Review: 70654 Dieselnaut

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Ninjago was my 2016 theme of the year and I had high hopes for the 2018 Ninjago offerings. And then the sets for the first half of the year arrived, and I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed. It’s not that they were bad, but they didn’t excite me like the 2016 or 2017 sets had done.

I’ve learned never to write Ninjago off, though, and true to form the theme bounced back with a strong-looking line-up for the second half of the year. 70654 Dieselnaut, with its Ninjago-meets-Mad-Max stylings, was a stand out for me and I’m therefore pleased to bring you a review of the set.

Box & Contents

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The front of the box (above) depicts a fierce battle taking place on and around the Dieselnaut. The Iron Baron, leader of the Dragon Hunters, is at the helm while three of his fellow villains defend the vehicle from Zane, Jay and Teen Wu. The back of the box (below) highlights a number of key play features, as well as revealing that the Dieselnaut is almost half a metre long which is bigger than I was expecting.

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The box contains nine sequentially numbered bags plus a tenth, unnumbered bag made of a softer plastic. There’s also a sticker sheet (below) containing ten stickers, and a 156-page instruction booklet.

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The Minifigures

The set contains seven minifigures. First up are Zane, Teen Wu and Jay (below, from left to right). According to Bricklink this version of Zane has appeared in three sets to date; his torso print, which features belts and a carabiner, is unique to this minifigure, as are his printed legs, but other constituent elements such as his flat silver head have previously appeared elsewhere.

Teen Wu is unique to this set. His black torso, which is printed with an orange sash, a heavy-duty belt running diagonally from hip to shoulder and a scrap of olive green fabric, is exclusive to this minifigure, as is his mid-length white hair complete with topknot and gold headband. His legs are unprinted. Like Zane, this version of Jay can be found in three Ninjago Hunted sets. His intricate torso and leg prints are exclusive to this minifigure, while his headgear is shared with one other Jay variant.

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I removed all armour, weapons and headgear prior to shooting the picture below so that you can see the alternate expressions and torso backprints.

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Next up are Heavy Metal (below left) and Iron Baron (below right), both of which can only be found in two sets including this one. I think they look spectacular! Heavy Metal’s intricately-printed torso is shared with four other Ninjago Hunted villains spread across three sets, and his torso is nicely complemented by black legs which feature an interesting, detail-heavy print. An impressive black and flat silver breastplate with spiked shoulder pad, face protector and scabbard obscures the head print which you can see here; at time of writing the head print is exclusive to this minifigure. A slightly incongruous dark brown conical hat, appearing in a set for only the sixth time in this colour, rounds things off.

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The Iron Baron is no less eye-catching. His silver, olive green and orange torso print is exclusive to this minifigure, as is his grisly head print with its red and green eyes, olive green stripes and yellow teeth. His legs, which incorporate a pearl dark grey pirate peg leg, have only previously appeared as part of the Series 3 Collectible Minifigure Space Villain in this colour, and he sports the same breastplate as Heavy Metal. Strangely, however, Iron Baron’s breastplate attaches backwards, meaning that the face protector covers the back of his head and the scabbard is at the front. Incongruous headgear is once again the order of the day in the form of a black top hat recently worn by The Penguin in 70909 Batcave Break-In.

I've once again removed all headgear and armour for the rear view shot below so you can see the torso back prints and, in the case of Heavy Metal, the printing on the back of the head.

View image at flickr

The final two minifigures are Skullbreaker (below left) and Muzzle (below right). These guys are basically identical with the exception that Skullbreaker sports a black Ninja face scarf whereas Muzzle has the same breastplate with spiked shoulder pad and face protector as Heavy Metal and the Iron Baron. The torso print, printed legs and head print are shared with other Ninjago Hunter villains, but the black hoods are exclusive to these two minifigures.

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With their armour and headgear removed, Skullbreaker and Muzzle are identical from behind (below). The pearl dark grey arms and orange hips work well with the torso print, and overall I have to say that I’m impressed by the four Ninjago Hunted villains in this set.

View image at flickr

The Build

The build is broken into nine stages, each of which has its own numbered bag of elements. The first numbered bag contains the elements needed to construct a foldable weapons rack and a statue, both of which can be seen below. The statue incorporates all four Dragon Armour elements - the Dragon Helmet, Dragon Chestplate, Dragonbone Blade and Dragon Shield - all of which are new this year and exclusive to the Ninjago Hunted subtheme.

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The next two build stages are focused on construction of the Dieselnaut’s chassis (below). The vehicle is built on a 6-wide base and construction utilises a number of Technic beams and bricks which help to ensure rigidity; among these Technic elements is a dark azure 4 x 6 Technic brick with open centre which has only previously appeared in two sets. This is also the case for the pair of reddish brown 3L Technic pin connectors with 2 pins and a centre hole which anchor the front axles to the chassis. There’s a ram at the front of the vehicle which is cushioned internally by a couple of flexible rubber axle connectors which act as shock absorbers.

One of the things that immediately appealed to me about the set was the olive green and orange colour scheme, and we see the first appearance of olive green elements at this point in the build. Modified 2 x 2 x 2/3 bricks with two studs and curved slope end are interspersed with black 2 x 3 pentagonal tiles which still feel very new to me even though they’ve actually appeared in almost 30 sets in this colour alone. This interesting arrangement of elements is sadly barely visible in the final build but can at least be enjoyed in the work-in-progress image below.

View image at flickr

The hollow superstructure at the rear of the vehicle, which has been designed to accommodate the weapons rack, is next to be built. It incorporates a host of uncommon olive green elements including 45 degree 2 x 2 double concave slopes only previously seen in 71042 Silent Mary in this colour, a 4 x 4 pointed wedge which is new in this colour, and four 2 x 2 round corner tiles which are appearing in a set for only the second time in olive green.

A black 4 x 4 inverted dish with orange dragon print attaches on one side of the superstructure. This dish is attached to a pearl dark grey barrel with axle hole on the opposite side of the vehicle via a simple assembly of axles and gears, and turning either the dish or the barrel causes an axle protruding from the top of the vehicle to rotate – more on this later. Further exterior decoration is provided by uncommon flat silver ingots, and there’s also a windscreen of sorts made up of a pearl dark grey 1 x 4 x 6 bar with end protrusions. A couple of uncommon black curved 3 x 4 x 3 hinged panels are stickered in orange and black and form part of the midsection on both sides of the vehicle; these panels can be folded outwards and downwards to reveal an empty compartment within.

View image at flickr

Attention then shifts to the front of the vehicle. This incorporates an engine featuring a turbine fashioned from a 10-blade rotor. It’s enclosed above by a stickered engine cover fashioned from a black 3 x 6 x 10 half drum which is currently exclusive to this set in black. The engine cover is hinged at the back, which allows it to be raised like the hood of a car. The hinge mechanism incorporates some uncommon orange Technic elements including a perpendicular axle and pin connector. More rare orange Technic elements, notably a 135-degree angle connector and a pair of 2L axle connectors, are utilised in the construction of a modest crane (below) which sits on a small platform on the right side of the vehicle. The jib of the crane is formed from a pair of orange 1 x 3 Bionicle teeth, while the grab consists of a pair of flat silver Hero Factory claws. The grab attaches to the crane via a 21-link trans-orange chain, and despite the small size of the crane it still manages to incorporate a rudimentary winding mechanism.

View image at flickr

A harpoon launcher complete with harpoon is mounted on the opposite side of the vehicle from the crane. The mounting point features a quartet of orange modified 2 x 2 corner tiles with cut corner, appearing in a set for only the third time in this colour, while the harpoon is tipped with an uncommon white spear tip with fins. The harpoon itself doesn’t actually fire; instead it’s fixed to the top of a spring shooter which fires trans-orange arrows. A larger gun emplacement is mounted on the top of the vehicle at the rear. This also fires trans-orange arrows from a spring shooter and can be rotated through 360 degrees by turning the previously described printed dish or pearl dark grey barrel.

View image at flickr

We finally get to attach the wheels at this point. The rear tyres are 81.6mm x 38mm balloon tyres which were last seen on 2015’s Formula Off-Roader set, while the smaller 68.7mm x 34mm front tyres have only previously appeared in eight sets, most recently in 2012. Next the tracks are assembled and fitted. Each track comprises 22 Technic tread elements. A rubber attachment is fixed to every second tread element in order to increase friction and theoretically help the track to grip the terrain that the vehicle is driving on. Despite the use of these rubber lugs the tracks unfortunately didn’t perform well on my wooden building table, generally sliding across the surface rather than moving as designed. I can however confirm that the tracks worked fine on my hall carpet!

The front of the Dieselnaut is completed with the addition of a suitably fierce-looking front bumper/fender which features a number of large white barbs, after which all that’s left to build is a removable jail cell (below) which attaches to the rear of the vehicle. This is constructed on a 4 x 7 x 2/3 vehicle base, while the roof is formed from a black 8 x 14 lattice. This rubbery element is currently exclusive to the set in black, and starts out flat but is soft enough to be bent into the appropriate shape. The sides of the cell are enclosed by olive green 6 x 6 inverted dishes which are also exclusive to the set in this colour; these are attached via hinges and can therefore be opened to provide access to the cell.

View image at flickr

You can see the completed Dieselnaut in all its fearsome glory below, from the front….

View image at flickr

….and from the rear.

View image at flickr

The removable jail cell attaches to the Dieselnaut by way of a couple of Technic axles and slides on and off with ease. Rotation joints attached to the proximal end of the axles allow the cell to be lifted up and tucked neatly into the back of the vehicle. The cell has been lowered to ground level in the picture below, revealing the weapons rack hidden away inside the hollow superstructure.

View image at flickr

The completed Dieselnaut can be seen below together with its complement of minifigures. The engine cover is in the raised position revealing the turbine, and the curved midsection panels have been retracted.

View image at flickr

The Verdict

I’m pleased to report that this set definitely lived up to my expectations. In fact, I think that the Dieselnaut looks better in person than in the official pictures. It’s big and imposing, the design is idiosyncratic and imaginative, and I love the colour scheme with its prominent use of olive green and orange allied to dark bluish grey and black. Arguably more importantly for the target demographic, it provides a huge amount of play potential, with an impressive variety of play features shoehorned into the vehicle. I was also impressed with the minifigures, particularly Iron Baron and Heavy Metal with their pantomime villain, over-the-top styling. My only real criticism concerns the stiff tracks at the front of the vehicle which stubbornly refuse to operate reliably on smooth surfaces, although perhaps that could be remedied with some tweaking.

70654 Dieselnaut is available now at a RRP of £89.99 / US$109.99 / €99.99. 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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22 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Very detailed review! Thank you :) I was going to buy the diesalnaut but I got the dragon pit instead.

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By in United States,

Not being a Ninjago fan in the slightest, I can say this is actually pretty cool looking. There've been a few other Ninjago sets that stood out to me, too. The theme does a good job of not resting on its laurels, creating quality vehicles and not just assuming kids will buy any old thing because they're already "hooked in."

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree with ra226. Ninjago, normally a theme I find slightly boring, still puts out good sets occasionally, and I think this is one of them. I don't have the time, space or money for it, but still.

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By in Czech Republic,

Your mention "Mad Max" was a real spot-on! I can even see that in the stylistic hat of Iron Baron seated behind the wheel.

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By in Denmark,

Why do all part the links go to BO? BS I could understand, but ignoring the largest, most complete LEGO database known to mankind is rather dumb. Also, if you want to buy the parts you're going to find a much larger variety of sellers not to mention better prices at BL

Is this a new BS agenda thing?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ No agenda, just that Brick Owl's part images are generally superior to those on Bricklink.

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By in Denmark,

Ohh, we can agree about that. The pics on BL are a rag tag mish mash of +20 year old analogue scanned film, LDD and pictures taken is so bad light that it's hard to get an idea of the actual colour

Thanx for te review. It's nice to see TLG try out different sub genres with Ninjago but I hope a diesel/whatever punk them theme might get it's own turn one day

Cheers,

Ole

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By in United Kingdom,

What a terrific looking set! I probably spent a fair number of my childhood building years trying to make things similar to this and not getting anywhere near. I would have been over the moon to have had sets like this to play with when I was a child.

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By in United States,

It’s so ridiculously over the top. I love it

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By in United States,

One correction that is a slight Season 9 spoiler… Heavy Metal is not a "he". ;)

I like the design of the ninja this season, especially how their costumes are really recognizable as battle damaged versions of their Season 8 costumes, patched up with lots of belts and chainmail. It suits the jaded tone of this season while still feeling different from the more raw and brutal aesthetic of the Dragon Hunters.

I haven't decided yet if I want the Dieselnaut in my own collection. On the one hand, it's easily the quintessential Dragon Hunter vehicle (not to mention, one of the only two vehicles they seem to be getting as sets). And it looks like a pretty excellent parts pack. On the other hand, based on the events of Season 9, I don't think this will be a fixture in future seasons of the show, so I might not be too keen on this MASSIVE vehicle taking up shelf space when I'm ready to move on to the next wave.

Also, most of the minifigures in it are already available in other Season 9 sets that I'd be more interested in getting (i.e. Firstbourne, Stormbringer, and the Dragon Pit). The only character in this set who I wouldn't get in one of those other sets (or couldn't make myself by swapping the face guard of a duplicate Muzzle out for an extra ninja mask I already own) is Teen Wu, and it might be better to BrickLink one figure than to buy a $110 set that I have mixed feelings on actually owning — even if it is a fantastic design and a good value for money. Conversely, if I were to get this and skip the more expensive Dragon Pit, not only would I miss out on a cool dragon and some very unique-looking wasteland architecture, but also two minifigures — Arkade and the gold suit that Wu is meant to wear under his golden dragon master armor.

It's kind of a bummer because I don't really like it when it feels like the character selection plays a bigger role in my purchasing decisions than the design of the set, and I think the overall design quality of this set and the dragon pit are about equal even if their size and price aren't. But right now I don't think I want to buy both this and the Dragon Pit, and it feels like I'm leaning more towards the latter. I guess it's no big deal though because with great new Ninjago sets coming out all the time it's never a big deal if I miss a few that I know I might have enjoyed.

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By in Poland,

One of the few solid big wheel vechicles lego did.
I especialy love how much cargo it can hold.

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By in United Kingdom,

The last few years of Ninjago has provided some great sets like this one that provide an interesting build, some cool features and loads of great parts in rare colours. Like the others, I’ll buy this, build it with the kids (5 and 3), let them play with it until they’re bored, and then add all the parts to my collection for MOCs

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By in Canada,

This set reminds me of 80s/90s Space land vehicles. Like some used by M-Tron or late Space Police. Rather enjoyed the parts selection in mine.

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By in Australia,

Teen Wu?

I'm clearly not paying enough attention to the ongoing Ninjago storyline.

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By in France,

I have learned with time to discover Ninjago TV show, Movie and of course sets. I like them all more and more, and this subtheme will for sure be among my favorite with its Madmax look, or even taste. This Dieselnaught is really impressive, I like the color scheme, the villains minifigs are awesome and so well designed and printed! Both set and minifigs are filled with details, colors, it's a nice mess anywhere you put your eyes on it. Thanks for the review.

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By in United Kingdom,

Lovely set, but why is the review so late? The set was released 1st of June to the EU!

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By in United States,

When I look at this from my POV as a builder and enthusiast AFOL, I don't see the Ninjago breed as much as I see this as a very fine addition to the class of War Rig. Lego doesn't have enough official Road Warrior homages, but this will do nicely in that general direction, thank you. I cannot wait to add this model to my collection.

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By in United States,

new ninjago sets look awesome, sorry but the older ones where kind of childish.
these i actually want to by

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By in United States,

Gives me that Mad Max/Road Warrior feel.
Definitely want to pick this up now.

@rogue one There are quite a few good older NinjaGo sets that aren't kiddish. They are reminiscent of afol moc's. I have a couple...
Try the Skull Truck (very Road Warrior-esque), the little Blacksmith Shop (has a nice hidden weapons feature that can be used with current Ninjago scenery or Medieval sets), The Rattlecopter (fun build, excellent looking), and the Samurai Mech is a standout model too.

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By in Czech Republic,

There are 13 advertisements on this page, most of them breaking the text. That's a bit too much for me, it gets tiring breaking attention every doezen of lines to roll down. I completely uderstand that there are costs that must be paid for but this is too much for my liking. It really discourages me from reading more articles.

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By in United States,

@Faire, if you stay logged into the website there are no advertisements. It's a good reason to become a Brickset member.

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By in Czech Republic,

Huh, you are right, my apollogies.

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