Earlier this year, LEGO released six sets based on Blizzard’s first person shooter video game, Overwatch. This colorful cast of characters is now being joined by Wrecking Ball and Junkrat & Roadhog in LEGO form. We will be reviewing each set separately, and this one will focus on 75976 Wrecking Ball and his transforming hamster ball mech. Wrecking Ball consists of 227 pieces and is currently available online via the LEGO shop for $19.99 USD | $24.99 CAD | £17.99 GBP
Admittedly, the last generation of home video game consoles I owned consisted of the Dreamcast, PS2, X-Box and Gamecube. I had to do some research and came to the conclusion that Overwatch is the type of game I would have clamored for back in my gaming heyday. The characters look quirky and enjoyable, especially Wrecking Ball. For those not in the know, Wrecking Ball (aka Hammond) was introduced to the game in 2018 and is a genetically modified hamster who escaped the lab. In my opinion, this highly intelligent rodent looks like one of the game’s coolest tank heroes, blending together the attitude of Sonic the Hedgehog with the mayhem of Twisted Metal. (Again, I’m old school.)
The box and contents
Wrecking Ball’s box follows the same format as the other Overwatch sets, in which both sides are able to act as the box’s main image. The front of the box is more low key, displaying the set and showing off one of its key play features. Flipping the box to the other side reveals an action-packed scene of Wrecking Ball surrounded by a flurry of explosions. It conveys a sense of immersiveness that you might feel in an actual video game.
Being a smaller set, the contents of the bag are simple. There are two numbered bags, one instruction book, and a sticker sheet. Stickers are the bane of existence for some LEGO fans, especially those who want to reuse parts in other projects. If you fall into this category, you will be pleased to know that this set stands fine on its own without stickers. Plus, the six stickers included are relatively small and unobtrusive.
There are only two printed elements in the set, but they are two of its best pieces. Wrecking Ball comes with an 8×8 radar dish and 3x6x1 curved windscreen, each complete with slick mechanical patterns. I can definitely see these parts as having broader application in custom military LEGO models, mechs, etc. While you will likely be able to buy these parts in bulk on Bricklink, it’s worth buying multiple sets to acquire them alongside more sand green parts.
Speaking of sand green, there are plenty to be found in this set. Parts appearing in sand green for the first time include the 4×4 radar dish and curved 4×3 wedge. Beyond that, there is a fine mix of sand green slopes, plates, and 3 x 4 x 1 ⅔ vehicle mudguards. In addition to vehicles, these parts would be at home in LEGO landscaping projects.
The next most prolific color in Wrecking Ball is orange, with the 1×2 Technic lift arm with angled ball joint making its debut in the color. All of the other orange bricks have appeared in plenty of sets and are common, but it’s nice to see a decent variety here.
This next photo is a sampling of parts that I consider to be “the best of the rest.” Thanks to Wrecking Ball, we are seeing the handlebar in yellow and 1×1 pyramid in light bluish gray for the first time. The 2×2 round corner tiles in black aren’t new, but their only other appearance was in the limited release Wyldstyle Brickheadz set. By appearing in a mass production set, these tiles should become more affordable on aftermarket websites like Bricklink.
Last but not least, we have a miniature version of Hero 28. Hammond the hamster is a completely new mold, and he sure looks cute! It’s a pretty good likeness of the original character, right down to the tiny backpack.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow, having you start off with the base of the ball. See that rainbow of colors? LEGO often uses multiple colors to form the internal structures of models because the differentiation in colors reduces the odds of making a mistake. That, and they are hidden within the finished build.
After the next few steps, the first play feature begins to form. Technic elements are used to form a lever, which will be used to raise and lower Hammond. The orange 1×2 Technic liftarm acts as the “button” for engaging the action. It’s a simple, yet effective solution.
As the vertical building continues, the top of the ball begins to form with subtle curves. Hinges are put into place, as are the ball’s gauges and the large printed radar dish. Now we’re getting somewhere!
The next component to add is the hatch, which allows Hammond to hide inside during battle and emerge when victorious. When it’s in the closed position, you can see how the ball is beginning to really round out. A yellow modified plate makes it easier to open and close.
At this point I wanted to test out the lever feature mentioned earlier. With the flip of a switch, Hammond can make a quick getaway. It’s akin to playing a game of whack-a-mole without the mallet, and you are guaranteed to win every time. I’d go so far as to say this was my favorite play feature, even with the mech’s ability to transform.
The first appearance of the transformation features is assembling the quad cannons and putting them into place. Being constructed out of Technic elements allows them to fold in and out. After building the cannon, the sand green mudguards are hinged into place, with the wheel well fitting perfectly around the gun’s drum.
With that out of the way, it’s time to implement the folding legs. Each side has a pair of legs, and the orange ball joints are connected to the black sockets at the base. Once attached, they fold up into the body and cover the quad cannons. While the folding feature does an excellent job of creating a round shape, it’s not the most fluid of designs. This is in part due to the ball joints’ wide range of rotation. If you’re not thinking about it, you could conceivably fold them in the wrong direction and, if you fold them in too quick, you risk knocking off some of the leg parts. Though not perfect, I feel this was the best solution at LEGO’s disposal for implementing this feature.
When the legs are properly folded in they do not cover up every gap. This doesn’t detract from the design, as it makes the mech feel more mechanical. That, and when the legs are folded in they succeed in adding curvature to the mech’s ball form.
Once the final pieces are snapped into place and folded in, it really feels like you are looking at a ball. With that, Wrecking ball is ready to duke it out with the other heroes.
The Completed Model
Wrecking Ball shines best when the mech’s legs and quad cannons are unfolded. This form proves to be a phenomenal likeness of the character from the game, right down to the orange spider-like mandibles on the front. Little flecks of orange representing the mechanical interior peek through the green exterior.
The other area in which Wrecking Ball shines is play features. Raising and lowering Hammond inside the mech is both satisfying and a vital part of the transformation, and the 4×4 radar dish on the front can also be removed to reveal the “eye” of the mech. The mech also folds into a ball which, when done correctly, is sturdy enough to roll around the carpet.
As cool as Wrecking Ball’s transformation feature is, if you fold the legs the wrong way, the odds are high you may knock off one of the 2×4 triple wedges. While slightly annoying, it’s an easy fix and I find it forgivable given the scale. The only key details this set is missing are the grappling hook and minefield. Considering the grappling hook is such a signature move, it would have been nice to include a few elements for the option to be on the table. Even a set of LEGO chain links and a grappling hook would have been enough to do the job.
Conclusion & recommendation
Of all the LEGO Overwatch sets released thus far, I feel like this one may have the broadest appeal. Overwatch players who are fans of Wrecking Ball will likely appreciate the level of effort LEGO put into designing a model with an excellent balance of form and function. It’s a solid likeness of the character from the game, and the fact that one model can be adjusted to represent two forms is impressive.
In fact, you don’t even need to be a fan of Overwatch to appreciate the build. As someone with limited exposure to the game, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of assembling Wrecking Ball and transforming it into ball form. For the price point, it’s also a great set for people looking to bulk up on parts in sand green and orange; in fact, it’s even possible to buy twenty of them via the online LEGO Shop if you want!
Be sure to check out our other LEGO Overwatch set reviews:
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.