Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 2:40am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's nearly the end of Ninjago Month on BZPower, but we still have one final review for you. BZPower Reporter Xccj looks at 70725 Nindroid MechDragon, which was the most expensive set from the winter wave. It features five minifigures (two of which are exclusive), a cool car, and a mighty dragon. Is this a set to take to the skies for, or should it be sent back for scrap? Read on to find out.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The Nindroid MechDragon really fills out the whole front of the box, from its large wings, impressive body, lengthy tail, and detailed head. The opposition car only graces a small corner, very much overshadowed by the beast. There's some nice artwork, from the robotic Zane head in the corner to the Ninjago City background. It's a fairly large box, but it has a lot to show off.
The back has more images showcasing some of the features of the model, as well as the figs in action. There's also the lovely artwork of Zane encountering a Nindroid crawling out of his laptop. It may seem a bit old, since this set has been out since the start of the year, but the artwork on the box does a really good job, in my opinion, of meshing the city environment in with a technical, robotic theme.
When you open the box, you're treated with a bunch of bags full of parts. But you also get two instruction booklets, and they're sealed with a cardboard backing to keep them from getting bent up, which is nice. Also a bunch of stickers.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is fun, and somewhat lengthy given the size of the beast. The car has a few interesting bits in it, but most of the time is spent on bulking up the MechDragon. It can get a little repetitive when working on the wings near the end, but it has a few nice design bits that make it a fun build.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The set comes with 691 pieces, plus a good handful of small extras. Although purple seems to be one of the dragon's primary colors, you only get a few purple elements, but it's still a nice collection of bits. Some other pieces of interest are the various wings / fins / flag elements, the bent technic-to-system brick, the new clawed feet seen in the Hero Factory monsters, a mini double socket, and large gears. But the jewel of the set is the angled plate in black. This was a new element that premier in Ninjago, and you get a whopping eight of them in this dragon! It's especially interesting how they're used in the build, and I can't wait to MOC with these.
Of course, the minifigures here are fantastic. On the side of the Ninjas, you get Lloyd and his reformed father, Sensei Garmadon. For the Nindroids, you get General Cryptor, a generic Nindroid, and Evil Wu.
Sensei Garmadon is unique to this set. Garmadon has been an important character since year one of Ninjago, but it's neat to see him playing a new role as Lloyd's father who has taken a vow against fighting, for the first half of the season anyway. His robes come with green highlights, which might be a way to honor his son, and he comes with a new dark gray Anakin hair piece that was exclusive to him when the set originally came out. He can also wield a brown sparing staff, just in case he has to fight.
Lloyd, the Green Ninja, makes his second appearance this year. Although he comes in two other sets (one of which is cheaper) this is the only instance where he is without shoulder armor. He has the same hairpiece as his father, although in tan for him, as well as the green scarf. Included are two golden katanas he can use in his struggle against the Nindroids.
The next exclusive fig is Evil Wu. He is an interesting shift, as the former Ninja Master has been turned into an evil cyborg. Basically, it's the opposite change that Garmadon went through. Evil Wu has a new robotic head and torso print, but their details are hidden by the relatively new recolored black beard and silver straw hat. He makes for a striking villain while still retaining the looks of Sensei Wu. He still wields a sparing staff, but this time in black, cause he's evil.
General Cryptor gets around a lot, as he's listed in many sets, but it seems fitting that he's here with the MechDragon. He has slightly different head and torso printing from the other Nindroids, as well as the same robotic mask design. But what really allows him to stand out is his shoulder armor, which has slots for katana storage. Unfortunately, there aren't any spare silver or black katana in this set for him to carry. (And the gold ones clash with his armor.) But the extra armor beefs him up and gives him a little more authority than the regular Nindroid.
Finally, you do indeed get a regular Nindroid. He comes with the now standard torso and head printing, as well as the cool mask. He's slightly special because he's wearing a neck bracket so that he can easily attach to his glider. But while he's a cool Nindroid, he's not all that unique, so he's merely here for army building purposes.
This is supposed to be Nya's car. In the show, she lends it to Lloyd and Garmadon so they can make their escape. But the only thing that really shows she had a hand in it is the Phoenix symbol on the flag, so it seems kind of lame to label it as her car without including her in the set. Such wasted potential.
Compared to some of the other Ninja vehicles this year, the car is rather lackluster. It's primarily white and black, with a few gold and brown highlights, but the colors seem dull in comparison to the other fancy vehicles this year. However, as the secondary vehicle of the set, it does quite well on its own. There's room for both Garmadon (he said he wouldn't fight, not drive) and Lloyd, although they are lacking in any actual controls in the car to utilize. It doesn't have a bad look, but it just feels a little bland compared to the awesomeness of the rest of the Ninjago line this year. But as a getaway vehicle, it works. However, there isn't any storage for Garmadon's or Lloyd's weapons when they're in the vehicle, so they have to leave those behind when they go on a drive.
Then there's the MechDragon, who is clearly the star of the set. This guy is fairly massive; so much so that taking photographs of him is somewhat difficult. His head is nice and detailed, and while this is not the first brick-built dragon head seen in Ninjago, I believe it's the first brick-built head to be attached to an actual dragon! The front is well armored, especially with the giant flags at the shoulder, which help angle and hide bland parts of the model, including storage space for the Nindroid's hand held weapons. The back portion of the body is a little bare, which is made up of a triangular frame with technic beams holding it together. On the dragon's back is a small control area for Evil Wu to sit, although again he has no storage for his staff, but he has a decent view of the action. There are studs along the MechDragon's back where the Nindroids can stand and man the blunt shooter.
Although the MechDragon has four legs, mobility isn't his strong suit. His back legs only have a ball joint at the ankle, so while he can stand up on both of them, his range is fairly limited. His front legs offer a bit more with a click joint at the shoulder in addition to the ball joint ankle, which allows for some more precise stomping. The neck has a full two points of ball joint articulation, thanks to the short double socket element, thus allowing the head a wide range of motion. Sadly, as far as joints go, the wings don't have any. Given their structure and action feature, adding joints to the wings would probably overcomplicate and weaken them. Still, it's sad that this MechDragon can't flap, and merely had to glide through the sky.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
There's a lot of role playing potential in this set. The figs on both sides are fairly even out, with Evil Wu offering a slight advantage to the Nindroids. While the car is no match for the MechDragon, it offers Garmadon and Lloyd a chance to at least escape. And this leaves the set feeling somewhat balanced between the two factors.
Nya's car includes something that I normally don't admit sets have; a cool flick fire feature. When you push the back thrusters forward, the L bean strikes the axle, forcing it to change the angle of the launcher and push out the flick fire missile. The motion is ridiculously simple but effective; I wish all flick fire missile features were this creative. That's not to say that is necessarily works; angling it upward should give the missile more range, but for me it just kind of does a loop in the air and falls right back down on top of the car. With some practice, it can shoot forward, but you need to push it just right. Still, a very nice action feature designed into the car, making the vehicle totally worth it. That's not to say that all flick fire missiles are good; for example, there's a standard one attached to Lloyd's turret, and works about as well as expected, which is badly.
The main feature of the MechDragon is pretty obvious; it's those giant blades on its wings. When you pull the purple lever, it makes a gear connected with the blades mesh with the big gear, thus turning it and sending the blades spinning. It's a fairly fun feature, although it doesn't get a lot of range; if the MechDragon wants to chainsaw something, he really had to press it up against his shoulder before he can cut it.
The back of the MechDragon kind-of features some room for the Nindroids. As I mentioned earlier, one can stand along the back and fire the blunt shooter, which works so much better than the flick fire missile. The side flaps can be lowered to allow the Nindroids to also sit inside the dragon. But those side flaps are only held on by a single clip, so they fall off easily when handling the MechDragon. However, this proves useful because they're actually mini gliders, and can be attached to the back of the one Nindroid so he can fly alongside the MechDragon. Although only one Nindroid is compatible, you get two mini gliders, so I guess you'll need to bring in a Nindroid from another set to fill it in.
Stored directly behind the MechDragon's neck, is a small prison cell. It fits in snugly and is easily removable. It is just the right size for Lloyd to sit in, so General Cryptor has a way to store the Green Ninja after he defeats him in battle. It's a nifty little feature that flows seamlessly with the rest of the MechDragon.
Next up, the MechDragon had a multi-hinged tail, with a gear connected at the base. This is so you can turn it and make the tail whip back and forth. This does a good job of sweeping aside foes approaching from the rear, showing that this dragon is ready for anything.
Finally, the last thing I want to touch on is swoosh-ability. I wouldn't say the MechDragon is perfect in this regard. You can get a fairly good grip on the back of the body, but this is where the weak glider connection works against you, because they pop off rather easily if you try to grip around them. The wings are also a little cumbersome, as some of the fin pieces also like to fall off or get in the way. But if you can get past some of its frail nature, you can still swoosh the dragon around and spin its saw blades.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great minifigures, including two exclusives with Garmadon and Evil Wu
- Lots of lovely pieces, including some purple
- A total of eight of those new angled plates
- A decent flick fire mechanism in the car
- MechDragon just looks awesome!!
- Saw blade, blunt shooter, and tail action features work
What's not to like?
- Car looks a little underwhelming compared to the rest of the Ninjago line this year
- MechDragon is a little too big at times for handling and posing
- Limited articulation on the legs, and no articulation in the wings
- Glider attachment to body is weak, easily pop off when gripping
- Fairly expensive set a $89.99 USD
The MechDragon is a decent set, with good pieces, great figures, some fun play features, and an awesome robotic dragon design. Lloyd and Garmadon are outmatched, but their car makes for an adequate ride and doesn't look too pathetic for a secondary vehicle. The MechDragon itself is massive, which can be a bit bothersome for posability, but it looks awesome and has fun play features from the saw blades to the blunt shooter to the tail. However, the price tag of $89.99 USD is pretty intimidating, as it was the most expensive set of the first wave of Ninjago this year and the second most expensive overall. If you can afford the price or find it with a decent sale, that I would wholly recommend getting this model to add to your Nindroid army.
Thanks for reading and / or watching this review. A big thanks to LEGO for sending out the sets for us to review for you. I hope you've enjoyed Ninjago month here at BZPower, but keep checking back here for more Ninjago news as it comes out, as well as other Lego news!
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