Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 at 2:39am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
I wasn't necessarily planning on doing a full review of this set, but I enjoyed it enough that I have enough to say to make it worthwhile. 71756 Hydro Bounty is the largest set of this summer's Seabound wave of Ninjago sets, featuring a nice sleek submarine. Read on to check out some of the details of this set as I do a deep dive on it!
I've always been a fan of deep-sea LEGO themes, especially since Aquazone is what got me hooked on the bricks back when I was a kid. The Ninjas have been all over the place, from the skies to the desert to icy mountains and fiery volcanos and even inside video games. But while they've sailed the seas, this is the first time they've actually explored beneath the waves. (If you don't count the Ninjago Movie sea-creature themed enemy sets, which did emerge from the water but were never really featured underwater.) Point is, I'm excited to build a Ninja submarine.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
This was a sizable box, quite fitting since it's $129.99 and 1159 pieces. It's showcasing the main submarine cruising underwater, surrounded by the mini subs, the various scuba suit Ninjas, and a couple of aquatic enemies. Nya finally gets featured as the main Ninja for the theme in her super water form on the side, with the sea serpent thing angrily screaming from the other corner. The back of the box shows off some of the features of the set and alternate angles, with a few waves added in for effects.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
It was a fairly long build, which I split out over a couple of days. The first bag builds the two mini submarines, the second bag builds the manta ray chariot, and then the rest of the bags focus on the Hydro Bounty, with the very last bag building the mecha that goes on the front. Towards the end, it does start to get a little tedious as the sub was so large that it was filling up my entire build space and leaving me little room to work with; I suppose that will vary between folks, but just know that the set gets quite long. In fact, it's about 70 studs from one end to the other, which is approaching the 100 stud SHIP length of Spaceship MOCs for SHIPtember. Still, it was fun to build, and there were some surprising details, like when you're building the string mechanism within the hull early on.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
I'll be honest, I didn't much consider the pieces while building this, and certainly didn't get around to taking any photos of the interesting ones. That said, with 1159 different elements, you still get a few rare and exclusive ones, and the above is a small sampling. (I forgot a few, whoops already uploaded the image, sorry.) In particular, the gold blade piece is new to the Seabound sets, and the trans light blue cover is unique to this set, having only appeared in white on the Space Shuttle.
You get a whopping ten minifigures in this set. And to make it better, you get all six Ninja at once. In Ninjago's 10 year run, there have been very few sets that included all the Ninja. I did a quick count and only four sets include all four of the original cast (Kai, Jay, Cole, and Zane), while only six sets previously have included all six of the Ninjas (in various forms, anyway.) Usually as a collector if I want the full team I have to buy multiple sets, which is certainly a marketing strategy seen a lot with LEGO, but this time the whole group's right here!
All six have new suit designs for their scuba adventure. But it's the rubbery scuba suits themselves that are the highlight; a belt attaches at the legs, and then hooks up to the neck with the breathing apparatus, complete with a scuba tank on the back. They also have katana holders built into the tank, which really seems like a terrible idea. I mean, they're sticking a blade through their air supply, do they not know how risky that is? The tank has a gap that is just a little too wide for a bar to fit inside without falling out, but if you stick one in with a katana, the sword will add enough friction to keep it wedged in. They also all come with black flippers; I've generally not been a fan of these back in the day, because their connection was always loose. I guess somewhere along the line they redid the mold and made them sturdier, but I still found my Ninja losing flippers as I moved them around for photos, and it makes it awkward for them to wear while in their vehicles or the sub. I suppose you could use one of the empty crates provided to store them while your Ninjas step inside the Hydro Bounty.
They all come with new headgear in their respective colors, which are their regular headwraps with a trans blue scuba mask built in. Unfortunately, the breathing apparatus isn't as well designed as their previous scarfs and doesn't completely hide their mouths. The scuba mask generally distorts their faces enough that you won't notice unless you look close. Still, all of them have just a bit of their grin poking above the edge of their masks, which just looks a little off-putting, especially considering we rarely see their mouths in their other forms. It feels like a bad flaw in an otherwise interesting fig design. Lloyd, Kai, and Jay do have hair pieces included from their Island adventure. I suppose these were the three new molds released this year and they wanted to include them in one extra set, but it is a bit disappointing that the other three don't get hair elements included.
The Ninja have elected to use harpoon gun weapons this time, probably because it's easier to use them underwater than their standard swords. I do appreciate that they each have a different gold accessory. Zane's and Cole's matches their elements, with a ski pole and drill respectively. Kai uses a machete, Lloyd uses a traditional harpoon, Jay uses one of those spike elements, and Nya equips a sai. For something this small, I appreciate the variation here, and because they're small elements you get extras of all six!
Apparently an underwater adventure was too much for Master Wu, but he joins in on the fun remotely via his two Wu-Bots, which recreate the classic Alpha Team robot with tiles attached to minifig legs, and also a straw hat to fit the character. You also have a sea snake in the form of a Maaray Guard, who had a nice teal and gold and black color scheme going. (I believe he is utilizing the snake heads from 2019 in a new color.) He's not rare; I believe he's in all the Seabound sets. Finally, you get Prince Kalmaar, an octopus-like character in purple, blue, and gold with a fancy trident. The head mold is particularly interesting with his fins and printed details. The tentacle leg mold is similar to those used in previous Atlantis squid people, but this is indeed a new mold. (And one of the tentacles does fit a bar so it can hold an additional weapon. . . alas it's positioned in such a way where it's super awkward to place a weapon in, but still, it's there!)
As far as exclusivity, the five male Ninjas all appear in other sets. While Nya's water form does show up in other sets, her scuba outfit in exclusive here. The Wu Bots are also exclusive, while Prince Kalmaar and the Maaray Guard appear elsewhere.
One of the mini-builds is Prince Kalmaar's Manta Ray chariot. The design is fairly simple but allows him to stand comfortably at the reins while the Manta Ray pulls him along. The Manta Ray printing is perhaps the coolest part here, and it makes for a fun sea creature. Overall, it's a very puny model to go up against the Hydro Bounty; I suppose you'll need to get some of the other sets to beef up Kalmaar's armies.
Two mini subs are included for Cole and Lloyd. These are fairly compact and nearly identical designs, which use the new windscreen with a small engine on the back. Both of them have subtle coloring to indicate which Ninja they go with; a few sand green wedges for Lloyd and black ones for Cole. The bright-light orange slopes and wings on the side are the same for both, and the color feels a little off, as it's not really used elsewhere; why were these parts not included in the Ninja's respective color? The only other bit differentiating them is the weapons attached to the front, which repeat the harpoon style of the respective Ninja. The Ninjas do fit inside snugly, even with flippers, but they have to discard their katana and harpoon guns. It's a simple design, but it works well enough to fit inside the Hydro Bounty with ease.
Another interesting feature is that this mini-sub design is reused in two other sets for Kai and Zane, so they each have little vehicles to ride in. I do like the idea of having the same mini-subs spread out across the theme, and all of them look like they can fit inside the Hydro Bounty. Unfortunately, the Hyrdo Bounty only holds two; I suppose you could buy a second copy and extend it out to fit more, but that's a costly adventure. Additionally, there are only four of these mini-subs, for Lloyd, Cole, Zane, and Kai. One of the small sets features an underwater bike for Jay, so I suppose he doesn't need an extra mini-sub. But then one of the other small sets has a mini-sub mecha. . . for Lloyd again! So once again, Nya is missing a vehicle of her own even in her featured wave. I guess they were just expecting her to swim the whole time. She gets a dragon of her own for once, so that's good, but still. And apparently in the show, spoilers, they kill her off. Man, why do they have to treat Nya so dirty? Next year's theme better be about finding a way to bring her back; they've done this for the other characters who've vanished (Zane, Wu) so they better make sure to find a way to revive her!! Where was I. . . oh yeah, cool mini-subs. Seeing all of these, I do find myself wanting them to be combinable or something to make a Ninja Voltron or MegaZord; maybe eventually we'll get something cool like that.
A fun bit that I wasn't aware of when I first saw pictures of this sub was that the bow splits off and becomes a little mecha, piloted by a Wu Bot. The mecha has a fun little design, featuring some basic limbs that fold together to make it the sleek submarine bow in a really clever way. The short appearance and the face design on the front reminds me a lot of the crazy mecha from Gurren Lagann. It's not the most extravagant mecha ever, but the transformation feature works extremely well here.
And so here is the Hydro Bounty in all it's glory. It's quite a bit different from the other variations of Destiny's Bounty that we've seen before. It's primarily white and it gives it a very sleek and clean design. Meanwhile you have highlights in black, gold, trans light blue, and dark tan mixed in. The front is mostly the folded up mecha, while the majority of the center is storage space for the mini-subs. The trans blue covering folds over to keep everything contained, and while you can pull it up to access the contents, the mini-subs just barely fit in and can be somewhat cumbersome to place. There are also a few clips available inside; these can be used for Lloyd and Cole's accessories for while they're inside the sub. The crates can also squeeze into the back, although it is a bit difficult to get them in and even worse to get them back out.
The back third of the sub is the bridge where the Ninjas can pilot the vehicle. The top of it includes an attachment for a sail, a periscope, and a roof design reminiscent of their Monastery. One of the highlights is the windows on the side that use the golden disc to turn them into portholes. Another is the use of the sign pieces attached to clips to create the angled sides on the back; a brick could've been used to fill out this space, but that would've restricted the interior space, I suspect. The interior is pretty packed as is, but there are still four seats available. One is facing backwards through the large bubble window, two are at control consuls in the center, and one is at the wheel. I suppose it's disappointing that there's not room for all six Ninjas on the inside (not to mention the two Wu-Bots) but I assume these spaces were saved for the four Ninjas who don't get mini-subs. Besides, to place them in here you really need to take off all their scuba gear. The front of the bridge has a clever technique to create an angled window without including a new mold.
There's a lot of gold highlights, and one of them is the long flex-tube that runs along the edges of the storage compartment. (I'm sure this piece in gold will be desirable). Another fun bit to tie this ship into the Ninjago universe is the gold design along the side using the dragon hilts and lantern elements; it's very ornamental and looks great. A lot of stickers were supposed to be used to add some further gold texturing, but I decided to forgo them for this build, sorry. You also get the new gold fin blades sticking out along the edge of the ship; they're okay but take away from the sleek design of the sub, and also have a tendency to get knocked off when you're moving the ship around. They're used along the engine pod to give it some texture, but my favorite design there is the cone nose which is made using dark tan shields angled down; quite impressive.
The full model is a bit heavy once it's all together and fully loaded with figs and stored mini-subs. And yes, there are a few bits that tend to pop off, like the roof of the bridge and the gold fins. But it's still delightfully large and the main structure is solid, so there's a lot of swooshability to this. And I like the concept of the storage bay for mini-subs, so this model has a lot going for it.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
There's a lot of versatility with this set thanks to its big cast of characters and various sub-models. The Hydro Bounty acts as a decent undersea headquarters, where they can store their equipment and mini-subs and regroup after they chase the sea snakes around. Storing the mini-subs is a big benefit. However, as mentioned earlier, it's a tight fit; the subs are exactly the width of the compartment, and if the wheel on the back is angled wrong it'll hit the sides as you're trying to fit it in. Plus, the cover contraption is connected on a half stud offset, so the mini-subs can't just go in straight down because the hinge gets in the way, so they have to go in kind of at an angle. I mean, yes it works in the end but I have big clumsy hands so it's problematic sometimes.
The detachable mecha also has a cool way of fitting onto the front. The arms and legs are built to angle up as the bow of the ship, and there are some bars on the shoulder that connect to some clips on the ship and keep a sturdy connection. And when the mecha has detached, there's a small power cell displayed on the front to keep things interesting. (I guess there's also a stand on the bow for a minifig's legs to attach to, although that seems to be an awkward placement on the sub. Still, it works with them wearing flippers.)
The big action feature is the lever for the engines in the back. When you pull on the lever, it pulls on a string piece that is meticulously woven inside the ship and it pulls out the wings of the engine. It's a bit complicated to explain, but the string makes it move pretty smoothly and it looks pretty cool in action. I'm assuming it's a kind of underwater braking mechanism, because it makes the ship less aerodynamic, but maybe it's also an intimidation factor to scare away bigger fish. Unfortunately, it's a one way function; there's no rubber band mechanism to pull it back to it's original shape, so you have to reset each side of the engine manually to get it back into the down position. Still, not bad.
Also, there are spring loaded missiles on the front. For you to shoot at stuff, I guess. It's a standard action feature. Or you could add a hollow stud to the back of the ammo to prevent it from getting shot out when you accidentally brush up against the side of the ship; you get a couple of those pieces as extras, so it's entirely possible.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Six Ninja minifigures, full team is great for collectors
- Fun manta ray design, and octopus Prince Kalmaar is cool too
- Big submarine. Very hefty and swooshable
- Mech merges seamlessly in at the bow and pops out to look pretty cool
- Storage compartment for mini subs adds to play value
- Lots of extravagant details along the sub, like the porthole windows and dragon hilt / lantern designs on the side
- Clever function on the engines
- Decent amount of pieces
What's not to like?
- Ninja scuba suit mouthpieces don't actually line up with the fig's mouths
- Bright light orange is a strange color choice for the mini-subs
- On that note, why does Nya not get a mini-sub? It doesn't have to be this set, but like everybody else get's a vehicle? We're just supposed to be satisfied that she got a dragon? Other headlining Ninjas have gotten vehicles and dragons in the same wave!
- Hydro Bounty isn't 100 studs long to meet SHIP length but is still too large for my photography area
- Can be a bit troublesome to load in the mini-subs into storage area
- Engine function only works one way
- Don't have a lot of representation for the undersea villains, who's chariot is severely outclassed by the giant sub
- Pretty expensive, even if it is worth the value, it's a tough cost to meet for the casual buyer
- If anything, the biggest flaw is that it isn't bigger with space for six Ninja mini-subs and a spacious bridge where the whole crew can lounge around!
The Hydro Bounty delivers on a lot of features that I'd expect out of a set. It's a sleek submarine with some cool functional and decorative elements, features cool storage of mini-subs and a small mecha, and it comes with all six Ninjas and some extra characters. There are a few small design issues, but honestly none of them are bad enough to really turn me away from the set. It's an expensive set, but I think it does a great job at capturing the essence of the Ninja's undersea adventures.
And that's it for this review. Sorry, no stuttery video with this one, I wouldn't be able to film something of this size anyway without making it cumbersome. Anyway, stay tuned to BZPower for make LEGO set reviews and such in the future, as we're bound to take a look at a few more models in the coming months!
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