Price: £24.99 / $29.99 / €29.99 Pieces: 341 Available: Now
In the launch wave of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie sets, that are two releases based on the feature’s villains. 70609 Manta Ray Bomber is a flying vehicle piloted by Lord Garmadon’s strangely dressed forces of villainy. Without the context of the film, the enemy based sets are not as easily decoded as the hero based ones. The designers are wackier, probably reflecting Lord Garmadon’s personality as it will be in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie. Although the flying craft does not represent anything typical of sci-fi or cyberpunk, the genres that aspects of the movie’s tech designs seem to be inspired by, it is clearly shaped as a manta ray.
As is standard with modern LEGO sets, a stable Technic cores forms the basis of 70609 Manta Ray Bomber, which is built upon until the wings and engines are added. The most rewarding part of the build is the ‘face’, which makes great use of the mudguard element that is tricky to find uses for beyond its intended vehicular purpose.
An easily detachable dinghy is situated on top of the craft, providing seating for 70609 Manta Ray Bomber’s pilot and for a gunner in the back. In addition to the dinghy, oars are used at the front of the ray to bring more nautically themed elements to the model.
The triggers for the two firing missiles are well hidden, in what now seems to be a conscious decision across the LEGO design team to hide such buttons. A couple of bombs attach to either side of the dinghy, ready to be dropped on NINJAGO City to wreak havoc and destruction.
The minifigures included match the quality of those found across the rest of theme, which is to say they are some of the most character-imbued minifigures ever released by the LEGO Group. Cole is great, with a built hammer accessory as seen in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game, and Shen-Li represents a classically styles Japanese fisherman with two buckets to carry. Greta White and Shark Army Gunner are well detailed villain minifigures perfectly complemented the Manta Ray Bomber in terms of style and colour scheme.
This vehicle has a lovely shape, is a solid ship to play with and brings something very new to The LEGO NINJAGO Movie theme. It is not as appealing or must-own as 70618 Destiny’s Bounty or the Ninja mechs, but still a worthy addition to a movie-based collection.