LEGO TMNT Review: Kraang Lab Escape #79100

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If you told the seven-year-old version of me that one day there would be LEGO Ninja Turtles, he would have screamed until his lungs gave out while running around the house recklessly. When twenty-seven year-old me finally got his hands on them, the response was surprisingly similar.

LEGO uniting with Ninja Turtles is a dream come true for me. As a kid, I would often make my own style of “minifigure” consisting of a 2×2 brick, a 2×4 brick, a 2×2 brick and another 2×4 brick. It wasn’t much, but for characters like the Power Rangers, it worked well. But when I was a kid, green LEGO bricks were exceptionally rare – so I was never able to make Ninja Turtles (or the Green Ranger). I ended up shoddily painting some minifigures green but over time the paint chipped away.

During the 2k3 revival, Mega Bloks snagged the TMNT license and made some minifigures that were decent, but the sets were awful. With the newest version of the Turtles being one of the most popular shows on TV and biggest sellers in toy stores, it meant some competition that Playmates couldn’t ruin.

Give the villains the slip with a hot slice of turtle power! The Kraang has Michelangelo locked tight in a laser-shield prison inside his lab. Use Michelangelo’s leftover pizza to turn a sticky situation into a slick escape! Slide the pizza through the prison bars to make the Foot Soldier slip and fall! Then activate the explosion function on Michelangelo’s cage to escape! Once he’s free, battle The Kraang in his awesome mech walker with dual laser flick missiles. Be ready for a wild ride through the city sewers when The Kraang detaches the mech walker’s legs to create a flying escape pod! Don’t let him get away!

The smallest of the LEGO TMNT sets is Kraang Lab Escape. Clocking in at 90 bricks with essentially three minifigures. The $13 price point doesn’t feel awful – but the average of 14.5 cents per piece isn’t great. It does meet my biggest requirement for these kind of sets: built in conflict! In an awkward tentacle filled three-way battle (I welcome the weird search terms), this set is a solid blend of modern designs and nostalgic influence.

Michelangelo is the turtle included in this set and he’s made the transfer into LEGO pretty well. From the neck down, he’s your standard LEGO minifigure. His plastral is painted on his chest along with the belt, and continues onto his legs. His knee pads are painted on and remind you of how weird the idea of knees on a LEGO figure is. Mikey doesn’t have elbow pads though.

The big change to the figure is the head. It’s a brand new piece with his orange bandana sculpted. In the new cartoon, each turtle gets some visual distinctions and Mikey’s are his freckles and blue eyes. This version of Mikey is him smiling and wide eyed – like he just found some pizza. To complete the look, Mikey has a backpack piece that is his shell. It works well, but LEGO also went a step further and also painted his shell on his back!

For accessories, Michelangelo comes with a LEGO pizza which is just a round yellow plate with a decal on it. He also comes with a single nunchaku made up of two brown rods and a short chain piece.

Battling Mikey is one of Shredder’s Foot Ninja! Nearly an all-black LEGO minifigure, the Foot Ninja looks really good. The design is close to the show, but the proportions work really well. It reminds me of the first TMNT movie.

The Foot’s decals are minimal with some charcoal lines showing off the folds in his garb and a slender strap that wraps about the back. The head is the best with the blood red headband, including a stylized Foot insignia, and creepy silver and red eyes. For a weapon, this Foot Ninja comes with a flail.

The final figure was the one I was most intrigued by – the Kraang! Inspired by the Utroms of the original comics, but named after the cartoon brain, the Kraang are a sentient race of aliens responsible for the creation of mutagen. They’re also giant brain creatures.

The Kraang is a brand new piece that is a bit rubbery, like the Friends line hairpieces. This allows the tentacles to move, but the post is set. The Kraang’s only paint is the golden eyes.

Hidden inside the Kraang is a pink head – like the Alien Queen! It also means the Kraang can attach to minifigures’ heads!

In addition to the figures, the set includes two small builds. First is a containment unit that isn’t anything too special. A lever, a control pad and just enough space to hold a turtle makes it kind of boring – even with the action feature. Pushing down on the back pops the unit apart and flings the figure out. It’s decent, but the assortment of pieces here is what really makes it work – I especially like the translucent yellow-green rods and clear semi-tube.

The other build is a vehicle for the Kraang that looks like it jumped right out of an early 90s video game. Looking like something I’ve battled before crossed with a Trouble Bubble; it’s a neat looking piece. The clawed base and missiles all give it solid action features and it holds the Kraang with ease.

As the smallest of the LEGO Ninja Turtle sets, this one is going to be popular. The price point is a bit high, but you essentially get three figures and two builds. Given how expensive LEGO figures are now, I would say that it is still worth picking up, especially if you want a version of Mikey who doesn’t look completely nuts. Plus the Kraang is exclusive too.

Written by jestergoblin

January 11th, 2013 at 8:00 am

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