Time is a funny old thing, seven years after the LEGO Ninjago theme first appeared, it technically shouldn’t still be on the shelves. It was only ever conceived as a two year ‘big bang’ release, yet its continued popularity has turned the theme into a phenomenon. Something which is really going to explode later this year when the Masters of Spinjitzu make to the leap to the big screen. Until then the small screen adventures are set to enter their seventh season dubbed the Hands of Time soon. Little is known about the storyline, beyond the focus on Kai, Nya and the powerful Time Blades. The latest LEGO sets based on the Hands of Time storyline are available now, and each of them give a little insight into what we can expect from the TV show. For our first Hands of Time set review we take a closer look set 70625: Samuari VXL.
Steer the armored Samurai VXL vehicle to help Nya and new Samurai X defeat the Vermillion warriors and capture the Slow-Mo Time Blade. This detailed vehicle features an opening minifigure cockpit, special tilting four-wheel-drive steering and six-stud rapid shooters. This great set also includes four minifigures equipped with assorted weapons to intensify the role-play battle action.
- Set Number: 70625
- Minifigures: Nya, General Machia, Rivett and new-for-spring-2017 Samurai X
- Piece Count: 428
- Price: £39.99 / $49.99
- Samurai VXL measures over 3” (10cm) high, 7” (20cm) long and 5” (13cm) wide.
The build is split across three numbered bags and two instruction booklets, and begins with the Vermillion bad guys and the mysterious new incarnation of Samurai X. General Machia is partly brick-built, part normal Minifigure. This seems to be a popular trait with the bad guys in the Hands of Time sets. I’m not normally a fan of some of the smaller brick-built figures but Machia isn’t too bad. It’s best described as a sort of snake-type looking creation, that uses a lot of slope elements to the give the snake-like look. These are adorned with stickers to give the impression battle-worn armour. The red snake elements are a nice touch, especially the bottom two which also have tails. With the torso connected, it’s a little top heavy unless on a flat surface and removing the torso piece to make it into the standard Minifigure is a little fiddly but the final product looks quite cool partly due to its red, black and grey colour scheme. Bag 1 also has a very cool little plinth which houses the Slow-mo Time Blade. Although a simple little build, that new little Time Blade element is great. This has a combination of pearl copper and translucent blue material to create the mysterious new time-manipulating weapon.
The main part of the set is the funky car-type vehicle. This usually begins with frame base, but the reason for this soon becomes clear as you build on. Despite being the undercarriage of the VXL, it still has some pretty impressive detail, in particular the ‘Roof Tile 4×4 W. Angl./Lat‘ this is like a good old fashion bow angle element in shape but has a more tubular appearance, think a roll cage frame. It’s quite a rare piece and the set includes four of them. The use of warm yellow and pearl gold elements gives the set some great detail.
As you build on, the base of the VXL becomes three separate sections, connected by four hinge plates. The front section has some great detail thanks to the intersting use of parts. Four ninja swords are used to create a bumper, which overhang the wheels. You’ll also notice that the front piece has two loose sections. There reason for this and the frame based becomes apparent later on in the build. Another nice feature is that despite all the ‘mechanics’ of the set, they are well hidden. I’ve build som sets recently where parts of it aren’t particularly nice to look at. As you can see here there’s a lot going on but it’s all contain underneath the central cab of the VXL.
So why does the build have a frame and all those crazy elements and connections? Turns out it’s a neat feature which allows the cab to be tilted, which in turn steers the whole vehicle. Thanks to how this is connected to the base of the vehicle, it also appears to be floating above the rest of the VXL’s body. Extra detail is achieved with a trio of stickers, two along the sides of the trans blue cockpit hatch, which is another rare element. With the last sticker on the sloped front of the cab, which carries the Samurai X crest.
The back of the VXL has two stud shooting barrel cambers, these are fired by twisting the profile bricks on the back. The rear, where these guns are mounted feels like it just needs a little extra something more to finish it off. Dare I say it, maybe a couple of stickers on a 1×3 flat plate or maybe even a couple of bow plates. It’s not as if a conscious decision has been made to have most of the build SNOT but those few opens studs at the rear just look a little odd compared to the rest of the set. The cockpit of the cab is also a little plain, apart from the couple of Technic bricks it’s quite drab, a couple of Connector pegs with a 1×3 flat plate and sticker (or better still printed) would of finished it off nicely.
The set includes four Minifigures, two Vermillion warriors – General Machia and Rivett. Along with Nya and Samuari X. Ninjago fans will be aware that Samurai X was the identity Nya used to fight along side the Ninja before she became the Elemental Master of Water. But lets focus on the bad guys first. As mentioned above Machia can be either brick-built or a standard Minifigure, thanks to the inclusion of normal legs. The build of the snake-type base is covered above, but I think I prefer the Minifigure version of Machia, she includes a newly re-coloured version of the Medusa hair piece, which was first introduced in series 10 of the Classic Minifigures range. She also has great print detail, with snakes woven in and out of her armour and a double face print, which to be fair isn’t greatly different from each other. Her weapon is also quite cool and like the Blades of Time, uses dual coloured material on a single element. Her buddy, Rivett is a little more elaborate thanks to the Vermillion armour. It has an ancient Japanese Samurai feel to it and is created with a two pieces, the shoulder mounted armour and a helmet which sit nicely together to give the appearance of being a single piece.
Now for the good guys, Nya appears in her ‘Hands of Time’ version of the Ninja outfit. Element wise this is very much the same as previous versions of the Ninja, only difference is the print detail on the torso and legs. Again this is quite muted compared to previous versions, using the same light blue as other Ninja versions of Nya but replaces the scarlet red with black so she is more inline with her fellow Elemental Masters. The standout Minifigure is the new Samurai X, this version is quite similar to the 2015 one, but uses the new smoother shoulder armour from the NEXO KNIGHTS range. The colour scheme has also be switched from red and black to blue, black and gold, which I think works better and obviously matches that of the VXL.
One of the most striking things about the set is the colour scheme. It’s a fairly muted array of colours but they work well especially the earth blue combined with the pearl gold and black elements. I can only assume it’s been done to differentiate these sets from The LEGO Ninjago Movie range coming later in the year. The tilt steering is a fun feature and gives the whole vehicle a unique look. All four Minifigures are great in particular Machia and Samuari X. It’s a fun set to build and has an interesting way of connecting all the sections together, which offers fun play features and overall a decent looking set, even if there could be a few tweaks to really finish it off.