As a longstanding fan of LEGO mechs I was delighted when I first spied the mech-rich selection of sets making up the first wave of the LEGO Ninjago Movie theme; in fact, with so many mechs featuring in the line up it was tough to decide which of them I most wanted to build first...
In the end I went for 70615 Fire Mech and you can see what I thought of it after the break.
Box & Contents
The front of the box (above) features a shot of the Fire Mech stomping through the streets of Ninjago City with its huge twin flamethrowers (or ‘fire blasters’ as the official LEGO Ninjago Movie website calls them) blazing. The set’s six minifigures can be seen in the shadow of the giant mech and are also neatly lined up for inspection bottom left, while Lloyd peers out from the top right corner as is the case for all the first wave sets. The back of the box (below) features another image of the Fire Mech, albeit in a different pose, beneath which a number of panels highlight a few play features plus the mech’s 36 cm stature.
The box is secured by tape seals. It contains eight sequentially numbered bags of elements together with an instruction booklet sealed in a bag alongside a single sticker sheet. The approximately A4-sized instruction booklet contains 164 pages from cover to cover. The building guide occupies 154 of the pages, after which we have five pages of advertising relating to The LEGO Ninjago Movie and associated merchandise plus an additional three pages of other assorted adverts. There’s also a 2-page inventory of elements near the end. By my reckoning the sticker sheet (below) contains 30 stickers in total.
The set contains six minifigures. The version of Zane (below left) which appears in this set can also be found in three other LEGO Ninjago Movie sets. His torso, featuring a printed robe pattern with Asian characters and belt with radio, can only be found as a part of one other minifig, and that’s also the case for his legs with their belt, knee pad and toe cap print. His dual-sided head print, with its scary blue eyes plus a scowl on one side and a big grin on the other, is unique to this minifigure. His headgear is made up of two parts - a printed wrap above and a face scarf below. These fit together elegantly at the sides and back of the head. The printed wrap is currently unique to this minifigure.
Zane carries a black quivver which is slung diagonally across his back and is suspended from his neck. I guess you could say that Kai (below right)is the main man in this set since he drives the Fire Mech. Many different versions of Kai have been released since the inception of the Ninjago theme back in 2011 but this version is exclusive to the Fire Mech set.
Kai’s black-on-red torso print featuring a robe with Asian characters and a black sash has appeared as a part of five different versions of the Kai minifigure including this one, as have his black legs printed with an unusual dark red diamond pattern. His dual-printed head complete with scar and sticking plaster can be found as a part of a number of different versions of Kai. His headgear features a similar two-part arrangement to that described earlier for Zane, namely a face scarf below and a wrap above. The wrap incorporates a red bandana printed with a gold symbol and can only be found as a part of this minifigure and one other.
Below you can see Zane and Kai with their headgear removed, thus revealing their alternate face prints. Zane’s quivver has also been removed so as to show the printing on the back of his torso which is dominated by a large black emblem. The back of Kai’s torso is printed with a superficially similar but actually slightly different emblem.
The set includes two members of Ninjago villain Garmadon’s Shark Army, namely Jelly and Hammer Head. At time of writing the Bricklink inventories for the LEGO Ninjago Movie sets aren’t yet complete, but a quick scan through the various set descriptions on shop.lego.com suggests that Jelly (below left) appears in this set and two others.
Jelly’s printed sand blue torso featuring a utility belt and lavender jellyfish tentacles seems to be unique to this minifigure, as it appears are his head print featuring a scowl and a fine pair of mutton chop sideburns, and also the pair of printed interlocking trans-clear 2 x 2 hemispheres which enclose his head. His light bluish grey legs featuring printed knee pads and flashes of sand blue are shared with a number of other LEGO Ninjago Movie minifigures.
Hammer Head (below right) only appears in this set and one other, 70610 Flying Jelly Sub. His sand blue torso printed with a utility belt and straps pattern has also been utilised for a couple of Shark Army Thug minifigures, as have his light bluish grey legs which are printed with large knee pads and a belt. His head print, featuring an angry expression framed by a black beard and moustache, appears to be unique to Hammer Head, as I assume is his wonderful shark headpiece which includes sharp white teeth and a collar incorporating what looks like an oxygen gauge.
As you can see from the rear view below, Jelly is equipped with a dark bluish grey neck bracket which largely obscures his torso backprint. A trans-medium blue 1 x 1 round plate is mounted on the bracket, although the significance of this is unclear. Jelly doesn’t have an alternative expression, so he’s presumably always miserable. Hammer Head has a torso backprint, but again it’s largely obscured, this time by a pair of rare pearl dark grey airtanks. Unlike Jelly his head is backprinted with an alternative expression, allowing him to be grumpy or angry…
The final two minifigures are civilians Henry and Lauren, both of which appear to be exclusive to this set. Henry (below left) sports an exclusive dark blue torso printed with a red fish, collar and fictional Ninjago script. His medium dark flesh legs with printed belt are also unique to this minifigure, as I think is his head print featuring a fearful expression.
Lauren (below right) is similarly endowed with what looks like a brand new torso, legs and fearful expression. Her white torso is printed with a pleasing lime, medium blue and pink design which fits nicely with her leg print. She also has a spectacular shock of orange hair which once again seems to be new in this colour.
Both Henry and Lauren have subtle torso backprints as you can see in the picture below. They also both have alternative expressions; Henry looks positively terrified, although Lauren seems to be putting on a brave face.
The build is broken into eight stages, each of which has its own numbered bag of elements. Stages 1 and 2 are concerned with assembly of the upper section of the Fire Mech within which the cockpit is located.
The cockpit is constructed with studs facing forwards and is enclosed by a trans-clear 7 x 4 x 2 windscreen which has only previously appeared in six sets. The windscreen attaches via a hinge its base and can therefore be readily opened to provide cockpit access. The roof of the cockpit, which is also hinged, is topped with a pair of red 3 x 3 x 2 round corner bricks which have only previously appeared in 3061 City Park Café; the hinge mechanism incorporates a pair of uncommon dark red modified 1 x 4 plates with 2 studs.
The roof is flanked on either side by a trans-red and a trans-light blue 2 x 2 inverted dish. These are mounted on Technic beams and presumably represent spotlights. Three pairs of rotation joints are incorporated into the base of the upper section; the mech’s legs will attach to these later on in the build. An apron is attached to the base in front of the rotation joints. This projects forward at an angle and features a number of stickered elements and also a pair of uncommon dark red 1 x 3 x 2 brick arches.
Stages 3 and 4 are concerned with construction of the Fire Mech’s arms, which are mirror images of each other. The mech’s forearms comprise a pair of fearsome flamethrowers. These incorporate black 43.2mm x 26mm Technic racing wheels which have only previously appeared in five sets in this colour. Each flamethrower is tipped with a pearl dark grey Technic quadruple axle connector from which three flamethrower nozzles emerge. Black ribbed 9L hoses attach behind the flamethrower nozzles, presumably supplying them with fuel.
The upper section of each arm incorporates a red disk shooter, which is appearing in a set for the first time in this colour, and a red train roof, which has only previously appeared in a single set. A number of stickers are applied at this stage of the build, but thankfully none are especially tricky to position neatly. You can see the upper section of the mech with both arms attached in the picture below.
The upper section of the mech’s legs are assembled during Stages 5 and 6 of the build. Similar to the arms, the legs are mirror images of each other with the exception of a couple of stickers which are swapped around. A Hero Factory arm / leg extender with ball joint and ball socket attached to a modified 2 x 2 brick with ball receptacle protrudes from the lower aspect of each leg and will provide an attachment point for the feet later in the build.
Meanwhile, a Technic rotation joint protrudes from the top of each leg and will attach to the upper section of the mech. The front surface of each leg (below right) is almost completely covered with curved slopes in various colours, most of which are stickered.
In my experience, the rear surfaces of LEGO mechs tend to be quite plain; in this case however (below left) there’s some greebling on the back of the legs which is a most welcome development. The sides of the legs are also embellished with a variety of elements including Technic gears, belt wheels, curved slopes and tiles, some of them stickered; there’s even a red 4 x 4 wedge which is only appearing in a set for the sixth time in this colour.
The mech’s feet are constructed during Stage 7 of the build. Pairs of stickered dark bluish grey 2 x 4 vehicle spoilers, which have appeared in fewer than ten sets in this colour, are attached at an angle and provide contouring to the upper aspect of the feet, while uncommon light bluish grey 1 x 6 x 2 brick arches with curved top are utilised at the top of each foot; it occurs to me that LEGO has previously used brick arches, albeit larger ones, in a similar way in the design of a previous mech, namely 4508 Titan XP from 2004, as you can see here.
The ‘toes’ utilise more of the uncommon red 3 x 3 x 2 round corner bricks mentioned earlier.
The Fire Mech is almost complete now, with only a final few external features to be added during Stage 8. First up are a couple of large flags which are mounted above the cockpit. The flags feature red and white modified 4 x 4 tiles with studs on one edge which are decorated with stickers. These modified tiles attach to an uncommon flat-ended black ski pole.
The build concludes with the assembly of a pair of black storage tanks. Each tank incorporates a black 2 x 4 x 4 half cylinder, which is only appearing in a set for the third time in this colour, and is topped by a black 4 x 4 dome which is new this year. Once constructed, all that’s left to do is mount the storage tanks on the back of the mech, connect the tanks up to some more lengths of black ribbed 9L hose, load up the disc shooters with a pair of rare printed red 2 x 2 round tiles, and we’re done.
You can see the storage tanks in the rear view below. As previously noted, many previous LEGO mechs have looked quite plain when viewed from behind, sometimes to the point of appearing unfinished. There are no such concerns on this occasion, however, with the tanks, hoses and assorted greebling giving the rear of the mech a far more interesting and polished appearance than usual.
The completed Fire Mech, together with all minifigs and their accessories, can be seen in the picture below. For reasons that I hope will be revealed once I’ve seen the movie, Henry is provided with a tiled 3 x 3 display base, while the shark army are issued with weapons which incorporate bright light blue fish.
I think the Fire Mech is a fine looking beast. It looks taller and more imposing than I had expected, and thanks to the inclusion of points of articulation in the shoulders, elbows, hips, ankles and the front of the feet it can be readily posed. It’s actually pretty stable when standing upright, but some trial and error is required if you want to pose it more creatively.
Due to its robust construction the mech is quite heavy, and a downside of this is that the weight confers a tendency for the mech to fall backwards due to a lack of friction in the ankle joints. Similarly, the weight of the arms can sometimes overwhelm the rotation joints in the shoulders meaning that on occasion the arms don’t hold their position once posed. Some instability is however inevitable in a mech of this size, and overall I think that the designer has done a decent job of balancing the need for strength and stability with the ability to pose the model.
70615 Fire Mech is widely available at retail at a RRP of £59.99 / US$69.99 / 69.99€. Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a review copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.