Tuesday, December 8th, 2020 at 4:02pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we've got a new review, courtesy of DeeVee. In a choice that makes so much sense, he is sharing his opinions on 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech from the Monkie Kid theme, featuring a giant bipedal robot and more other builds than you would probably expect. Let's read on to see what he thought of the set and see if you should consider adding it to your holiday wishlist!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
First things first, the Monkey King Warrior Mech box is absolutely way larger in person than you are expecting, standing somewhere around a foot and a half tall, and around 4 inches deep (sorry for the imperial measurements, rest of the world). It is bright, it is loud, it is cartoony, and it is massive.
The front of the box has the mech proudly taking up most of the room, making the small corner town building and mini bull mech the set also comes with feel like afterthoughts. The Monkey King flies in over the shoulder proudly, our hero has clearly convinced MK in this telling to get more involved than he wanted to in the show.
The back of the box has the set sort of hunched over, and it showcases the features in the set, the small tree slash storage for the minifig scale staff, the opening of the set hatch for Monkie Kid to sit in, the different configurations for the mech's big staff, and in a small blurb at the bottom, the bull-mech and broken wall function in the building. The black background is a good neutral here, the cartoonish and bright colors really pop! It's wild to me, though, how many different play parts exist in this set, with two mechs, a little tree shrine thing, AND an entire building that could be its own set, and how little any of those seem to matter besides the King Mech itself. The big mech itself is clearly the selling point.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
We are going to break this down into a few different parts. The set includes a few different builds that all come together to create the conflict scene, and each one is done from beginning to end before moving on to the next.
First we have the mini bull mech!
This mech is pretty simple and comes together quickly. I liked the use of the Metalbeard, er, beards, when building, and while there's not anything new or intense here, the build is fun and the final product is worth a few minutes of play before moving onto the next segment. I imagine a quick play break in-between each section is both common for children when building and definitely intended by the designers.
The noodle store is a bit more involved, and in another LEGO era would be a $25 set itself. It is not a super detailed build either, but there are a lot of fun techniques that feel right out of Ninjago City. The building is built from bottom up, and then the side segment with the utility pole and arcade box attaching with Technic pins.
This is a good point to remind any reader of my long-standing practice of not putting on stickers for review sets. I do not keep most sets together, and I use sticker sheets for my MOCs. I apologize if you feel this does not allow me to give a full accounting of the set at the end. I get it.
The Monkey King and his neat cloud are next, as are the Monkie Kid and his tree mountain shrine staff-storage site. The instructions don't indicate anywhere what the anti-stud here is for, but I'm assuming it is for the staff. It just makes sense.
Finally, we get to the main event.
The mech is quite involved, and there is a lot of fun to be had in this build. The torso construction feels a lot like a brick at first, but as things come together the round shapes and flair really come into focus. I found myself accidentally knocking off the hatch door a lot, or breaking the sides off of them. I might just be clumsy. There are a lot of moments when building where I felt myself going "ohhh, that's what this is going to do, clever clever LEGO. Well played." I like sets like that!
The build for the entire set is a good night of leisurely building. I think it took me a few hours while enjoying some binge-watching and making a night of it.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
You know, twelve years into doing these reviews, it suddenly feels odd to me that we do a "new and interesting parts" breakdown AFTER we do the building segment, but here we are.
You're going to notice immediately the incredibly large number of gold-lacquered parts in this set. Some of them can also be found in the Iron Man helmet set, and throughout the Monkie Kid first wave. As far as I can tell, the wheel, the banana, the 2x2 quarter circle, 1x4 slope, 4x3 slope, and the 1x2 "cheese grater" slope are all exclusive to this set at the moment in this gold. The rest can be found in Iron Man or other Monkie Kid sets this year. I'm a big fan of the new staff handle, it's very reminiscent of the lightsaber handles, but it's in-system, which means you can use it more accurately for snot-work or other connections and you won't have the odd gaps the lightsaber handles would create. That's great! And this set comes with them in the new gold AND in dark bley. Hooray!
The teal 1x1 heart is also great. Teal is always great, and that tile is used to great decorative effect in this set. The half circle in red is new, as are the cow horns in dark bley and purple, though those come in several other Monkie Kid sets.
The 1x1 printed circle tile for the mech's eyes is really slick, it has a very clock-work feel to it that I love. The 1x1 heart printed with a peach print is fun. The Pigsy's Noodles 1x2 trans-clear plate is also fun! These are all of the printed parts in the set.
The pearl gold hoop isn't new, but I think it's a good part worth pointing out, even if there's only one in the set. The extra-long axle is always welcome, these can be few and far between, so it's nice to have one in current sets.
The set comes with two cloth parts, and while I'm mostly ignoring the minifig parts in this section (since we'll get to those later), the large red cape for the mech and the smaller version of the exact same thing for Monkey King himself are a lot of fun. It's always nice as a character builder to have more capes!
The set also has four different gold-foil style decorative parts, four flags with different kanji for the back of the mech, one for the center skirt, and two for the side skirting. These are printed on gold, with metallic blues and reds - they really pop. These feel very different for LEGO, and while I really like them and think they add a lot of visual interest, I can't say I disagree entirely with some of the comments I've seen saying they remind folks of some of the CCBS knockoff sets found online. But I've seen them used fantastically already on some great MOCs, so I'm pretty sold on them.
There does not seem to be any exclusive molds in this set, and that's okay!
There is also the sticker sheet I did not use. And that's because these are GREAT stickers and I am excited to use them in my MOCs.
Moving along, we've got several different parts to look at here!
The mini bull mech is pretty fun. I've had it sitting on my desk and it's a great fidget toy with a lot of fun poses! The design of the joints feels sort of limiting at first, as they seem to go in odd directions at the elbows, but it is very dynamic. The Hero Factory claws make great shoulder guards, and I appreciate the use of the dark bley staff holders just to include them in dark bley. The two toes make great hooves, and the ring in the center for the bull's ring is a fun touch.
The building is not super exciting, to be honest. There is a very neat play function where you push the pipe on the outside counter-clockwise and it knocks the wall out the side. It's visually a great design, and from the outside you wouldn't know that the wall segment pops out. The box has the bull mech shooting the pipe to knock it out, I could one hundred percent never get the projectile to hit with enough force to knock the wall segment out, but it's still a nice touch. I like the simple kitchen and bedroom, and the arcade machine design is great!
The entire design feels very empty without the stickers, and while it is definitely okay to say "that's why you don't judge without the stickers my man," I don't like the idea of a set that relies on stickers to bring the character of the build fully and completely. They should, I believe, be something that accentuates and completes, but if left off entirely, I don't think you should look and say "this feels empty" outside of it. Your mileage may vary, but this is my review! I do LOVE the colors though, and it's very smartly built.
I love the Monkey King cloud. It makes a smart use of brackets and snot work to make a compelling zooming cloud. It stands on a trans-clear rod connected into a trans-clear large radar dish, and It is dynamic and cool as heck.
The little peach tree mountain outdoor scene feels like a polybag build they decided to just include in this set. That's not a bad thing, but it feels so under-developed compared to the rest of the set, and the instructions don't even include what the anti-stud is for. It feels obvious, sure, with the staff fitting there naturally, but that doesn't usually stop LEGO from telling you anyway. I like the peach tree!
The Monkey King Mech is pretty dang imposing! I love the dynamic look the red tentacle parts used for the mech version of Monkey King's ribbons bring to the mech, and the head is a masterwork of fun SNOT-work. The big arches around the shoulders add a lot to the silhouette! The mechanical detail in the legs and arms are welcome touches, and the way the teal, yellow, gold, red, and even grey all work together is fantastic. The lanterns hanging from the elbows and the back of the "knees" (which are locked in place) are a super fun touch.
The locked knees and these rubber treads under the feet give the set a lot of grip, and once I found a stable pose the mech held the pose very well! The locked knees and the loose side-to-side ankle movement though did cause some of the more dynamic poses I tried to bring the mech crashing to the floor, though I also think loose knees would have made that even worse! Luckily the mech is super solid, and at most the fingers would go flying off and not much else. Still, this was super frustrating when trying to do review photos to show the mech off. Coupled with the way the arches around the shoulders limit the shoulder movement of the arms, I found the display poses a lot more limited than I liked. Which is a shame, because a lot of the poses it CAN achieve bring attention to the biggest visual flaw: the super super thin neck. Which isn't a big problem at all, but I can't help but notice it. It bothers me!
The back of the mech is pretty bare, but it's covered by a cape, so filling it out seems silly to me.
The mech has a viewing hole in the chest compartment for Monkie Kid to watch from, but I found that most of the best poses have that slightly angled downward, which means our heroic pilot is often looking at the ground. Not anything that actually holds the set back, I just thought it was goofy. The design around the chest compartment and hatch is awesome, and I love the circular motif all over the set.
The overall effect of the set is garish, bright, cartoonish, and I really enjoy it. The tail and the ribbons can be posed pretty solidly, giving a lot of emotional movement to a mech piloted by a minifig, and I appreciate that!
First, I just want to apologize for the blurriness of the back shot. I wanted to reshoot that image once I loaded them in and noticed the blurriness, but I unfortunately am not sure where two of the minifigs went. We moved recently and things keep getting moved around and they are not where I put them, so here we are.
Jia has a pretty generic hairpiece, and rocks a fantastic tropical print button-up, with grey slacks. They are given a dumpling in the instructions, and have a scared face with worry lines on the back of the head. I'll always be a sucker for dual-printed heads, I like my minifig to have two emotions! And luckily all of our heroes and civilians have that.
An has a nice bob haircut and a fun pink striped sleeveless top. They have blue legs. An gets to hold a fish, fun! An's scared face looks almost a little more embarrassed, but not for An, An is embarrassed for YOU. Sorry about it.
Monkie Kid has a rad keetorange jacket with a patch that mimics the classic space logo, and a big Monkie Kid logo on the back. He's got a cool bandana and some teal headphones around his neck. He has red pants and rocks some high-tops. He's very cool, in case you could not tell. He has a very serious face, and then a kind of crazed face with a red pattern around his eyes that mimics the markings on Monkey King's face.
Monkey King uses the same headpiece the Monkey King CMF did, with the same ribbon. Which is nice, because I could NOT find that CMF and I wanted it, so this works as a good backup. His torso is printed with a similar gold/teal/red patterning as the mech's gold-foil style parts, and it looks fantastic. The swirling wind motif is very cool, and the scarf adds a lot too. He is either very happy-go-lucky or growlingly angry.
The two bad guys, General Ironclad and Growl, share a neat torso print and black legs, though Growl has purple arms and horns. The bull helmet is pretty cool and carries the tube patterning from the torso over nicely. Ironclad gets a shoulder cape and pauldron, Growl gets a mech. So I guess Growl actually comes out ahead, all things considered.
The minifigs are neat, I like them. The printing is sharp, and the wardrobe choices all seem appropriate for the setting and they help tell the story of the characters.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
I have been eyeing this set since the first images surfaced. There are a lot of words and pictures up there to just say "this set is pretty good and I like it".
The set has a great selection of the new gold-lacquered parts, though the price tag is high so if you're JUST looking for those parts, I would look into other means, such as LEGO PAB or Bricks and Pieces online. But overall I think the part selection in total is very worth the price point, and I spent a pretty good evening building and enjoying the set process, which I think is also an important factor. I'm excited to see what else comes from this theme, there are strong Ninjago vibes in the classical Eastern myth and visual style meets modern technology mashup, and Ninjago has long been my favorite System theme. I hope this line is around for a while if they are planning on more sets of this caliber.
I bet it looks even better with stickers, if you're someone who displays sets permanently, too!
I think we're well past traditional "PROS AND CONS" breakdowns at this point. It's a big set with a pretty involved build time, lots of different "set pieces," and a large cast of characters. It's bright, colorful, and cartoonish. It's also expensive, and the world is still in the grips of a global pandemic. Make of that what you will, and do what is right for you. I like the set and am glad to own it.
Many thanks to Pat for sharing his extensive thoughts and excellent photographs of the Monkey King Warrior Mech - hopefully they helped you learn more about it! Additional thanks go to Tufi Piyufi, BZPower's Ambassador, who made this review possible, and LEGO for providing the set. The views presented above are those of the reviewer and not those of The LEGO Group. Thank you all for reading and we'll see you next time!
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