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LEGO set mash-up: combining Friends & Ninjago

by admin on September 17, 2019

in Building Techniques

(Written by Geneva – gid617)

You may have noticed that there have been a whole lot of amusement park and fairground themed sets lately. This got me thinking; almost any LEGO set could be made into an amusement park creation, couldn’t it? After all, LEGO sets are about themes, and amusement parks are about themes. If you combined a set from a LEGO theme with another set that was an amusement park ride, then you’d have a LEGO-theme themed ride! 🙂

So, I decided to work on a series of amusement park mash-ups, using sets from different themes. As my first project, I combined the #70674 LEGO Ninjago Fire Fang and #41337 LEGO Friends Underwater Loop. Basically, I took the concept of the Underwater Loop and the style and look of the Fire Fang snake, and combined them for a Ninjago ride! As an additional challenge to myself, and so that anyone could replicate the result, I only used pieces from those two sets.

The first thing to solve in combining these two sets was detaching the head from the snake and making sure it could be scaled to swing freely in the somewhat cramped space of the loop. Since the two seat segments have to be able to rotate 360 degrees, neither one can be more than about ten studs long or high. Six studs is about the maximum width, too, but that was not a problem because the snake is built on a four stud wide frame. The seat has to weigh more on the bottom, in order to keep it upright. and not only that, but both seats have to weigh about the same amount if you want to be able to pose the ride in multiple positions. I certainly got a better appreciation for the design challenges of a moving set like the Underwater Loop after this mash-up project!

After building the loop and figuring out the tricky details of weight, length, and height for the seat sections, I gave the cotton candy cart a makeover with an orange stripe and the Ninjago scroll.

Since I’m not much of a friend to mini-dolls, I built my mash-up to accommodate minifigures. So here’s the ride with a couple minifigures from the #60234 LEGO City People Pack – Fun Fair set. As a Ninjago fan myself, I have to say that riding on a snake seems a lot more exciting than the sea turtle and goldfish that came in the original Underwater Loop!

The Fire Fang included a flexible plastic tongue, which seemed like an interesting choice. But it turned out to be perfect for combining these two sets – if it weren’t for the flexibility, this snake head would never make it around the loop!

You may be wondering which part of the combination creation is from which set. Obviously, the snakehead and body are from Fire Fang while the loop structure and attachment points are from the Underwater Loop. The transparent-orange on the ground is also from Fire Fang, but most of the tan sand is from the Underwater Loop. However since the size of the loop was pre-determined by the original LEGO Technic beams, I peeled down the snake to that size and there were a lot of extra pieces from both sets.

I think my favorite part of the build was getting that fancy throne onto the loop. The chair was my first inspiration for the mash-up, but after playing around with it I was afraid it was much too large to ever be able to spin around. But, by moving the katanas at the back down a bit, I was able to keep the whole chair still looking a lot like the original!

Combining two sets like this presents a pretty unique challenge – in a way, a lot of your work has been done for you, but the tight parts selection and the pre-established color schemes make it important to reevaluate the combined creation from a fresh angle several times during the building process. For this mash-up, the first part was getting the functionality working; then I had to refocus on the colors and the way it looked. Only after I had the basic loop done did I start to think about what pieces I had left for the base and smaller side builds.

What do you think? Have you ever tried combining two sets into one creation? What challenges did you face along the way? Are there any sets that you think would be particularly good for this kind of a challenge? And what do you think about this particular mash-up? Do the colors work? What would you have done differently? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

brickmaster September 17, 2019 at 12:12 PM

This is a great idea. I hope you will do more mashups like this. I’m not a big fan of the fairground sets, but it does open up opportunities for mixes like this. Fantasy themes are also good. Aliens, dragons, elves, etc.

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gid617 September 17, 2019 at 3:03 PM

Yes, there are more coming! 😉
That’s an interesting idea – you could create your own fantasy theme by mashing two themes together!

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Martin September 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM

This is why I prefer Lego’s own themes. They encourage creativity like this. I too noticed that there are a large number of fairground sets. Are you going to mix any of the other ones?

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gid617 September 17, 2019 at 3:04 PM

Yep, I plan to do this to several more sets. Might even get a licensed set or two in there. 😉 (You’re right though, it’s generally easier to work with LEGO’s own themes!)

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TomTom September 17, 2019 at 12:43 PM

This goes perfectly with that bizarre rabbit hunting campaign Lego is running right now. I like your version better. I imagine balancing the rides was a challenge due to their different size and shape. Was that just by trial and error?

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LEGOJeff September 17, 2019 at 1:03 PM

That ad is so strange. I don’t know what’s the point. And what was the use of releasing teasers for an ad? Admin, is there anything else going on with this that we should know? Sorry for hijacking the thread. I feel a lot more comfortable with Geneva’s mashup than that strange ad.

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Peter September 17, 2019 at 1:12 PM

This is their explanation on the video itself: “It all starts with a brick. And billions of possibilities. Build. Unbuild. Re-build. Experiment. Break the rules. Fail. And try again. This is the cycle of creativity. #RebuildTheWorld. What are we up to?”

It seems to be just a campaign to encourage kids to be creative. It’s pretty creepy if you ask me, but some people like it. I don’t know how hunting a rabbit fits into the whole thing, but whatever. This is what happens when you are sleep deprived or on drugs.

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gid617 September 17, 2019 at 3:07 PM

haha! I saw a little about that campaign earlier today. Not sure what it’s all about. 😛
Yes, I just tried one way and tried the other, added a brick here and took away a brick here for the balance. It was easier to get the balance adjusted than to make the seat sections small enough to turn completely around without hitting the middle bar.

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Sith015 September 17, 2019 at 1:00 PM

I mix sets from different themes all the time, but I don’t limit myself to just the pieces from the sets. I suppose it’s a good challenge to improve your skills. It could even be made into a contest. I might try this. Thanks for the idea.

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gid617 September 17, 2019 at 3:12 PM

Limiting the pieces you can use can be really cool for some situations – if you’re just trying to build the coolest possible creation, it doesn’t make much sense, but if you’re trying to push yourself to use some pieces you normally wouldn’t think about, build in a setting where you can’t bring your whole collection along, or compete with a completely even playing field, it can really spark some creativity! In this case, I was keeping my collection as a back-up in case I really hit a brick wall, but I decided to keep the light aqua technic beams, for instance – not something I would have used if I’d been designing a Ninjago snake loop from scratch!

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legofan September 17, 2019 at 2:31 PM

Like others said, it’s funny how this article lines up with lego’s campaign. It’s living proof that people still build creatively. Maybe it’s lego that needs to remember their own message.

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gid617 September 17, 2019 at 3:15 PM

Pure coincidence there! But then, it’s not too surprising that LEGO and I as a LEGO builder are both working on being creative. 😉

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Legostuff14 September 17, 2019 at 4:34 PM

I got the impression that maybe the rabbit ( from the Lego add) represents imagination and not to be afraid to chase after it almost like the equivalent of Alice in Wonderland chasing the rabbit down the rabbit hole. It’s funny when you are Young you don’t think about rules, but as we get older rules become a part of our life and its how we put a structure on things in our lives. I had the first Jabba the Hutt’s palace and two of other sets that you get separately to attach to the bigger set. I took it apart to make a bigger Jabba the Hutt’s palace or something else I don’t remember exactly. The young adult in me said ” why did I do that?” I did the same with the first set of the rise of Voldemort set in the graveyard scene. Now, I sometimes add things to the existing sets and make it bigger or better. Or I make mocs.

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The Other Mark September 17, 2019 at 10:08 PM

I didn’t think of the rabbit that way, but you could be right. It’s a weird ad, especially the guy at the barber with his head turning all the way back. Creepy. I hope this means they will release some more creative sets with alternate instructions and such

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gid617 September 18, 2019 at 11:47 AM

Hmm, maybe that’s where the rabbit comes from!
Speaking of rules, I always thought it was cool the way The LEGO Movie balanced that… the good guys are the creative ones who aren’t just following the instructions – but when push comes to shove, the one who saves the day is the one who can follow the instructions and build a perfectly ordinary ship to get them into Lord Business’ office!
Personally I almost always follow instructions first and build the set (there’s lots to learn especially from more complex sets!) but then sooner or later, it makes it into the parts bin and my next creation. 😉

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Håkan September 24, 2019 at 6:56 PM
The Other Mark September 17, 2019 at 10:09 PM

I like Geneva’s idea of combining sets! I may try this with some of the smaller sets I have just to see how it goes. The cotton candy stand is my favorite detail. 😀

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gid617 September 18, 2019 at 11:40 AM

Thanks, that was a fun way to use the forbidden scroll! 😀

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