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    Ninjago Dragons: Mythical Creatures and Legendary Profits


    The Ninjago theme is one that has proven to be one of the most successful themes in LEGO's recent history, as evidenced by its first place in the Top Themes when considered CAGR. The theme has been a hit ever since it hit the shelves for the first time a couple of years ago, product of a mix of sets and a popular TV show, a combination LEGO hopes brings the same results with the released of the somewhat recent Legends of Chima.

    Ninjago has been discussed and analyzed several times in this forum, so I wanted to focus this short blog article in a very specific type of set: those that include any of the dragons. I think it will be very interesting to see how all of the Ninjago sets that have included any kind of dragon have been greatly profitable in the secondary market, a fact that can help even the newbie investor to make good decisions and diversify into a theme they would not otherwise purchase for lack of familiarity with it.

    I will be listing the sets from smallest to largest, by piece count:

    - 30083 Dragon Fight

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    Comments: The smallest set of the bunch is actually a polybag that originally sold for $3.50 and was exclusive to Target. It included a very small dragon and one minifigure and presents a very decent CAGR, keeping in mind that the low MSRP makes it easier for sets like this to increase substantially in value. The polybag seems to have stabilized in value over the past few months, so if you are planning to get one or sell yours, now is as good a time as any.

    - 2260 Ice Dragon Attack

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    Comments: The first and smallest (excluding the poly) dragon released under the Ninjago theme, this set has been pretty big when it comes to secondary market returns. The set lasted for less than a year on the shelves, and the fact that it was the first released dragon probably help it too to get to the point where it currently is, making it one of the most recent true sleeper sets.

    The Ice Dragon remains very popular even more than a year after retirement, consistently selling around 20 sets per month. Most Ninjago collectors and fans more than likely missed out on this set, and if they want to complete their dragon or theme collection they are forced to acquire it at secondary market prices. The set hit a ceiling of around $ 90 this past holiday season, but since then it has lost around 16% of its value. However, once the holidays get going again and even more when the new Ninjago movie hits the theater my guess is that this set will break the $ 100 mark. Not bad considering it went for only $ 20 when widely available.

    - 2509 Earth Dragon Defence

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    Comments: This dragon is actually the most unique looking one, in my opinion, and one that lasted even less than the Ice Dragon on the shelves. In turn, it has also become one of the top performers in this list, with a change over retail of almost 230%! Unlike the Ice Dragon, this set actually keeps increasing in value, with a huge 17% jump over the past month alone.

    - 2521 Lightning Dragon Battle

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    Comments: Another first year release with a very short production run and a exclusive to LEGO and TRU, this was actually one of the largest sets released under the theme at that point with a $ 80 price tag. The set was selling at a very stable price up to December when it jumped from around $150 to $180, and since then it has remained at around that value.

    - 2507 Fire Temple

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    Comments: Finally we get to a set that was retired fairly recently, sometime by the end of last year. This is the largest Ninjago set ever released, and since it remained on the shelves after the craze was already in one of its highest points it may help us determine how well some of the currently available sets will be doing once retired. Besides the dragon, this set included several minifigs and golden weapons, so it was sure to be a winner once it retired. So far, it presents some outstanding numbers with a 56% change over retail and a 25% CAGR. Probably as a result of its longer availability and the fact that investors had more chance and knowledge to acquire it, the set has not grown as rapidly as some of the others, but it is still pretty early to say for sure. We''ll see how it does this holiday season.

    Below you will find a table with each set's numbers and a graph that places their change over retail against the average.

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    As you can see, pretty much every set has performed extremely well, with the largest sets experiencing a smaller change over retail more than likely as a result of the higher MSRP and recent retirement in the case of the Fire Temple. Every set that so far has included a dragon figure has then been a sure winner in the secondary market, and we should take these results and put them into use to figure out some of the sets we should be putting our money into in the Ninjago theme. The two currently available sets including dragons are shown below.

    - 70503 Golden Dragon

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    Comments: This set includes my favorite dragon as well as the golden ninja. The set was selling pretty good this past holiday season and will more than likely be a great performer once it retires, just don't expect it to be the next Ice Dragon.

    - 9450 Epic Dragon Battle

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    Comments: Second largest Ninjago set. This one includes several cool characters and exclusive minifigs that along with the Ultra Dragon make it one of the highest quality sets released under the theme. It actually shares a lot of similarities with the Fire Temple and I would expect it to perform very similarly once it retires, meaning a nice jump after EOL and some slower growth towards the $200 by the end of the first year after retirement.

    Remember that the new Ninjago movie will more than likely boost the popularity of the theme even more, and all of these sets will benefit from the increase and see some returns that would have probably not happened as fast if the movie had not been released. Make sure to get as many as you can in both cases.

    I hope you have enjoyed this very superficial analysis of the Ninjago dragons and I thank you for reading it!

     

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    Dude! What the heck?! How are you able to pop these suckers out so darn quick?! :lol:
    Yet another good article, Fcbarcelona101. I was wondering when somebody would write up one on the "Dragon effect" from Ninjago. Here is the part where I am nitpicky. I don't see any information saying anything about what retailer the polybag and Lightning Dragon Battle were exclusive to. Odd bits like those can help with picking winners or seeing why a set may do better than others. Plus I love tidbits like that. :biggrin:

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    [quote name="TheOrcKing" timestamp="1372744829"]Dude! What the heck?! How are you able to pop these suckers out so darn quick?! :lol:Yet another good article, Fcbarcelona101. I was wondering when somebody would write up one on the "Dragon effect" from Ninjago. Here is the part where I am nitpicky. I don't see any information saying anything about what retailer the polybag and Lightning Dragon Battle were exclusive to. Odd bits like those can help with picking winners or seeing why a set may do better than others. Plus I love tidbits like that. :biggrin:[/quote] Thanks and fixed!

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    Hey, I just learned something. You can edit a blog and not lose the comments left. Cool. Thanks for adding the exclusive info. On a side note, the dragon in the polybag looks more like an oversized flaming butterfly than a flying drake. :blink: It is neat though.

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    FCB - thanks for another PB post.  My question is this - do you really think Epic Dragon Battle is like Fire Temple?  Apart from piece count/size, I think they are remarkably different sets.  The Fire Temple is the prototype "base" set with an amazing temple as the primary build that's paired with the fire dragon.  The ninja figs are neat, with a dragon Sensei Wu and dragon Kai, but the Skeleton figs, Zane and Nya were largely throw-ins.  Sumukai is a neat fig, but it wasn't exclusive.

     

    On the other hand, Epic Dragon Battle is essentially a "dragon" set with a neat brick-built Great Devourer and a throw-in prison building teamed with Ultra Dragon, a four-headed, four legged monolith of a dragon (easily the largest of all dragons).  The figs in EDB are exquisite (much better than the ones in FT IMO) with Ninjago's star, Lloyd ZX, included along with two exclusive snake Generals Acidicus and Skalidor.  The four armed Garmaddon is also included and, while not exclusive, still commands respect.  EDB memorializes the final episode of Season Two of Ninjago, one that was seen by almost 3.5 million viewers!  I really like the potential of this set, even more than Fire Temple.

     

    I guess this is a long-winded way of saying I don't think FT and EDB are all that similar.  I like EDB's long term prospects more than FT.  I do agree that EDB is a great build with great, exclusive figs.

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    You have a lot better understanding about this theme than I do, Quacs. As you said what I was referring to mostly was to the "similarity" in size and piece count rather than the actual "content" of the sets themselves, and I probably should have not used the " a lot of similarities" sentence. Anyway, I wrote this article from the point of view of someone with a basic knowledge of the theme, as I am not an expert whatsoever in Ninjago :p. I basically wanted to examine the sets superficially and see the kind of numbers they were displaying.

     

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and explain the difference about the two better! Greatly appreciated!

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    Another great post continuing the endless line of great articles by FCBarcelona. Great job! I'm going to be watching 2507 closely in the coming months.

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    No prob, FCB.  You did a nice job of running down all of the dragon sets in the theme.  I can't wait for the MechDragon of the 2014 sets to come out!

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    No prob, FCB.  You did a nice job of running down all of the dragon sets in the theme.  I can't wait for the MechDragon of the 2014 sets to come out!

    Agreed four times over. I'm intrigued as to what it will look like

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    I can't wait for the MechDragon of the 2014 sets to come out!

    I hope it looks like MechaGodzilla!
    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wQ8FKGMHHk[/media]

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    I hope it looks like MechaGodzilla!

    It does not even have "dragon" in its name :P
     

    My I offer the Mega Dragonzord instead
    [media][url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0UnEK6kktw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0UnEK6kktw[/url][/media]

     

     

    Nice article btw, I have to agree with Quacs regarding EPB vs FT :)

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    I'm going to be a dissenting party here and make the following points:

     

    I think there are three main factors contributing to the original Ninjago dragons' success in the secondary market:

     

    Firstly, the dragons are simply awesome. There's four unique dragons, one for each ninja, and they almost compel you to grab them all.

     

    Second, they were done in a very limited print run, and one was exclusive to TRU. Not only did this limit the supply, but made it so that people late on the scene who wanted the sets had to turn to the secondary market, pushing demand even higher.

     

    Lastly, the first Ninjago line has a fairly clear-cut, traditional Asian aesthetic, compared to the second Ninjago line, which features much more technology and vehicles than mythology and creatures. I think the more traditional Asian tone was a big win in many collectors and AFOL's books (at least, that was the reason I bought my Ice Dragon last year).

     

    I am certain that without a doubt the newer dragon sets will do well, especially considering the return of Ninjago in 2014, but I don't think we'll be seeing anything near the kind of returns the first dragons did.

     

    Considering LEGO wasn't sure of Ninjago's reception during the initial set run, they were made in a much smaller batch. After the show's takeoff and the success of the first line, I'm sure they sent production of the second line to much higher levels. Also keep in mind that we only got two of these sets, and neither one is exclusive nor hard to find.

     

    My two cents on Ninjago.

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    ...

     

    My two cents on Ninjago.

    Agreed on some of those points. I am personally a huge fan of the oriental feel, but not sure that's the reason for the first line's success: Garmadon's Fortress which has absolutely no Asian influence in terms of design is sitting at 58% CAGR while the Dojo, the first line's most oriental set just started to rise, at a 18% CAGR. I won't bring Fire Temple into the picture because there are a whole lot more factors involved in that one. Interestingly, my younger cousin, an avid Ninjago fan, likes the third line the best (IMO it is the worst), and considering that in 2014 we are going to be seeing more of the ships and technology, I wouldn't say the line's target audience is in huge favor of the oriental feel. Ninjago is a success mainly because of KFOLs, not adults.

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    Maybe as a whole line, yes, but when it comes to the first Ninjago line, that combination of KFOL and AFOL interest is what I believe was a major factor in their success.

     

    It's really annoying that I saw both the Ice and Earth Dragons down below $15.00 clearance last year.

     

    Oh my per-investor days never stop biting me in the ass.

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