Minifigures, monster trucks, and Technic pins – LEGO’s 2021 Spider-Man sets are full of surprises [Review]

On January 1st, several  new Spider-Man themed sets will be available from LEGO. Among them are three vehicle-centric offerings: 76174 Spider-Man’s Monster Truck vs. Mysterio (US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £44.99), 76173 Spider-Man and Ghost Rider vs. Carnage (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK ), and 76172 Spider-Man and Sandman Showdown (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99).  Spider-man really isn’t known for his reliance on vehicles (much less monster trucks), but he does have some amazing friends, and as a result there are a lot of interesting minifigures to explore here. Not to mention a spectacular Technic discovery in that tiny Sandman set. Intrigued? Then read on and see what’s up!

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with early copies of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


You get the same Spider-Man figure in all three of the vehicle sets, so let’s take a look at him first. This is a new incarnation for 2021, and is kind of a mixed bag in terms of quality. Spidey’s torso and head dual-sided prints are brand new, and he gains some nice printed detailing on his arms. The design of both the mask and torso are very close to previous versions, but it’s nice to see LEGO going to the effort to make small upgrades rather than just re-releasing the same old figure. Less great are the legs – they’re just plain blue. It would have been nice to see some dual-molded red boots here.

76174 Spider-Man’s Monster Truck vs. Mysterio

The largest of the vehicle set is focused on Spider-Man’s Monster Truck. What’s that? You didn’t know Spider-Man had a monster truck? Well, he does now. This 439 piece set also comes with two drones, four minifigures, and a handful of accessories.

Inside the thumb-punch box, things are spread across three numbered part bags, an accessory pack of web elements in opaque white, four balloon tires, a sticker sheet, and an instruction booklet.

Spidey’s monster truck is a decent example of the type, with bouncy suspension and a plunger-fired net launcher that can be raised by turning the yellow Technic knob on the side. It’s pretty much covered with stickers, all with prominent Spider-Man branding. Which, I suppose, makes sense. This is hardly the vehicle for stealth missions. The roof over the cabin is removable so that you can put Spidey inside. It’s not a very complex build, but it does have a cool part or two. Of particular note are the mudguards which have only appeared in dark blue once before, back in 2017.

The two drones have identical builds, and also make use of stickers to give them a bit of decoration. Each one has two stud shooters, adding some play features to the set. Considering the main villain of this set is Mysterio, it’s likely these are meant to be similar to the drones he used in Spider-Man: Far From Home. But of course LEGO can’t say that without complicating the licensing…

Spider-Man isn’t the only Spider-Person in this set. You also get an updated version of Spider-Gwen! She’s more popular than ever, thanks to her appearance in Into the Spider-Verse. She’s appeared in LEGO sets twice before, even battling alongside Spidey against Mysterio in a 4+ set. She had the same purple skateboard accessory there, too.

Gwen’s face and torso elements are identical to her previous incarnations, but she does get a sweet upgrade to her hood. This is a (mostly) brand new piece, although a dual-molded version has been used in the past. This new “basic” version lacks the shock of hair in the front, making it a lot more versatile for re-use in other figures. Also, for Gwen, it’s a step up from the old Jedi-hood style she used to wear, as now she can turn her head.

While Mysterio may be the main baddie, he’s getting some evil support from another key Spider-Man villain, Doctor Octopus. Doc Ock comes with some seriously massive brick-built arms and a load of purloined loot. The details on the arms are sticker-based, adding a nice pop of color to the massive grey tentacles.

The core minifigure for Doc Ock has sweet new dual-sided prints for both the head and torso. Both expressions look good, although the happy smile may be a little out of character.

At last we come to the main threat of this set, Mysterio. The base figure is identical to the version from the 76149 The Menace of Mysterio set,  with the exception of his trademark fish-bowl head. That’s been upgraded from transparent-clear to a much more (dare I say) mysterious pearlized blue. He also gets a swanky set of ghostly leg extensions in a new dual-molded green colors.


76173 Spider-Man and Ghost Rider vs. Carnage

Carnage has shown up three times previously in LEGO sets, most often facing off against the Miles Morales and/or the Peter Parker versions of Spider-Man. This time Spidey gets some new assistance from hot-roddin’ Ghost Rider. At least they didn’t try and give Spider-Man a muscle car of his own.

This set has 212 pieces. These are contained in three unnumbered part bags and a transparent-orange energy effect accessory pack. An instruction booklet rounds out the cast.

While most of the parts are common, there is one brand new mold introduced here – a modified 2×4 plate with integrated 1×2 bricks with Technic cross holes. You get two of them, as they’re used to connect up the wheels in the car.

This Ghost Rider isn’t Jonny Blaze, the motorcycle-riding version we met back in 2016 in the 76058 Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-up, but rather the muscle car driving Robbie Reyes version. Robbie has had more recent live-action appearances in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and was being considered for a spin-off show in 2019. I’m guessing Marvel Marketing wanted to make sure there was a toy tie-in ready to cash in on that. Sadly, that show never saw the light of day. But, since it takes a couple of years for LEGO sets to travel from concept to shelves, this was just one of the times when the gamble on a super-marketable character didn’t really pan out.

Anyway, instead of a rehash of the 2016 set, we get a sweet new car with both a “street” and “demonic” mode. A few 1×2 sloped tiles come off the sides, and the energy-effect accessories get stuck on. Due to a lack of duplicate parts in the pre-packed accessory bag, the instructions have you add an energy burst to one wheel on each side of the car. I stuck ’em both on the same side for the photos as it looks cooler.  Adding a transparent-orange 1×1 plate to the stud shooters to the engine block is probably the best use of that action feature that I’ve seen. Normally those guns feel very tacked on, but here they actually add some more detail to the transformation from street car to hell-mobile.

The roof is removable, so Ghost Rider can sit inside and drive around. Kind of a necessary play feature, when you think about it.

The minifigures are really the main draw for this set, and all three look pretty nice.

This version of Ghost Rider is new to LEGO, so both the head and torso are unique to this set. The basic design of the head is identical to the head of the John Blaze version, but with a new metallic skull design.

The core Carnage minifigure is the same as two of his previous appearances. His tentacle design has gotten an upgrade, though.

76172 Spider-Man and Sandman Showdown

The final vehicle set is a small “4+” set featuring Spidey beating up on Sandman. Spidey gets a quad-bike, Sandman gets a catapult, and younger builders get a set that’s easy to put together. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of excitement here, but sometimes there are tiny surprises in even the smallest offerings.

There are only 65 parts to look at. Most of them come packed in a single unnumbered bag, with an instruction booklet,  spider web, and two chassis halves loose in the box. So, where’s the excitement I hinted at? Take a close look in that part bag!

The chassis half is new, as is the printed sloped tile. And that’s pretty cool. But I suspect the Technic builders among us have been staring at that yellow pin in wonderment.

The frictionless Technic pin, part number 3673, has been around since 1977. It’s used to connect up wheels, or to serve in pivot joints like the catapult arm in this set. It’s a pretty vital bit of connection technology. Yet, in all that time, it’s only appeared in two colors – the original grey, and then in blue-grey after LEGO changed their color palette in the early 2000s. For years Technic fans have clamored for more color choices…and now, at last, they have one more. You get 8 yellow pins in this set – the seven used in the construction and a spare.  We can only hope we’ll see more of these in other 2021 sets…otherwise, this tiny Spider-Man offering is going to be in heavy aftermarket demand.

Anyway. The build for this set is, as you’d expect, far from challenging. The Spider-Buggy looks pretty good, and the bog-standard catapult looks like to could have stepped out of any number of LEGO advent calendars.

Spidey and Sandman are decent minifigures, at least. There’s some play value here just in the two of them.

Sandman’s hair and face have appeared before, but he gets a new dual-sided torso print. His swirling sand legs have only shown up once before, in 2019’s set 76114: Spider-Man’s Spider Crawler.

Conclusion and recommendation

So…three Spider-Man vehicle sets. Were they any good? Well, it depends on your focus. If you’re in this for the minifigures, you’ll be pretty happy. Each set has new versions of each character, and they all look great. Even if some of the changes are just different accessories, fans will want to add each of them to their collections. The price point on them, however, is a little less great. The two larger sets come in at around 9 cents per part, which is good but not spectacular. The Sandman set, though, is an abysmal 15 cents per part. However, if you’re willing to call each figure being “equivalent” to one of the Collectible Minifigure blind bags, the Sandman set ends up “free parts” after subtracting $5 per figure. So, really, your mileage may vary. And if you’re just in it for the parts? The larger sets have a good variety of common, but useful, elements. And we’ve already talked at length about how Technic fans are going to be looking for those yellow pins in the Sandman set.

So, if you’re a fan of the Spider-Verse, these sets should have enough to be interesting to you from the character standpoint. And if you’re just looking for silly Spider-fun, or a gift, they’re probably a safe bet, too. But if you’re looking for non-minifigure LEGO reusability…maybe wait for a sale unless you’re really fond of yellow Technic pins, obviously.

76174 Spider-Man’s Monster Truck vs. Mysterio (US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £44.99), 76173 Spider-Man and Ghost Rider vs. Carnage (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK ), and 76172 Spider-Man and Sandman Showdown (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99) will be available January 1, 2021 from the LEGO Shop Online. They may also available via third-party sellers on Amazon and Ebay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick early copies of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Check out our full gallery of images.

8 comments on “Minifigures, monster trucks, and Technic pins – LEGO’s 2021 Spider-Man sets are full of surprises [Review]

  1. Chris Adams

    I take your point about the Doc Ock smile, but I have a project in mind involving a heroic looking head with goggles, and both of these expressions look fine for that.

  2. Chris Adams

    Oh, and thanks for clearing up that this is not the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider. I did wonder at first if this was a female incarnation, due to the light grey “slim waist” inserts on front and back.

  3. Håkan

    I thought that the word choice would indicate a reference to the Spectacular Spider-Man 2000s series or one of the series of Spectacular Spider-Mancomic books, although I really can’t come up with any…

  4. Paul

    Just inspired by the the pricing point mentioned to observe it encapsulates a broader issue, and not simply to whine about prices which is well established. For some every penny counts, but it’s also about feeling you are getting good value; comparative to other sets and other countries and Lego still has issues with that.
    Regardless of supply/demand and what people happily pay, their inconsistency within each region and own products is odd. This is one example.

    That you get two ‘CMF priced figs’ and the extra Lego for free in the US is a pretty good deal comparatively there and over Canada who pays 40% extra (vs 25% on the other sets) over the US and over the cost of two CMFS ($5 CAD) but also how absurd $5 USD is for figures.

    UK pricing is about 128% over two CMFs but get some great prices (Assembly Square springs to mind) and some horrid.

  5. Chris Doyle Post author

    @Paul – That’s an excellent point. I tried to call out that I was looking at it from a US price perspective, but if the comparison isn’t really valid for all markets it falls a bit flat. And I totally agree that $5 for a CMF is pretty absurd in and of itself! It was a bit of shorthand I’ll try and find a better way to express in the future.

    @Chris Adams – I hadn’t noticed the cut-ins on Ghost Rider’s torso – good catch there! (I grew up with Jonny, so every time I see this version of the character it’s a bit jarring.) And I totally agree that Doc’s head will be great for re-use. And I suppose the “v” eyebrows on the smiling face at least put it into “evil grin” category for this character.

  6. Chris Adams

    Thanks. There aren’t any “secondary female characteristics”, so perhaps GR just has a slim waist? He is a skeleton after all.

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