Season 15 of Ninjago is nearly here, and that means LEGO is unveiling a whole host of tie-in sets. The theme this time around is “Crystalized” – with our heroic ninjas taking on the Vengestone Army and their leader, the Crystal King. The summer 2022 sets include everything you’d expect from a Ninjago release – dragons, motorcycles, playsets, and…oh yeah…giant robots. We’re starting out our reviews with Ninjago 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech – a 1003 piece set that will be available starting June 1st in the UK, and August 1st worldwide, for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £99.99. Featuring the Samurai X Mech, a crystal beast, and a whopping 8 minifigures this set is ready for some serious play. Come along as we take things for an early test drive!
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.
Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet
The summer 2022 Ninjago sets return to a more cinematic package style, abandoning the more “artsy” renderings of the EVO wave. The Samurai X Mech gets full attention in the center of the package, with its blue and red colors creating a crisp visual break with the purples of the Crystal foes along the bottom edge. We also get the usual large Ninjago and LEGO logos on the left, with an inset shot of Lloyd in the upper right. The age range here is listed as 10+ which seems pretty reasonable to me.
The back of the box has a great action shot of the Mech, with all the characters involved in their own fights. The Mech’s play feature of spring-loaded missiles are shown in use, with the single inset shot showing Nya seated in the cockpit.
The instruction book is 144 pages long, and perfect bound. The graphics here are a lot more subdued, with a tan background and white borders. The tan color continues inside as the background for the building steps.
The medium sized sticker sheet has a lot of repeated designs. The ninjargon text on sticker 8 appears to read “MJ3”. The logo seen on stickers 2 and 6 might be an “R”.
This set comes with a wealth of new and interesting parts. Many of them are shared across the Crystalized theme, so be prepared to see some of these again in future reviews. We’ll start off with a new golden weapon accessory pack, twelve pieces spanning five designs. If gold isn’t your thing, though, how about some sweet transparent dark pink?
The “fixed hinge” arm/leg plates first used in the EVO Mechs appear here for the first time in purple. And if that isn’t enough, there are a bunch of dark azure elements to enjoy.
These rubbery orange nubs have had only one other appearance – the Boost 17101 Creative Toolbox. They’ll be used here to give additional traction to the Mech’s feet. The cool windscreen introduced in the Legacy 71736 Boulder Blaster set is back, this time dual-molded in opaque black and gold.
The Crystal Beast
The first bit of construction in the set is making a Crystal Beast to menace the Samurai X Mech. The build here is pretty straightforward, with a bit of SNOT mixed in with large ball joints for the neck, hips and shoulders.
The legs have sufficient bulk to balance the rest of the creature, and the arms have some dual-finger articulated hands and snazzy looking crystal shard wings.
We don’t know a lot about the crystalline foes of this season of Ninjago yet, but man, they sure look cool. Well, if you ignore that exposed grey Technic pin in the middle of its head. I would have really liked to see that hidden by 1×2 plates or something.
This beast also looks pretty good from the back. From this angle you can see the range of motion allowed by all those ball joint connections. But also that grey pin in the head. *sigh*
The dual molded transparent dark pink and dark grey head piece is very striking, but lacks any printing or build to indicate eyes. I think it looks great as-is…it reminds me of a tremor-sense enabled cave monster out of the depths of some D&D adventure.
The beast is scaled well to interact with the Ninjas at a minifigure-level, although do they seem a bit outmatched. Maybe that will change in a bit…
The Samurai X Mech
Like most Ninjago mechs, the Samurai X Mech starts with a torso built with a lot of external-facing SNOT and Technic connections. The ball joint sockets at the base will be used to attach skirting later on.
The cockpit area has a couple of modified 1×1 round plates in red for control surfaces, and two stickered displays. One of them has what is likely to be a call out to the animated episodes – a drawing of a mech standing over a group of ninja. Or maybe those are characters from Among Us. (But probably ninja.) The mech looks similar to Nya’s 9448 Samurai Mech, which would make a certain amount of sense as a callback.
Once the core build is in place, gold and dark azure plates create the outer skin. More stickers are applied to the front, adding some technical details and the “R” logo.
Adding a splash of red, the center of the chest gets a big “X” shaped plate that clips on using robot arms. The cockpit gets a hatch with click hinge attachments and a ball joint socket for the mech’s neck.
One of my favorite details on this set is the golden “X” logo made from two modified 2×2 tiles. The chest armor fits snugly against the torso, and was fairly easy to attach.
The hatch that protects the cockpit area works well, and there is enough room to get your fingers in there to place/remove a minifigure pilot. It seems likely there were some design discussions about giving Nya a way to see out of the cockpit directly via a window or something, but I think this mech looks better with a solid torso.
Samurai X Mech’s head has a small bonus range of motion built into the neck connection thanks to the use of a rounded 1×2 plate. You can move the head slightly side to side in addition to the angles allowed by the neck’s ball joint.
I’m not completely sold on the look of the head, seen here in a 3/4 view. The golden horn looks nice, but I would have liked to see a bit more definition in the face.
Moving to the limbs, the thighs of Samurai X Mech are beefy, with a tiny bit of glitz thanks to a cornice brick in gold. The scalloped dark azure plating looks good, and the new click-hinge joints at the hips are very sturdy and can carry the weight of the completed model well.
As mentioned earlier, the ball sockets at the waist are used to add some dark azure skirting to hide the hip assembly.
The lower legs have more SNOT connections, with a bit of gold armor plate on top. The three Technic balls snap into the upper leg, providing a very sturdy and flexible join.
Another great detail is the use of dual-molded windscreens as kneepads. These solid black windscreens aren’t great for visibility, but that’s not the use case here. I’m glad to see this element continue to make an impact on the Ninjago line – it’s one of my favorite designs.
Ninjago mechs will sometimes use vehicle tires to add a bit of grip to the feet. (The Ideas 21332 The Globe set also uses this technique to good advantage.) Here, tires have been replaced with small soft plastic orange caps that snap into Technic 1×2 bricks. It’ll be interesting to see if this is a design change to LEGO mechs moving forward, of if this is a one-off experiment.
Moving up the body, the shoulder pads have an integrated spring-powered missile launcher, and are mounted onto a shoulder assembly that makes use of the new heavy-duty click hinge. The forearms are attached with a mid-sized click hinge, with the wrists articulated with large ball joints.
Samurai X Mech’s hands are designed around integrated swords. Modified 1×1 round plate cap off golden robot arms to make the fingers. A thumb is mounted on a Mixel ball joint to provide human-like articulation.
The finished model
The assembled Samurai X Mech is a quality addition to the ranks of Ninjago mecha. The colors are bright and bold, with just the right touch of callback to classic manga. It’s like the big sister to the 31124 Super Robot.
The numerous ball joints and click hinges give the mech a wide range of articulation, allowing for some great action poses. With the right camera work, even that iffy face build can look daunting.
As mentioned earlier, the sealed cockpit area fits the Nya minifigure perfectly, with enough clearance for easy placement and play.
Earlier, we mentioned that the minifigure ninjas were a little outmatched by the Crystal beast. Let’s check back in and see how that’s going.
Welp. I guess there’s no long an issue.
Comparison to other Ninjago Mechs
The Samurai X Mech stands a little taller than the one from Legacy 71738 Zane’s Titan Mech Battle. It has similar bulk, though, and the two feel in-scale when placed next to each other.
An even better match, though, is with the 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech. They see almost eye-to-eye, and since Nya isn’t part of the Ultra Combo Mech squad, you can have all five core ninjas “in play” with these two at the ready.
This set comes with eight minifigures, six of which are unique to this set. One the hero side, we have Lil’ Nelson, Master Wu, Golden Jay, and Samurai X Nya.
First up is Lil’ Nelson, the honorary Purple Ninja. We’ve had two previous minifig versions of this character, one in 2016’s 70589 Rock Roader and again in 2018’s 70657 Ninjago City Docks. This time around, Nelson gets a swanky ballcap/hoodie combo, some color-coded swords, and a banner with a ninjargon “R” sticker on it. He has new dual-sided face and torso prints, and short dark blue legs.
Master Wu is back with a backpack mounted “R” banner, golden staff, and new shoulder armor. He has the same dual-sided head print as previous versions, but sports an all new dual-sided torso and printed legs.
Jay has new “golden armor” – his signature blue color scheme is incorporated throughout, including a headband on his hood with the “R” logo on it. His face print has been around for years, but the mask, dual-sided torso, and printed legs are new. Jay is the only hero minifigure in this set to appear elsewhere – look for him again in 71774 Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon.
The real star of the hero show, though, is Nya. She’s returned to her Samurai X role, this time with a dark azure color that matches the mech. As usual for the ninjas, her face print matches her previous appearances, the printing on her torso and legs is new.
The evil forces of the Crystal King are represented here by General Pythor, The Mechanic, Oni Garmadon, and a Vengestone Warrior. Garmadon and the Vengestone Warrior appear in other sets in the Ninjago Summer line, but I don’t think you’ll mind risking getting duplicates of them.
General Phytor (Pythor P. Chumsworth to his friends) has been around since 2012 and has had a four previous minifigure versions. This latest version has all new printing on the head, tail, and torso. He shares the same torso and crystalline neck armor as the Mechanic, below. He comes with what is probably my favorite brick-built weapon of this series.
The Mechanic has had only one previous minifigure appearance, in 2021’s 71741 Ninjago City Gardens, despite being in the show (occasionally) since 2016’s Season 6. His bowler hat is an existing accessory, but everything else about his minifigure is new. As noted above, he shares a dual-sided torso print and crystal collar with Pythor.
Garmadon is back to his evil ways with this Oni upgrade. We last saw Oni masks in 2016’s Sons of Garmadon wave. but this is an all new print for the visor. Under the helmet, Garmadon’s face has had three prior appearances, but the dual-sided torso and legs sport new designs.
Providing a bit of cannon fodder, the Vengestone Warrior rounds out the cast. These foes appear in most of the Crystalized theme sets, perfect for army building. The dual-molded head is new, and the torso and legs feature transparent dark pink elements and all new printing. There’s some variation across the sets with what weapons the warriors are equipped with; this time we get a crystal shard sword.
Conclusion and recommendation
I’m always excited to get to review new Ninjago sets, and Season 15/Crystalized theme is no exception. Things start off strong here with a set that offers a lot of play value for the money. The Samurai X Mech is cleverly designed and a fun build. The articulation is good, the easy-to-loose missiles kept to a minimum, and the color scheme makes my old geek heart glow with nostalgic love. The crystal beast is visually interesting, and bridges the gap between the mech and minifigure scales. And speaking of minifigures – you get eight of them! All of them exclusive to the theme, six exclusive to this set. At $120 US for 1003 pieces the cost per part may seem a little high at 12 cents, but the figure count and new parts completely offsets that in my eyes. I didn’t spot any cut corners here, this is a solid set at a solid value.
Is this the one set I’d pick out of the Crystalized line? Well, you’ll just have to keep watching for our reviews to see the answer to that. But if I ended up with just this one? I wouldn’t be sad.
Ninjago 71775 Nya’s Samurai X MECH will be available starting June 1st in the UK and August 1st worldwide for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £99.99. 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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