Some mechs wade through water, some storm on two legs. Some are tanks. Does Zane’s Ice Tank from The LEGO NINJAGO Movie tread new ground?
Price: £79.99 / $79.99 / €79.99 Parts: 914 Availability: Now
Each Ninja in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie has a mech, as seen in the dramatic sequence during which they defend the city from Lord Garmadon’s forces. With most of the mechs released as LEGO sets, fans can get a sense of these machines, each of which is influenced by the relevant elemental power.
Between the largely panned ice based factions in Legends of Chima, the disappointment that was last year’s 75098 Assault on Hoth, and now 70616 Ice Tank, the LEGO Group is struggling with snow themed combat sets. Winter is definitely not coming in a good way to NINJAGO City. Having built every The LEGO NINJAGO Movie set in the launch wave, this is the only set I would call a ‘miss’. When a fan drops serious coin on a nearly 1000 piece set, it is fair to expect something amazing – the LEGO Group has nailed numerous vehicles at this size and price point. Buyer beware, pick this set up and you will likely be disappointed.
That said, 70616 is a feat of construction. Were rankings based on build alone, the Ice Tank would score a perfect fie out of five. The angle of its rear snow drive, how that flawlessly links with the main fuselage, the perfectly crafted mechanism by which the snow drive turns as the vehicle rumbles across the floor… this set is a master class in proper model design. There is an almost Technic level of intricacy hiding beneath 70616’s frame.
I’ll cut right to the chase, this set is boring, especially considering the offerings which lie on either side of its price point in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie lineup. Sure, it is cool (pun completely intended) that the drive turns when 70616 rolls across a floor, but that gimmick has been used before and too much greater effect. Take set 8961 Crystal Sweeper from 2009’s Power Miners theme – that lumbering mobile base used its wheels to turn a revolving sweeper which collected and deposited in a rear holding bin whatever crossed its path. Even the Time Cruisers sets from the mid-1990s, back when moving functions were rare, made their models do interesting things like have wings flap when their wheels turned. A rotating drum just is not interesting as a play feature no matter how well executed.
Beyond that, the tank doesn’t do anything besides have a Gatling Gun stud shooter and an attempt at an escape hatch beneath the cockpit. Some nice minifigures are included – Zane’s printing is nice and angular, representing his cyborg physiology. The villains and citizens are all well executed, but many other The LEGO NINJAGO Movie sets have equally appealing minifigures.
The massive fuselage that rises like a triangle looks imposing but ultimately does nothing. I was expecting it to fold open revealing a secret weapon or flip forward as a battering ram which would be very effective against mechs. Instead, it is completely stationary. As a fan with a vivid imagination who can normally come up with all sorts of ways my nine year old self would play with sets, on this one I come up empty.
70616 Ice Tank will need an amazing role or sequence in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie to give it the appeal that the set alone lacks. Without some context or awesome feats it can perform as seen on screen, the set unfortunately sits squarely in the wasteland of well executed but boring products, something that is unacceptable at this price. I hope the film changes my opinion, but otherwise this is for completist collectors only.
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