Review: 79100 Kraang Lab Escape
When LEGO finally announced they had secured the licence to produce sets based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it certainly seemed to fire people up, with seemingly equal volumes of excitement and disappointment.
Now that the sets have been released in some countries (though not in the UK at present), it’s time to take a look at the smallest of the six strong launch line-up: 79100 : Kraang Lab Escape.
As most of you will already be aware, this theme is based on the cartoon currently airing on Nickelodeon and not the original 80’s cartoon show. It contains 90 pieces and retails for US $12.99 / GBP £9.99.
Box and Contents
The front of the box shows the action, with the Foot Soldier slipping on a pizza thrown by Mikey whilst he escapes from the laser prison with The Kraang watching on. You know, I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember if this is a scene from the first twelve episodes of the TV show and I’m drawing a blank, anyone?
The back of the box shows more of the play features and also a small comic strip that acts out the scene.
Two small non-numbered bags are included, along with my personal favourite, folded instructions :-/
This set contains two minfigures: Michelangelo (Mikey), a Foot Soldier and one character: The Kraang.
Let’s start with the star of the show: Mikey.
Mikey has front and back printing and a specially moulded head piece. I’m pleased they resisted the temptation to give the turtles standard minifig heads and that they also decided to use standard ABS plastic rather than the softer rubber sometimes used for these types of heads.
The shell, which is of course a new piece for this theme, attaches simply around the neck and looks great. Mikey’s weapon of choice, the Nunchaku are built using two reddish brown 24mm outer cables and a chain 6 M.
Let’s cut to the chase, if you’re after a complete set of Ninja Turtles, you’re going be buying this set, the only other set Mikey currently appears in is 79104: Shellraiser Street Chase (review coming soon!) and that version not only has a different facial expression, but the set is also a lot more expensive. I think the Turtles have translated really well into LEGO form and make for great minifigs.
The Foot Soldier is a lot less interesting, although obviously more of an army builder, which is lucky given that he appears in four of the six launch sets. He has front and back printing and is packing this one piece flail.
Finally we have The Kraang, not a minifigure, but what LEGO call a ‘character’. It comes supplied in a separate bag and is moulded using the softer flexible plastic. The Kraang fits on to a standard bright purple minifig head so you can attach it to studs, specifically in this case, inside the Mech Walker pod included in this set.
This is the only set that The Kraang features in so far (not counting the biosuit version from the Shellraiser set), and since there a ton of these in the cartoon series, you will either need to buy multiples of this set, or more likely, pick more up on BrickLink if you want an army of them.
The Completed Model
There are two separate models in this set. You get the Mech Walker that The Kraang uses to get about; this is actually two sub-assemblies, with the top escape pod lifting off the legs. The pod can freely rotate though 360 degrees and contains two flick-fire missiles on the side. Again, I'm pretty sure this hasn't featured in the cartoon as yet (I've seen the first twelve episodes).
It’s a basic model but perfectly decent, can’t say it blows my socks off, but the two printed 1 x 1 flat tile pieces are really nice and new for this theme, I can see a lot of re-use potential for these in MOCs.
The laser prison is designed to house a minifig, although it contains no studs to place Mikey on, the reason for this soon becomes clear, since pressing down on 2 x 4 flat tile to the rear explodes the transparent wall element from the plate and releases the imprisoned turtle (and for what it’s worth, the exploding mechanism works pretty well).
Those clips on the side are to hold Mikey’s nunchucks whilst he’s twiddling his thumbs inside. One thing that bugs me about this model is that the ‘laser beams’ stop well short of the top of the prison, and it just looks a bit off to me.
I’m a little under whelmed by this set, truth be told, I mean, it's not bad, but it's not particularly great either. On the plus side, Mikey is a great minifig and I do like the The Kraang’s Mech Walker. The Foot Solider for me is a little dull and I think the laser prison could do with a bit of spicing up, although the exploding mechanism is a nice touch and works well enough.
I would perhaps liked to have seen another minifig included, even if it was just another Foot Soldier. By including one of the Turtles, and in particular a design that is unique to this set, LEGO have made this an essential purchase and I can’t deny that it would be a decent introduction to the theme.
I passed this set on to my four year old son and he gravitated towards Mikey and the Kraang Mech Walker, whilst not really giving the Foot Soldier or laser prison a second glance. I will say this though, so far we have two of Turtles sets, and of all the themes my son has tried to date, this is by far the most popular with him.