Price: £14.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 Pieces: 217 Available: Now
70629 Piranha Attack is the cheapest set in the second wave of additions to The LEGO NINJAGO Movie range and joint second-cheapest System set overall in the theme. That position is shared with the excellent 70607 NINJAGO City Chase and, whilst this doesn’t quite match the all round appeal of that set, Piranha Attack is an excellent and affordable addition.
The main focus to the set is the piranha mech, which is created from a wonderful change in stud orientation halfway through construction, allowing for that huge fish-shaped head to take form through an Aircraft Fuselage piece placed on its side. The back fin with engines either side of it, the large bulbous eyes on the sides, the subtle porthole at the front and the periscope peeking out of the top are all subtle and simple details that combine masterfully to create a worthy addition to the evil Shark Army’s flotilla of aquatic animal-themed machines. The fact that the top half of the piranha opens up to reveal a one-minifigure cockpit with controls feels like an added bonus to a build that, for the price, is almost flawless, barring some tricky sticker applications.
Some may point to the immobile nature of the legs, particularly when early sketch models of the set included joints, but the top heavy nature of the model suggests not many a modification would, literally, stand the test.
Also included in 70629 Piranha Attack is a pulled rickshaw, cleverly designed with minimal pieces, and aided with a handful of stickers. The wheels may seem ever so slightly oversized, but this is in part down to the troublesome scaling minifigures present (sometimes too short, sometimes too wide) and really the hand-drawn vehicle still fits in nicely with the other realistic builds dotted through the TLNM sets that are also based around more traditional aspects of Asian life.
Four minifigures in a £15 set is a bonus any way you look at it, with Ray the rickshaw guy another great addition to the collection of citizens of NINJAGO City. Kai and Shark Army Thug are making up the numbers at this point, and for most the focus will be on Misako, dressed as Iron Dragon. Unfortunately, the minifigure can best be described as hit and miss. The printing on the torso and the moulds for Misako’s quiver and hair with headpiece are so intricately designed.
However, the cloth piece, whilst equally eye-catching in appearance, is incredibly hard to line up correctly with the torso, and everything falls down when it comes to the head. The printing of the yellow face on a black headpiece is not strong enough and it creates a discoloured final effect that leaves what could have been one of the best minifigures in the entire range feeling like a cheap imitation. And we live in a world where cheap imitations of LEGO minifigures are easy to find…
Misako’s face is an oversight that will tinge 70629 Piranha Attack’s otherwise amazing value for some (still, far better to be disappointed in Misako in this set than in the £80 70632 Quake Mech, for example). If you can look past that, though, there’s a whole lot to love, including a more than worthy addition to the Shark Army in the piranha mech, and another great additional build depicting everyday life in NINJAGO City. For £15, there’s not a lot to argue with.