71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech represents some serious ambition from the LEGO NINJAGO team – but is this 4-in-1 build more than the sum of its parts?
The LEGO NINJAGO Core wave of January 2022 LEGO NINJAGO Core wave has no specific source material so the LEGO NINJAGO designers are free to use their imaginations for designing sets. They’ve taken that freedom and gone full Voltron with 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo MechThe towering set is called, but it still fails to live up to its premise.
Unlike this wave’s 6+ sets at the lower end of the price scale, this 9+ set has nothing too simple about it. It isn’t elegant, but it isn’t meant to be, providing a worthy building challenge and a central play feature that no other set can boast to this degree (besides 21311 Voltron, of course).
— Set details —
Theme: LEGO NINJAGO Set name: 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech Release:January 1, 2022
Price: £74.99 / $89.99 / €84.99 Pieces: 1,104 Minifigures: 6
LEGO: Available now
— Build —
You’ve seen the name of the set, so naturally multiple smaller things must be built before any ‘combo’It is possible to -e. This build is ideal for sharing with family and friends, even though it only contains one thick booklet. Of course, there’s always the LEGO instructions app to supplement the physical booklet, and it’s a wonder the LEGO Group doesn’t tout that possibility more clearly with a cute graphic to match the ones about sorting the parts, with one minifigure looking at the booklet while another looks at their device.
Instructions order the vehicle builds in a way that is strongest to weakest. With one exception for the bad guy vehicle, it’s not a good idea. Kai’s mech ranks highest among the ninjas’ rides without contest. Its stocky design with its stepped plates and many angular parts makes it look serious and tough. The gold and decorative elements at its front add elegance.
Only the arms stand out, with their bulging forearms. They also have anaemic upper arms that are made of only a few pieces. Otherwise, Kai’s mech could easily be a $30 set with a couple of villains alongside it.
We’ll skip discussing the villain vehicle until the end, and next move to Zane’s icey tread machine. This tank is also strong enough to be used as a set. It’s a kind of treaded battering drum, considering its lackluster firepower.
Even the fact it splits in half harkens to other sets that did the same, such as 76118 Mr. Freeze Batcycle Battle and the Alien Conquest set7067 Jet-Copter Encounter. However, as its own set, it would require a redesign so each half could still roll independently. Only the bars and clips on the back belie the notion that this could be a standalone set, though these wouldn’t be out of line as weapons storage, so overall it’s a fun and successful design.
Sadly, the other two ninja vehicles don’t fare quite so well. Cole’s driller, which the LEGO Group inexplicably labels a ‘car’Its official description clearly states that it is only intended to be connected to another thing. Although the front section is good, the entire back feels fragile, with all the hinge parts and extra Technic connectors. It’s also a shame that the drills aren’t powered by the wheels nor even have a remote actuator. While this vehicle does feel very Cole, it doesn’t feel very good.
Jay’s ‘jet’However, this build is too small to be considered a standalone build. This design is not very good. The Technic parts on the front are too obvious and clash with other parts, the wings look strange and the cockpit makes Jay feel like he is sitting on top of the flyer, rather than inside it. There’s also no firepower. Sure you can swoosh it, but otherwise, this one’s a dud.
Another thing: Ninja cannot be placed in their vehicles with swords in their back sheaths. It’s okay, but slightly annoying.
Before we get to combining the ninja vehicles, we’ll look at the woefully outmatched enemies. Cobra Mechanic and Boa Destructor don’t stand much of a chance, but their little frog-like vehicle looks cute and has the novel solution of wedge parts for feet. There’s no truly satisfying way to pose those feet, however, but the vehicle plays well and adds value to the set while not using up too many parts.
Although it may seem daunting to combine the ninja cars into the Combo Mech at first, once you get used to it, it is easy to do in a matter of minutes. It is very easy to do as little as possible from each vehicle.
The most ingenious part of the design is how the Kai Mech’s lower legs fold back, and the disconnected bars and clips then match up perfectly to the bars and clips on the back of the two halves of Zane’s tank. Somehow it doesn’t feel like it should work, yet it creates a perfectly solid connection without needing any true disassembly.
The mech looks great once it’s all assembled and plays well for most of the time. Of course it’s obvious that different sections have different colour schemes, but the pearl gold ties it all together so it comes across looking a bit busy, but not messy.
The top half works well with a wide range of motion in each arm. When all combined it makes sense for the Kai mech arms to be so scrawny, and that aspect of them barely registers beneath the bulky drill arms from Cole’s driller.
The legs are the only weakness of LEGO mechs. There are no knees, but it would be absurd to expect them in a mech constructed from other things. The ankles and feet are more problematic. The ankles can have side-to side rotation and front-to back rotation. However, the side-to side aspect may be too easy.
It can be difficult keeping the mech from toppling over when going for a more dynamic pose, and thus the legs end up more limited than we’d like. Still, it’s satisfying putting the mech together and fun to play around with it, and we managed some slightly dynamic poses after a lot of trial and error.
You should also note that we did not use stickers to build the mech. It looks great without them.
— Characters —
We’ve already covered these minifigures in our previous reviews of some of the January 2022 NINJAGO wave, but suffice to say they mix classic NINJAGO design elements like robes and strong colour identities with a new approach of muted or utilitarian trousers. We find the clashing of the LEGO Group’s designs to be a bit confusing, but we like that they have tried something different and the ninja designs are always changing with each wave.
With the idea of four ninjas teaming up, it makes sense to get the original four Ninja. As a nod to NINJAGO’s past, their inclusion makes good sense. Sadly they don’t come with alternate hairpieces in this set, like they do in almost every other one this wave.
The Wu Bot, while an iteration of the one included in 2021’s 71756 Hydro Bounty, feels like a further evolution of Tee Vee from the Alpha Team set 6775 Alpha Team Bomb Squad, who was then redone in Hidden Side’s70436 Phantom Fire Truck3000 by 2020 It’s funky and can be used in conjunction with the great new shooters.
The role of the snake villain fills that of the generic snake baddies. Their distinctive colour scheme of gunmetal, orange and accents of teal or olive green distinguishes them from other snakes. Additionally, they have very fine detail across their legs and torsos. We’d have absolutely no problem with a massive army of them!
— Price —
The price of £74.99 / $89.99 / €84.99 for 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo MechThe 1,104 pieces sound like a good deal, and it is, if mechs are your thing. The set has many small parts but also many larger parts. Therefore, the price feels reasonable from a parts perspective. The price feels right considering the size and weight of the mech as well as its multi-faceted playability.
— Pictures —
— Summary —
The NINJAGO team was given the daunting task of creating a set that could be easily transformed between four people and one mech. They managed it. Although the combined mech is not perfect, it looks great and still works well.
We only have praise for half of the individual ninja vehicles, and it’s a shame the other two aren’t strong on their own as well. Nevertheless, they serve their purpose when it comes to making the combined mech, so they don’t hinder the set too much.
This team-up set is a great way to get the original four Ninjas. The designs of this wave mix the classic NINJAGO design language and new concepts. The bad guys with their little walker vehicle, Wu Bot, and Wu Bot add fun value without taking away anything.
Overall, the set is a good investment.
The LEGO Group provided this set to review.
Brick Fanatics is a charity that supports brick enthusiasts by purchasing LEGOs through our affiliate links.
— FAQs —
How long does it take for LEGO NINJAGO 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech to be built?
It takes approximately two and a quarter hours to build. 71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech, provided you don’t stop to play around with the different vehicles too much.
How many pieces are included in LEGO NINJAGO71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech
There are 1,104 pieces in 71765 Nina Ultra Combo Mech, from tiny ones up to more substantial ones like the drills and wheels on Cole’s car.
How big is LEGO NINJAGO 7765 Ninja Ultra ComboMech
How much does LEGO NINJAGO71765 Ninja Ultra Combo Mech Cost?
71765 Ninja Ultra Combo mech is priced at £74.99 in the UK, $89.99 in the US and €84.99 in the EU. That’s a fair price for the amount of parts and size and complexity of the model, though you’d have to like mechs to appreciate it.