If a ninja had to pick a favorite bit of weaponry, you might think they’d opt for a throwing star, or a sword, or something like that. But I suspect there’s a different answer, at least as far as Ninjago ninjas go: I think it’s pretty clear that they all prefer giant robots. The summer 2020 Ninjago line features a new one, 71720 Ninjago: Fire Stone Mech. This 968 piece set is available for US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £64.99. Sure, all the ninjas like it, but how cool is it really?
The box and contents
The box art for this set matches the styling we’ve seen in other 2020 Ninjago sets: It’s more of a movie poster than a product shot. It’s certainly eye-catching and dynamic, but it’s a little tough to spot what actually comes with the set. That’s not much of a disadvantage this time, as beyond the five minifigures and the Fire Stone Mech itself, the only other element is a dinky sword stand.
The back of the box gives us a much more clear look at everything. The right side showcases the set’s play features, such as they are. Stud shooters, an opening cockpit, and some hidden weapon storage each get a photo. The main play feature of the set is really the mech’s action-figure like articulation, and that’s demonstrated in the dynamic pose on the left.
Inside the box there are are eight numbered bags of parts, a couple of advertisements for LEGOLand, a sticker sheet and a 135-page instruction manual. The manual comes bagged with the sticker sheet, which helps prevent either from getting bent up too much in transit.
Several new and scarce parts caught my eye during the build. The first, a 6x6x2 cockpit, makes its first appearance in transparent orange in this set. The 2×2 curved bow plates are new, too, and have only appeared in one other 2020 set each. The 1×2 roof tiles in gold are also fairly uncommon, only appearing in three sets so far.
These ridged bricks are new elements for the 2020 Ninjago sets, and the red version is only found here.
Even though there’s a sticker sheet to deal with in this set, there are also some sweet printed parts to enjoy. There are three decorated shields (one silver, two gold). The shoulder armor that forms the head of the mech has a similar logo on it. While you can pick up extra copies of the minifigure shields in other 2020 Ninjago sets, the mech head can only be found here. The small black dots on either side of the headpiece are deliberate design prints, not smudges like I first thought.
The final new part I wanted to call out is the Shadow Blade of Deliverance, one of the two “Blades of Deliverance” from Ninjago series 13. It’s a chromatic inversion of the Ivory Blade of Deliverance, using the same dual-injection mold. This sword makes an appearance in two other sets in this wave, so you may end up with duplicates. Considering how sweet it looks, that’s really not a bad thing. (The human skull on a LEGO toy still seems out of place to me, though.)
The build is pretty straightforward, with each numbered bag mainly focused on adding a body part to the mech. Bag one creates the core of torso. Oh, and it also contains a small additional feature: a stand for the Shadow Blade. As builds go, that stand is pretty unimpressive. I do like the transparent green flame, though.
The torso is much more satisfying to work on. It’s very solid, and there are plenty of SNOT connections to work with. The legs will eventually be mounted on those black click-hinge joints. The Technic sockets for the arms are also in place. On the back, a Ninjago spinner crown creates some visual interest.
Bag two finishes off the torso’s decoration. The first stickers are applied, going on that new windscreen (sob) and several flags that fold around the windscreen to give it a more integrated look. The fire-vs-stone nature of the mech starts to show up here, with the left side now sporting a grey color scheme.
Bag three is all about the right leg. It’s a solid build, and looks good. The knee isn’t articulated, but is built as if the knee was bent. Given a choice between a perpetual crouch and a straight-legged approach, I’ll gladly take this version.
This bag does involve two more stickers, one on the knee and one on the upper thigh. The connection for the foot uses a Technic ball joint, and the hips also incorporate a hinge. Those new ridged bricks look great here, and I’m looking forward to seeing how other builders take advantage of them in the future.
The left leg is the focus of bag four. Structurally it’s identical to the right, but with a rocky grey color scheme and detailing. Weirdly, the kneecap isn’t included in this bag, wrecking the mirrored building a little. Another sticker goes on here, again applied to the upper thigh.
I like some of the non-essential details that LEGO included, particularly the small jet-booster (made from a tire) on the underside of each foot. Maybe the cartoon will have this mech flying around or something. The ball joint mounts on the feet work well, and allow for a good range of action poses when combined with the other joints in the legs.
The mech is starting to really come together now. Bag six adds the right arm into the mix. Highlights include the hinged shoulder armor, articulated fingers and thumb, a Technic pin mounting point for a sword, and more Technic hinge joints in the elbows and shoulders.
The red and gold construction really has an “Iron Man” vibe to it, but I suppose that’s inevitable. The shoulder plating does feel more “ninja-like”, at least. The top of the hand gets a sticker, giving it a look similar to the ridges in the shoulder armor.
The left stone arm from bag seven is actually a bit different from the right arm. The shoulder plate is completely different, as is the construction on the forearm and hand. This time there are stud shooters, too. It’s a welcome bit of contrast, since the legs are nearly identical.
We apply the last sticker from the sheet to the curved cockpit base that makes up the shoulder armor. I like how the fingers of the rock hand are thick and chunky. The re-builder in me also likes that they’re made up of those new curved bow plates. I have some ideas in mind for those already.
With bag eight we finish up the build. The mech gets a head, a kneecap, and a couple of sweet swords.
The finished model
As mentioned earlier, the sword stand is pretty lackluster. It feels very much like an afterthought; a “we need to add just a smidge more context to this set” add-on. But I suppose it gives something for the bad guys to guard. The Fire Stone Mech itself is impressive looking. There’s articulation at the shoulders, elbows, hips, fingers, and ankles. It’s easy to pose and is very well balanced. It’s also very sturdy; it got dropped a couple of times during photography and the worst thing that happened is that a forearm popped off.
In addition to the articulation, there are a few small play features built in. The first is a no-brainer; you need to let the ninjas pilot the mech. This is accomplished by tilting the head back and seating a figure or two into the center cockpit area. I had to pop the clips off the back of their shoulder armor to fit both Cole and Kai into the mech at the same time, though.
I’m not a big fan of stud shooters, but probably only because I can never find the stupid studs after shooting them. Anyway, we get two of them on the back of the stone hand.
Finally, there are places to stash additional weapons on the outside of the mech. The shoulder armor on each arm lifts up to expose a couple of clips so you can attach swords or whatever. The back also has spots to hold a figure’s shield and brick-built weapon.
This set comes with five minifigures, three ninjas and two baddies. Cole, the Earth Ninja, comes with a golden shield and a brick-built mace. The golden shoulder armor is a new element.
Nya, the Water Ninja, gets a silver shield and shoulder armor. She also gets a brick-built spear. Annoyingly, the provided clip to hold that spear on her back is the same metallic gold as the one Cole and Kai get. It would have been nice to see it in silver.
Kai, the Fire Ninja, rounds out the set. He has a sword, and golden shield and shoulder armor.
The torsos and cowls for the three ninjas are new to the summer 2020 wave, but none are unique to this set. All have dual-expression heads, dual-sided torsos, and printed legs.
Moe and Murt are the two evil characters in this set. The core minifigures use identical parts, with Murt sporting a new recolor of a shoulder armor element. Amusingly, Murt appears in three other sets, but Moe, the mostly-naked twin, is “unique” to this set. Unique, provided the other Murts never take off their shoulder pads I guess.
These guys have dual printing on their heads and torsos, and printed legs. Murt gets a brick built axe, and Moe has a sword.
Conclusion and recommendation
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this set. Other than that sad excuse for a sword stand, there’s nothing about this set that feels cheap. There are no obvious places that feel like LEGO cut pieces to lower their cost. Speaking of cost, at $70 for 968 pieces this set comes in at only 7.23 cents per part. And there are some really nice pieces in there, too. You get new minifigures, printed parts, hard to find colors, scarce elements, unique elements, and even some new printed parts. The build is fun and involved, the model looks great, and it has great play value. Yeah, this ticks all the boxes for me.
As a cool looking robot, I think this should appeal to even those LEGO fans unfamiliar with the Ninjago theme. But what about the rest of the world? Once again, I tapped the best source I’ve got for non-LEGO-centric views: my parents. My dad had this to say: “This looks really nice”, the price is “not bad”, and it feels like something the grandkid would enjoy. Specifically, “it’s something a younger person, say under 73, would like”. I also scored a rare comment from my mom. She liked it too, but mainly because “I don’t have to put it together.”
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.
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