Every pirate captain needs a good ship as his or her command. For LEGO Ninjago villain, Nadakhan, the flying Raid Zeppelin is not that ship. In many ways this flying contraption is superior to the captain’s preferred and substantially larger/more expensive ride, Misfortune’s Keep.
The Raid Zeppelin resembles a cross between a hot-air balloon and a traditional pirate ship with a touch of steam punk tossed in for extra flair. It’s the most aesthetically interesting LEGO Ninjago Season 6 set for looking sharp and distinctive, and impossible to compare to any previously released LEGO vehicle set as there’s been nothing like it produced before.
There are quite a few hidden little details in the Raid Zeppelin that add to its intrigue, starting with a large Skybound pirate flag off its rear that can be raised, lowered and turned. Two small rear thrusters can also be moved from side-to-side, as well as movable flaps and wings on the rear of either side. Any combination of moving these parts into different positions creates a number of unique flying looks.
The ship’s port and starboard sides include two small shooting cannons with a large traditional pirate’s cannon pointed out the fore part of the ship. Extra ammunition for both cannons is included to reload the cannons in the thick of battle against those pesky ninja.
A relatively cramped deck becomes even more confined when the added cannon ammunition is added where instructed. There’s little room for Clancee, one of two inclusive pirates, to swab the deck as he often does in the television series. The only place Clancee can hold his mop and stand on the ship is in the aft captain’s area where it makes little sense for him to do so.
Figures on the ship’s sides are restricted to facing outward due to limited space from the relatively thin width and obtrusive balloon mast, and positioning figures in the aft area is difficult because of the massive balloon overhead. While I don’t have enough pirates (yet) to fill each side, I can imagine the effect would be pleasing.
There’s also a trap mechanism on the deck designed to drop a stick of dynamite out the ship’s bottom when a lever is pulled from the ship’s rear, but it could also be used to drop a minifigure. If the dynamite is left in the trap to rattle around then that’s even more deck space eaten up. The trap is fun and kids will likely use it more than any of the Raid Zeppelin’s other features.
In addition to Clancee the Raid Zeppelin includes Doubloon, another of Nadakhan’s pirates, and Season 6 Zane. Doubloon is the first figure to my knowledge whose face on the front and rear is an inverted mirror image of itself. Like Clancee he’s a colorful addition to a pirate crew and doesn’t feel like a throw-in personality-less enemy grunt.
Zane includes the same dual-sided head from Season 5 and comes with a translucent dark-blue Djinn Blade with a “trapped Jay” element 1×1 circular stud on the front, and a small air vehicle that does not appear in the television show. The air vehicle has adjustable wings that allow it to “stand up” and create a small mech-like vehicle, my preferred look.
The lack of usable deck space is my only real complaint about the Raid Zeppelin. With a retail price of only $30, this airborne pirate ship falls right in the middle of the LEGO Ninjago Season 6 set price range. It’s the cheapest way to get key pirate minifigures Clancee and Doubloon, and is guaranteed to stand out among any other LEGO sets when viewed among a collection. If you’re a stickler like me who likes their LEGO sets to resemble the same vehicles or locations in the LEGO Ninjago TV series, the Raid Zeppelin will not disappoint.
The LEGO Ninjago Raid Zeppelin was provided by The LEGO Group for the purpose of this review.