After taking a semester off to revisit the core of Ninjago: Mechs, Dragons and Vehicles and Temples, we now find ourselves looking at sets related to the 15th season: Crystalized. I am excited to have been received the sets from this wave to review, as there are some great looking sets in this wave. Ninjago, along with the Monkie Kid, hold special appeal to me as being the spiritual successors to both Classic Castle and Classic Space.
Today, I would like to present 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech. This set comes with 8 minifigures, a buildable rock monster as well as a 32 cm tall brightly coloured mech, which boasts some of the greatest posability in a LEGO Set of this scale.
Before I move to the contents of the set, I would like to make a couple of general observations about the presentation: The boxes for this season’s sets seem to drift a little towards stylistic art on the front of the box: large, colourful renders of the set, with plenty of colourful Action Blur added. Next to the ninjago logo, in the upper right corner, there is a picture of Lloyd, surrounded by four dragons with different coloured heads: red, blue, black and white, possibly representing Golden Dragon Forms of the other core Ninja. The Mech, as well as hero figures – Wu, Jay and Li’l Nelson are shown battling the Mechanic, General Pythor, Oni Garmadon, and a Vengestone Warrior. There are clearer pictures of the minifigures in the bottom right corner of the box, as well as on the top edge. The background is predominantly red, with shards of crystal breaking through around the edges. The rear of the box better demonstrates the ability of the Mech to strike a pose, as well as launch missiles, while a callout box also shows Nya/Samurai X in the pilot’s Cabin of the Mech.
The Instruction manual has 144 pages, and gives us a progress bar, as we work through the instructions. In the past, Instruction manuals have generally highlighted the set’s cover art on the front cover, but we seem to see a change this half year, with the cover dominated by an image of the set’s elements over a pale apricot coloured background. Above and below this colored strip, outlines of LEGO elements are visible.
Bags One and Two.
The first bag reveals General Pythor, Golden Jay and Nya, and also gives us a buildable Crystal rock monster. I feel call-outs here to Power Miners and Rock raiders, while the monster has a dual molded dragon head, featuring a dark transparent purple upper section, and a fixed jaw.
The monster features many transparent purple crystal shaped elements, which are to be found throughout this wave, wither in the veins of rocks, or used as weapons by the Vengestone Guards, Brutes and Warriors. The model is quite posable, although its exact title is not clear from the associated marketing material on LEGO.com.
In Bag 2, we have several more minifigures: Lil Nelson, Master Wu and Oni Garmadon.
We also see the elements necessary to build up the core of the mech – including the cabin. Most of the elements involved in the core are black and grey, although it is apparent that dark azure will become a dominant colour as we work our way out.
We set up a SNOT Core, with some golden embellishments, and place some stickers inside the cabin, showing controls, monitors, and even a little decoration…
After placing the torso over the lower abdomen, we move onto bag 3.
Bags Three and Four.
Full of golden elements including tiles, slopes and more the dark azure elements come to the fore in these bags, where we first build up the torso and head, before moving onto the thighs in bag 4.
Designer Niek Van Slagmaat has paid to how the mech might look from all angles: with various wing elements angled to complete the lines set by sloped bricks, as well as the shape of the spine along the mech’s back – staggered over several layers as to mini the natural kyphosis present in the human skeleton. The Shell elements introduced over recent years fit nicely, and add a great series of curves to the mech’s form.
While some stickers are used to add a degree of detail to the front, they are simple enough to apply. While building up the torso, some blemished from the manufacturing are apparent on the double wedged curved slope. Whether these are related to the colour, light transmission, packing or the mould itself was not clear to me.
From here, we add the ‘X’ to the chest – a clever bit of work reliant on elements being able to be angled back a little. This is a terrific detail which reminds me of some Marvel-related cartoons from late in the 20th Century about some talented you mutants… but I digress.
We add a hatch to the top of the cabin, and it remains accessible to a minfigure. As you can see in the second picture above, there are control levers for the pilot to use.
Entering into Bag 4, where we build the thighs, I want to pause for a moment, to consider a relatively new element: this compound-technic-click joint. It has featured in a few sets this year, and has allowed a reduction in the number of elements required to build stronger Mech joints – as seen in Ninjago and Monkie Kid this year so far. The standard click hinges attach to the Mech’s pelvis and allow for abduction (opening up)and adduction (bringing the knees together) of the hips. The round element of the joint allows for flexion of the thigh.
We build up the thighs around the central SNOT bracketed core, before repeating a mirror image on the other side. Conspicuous on the lower end of the thighs are 3 technic ball joint sockets. But this will have to wait…
Bags five and six
These bags focus on building the calves and feet.
The lower legs are again built up around a SNOT Bracketed Core before being wrapped in a golden shell. 3 balls mounted on an axle all engage with the joints in the thigh, giving us a firm but flexible knee.
The feet articulate via a single ball joint. the ankles have limited flexion back and forward, but plenty of lateral movement, providing stability, as well as the ability to attain alternative stable postures. I love the way the curves blend into each other.
The base of the feed include some rubber stoppers, previously seen in technic caterpillar track, to increase friction with the ground.
We attach the knees and our body is now self supporting. (we will shortly be adding some cockpit covers to act as knee caps.)
Even using this small step, the possibilities with this new knee design are becoming apparent. Like human knees, these ones do not flex backwards, and some thought has gone into providing limitations to the degree of flexibility at all joints to ensure that the model is stable.
Bags Seven and Eight
Two more figures here: The Mechanic and a Vengestone Warrior. I love the use of transparent elements in the Warrior’s leg and left arm. A great legacy from Vidiyo.
We build up the upper arms, including shoulder pauldrons – again using the compound click joints to provide stability at the shoulder. I really like the gold and black stripes included in the pauldron design, while we also hide a couple of missile launchers into the construction.
The forearms are predominantly gold and black, and technic click hinges allow for both flexion and rotation at the elbow. finally, we build two hands, each gripping a golden sword, to deliver double the damage.
The Finished Model:
I really appreciate the ability to pose this mech – we have good flexion and extension on the hips, as well as generous movement around the shoulders.
Overall, I love the minifigure designs in this set – the returning characters , particularly the Mechanic, have new designs, whilst the novel appearance of the Vengestone Warrior, with its transparent arm and leg components, is quite unique. As for the Mech, it is a good size, measuring around 25 cm. I have demonstrated the way that it flexes its knees, as well as the mobility of other joints.
If I were to have any gripe at all, it would be that the head feels just a little small. Not by much. If it cleared the top of the minifigures pauldrons, I suspect it would please me more.
Mechs have always played a significant role in the world of Ninjago, and it is great to see one finally work with articulated knees. Until recently, you might be forgiven for thinking it almost impossible, however the new compound Technic joint at the hips, in conjunction with the triple ball joint at the knee seems to do the job for maintaining almost any posture, within reason. This presents an alternative, and I suspect more versatile, version of the knee joint than that seen in Zane’s Titan Mech, released last year. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to that Mech. If you do, and can measure the amount of knee flexion that it is capable of, I would be grateful.
I give this set 4.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units. The build is interesting and engaging, and to receive eight minifigures in the set is quite remarkable. I enjoy the colour blocking, used, and appreciate the fact that the Mech’s cabin has room for an enclosed pilot.
Set 71775 has 1005 pieces, and comes with 8 minfigures, as well as a crystal rock monster for some built in conflict. It will be priced at $179.99AUD/$119 USD/Eur and £99.99 GBP
The set is due for release on 1stJune (UK/ Europe) and on August 1 2022 in North America and Australia. I’d love to know what you think of this set. It is a must have if you are interested in exploring some of the techniques used for designing, and dressing a mech. I feel it is one of the more striking present in the 2022 Ninjago range.
How do you feel about it? An easy purchase? Or one than can wait? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,