An (eight) arms race – Marvel 76198 Spider-Man & Doctor Octopus Mech Battle [Review]

The latest wave of LEGO superhero sets will be released soon, and we’ve been sharing an early look at them. The final set, Marvel 76198-Spider-Man & Doctor Octopus Mech Battle, will be available April 26th from the LEGO Shop Online for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99. Doc Ock and Spidey have battled many times in the past, and it’s usually a sight to see. Does this latest mechanical knuckle-buster live up to that grand tradition? Come along as we take a close look!

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

Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus – they always seem to be going at it, don’t they? In fact, we reviewed a set that had a battle between them (76174 Spider-Man’s Monster Truck vs. Mysterio) not too long ago. But fighters are gonna fight, and LEGO is gonna LEGO. (No, I don’t know what that means, either.)  Anyway. This new set features Spidey and Doc Ock going at it, but with the twist that they’re both wearing mech suits to kick things up a notch.

The set comes in a thumb punch box with standard Spider-Man theming. The front features a shot of the two piloted mechs going at it, a bunch of logos, and a big Spider-Man minifigure graphic in the right-hand corner. The two included minifigures get an inset in the lower right, and we get a suggested age range of 7+.


On the back, you get a shot of the mechs still poking at each other. That’s a little odd as Spidey and Doc have wrapped up their fight, based on Doc being restrained by web handcuffs. There aren’t any inset shots of play features, as really there aren’t any to speak of. You do get a nice display of all the different web elements that are included on the lower left. Sadly, upon review, the most interesting thing going on here is that the “punch out here” finger looks like it’s ticking the Spider-Mech.


Inside the box are two numbered part bags, a bag of web effects, a sticker sheet, and two small instruction booklets. Considering that each booklet deals with a single mech and each mech gets its own parts bag, you have wonder if LEGO didn’t have a backup plan to release each one as its own, smaller set.


Parts

There are no new molds in this set, but there is a unique print and some new and rare colors for existing elements. First up is the printed tile – a Spider-logo that gets affixed to the center of the Spider-Mech’s chest. I like the graphics here- there are just enough mechanical touches to keep it from being a generic Spider-Man logo. (Although a generic spider-graphic might have been more useful to custom builders. You can’t win ’em all.)

In the realm of recolors we get a new green chest hinge. Bright orange is a rare color for quarter circle tiles. and a color for the bow plate that hasn’t been seen since 2006’s 7783: The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze’s Invasion.


Spider-Mech

This is far from the first Spider-Mech LEGO has released. In fact, there’s a single-serving version in this scale that’s still available: 76146 Spider-Man Mech.  (And a Miles Morales version, too. Check our review for more about that one.) While there are many construction similarities with those other sets, this version does have its own distinctive look.  I like the dark blue color, and that chest emblem is pretty nice. The overall look of the mech is pretty thin and wiry-looking, which is okay for a mech based on a thin and wiry superhero. I mean, unless your goal is to stomp around in a massive mech. Then it may seem just a touch silly.

On the plus side, the mech has really good articulation, allowing for a wide variety of action poses. There’s also a spot for just about every webbing accessory, although clipping the web-handcuffs to the inside of the left leg feels kind of cumbersome.


Octo-Mech

The Octo-Mech, by comparison, feels nice and bulky. It has Doc Ock’s robotic arms built into the back of the suit, big stompy feet, and massive shoulders. There’s also a bit more bulk around the cockpit area thanks to those bright orange tiles.

The downsides of this mech are in the octopus arms. The click hinge construction works well enough, but the arms are connected to a fixed Technic connector and don’t have any rotation. As a result, they are hard to position around that bulked-up torso, making them less posable than I would have liked. A redesign that allows for at least one set of arms to pivot would have greatly improved the playability here.


The Mech Battle

Since you get two mechs in this set, you’re of course going to want to pit them against each other. In my (ahem) playtesting, I found that there was enough reach for the octopus arms to attack the Spider-mech, which I honestly didn’t expect to see. The super flexible bodies on both mechs is a big plus, too. It’s easy to set up some fun action scenes.

In the end, though, we all know who was going to end up winning this fight.


The minifigures

It should come as no surprise that this set includes both Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus minifigures. The Doctor Octopus figure is identical to the one in 76174 Spider-Man’s Monster Truck vs. Mysterio, and Spider-Man is nearly the same as every other 2021 appearance. Both are very comic-accurate takes on the characters, and I just love Doc’s grumpy expression.


Spidey features dual-sided head and torso prints, as well as web-prints on his arms. Doc Ock also has a dual-sided torso print and features two expressions.


I mentioned that Spidey is almost the same as his other 2021 appearances. The change here is a much-welcomed upgrade to dual-molded legs, restoring his red boots to the look. Just look how envious the 76174 Spider-Man is! Plus, that makes this version of Spidey unique to this set!


Conclusion and recommendation

For $20 US, this set is one of the least expensive LEGO superhero offerings, and it delivers a fair amount of value for that price. At 305 pieces, the price per part is a healthy 6.5 cents, and there is a decent mix of useful elements, including some new and rare colors. The two minifigures are sharp-looking, with Spidey being a unique variation. (For now, at least. I expect we’ll see this combination of parts appear again and again.)   The mechs aren’t Ninjago-level awesome, but they’re a fun build with lots of articulation and play value. If you’re looking for a low-cost gift (or treat for yourself), consider checking this one out.


Marvel 76198-Spider-Man & Doctor Octopus Mech Battle will be available April 26th from the LEGO Shop Online for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99. It may also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

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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