This set review will be more focused on analyzing the set in terms of using it as a starting point / parts pack for LEGO mecha building.
Unlike other set reviews, I’ll be focusing more on the parts selection and if the set is worth it to be used for LEGO mecha building (specifically in the style I build in). I won’t be focusing too much on the minifigs, the overall build, poseability, stability, play features, etc.
I've always really liked the Ninjago line of LEGO for the mechs and the dragons. This Zane mech is actually a redesign of an older set (70737) that featured a mech battle but this version focuses purely on Zane's mech.
Disclaimer: I have never watched an episode of Ninjago for the same reasons as any other LEGO tv series. I do enjoy the sets very much though.
When I first saw this announced, I knew right away that this was a great set to get for LEGO mech lovers. The one thing that blew everyone’s minds was that it had bendable knees, a rare thing for official mech sets to have. I’m pretty sure there was a detailed and well commented post over at our Brick Mecha Division FB group about the knees.
I’m also a huge fan of the set designer for this. I’ve actually met Niek in Japan back in 2019 for Japan Brickfest when he did a signing session for the Voltron IDEAS set. He’s a great guy with a great love for Gurren Lagaan with both a cosplay of Simon and a LEGO mech of the Gurren.
This review makes it the 2nd writeup I’ve done of a set designed by Niek. 😁
Main considerations for getting this set (in my opinion)
- You need the joints for mech building (this set comes with a good amount of different sized joints)
- You’re building or have plans of building a white mech. Other colors are a bonus (gold for accents and a bit of sand blue)
- You want the newer / rarer white shield tiles as well as the new white wedges (4×4 = 4 pieces, bigger 6×8 = 3 pieces)
- You also want the ingot pieces in both pearl gold, white, and tan (seat of the cockpit)
- Gold sword can be found on cheaper sets but comes as a nice bonus to have in this set
Table of Contents
- Set Overview
- Build Progression Per Bag
- Highlighted Mech Building Parts Per Bag
- Interesting Build Techniques
- Conclusions and Recommendations
Brickset Key Set Details
- Designers: Niek van Slagmaat
- Parts count: 840 (4 Minifigs)
- Set SRP (on release): USD $59.99
- Price Per Piece: 6.5p / 7.1c / 7.1c / 3.41 Php
I. Set Overview
The Zane’s Titan Mech Battle set is divided into 6 bags and each bag corresponds to a build section or body part. Bag 3 and 4 makes one leg each. This set actually builds the body first, then legs, then shoulders, and last head, arms, and weapons.
II. Build Progression Per Bag
Pictures here show the progress at the end of each bag. I actually liked how the steps were separated and paced. As with the Demon Bull King set, bags correspond to each major section or body part, making the build quite easy to do and with less or little pressure to finish the entire thing in one go (I did anyway 😅).
Bag 3 and 4 are actually one leg each with the exact same parts.
Hands mirror issue?
Not sure if this was intended but the hands connecting the “fingers” to the thumb has a black 2×2 wedge plate but its different on each side. Looking at the underside of the hands, they’re oriented properly when mirroring the design. I actually ended up deviating from the instruction here and following the underside orientation.
III. Highlighted Mech Building Parts Per Bag
There’s actually a nice amount of functional pieces in this set and in different sizes. It has small, medium, and large joint pieces to help you build your own mechs. There’s also quite a lot of brackets for SNOT connections.
Plating / Design pieces are mostly in white (a ton of those Nexo shield tiles in plain white yum!) but there’s a few ingots in pearl gold and white. There’s a few other clean surface (barely any studs or stud-less) pieces in sand blue but I didn’t include them in the pictures as they were relatively big pieces.
My highlight piece/s from this set
- 14x White Tile, Modified 2 x 3 Pentagonal
- 3x White Wedge 6 x 8 Pointed Cutout
- 4x White Wedge 4 x 4 Pointed
- 30x White Minifigure, Utensil Ingot / Bar
- 22x Pearl Gold Minifigure, Utensil Ingot / Bar
- 2x Tan Minifigure, Utensil Ingot / Bar
- 4x Sand Blue Wedge, Plate 3 x 4 with Stud Notches
- 4x Pearl Dark Gray Cone 2 x 2 x 1 2/3 with Stacked Rings (Beehive / Cotton Candy)
- 4x Dark Bluish Gray Plate, Modified 2 x 3 Inverted with 4 Studs and Bar Handle on Bottom – Closed Ends (Rocker Plate)
IV. Interesting Build Techniques
For an official set, I really think this chest design pushed what could be an angular and unique design. Most official sets tend to have rigid shaping in my opinion so this huge V shape on the chest was a refreshing sight. Not a fan of the gap it creates from the side view but you’ll barely see it if its on display on your shelf. Oh and did you notice how the chest actually looks like a face (skull?). Nice Gurren Lagann mech design there.
Thruster and Glow
This was a nice little detail that gave the color of the thrusters some more color pop. The 1×1 yellow green stud seen through the transparent light blue minifigure head gives off a nice glow look to it. Also, the way the minifig head fits in the beehive cone is just so perfect.
You can barely see this detail with the finished build, especially since these thrusters face downward but its still a nice detail to make the thrusters look realistic.
Will take some time to write about this play feature as you rarely see official sets with functional knees.
From my knowledge, the main reason why larger official LEGO mech sets (or even big creature sets like the Demon Bull King) have no working knees is due to them targeting a younger audience for the sets. Remember that the main target demographic for themes like Ninjago and Monkie Kid are kids. Having them play with a set with working, bending knees adds an extra layer of instability to the set when being played with.
Of course, being Adult Fans of LEGO who are experienced MOCing (making their own Creations) can easily modified fixed knees sets but it’ll take significantly more parts and steps to get right.
Basically, I’m just glad this set has knees. 😅 It won’t happen to every set at this scale. Maybe its all because Niek is a Japanese Mecha fan so he understands how important action poses are with moveable knees? 😁
Knee bend angle and analysis
One thing I realized after building the leg from Bag 3 was that the legs aren’t actually completely straight. The hip joint isn’t directly above the knee joint. I guess it was a compromise in order to get this bending knee and isn’t that big of a deal for the overall balance (I’m sure it does affect it though).
So when bending the knee, the hamstring assembly actually slides down. Note where the dots are in the pictures as they indicate where the joints are. Checking a protractor shows a bend of only 64° which is a little underwhelming but again, take the bending knee!
I actually removed the pieces that I thought was blocking the knee bend to test the max bend angle but this is actually the most it can bend due to how the 3 towball pieces in the calves move and react when the knee is bent.
V. Conclusions and Recommendations
I really like the overall parts selection for this set. There’s an abundance of functional pieces both for articulation and inner framing using SNOT connections. There’s also a good mix of different sizes for these two types of functional pieces.
White as a majority color for the armor of this set is also very easy to work with and is one of my beginner friendly recommendations for color choices. The amount of shield tiles is also great for armor plating as it offers a more than your usual 2×2 tile. There’s also a few wedge plates and pieces to help make a more pointy white mech. While the bigger 6×8 wedge piece might be too big for the scale I work in, there’ll certainly be a use for it with certain designs.
One downside about this for me is the lack of more sand blue plating options. If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my Sailia is in mostly sand blue and I just love that color. Was hoping I’d find more here but its mostly common 2×4 tiles and the 4×4 piece. The wedge plates are nice to have though.
Parts wastage of this set is very low with not much big unusable pieces. I’d estimate around 90% of the parts of this set is usable for a medium mech build and that’s a really good rate.
Honestly I didn’t think this set would be as big as it is. At 200+ pieces less than the Demon Bull King, its clearly taller but narrower. Have I mentioned knee articulation?? Both front and rear views look so good and we even get armor skirting for the thighs! Oh and the fact that most joints on this set are hidden is such a plus for me. The shooters are quite small though and was hoping for a more “Oomph!” weapon but the ninja blade swivel sword was a nice touch.
One thing I dislike about this build is the way the shoulders feel a bit lacking compared to the leg build and detail. I can imagine having the shoulder 6×8 wedge piece angled differently would have given this an entirely different look (more aggressive). Lastly, I’m just not sold on how the head floats too high but I’m guessing they needed Zane to be visible in the cockpit without opening any flaps.
Closing remarks on Zane’s Titan Mech Battle LEGO set 71738
If you can purchase this set at US SRP ($60 as of writing) or close to it, I’d recommend it 10/10 for parts.
This is a really good set for mech building with an abundance of functional pieces both for internal structure and articulation. Plating options are mostly white with a good range of piece type for plating. Sand blue pieces aren’t as plenty as the box art makes you think but there’s a good amount of useable gold pieces.
Its a very handsome official mech set with great parts to make your own mech. Huge props to Niek and LEGO for releasing this and looking forward to the next BENDING KNEE mech set.
If you’re curious about getting a custom reFrame from me, simply check out my Commissions section here in my website. I’ve written all the details you might need to order your own custom LEGO reFrame mech build and what kind of customization options you can get.
Do take note though that I only do this in a very limited capacity.
I open up slots for commissions here on my site and also announce it over at my various social media pages. I’d suggest following me on any/all of my social media pages below to stay updated on my work and commission slots.
reFRAME v3 Instruction Manual
The reFrame System is a modular brick skeleton aimed to help both new and veternan brick mech builders create their own designs in a consistent size with modular capabilities. It was originally designed to be a basis for all my mechs in the Mech Wars universe. Having gone through a number of upgrades, the V3 reFrame can now house a minifigure pilot in the chest without sacrificing aesthetic or articulation.