At the time of writing this article I still haven’t seen The LEGO Ninjago Movie in its entirety, but regardless of that it has apparently led LEGO to turn out some very nice sets that I really do like a lot. The Flying Jelly Sub (70610) is one of those.
In a way it’s perhaps a bit of a tragic set. I waited forever for prices on this set to drop to the point that I consider adequate, but they just never went down noticeably. That could indicate that the set just isn’t really popular or that it was produced in too small numbers to allow resellers larger discounts. Both theories seem applicable to me, even more so since it literally is only available from Amazon and one other retailer here in Germany, despite it is in no way an exclusive set only special distribution partners are allowed to sell.
The lack of competition naturally figures into the equation and keeps the price firmly pinned to a certain threshold. I ultimately bit the bullet and bought it at around 27 Euros, which is only a measly 3 Euros shaved off its suggested retail price. In other words, the price is in my view too high. I also felt there was a bit of urgency, since the set has been on the market for a while now and I think it is likely to be withdrawn soon. With so few vendors having it, this will be a very rapid disappearance.
I really wanted this set rather badly, because overall it looks pretty gorgeous. To me it represents LEGO at their best and it is regrettable that this kind of brilliance, where simple, yet elegant and functional designs, some interesting building techniques and a good play value come together have become so rare. This set is a joy to build and to look at, though arguably of course you are basically looking at two totally separate sets that have been thrown together in a box. That’s also how I’ll treat them in this article. Let’s begin with the actual sub.
Even though I love this set, it still has the marks of some bad things I really begin to seriously hate about LEGO. In this case it’s the totally unnecessary sloppy packaging of the large glass dome. Yes, it was thrown in loosely in the box and almost inevitably got a big ugly scratch that was so large and deep it couldn’t be polished away. I had to put in a request for a replacement, which thankfully I got without a hitch and that arrived undamaged.
Still, this seems like a stupid decision and unnecessary inconvenience for the customer (and extra cost for LEGO). Point in case: In some sets even the tiniest parts are bagged separately, even if it may not be necessary, and here a sensitive transparent part was left fully exposed to all kinds of possible mayhem. It just doesn’t make any sense and someone wasn’t thinking!
Building the model is a quick and straightforward operation that takes you half an hour. You basically just build the round section with relatively large parts and then plug on the details to the hinges, ball joints and pin holes more or less. Building the six tentacles/ legs is a bit repetitive, but not too daunting, either. The large “eyes” are attached at an angle by using colts (!) clamped into the clips. Now that’s original!
Interestingly enough there is another such tiny detail by ways of some 2 x 1 plates in Transparent Medium Blue being used. It’s the rarest of the transparent blue colors (and thus quite expensive on Bricklink) and, what makes this so awesome, since it’s used in places where it isn’t exactly particularly prominent, nobody would have noticed when another color would have been used. Someone really poured his heart into this and gave us some exclusive parts!
The chains are of course supposed to represent the tentacles of a jellyfish/ medusa and I actually wish they had added more and in varied colors. This could have been a real rainbow of different chains at different lengths arranged like a curtain. The presentation also would have benefited of including some kind of stand made from transparent bricks, so the model could have been shown in its flying position. My “curtain” would then have disguised this nicely. Overall it’s okay, though.
The second item in the set is a small fishing boat, which could just as well hold up as its own set. It’s not complicated to build, but reasonably complex and realistic. It uses some interesting building techniques to shape its appearance with as few parts as possible and those parts are actually very reusable, should you decide to disassemble the thing and cannibalize it for other project. It can also be used right away along the similar boats included in the Ninjago City (70620) and Ninjago City Docks (70657) sets, as it’s stylistically similar. This would even more be an argument to sell this as a 5 Euros polybag to complement those sets for people who may want them to be a bit more busy.
As I’ve said throughout the article several times already, this is a superb little set that you can enjoy even if you don’t know much about Ninjago. It simply looks amazing! I could stare at the boat for hours and dream of one day owning a Ninjago City. I also like the Sand Blue parts that should come in handy on other projects one day and I could even see myself re-using the dome e.g. as a greenhouse cover or sky dome on a building or similar. The only grain of salt is indeed the price, which could have been just that tad lower for my taste and limited finances.