An outstanding selection of substantial vehicles have appeared within the NINJAGO theme since it started, including some that resemble fantasy tanks. 70675 Katana 4x4 definitely occupies this category and its powerfully armoured structure looks brilliant in combination with such striking curved bodywork.
Furthermore, the bodywork hides an enjoyable function which differs significantly from those found in other sets. The minifigure selection is similarly impressive so I have been looking forward to this set, although its price of £44.99 or $49.99 seems slightly more expensive than I was originally anticipating.
Among the six ninja, Kai appears most prominently within the latest range of sets. This version of the character seems fairly simple when compared with previous minifigures which is slightly disappointing, although I like the dark tan pouches printed on his torso and the dark red highlights look wonderful too. He carries two different katana into battle, keeping one in a pearl dark grey scabbard on his back.
Nya FS lacks weaponry, instead harnessing Forbidden Spinjitzu which presumably removes the need for such accessories! Her pearl dark grey attire looks fantastic and the dark azure bands are excellent as well. Furthermore, this minifigure includes a new head wrap that features pearl dark grey and trans-light blue plastic, corresponding with other Forbidden Spinjitzu ninja. The trans-light blue section does not stand out very clearly but still looks good, especially when viewed from the side.
Tornado spinners are provided for each ninja across the summer range and Nya's spinner is available here. This dual-moulded element combines pearl dark grey and trans-light blue plastic so corresponds with the Elemental Master of Water, including an attractive glitter mixture. The minifigure stands inside comfortably and the spinner works nicely, resting on a trans-clear 2x2 slider which has been removed for this image.
Serpentine villains frequently challenge the ninja and another faction, known as the Pyro Vipers, has emerged during 2019. Char is among their leading members and seems particularly distinctive, featuring a prominent tail with predominantly black scales. This flexible component has appeared on numerous previous occasions but looks perfect here and I like the decorative NINJAGO script which reads 'Fire'.
Char wears copper shoulder armour, thereby corresponding with the majority of Pyro Vipers. However, his head lacks the trans-orange hood that appears on other characters and the mouth is closed which seems unusual. Even so, I think this minifigure looks rather intimidating and he carries an impressive staff, denoting Char's superior rank among these villains.
Two soldiers accompany their general, the first of whom is an exclusive Pyro Whipper. This character is appropriately armed with a whip and includes the same head as Char, albeit featuring reddish brown scales beside the trans-orange highlights. His copper shoulder armour looks marvellous and I love the flaming bandages printed across his torso and legs, befitting a minifigure that dwells within the Desert of Doom!
Identical torso and leg elements form the Pyro Slayer, although this minifigure lacks shoulder armour. His dual-moulded head looks superb though, incorporating trans-orange eyes and flames along either side of the neck. Similar details are visible on both Char and the Pyro Whipper but they are much more prominent on this figure, who carries a copper shield and a bladed polearm weapon.
The Completed Model
Scrolls of Forbidden Spinjitzu appear in several new NINJAGO sets, comprising an elegant naginata and the scroll. This plastic sheet is packaged with two others that are used in other sets and features an interesting flame design along the tattered edge. Its partial translucence is brilliant and the printed lettering reads 'The Forbidden Art' in reference to Forbidden Spinjitzu. The weapon rests on a simple plinth but I like the twin snake sculptures.
Kai's impressive vehicle measures 31cm in length so appears reasonably substantial. Its streamlined exterior resembles 9441 Kai's Blade Cycle and 70727 X-1 Ninja Charger which seems appropriate as these models include the same driver. I love the consistent red colour scheme and the flame yellowish orange highlights look marvellous too, although they are partially reliant upon stickers.
Four pearl dark grey swords form the radiator grille. Their elevated position looks slightly awkward but such dramatic flourishes are perfectly suitable for a fantasy vehicle, particularly given the exaggerated proportions of the Katana 4x4. Moreover, spring-loaded shooters are hidden beside the grille and they are activated together by pressing down on the bonnet.
The wheels are unusually assembled, comprising two pearl gold components that fit together around each tyre. The resultant design looks superb though and matches other new vehicles, such as 70672 Cole's Dirt Bike and 70677 Land Bounty. I am particularly impressed by how these golden parts seem to narrow the width of the tyres.
Heavy armour surrounds the cockpit and includes angled sections which may compromise the view of the driver. Fortunately, the cockpit has been designed to offer the broadest possible range of vision so includes a trans-clear canopy that lines up precisely with the windscreen. A similar building technique appeared in 76055 Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash and the interior is nicely detailed, featuring two printed control panels beside an angled seat.
Black truncated cones are situated beneath the bodywork and they activate the Katana 4x4's primary function, deploying a golden saw blade from between the front wheels! This weapon slots underneath the radiator grille and will rotate as the gear on top passes a rubber Technic liftarm. I am quite pleased with this function, although the blade could probably reach slightly further beyond the tyres.
Incorporating this blade deployment function leaves no space for suspension which is disappointing, although the ground clearance is outstanding so the model can comfortably traverse rough surfaces. Little detail is focused upon the underside but the flanks look wonderful, including pearl dark grey 1L beams which form exhausts beside the engine. This element is only available in one other set.
Twin turbo boosters are located behind the cockpit, presumably granting the vehicle bursts of sudden speed. These look reasonably simple but make effective use of stickers which form mechanical detail and include further NINJAGO letters, reading 'Hot'. Moreover, two enormous flames are connected to the angled exhausts and appear quite attractive.
Accessories can be stored towards the back of the vehicle. Two clips are available on either side and several pearl gold blades are found inside a dark bluish grey box with an interesting hinged lid. Plenty more room remains though so I am surprised this was not exploited. Nevertheless, additional space is always welcome and might be used for passengers or transporting the Scroll of Forbidden Spinjitzu.
70675 Katana 4x4 has exceeded my expectations. The focal vehicle looks absolutely magnificent on display and I love its aerodynamic shape, especially around the smooth cockpit canopy. Furthermore, some unusual functions are integrated with the Katana 4x4, the most notable of which is probably the deployable saw blade.
Unfortunately, the vehicle lacks suspension and its price of £44.99 or $49.99 seems expensive when compared with other NINJAGO sets. However, five minifigures are provided which is rather generous and I am accordingly pleased with the set. Following a slight reduction in price, this would certainly be worthy of a place in any NINJAGO collection, especially if you are not hoping to purchase 70677 Land Bounty that features many of the same characters.
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