I started building this shortly after reviewing the Zane’s Titan Mech Battle (71738) set. The goal was to make a reFrame version of the Zane design, taking key design concepts and shrinking it down to the reFrame size and level of detail.
An additional goal was to give my new work-in-progress built-brick reFrame body cockpit a test run with a fully plated design. I’ve been wanting to upgrade the reFrame v3 with a version completely removing the Nexo Knight cockpit piece as it seems to be no longer produced by The Lego Group as of 2018 (the year it was last released).
One thing about this new build was that I didn’t want to add it to any of the existing Mech Wars factions so I had to come up with a new one for this series of official set redesigns. I figured at least for my Ninjago redesigns, they’d belong to a Ninja faction and have a more Japanese feel and naming system to them.
I designed the organization logo to look like traditional Japanese crests.
Inspiration and sources
Obviously the biggest inspiration for this build is the Zane Mech from 71738 but I actually dug up Niek’s development Tweets about designing this set. I think we’re so lucky as AFOLs to be able to live in a time that you can follow actual LEGO set designers and see their sketches on how they designed certain sets.
I also checked for info about Zane’s mech from the show (Ice Mech) but there wasn’t much visual info there.
The following are the key areas and designs themes I wanted to keep with my reinterpretation build.
- “V-fin” ala-Gundam head
- Overall V shaped design
- Right arm swing sword
- Shoulder launchers
- Front armor skirts
- Lower leg side boosters
- General color blocking
I won’t actually show a lot of WIP steps for this build as there’s still a lot of prototyping going on with the internal structure in this design for the new reFrame version.
I. Head Build
The most important part of the build for me was to get this head right. I knew I wanted to reinterpret the V fin on the head in to a literal V-shaped fin. I used these Pearl Gold weapon blade pieces that had a small bar-compatible peg to get the look I wanted.
I previously used these gold blade pieces on the Aztec Deity Reborn and is one of my favorite gold blade pieces to use.
II. Initial core body
I actually stayed on this the longest as I built multiple variations of the body structure for the new reFrame version. I spent 2 days total on this as I had to scrap the first day progress (seen in the picture) due to poor structural stability (the shoulder joints would fall off).
There was also the issue of the side armor plating being too wide when viewed from the front so that took a lot of re-engineering to get the right mid body shape and size.
III. Leg build
The legs got built faster than the body assembly since I’m still using the same leg frame as the reFrame V3.
Getting the armor skirting was the trickiest part of this section as it needed enough clearance such that when the leg angled forward, the skirt assembly would make way and adjust to it. The thighs were just a shrunk down version of the set’s thighs and I really wanted to get the same color striping but had only a 2×3 space on the front, outside, and inside thigh to work with.
The lower leg is my usual way of building legs but I knew I wanted it chunkier than usual. Probably some inspiration here from Boku no Hero Academia’s Ingenium (Tenya Iida) by making the calves buffed then thinning back down to the ankle.
Quick mention for the mockup shoulder piece here.
IV. Finishing the legs / Arm build
Built the left leg and realized I didn’t have enough of the new 1×1 white roof tile piece for both knees so had to change the design.
Arms here have the same structure as the reFrame v3 double jointed elbow variant. The tricky part was figuring out how to securely mount the new 4×4 white wedge piece so that it wouldn’t hit the body assembly (especially the side upper back).
One different thing I did for the shoulder detail was to use the minifig handle utensil that’s normally used for bikes (?) to wrap around the side of the shoulder frame while adding some gold piping detail.
V. Weapon build
The shoulder missile launchers were originally supposed to be positioned between the head and shoulders but made that into a side neck guard instead. I actually wanted to mount them from the usual back weapon slot of the body but had used up that connection point. Had to instead mount it to the back of the shoulder. Thankfully, they’re a pretty light and simple construction made with 1×1 brackets.
The energy rifle weapon though was not easy to do. One idea I had was to make a transparent blue / light blue shuriken shield weapon that would mount on the side of the left arm. I didn’t even attempt that though as I felt that the design needed a ranged rifle weapon option to make it more well balanced as a mech.
This design actually takes a lot of inspiration from the KARASAWA from the Armored Core series. This would be my 2nd iteration of this in LEGO form (the first was much heavier). Getting that V shape for the rifle was quite a fun challenge as the trans-blue wing pieces connected via a hinge that then had to be angled so the front tip of both pieces closed nicely. The gold cone assembly inside was just pure luck when I tried it (the crown piece nicely closed off the gaps).
Notable Parts usage
I. Shoulder Wedge Part
22391 Wedge 4 x 4 Pointed
A new color for this wedge piece with the 71738 set. I actually like this part a lot and try to get 4-8 of each color it comes out in. An ideal shape for my style of mecha building.
II. Head V-fin
98141 Minifigure, Weapon Crescent Blade, Serrated with Bar
One of my favorite blade pieces due to the unusual shape and the placement of the bar peg.
III. Missile 1x2 Printed Tile
IV. Energy Rifle V Barrel
57906 Hinge Plate 3 x 12 with Angled Side Extensions and Tapered Ends
Normally I’d use this piece for wings due to its ideal shape for mech builds. Apparently, I also do not have these in Trans Light Blue (Bricklink here we go! 😅)
reFrame V4 Updates
It’ll be a while before the new reFrame version instructions will be released. I’ve decided to add more variations to body assemblies to really help builders get the most out of the reFrame system.
There will also be a finished basic design on it as compared to the V3 instructions that only had the frame. I realized that a lot of people had difficulty designing their own armor plating on the base reFrame so I’m hoping this basic finished design solves that issue.
There should also be multiple XML files to help with the whole parts buying experience. Expect one XML for just the frame in the basic configuration, another XML with all configurations, and more.
Basically, big changes to the reFrame system and it will be an entirely new instruction manual. Please look forward to it! 😁
My wife and I are expecting a new member to our family by late 2021 so this might be my last hurrah for a while. 😅
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.