The second wave of The LEGO Ninjago Movie tie-in sets were released on the 1st Dec, and now we are taking a look at of one of the larger sets, 70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON! Garmadon Shark Mech set was first seen back at SDCC and the movie version featured in the official trailer, safe to say that this set has been eagerly awaited. garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON! has 830 pieces, six minifigures, rated ages 9-14 and is priced at £79.99 / $79.99 / 79.99€ (which equates to 9.6p / 9.6c / 9.6c per piece).
The Box and what’s inside
The front box art has already been revealed and shows Garmadon Shark Mech moving in on its prey of a hot dog stand with a side of innocent civilians.
The rear of the box shows the opposite of Garmadon Shark Mech about to munch on the hotdog stall or its vendor, with the play features detailed at the bottom. In addition, the size of the final mech model is detailed just in case the model is smaller than expected after seeing The LEGO Ninjago Movie (more on that later).
The 830 pieces are split across six numbered bags with a small sticker sheet and one 147-page instruction booklet.
stickers Stickers STICKERS!
There are no special printed parts in this set but sadly we get a sticker sheet! I have to admit that I found the ‘hazard’ black and yellow stripes a challenge to place straight onto the round parts. Luckily the stickers do permit a quick strip off and try again if you are quick. I imagine the average 9-14 year old will also find the 6 hazard stripes stickers to be a bit of a pain to put on. I really wish the ‘HOT noodle DOG’ and the ‘HOT’ signs from the ‘hot noodle dog’ stand had been printed as I much prefer printed parts for aesthetic reasons and also for use in other builds.
Just over 100 out the the 830 pieces in this set are Sand Blue in colour. This is not a common colour by LEGO standards and there are a host of nice new parts used exclusively for Garmadon Shark Mech. I was happy to see that Garmadon chose Sand Blue as the uniform colour for his army and equipment, much better than choosing a bluish grey or a cheery, uplifting Azure. The full compliment of Sand Blue parts used in this set makes for a nice collection.
There are six minifigures in this set; Garmadon, Lloyd, Hammer Head, Frank, Nomis and Nancy. As the two lead characters who face-off numerous times in the movie, it’s good to have both Lloyd and Garmadon in the set.
Garmadon is not wearing his dark blue cloth robe here as it would be a health and safety risk (not to mention a tight squeeze) inside his submarine mech. He has the same single sided head with some nice armour printing and muscular lower torso at the back. I think it would be good to see some muscles on the upper torso to match as it looks a bit odd to only have one torso with back printing.
Lloyd has the same double sided head print as appears in other tie-in sets e.g. 70612 Green Ninja Mech Dragon and 70618 Destiny’s Bounty. His torso is different however, as it is plain black with the green and gold highlights and Master Wu insignia on the back.
Garmadon’s hench man Hammerhead has the hammerhead shark headdress with electronic panel showing three bars. His torso is the Sand Blue uniform of Garmadon’s army and his single-sided head print is an effective villainous face that also appeared in 70614 Lightning Jet.
Frank is Garmadon’s rear gunner in the Shark Mech with his Dark Orange knitted hat, this minifigure also came with two other tie-in sets; 70616 Ice Tank and 70611 Water Strider.
Nomis wears the same,
cumberland cumbersome hotdog costume as appeared in CMF Series 13 along with the Medium Blue legs and Tan torso. He has a double-sided head that has a nice AAAAhhhhhh expression on the reverse as well as his rather aggressive looking vendor face.
Nancy sports a great, exclusive torso that has a white tshirt underneath with the M-Tron logo. Previous nods to past LEGO themes have appeared with a Galidor shirt worn by Mother Doomsday in 70620 Ninjago City and, if you cast your mind back to 70813 Rescue Reinforcements from The LEGO Movie, both Blacktron and Fabuland featured on minifigure torsos. Her head has two smiles that are mainly obscured by her large external dental braces – a first for a minifigure.
The first part fo the set to be built is actually my favourite part of this set overall. The little mobile hotdog stand is a simple but cute little build. The comedy oversized hotdog and bun shaped roof will definitely appeal to adults and children alike. It has a grill, condiments and some marketing flags and signs to attract customers.
In terms of play features, obviously it can roll along on its wheels and has two little doors that open to reveal a hot dog and bun storage area. I like the noodle tile but it would have been much better printed rather than a sticker.
The only gripe I have with the hotdog stand is small thing, when the hotdog vendor is pushing his stall the marketing flag hits his head. I think wearing a large hotdog costume must be uncomfortable enough, but to add insult to injury, the flag is continually slapping him on the head.
The Main Build
Garmadon Shark Mech is clearly the main part of this set and the classic shark mouth and teeth are amongst the first thing to be built. The hinged jaw becomes an important play feature later on in the build when Technic parts are added to power the movement.
There is a Black Double Conical Wheel Z36 (Design ID 32498) on either side of the mech that opens and closes the jaw when turned in either direction and this action forms the main play feature of the model.
Garmadon Shark Mech has two legs with feet that are raptorial, more like talons of a bird of prey rather than the legs and feet of a shark. The actual legs do not articulate, only the plates at the bottom which means that it is actually stable but not particularly pose-able. The shark mech has a tendency to ‘bounce’ a little when operating the play features but it does not fall over thanks to those feet.
The he two Technic Competition Cannons are placed with the Technic arrows forming the Shark Mech’s main offensive weapon (other than its close combat jaws of course).
There are some nice features built into Garmadon Shark Mech that help to combine the mech with the shark. The moveable gills on either side look great and the key shark components of dorsal fin, pectoral fins, caudal fin and massive mouth with jaws are all present. I love the submarine effect of the front cockpit roof with the periscope, and the locking wheel on the hatch is a nice touch.
Garmadon Shark Mech features 2 opening minifigure cockpits. The rear cockpit has a transparent bubble windscreen, namely the Transparent Dome Ø32 (Design ID 86500) which is a rare part that is only in two other sets 8037 Anakin’s Y Wing from 2009 and 70629 Piranha Attack.
Both Garmadon and Frank fit nicely into their cockpits although Garmadon is completely hidden once his hatch goes on top. There’s an opening weapon compartment with space for two katanas inside and you can also slot a total of four katanas into the pectoral fins (you can see one slotted into position below).
It’s probably worth addressing scale at this point. The shark model appeared in the very first The LEGO Ninjago Movie trailer and it is huge. To release this version of Garmadon Shark Mech as a set would mean another entry into the top 5 largest sets released I imagine.
The Garmadon Shark Mech in the set is significantly smaller at 25cm (9.8 inches) tall and 38cm (14.9 inches) long. While I wasn’t disappointed with the size of the shark mech, there’s really not much inside in terms of space or play other than fitting the minifigures inside. This seems a to be a missed opportunity since it is a submarine mech and command centre.
In my view, the stand-out positive about the minifigures are the two civilian heads with some great features like the braces and the expressions. I imagine the M-Tron torso will also make Nancy a popular character as these little nods to bygone LEGO themes are fantastic.
A top prize for a fun little build goes to the hot dog stand. So what if the flag twats the vendor on the head, I love the comedy aspect of the oversize hotdog and bun.
Finally, a moment to think about price. As someone based in the UK, I think £79.99 seems a lot for this set but perhaps $79.99 seems more reasonable to US-based fans. I have a feeling that The LEGO Ninjago Movie tie-in sets will be reduced in the future, perhaps hold out for a sale price if you have the patience.