LEGO recently announced a slew of new Marvel sets that will be available January 1, 2021. Among them are three Mech Armors – smaller sets that feature a minifigure of a popular character and a minimalistic suit of power armor they can stomp around in. This wave includes 76168 Captain America Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), 76169 Thor Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), and 76171 Miles Morales Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99). At first glance, these sets look a little spindly and low-quality, but is that actually the case? Could these be tiny toys be big wins for LEGO and Marvel fans? We’ll walk through the highs and lows of each set, so you can judge for yourself!
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.
All three Mech Armor sets come in a “thumb punch” style square box. The boxes are smaller than the 2020 Mech offerings, which might be tied into LEGO’s efforts to improve the sustainability of their packaging. Each one has the same basic layout, with the mech armor in use by the character in a dynamic action pose. Each also has colors and logos appropriate to either the Spider-Man or Avengers theme, and an age suggestion of 7+.
The back of the boxes are also laid out in similar styles, this time with the minifigure outside of the mech armor. It’s amusing to me that Cap’s artwork showcases “America’s (mechanical) ass” by showing the mech from the back. (Obviously the real pose was chosen to show off the shield mounting, but I like my explanation better.)
Miles Morales Mech Armor
Miles Morales has appeared twice before in LEGO form; once in 2017’s 76036 Carnage’s SHIELD Sky Attack and in 2019’s 76113 Spider-Man Bike Rescue. He’s gained a lot of popularity thanks to 2018’s Into The Spider-Verse movie, so it’s not too surprising to see LEGO featuring him more prominently as the star of this set.
Inside the box are an instruction booklet, 3 bags of parts and 1 accessory pack of web effects for a total part count of 125.
Digging into the parts, this set includes a new printed logo tile and a few new and rare colored elements. The chest plate has only appeared in black in two other sets, and the bar with clip in red is a new color for 2021 that will also be showing up in the 80107 Spring Lantern Festival set. The bar holder with handle in medium blue has shown up a few times in the past (there were 4 in the 21304 London City Skyline Architecture set, for example), but is still fairly uncommon and a nice bit of color in an otherwise predominantly red and black set.
All of the Mech Armor sets have the same basic design and construction, with some minimal tweaks to the styling giving each a little extra character. To me, this is one of the better offerings, as the basic spindly design works better for lithe Spider-heroes than some of the more beefy types. Miles’ mech has the thinnest feet of any of the released mechs, and has unique hand constructions to clip on webs. The thin arms and legs feel appropriate, and the transparent blue web elements are a nice nod to Miles’ venom-blast energy powers.
From the back, you can see how the designers have also made good use of all the different web-elements in the accessory pack. The rear is not the best angle to view this set from, though. The ball joints for the limbs are really apparent, and the underside of plates aren’t the most attractive look.
As nice as the mech is, I have a feeling that most people will be buying this set to get their hands on the Miles Morales minifigure. And they’d be right to do so. The first two versions of Miles were virtually identical, with only minor updates to the detailing. This time we get an all new Miles wearing his signature hoodie, with silver web accents on his mask and dual-molded legs in grey and black.
Miles’ removable hood is a (mostly) brand new piece. A similar element has been used in the past, but that version features a bit of dual-molded hair in the front. This new “basic” version opens up a lot of customization options for minifigures in the future. I really like the design of it in general as it allows for the figure’s head to turn easily, a step up from the old Jedi-hood styles from years past.
Miles also looks great from the back, with dual-sided printing on both his head and torso. It would have been easy to LEGO to forgo the head printing since all the box art shows him wearing the hood, making this an unexpected bonus.
Thor Mech Armor
At first glance the son of Odin, a literal god, seems like a very unlikely candidate for needing a set of mech armor. But you never know. There have been plenty of storylines over the years where Thor had been depowered for one reason or another, so maybe that’s the hook. Or maybe Thor just wanted to have some fun stomping around. That would be in-character, too.
Thor’s mech has the slight edge in part count, coming in at 139 spread across three bags. He is also the only set in this wave to come with a sticker sheet.
Notable parts include a new printed tile that goes on the black chest plate. There are also two 6x4x1 windscreens in red, a new color for that element.
While it would have been nice to see more printed parts, this set makes good use of the sticker sheet to give the mech a more “Norse” feel. The thin upper arms and legs are somewhat disguised by very large hands and feet, and the super-sized Mjolnir is a fun little build.
From the rear, the red windscreens do make a pretty decent cape analog. They further disguise the thin upper arms, too. Another cute detail is the storage for the minifigure-sized Mjolnir on the mech’s leg.
I do see a missed opportunity in that the set designers didn’t make the big hammer into a “mech armor” for the minifigure scaled hammer. It would have been pretty funny (and meta) to clip the smaller one into the big one rather than just sticking it on the mech’s leg. Still, the large hammer has some nice sticker usage and feels appropriately hefty.
Captain America Mech Armor
Considering the ongoing rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man, this is another character that seems a little out of place to see in armor. Still, Cap is never one to abandon a tactical advantage, so I can’t complain overmuch. And I’m certainly not going to complain about that giant shield element; when these sets were first revealed, that’s the piece that immediately caught my interest. I passed on the 4597 Captain America bigfig back in 2012, so this seemed like a fun way to correct that error.
Cap’s mech is the smallest of the wave, coming in at 121 pieces. That’s only four parts behind Miles, so admittedly it’s not a big problem. The set contents are grouped into three bags and an instruction booklet. The shield element ships loose in the box.
The chest piece has only appeared twice in dark blue, both in 2017 Nexo Knights sets. The red bar with clip is the same new color that appears in Miles’ mech. The 9×9 shield is a new print, having a more detailed pattern than the one from 2012’s big fig. The smaller 2×2 printed tile also appears to be an updated design.
Of the three mech armors in this wave, Cap’s is probably the least impressive. The red, white, and blue color scheme works well, with the 1×2 plate with clips that attaches the chest plate even managing to suggest stripes on Cap’s abdomen. But overall it’s just blocks of color, and not very eye catching.
From the rear, the mech is also pretty bland. Depending on how it’s posed, you at least can get a good look at the big shield in action. But even that could have been improved a little by redesigning the connection to allow for a standard 2×2 round tile in the center of the star. There’s also a fairly odd choice to let Cap stow his minifigure-scale shield on the ankle of the mech. (They didn’t put it at the center of the back as you can stow the big shield there, as seen on the back of the box.)
As to Cap himself, we’re treated to an all-new dual sided torso print. The helmet, shield, and face prints are all common to his appearances in 2020 Avengers sets.
The big question, though, is “can you re-enact the end of Avengers: Endgame” with these mechs? The answer is a qualified “yes”. The hands on Cap’s mech don’t hold the big hammer very well, but with enough patience you can get it to balance long enough for a commemorative snapshot.
Conclusion and recommendation
At first, I was pretty skeptical about these sets. The minifigures were nice, but the mech suits were pretty lacking. They all looked pretty similar, and felt a bit on the cheap side. Then I remembered that these are coming in at a $10 USD price point – currently the same cost as two blind-bag collectible minifigures. The average price-per-part is just under 8 cents, which isn’t terrible. And if you are willing to do some “alternate math” and remove the minifigures from the equation at $5 each, then the value per part comes in at a mere four cents per. And that super low ratio includes some very useful, rare, and new elements. Also in the plus column, these are all pretty quick and fun to build. Could they be better? Sure. But not without raising the cost quite a bit. These sets feel like great ways to get new (or at least new-ish) versions of some very popular characters at a bargain price. Too bad they won’t be out in time for stocking stuffers this year…but they’ll be a nice addition to many a Marvel fan’s post-holiday shopping.
76168 Captain America Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), 76169 Thor Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), and 76171 Miles Morales Mech Armor (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99) will be available January 1st in LEGO stores and the LEGO Shop online. They may also be 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.
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