NINJAGO sets frequently contain references to retired themes and characters, such as Galidor and Jack Stone. 40342 NINJAGO Minifigure Set surpasses previous sets in this regard, actually including an exclusive minifigure that portrays Clutch Powers!
This heroic character was originally introduced during The Adventures of Clutch Powers, almost ten years ago, but has not appeared in physical minifigure form before. The other figures look excellent too, although I think many LEGO fans will be drawn to this minifigure pack by Clutch Powers alone.
Components from a previous Kai minifigure have been combined with a new head wrap to create this version of the ninja. The red and dark red colour scheme looks perfect and I like the golden dragon on his chest, especially since this attractive design continues onto the back of his torso. Furthermore, this hood element is excellent, integrating the NINJAGO character for 'K' to denote its wearer.
However, the absence of unique elements for this minifigure is disappointing. A new head would have been particularly welcome as the same double-sided head has been used for Kai since 2017. I do like Kai's pearl dark grey scabbard though and this character is suitably equipped with a silver katana.
Clutch Powers was introduced as an animated character during 2010 but his appearance has altered significantly since then. Nevertheless, the black hair piece remains the same and features some lovely texture while the reddish brown jacket appears somewhat familiar too. His facial hair and eyepatch are new though and I like how Clutch is evidently wearing the patch as a fashion accessory rather than out of necessity!
Metallic gold symbols are printed on each side of the torso and this hero has presumably encountered some dangerous situations as his jacket looks extremely shabby. Unfortunately, there is no printing on the legs but Clutch does wear a black utility belt and wields a reddish brown whip. I expect this makes reference to the notable points of comparison between Clutch Powers and Indiana Jones.
Two disparate villains oppose the ninja during this series, the first of whom are represented here by a Pyro Destroyer. This minifigure incorporates an unusual reddish brown head component which looks brilliant, featuring trans-orange flames and glowing eyes. I love its copper chest armour too, especially since this element includes sculpted snakes which cover the shoulders!
Linen strips wrap the Pyro Destroyer, much like an Ancient Egyptian mummy. These are appropriately dirty and the flames emerging from beneath are excellent. A frozen Blizzard Archer accompanies the Serpentine villain and takes inspiration from samurai, wearing an attractive dark red helmet and faulds around his waist. The intricate detail is impressive and I like the archer's aqua skin tone as well.
Trans-light blue spikes decorate the helmet and this minifigure also includes a matching arm that looks beautiful. However, I prefer the Blizzard Warrior which has appeared in other new sets and features an attractive chest armour component. Unusually, the archer carries an ice spear rather than a bow which seems odd while the Pyro Destroyer is armed with a flaming spear and a brilliant copper shield.
The Completed Model
Minifigures are certainly the focus of packs like this one, hence the model is fairly plain. This weapons rack is divided between fire and ice, representing the dual villainous factions. I appreciate this idea but am not satisfied with its execution as the accessories appear muddled. Nevertheless, further weapons for the minifigures are always welcome.
Clutch Powers has elicited considerable attention and is undoubtedly the highlight of 40342 NINJAGO Minifigure Set. This minifigure looks fantastic, borrowing certain features from his original design while updating his appearance where necessary. The other three minifigures are individually impressive but none are exclusive which is slightly disappointing when compared with previous minifigure packs.
The weapons rack also seems rather bland in my opinion. However, this set costs £10.99 or $12.99 so appears to offer reasonable value, particularly since the villainous minifigures are only otherwise found in more expensive sets. Clutch Powers offers the most substantial appeal though and I am certain that fans of The Adventures of Clutch Powers from 2010 will appreciate his return here!
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