LEGO’s Monkie Kid line now enters another year of sets, and with another year, comes new baddies, new vehicles, and new mechs.
LEGO 80045 - Monkey King Ultra Mech
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 1st January.
Despite my first-ever review on this theme being from a point of confusion, the theme has grown on me over the last few years.
Monkie is refining itself time and time again, and there’s no better way to compare the initial waves of Monkie Kid to the new sets than the appearance of a new Monkie King Ultra Mech!
But is there enough growth in the theme to warrant a new mech? Is it better than the original or is it a flop? Read on!
About This Set
It sounds quite shocking to say it, but this set is just the mech. No side builds, no diorama or enemy vehicle to fight. Just the mech.
Now whether this is a good move or not is unclear to me. I have always been a big fan of the whole “conflict in a box” aspect of sets, but this one omits that entirely. The original Monkey King Warrior Mech (80012) came with a small side street build and tiny mech for it to fight, but with every single person that I know that has that set, myself included, they never lasted long and ended up in the scrap bin.
So having a set that is purely focused on the mech lowers the price point and really hits the nail on the head as to what people want from this.
The set brings in a huge amount of gold and teal to the mech that the original didn’t have, which really showcases how much the theme has grown and how much has changed since those original waves.
The legs of the mech however still suffer from the problem of having no pose ability. Despite the beautiful new part recolours and shaping that’s going on, the knees don’t change angles and the feet have little to no rotation.
If it wasn’t for LEGO being able to make poseable knees on the Ninjago Zane’s Titan Mech Battle (71738), I wouldn’t focus on this that much – but hey, they’ve done it before, so why not here, right? The mech here is certainly stockier, so there’s an argument for both sides here.
The torso of the build gives us a cool cockpit design with a targeting screen built into the heart of the model. With a few cleverly hinged panels, it all folds away to reveal the ideal seating spot for MK to pilot away.
The two arms on the mech also continue the bulk of this build, but they have one glaring oversight. The forearms of the build have an exposed technic receiver for the forearm weapon to click onto and as much as I like this idea, there’s only one arm that can have this weapon at a time. This means that one side has the ‘uglier’ look on the arm when not in use.
I’m also not sure if it’s a design oversight or not, but I also find it almost impossible to place the staff in both hands of the mech at one time. I’ve managed to do it once before, but the staff seems to be under a fair bit of pressure when I do it. Looking at the official LEGO images, this also seems to be absent in almost all promotional shots. Hmmm.
The head of the build is similar in design to previous Monkie Kid Monkey Mechs, including Macaque’s, but now has one big difference, a light up brick. Although we don’t really know much context about this ability, it will obviously be paramount to the show’s narrative. This “Golden Vision” can be activated by pressing a button on the back, which lights up the mech’s eyes.
On the back of the build seems to be a weird amalgamation of parts, and if you were like me and initially confused, don’t worry, I got your back.
The weapons and various bits and bob off the mech pop off to become a flying side vehicle! Although nothing too amazing about the build here, LEGO have managed to slip an extra side build into the model, and I can’t help but give them props for that. The new Golden Blade moulds look great on this thing, but I with there was something a little…more.
Monkie kids comes in a new adorned battle armour for this year, and despite what it looks like – those shoulders are light-bluish grey, not silver. The torso has nice, detailed printing, but I don’t see much reusability here I’m afraid.
Monkie King comes in this set in commoner-styled garb instead of the golden armour variations we’re prone to see with the higher price range sets of the theme. I, for one, like this more rugged-styled aesthetic that he has compared to the ones of yesteryear. He also comes with a new variation of the golden staff for 2023 with amazing new hilt moulds.
Mr Tang comes in an outfit more akin to his Journey to the West appearance, and I have nothing but high praises for this figure. The crown element is amazing, and the traveller-styled garb is really well done. The highlight of the set for me.
If there was any leader-style baddie in this set, it would have to be this guy. Sporting a new cape, new head mould and printing to showcase the mysticism in the figure, the Azure Lion is a big stand-out. The three villains of this set are certainly unique in their own right, which makes me think little in regards to reusability, but there are cool unique figs nevertheless.
This figure comes with a fair few new moulds too – the wing on its back is, to my recollection, a fantastic new mould and colour. I also believe the hairpiece is new, but there is one big problem I have with this figure. It’s cool-looking new bird mouth mould can easily be knocked from left to right, and I find myself constantly putting it back in place. I understand it has been done like that so the figure can turn its head but darn it’s annoying.
Yellow Tusk Elephant
The Yellow Tusk Elephant probably has the most specialist head element I’ve seen in quite some time, and I really like the way LEGO has pulled it off. I still don’t know enough about these characters to comment much further, but for what he is, he’s well done.
Overall, my true thoughts are that this mech is a display piece disguised as a playset. LEGO know what people are after with a set like this, and they got rid of all the ‘noise’ that the buildings and villain mechs that previous sets have and refined their idea into a solid bulkier mech that people would love to have on their shelves.
That isn’t to say it isn’t without flaws though. The fact the build can barely hold the staff in different poses and lack of poseable legs means that display-wise, options are limited – but I don’t think that will impede people going for this set.
The price point for the flaws balances out well, and if we compare this to the price point of the Four-Headed Golden Dragon of 2022 (71771), this feels like a bit of a bargain buy by comparison.
If you were thinking of getting this, I honestly think it’s not a bad move. It’s a fun build, a bit gimmicky, but the best way to really see how Monkie Kid has evolved over the years, or a fun starting point.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this please leave a comment below.
This article was written by Tim & Dannii.
Find them on Instagram at @legobuildingwithtimanddannii
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