LEGO Avatar 75578: Mako Submarine [Review]

When James Cameron’s Avatar premiered in 2009 it set a new standard for movies, telling an original story with a visually stunning spectacle best experienced in IMAX. 13 years later the first of several planned sequels set on the colorful planet of Pandora aims to equal that ground-breaking feat. LEGO recently released a wave of sets from the first movie letting fans new and old return to Pandora in advance of the new movie Avatar: The Way of Water, and after announcing 5 new sets from the sequel, LEGO sent us a copy to review. The first set in our coverage is 75577: Mako Submarine, which includes 553 pieces and will be available on January 1, 2023, for US $59.99 | CAN $79.99 | UK £49.99

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 sheets

The set comes in a thumb-punch box with the Avatar branding on the top left corner, along with the 9+ age indicator. The box includes visual designs of underwater foliage, and a Navi swimming while another holds a spear. The submarine, the characters, and three small underwater structures covered in sealife show the set in action.

On the back of the box, the foliage visuals from the front are continued, along with the sub and characters from a different angle. This time, the sub is shown placed on its stand, cleverly built into one of the rock structures. One of the Minifigs and a manta ray are also displayed attached to the other 2 structures. There are 3 inset images, one showing how 2 of the structures can hold different things. Another shows how the new bow can shoot its arrow, while the third shows the sub with the two canopies open.

Inside the box are 6 numbered bags covering 5 building steps, one loose rock piece with two sides, and an instruction booklet.

There is also a small sticker sheet included (the only sticker sheet in the 5-set wave).

The build

The first thing you build is two of the three sealife-covered structures, which use the big 2-sided rock piece, as well as a bunch of brightly-colored parts like turquoise bananas, lavender carrots, and purple unicorn horns, There are even a few glow-in-the-dark crown elements.

Jumping into the submarine, the build starts out simple, with one exception, using a combination of bracket parts to add some studs facing out in an unconventional way.

The build continues with fairly typical stacks of bricks and plates. One neat thing to note is that all 5 sets include full-color stills from the movie in between the instruction steps at intervals between bags. This shows off just how movie-accurate the sub is. I wanted to avoid spoiling the movie or the build by including pictures.

After a while, the sub really begins to take shape, with the addition of 2 side-facing fins fore and aft. The rear portion include attachments for three propellor assemblies.

Viewed from the side you can see the sand green 2×2 round plate where the stand attaches.

Before we add those propellers, there is a removable section which I assume is the power source. I have not seen the movie yet due to inclement weather but I suspect this is a key plot point to be included since there is no hint of it in the final model. Finally, we add the three propellers and the sub is ready for action.

The finished sub attaches to its base by a single connection point and is very well-balanced. In case you are wondering if the stand supports the sub in any other direction besides that shown in the instructions, the answer is yes. I tested all four directions and the stand did not tip over, despite the length of the sub and the off-center placement of the mount.

The Minifigs

The set includes 4 Minifigs. First is Neteyam, a blue-tinted Navi, and Ao’nung, a teal-tinted member of the water tribe which are new in this wave. They both have normal-length legs, so I assume they are adolescents since the adults have longer legs and arms. Both feature front-printed torsos and legs, and back-printed torsos, along with printed molded heads.

Next is a blue-tinted Navi avatar listed as RDA Quaritch (if that name sounds familiar, the main military antagonist from the first movie was also named Quaritch) and a human called Spider. The human Minifigs use bendable short legs to make them seem the proper height compared to the Navi, where even adolescents are taller.

The finished model

The finished model looks great, and all of the very colorful undersea flora and fauna is a nice detail, which makes the build a lot more interesting than it would have been with just the submarine. While the overall construction is not terribly interesting, the design of the double canopy in front, with the pilots laying down is an unusual and unexpected design.

Conclusions and recommendations

There can be few arguments that James Cameron can make a good sequel, and while critics have been raving about The Way of Water, I have not yet seen the film in order to fully judge if the set lives up to its on-screen inspiration. I can say that the set is a fun build and a great parts pack, with so many unconventional colors for common elements. I also really appreciate the built-in stand (something that all 5 sets in this wave incorporate into their design) and an idea that I hope to see in other LEGO sets in the future. LEGO Avatar 75577: Mako Submarine comes with 553 pieces and will be available January 1, 2023, for US $59.99 | CAN $79.99 | UK £49.99

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.