Review: 70615 Fire Mech

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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

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr


The Minifigures

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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…

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr


The Build

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr


The Verdict

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.

 

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19 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Nice review! I too love mechs and will definitely be picking this up.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review, I agree that these are much more impressive when built. The pictures of it really don't do the scale of the sets justice.
I must admit that I did the double with this and brought it with #70613 to save a few quid but have been very impressed with the amount of build you get for your money with a lot of these Ninjago Movie sets and would have been reasonably happy to pay retail for this.

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By in Germany,

Had an eye on this one from the start. Very nicely designed. Thanks Herr Dr for the review.

Little disappointing to hear of weak joints while posing, but hey, when it looks this good...

Ps. How's the city coming along?

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By in United Kingdom,

Good review!

While structurally this mech definitely calls to mind the older humanoid mechs from Exo-Force, its size puts it in a class of its own. It's huge and incredibly sturdy, though that does come at the expense of knee articulation, and some of its joints do struggle a bit to support the mech's massive weight. Nevertheless I'd easily consider it one of the best such mechs Lego's ever made.

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By in Serbia,

They really need to start adding knee articulation.

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By in United Kingdom,

It's very impressive looking, and I'm glad they're starting to make the backs of mechs look better - I generally like Lego mechs but this is one area where they tend to fall down.

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By in United States,

Seeing these mechs makes me wish Exo-Force was still around.

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By in Germany,

If this one had knee joints or real hands, it would be already on my shelf..
I miss Exo-Force so much, that series would be amazing with today's techniques and parts!

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By in United States,

Great review, though I don't think Kai is exclusive...

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By in United States,

Poor Henry...

Boy, I would love to get all these mechs, but being far behind as I am...I don't know. They're all fantastic looking models.

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By in United States,

@sammael: The issue with adding knee joints is that it's too huge and heavy — unless the proportions of the legs were changed, any joint with enough friction to support its weight would also be so strong that the force needed to bend the knees would be greater than the force needed to break the legs. Mark Stafford talked about that here: https://www.reddit.com/r/lego/comments/6rchz9/third_2016_lego_ideas_review_results/dl4740h/?context=3

Good review overall! I absolutely love this set. it's a huge step forward in LEGO mech design and even at only around 2/3 the size of the one from the movie, it's still an incredibly imposing build. The value is also incredible. 944 pieces for $70? Pretty sweet!

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By in United States,

I Think that Kai's mech has definitely been upgraded to a movie level!

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By in Singapore,

I still insist on knee articulation. the designer has made it look like it's got knees but they don't work. lol. But i agree that when a product meant for kids is produced, it has to be stable and it should not break easily. AFOLs with itchy fingers can modify it easily. It's still a good-looking mech.

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By in United States,

I regret not getting a beaten up box of this last week when I saw it for less than $5o. This thing looks huge and awesome.

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By in Canada,

I thoroughly enjoy this mech and despite the limitations of the knees wasn't bothered by this really. Perhaps I haven't played around with it enough as I am not a reviewer but I haven't had any real issues with it at all. I love the size and colour combination. Its very imposing especially when staged with minifugures on the ground.

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By in United Kingdom,

Those large ‘flags’ should really be called sashimono I think.

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By in United States,

The first time I saw this set the first thing I thought was "Exo-Force!". I probably would buy it, but I have a very small budget and there are a lot of other sets I could use more.

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By in United States,

I picked up this monster on launch day and was not disappointed. It's impressive once assembled and is just a real attractive model. It's tough to tell from these photos, but the legs can be spread out a bit to give it a very imposing manga-like stance without suffering in stability, making it look very nice as a display model with just a simple upright standing pose (Although I do like the pose in the last photo!).

Great review, thanks!

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