Review: 70665 The Samurai Mech

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Mechs have become an increasingly important facet of the NINJAGO theme, appearing in many different shapes and sizes. That may be partially attributable to the exceptional standard of 9448 Samurai Mech from 2012 which has acquired an impressive reputation and might be considered among the best sets of the range!

Its return for the Legacy subtheme is therefore not entirely surprising, although the vehicle has been scaled down for 70665 The Samurai Mech. That is somewhat disappointing but smaller mechs from NINJAGO are often appealing and a superb selection of minifigures are included, the most notable of whom are probably the Skulkin, Nuckal and Kruncha.

Minifigures

Before becoming an official member of the ninja team, Nya created the mysterious guise of Samurai X. This minifigure is fairly similar to the previous version from 9448 Samurai Mech, albeit with red armour and updated printing. The black samurai helmet looks wonderful and features a golden bucket handle that forms the crest along with a faceplate, including some brilliant moulded detail and concealing the samurai's true identity.

70665 The Samurai Mech

Nya wears red chest armour with large shoulder protectors. I like this component but prefer the printed design underneath, featuring a metallic gold symbol which corresponds with her mech alongside some small fasteners. The red and dark red colour scheme matches the original minifigure from 2012 but the armour design is more akin to the 2015 figure.

70665 The Samurai Mech

Removing the helmet reveals a double-sided head which has appeared on several previous occasions. Both expressions look superb but a new element would have been welcome. No weapons are actually included for Nya, although she can use the pearl gold katana which are attached to the Samurai Mech.

70665 The Samurai Mech

Many factions have opposed the ninja during the last nine years, commencing with the Skulkin. These villains remained almost unchanged when they returned in 70592 Salvage M.E.C. but the 2019 design features a new head and shoulder armour. Nuckal still wears a metal eye patch and tan spikes across the top of his head so is instantly recognisable, although these are now formed using a mohawk piece.

View image at flickr

Kruncha also maintains his traditional war helmet, albeit represented by a separate component. I can understand why seasoned NINJAGO might favour the original design but I actually prefer the new one as the updated skulls appear more realistic and are readily customisable. The skeletal torso, arms and legs are impressive and Kruncha's waist now features a red sash, matching the animated series rather than the earlier minifigure which wore a dark bluish grey sash. The characters are armed with a sword and a bone axe.

View image at flickr

The Completed Model

Smaller mechs are a recurring feature within the NINJAGO theme and this model, measuring 14cm in height, therefore feels more reminiscent of 70754 ElectroMech than 9448 Samurai Mech. However, its stocky shape has been replicated effectively and the requisite samurai styling is certainly present. The mech features a suitable combination of red, dark red and black pieces along with some lovely golden highlights that are visible in the earlier set.

View image at flickr

The model is reasonably articulated, featuring ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and ankles. I am often disappointed by the absence of knee joints but they are not really necessary here, especially since the feet have a broad surface area so provide adequate support. In fact, the mech can stand on one leg securely and running poses are certainly possible.

View image at flickr

Samurai X fits neatly inside the torso and is protected by two golden robot arms around her shoulders. A round sticker is placed on the chest, matching the original model as well as Nya's torso printing. The set from 2012 featured a helmet which closed over the minifigure but that is absent here, unfortunately, despite being an important aspect of the earlier model. Nevertheless, I think the mech looks good with a minifigure in position.

View image at flickr

Two stud shooters are mounted on the shoulders, representing the much larger cannons that appeared on the previous model. This flag, on the other hand, remains the same size and is decorated with a pair of stickers which show Samurai X's helmet beside two crossed swords. Moreover, the powerful jet pack which allowed the mech to fly in the television series appears here too, albeit with a simplified design.

View image at flickr

The shoulder armour was among the most distinctive features of 9448 Samurai Mech and this rendition is fairly similar, making use of 1x2 plates with three clips rather than cowcatcher elements. I like the red stickers and the dark red 1x1 slopes along the arms are marvellous. The mech wields a pearl dark grey katana and two golden blades are fixed to its left wrist which look quite intimidating.

View image at flickr

Faulds cover the hip joints and another sticker is applied between them, corresponding with those on the shoulders. The feet appear rather bland but I like the combination of red and dark red pieces and the golden 1x2 grille tiles on the toes look great, particularly since exactly the same pieces appear in the same position on the 2012 set.

View image at flickr

Overall

Creating smaller versions of previous models is probably among the greatest challenges that a LEGO designer can encounter, especially when the previous set is extremely impressive. On that basis, I am satisfied with 70665 The Samurai Mech. 9448 Samurai Mech remains more appealing but that seems inevitable as the new mech only contains 154 pieces but captures the important design features of its predecessor in my opinion.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the updated Skulkin minifigures are excellent and I think this set offers reasonable value, costing £14.99 in the UK or $14.99 in the US. I would therefore recommend 70665 The Samurai Mech as an independent model but owners of the original mech might wish to focus their attention elsewhere.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

 

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29 comments on this article

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By in United States,

And how many mechs like this have we seen from ninjago? And we really need another one? The model itself is good, but the quantity of them seems to somewhat outweigh the demand. I don’t know. Perhaps some poeple collect ninjago mechs as a hobby.

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By in United Kingdom,

@your future president - see Jangbricks' regular commentary on LEGO's endless City helicopters: they keep releasin' 'em 'cause folk keep buyin' 'em.
I'm sure LEGO's marketing department know what's in demand and what sells well; apparently it's mechs.

Nice review, and seems great value for the money!

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By in United States,

Looks horrible, imho

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By in United States,

The original Nuckal and Kruncha were better, just like the stormtrooper helmet...

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By in United States,

Cool set! Sadly, my wallet already hates me right now, I need more willpower when it comes to buying Lego. These reviews don't help. Thanks for the review anyway though!

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By in United States,

To be honest, I quite like this design. While the original Samurai Mech was impressive, it was also far bigger than it had any right to be—towering over even the same year's Ultra Dragon and Great Devourer. This set's smaller size allows for a cheaper set in a wave full of impressive but expensive sets, and will probably look better alongside the other ninja vehicles.

The new Nuckal and Kruncha don't look perfect but I do appreciate the new skull mold allowing for a wider range of headgear. Even Wyplash's old head, which had a stud on top, could only allow for a small variety of headgear thanks to the back of the head being shaped differently from a traditional minifigure. The new shoulder armor they wear is less impressive than the spiked torso armor of the originals, but beyond these figs its simple design similarly seems like it'll be more versatile (in fact, it looks like it'd be a good match for the molded-on shoulders of the four-armed Ninjago Movie Garmadon). The biggest avoidable disappointment for me is that they lack boots, despite the mold for the skeleton legs with boots being used for Squirebots in Nexo Knights as recently as last year.

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By in Australia,

That Nya face is different to the one that is linked to in the article. I'm not sure if it is new for this set, but it isn't the common one used in the majority of the LEGO Ninjago Movie sets.

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By in Hungary,

Another mech, meh.

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By in France,

Nice good value set for younger builders

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By in United Kingdom,

IMHO the best Ninjago wave EVER!

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By in United States,

@jdm: Perhaps, depending on how you define "younger builders". This set is recommended for ages 7+, so not suitable for builders as young as a typical City or Friends set this size would be.

While I agree that this isn't as immense or detailed as the old Samurai Mech, it seems a lot closer to the size of the Samurai Mech in the show, and makes a pretty good playset for this price point. While Nuckal's mohawk is a bit of a forced substitute for his old spikes, like @Lyichir above I prefer the new skull shape to the old one, along with the new more show-accurate face printing.

I LOVE the new Samurai X minifigure as well, though I hope we soon get a new version of Nya's original casual clothes, as we've seen in the latest Season 10 trailer: https://youtu.be/KtlLYV6DoQE It's great to see that the ninja's old animal emblems are still in use!

Good review! Looking forward to more Ninjago Legacy reviews!

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By in United States,

Liked the original but this one is so downsized...

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By in United States,

The Ninjago Legacy shorts actually had a cool explanation for this thing’s appearance. In them, Nya imagines how she would have built the mech if she had done so following the Hunted season.

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By in United States,

As long as Lego keeps producing mechs... I’ll keep buying mechs.

I don’t follow he Ninjago cartoon, but I feel I’ve seen this one in a video game screen shot or something.

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By in Finland,

Although not really comparable to the original, I think it's a nice little mech of it's own.

Since we are getting the other Skulkins remade, I hope there will be a new Samukai coming as well.

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By in Australia,

@Aanchir- it's just a suggestion, they have to put that there.

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By in Australia,

I didn't realise there was a new design for the skull piece. I quite like that.

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By in United States,

This Samurai Mech doesn't really hold a candle to 9448 - but I wouldn't expect it to at half the price. This does look like it compares favorably with 70500 though - and that mech is one of the best value of the range.

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By in United States,

I got into NinjaGo later one, after failing to find any snake sets in the stores. So $12 for a mech and two snakes is a great deal to me. Plus Nya is my favorite!

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By in United States,

Great review and lovely pictures as always. It is especially obvious compared to Lego.com which seems broken on mobile and has low-res images. A terrible experience over there currently.

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By in United States,

Out of all the the Legacy sets, this is the one that is without a doubt worse than it's predecessor. It's not horrible, but the og Samurai X was so fantastic it'd be impossible to top. The new Skulkin look really awkward, but I think a smaller mohawk for Nuckal and bigger shoulder pads for both would help.

@nashikens The Samurai X Mech has been in pretty much every Ninjago videogame, was a mini model in one of the Dimensions Fun Packs, and was seen for like three frames during The LEGO Movie. It also made frequent appearances during the first five seasons of the show, and once in season 7, so there are plenty of screenshots of it floating about. It's one of those LEGO sets that shows up so often it's hard to miss.

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By in France,

The more I go, the more I like Ninjago sets. I started with Lloyd's green MechDragon found at a very big sale, and then to the Destiny's Bounty for birthday... And when I see this good, even if smaller, version of Nya's mech, which is an important feature of the animated serie, at this price and with two updated and superb skeletons, I really wonder if this one won't soon come to join the others. Thanks for the review and pictures.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think this is a great budget version of the Samurai Mech and if you look across the Ninjago line it actually fits in scale and style with past sets like the Electro-mech, Kai's Fire Mech and Coles Mech from the thunder raider set.

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By in Russian Federation,

I can't complain — I love robots.

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By in Poland,

I LOVE new skeleton heads. They are way better than oversized old ones and these can be customized easily!
The mech itself is a cool mech but its a weak representation of Samuraimech. Mainly because it lacks THE HEAD.

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By in United States,

I kind of wish lego had added the hidden ID samurai face with the red googles. I obviously really want this set though. @Octopus.Boy This is set is from the new version in Ninjago Legacy. For all of those who don't know, you can WATCH LEGO NINJAGO LEGACY EPISODES on www.Lego.com/Ninjagolegacy. The episodes aren't all that good but I like them for all the sets. Thanks for the review and one quick question: can you make a review for the new Ultra Dragon?

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm actually quite pleased to see a smaller take on the mech. The original was actually quite oversized to the original TV version, though she has had several mechs in her time as the Samurai. In fact in Season 3 : Rebooted she piloted a much smaller mech which was able to fit inside a room of an office building which I suspect this mech is somewhat based on and I could not be happier to see this come along, especially when I already own the original Samurai Mech :D

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By in Greece,

Reasonably priced, freshly designed minis and a mech! Yes please!

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