I get the honour of doing the first of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set reviews because I'm not only the sites biggest fan of the comics, but I'm also an expert on the cartoons, movies, toys.... I kid, I kid.
Actually, I'm first because Ace is busier and this is a small, easy set. I really am a big fan of the comics, original cartoon and first movie though and I have to admit that the new Nickelodeon series is now on that list as well. The storyline is quite good for a generational reboot and there are far more moments that throwback to the original comics then most of what has come in between. One of the stand out bits for me are the brief traditionally animated shots and the moments when the turtles eyes go stark white in acknowledgement of their comic book roots. Keen.
However, it could be the finest crafted cartoon of all time and it wouldn't mean the LEGO sets based on it would be worth my time or money. Luckily, at least with this set, I think they could be.
This is another one of those sets that I knew I wanted as soon as I saw it, regardless of the rest of the theme. In fact, the majority of the other sets were of little interest to me. They seemed to be filled with characters I didn't know, vehicles I didn't like the look of and some admittedly sweet parts I'd already decided to hit BrickLink to get. Two things have adjusted that point of view and they're the obvious points I've kept in mind all along. I should watch the show if and when it comes on and build that small set to see if I like it. Well, I did. I did and I did. I'm usually drawn to small sets and some of the offerings in the last few years have been pretty sweet imo. One of the things that makes a small set attractive to me is the figures, so let's see what TMNT has to offer in this department.
This set may be priced like a battle pack, but it comes up pretty short on figs and is a bit of a missed opportunity in that respect. I look at the smallest set of any theme as the lure. It should draw you in, make an impression and get you hooked on getting more of the figures and/or sets. Small sets can be like gateway drugs. You get one, it has some neat figs and some nifty parts you want more of, so you get another. Then you start looking at the other sets in the theme and work your way up. I mean, the next set is only $25 and you get the Shredder. Yeah, that's how it starts. In this starter set you get Michelangelo with an exclusive face mold/print a Foot Clan soldier and one of the Kraang.
This new Kraang seem to be a bit of a mash up of the Utroms from thge original comics and Krang from the '87 cartoon. I really like the Kraang and will probably get another set, so I can have two and that's really my main beef with the set. They should have given us either two Kraang or two foot soldiers in this set. They're both generic characters in the scope of the show and it would have increased the value of the set for any "army builders" while making the price I paid less like I got bent over for liking what is possibly the dumbest sounding comic book in history. Eighteen Bucks! Sure, that's in Canadian, but it's still just terrible. Back to Kraang though, it's another rubbery component attached to standard minifig head in the same pink shade. The softer, squishy texture is perfect for a brain creature and I hope to see it show up in many sci-fi MOCs.
The Foot soldier has a nice torso that's works well for Foot Clan yet is generic enough to be useful elsewhere. If I could just get my hands on the appropriate uniform torso and hat to cover the Foot symbol, this head would be perfect for a Karl Ruprecht Kroenen fig! Michelangelo on the otherhand will doubtfully be used for much more than what he is, a turtle. That's not a problem for me because I think the printing is great and the molded heads were the way to go. The backpack shell is a neat part, but I really like that they printed the shell on the back of the figure as well for anyone who doesn't like the part. I wish this set had an angrier face print, but I can't deny that this one captures Mikey's personality from this show and most of the sources over the years. Having Mikey in hand really cemented the desire for me to have all four turtles, though I will probably skip the rat.
The first chunk of build comes in the form of Mikey's cell. It's a simple, nifty build that incorporates a nice little selection of parts. The jail break play feature works, but like many LEGO bust-out mechanisms, it's less of a coordinated escape and more like the confined is a stick of dynamite and the whole thing is about to be blown to smithereens. I must say that the Kraang are certainly thorough, because they even included a custom holder to secure Michelangelo's nunchucks in a very Bond-esque and ridiculously within reach fashion. Those crazy Kraang.
The other half of the build is the Kraang's mech... pod... thing. It's a bit more of an interesting build, with a simple SNOT technic technique and a charming retro style. The only set (other then the Lair) I've seen show up in the cartoon is Stockman's Mech, but I do believe this one kind of fits whether it shows up or not. It's even reminiscent of the tripod wheelie Kraang used to scoot around with in the old cartoon. I love these bubble cockpits and the new clip leg parts are neat if a bit lazy, but my favourites are the newer 1x4 double curved slopes in bley and the printed 1x1 round gauge tiles (of which you get a spare. Yay!). The flick-fires don't work very well here because the launch part is only held on by a clip, so it can't handle much pressure. No loss.
I skipped the weapons for no particular reason, but I will say that LEGO's solution for Michelangelo's nunchaku is fine with me. The scale is way off, but the only thing I would have liked more would have been something along the lines of the string that came with the CMF fisherman, two molded sticks connected by string. With all the new weapon molds they've done in the last couple years, I'm a bit surprised they didn't do a couple more for the turtles. All in all, it's a none issue for me and that's the end of that.
What I Liked:
- Fun little set with a nice parts selection and play features.
- Michelangelo is a great representation of a cartoon turtle, modern or classic.
- Kraang is a great Kraang. Kraang should tell Kraang that Kraang is great Kraang. Kraang would like that.
What I didn't Like:
- Perhaps the price is more acceptable in other countries, but $18 was a killer and I'll need to secure a good deal before I get a second, but I do WANT a second.
- Price aside, It should have included a second Kraang or Foot soldier.
- I find the inclusion of a pizza offensive. Are you trying to say I'm fat, LEGO?
Vedict: Get a deal. It's a bad value for a pretty nice little set and that was a mistake when you consider the fact that the only character you can't get in another set is Kraang and that's not and issue if you're good with the android version. I have little doubt they'll sell a whack of these bad boys either way. The kids love Mikey and will no doubt go gaga for the "awesome little brain dude". (Actual quote overheard in the LEGO isle and fully agreed with.)
Buy 79100 Kraang Lab Escape from LEGO Shop@Home: