lego ninjago: jay's electromech (aozora inago)

lego ninjago electromech - the boxlego ninjago electromech - the finished mech
It has become clear that I have a thing about Lego mechsuits...

First Kai's Fire Mech (which I renamed to Aka Usagi... the Red Rabbit), then the Temple of Light with it's Golden Samurai Mech (or my rename of Kin Shenshi... Gold Warrior), and I have Emmet's Construct-o-Mech sitting on my bookshelf waiting for the Easter weekend where I can set some time aside and really get into that set.

But when we were shopping yesterday, I saw that they had the Ninjago set, Jay's ElectroMech, which I'd kind of put on my mental list when I was looking through the catalogue late last year... so I couldn't really resist.

Once it was finished, I decided that with the combination of the mechanically controlled wings and the big chunky leg joints, plus the big gold "eyes" at the top, that it just reminded me of the grasshoppers from A Bugs Life...

Hence what was the somewhat obviously Jay's ElectroMech is now Aozora Inago, or the Blue Grasshopper.

lego ninjago electromech - inside the boxlego ninjago electromech - knolling in the blue
Unsurprisingly the pieces are mainly blue with some yellow thrown in, since that's Jay's colour scheme... plus he's the Ninja of Lightning.

There did turn out to be some really interesting build techniques in this set though, and some pieces I hadn't seen before, like the flat plates with holes through the middle.

lego ninjago electromech - ninja jay and cultist chopelego ninjago electromech - mech torso
The two minifigs in the set... the "rebooted" version of Jay (which is why he has hair and not a hood... I don't know, because marketing I guess) and Chope, the Anacondrai Cultist. Due to the snake skull helmet and tattoos I kind of prefer Chope to Jay... and his weapon makes a lot more sense.

The "body" of the mech was interesting... especially since those two "drums" at the top end up controlling the wing/sword mechanism, but I like the "pilot" area more than Kai's mech, Jay seems to be better supported and surrounded.

lego ninjago electromech - engineering bitslego ninjago electromech - raise the wings
For a simple model, there's some complicated engineering going on when you turn the mech around... the drums turn the black wheels which turn the yellow wheels which raises and lowers the central pin. But the black wheels are also the pieces that cause the sword wings to swing from the "closed" position to the "flying" position.

And the fact that the two grey "flags" from the previous photos are folded back to lock the central piece into place is pretty cool... I had expected there to be stickers on those pieces, but it's interesting either way.

The only downside with the "wings" open position is that it's very hard to get the full spread in a vertical photograph. But it does look pretty damn cool.

lego ninjago electromech - lightning spirit handlego ninjago electromech - electro blaster hand
As with Kai, Jay's mech also has two different hands... in this case, the two fingered anthropomorphic hand on the right side and the new "blaster" hand on the left.

Again, I would have preferred to see printed tiles instead of stickers, especially since the control panel in the cockpit is a printed piece. But at least the background colour of the sticker matches the tile colour.

The blaster mechanism is interesting, and I can see that if you were playing with the mech regularly then those two transparent yellow pieces would get lost within about the first twenty minutes. Just pressing down on the grey firing pieces propels them with a large amount of force.

lego ninjago electromech - leg a frameslego ninjago electromech - one foot two foot gold foot blue foot
The leg pieces are slightly bizarre...

Especially the A-frame pieces which just feel like random collections of bricks, and the angles of the two socket pieces makes no sense until it's all put together.

In a design sense, it does give the impression of a spring or mechanism that would unfold or be controlled by hydraulics, which is amazing given the limited brick selection that is used.

The feet are pretty standard, and give that solid base once the model is put together.

lego ninjago electromech - chope's ballistalego ninjago electromech - aozora inago
It really was only when the whole model was put together that I got the grasshopper inspiration, although looking at it again without Jay in place, the top half does also look a little like a dragon head.

Also, Jay's mech is about a third bigger than Kai's... I kind of figured that because of the relative size of the boxes... I'm just sad that due to where I'm putting him I can't display him with the wings extended.

Sometimes there are things that the Lego designers do with a very, very small number of pieces but that are just so perfectly formed. In this case, that's Chope's ballista. I mean that bottom shield piece has such great printing (part of which is unfortunately covered by the white piece) and the brown and purple colour matches in with Chope's pants, while the main sand coloured pieces match his helmet.

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