Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 3:34am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Let's take a quick break from Star Wars and dive back into the Ninjago theme. 70733 Blaster Bike is the cheapest construction set in the summer wave of Ninjago, featuring a big bike for Cole and a mini dragon for the Ghost Warrior Cowler. Is this set worth coming back from beyond the grave for, or should it be buried deep, never to be seen again? BZPower Reporter Xccj offers his opinion on the subject, so read or watch to decide for yourself.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box shows of Cole on his new Blaster Bike facing off against the Ghost Warrior Cowler on a Ghost Dragon. Cowler has a cool blade and the help of the two Skreemers, but Cole has two rapid stud shooters on his side, so this fight could end either way. The back of the box shows an alternate chase scene, as well as some of the features of the set, and an advertisement for the mobile game too. Insides, there's two bags of parts, he instruction booklet, and a sheet of stickers.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The dragon is quick and simple. The bike is quite solid, although nothing quite remarkable about the 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.
This set has 212 pieces, with a few extras, including a healthy amount of gold studs for the stud shooter. The six shot, rapid fire stud shooter element is the same that we got with the Bionicle Protectors, only this time it's in black. You also get some other black wedges to go on Cole's bike, along with the relatively rare brown rocky wedge piece and sand green curved slope. There's also a smattering of gold parts, including the exhaust pipe, which is the first time its appeared in gold. However, the more interesting colors appear on the Ghost Dragon, where in addition to some dark blue curved slopes we see a spider leg, horns, cheese slopes, katanas, and a tooth piece in pale green / yellowish green / spring yellow green. This color is relatively rare, having primarily appeared as a stud on UniKitty, but it's making quite an appearance on this line of Ninjago sets. (Although it does look close to some of the glow-in-the-dark colors we've seen in the past, these pieces do not actually glow.) Other interesting pieces include the new ghost blade and the trans black shuriken center piece.
We get two minifigures here, Cole and Cowler. Cole is in his new Ninja outfit, but while the black stands out on the other Ninjas, it looks right at place for Cole. He has dark grey highlights instead of black, which are most apparent on his duel colored headgear. His shoulder gear is the standard design that was released in 2012, but this year it's black for the first time, and can still store two katanas. He has two weapons: the golden Deepstone Scythe and his black bladed shuriken / Aeroblade. Although the Aeroblades don't actually have elemental powers in the show, I do like the design that allows them to be colored to match with the Ninjas. Although this is a great fig of Cole, it shows him before he underwent a certain "change" on the show, which happened before he ever received the Blaster Bike, so that's a minor continuity issue there. And it doesn't help that he's the most common Ninja this summer, appearing in three other sets.
Next up is Cowler, out ghostly antagonist for this set. He has some dark blue and purple color schemes going on, but what really jumps out is the trans neon green on his legs and head. The Legends of Chima had a lot of trans blue minifig parts last year, and Ninjago is continuing that trend with trans neon green, it seems. The dark blue scarf and purple straw hat are nice touches, making it seem like these ghosts were once Ninjago citizens in the past before being banished to the Cursed Relm. Cowler also carries his Ghost Blade element, which is also a nice new design.
We also get two minor characters in the Skreemers. They are identical molds with arms, but with different face prints. Apparently they like food too, because one is carrying a sausage. But the cooler part is that they can easily fit on a minifigure head, which I interpret as the ghosts possessing them. This reminds me of the Alien Clingers from Alien Conquest, and is a neat little bit. It adds some additional characters without forcing in a full minifigure, I guess.
The first major design is the dragon. We've seen plenty of dragons before in Ninjago, but none quite this small, save for a few promotional polybags. I really like how they designed the head with the red spikes as eyes, and the wings with the katana highlights are well done too. All the joints are clips, but there's still a high amount of movement for this dragon, and there's space on the back for Cowler to ride it. However, the dragon is notably lacking any legs, so when positioned on the ground it kind of just lays flat, which is unfortunate. It's a nice, swooshable design, but it wouldn't have hurt to have a little more added to bulk it up a bit.
The Blaster Bike makes up the bulk of this set. It's a pretty solid design. The black wedges on the top really fill it out, and the stickers do a decent job of highlighting it, so I don't mind them that much. Unlike most bikes of the past, there's not a stud connection for Cole to stand on while he's gripping the handlebars; instead, there's the panel piece that he can wedge his legs on to hold him in place. This design was introduced for the Friends Minidolls, to connect them to their vehicles when they don't have a stud connection on the back of their legs, but it works well enough for standard figs too, and it's cool to see it utilized in a new theme. Another cool thing by the seats are two clips that hold the flag and Cole's Deepstone Scythe.
The color scheme is pretty basic with black and gold, with some hints of brown on the side. The brown bits have worked in some of Cole's other vehicles, but here they seem a little off since that's the one time this color shows up. But compared to some of Cole's vehicles of the past, this Blaster Bike just seems... unremarkable. I guess it's a sleek design, but there's nothing about it that really stands out. Well, except the stud shooters...
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?
Yes, the primary feature of the Blaster Bike are the dual six shot, rapid fire stud shooter. When they're folded down, they're nicely integrated into the bike's design. But they can be pushed up to give Cole some serious firepower against the ghosts. And that's what this bike is really about. However, I can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed by this. Maybe it's because every set has a stud shooter nowadays and the gimmick just isn't one of my favorites. But it also doesn't help that some of the launch points are right next to the bike, making it very difficult to place the studs on them. (This is because the launcher itself is connected firmly to the lift arm, whereas the central mechanism is the one that spins.) The function works well enough, and I like the way it can be stored in the bike, but it just doesn't too remarkable.
Another issue that I encountered is focused more on the bike itself. Unlike some tires, the wheels on this bike have a ridge in the center, so the bike can't balance on its two tires alone, and thus tends to lean to the side. I thought this was a terrible design flaw, but then I realized that the golden exhaust pipes are meant to be kickstands to hold it up. The problem is, their connection is also loose, so they fold up quite easily. As such, this bike can be hard to pose upright.
Ninjago has had a lot of motorcycle in the past; it's a popular design for cheaper sets. Even just this summer, the Blaster Bike can go up against the Ghost's Chain Cycle from 70730, so there's a lot of potential racing fun to be had. But, in my opinion, the Blaster Bike is the most boring Ninjago motorcycle so far; it just lacks the pizazz of some of the other designs. It's a solid set, but in a theme where every vehicle has a certain cool look to it, I just feel like the Blast Bike falls short. But hey, at least it comes with a little Ghost Dragon to chase after.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
I like the pale green parts in the dragon
Dragon design also nice
Solid bike design, at least
Blasters hide away nicely
Cheapest Ninjago construction set of the summer at $19.99 USD
What's not to like?
Dragon seems too flat; needs legs
Bike is unbalanced, kickstands don't help out very much
Stud shooters close to the bike hard to reload
Just overall un-remarkableness of the bike (especially compared to other Ninjago motorcycles)
This set isn't necessarily a bad model, but it feels like too much wasted potential. The Blaster Bike is all about those stud shooters, but I don't think that's enough to make it stand out in the growing fleet of Ninjago vehicles. While this set is the cheapest of the summer Ninjago wave, I would recommend investing in one of the more expensive sets which look a lot cooler. (You could even get another motorcycle in 70730 Chain Cycle Ambush for $29.99 USD.) None of the figs and most of the parts aren't exclusive either, so you're not missing out on much if you skip this one.
Thanks again for reading and / or watching another BZPower set review. As usual, like and subscribe to the BZPower Youtube channel for more set reviews. And we have plenty more coming up, including Ninjago and a certain other motorcycle.