Monkie Kid returns for 2021 and we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on the entire range of sets before its launch on March 1st! Australia isn’t Monkie Kid’s target demographic, that goes to the Eastern cultures, but I am without a doubt in my mind that Australia will want to get their hands on a Monkie Kid set this time around. Strap yourself in, over the next 7 days, we'll be reviewing each of the new Monkie Kid sets 1 by 1!
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LEGO 80023 - Monkie Kid's Team Dronecopter
Roaring into the top spot for the biggest vehicle model for the newest wave is the Team Dronecopter, a massive flying portable base for our heroes to fight the enemy and create a tactical retreat where needed. Our heroes have small containers that unfold into small little bases, much akin to the original Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ, which was originally a shipping boat with containers. The baddies also have their own container, designed to similarly fold up and be taken away by the heroes’ new vehicle as well.
As far as this set goes, I have some praises to give and a few criticisms to point out.
First off, looking straight at the box, this thing is a bit of a cluttered mess. There is a lot going on, but most of it is happening on the ground. If there was some way that the conflicts on the box art were spread out a bit more easily, it wouldn’t be so overwhelming to look at. I feel like if I was a parent and looking to get this for my kid, I’d get confused a little bit.
One big good thing, however, is that this set has A LOT of Minifigures, with an exclusive too. The most in the whole wave actually and comparing this set to the original Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ, that one only came with eight and three of them were the exact same, the fourth with a slight variant! These guys are all different and all feel like they belong. Our good guys are equal to our bad guys at 4v4 (+1 cat) with 1 civilian but throw in the drone spiders and now it’s a real fight! You get almost all the bad guys of the new wave in just this one set alone!
The container play feature is a great addition, and I really enjoy what details they crammed into the little setups. I, for one, really cannot express enough how much Mei’s container gives me joy. An arcade, armour stand, chair, weapon display, TV stand, projector, smoothie drink and fire extinguisher all fit in a 6x10 interior space. Are you kidding me? That’s amazing. Even Tang’s small container, which includes a small desk and library, manages to include a bunkbed that hides away with ease.
That being said, the baddie container feels a little bit odd. I do love the idea of having a container open up and reveal a big bad death ray of sorts, but it feels a bit out of place. The main reason LEGO went with such a choice was to ensure that kids, when playing with the sets, could have it so that the heroes can defeat the enemies and take away their prized toy so they can no longer to any more harm. I’m indifferent to this. I like it for the sake of the aforementioned above, but it also doesn’t really follow the style of traditional shipping containers. I think it would have looked a bit cooler if they instead had a classic dark red container that then opened up and revealed this big purple-y looking cannon instead, as not draw attention to the fact it doesn’t belong. I understand the colour choices and why they did it all, but methinks that maybe it could have been done a little better. If the base was more like Mei’s container, I would easily be content. That being said, the firing mechanism that is hidden in this container is hidden away quite well, props to LEGO on that one.
Our side little “scrap” builds for this set are two of the spider drones, now with extra bits and Bobs and added on to give a bit more diversity and insinuate that these are somehow worse, Red Son’s hoverboard and Mo’s cat cage. The Spiders explain themselves, but what I want to draw focus to is Red Son’s board, it’s dark red. I don’t think that has been done before, but me likely. I do wonder however if the power-up action piece on the front is supposed to imply a flamethrower or a gun firing. Mo’s cat cage is also a comedic little gem in this set, as is the whole character in my opinion, and I appreciate it.
The last part of the model, the Dronecopter, is a really good model with a glaringly obvious fault. First off, I’ll preface this by saying that I think the container play feature is genius to a kid-based audience. The ability for the driver’s seat to pop off into another vehicle is also a big tick (but I’m not sure if it’s a submarine or air vehicle). I’m glad that they made a way to also put Sandy on the model and not awkwardly cram him into a space as they’ve done previously and the model looks alright, without him always standing in the gunnery position. The guns look great. The spring-loaded shooters that exist on the turret are fully functional too, activated by a simple trigger hidden away underneath the model with a flying transport grip.
So what’s the issue? Well, once we take all these fun features and remove the containers from the side, what we are left with is the shell of a ship. I understand that that is what happens when you remove these features, but it’s the fact that all the hidden technic that is away underneath the build is suddenly revealed, and it makes the model look naked. One of the best features of the set, the opening of the containers, have to been hidden away to keep the bigger part of the model looking nice, without it, the big long dark grey technic bar that runs the side of the model and the bright technic parts stick out. There are a lot of exposed axles and pins that could have maybe been covered up in a few ways, but unfortunately, this time around it didn’t make the cut.
When this set is used by kids, specifically used for play with kids, these work fantastically, but for adult collectors, this isn’t a set to hit the mark.
The Minifigures in this set tap at a whopping 9 figs, with 2 exclusives to this set. These are the Spider Queen, Hunstman, Syntax, Red Son, a civilian, MK, Sandy, Mei, and Tang (+ Mo the cat). We’ve covered a few of these already in our other Monkie Kid articles, such as all the villains, but we’re going to focus on the ones that haven’t been covered in this article as of yet.
Sandy, the bigfig, returns alongside Mo the cat. It’s nice we get to see him again the waves of this year, but I am a little saddened that he, nor Mo, come with any new expressions or printing to try and mix it up from the norm.
It’s also worth quickly noting that this is the only version we get of Mei in her full suit outfit with helm for this wave, as well as a generic civilian once again joining the fray with generic parts easily made at home already.
The two exclusives for this set are the new-printed Red Son and Mr Tang. Not immediately obvious at first but Red Son is exclusive to this set with his new torso print, which makes him look like he is wearing an armoured jetpack. I was admittedly first caught off guard thinking that he might have had a new moulded should armour until I noticed that he uses the standard 4-clip back bracket which then arches over his shoulders to give him the gold horns. It’s a smart use of the piece that I haven’t seen before.
The other figure of note in this set is Mr Tang, who makes his first Minifigure appearance, despite his prominence in the animated series. He also comes with an accessory of the “Journey to the West” book, the original inspiration of the Monkie Kid series. He comes with a half red/half white torso print that extends down his legs, as well as a rare red-scarf and dual printed face. I cannot express how much I like this figure and his torso/leg printing, he’s all-round a beautiful figure.
Closing thoughts on this set is that this is definitely one for the kids. I don’t see many adult collectors going out of their way to take this one off the shelves for their own collections at home, but for the target audience of a kids toy, LEGO hit the mark with their play features and Minifigure diversity for sure. My only real gripe with the set is that I wish the bad guys had a little bit more to work with against the good guys, as well as the technic coverups I mentioned earlier. Otherwise, for what it's designed for, this does what it needs to do.
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All opinions are my own.