Ninjago is celebrating it’s 10th year, and LEGO has released several new offerings in the Legacy theme updating favorite sets from the past. The Ninjago Legacy 71737: X-1 Ninja Charger hails from the long-ago Season 3, but is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £44.99. This set qualifies for double VIP points through January 31st, and it’s bigger and bolder than its initial version. But is bigger and bolder actually a good thing here? We take a close look at twists and turns as we race to a conclusion. Come along for the ride!
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
The box and contents
This set is an update to, and shares a name with, 2014’s 70727 X-1 Ninja Charger. The box’s front shows that this version comes with the X-1 and five minifigures, including a limited edition 10-year celebration Golden Cole.
The rear of the box shows the set’s main play feature, a hidden Interceptor bike that launches from within the larger car. (Kind of like the Keaton-era Batmobile.) There’s also a call-out for the spring-loaded missile launchers and a diagram showing the length of the car at 9.3″ / 23 cm. Along the right edge are screencaps from Season three showing the original styling of the vehicles. While they’re similar to the set contents, they’ve clearly been reimagined for the Legacy edition. Gone are the front grille and round headlights, and the beefy engine in the rear has been replaced by a missile launcher.
The Interceptor Bike
The first part of building focuses on the Interceptor bike that hides inside the Prototype X-1 chassis. It remains pretty true to its animated origins, although it’s two plates wider, and the square headlight has been changed to a fire logo. The headlight and console display are stickers.
From the side, you can see the rear of the bike has some Technic rods to help slot it into the car. The yellow rear fender is mounted on a clip and can serve as an unintentional brake if it ends up pressed against the tire.
The X-1 Ninja Charger
The Charger’s build is pretty straightforward but does contain a bit of clever engineering. The basic shape is a “U” to contain the interceptor bike, with the launching mechanism built into the rear. The frame is very sturdy, built from overlapping Technic beams. Each wheel has its own mounting, so all can spin freely.
The launching feature is powered by the tension provided by a Technic shock absorber. The build here isn’t too complex but sadly lacks in “oomph,” as we’ll see in a bit.
Several stickers are applied to the fenders of the car, adding flame patterns and some mechanical details. Heavy use of curved red slope elements gives the body of the car some nice curves. The rear fenders are attached at an angle and help smooth out the rear bodywork.
The fully assembled car leans heavily on the stickers to punch up the visual interest. As mentioned earlier, this version of the X-1 has some major changes from its previous appearance. The front end has been completely redesigned, with a new sword-based fender and integrated light bar built from transparent yellow 1×2 tiles. The engine has moved from the rear to in front of the windscreen, replaced by an adjustable missile launcher.
From the front and top, things look pretty good. Peeking into the cabin, though, you can easily see the Interceptor bike is pretty obviously not an integrated part of the larger vehicle.
A lot of times, when you’re building a LEGO set, you put in some basic details on an area then return later to beef it up. I thought for sure that was going to be the case with the rear fender, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Compared to the detailed front end, this is just…sad. There are two transparent red 1×2 plates in the spoiler as tail lights, but they’re really needed to be something extra above those 1×2 sloped tiles. A flat black tile, more 1×2 transparent-yellow tiles as turn signals, maybe a flame element we could stick onto the afterburner. Something.
I also had issues with the overall size of the car. Compared to the original 70727 X-1’s dimensions, the Legacy version is a centimeter wider and longer. While the animated version is indeed a very large vehicle, making it even bigger in this reboot is a questionable move. Compared to other minifigure scaled vehicles, this car is just monstrous. I mean, it clearly dwarfs a monster truck. You can forget trying to drive this thing around any City-based fan display. Or on any LEGO roadway, really.
That said, I’m somewhat torn if this is really a problem or not. I mean, accuracy to the source material is hardly a bad thing. But if you’re updating everything else, why not tweak the scale a bit to make it more in-line with other LEGO offerings?
The first play feature we’ll look at is the integrated spring-loaded missile launcher. It’s built on a hinge at the rear, but the motion range is severely limited when you have the missiles loaded. When armed, you can only elevate it 30 degrees or so. And at that maximum angle, you can’t really launch the missiles as their rear shafts are jammed against the spoiler. On the plus side, LEGO does provide a spare transparent-orange projectile for when one inevitably gets lost under the sofa.
The main play feature of this set is the launchable Interceptor bike. Before we see that in action, I should point out that the absence of any sort of hand controls on the bike means that the driver just sort of sits there, looking concerned.
Pressing down on the yellow Technic bar puts things in motion. The center section of the X-1 pivots up, and the Interceptor launches from within the car. The hinge feature is well concealed when not in use, and the motion is smooth and satisfyingly like Pac-Man in action.
Sadly, the power of the Technic spring just isn’t enough to propel the bike out of the car reliably.
Keep in mind, too; this was done on a very smooth surface. On carpet or any other rough surface, the bike didn’t move at all for me. This really feels like a feature that needed some more time in design and/or play testing.
One of the biggest draws of the Legacy theme is the wealth of cool Ninjago minifigures included in the sets. The Legacy X-1 comes with five, but only one, Golden Cole, is an exclusive version.
Red ninja Kai is presented in his sleeveless tunic, and is the same as his appearance in the (less expensive) 71735 Tournament of Elements. He gets two golden swords as weapons, as well as a red bandanna accessory.
The blue ninja Jay minifigure is also identical to the Tournament of Elements appearance. As noted in our review of that set, the sash print has been updated to read “Master” instead of “Manter,” fixing a Ninjargon typo. His accessories in this set include a blue bandanna and a set of golden-chained nunchaku. (A slight change to the silver-chained nunchaku in the Tournament of Elements set.)
The bad guys in this set are two Nindroids. First up is a Nindroid Warrior with a removable jetpack flier. The component pieces of the Nindroid have been around for several years and sadly don’t get any sort of design upgrades here. The jetpack center may look new, but it’s just a sticker on a 2×2 round tile.
The other baddie is a short-legged Mindroid. It uses the same head, mask, and torso as the Nindroid. The weapon uses some fun and useful parts, but the Star Wars fan in me is a little concerned that the Mindroid is holding a lightsaber by the blade.
The exclusive figure in the set is the 10-year celebration, Golden Cole. He comes on a small brick-built display stand with a 2×2 round tile with the 10 year logo on it. His mask and torso are new, but he shares a leg print with the other Golden Ninja figures. As a small trophy-like exclusive, this is a nice addition to the set.
Conclusion and recommendation
I have some seriously mixed feelings about this set. Compared to the source material and original version, the updated X-1 does feel like an interesting change to the design. At $49.99 US for 599 pieces, the price for a part comes in at just over eight cents, which isn’t terrible considering it includes five minifigures. The build is straightforward but interesting. There’s a good mix of useful parts for those looking to reuse elements in their own creations. But overall, this set left me cold. The play features are either weirdly self-limiting or don’t work at all. The minifigure assortment is weak compared to other Legacy sets, with only a single exclusive figure. And, darn it, I liked the classic look of the X-1 better.
This set can score you double VIP points through the end of January, and that may be enough of a perk to tempt folks to pick this set up now. If you’re a Ninjago completist or someone looking for a red parts pack, you’ll probably be happy. Otherwise, I’d suggest putting your Ninjago budget towards a different set like the Titian Mech. Like most cars, your mileage may vary.
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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