Back in 2017, The LEGO Group released the NEXO Knights Power suits range. This was essentially a dumbed down range of Mech suits, which incorporated a new cockpit element for the seating of of the pilot. Fast forward to 2020, and there was a new series of inexpensive mech suits featuring Marvel characters: Iron Man, Spider Man and Thanos. I missed these, for no good reason. However, this year, we have another three Marvel Mech Suits released: 76168 Captain America; 76169 Thor and 76171 Mile Morales. the sets have around 120-135 elements, and retail for $AUD19.99/$USD9.99/9.99€/£8.99.
I am grateful that The LEGO Group sent these three over for me to take a look at: I have been curious to learn a bit more about mech building, and I am keen to see what these sets might teach me about designing a custom mech suit in the future.
Let’s start out by looking at the elements presented in these sets: there are certainly a number of common elements, as well as some elements that are used more in one set that another, depending on the structures added to the mech.
At first glance, these figures all seem to share elements in common with the first series, and each other, which may well provide a useful starting point for creating your own minifigure mechs. Ball joints and sockets are common place fir each of these sets. Thor and Miles Morales feature a number of 1×2 plates with rounded ends. Otherwise the sets feature a parts palette representative of the costume of their drive: Captain America’s is Red White and Blue; Thor Red, black and grey, while Miles focusses on red and black. Likewise we have elements pertaining to the characters primary weapon: a giant shield element with 76168; brick build hammer (with stickers) for 76169 and plenty of web elements with 76171.
For some people, these figures will be the main reason for purchasing these sets. The Captain America figure is essentially the same darker version seen in 76143 Avengers Truck Takedown from 2020. He features a dual sided head print, with a chinstrap on one side. He comes with the shield element, which clips to the Mech’s left leg during play. Thor is essentially the same as he appeared in the 2020 Acvengers sets, although he is lacking the cape – in part because it will not readily fit while he is within the cockpit of the Mech. He comes with a hammer element, which also clips into his mech’s leg. Miles Morales is an exclusive figure for this range at present, and is wearing a dark red hoodie over his black and grey spider suit. The hoodie has a spider emblem printed on the back of it, as well as bright red trim around the bottom, and a silver zipper. Removing the hood reveals that his head has dual sided printing, with the rear continuing the design of the spider suit, much like those of the regular Spider-Man figures. This is a truly awesome figure.
Construction of all of these figures begins with the same sequence of parts. Only the colours have been changed to protect the innocent. this goes toward creating the rear aspect opf the cockpit. In the Nexo Knight Power Suits, this was a single element. Technically, you might refer to them as POOP: Parts to be made up Out of Other Pieces. In these new mechs, this single element is replaced by 23! There is also a change of direction of build: the studs on the back of NEXO Knights Power Suits faced backwards. In these new mechs, the back of the mech is covered with tubes/antistuds.
You can also see that the brick-built version is essentially the same width, but two studs higher, and a stud or so deeper.
When we build the frames of all three of the new Marvel mechs, we see that while the core/frame is essentially the same, the legs, feet, shoulders and arms vary for all three: Captain America and Thor have fairly powerful looking shoulders, while Miles Morales’ looks more gangly. Just like a teenager (apologies to any teenagers reading here. The two avengers both feature the same broad based, booted feet, even though their legs are different. There are also subtle differences in the way in which their hands are built, depending on whether they need to hold a hammer, a shield or shoot webs.
As we build up the mechs, we can see different techniques used to build up the shoulders, arms and legs. Captain America’s mech builds the arms and legs up using inverse bows, and ingots.
Thor’s shoulders are built up, and the hexagonal cockpits covers (in red) attach to the shoulders, in a way reminiscent of Thor’s Cape. The entire rear of the cockpit is detailed in red as well. Thor’s Mech’s knees are similarly broad to the shoulders – compared to Cap and Miles.
Miles Morales’ mech has lots of hi-tech web slinging goodness. He features web bursts from behind his shoulders, but it modifiying it. you might just as well include jets of some sort, or shoulder mounted weapons. Miles comes with lots of great web accessories, this time we see the pack in light transparent blue. The mech also features feet that are a single stud wide: I feel this gives him the feeling of being a teenager wearing sneakers, rather than a war weary hero in solid boots, which I think is conveyed by the feet of the Avenger’s mechs.Unfortunately, like Thor, the opening of the Mech is somewhat limited by the placement of the ‘Nexo Shield’ tile.
Between these three Mechs, you can get some great inspiration for how you might set out to design your own minifigure sized mech. And then you can also go back to last year’s (to say nothing of the Nexo Knights Power Suits range) for further inspiration on how you might approach foot design, legs, knee trim, shoulders and hands, And then you have the opprtunity to consider the weapons that you mech might use to face your enemies.
Each of the Mechs is quite posable, and provides a feeling consistent with the personality of their pilots.
Do I have a favorite? For sheer mechness and consistancy with the character, I really like the Captain America version (3.5/5 Arbitrary Praise Units(APUs)). I appreciate the effort made with Thor’s mech, but some of the ‘capeness’ is lost with the red flaps, for me (3/5 APUs). As for Miles, the minifigure alone, as well as the new colour of web accessories (given the colour, I want to consider it to be some sort of Electro Web) are worth the price of admission. Given the way in which the mech captures the teenagerness of the character, I give this one 4/5 APUs.
What do you think of these mechs? Great figure sets? Nifty Mechs? Who is your favourite? Of course the question of “Why does a literal Norse God need a Mech Suit?” springs to mind, but seeing the way in which he lost physical condition in Avengers: End Game, perhaps we should have seen his figure decorated in this way instead (clutching a videogame controller). Do you have any great resources for mech suit design? Why not share your opinions and comments below, and until next time,
These sets were provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.