70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON! Review

Theme: The LEGO Ninjago Movie
No: 70656
Release Year: 2017
Cost: AU $139.99
Pieces: 830 (with six minifigures)

Themes that come from a LEGO movie’s subject matter are, in my opinion, at a higher level of awesome. I think it may come from the fact that when you watch the movie, you’re already seeing the play factor on the big screen! It opens up the possibilities when you see the toy come to life.

When Garmadon’s Shark Mech appeared on the screen, I was not the only one that instantly knew I needed it as a set. While this set has been around for a while, it’s interested me for some time, as it just looks plain cool. It’s still available in LEGO stores, online and in big department stores, but is it still worth picking up? Read on to find out.

The box contains six numbered bags of parts, an instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet with 17 stickers. 

ELEMENTS & MINIFIGURES: 18/20

The six minifigures that are included in this set are Lloyd in his shinobi shozoku, Garmadon, The Hammer Head, Shark Army Thig, Nancy and the Hot Dog vendor, called Nomis. Nancy, Nomis and Lloyd have double sided head prints.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

Lloyd has been seen before in his shinobi shozoku, so it’s not all that special, but it is still a welcome addition. The printing is clear and bright, and looks great. The two part mask can be removed, as always, and shows a smiling and determined Lloyd. He brings his sword (a dao) into battle, with a golden tassel at the end. I love this element – it’s very useful for decoration, as well as at the end of a weapon.

Nomis the hotdog vendor is a fantastic addition, with that hilarious costume first seen in series 13 of the Collectible Minifigures. He’s got a very plain torso and legs underneath, but his face is the best. He’s got a grumpy vendor face on him, with a surprised face on the other side. That face is going to be used in other builds for sure!

Someone with another excellent face print is Nancy. It’s brilliant to have the first printed external braces in LEGO. She’s also a LEGO fan from way back, as you can see an M-Tron logo underneath the blue jacket! It’s a great addition to the LEGO fan torsos range. She’s also pretty brave by the looks of things, with a smile on both sides of the head. 

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

Garmadon looks rather mean, especially with his double torso. Again, he’s been seen like this before, in his black armour and helmet. The armour printing looks fantastic, and he carries four katana. He’s got his standard issue snarly face. The shaping of the helmet, especially at the back is my favourite thing about this character. There’s so much to like about that element.

The Shark Army Thug is pretty standard, having been seen before, in 70629 Piranha Attack. He’s got a standard issue torso and legs, with a dark orange beanie. He looks pretty gruff, especially with his eye patch. He also carries a fish-harpoon. Well, I don’t know exactly what it is, but let’s go with that. It’s a harpoon and a fish, after all!

The Hammer Head is pretty similar to the Thug, but with a slightly different torso print, light grey arms, and of course, the hammerhead shark helmet. It looks great! I’m loving the helmeted generals in this theme. He’s also wearing a couple of oxygen tanks. His face looks very interesting, with a fantastic moustache and mean expression. 

There’s a pretty good range of other elements here too – claws in dark stone grey, a tonne of parts in sand blue (one of my favourite LEGO colours), angled and wedge plates galore, a transparent dome, and more. The big drawcard here for me were all of those wedge and angle plates in one of the best colours LEGO does.  More hot dogs and another hot dog guy is also a bonus. There’s a lot of quality parts in this set, so plenty to like.

SWOOSHABILITY: 16/20

There’s a good amount of play in the set, with a number of options all over the shark mech. There’s also the little hot noodle dog cart. This is a great little addition, and is sure to bear the brunt of the carnage from the shark mech. 

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

The main play feature expected would be the walking aspect of the shark, however this is a bit of a let down. The legs can move at the knee joint, but the ankles don’t move, so it makes it a little awkward for the mech to stand in any other position but flat footed. It also takes a bit of effort to move the joint.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

This is so the mech doesn’t fall over, which is a good thing (Hulkbuster, I’m looking at you), so I’d rather have a stable mech on display than one that can move easily but fall over. For me, I’m only displaying it, and not really playing with it as much, so it’s okay, but for others that want to play with it, this is probably a big deterrent.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

The shark also features a cog that opens and closes the mouth which is lots of fun, (and causes plenty of om-nom-nom noises coming from the LEGO room), there’s a seat for Garmadon inside, which he can fit into as well as peer out of using the periscope, as well as a turret using the transparent dome at the back.

Let’s not forget the spring loaded cannons underneath the fins, and the turbines that appear under the fins, as well as on the tail fin. The turbines under the fins can be rotated , however I think that this is probably for when it’s under water. 

BUILD: 18/20

The build kicks off with the hot noodle stand. It’s simple, but fantastic. There’s not a lot to the build, and comes together quickly. The fun in this model comes with the top details of the bun and sausage.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

The shark begins it’s life with the base of the body, and bottom jaw. It’s pretty simple bricks-on-bricks building, as the focus stays on the head, with the gums, teeth, nose and eyes of the shark being added first.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

At one point, the shark has a full head, bare body, with the cogs that open the jaw, and nothing else. It looked quite comical, as a bodyless shark head with little wheels!

The legs are added next, which is the only section I found repetitive. It’s interesting, and well thought out, and I quite like the bare look of the legs – it looks much more mechanical, which is what you might expect from a giant walking shark robot. Once the legs are added the first half of the tail and dorsal fins are added.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

This was a very clever and simple build, with plates backing on to each other using clips. It looks clean and is spot on for the thin look of the fins. The other sides are added, plus the rotors on the tail, some additional details on the dorsal fin, followed by the gills, side fins, and a few final details here and there.

All in all, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable build experience. It’s entertaining, utilises a lot of SNOT and shaping work, and you end up with a giant walking shark robot, so it’s a good result!

DESIGN / APPEARANCE: 19/20

This set was never going to be the same size as the one in the movie. That one was massive – almost twice as large as the set. That being said – the set still looks excellent. It’s one of those classic sets that draws the eye on a shelf, whether it’s built or still in the box. It’s weird, wonderful, and instantly looks like a lot of fun to play with. 

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

After building the set, I thought it wouldn’t be that hard to remove the parts that make it a mech, and just have an excellent shark model. It wouldn’t require too much changing, it’s that good. The colour scheme is pretty perfect and the bold red gums and white teeth stand out to make it menacing. 

Even the satellite build of the hot noodle dog cart would fit very well into any street scene. It would be perfect for a street vendor style setup. 

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

The minifigures are of a high quality, and include never-before-seen designs, so for me, this set ticks all the right boxes for design and appearance.

If I had to pick a couple of things that would need changing, it’d be the plate thickness of light stone grey underneath the top row of white teeth. Change this to white, and it’s a winner.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

Also, make the rear gunner stand on a box! He’s too short.

VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10

For AU $140, this isn’t a cheap set, but for what you get, it’s well worth it. There’s good parts, good minifigures, and a great set in the end. It’s a brilliant build experience as well, so this is a set I’d highly recommend getting. It’s one of those drawcard sets. Someone will see it and get drawn to it and want to look at it close up. To me, that’s a set worth shelling out your hard earned cash on. That initial price point isn’t going to be good for some people, but for others, it’s within reach.

COLLECTIBILITY: 9/10

LEGO Movie themed sets have the reputation of being of a higher calibre. They look good, have great and often more unique minifigures, and you’ve seen them in action on the big (or small) screen. This set is certainly unique, looks great on a shelf or in a child’s hands, and contains some good parts for any collector or MOC builder.

70656 garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON!

OVERALL: 87/100

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.

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