The LEGO NINJAGO Movie is packed with many fantastic vehicles, perhaps the most impressive of which is Garmadon's enormous hammerhead shark mech deployed during his second assault upon NINJAGO City. I was therefore somewhat disappointed when 70613 Garma Mecha Man was unveiled as I had been hoping for a much bigger model, surpassing even the tremendous 36cm height of 70615 Fire Mech.
Furthermore, some of the mech's proportions look strange in official images and the price of £59.99 or $59.99 is not particularly enticing when compared with other sets based on the film. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised upon completion of this set! The mech is far more detailed than it appears on the packaging and it is larger than I was expecting as well so is definitely worthy of a closer look.
The minifigure selection is the weakest aspect of the set in my opinion. Lloyd appears in a total of seven sets wearing his ninja garb so is among the most common characters across the range, as one might expect given his importance in the movie. Nevertheless, this is an excellent figure. His green and black attire looks superb, featuring a few metallic gold highlights as well as a subtle armour weave pattern on the torso and arms.
I like the two-piece head wrap and the head underneath includes a smile on one side and a frown on the other. There is very little variation in Lloyd's expressions across the range which is disappointing, although the green eyes look great and serve an important purpose by clearly distinguishing him from the rest of the ninja. Lloyd comes with a pearl silver dao introduced for The LEGO NINJAGO Movie and a golden tassel is fitted to the pommel.
Garmadon also appears in many sets but once again this seems sensible given that his role as the primary antagonist. He wears an ornate samurai helmet with a large pair of horns on the top and some decorative moulding on either side. The rivets on the back look great too, as does his unusual head printing. I like the thick eyebrows and cruel expression but, like Lloyd, it would have been nice to see some greater variation between sets.
The printed chest armour is also typical of a samurai, consisting of small panels which are threaded together to form a flexible surface. The detail is impressive and I appreciate the splashes of dark blue that help to break up the otherwise black colour scheme. His full fabric robe is absent unfortunately but it does appear in 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon. As usual, Garmadon is armed with four pearl silver katana to occupy all four arms!
I love the aquatic theme chosen for Garmadon's troops in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, many of whom wear helmets inspired by a particular sea creature. Great White looks particularly fearsome, with rows of white teeth around his face and a pair of black eyes on the sides of the helmet. This is split between light and dark bluish grey which looks great and I love the pearl dark grey shoulder armour too. A battery icon on the front shows the level of oxygen remaining in the soldier's twin air tanks.
Great White's headgear seems rather elaborate but the rest of his attire is purely practical. The sand blue and light bluish grey colours feel appropriate for someone fighting in an urban environment while also maintaining the ocean theme and the addition of some dark grey pouches around the waist works well. He comes armed with a spear attached to a fish-shaped handle which seems to be standard issue for Garmadon's army.
Many of the sets based upon The LEGO NINJAGO Movie include civilians to be rescued by the ninja. Pat is one such character and wears a detailed sand blue robe which is printed on both the torso and legs. I love the textured coolie and the sandals on the feet look superb, as does Pat's frightened face which only appears elsewhere in 70616 Ice Tank.
Good though this figure looks, it is a shame that its components are so common across the range. The torso and legs are particularly familiar, appearing in three sets, which makes it a bit more difficult to display them together. Nevertheless, an extra citizen is always welcome and Pat comes equipped with a red camera which is very rare at the moment, only being available elsewhere as part of the Phantom Zone Projector in 70912 Arkham Asylum.
The Completed Model
The Garma Mecha Man looks rather awkward on the packaging but I think this can be attributed to poor posing rather than poor set design. I like the stockiness of the mech in comparison with others and the traditional samurai styling looks superb. The shoulder armour and haidate around the waist are particularly distinctive within the movie range but recall the popular 9448 Samurai Mech from 2012.
Such heavy armour and broad shoulders has come at the cost of height as the model measures 30cm tall. This is certainly impressive but is still shorter than I was hoping. The mech should tower over the vehicles belonging to the ninja but is instead about the same size, making it difficult to believe the Garma Mecha Man as the truly overwhelming threat we see in the film. Having said that, for a set at this price point I think a height of 30cm is reasonable and the designer has captured a lot of detail from the movie.
The head and chest are my favourite areas of the mech. I love the hammerhead shark styling and the large crest between the eyes looks great, using two 6x6 curved slopes fitted back to back. Trans-red may not have been the best choice for the eyes as they are difficult to see against black and the 3x6 angled plates to which they are fitted look flimsy. However, the teeth around the cockpit are perfect and I like the textured detail on top of the head.
The cockpit opens in two sections, with the front of the torso folding forwards and the head flipping up. The latter hinge is surprisingly loose so the head feels a bit wobbly but a simple Technic assembly ensures that there is no risk of it breaking. There is little detail inside, due primarily to the size of the Garmadon minifigure, but I like the stickered control panel and red is a suitable colour for a shark's mouth.
Thick chest armour protects the cockpit and this looks brilliant from the front. I love the angled 1x2 curved slopes around the sides and the stickers are very attractive as most feature a metallic dark grey finish. However, it is somewhat disconcerting to see a total of 34 stickers in a set of this size and many of them are unnecessary in my opinion.
I think the arms look a bit skinny in relation to the weight of the torso and legs. Their armoured design is consistent with the rest of the model but I think the upper arms would benefit from some additional bulk. On the other hand, this gives the joints a great deal of flexibility as they are not obstructed by anything other than the shoulder armour. The articulated fingers are also very useful and can grip minifigures or the Ultimate Weapon which is included.
Turning the model around reveals some exposed Technic beams as well as some of the awkward colours at the back of the crest. Nevertheless, I think the Garma Mecha Man looks alright from this angle and the shark tank in particular is a delight. The scale of the model means that the sharks are represented by bright light blue fish which works remarkably well at this scale. You will also find a couple of clips to fit the Ultimate Weapon and another accessory but there is not space for all of Garmadon's swords.
The tank is connected to the left arm via a pearl silver ammunition belt that was introduced for the Hero Factory theme. It is made from rubber so flexes as you move the arm and there is sufficient slack that it will not hinder articulation at all. Four fish are connected to the belt, representing ammunition ready to be fired from Garmadon's shark cannon!
In fact, the shark cannon can only launch a single missile. This element is new in bright light blue and is a reasonable alternative to actually firing a fish but having just one missile does not feel sufficient for a weapon which is obviously designed to fire at a rapid rate. I also think the appearance of the shark cannon could be improved as the dorsal fin is oversized, although I like the decorative stickers.
Two golden rams are fitted just above the haidate. These look alright to me but the red clip in the centre is too bright for my taste. I believe this is intended to match the stickered designs on the haidate but it still looks out of place, as do the blue Technic pins to which the rams are attached. Three armoured panels protect the hip joints and the two at the sides can be angled to fit tightly around the thighs. However, you can also move the panels to the sides to avoid obstructing the motion of the hips.
I was expecting to find little articulation here given the awkward posing of the mech in official images but in fact you can move them sideways as well as forwards and backwards. There is no articulation at the knees but the ankles are mounted on ball joints so the model remains stable. The grey panels on top of the feet do get in the way but there are still plenty of display options and the details on the legs look splendid, even at the rear where two adjustable propellors drive the vehicle through the water.
The short legs negate the need for knee articulation but I think a rotational joint at the waist would have been beneficial, particularly when displaying it beside other vehicles in a combat situation. 70615 Fire Mech is a natural partner for this set but they look rather static without waist articulation. On the other hand, I am impressed by their distinctive appearance, as shown in the image below, given that they are a similar size.
70613 Garma Mecha Man has definitely surpassed my expectations but is not among my favourite sets from The LEGO NINJAGO Movie. The stocky design looks great and I like the combination of black, dark bluish grey and pearl dark grey which dominates the model as this is perfect for Garmadon. The articulation is also surprisingly impressive based upon the bulky design of the model and the absence of knee joints is less important here than it is on 70615 Fire Mech where the legs are much longer.
However, I think this set needed to be bigger in order to better represent Garmadon's mech from the film. A height of 30cm is not sufficient to represent a vehicle which is able to hold off all six ninja so this set should perhaps have been assigned a higher price point and designed accordingly. The minifigure selection is comparatively disappointing too. I would therefore recommend other sets in the range over this one but 70613 Garma Mecha Man is a reasonable addition to your collection if you are particularly keen on its design.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.