Review: The LEGO Ninjago Movie 70606 Spinjitzu Training

To celebrate the impending release of The LEGO Ninjago Movie this Friday, I’ve decided that my latest review will be on one of the film’s tie-in sets, 70606 Spinjitzu Training.

At just $9.99 USD, Spinjitzu Training is the most affordable tie-in set, and I found it to be a great entry point for new fans. It’s actually the very first Ninjago set I’ve ever purchased, and after building and photographing it, I can promise you it definitely won’t be the last. I’m eager to get my hands on some of the larger sets once I see the movie.

Welcome to the Dojo

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The dojo wall is small, but has plenty of great details

Spinjitzu Training comes with two minifigures and four buildable components: A dojo wall, a Garmadon combat dummy (which has a cleverly placed pin at the bottom that allows it to realistically wobble), a dual katana rack, and a spinning wooden training station that, regrettably and confusingly, doesn’t actually spin.

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This is the kind of set that will really shine when it’s creatively utilized. As a small dojo, it looks great, but each of its buildable components can be used on their own, or combined with other pieces to create new scenarios. As a brand new fan of the Ninjago line, I found this the perfect opportunity to finally put my LEGO Ninjago Movie Collectible Minifigures to good use. Up until now they’ve mostly sat on my shelf without being photographed. I simply wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

My favorite piece in this set is, by far, the wobbling Garmadon dummy. I just got such a kick out of its simple but ingenious design, and immediately paired it with my Lloyd figure – to great results.

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Take that, Dad!

I’m also a huge fan of the dojo wall, which looked fantastic in the background of my test shots. It’s a relatively small corner piece, but an avid collector could easily buy two or even four of these sets and create a great little dojo out of them. Again, I paired it with one of the Collectible Minifigures, this time Master Wu. He felt right at home!

lego-ninjago-movie-master-wu

The Minifigures

If you haven’t picked up any of the LEGO Ninjago Movie Collectible Minifigures yet, don’t worry! This set comes with two of its own. I’m not sure if these particular variations have appeared in other Ninjago sets, but they’re different than their CMF counterparts, which I appreciated.

Kai is missing his messy hair piece from his CMF version, but comes with great faces that make up for it.

I liked the Kai figure best. His red outfit has some snazzy small details, like a dark red diamond pattern on his pants. I love his dual katana holder and attached shoulder pad, which look great from behind. He’s got two faces, and his mask comes in two pieces.

lego-ninjago-zane

The Zane figure looks pretty intimidating, with his glaring blue eyes and black bow and arrow. I foresee photographers having a lot of fun with his black quiver piece. I found his clothing to be a bit of a step down from Kai’s, especially the pants, but I really like the look of his white mask (which also comes in two pieces).

The Verdict

Like last week’s LEGO Star Wars set, I found Spinjitzu Training to be a fun entry-level kit for new fans, or those curious about a property they may be unfamiliar with. The dojo itself offers enough versatility to have some great mileage for photography. You may find yourself limited by the two included minifigures, but all of the pieces are easily paired with anyone from the LEGO Ninjago Movie Collectible Minifigures series. At just $9.99 USD, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth, and more, with this purchase.

Be careful though, because I suspect this will be a set that gets you hooked on the Ninjago line as a whole, and will have you anxious to pick up bigger and more detailed kits in the future!

-James

Have you picked up The LEGO Ninjago Movie 70606 Spinjitzu Training? Have you taken any great pictures with it? Let us know in the comments below.

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Review: LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod

While Brett is always on hand to review the latest series of Collectible Minifigures, we felt that expanding our reviews to include full sets was in order. We’re also looking forward to premiering some non-LEGO reviews as well for the action figure crowd.

These new reviews will come with a twist! Instead of centering the discussion on things like piece count or the build itself, we’re taking a look at its overall photographic potential. We are toy photographers after all!

“BB-8, meet Rose Tico”

The first review out the gate is the LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod, which hit store shelves last week as part of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Force Friday event. The transport pod is a new vehicle with a unique design, and comes with two minifigures (an updated version of Finn and a new character, Rose Tico) and the fan-favorite droid BB-8.

The Minifigures

The two minifigures alone offer a lot of photo potential. The Finn figure is slightly updated from those released in previous The Force Awakens sets. He comes with two new faces – one smiling and one panicked – which are a welcome change to his two previous stern looks. Both his jacket and pants have slightly updated designs as well and are an overall improvement to the original design.

Rose Tico is a maintenance worker in the Resistance who teams up with Finn during the film. She comes with two faces, and a fantastic new hair piece! It flares out on the sides, has detailed bangs, and a pony tail. From the little I’ve seen of Rose’s character in the new movie, it’s remarkably accurate. She comes wearing a brand new set of heavily detailed coveralls, complete with a shiny belt and plenty of pockets.

This is the sixth set to feature BB-8, and his design remains unchanged. At only $30.00 USD, the Resistance Pod is the cheapest kit featuring the cute little droid. If you still need to add him to your collection, this is your best bet. It’s also the only set currently featuring Rose Tico, who I suspect will become a fan-favorite character come December.

The Vehicle

As I mentioned earlier, the Resistance Transport Pod is a new vehicle, with a design we have yet to see in the Star Wars universe.

It’s not as unique or flashy as some past ships, but has a stocky build and a few great details. The cockpit fits both minifigures, a side panel hides a weapons cache, and there’s a cozy little spot for BB-8 in the back.

BB-8 is cozy (but hidden) in the back, and behind the side panel is a place to store weapons. This set comes with a few guns and 3 little remote charges, a piece I’ve always liked a lot.

I found this a tad troublesome when taking photos, only because it meant I had to find clever ways of including him in my shots. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but something to consider if you’re hoping to feature him in your photos.

“BB-8, get back in the ship!”

I additionally struggled shooting the pod itself. To be fair, this is mostly because I have no context for it yet. It looks like it’s an ejected part of a larger vessel (which is alluded to in its name), though it could be some kind of short-range transport that Rose and Finn use on their mission for the Resistance. I think I’ll revisit these photos once I actually see the film, since I’ll know more about its purpose.

I love the 4 clear blue LEGO heads used to resemble the engines, and the piping around it. If you turn the wheel on the back, the gun on the side rotates.

Unlike a lot of other Star Wars ships, the Resistance Transport Pod is asymmetrical. There are a handful of small details on each side, so finding one particular angle to shoot from was a bit tough. I fully expect this will be fun to experiment with on future shoots.

The Verdict

LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod
“Punch it!”

So, is the LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod worth the purchase? Absolutely!

This is currently the most affordable set in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi sub-theme, and is the only one to feature Rose Tico. So if you’re at all curious about the upcoming film and want to start experimenting with new vehicles and characters, this is a great entry point. The build itself was fun (if you don’t mind stickers, of which there are a lot), and while I don’t have much context for it yet, I enjoyed playing around with the Pod in various photo scenarios.

Overall, this is a promising addition to the ever-expanding line of LEGO Star Wars vehicles. With a new ship, two minifigures, and a BB-8 droid, this set contains plenty of bang for your buck.

Have you picked up the LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod yet? What do you think of it? Sound off in the comments below! 

James

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Why I can’t do product photography?

I’ll be honest and say it the way it is: I’m totally bored with my subject.  I came up with the idea that if I wrote a review, maybe I would see other opportunities with my subject. So I ask Shelly if I could do a set-review and she responded:

-I think I saw a pig fly.

I laughed and asked her to give me some ideas for a set that I could review. The very next day she sent me a few suggestions.

[Thank you Shelly you’re totally the best.]

Filled with my idea

Filled with this grand idea, I went to the store and bought one of the suggested sets. Even though, by this time I was already hesitating. I know that I don’t really like the yellow color that most (Lego) figures come in. But in the end I went for it. I told myself, I’ll probably get over that…

This is such a great idea.

Back at home, when I was setting the pieces together, I realized this isn’t me at all. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this, I just don’t see myself as a product photographer.

I don’t like props, and reviewing a set means I should show all the props. A good review will give other photographers ideas for what they can do with this set. In that context, my images ought to portray the set as it is, as well as give photographers ideas on how they can use the different figures beyond the original set. It should also show how the figures can relate to one another or how they can use the props. To be honest, I think I’m really terrible at this. I mean, I know that I can probable portray these figures, but they don’t belong in my setting. The figures and the set are so cute and happy. This set has nothing to do with my world of solitude. I prefer toys that are indifferent in their expression. These figures aren’t. I prefer toys that are ambiguous. What would I do with these happy figures?

I didn’t give up

Now you’re probably thinking that I put the box on a shelf and mailed Shelly saying:

-This was a bad idea, sorry I led you on… but this isn’t me.

But no, I didn’t do that at all. I took all the figures and all the pieces and the props and went out to create some photographs. Eventually I had to surrender, I wasn’t able to get any ideas. My  hypotheses became all true: I’m no product photographer. I’m a photographer that works with the light, and in some extent my photography is about the light. But it’s also about my inner questions about why I can’t fit in, my search to belong, to be understood, to be loved.

If I were to review this set it would become a way to to sell the idea of working in backlight. That is the only product I can sell. I would fill these lovely cute figures with an aura of my search for a place where I can belong. And that isn’t the idea with a set review at all.

I’m no product photographer

So thank you once again Shelly for giving me an opportunity to get some insights about my own photography, and why I do this. I’ll leave the reviews to someone else. Next time I’ll ask you to send me some ideas of what I should be looking for in the toy-store. I’ll be listening because I know you’ll give me some great hints and through them I’ll be able to see myself and my own work in a better light.

Thanks you!

Kristina

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures

Our friends at LEGO sent us a box of the Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures to review. Here it is…

Lloyd Garmadon

Lloyd (or L-Loyd according to his dad) comes in a green hoodie printed top, with a new headpiece for the hood with his fringe poking out below, which allows for greater head movement.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Lloyd Garmadon

His black jeans are held up with a brown belt. The silver spoon and white bowl with blue trim and dragon motif are great accessories. Continue reading The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures

Series 17 Review

As promised a few days back, here is my Collectable Minifigures Series 17 review…

Professional Surfer

OK, I can hear the moans. “Not another surfer?” Sure, we haven’t had one since the Series 4 Surfer Girl, and before her the Series 2 Surfer, but I get it. There’s nothing spectacular about this figure. He’s a Professional Surfer, and comparing him to a regular Surfer from Series 2, I guess a wet-suit makes you  a professional? Speaking of the wet-suit, the print is similar to the ‘Coast Guard City’ Surfer, but with printed arms.

Series 17 Review: Professional Surfer
Surfs up dude!

The surfboard ‘shark’ design is pretty rad though! I’ve already planned shots with the Series 15 Shark Suit Guy and this board. It looks like it was custom designed for that Minifigure.

Gnarly dude! Continue reading Series 17 Review

Series 16 Mini Figures – a review

Series 16 mini figures are out and unlike the last series, which was based on established Disney characters, these collectible mini figures are more in line with past series. We’re presented with 16 different (and mostly unique) characters, figures and costumed creatures designed to fuel the imagination. Each character carries within it the potential for a new and unique story to be explored, and of course, to be photographed. Continue reading Series 16 Mini Figures – a review

Minecraft – The Village

First I want to thank The LEGO Group for sending Minecraft set 21128, The Village, for me to review. You’re probably thinking: Minecraft? Really? On a photography blog?  But honestly, I have a soft spot for Minecraft. I’ve photographed Steve in Sweden, on the top of Rattlesnake Ridge and in the local park. Who can resist that square head? Continue reading Minecraft – The Village

Disney Collectable Mini Figures

A few weeks back The LEGO Group was kind enough to send me a box of their Disney collectible mini figures to review. With the Stuckinplastic #Seattletoyphotosafari just around the corner, I decided to give them away instead of keeping all that LEGO goodness to myself. (If you want to see those same figures in the wild, you can follow their journey with this tag #Seattletoyphotosfari_DisneyCMF.) Well now it’s time to pay the piper, so to speak, and review this series.

I’ll confess the Disney collectable mini figures aren’t as bad as I first imagined they would be. When this latest series was announced (or leaked as the case may be) several months back, I will freely admit I wasn’t impressed. I was stilling feeling burned with not one, but two series devoted to the Simpsons TV show. I’m a mini figure photographer – not a toy collector – which means I’m looking for new characters to tell stories. I’m not interested in re-telling classic Disney stories.

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Is this a thingamabob or a whatzit?

With that said, I will admit that I love the Disney universe. I grew up with all the movies and have been to their theme parks multiple times. I wasn’t sure how a series based on these beloved characters would help me in my own personal mission to tell original (and hopefully universal) stories. I mean, how can you re-invent or re-interpret such iconic creations as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck?

The Simpsons’ mini figures with their pastel colors and sculpted heads are still fresh in my memory.  While I many not have been enamored with the specific Simpsons figures, they were accompanied by some awesome accessories. With so many great add-ons, it almost made up for those sculpted heads. As a toy photographer I approached this series, based on classic Disney characters, with some trepidation.

There are certain aspects of this new series that has me scratching my head at the decisions behind it.  While there are certainly a fair number of figures that are exciting – Stitch, Maleficent, Cheshire Cat and Ursula – I can’t help but think we’ve already seen the Alien from Toy Story (isn’t it an exact copy?) and Buzz Light Year (the original Buzz had a much better face!). While Genie and the Little Mermaid technically are new to the CMF world, they seem very familiar. Peter Pan is lovely but he doesn’t seem to be  good fit in the mini figure world. I can’t imagine Peter Pan without his arms akimbo and his legs apart – two positions that a LEGO mini figure can’t achieve unless he’s computer generated.

Accessories are a big part of the CMF sets. While there are lots of great new hairstyles in this series, several of the figures aren’t accompanied by any accessories at all! The accessories that are included aren’t new to the LEGO universe, unless of course you count hats, bows and skirts. I wonder if this is how LEGO offset their licensing costs? Or maybe the lack of accessories is a tradeoff to such great additions as Alice and Minnie’s skirts. Speaking of strange accessory pairing, why does Aladdin have a lamp? Shouldn’t he be accompanied by his side-kick Apu instead?

One cool detail in this series, is that each character is paired with a counterpart from his or her story line which allows for some awesome play and photographic opportunities, i.e.: Mickey & Minnie, Donald & Daisy, Syndrome & Mr. Incredible. Two notable exceptions are Stich and Maleficent; where is Lilo and Princess Aurora? I would love to know the thinking behind the decision to omit these characters. Is it because they’ll be in the next series? By leaving these two characters without their natural counterparts, it certainly makes a nice lead into the next Disney mini figure series.

While a second Disney series hasn’t been announced, I have no doubt there will be one. These figures have been extremely popular; the love of all things Disney runs deep. My Instagram feed is a steady parade of wonderful photos featuring these figures, plus my local toy store can’t keep them in stock. There is no doubt that Disney and LEGO make a powerful combination.

I will say that for all my misgivings, these figures photograph beautifully. It doesn’t matter if you’re a die hard Disney fan or a casual collector, these figures offer much in terms of play possibilities. If you’re a mini-figure collector or a photographer, you’re going to want a complete set of the Disney collectible mini figures.

~ Shelly

What’s your favorite mini figure from this series and why? Feel free to add a link to the best image you’ve taken using one of the figs from this series. I would love to see what you’ve been up to.

Ursala in ditch wm
“You can’t get something for nothing, you know.”