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When I saw that TMNT LEGO was going to be a thing, I knew I had to get something. After great deliberation (maybe a couple seconds), I decided to test the TMNT waters with this guy: Set Name: Shredder's Dragon Bike Set #: 79101 Theme: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pieces: 198 Minifigures: 3 Year of Release: 2013 (sort of) Price at Release: USD 25, CAD 30 Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink LEGO INTRODUCTION I'm not a big TMNT fan by any means, but it can be quite amusing. I'll be honest, the main reason for me to pick up a TMNT set was to get a Turtle figure, which, from the pictures, looked awesome. But then came the conundrum of which set to buy. I didn't want to spend too much, so that narrowed it down, but then none of the sets looked all that amazing (in fact, none of the sets look great to me, though the Lair is pretty alright). I decided on the Dragon Bike because of Shredder. Yeah. That's pretty much accurate. The smallest set is still 13 bucks (which isn't so cheap) and doesn't come with much, the Stealth Shell looks like crap and Fishface isn't a regular minifigure (which doesn't much appeal to me), so Dragon Bike won. I still wasn't happy about this set from the pictures, so let's see how it fairs in the physical LEGO… BOX The purple and lime color scheme on this baby packs a nice pop. Purple on a "boy" set though, what is the world coming too! Purple is one of my favorite colors (part of the reason I chose the set with Doni), so hey, I like. The artwork is your typical chase type setup; nothing too shmancy, but kind of gritty and fits TMNT. Not sure why the Foot Solider is running away, though. Let's talk size for a second. This box is the same dimensions as the box for the 20 dollar Spidey set, except skinnier. Less pieces, less box, more money required for purchase. That's LEGO, though. It's expensive, and even the box doesn't make you think you'll really get your money's worth. The back of the box has some great black splats going on; it's quite a fun layout. If you notice, both play feature shots are about the flickr missiles… doesn't bode too well. The action shot is nice, though. This time the Foot Soldier looks like he's doing his job. Here's the story of the set up close: Shredder has some map, Doni chases him and snatches it, then Shredder has super rage. Also the engine on the skateboard is facing the wrong way and Shredder only sort of appears to have shoulder armor, but whatever. Again the Foot Soldier seems a bit useless. INSTRUCTIONS They were a bit rolled up as usual. Here we can see a better view of the Foot Soldier fleeing for his life, and a flick-fire that seems to have discharged itself. Gotta watch out for randomly firing flick-fires; they are quite a hazard. I'd heard in some other TMNT reviews that there were problems with the instructions: bleeding through pages, bad color distinction, etc. I had no such issues. Just a plain lime background and your typical, 21st Century slow-as-molasses instructions. Here's another Foot Soldier oddity; in the final step, he runs alongside Shredder, sword held high. Is there some running joke with these guys that I don't know? MINIFIGURES Here's the reason I bought this set in the first place! We get Shredder, Donatello, and a (apparently crazy) Foot Soldier. The instructions actually have you put Shredder's cape under his spikes, but the boxart has it this way, which I think looks better. Everything about these figures is lovely. Great new parts on Shredder, as well as cool prints (though his arms really should be flesh to be accurate). The Foot Soldier has a useful torso and funky head too. And Doni… what can I say besides brilliant. He's in the bright green color, sports lovely prints, and the head-piece has simple lines, which I love. Good expression too. The shell backpack piece is wonderful as well. LEGO made it a perfect size, and the figure can still sit down, a big plus. I also love that the straps match the straps on the front of torso printing. The Foot Soldier has back printing that's equally useful as the front, and even a wrap around red stripe. Shredder has no back printing, which is a bit of a shame, but he doesn't actually need it. His helmet is cool from all angles, which maybe makes up for it. Isn't that helmet great? (Hint: the answer is yes.) Shredder's face is nice, and looks made to be Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I'm not a huge fan of his overall expression, though. His mouth is too similar to Bruce Wayne/Loki, which is bland to begin with. A slight grimace would be more interesting. Doni has a back print, but for some reason there's no diagonal stripe to match the front. I don't get it. It would've been better for Shredder to have a back print and Doni to have none; he really doesn't need it. I wanted to give you this close-up on the Foot Soldier because he has a little foot logo on him! Super cute. You might've also noticed here or seen in other reviews that Shredder sports a new cut of cape. The neck attachment is bumped out from the cape, so the cape falls more behind the figure and doesn't get wrinckled when used with other neck-armor. It works well, though I wish it was a tad longer. It made me think: knights in armor! So there you go. It's a bit odd looking because the cape is completely behind the figure, instead of slightly cradling the arms as normal capes do. Still, it's quite useful, and dark blue is a good color for royalty. MINIFIGURES with ACCESSORIES Everybody gets nice, fitting accessories. Shredder has two claw pieces that originated in Prince of Persia, which work well as hand claw weapons, as opposed to the Wolverine claws which seem more like part of the hand itself. Doni has a bo staff, which is really just a fancy way of saying a stick used to smack people. It's made of two pre-cut pneumatic tube pieces and a periscope, which makes it ginormous, but that's how all LEGO weapons are. The Foot Soldier is fitted with a regular katana, always nice, and the set comes with a spare. Finally, there's the lovely printed map that's integral to the set's story. Glad that one's a print (the flags on the bike are the set's only stickers). SET - By Parts Time we moved onto the set, eh? The build is rather quick, since this really isn't a big set. There's a bit of technic here and there, a bit of SNOT, and of course LEGO's new favorite: click hinges. This time they're used to SNOT the bike's spike, just like they're used (though I didn't show it) to SNOT the windshield in the SHIELD car in the Spidey set. It's a cool technique made possible by newer parts. Super Skateboard What else to call this vehicle? It's like a skateboard, but big and motorized. I assume there's something like this in the show, but you never know. It does look a little silly, but not at all sloppy. The colors work together, the choice of wheels is good, and the light on the front is a fine detail too. Not a bad little vehicle. Doni stand sideways and holds the lever to make the motor go (in imaginary land, obviously it's not a real functioning motor and Doni is a plastic figurine). There are some nice grey parts back there to make the motor look more powerful. The studs under the motor are metallic grey, which is a nice touch and more interesting than regular grey. While clips on Star Wars vehicles to hold lightsabers make absolutely no sense, a clip to hold a big wooden weapon is a bit better. Yes, in-universe Doni can probably hold it on his shell, but at least this isn't too ridiculous like lightsaber clips are. Shredder's Dragon Bike Now we come to the meatiest meat of the set, the dragon bike. The first thing you have to wonder is: what is this supposed to be. I tried to do some research into this thing and its show counterpart, but all I could find was an action-figure geared toy that looked similar, but was the size of a motorcycle. So… does that mean that in the show this is actually a motorcycle, but here it's hugo-gigantic!? Maybe. I'm not sure what else it could be. From this low angle, the bike actually looks a bit menacing. The front has a good dragon look, what with the fangs, orange eyes, and tons of black cheese for a sort of ribbing. The spikes sticking out from the wheel are nice touches too. Unfortunately, looking at the bike from a normal angle makes it look a bit mish-mashy. It's just bare overall, which isn't good. There's a lot of cheese, which is always nice, but it seems like it's trying to make up for a lack of substance. The light grey technic under the cockpit is kind of jarring, and the big spike is ridiculous the way it shoots up so high. Side views only make it worse. I do love the big firey smokestacks, but that's where my love ends. A bip problem on this model is that there's next to no integration between the wheels and the rest of it. There's no flaps over the wheels, or mudguards, or anything. It's just like: wheels, LEGO on top. The back wheel especially is so open, I can't help thinking somebody could just aim something sharp at it and easily pop the tire. This thing is so 'front-heavy' when it comes to details. There's barely anything at all around this back wheel, so while the size of the wheel itself is cool, it doesn't feel integrated into the model. All there is is the one flap way above the wheel. The last part to build is the dragon head on the front, which attaches on all at once, and when I'd finished it I went… 'that's it?' There's something about this model that feels incomplete. Maybe this is supposed to be a motorcycle, but since LEGO made it large for a bike anyway they needed to beef it up more. More armor, or at least more of a build on the back to balance the build on the front. (There are stickers for both sides of the flags, if you wondered.) There are no controls in the cockpit. I've found that 9 times out of 10, no controls in a cockpit on a LEGO set seems to be correlated to a crappy set design overall. I mean, really, why are there no controls? Does Shredder control it with his mind or his claws? There's even space right there, begging to be filled with some sort of controls. I know how much work goes into designing LEGO sets, but this still feels sloppy. Not everything can be a winner. The play features, obviously, are the flickr fires on either side that swivel around. I didn't bother illustrating what they do this time; you know what they do. Once again, almost anything looks cool from a close-up, low angle. Sitting in front of me on a table, though, this model is ugly. WHOLE SET and CONCLUSION There's what you get in its raw anti-glory. A mish-mashy, unfinished feeling bike that can't decide if it wants to be a big fierce bike or a motorcycle that fell in ooze and grew a bit, and a little skateboard build that's quite cute and fun. The minifigures are all stupendous, as expected, but apart from them I really can't recommend this set. Especially in comparison to the Spider-Cycle Chase and Arctic Batman sets, this set feels like a rip-off because you pay more but get models that are far less rewarding. Maybe I'm a bit harsh because I'm not in love with TMNT, but honestly this vehicle is junky. The stealth shell looks junky too from everything I've seen, and the Shellraiser is also a bit… strange. I'm not too unhappy I decided to get this set because what I really wanted was the figures and I love them, but I'd still be more satisfied if the bike wasn't so darn underwhelming. RATINGS Minifigures: 10/10 - A little gripe about Doni's backprinting not matching isn't enough to dock points. These guys are great. Parts: 7/10 - There's some ok stuff, but nothing amazing. A lot of cheese is good, as is the olive green motor, but otherwise this set isn't amazing for parts. Build: 6/10 - It kind of feels like it just ends. Getting the dragon head on straight is a little annoying because of how it's connected with a pin, and then after that, it's over before you feel the bike is finished. Design: 5.5/10 - No controls. Exposed wheels. Bare back. There's a lot wrong here. Price: 6.5/20 - More than the superheroes sets for less pieces and a far worse model just isn't right. On its own terms, 25 is to be expected I suppose, but this still feels like it should've been 20. Playability: 8/10 - Stuff rolls. That's always good, though the big boy wobbles a little. The flick fires are meh, as usual. You get the main baddie of the TMNT universe, though, so that makes it playable automatically. Overall: 7.1/10 - I tend to rank sets favorably, so this is low-ish for me. A low C, or just below average mark. That's how I feel. This set has some redeeming elements, like the great minifigures and the abundance of cheese, but overall it's kind of poor. On sale, this might be worth picking up if you want the parts as well as the figures. Otherwise, maybe look into getting Shredder seperately, and Doni if you want this expression on him instead of the gap-toothed one in the Baxter Robot set.