Lego Review: 9440: Venomari Shrine (Ninjago)

Yesterday at Target I picked up one of the small new “Ninjago” Lego sets, the Venomari Shrine. I think I’ve said before that I don’t really “get” the Ninjago theme, but that’s fine, since apparently the target audience gets it just fine and it’s doing well.

It also doesn’t matter because I don’t really buy sets for sets, I buy for pieces more often. So it makes no difference to me who the Venomari are, just that it’s a cheap set with some interesting new pieces I wanted to check out.

The minifig has some new stuff for me: that hood-thing, the shoulder piece with double katana holder on the back, and the staff are all new. I’m not much into the ninja thing, so I doubt I’ll get much use out of them, except for the staff.

It’s the other bits that drew me in.

First off, we have the new snakes. These are a nice alternative to the classic snakes.

The next piece is something I am crazily excited about. Way more so than I should be, in fact, and when you see it you will have no idea why. Here it is:

IT’S A FREAKIN’ 1×1 ROUND TILE!!! Seriously, folks I have been pining for this piece for some time. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wanted to use something like this instead of a square one or a 1×1 round plate (with a stud). This one is trans-green and has some weird icon printed on it (you actually get two of them in the set) so it’s not as useful but hot damn, 1×1 round tiles now exist!

The third piece is, it turns out, somewhat…controversial

These are becoming known as “brick bricks”. They have a brick pattern on them, staggered on one side and plain on the other. Some people seem to like them and some hate them. I have to say, when I saw them on Flickr, I gravitated towards the latter. They looked cheap and MegaBloks-ish, and not overly necessary. (They’re also potentially frustrating in that, if you want to use them, you’ll probably want to use a lot of them, and I’ve no idea in what quantities Lego plans on releasing them; there were six in this set.) Having now seen them for real I’m a little more warmed to them — they actually look better in person. Still not completely convinced on them, but we’ll see.

So there you go, an example of how even a dinky little impulse set can hold all kinds of goodies if, like me, you’re mainly interested in parts for your own creations!

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One Response to Lego Review: 9440: Venomari Shrine (Ninjago)

  1. TJJohn12 says:

    I’m a little sad about the brick bricks… They don’t seem stagger properly.

    Making a strong wall seems like it will break the pattern quite quickly, destroying the illusion of a brick wall. I wish that the reverse of the brick was simply a mirror image of the front. Then the brick would actually tessellate properly like a brick wall.

    Right now, I think these will look good, scattered as clumps of two or three in a larger brick wall to give the hint of texture like a brick wall in a comic doesn’t need every brick outlined. I don’t know; I haven’t gotten to handle the bricks yet.