There's only two types of biker in this world – those who've had an accident, and those who are about to have an accident. Fortunately, 70639 Street Race of Snake Jaguar is here to let you have the thrills and spills of motorcycle madness, incorporating some ninja fighting along the way, and all without resulting in a trip to A&E.
With an RRP of £24.99 / €29.99 / $29.99 we're looking slightly above entry level stuff here, so it needs to shape up with some good play opportunities and fun builds. 70638 Katana V11 impressed me and it set a high bar so this one needs to follow suit. Let's open up the throttles to find out if it can.
Here’s how the box looks front and back with a teenage human for scale. It feels a decent size for the money, and it contains 309 pieces.
Opening it up we find two bags and two instruction booklets – one per bike. That’s useful if you’re building with somebody else so you can have one each without squabbling. All the minifigures are in bag one though. For the main builds, Book 1, Zane’s Bike has 59 steps and Book 2, The Oni Chopper has 68 steps.
Sticker-wise, I’m pleased to say there’s only 13 of them and they’re all easy to apply, the smallest being for 1x2 cheeses.
There's two (well 2 and a half) minifigures and we'll start with Zane. He is nicely printed featuring metallic silver on both sides. The belt crossover between his legs and torso works far better than Kai's did in 70638 Katana V11 and the printing continues downwards to his knees again using silver.
Is there enough here to make him stand out against previous versions? I'm not so sure, but this is up there near the top I think. This figure isn't unique as it is also available in 10755 Zane's Ninja Boat Pursuit
If we take off his quiver we can get a good look at his back print. It's almost a shame to hide it. The rear of his head also gets some printed detail.
He is equipped with a bow and arrow, but there is a spare silver sword in the box for him if you prefer.
Over on the villain's side, we have the wonderfully named Mr E. He gets a set of black leathers detailed with metallic silver and red.
I was surprised to learn that the red visor on his helmet is only in 2 other sets (one of which is 70643 Temple of Resurrection where he appears again.) The new shoulder armour piece is used here and looks perfectly menacing with his black body and his head is printed with two eyes and nothing else. This could prove a useful head for Halloween and horror MOCers.
Turn him around and he has the Sons Of Garmadon backprint on his leather jacket. They haven't gone over the top here – he looks just right from behind.
Now, what about that “half” I mentioned. Well here it is. There is a brick built stand which holds a pair of red swords, a demon torso and The Oni Mask of Vengeance. The mask simply attaches to the visor mounting points of a helmet piece. The torso has some great printing on it with the reds leading the eye up to the mask itself.
Once acquired by Mr E he can transform into a four armed sword wielding maniac. It looks fantastic even if getting the four swords to sit right at the same time can be a bit of a fiddle.
Getting into the build, both bikes have a sturdy central core on which all the other pieces sprout from. Zane’s bike has a rather nice Pearl Gold 2x2 Round Tile with a white and silver print on it but that is the only stand out piece I noticed. Once these lumps are complete it’s on to the rest.
Both bikes use technic elements on which to mount the wheels, and because of the overall length of the bikes they have a bit of ”give” in them to form a slight suspension. To stop heavy hands pushing too hard, both of the bikes have a boat stud fitted under their engine bays to act as stops, thus preventing any stretch damage. The length and lowdown stance of these bikes very much reminds me of Top Fuel Drag Racing Bikes and I wonder if the design team have taken a few cues from them. The results are certainly interesting.
Let’s look at Zane’s bike first. In a colour scheme to reflect his own it’s got some nice details such as the Gold rims and Dark Azure lower fairings. The flag adjusts up and down and the gold blades help to create the flow and shape of a more conventional motorbike, hanging over the rear wheels like a mudguard would.
Moving over to the dark side, The Oni Chopper has a menacing colour scheme of black, red and purple. It features red horns, or teeth, set in the front wheel hubs that act as tyre shredders, and are also mounted on the large black blades to the rear. Again the flag is adjustable back and forth, but it does move the seat back with it.
The red flag is an odd choice, as it uses a tile 2x3 with 2 clips. This means that the sticker can only adhere to one face so the bike has a “best” side to be viewed. Admittedly the size of the 2x3 looks right, but if a 2x2 flag was used instead the emblem could have shown as double sided.
So far, we've seen the bikes without minifigures, and the proportions look good. Look what happens when we stick the minifigures on them – completely bonkers.
The bikes are massive powerhouse machines and my brain says that this concept shouldn't work – but it does. They are ludicrously oversized and all the better for it. They are still bikes though and that must limit the play features surely? Let's see what the designers have come up with besides racing each other.
For Zane's bike, note the stud shooters mounted on the lower fairings each side. To use them to the best of their ability....
…. the front of the bike comes off to reveal a drone providing the set with a swooshability factor. It's a really cool touch and very well thought out. The wings are adjustable and the nose can pivot up and down as well.
It's Mr E's turn to impress, and The Oni Chopper also features a pair of stud shooters mounted each side of the headlight. There are places to clip a pair of swords prior to his transformation, and as mentioned the wheels have revolving teeth fitted to them.
To go one better, a quick turn of the technic gear wheels on each side of the engine bay moves the big black blades forward. These rest on the teeth elements in the hubs and when you push the bike along, the teeth make the blades bob up and down to give a cutting and shredding motion. It's quite fun.
Not to be outdone, Zane can move his blades forward too. They actually swing a little further forward than my photo shows and also rotate in the holders a full 360 degrees.
Here's the whole package, and in this photo you see can The Oni Chopper from it's worst side. That flag is just a detail that's... that's... well a little bit annoying. It's the wine stain on new carpet, a coffee ring on the table, a turd on the pavement. Apart from that small niggle though, it's a good looking set – and this is coming from a car man and not a biker.
Once Mr E has transformed into his super evil state, he looks brilliant on top of his machine. Kids will love this with two bikes to chase and fight each other. It makes more sense than in the 70638 Katana V11 where it is boat vs bike.
I think this is another decent set and the price isn’t that bad at all. In UK money we're looking at a tenner for each bike, and a fiver for the minifigs and mask set up, that's your £24.99 RRP right there. Ninjago sets always see a bit of discount after a short while and researching Amazon price history it's already been down to £19.99 during February.
The play opportunities here revolve of course around the age old “Good Vs Evil” scenario, and the features of each bike are well conceived. Before I built it I didn’t think there’d be much to the bikes but it was great to discover the features and be proved wrong. There’s enough here to fuel the imagination for one person and it’s a fine set for two people to build and play with as well.
If you're a Ninjago fan, you will love it and it's another set that gets a recommendation from me. As always, please let us know your own thoughts in the comments.
Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.