Price: £79.99 / $89.99 / €79.99 Pieces: 1202 Available: Now
If the set release schedule around The LEGO Batman Movie is anything to go by, the fact that 70632 Quake Mech is in stores two months after The LEGO NINJAGO Movie’s cinematic release in the UK (and three months after it was in US theatres) shouldn’t matter, and indeed will continue for a while yet. But, as we welcome a second wave of TLNM tie-in sets, just as we wait for a third wave of TLBM sets in January (almost a year after the Dark Brick Knight was on the big screen), the enthusiasm for what’s arriving now still feels far less than when each movie’s respective first wave of sets hit earlier in the year. With it being December, have we waited too long to welcome the likes of 70629 Piranha Attack, 70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!, 70631 Garmadon’s Volcano Lair and 70632 Quake Mech to the TLNM line-up? Is this LEGO movie overkill from the LEGO Group?
I know that financially, this has been a hard year to keep up with the sheer quantity of LEGO sets that have been released, let alone just trying to pick up all the sets that have come out in the TLNM range. The movie has spawned a truly staggering selection of LEGO sets so far, for the variety on offer, the ingenuity in design and just the remarkable scale that the finished models come in at. Whilst your wallet may well be hurting, for those of you with the budget, the lateness of its arrival doesn’t impinge on 70632 Quake Mech’s impact. This is a worthy addition to the line-up, and one that may just be worth getting as enthusiastic about as when the first wave of sets hit.
That is even considering that, once complete, first impressions are both impressive and disappointing. Taking in its height and those broad shoulders, covered in a sleek black texturing across the front and sides, we have a domineering model that easily achieves The LEGO NINJAGO Movie’s unique blend of absurd scaling and caricature styling. It was the one hero mech absent from the movie’s first range of sets, so there is satisfaction in that at least from the front and side, it fits right in with its mechanised brethren, and completes the family collection.
However, when you consider the almost 360-degree finish that the range’s other mechs enjoy, the Quake Mech’s unfinished, bare back-end tinges things somewhat. A core aspect to the mech’s identity is the single, massive wheel that it stands on, and likely being able to include the wheel and tyre pieces required meant that the LEGO Group had to compromise elsewhere on part selection so as to keep 70632 at £80. As it is, its US price of $90 is $10 more than any of the other mechs.
The only other compromise in design is also because of that wheel, or rather, physics. Whilst the movie version of the mech was able to support itself on just that one wheel, real life mechanics mean that the LEGO designers have included a support stand in behind. It succeeds better than you would expect, in that it doesn’t detract from the focus of the model, namely because everything else about the mech is so very striking. Indeed, there are striking features and details right across the mech, from its array of speakers (including some hidden in its shoulders), to its DJ deck-controlled cockpit.
The Quake Mech’s identity may be exemplified by those musical touches dotted around its body, but its character is best expressed through its arms and the variety of poses their design allow for. There are actually only two points of movement in each arm, but both offer bend and swivel functions through a build that is as sturdy as the other mechs in the line, and perhaps more complex. Combined with the sheer size of the beast and its gorilla-style hands, no minifigure stands a chance.
There are five minifigures included, starting with two additions to your Shark Army – should you need them – Cole once more, and second wave debutants Misako and Fred Finley. As mentioned in our review for 70629 Piranha Attack, Misako is a good design that could have been great but for some notable flaws in quality. Perhaps the complexity of that design was its downfall, particularly when you consider that the more simplistic ensemble for reporter Fred Finley works so wonderfully well.
There’s plenty to admire about the ludicrous nature of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie’s mechs and their effective translations in brick form, and 70632 Quake Mech is a worthy, if late, addition to an impressive line-up. For those with the budget, this is the standout set from the second wave of TLNM sets.