I don’t know what is going on at LEGO this year when it comes to the capstone sets in each line. The Avengers Quinjet was bland, the Goblin King Battle was haphazardly designed and now Ninja Turtles joins the fray with this set.
Dogpound is speeding through the city, making special deliveries of toxic ooze in his pizza delivery van. Hit the road with Leonardo and Michelangelo in the teched-out Shellraiser to stop that angry mutt!
On paper, this set looks great. The 620 pieces for $60 dips it down to 9.6 cents a brick, and then it includes five exclusive figures (well, two new figures and three variants) for a set that should be at the top of your Christmas list. In reality, the parts individually are worth more than the whole.
Unlike most of the TMNT LEGO sets, this one doesn’t include your basic Foot Solider. Instead, this one comes with an Elite Foot Solider! While the head is the same, the maroon sash and legs sets the figure apart as one of Shredder’s best. While I’m still not crazy about this color being the color of the Foot Clan in the LEGO-verse, the consistency across each set is nice.
The Elite has some extra details on the shins and an ornately tied sash across the chest. To show how high ranking he is, he comes with a golden katana.
Aiding the Elite Foot Ninja is Shredder’s head mutant – Dogpound! Originally the world famous karate master, Chris Bradford, he got mutated into a giant dog monster after battling the turtles. And his mutation didn’t go well.
Dogpound’s massive design couldn’t be done through a simple chest piece, so LEGO made a whole new assembly for him like Fishface, and it looks great. While barely taller than a regular figure, Dogpound makes up for it in width and depth. His legs are your regular LEGO figure’s with some excellent detailing, but the similarities end there.
The uneven arms look good with one being a shorted, clawed hand. The left arm is a hulking piece of plastic covered in spikes and nearly drags on the ground. Both hands can kind of grip accessories. The head and torso is a single piece with his giant grinning head and a spike covered back. The whole assemble is topped off with perfect paint applications on the arms, chest and face – utterly blowing Playmates’ attempt out of the water. The only oddity is that the arms and head are hollow. Dogpound only moves at the shoulders and legs.
The first build is a perfect little set. A white pizza delivery truck, it looks perfect. The red trim and green roof evoke that hint of Italian colors, while the inside is big and roomy – even Dogpound can drive it! Stickers abound on Antonio’s Pizza-Rama truck, but it works so well – I especially like the winking LEGO chef.
The license plate reads “TCRI ASG” – which is a nice nod to the comics, but I don’t know what the ASG means. In the back of the truck are two massive canisters of ooze, just like Fishface was throwing into the sewer.
Attempting to reclaim the ooze is a Kraang! Only this one is inside its exo-suit. A pale blue minifigure, the details come from the extensive paint applications. The chest shows a Kraang sitting in place, while the figure is otherwise your regular robot. The use of a regular minifigure really stops the creepiness from coming through; I would have preferred a new torso piece and skeleton parts.
The details look good, but the accessories are great. The blaster gun has been modified to give it extra range (or a silencer…), while the backpack is a simple jetpack construction.
But this toy line isn’t the Foot Clan versus the Kraang – so two of the Turtles are included! Leonardo gets his second variant in the line with a new face. The gritted teeth look is fine, but nothing terribly exciting. Like his last figure, he has great paint applications and the truth is these LEGO Ninja Turtles all came out amazing. Leonardo comes with two silver katanas.
The other turtle included in Mikey and he’s got a new variant too! The other version of Michelangelo was a bit… wide eyed, but this one has him sticking out his tongue with a furrowed brow. It is surprisingly expressive and works so well for the character.
Mikey comes with a new weapon. Instead of his regular nunchaku, he comes with a kusarigama, which is a bladed chained weapon. It actually looks better than the regular nunchakus thanks to the actual handles.
If the set was just five figures and the pizza truck for like $25, it would have been great. In fact these things are the best part of this set, because the actual set is a disappointment.
In the new show, Donatello took an abandoned subway car and turned it into the newest iteration of the Turtle Van – the Shellraiser! This is an absolutely massive vehicle, measuring over half a foot tall, over nine inches long and five inches wide. It is a brick – literally. Taking the Turtle Van’s yellow and green color scheme and then puking all over it in pinks and reds, the van looks like it was assembled in a sewer.
Building the Shellraiser is a weird experience. It has elements of LEGO Trains in it, but the repetition and weird front-to-back symmetry means you’re just doing almost everything twice. The absurdly massive tires seem to be a theme in this line and don’t really make sense.
The roof-mounted gun rotates and looks neat. The spring missile launch is a great accessory, much better than the traditional flick and fire missiles. I also love the inclusion of a LEGO trashcan on the end. The hideous pink doors fold out to reveal two different areas: a weapon rack and a skateboard launcher. The weapons are bountiful (and give Dogpound a sword or two); while the skateboard launcher gives you Mikey’s to complete the set of four.
Identical on the front and back are driving consoles that look bland and have zero visibility. While it may be accurate, LEGO really should have gotten more creative here to give them something else. Once the doors are folded back in, there isn’t any space in the middle of the set to store figures – they have to be in one of the driving areas!
The Shellraiser’s train past is evident on the bottle where two sets of train wheels are included. It’s a nice touch and allows it to be compatible with LEGO train tracks, but the size of those wheels really shows just how absurdly oversized the rest of the vehicle is. To allow the Shellraiser to ride the rails, the wheels can be pushed up, but in practice it is much harder to do then it looks.
This biggest issue with the Shellraiser is how fragile the whole thing is. The sloped sides mean the vehicle is unstable at best and feels like it will shatter at a moment’s notice – especially since the roof doesn’t add any structural integrity to the vehicle. I would imagine a few minutes of play would result in this being shattered across a room.
It is a shame that this set is so disappointing. Unless you’re dying to own an exo-suit Kraang or Dogpound, you can easily pass on this – and even if you need to own it, don’t ever pay full price for it. This set simply isn’t worth it. It isn’t fun, it’s too fragile and it is all disappointment.
LEGO Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reviews
Kraang Lab Escape #79100
with Michelangelo, Foot Ninja & Kraang
Stealth Shell in Pursuit #79102
with Raphael, Foot Ninja and Fishface
Shredder’s Dragon Bike #79101
with Donatello, the Shredder and Foot Ninja
Baxter Robot Rampage #79105
with Donatello, Raphael, April O’Neil, Baxter Stockman and a Mouser
Turtle Lair Attack #79103
with Raphael, Leonardo, Master Splinter, Dark Ninja & Foot Ninja
The Shellraiser Street Chase #79104
with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dogpound, Elite Foot Ninja & Exo-Suit Kraang