LEGO Ninjago Ultra Combo Mech review: A love letter to classic mecha in brick-built form

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In the new year, we’ve been focusing on LEGO Star Wars reviews, but another 2022 kit caught my eye. Delivering plenty of anime callbacks in a value-packed build, the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech is one of my favorite kits in years.

Hands-on review of the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech

Launching as part of the new 2022 LEGO Ninjago wave, the Ninja Ultra Combo Mech just arrived at the start of the year. As one of the flagship kits from the lineup, it arrives with 1,104 pieces and seven total minifigures, with an $89.99 price tag to match. Leveraging all of those bricks, the set consists of four different vehicles which can all combine into a single, massive mecha.

Each of the different models in the set have room for their respective pilots, which are included as four of the main minifigures. There’s also a side build piloted by one of the two snack warriors to battle against if that’s your thing, too.

The main mecha is the largest of the four builds from the LEGO Ninja Combo Mech. This red robot uses up more of the bricks than the other parts of the set, and it takes advantage of some unique techniques in order to pull off its classic samurai design.

Another design note: I’d be remiss not to mention the various inspirations that have made their way into the set. For the mecha here, we have signature stylings that are right out of Studio Trigger’s Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Anyone familiar with the series will instantly spot the mech’s sunglass-like details as an apparent callback, if the red color scheme and overall shape weren’t already enough.

Next up, we have a white tank which makes up the legs of fully-combined LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech. This one takes a distinct design approach compared to the red mecha, opting for a more rugged build that has a set of moving treads on each side of the body. This mecha is the second-largest build from the set, and I think makes very solid usage of its allotted bricks. Other than the fact that it relies on a few too many stickers, this is a novel build that could even stand on its own as a set.

Moving onto the combined mecha’s arms, the latest LEGO Ninjago set also features a car equipped with a pair of massive drills on the front. This black and gold vehicle is unfortunately my least favorite of all the inclusions, mainly because of how unpolished it feels compared to the others. It’s the biggest compromise of the entire set and leaves just a little too much up to the imagination.

The final aspect of the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech is a purple jet. This one may be the least intricate of the vehicles, but it leverages some more interesting techniques in order to keep things interesting with the set. I’m a big fan of the posable wings and the addition of the banners on either side of the cockpit are defiantly highlights, too. And if that weren’t enough, the inspiration from SSSS.Gridman, another anime series, really shines through.

LEGO pulls off the ultimate combination.

Once you’ve assembled all four of the miniature vehicles from the set, you can actually make the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech live up to its name. Hidden into each of the builds are various ways to interlock the creations into one larger model. In true mecha fashion, the various pilots combine into a single Super Robot-like design.

And wow does that final model really come together! It honestly is a feat of LEGO engineering just how well all of the different pieces lock together in order to form the larger mech. Despite its size (and just let me say this thing is huge for a LEGO robot), there’s still plenty of stability. It also doesn’t sacrifice articulation, so you can have the set recreate iconic anime poses in your collection.

9to5Toys’ Take

While LEGO Star Wars is something of my first love, Ninjago always keeps me coming back for more. The new LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech reminds me exactly why. It delivers a downright awesome kit that’s also a great value. I could have only dreamed of a set like this as a kid reared on shows like Power Rangers and Voltron and mecha anime like Gurren Lagann, Raideen, Gundam, and Gridman as a young adult.

It’s a build that’s packed with references, but it also manages to shine as a fresh take on classic mecha tropes. You can tell the set designer is a big fan of the genre, and that really shows through in how good the final product is.

Now that my fan-girling is out of the way, there are some aspects about the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech that aren’t exactly ideal. For starters, the pricing on this one could have been adjusted. I don’t mean that it’s overpriced – it’s actually about as notable of a set as you’ll find for $90. I just wish that the LEGO Group would have either bumped the price up by $10 to accommodate a more well-rounded build or ditched the side creation.

The bottom line here is that the LEGO Group has never released a mecha kit that’s this good. Even though we’ve seen countless Marvel mechs pop up over the years (and memorable creations like the LEGO Ideas Voltron), none of them come close to the Ninja Ultra Combo Mech.

Even if you’ve never built a Ninjago set in your life, this one is worth a look. Especially at the $90 price point! Just like I’ve come to expect from the Ninjago City lineup, the Ninja Ultra Combo Mech is so good that it transcends the source material. I’m sure fans of the LEGO theme will be ecstatic about what this build has to offer.

Buy the LEGO Ninja Ultra Combo Mech at Amazon or LEGO

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