worth it just for that build technique. I often pick up the Water Dragon and just cause the tail to sway back and forth. It looks like it is swimming.
I love the fluid, snake-like motion achieved by the tail design.
The Water Dragon’s legs are fairly blocky. Once again, the Fire Dragon design was nicer. That says something because I was not crazy about the Fire Dragon’s legs either. At the moment, I am still searching for a really good limb structure. I’ve still got some sets to build through though on this dragon building journey though. As for the Water Dragon, I do not hate the structure. I like the crocodilian feel of it. However, I do not love the design either… except for the tail. I love the tail. I rate the build for this model at 80%.
The Ninjago theme always produces nicely detailed Minifigures. The Water Dragon set is no exception. It includes five characters, three of which are Merlopians. While one of those is Prince Kalmaar, the other two look like underwater Serpentine. Kalmaar includes squid tentacles instead of feet, but all the other characters come equipped with the standard parts (albeit two have snake heads). None of the minifigs have double-sided faces, but Zane comes with rear head printing, and all the Merlopians have nicely sculpted heads with rear detailing. I found it a little odd that Nya did not have an alternate face. With that said, each character has front and back torso printing as well as leg printing.
In terms of accessories, the kit includes a swirl of water for Nya to stand in. This is the same piece Mysterio had in the Marvel Superheroes line, only recolored in shades of blue. She also has two launchable bolt pieces for her hands, and a back support for attaching water elements to. This set also has six pairs of flippers, though half of them go towards detailing the dragon. Otherwise, Water Dragon comes with a scuba tank, a dragon disc, three tridents, and two sai. Interestingly, Zane’s ninja hood is new in my experience. It includes goggles. Other kits from this wave of sets might have the same, but I have not yet reviewed any of them. The design of these characters is nice, and I rate it at 97%.
These are detailed Minifigures, and Nya looks impressive with her water elements.
Five Minifigures in a set consisting of 737 bricks equates to 147 bricks/fig. For the Ninjago theme, that is an average number of characters for a set this size. Compared to LEGO® sets on the whole, it is also good. Comparatively, the average brick-to-fig ratio at True North Bricks is 170 bricks/fig. Considering both these comparisons, I rate the ratio score at 83%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 90%.
I enjoyed building the Water Dragon, and I particularly liked the tail construction technique. Will I keep it built? Probably not. I do not have storage space. Plus, I am looking to build my own custom dragon, and some of these parts will be useful to that end. In terms of play, the Water Dragon offers more. I was thrilled when the original LEGO® dragon came out as a kid. To have detailed dragons like this would have been amazing. Was I as impressed by this dragon as the Fire Dragon? No, but it is still fun. I rate the entertainment score at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 79%
The Water Dragon is not a bad set, but its not my favorite Ninjago set either. The value is okay, as is the build. Water Dragon shines in terms of Minifigures, and dragon tail design. I found this set helpful in my quest to learn dragon building techniques for the latter. However, Water Dragon is a playset first and foremost. Most AFOLs will not get a display piece here. Even as a playset, you’re better off waiting for a Ninjago sale before picking this one up. With that said, I think kids will have fun with it. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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