Review : Set 70500 Kai's Fire Mech

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I’m a big fan of LEGO mechs, so I was pleased to get the chance to review the latest effort from LEGO – Set 70500 Kai’s Fire Mech.

The Ninjago theme has already provided us with a couple of great mechs, both of which were part of the 2012 Ninjago line up - Set 9448 Samurai Mech and Set 9455 Fangpyre Mech.

My enthusiasm for a third Ninjago mech was however somewhat tempered by the realisation that Kai’s Fire Mech is by far the smallest set in the 2013 Ninjago line-up, and I was curious whether at only 102 pieces it would be able to live up to previous efforts.

So how did it turn out ?

The box is nice and compact, with the same footprint as last year’s Ninjago Set 9440 Venomari Shrine although it's a bit fatter. You can see a picture of the front of the box above (click pictures to see larger versions); the red Year 1 Ninjago branding evolved into a green colour scheme in Year 2, and LEGO have stuck with green in Year 3, albeit without last year’s snake-skin pattern. The front of the box is adorned with the words “The Final Battle”; for a while LEGO seemed to be suggesting that Ninjago would be phased out after 2013. Then they seemed to have a change of heart, and it looks like we will be getting more Ninjago in 2014. I assume they’d already printed the boxes by that point, however…

The back of the box (above) is superficially similar to the front, featuring a picture of the mech in action, but closer inspection reveals some arrows which half-heartedly illustrate the mech’s ability to articulate at the wrist and ankle. There’s also a thumb tab which provides access to the contents, although I hate to damage my LEGO boxes any more than necessary and hence chose to open the box with a sharp knife under the end flaps rather than puncture a hole in the back of it.

You can see the contents of the box above – three bags of parts, a sticker sheet and a small instruction booklet. The 35-page instruction booklet (below) was folded in half in order to fit in the box. As well as the building instructions themselves, the booklet contains a parts inventory spread over two pages and advertising for the six 2013 Ninjago sets, the Ninjago website, the LEGO club and of course the obligatory LEGO survey. There’s also a nice stylised picture (below) of the Mech plus minifigures.

I found the sticker sheet (below) floating free in the box. It’s small but still manages to cram in eight separate stickers. These are quite fiddly to apply, or at least they were for an ageing dude like me….

The set contains two minifigures – Kai and Garmadon’s Scout. Kai has of course appeared in a number of Ninjago sets to date, but this version (pictures below) with its unique and rather nice torso and leg prints, hasn’t previously appeared elsewhere. The back of his torso features the same design that you’ll find on the mech, which is a nice touch, and I also like his red headpiece with the gold crest at the front.

The Scout (below) isn’t exclusive to this set and can also be found in two other 2013 Ninjago sets. He’s got a detailed and quite ornate torso print which extends to the back of the torso, and a fearsome face. The Scout comes with a conical red hat, but since his face is hard to photograph while he’s wearing it, I’ve left it off for the pictures below.

Some of the less common and/or more interesting parts in the set can be seen below. The black 1 x 2 – 1 x 2 bracket is new for 2013, as is the Scout’s red conical hat and the trans-yellow ice sword with red shaft. The sword appears across the 2013 Ninjago range in a variety of colours, just as the variously-coloured circular 1 x 1 tiles with Constrictai pattern were a feature of the 2012 Ninjago sets. It’s great to get a couple more 2 x 2 inverted tiles – these are set to become a firm favourite I think – and if pearl gold’s your thing then this is definitely your set, with around a quarter of all the constituent parts of the mech being this colour.

The build is quick and easy – neatly applying the stickers probably takes as long as actually building the mech itself – and you can see the finished model below (click on the pictures to enlarge). I think it looks great from the front - squat, agile and generously tooled-up – although the back is rather bland, with only an inverted 2 x 2 tile covered with a sticker to improve the view.

The Fire Mech isn’t afraid to delve into the Hero Factory parts bin in a search for elements. Hero Factory Armour and Hero Factory Arm with Ball Sockets are both used in the build, but that having been said, the use of these non-system parts isn’t excessive in my opinion and the model benefits from using them, both in terms of appearance and function. Certainly the presence of ball and socket joints at the shoulder, wrist, hip and ankle mean that the Mech can be readily posed, and a wider (and smoother) range of movement is possible compared with those LEGO mechs which utilise Technic Rotation Joints.

Something which stands out is the similarity with 2012’s larger Ninjago Set 9448 Samurai Mech (which I’ve previously reviewed here) – there’s obviously the colour scheme, plus the use of black modified 1 x 2 plates with angled handles and gold mechanical arms for hands and fingers, not to mention the profusion of gold bling stuck all over it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of the over-the-top Samurai Mech, so you’ll hear no complaints from me, but it might not be to everybody’s taste. Below you can see the Fire Mech next to its big brother, the Samurai Mech, for comparison.

The verdict ? I like the Fire Mech – it’s better than I thought it would be given the lowly piece count. The designers have given us a nicely designed, readily poseable little Mech, and the inclusion of two minifigures, one of which features a new printed torso and legs, makes this set decent value at £7.99 / $9.99. Overall, if mechs, Ninjago or better still both are your thing, I can confidently recommend this set.

35 comments on this article

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By in Italy,

this mech is awesome, one of the most poseable lego mech that i have. remember me a bit of the exo-force style of build, but it works way better.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review as always Dave. I was curious how it stacked up against the Samurai Mech as it's only just over 100 pieces, but it does look rather good. And for £7.99 how can anyone complain.

Now, I hope you'll be reviewing the Golden Ninja Mech from #70505 - Temple of Light soon?

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By in United Kingdom,

It's a detail but I would have preferred a left and right version of the flame/tribal-sticker to make the decoration symmetrical.

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By in Hungary,

Thank You very-very much for the review and for the extra-HQ pictures!

This small and good priced set was already on my list to buy by the time I saw it at first-now I really don't have to hesitate if I would like to buy it or not.
Maybe it's the best priced set of 2013 yet? (oh, we have got the 70000 Razcal’s Glider
from Chima for the same price as well. Both seems a decent little good-priced sets) I really don't know how are the playing possibilities with it but hopefully my little son will be grateful to have this set.

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By in Australia,

I am tempted to buy this, $15AU is ok, but not when you don't have many funds.

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By in United Kingdom,

Saw this in Tesco yesterday and thought I'd discovered some previously unheard of set. As from the pictures I'd just assumed this set was... BIGGER! So was suprised at how small the box was. But looks decent, and might be tempted if it drops to £5 on sale somewhere.

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By in United States,

Great review Dave! I was lucky to find this set way back in early-mid December and became a huge fan (after ripping the box to shreds!!). It's not at all a boring build and has lots of great parts, in fact it's being considered for our next LUG meeting parts draft. This little devil has stayed on the shelf in my kitchen since I built it, along with a set of series 9 CMFs and other random builds.... I think I may have to start a small collections of them in other colors =-D

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By in Spain,

Great review dr Dave. This set looks a neat addition and though I'm not a particular Ninjago fan Im tempted to pick this one up.

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By in United States,

Thanks, DrDave, you have just convinced me to buy this the next time I'm in town. :}

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By in Netherlands,

Really fantastic review DrDaveWatford!

Beautiful Pictures, accompanied with very detailed, and helpful valuable commentary!

The Samurai Mech from last year really fired up my interest and enthusiasm for Ninjago. This little Fire Mech looks very good. It sort of reminds me of Ripley's load-lifter from the movie Aliens. I also love the new minifigs. This set will be a very nice to addition to my collection, a must have!

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By in United States,

Excellent review! One of the few Ninjago sets I would consider buying. The set reminds me of some of the smaller mechs from the Exo- Force line.

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By in Bolivia,

Seriously speaking, anyone who didn't purchase the Samurai last year should be very ashamed of the lack of judgment. Heh.

Actually, I am really regretting I didn't buy more than one.

Little fire mech is going to be a must. I was waiting for the hero factory shells to appear in a system set already. They were designed to flow better with system bricks (unlike Bionicle armor that was overly detailed and looked ugly).

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By in Sweden,

I honestly think this is one of the best sets of its size/price range in a long time. Great minifigures, fantastic little mech, fun build. I'm not into Ninjago at all otherwise, but I'll probably end up buying several of these.

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By in United Kingdom,

DrDave didn't mention it but this set was designed by Brickset's favourite designer Mark Stafford. You can which other ones he's had a hand in in the BrickList that he maintains: http://www.brickset.com/brickLists/?5289.

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By in United States,

My 7 year old does not really like to build Lego sets (he lets me build them all). But I gave him this set to build and he loves it! Obviously an easy build, he did a great job with it and he loves playing with it so a big hit in our household.

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By in United States,

@vexorian- For a fact, I have had many chances to buy the Samurai Mech and didn't give it a second glance. That set is HORRIBLE!!!!! The legs remind me of a dwarve's, the sword sucks, the helmet... the arms...

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By in United States,

Nice review, and I think it's a great little set.

In the back sticker with the gray vent, is that supposed to be a pair of eyes? If so, who or what is in there?

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By in United States,

So I'm not the only one who opens their boxes with a knife rather than using the tab. xD
Not sure if I'll but this set yet or not...

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By in United States,

It's really cool how the thumb is in a different direction than normal. I might use that someday.

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By in United States,

Hmm... I'd like to see what mech you could make with two of these...
It seems like a very good set for one that is rather small.

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By in Serbia,

I must agree that this is a great set! Only regret I have is that the face of the "stone" figure is yellow, not red... I fit was red, it would have been perfect

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By in Canada,

Looks like a great little set! For $10 I will definitely be getting it! It's got lots of nice pieces and great minifigures. Thanks for the review!

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By in Australia,

I really adored this little set. There's nothing about it I didn't like. I particularly loved getting one of the new swords.

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By in Australia,

Not sure if I want to spend my $30 on this, or the Lennox Lion Attack...

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By in United States,

@bogdanst: The Warrior in 70501 and 70503 has a face very similar to the Scout's but with red rather than yellow printing. Additionally, the Swordsman in 70502, 70504, and 70505 has a similar face with blue markings.

Great review of this set. I love the sleekness of this design and the way it uses Hero Factory parts seamlessly with System. Its hand is perhaps the best I've ever seen on an official LEGO mech, and I love the way it actually grips the sword rather than needing to attach it to the palm like many Exo-Force guns and swords. Not totally proportionate, but still a work of art in my book.

This mech's comical proportions really work well for it IMO, and remind me of a lot of what I loved in Exo-Force. The stickers and minifigures in this set are all very nicely designed. Overall, this is a set I'm very much looking forward to getting!

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By in United States,

this is definetly one of the best ningago sets ever!!!

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By in Bolivia,

@lego613master : Sorry, I can't read your post because my awesome giant excessively detailed Samurai mech is distracting me :)

Being serious, legs in system Mechs have not really been great. Until this little mech. Finally!

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By in United States,

I haven't really been too interested in the Ninjago sets, other than when the Samurai Mech came out last year, I just didn't want to spend 40 bones on it. This definitely solved that problem and did so in amazingly impressive fashion. Over 100 parts in a $10 set, with 2 minifigs, and it's a lot bulkier than most, if not all sets in this price range. I love this set! I wish they had three more this size for the other Ninjago Ninjas...I would probably buy them as well!

And yeah, I also opened the end carefully with a sharp pocket knife, glad to hear others doing the same.

...by the way, did anyone else notice the golden "robot arm" pieces are put on differently in the instructions than they are pictured on the box?

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By in United States,

Add this to my buy list!

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By in Singapore,

Don't have a single Ninjago set but if I were in the US, I'd grab this one in an instant. Sadly, it's the equivalent of US$17 here....making ir a less of a no-brainer purchase.

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By in United States,

i just went to my local fred meyers, (only place icould find it) and bought the very last one!!! Just finished the build and I must say, it was a very easy one!!! love the detail and even a few extra gold swords were included!!! I recomend it to any lego fan.

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By in United States,

This is the only 2013 NinjaGo set that I'm keen on purchasing, but it hasn't made an appearance in any store in my area yet.

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By in United States,

i love ninjago.But i don't like the skeleton Bonezai he is as dumb as a rock! I like Zane but Jay is cool too. I have the green ninja and nrg Kai and Jay dk.

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By in United States,

I just ordered 14 of these even though I never liked Ninjago and still don't. But the Space MOCs that I will be basing on this mech design will be epic! After reading this review, I was inspired.

Is it the best $10 set ever? Well it has stiff competition from 7667 SW Imperial Dropship. While that set only had 81 pieces, it had 4 minifigures that were all perfect army-builders and it was a swooshable ship that had a dropable payload of Stormtroopers. Although if it was released today, it would retail for $12.99+. So could they even fairly compete?

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By in United States,

Picked up my first copy today as I've been thinking about this set non-stop (not at my local Target/Walmart/Kmart yet). TRU has them in-stock and their online price is $9.99 for in-store pick up. Still waiting for my lot of 14 to arrive from Walmart.

Just built it and I love what what they can design in such a compact space. I put the arms on like the box. The instructions should have that minor change. I also like flipping the knife pieces in the limbs, but they don't work either way. It's obstructive to the minifig and some poses, but you just twist or remove them.

I can't wait to get my Bricklink orders to mod the heck out of them. The red/gold pieces will be changed out and doubling the piece count for minifig protection and backpack surprises.

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