One of the criticisms offered to the early waves of Monkie Kid sets is the relatively high prices, compared with other playsets, for what is essentially an in-house IP. The sets themselves have not been bad value, more tending towards the higher end of the spectrum, with the initial wave featuring no sets for less than $50AUD. As such, I was quite excited to see that there were a couple of playsets in the upcoming 2023 wave with sets retailing for the much more palatable 32.99AUD. That’s right: Not one, but two!
80040 Monkie Kid’s Combi Mech and 80041 Mei’s Dragon Jet. Both sets are great standalone sets, but they also have the capacity to join together to form a larger vehicle: in part serving to introduce the target market to the idea of mixing and merging LEGO sets together.
Both Mei and Monkie Kid have fairly distinctive colour blocking in all of their sets: MK’s are red, gold, teal, and yellow, while Mei’s vehicles are almost all white, lime green, teal, bright green and lime green (which a touch of vibrant Yellow.) The near exclusive use of these colours, with the exception with grey and black elements for joints and hinges leaves me thinking back to the space themes of the 80’s and 90s, where themes were defined by a specific palette, although in this case, we have parallel streams representing different characters.
In this review, I shall look at the MK’s Combi-Mech, then Mei’s Dragon Flyer, and finally, the effect once combined together.
80040 Monkie Kid Combi-Mech
‘$AUD259 is quite as lot for a LEGO set, so, if you can’t afford to spring for the Ultra Mech, but still love Monkie Kid, this is a great option. Here are the elements involved:
Monkie Kid now has a well established colour palette: Red/Yellow/Warm Gold/ Teal with white trim. Interesting elements at play here are the gold wheel hubs, as well as the new large sword element, also seen in 80045. I was also intrigued by the use of the car bonnet elements in red. Black and Grey elements form the majority of joints to be found around the set.
The set comes with 2 minifigures: Monkie Kid, as well as an ink demon.
MK is the same version seen in 80034 Nehza’s Fire Ring in 2022, and features detailed printing front and back, with toe printing, as well as more detail on the upper thighs.
The Ink demon features detailed torso printing front and back, wearing what appears to be a golden mesh top. There are purple streaks leaking between the gaps, both on the torso and face.
The first part of the build brings us the Ink demon’s catapult, with 1×1 black round bricks to fire at MK
Next, we start work on the mech, beginning with the torso, creating a central core over a couple of layers, then strengthened with teal arches going from front to back: We build up the front of the cockpit, with a sticker to create the control panel, as well as the Monkey King logo on the front, while further details are added to the sides.
We put together the legs, which feature technic ball joints at the top, double click hinges at the knees and smaller ball joints at the ankles. The calves are clad in the red shell elements introduced in Ninjago EVO last year and provide additional studs on the outsides to accommodate detail inside and out, suitable for younger builders.
The arms are next, starting with the upper arms, forearms and hands, with several fingers. The car bonnets fit over the shoulders and give a suitably bulked up look.
The clips in the Mech’s hands allow weapons such as the wishing staff or ludicrously large sword to be wielded with ease:
Ultimately, MK can comfortably fit in the cockpit of the mech, which is quite posable:
80041 Mei’s Dragon Jet
Mei’s craft comes with its only distinctive colour palette and includes some transparent bright green elements. Traditionally, most of these elements fluoresce under UV light, but the new giant sword blade as well as Mei’s Dragon Blade does not. Again, the palette is consistent with previous outings, however, a little part of me is released that last year’s flirtation with vibrant yellow has seen it absent from this year’s model.
There are 3 minifigures in this set: Mei, an ink demon and Ink general.
Mei appears as she has done in the past, with a Dragon motif incorporated on her flight suit. The Ink demon is identical to that with MK’s Mech above, but is carrying a bow, while the General features a yellow band around his topknot, as well as inky ghost legs. Both ink creatures have power blasts, originally seen in Super Heroes, years ago. This time, they are black!
We start the build with a small cannon, firing a stud, for the ink demons to man: I like the way the front wheels were designed to work – using a bar through a connecting pin/stud. A stud shooter is wrapped up inside a couple of slopes, to provide a more cannonesque look.
We build a small scooter, which seats one Minifigure, and attaches to the aft of the main jet’s fuselage.
We then build up the core of the fuselage: exactly which way is up is a little uncertain to me initially. Ultimately, the gold bars go to the bottom.
In the next bag, we add a lot of detail: a jet intake at the front, covered by white ‘cockpit/windscreen panels, twin teal tailplanes, stud shooters and white click-hinged helicopter blades. In conjunction with the sword blades, they give this set a bit of an Insectoids vibe.
On the underside of the Jet, there is a rounded 1×2 brick with bars. this brick debuted in Monkie Kid in 2022 is revealing itself to be the MVP of the 2023 range: there is one on the back of the Monkey King’s Ultra Mech, to better attach the jet on the back, as well as another here: all the better to bind to the Monkie Kid Combi Mech.
Ultimately, this combination craft seats MK and Mei comfortably, and the engine on the front of the jet folds down, to propel the combination.
All in all, I really enjoy their functionality in both of these sets: Mei’s Jet goes well with the rest of her craft, while the Mech is highly posable, and brings a sense of fun, with the comedically oversized sword.
In the past, Monkie Kid sets have been on the pricier side, and I think it is quite refreshing to see some less expensive sets in the range. For the price of 32.99 AUD each, these sets represent pretty good play value. The stickers on each set enhance the set, bringing additional detail and fun. At this price, I feel the Combi mech is my favourite, although so much of the jet ticks the right boxes for me. I give them both 4 out of 5 Arbitrary praise units.
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What do you think about these small sets? A bit of fun, or something to look past? the Monkie Kid Mech set you can afford? why not leave your comments below and until next time,