70615 Fire Mech

The LEGO® Ninjago movie was a windfall for fans of LEGO mecha. Nearly every set included a mech or mech-like vehicle. One of the largest of those is Kai’s 70615 Fire Mech. When an opportunity came to build one and review it, I had to say yes!

It’s a big box! A nice range of minifigs inside: two ninjas, two civilians, and two bad guys.

Emptying out the box produced a pile of bags. Eight numbered bags, filled with red and black elements. The thick instruction book is bagged with the sticker sheet. The LEGO Ninjago movie sets have generally been good values, and this one clocks in at a bit over 7¢ per piece.

A lot of stickers for this set. It’s hard to know how useful these will be outside of this set, but they have a generally futuristic quality to them that could make for nice accents on space ships or mecha.

Bag one has half of the set’s minifigs. The hammerhead guy is very similar to the one in the 70610 Flying Jelly Sub (but with a different head). The Kai is the same one that appears in most of the other movie sets. He still has beautiful printing though, especially the subtle diamond motif on the legs. The nervous civilian is unique to this set and has fantastic elements.

This wave of Ninjago sets have a lot of great rough-and-tumble men’s heads. The detail on the woman’s hair piece is lovely, with realistic texture all the way around.

Each of these heads has a second face and all of the torsos have back printing as well.

The first bag builds the basic structure of the mech’s torso. An intriguing array of connection points and some interesting techniques in use to hold it all together. Though most of this will be hidden under other structures in the end, I have to say that the color-blocking seems a bit frantic for my taste.

Though rather unexceptional at first glance, the civilian that we find in bag two has a lot of great details. First of all, I think that all of these elements are new. The hairpiece is new, giving a side-parted hairstyle that is longer than any of the others that I can remember. The torso has a cool print and the understated legs are super useful for more modern townsfolk.

A few more faux-Asian characters on the back of the torso and an even more distressed alternate face.

There aren’t a lot of interesting elements in this set, but these quarter domes are new in bright red.

Bag two builds out the rest of the torso, enclosing the cockpit and adding lights. The color palette seems a bit more balanced at this point.

The third bag has the other bad guy, another jelly-fish themed minifig. Again, he’s almost identical to the minifig in the 70610 Flying Jelly Sub, but with a different head and the addition of a bracket around his neck to hold ammo for his weapon.

Interestingly enough, the head here is the same one that was used for the hammerhead guy in that other set.

Some nice recolors in bag 3. I haven’t found much use for the disc-launching bricks in my own models and this is the first time they’ve appeared in a color other than medium stone gray. I’m always excited to see new colors of tile, like these corner tiles in bright blue.

The third bag builds out the mech’s right arm. In addition to the massive flame thrower, there is a disc launcher built into the shoulder. A lot of thick hose elements in use here that we don’t see very often.

Bag four was basically identical to the previous bag (with the omission of a minifig) and builds out an identical left arm.

Zane makes his appearance in bag 5. I like how each ninja’s outfit is tailored to their personality, with Zane’s there are a lot of straight, tidy lines. The bluish eyes are a nice touch as well.

Under the cowl, we find his stiffly disapproving mouth.

His other face is much cheerier, maybe a bit too much.

We get the right leg in the fifth bag. It’s an appropriately beefy appendage, though the lack of articulation is disappointing. There is no foot yet either, so it’ll just have to lay down for a bit.

Keeping with the pattern, the left leg is in bag six. It’s already apparent that those missing articulation points are going to make this a fairly stiff model.

Bag 7 has more of those cool bright red quarter-domes and a pair of medium stone gray arches. The arches are a relatively new mold and this is the first year that they have appeared in this color.

And in the seventh bag, we found feet. Big clunky feet they are too, with a tire cleverly placed in the heel to prevent slippage. Now that it is standing up, it is easier to see why the designers opted for a less articulated frame. The ankles are a bit of a weak link already and the addition of articulated knees would have made this model unstable for kid play.

The last bag has these cool black elements.  I particularly like the domes.

Bag eight builds the backpack and banners. I like the banners a lot and the shock of white balances out the colors nicely.

This is a model that has me conflicted. I like aspects of the design and the overall theme, but the complete model doesn’t seem very cohesive. The size is a bit much for a play oriented model, yet the details aren’t polished enough to make this an ideal display model (though application of the stickers would improve this).

It’s a big flashy model, but I’m just not that happy with it. The price per piece is good, but there aren’t many exciting elements or colors. For me, this is one of the few disappointing models in the theme. Good, but not great.

I might be a bit tainted by the number of rebuilds I’ve seen, as veteran mech builders have retooled this set to add the missing articulation and generally polish the rough edges.

Keep building and enjoy!