Saturday, October 8th, 2022 at 4:30am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
We return to the latest Crystalize wave of Ninjago with a look at one of the largest sets, 71775 Nya's Samurai X Mech. It has 1003 pieces for $119.99 USD, but it's also just another entry in a long list of Ninjago Mechs. Check out the review by BZPower Reporter Xccj to see if this one is worth its weight in gemstones, either here or on Instagram.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box is big and red and showcases a mighty battle in progress between the Ninjas and their Crystalized enemies. The back of the box features just one alt pose for the mech, showcasing a bit of its articulation as well as the large cast of characters. Inside, you get the bags of parts and instructions. My copy has the instructions inside a cardboard folder rather than another plastic baggie; that's a bit of progress.
What kinds of interesting pieces are included with the set? What are the minifigures like?
This set comes with 1003 pieces, which is perhaps a little light for a $120 set. The price was probably inflated by the figs and a few large, specialized pieces. The crystal blades are probably a major contributor to that; you get seven of the small blades in trans pink and two of the large ones. That said, I love these pieces and already want more. Beyond those, some exciting elements are the new reinforced click joint piece, of which you get four of, since it's used on the hips and shoulders. Strangely, a new ball joint beam piece has been included, a redesign from the one introduced in Bionicle G1. It's only shown up in two other sets, but hopefully it gets used more in future sets. (Although this probably is not a sign of a revival of CCBS; it's probably just for the redesign of the socket pieces this year.) Beyond that, you also get a handful of uncommon elements in dark azure and gold, which includes the new blade elements. Plus, the (unpictured) black and gold windscreens are recolors from the transparent variants used in the Seabound theme last year. Villain
This set includes 8 minifigures, 6 of which are unique to this set. On the bad guy's side, you have a Vengestone Warrior, General Pythor, the Mechanic, and Garmadon. The Vengestone Warrior is seem across multiple sets, but he looks great with the trans pink limbs and awesome head mold. Pythor and the Mechanic are returning characters in new (standardized) crystal armor. Pythor has some fun printing and his weapon seems to include the Jay's Nunchucks, while the Mechanic has a blaster. Although Pythor has popped up multiple times between various years (his last appearance non-Legacy was in 2016, making him the oldest returning Crystalized villain character from before the soft reboot in 2018) I more appreciate the Mechanic's return, since his character would definitely be willing to take advantage of the crystal tech. Meanwhile, this is also Garmadon's first appearance in a non-Legacy set since 2018. (I don't know who's side he's on here, since I'm behind on the show. He doesn't have any Crystal armor, but he's also got a new Oni mask, so it could go either way.)
On the side of the Ninjas you have Jay, Nya, Sensei Wu, and Lil' Nelson. Jay has his new golden armor outfit, with some snazzy designs to him. Nya, the set's namesake, finally returns after being sacrificed last year. (I know it's a plot point that she returns this year, but I don't know how yet. Spoilers, I guess!) She's no longer a Ninja and appears to have retaken her role as Samurai X, only she's carrying over her Ninja color scheme of dark azure and grey. (But of course, gold is mixed in too.) Sensei Wu also features his Hunted armor instead of his classic beard. Finally, Lil' Nelson returns, also having been absent since 2018. He has a more urbanized outfit this time instead of purple gis; the medium azure and purple hoodie works for him. Alas, he's still stuck with small legs; I guess Ninjago doesn't get afforded any of the new medium sized legs to showcase Nelson's growth into a teen. Both Wu and Nelson also get to carry flags with them; I'm not sure exactly what these flags are supposed to represent, because that's not a recognizable letter from Ninjago script, but it's a design that's repeated throughout the stickers in this set.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The first mini model is the Crystal Dragon. Its design is not super complicated but I think it really works out. The bulky arms and tiny legs give it a hunched appearance, but the angling of the crystal blades help sell its wings and look really great. The head piece does seem to lack eyes, either printed or brick build, but the blades angled under the jaw provide nice shaping for the head. It's certainly a more basic model compared to the mech, but I just really like how they managed to make it look this menacing and wish all smaller sets were this good. (Although the giant crystal blades do carry this design and it wouldn't look nearly as good without them.)
The Mech is the main build, and it is hefty, towering above everything else. The color scheme is quite striking, as it's the first of Nya's mechs that is predominantly dark azure in color. This color features prominently on the torso, upper arms, and upper legs, although black takes over on the lower arms and lower legs, and there are gold highlights throughout. This is fine, but I do find the central red X to contrast a little too much. As it is, red seems to be the second highlight color, and I really think it could do without it.
Colors aside, the angles made to create the central X are quite fun. They sit in front of the enclosed cockpit where Nya sits; unfortunately she doesn't have any real windows to look out through, so she's apparently running this mech blindly. There's a hatch that closes pretty securely above her, and that also supports the Mech's little head, which has a brick-built Samurai helmet in azure. The neck is attached to a Mixel joint that does swivel around a bit, so it doesn't always hold its position well, and the panels in the back are supposed to be angled down, which exposes some of the clips when viewed from behind. Perhaps not the strongest mech head ever.
The arms actually offer a decent degree of motion. The new click hinge is used on the shoulder, and there's a joint for the elbow and wrist. The arm segments are suitably armored, but the hands are quite simple, built around an octagonal plate. With the fingers spread out, they do look a bit goofy, but with them clenched around the blade weapon, I think it works. There's also the shoulder pads with built in spring loaded missiles. These are attached to Mixel joints to allow for extremely easy adjustment. Which means that you can easily repose them every time you adjust the arms, as well as aim the missiles. (Although this also means they can get knocked out of alignment easy when reposing, so sometimes extra effort must be extended to fix them. Still, better than having them locked in a single position that only looks good from one angle.) Overall, decent looking arms with a lot of posability.
The legs, however, are a bit more problematic. In their default position, they look good enough and hold the mech's weight just fine. The bottom on the feet include rubber stoppers, which helps prevent the feet from slipping when trying to get it to stand. The new click hinges are also used on the hips but their range of motion is more limited. A partial skirt is built around them and attached to Mixel joints to allow for adjustment, which actually works better than I expected. But the main problem stems from the extra feature this mech has; working knees. The knees are connected with three adjacent ball-joints, so they're nice and secure, but then they're covered by the recolored windscreen piece. This element looks nice in the static pose, but the clips don't allow it to bend with the knees, making it look awkwardly out of place with even the slightest adjustment. And then, of course, you can't really bend the knees and get a decent pose out of the mech. Limited motion at the hips and ankles restricts most potential poses, and of course the weight of the upper model further limits possibilities. Which, of course, is the reason why most big mechs don't have knees; rigid legs are better to keep the heavy mechs standing. It makes me wonder if it's worth it to include bending knees if there's no useful way to actually bend them.
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?
I've already touch on the biggest play feature above; posability. For mechs this size, that's always somewhat limited. The arms have a pretty dynamic range of motion, allowing it to swing around its swords in multiple satisfying poses. The legs are a bit more problematic. If you ignore the knees, they can support a few basic stances quite well, better than some other mechs of a similar size. The skirt pieces can sometimes get in the way when adjusting the hips, but they are easy enough to reposition. But as I ranted above, the knees are very problematic to try to include, as bending them throws off the delicate balance of the mech. Beyond that, the windscreen cover has a restricted connection to clips and pops off at the slightest touch, essentially required them to be reattached every time I messed with the knees. For a big system mech, this is very posable and better than a lot of other ones. (Like the Ultra Combo Mech which I recently reviewed.) But if I were to judge it (somewhat unfairly) against the posability of classic CCBS sets, the problems with knee articulation are quite frustrating.
Surprisingly it doesn't have a lot of other play gimmicks; for mechs, posability is always the biggest one. The spring loaded launchers are hidden in the shoulder pads, and those have a good range of motion to let you properly aim them. (And I've also had fewer accidental firing than normal with them.) For an opponent, the crystal dragon is a bit underwhelming as an opponent, but it works. You could get some more competition from the larger Crystal King model or even the Ultra Dragon (in case it switches sides). Although the Crystalized opponents do have a lot of figs to their ranks, they are a bit lacking in vehicles or monsters to attack the Ninjas, especially when they have to go against giant mechs.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- In a static pose, holds its position well
- Great range of motion with the arms
- Fancy detailing on the limbs and central X
- Crystal dragon is a fun mini build
- A great cast of figs
What's not to like?
- The mech's knees cause problems when trying to bend them
- The windscreen over the knees doesn't adjust with them and pops off easily
- Red is a bit much for the mech's color scheme
- Fairly expensive
I did get a bit hung up on the fact that the knees cause a lot of issues when posing this set. Yet beyond that, it's a pretty powerful set that still has a good range of motion, nice colors, and contains some decent pieces. And the many exclusive figs are a plus too. It is an expensive set for just the mech, but it's still pretty good for its value. Just ignore the knees!
Thanks again for reading another BZPower set review. There are a few more Ninjago sets I could look into, but I think I might focus on a different theme next, so stay tuned for more LEGO Product Reviews!
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