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Welcome to legozebra's pictorial review of 72004 Tech Wizard Showdown! Retailing for $39.99, 72004 is one of the 2018 Nexo Knights sets, although it, like many other 2018 sets, will be released officially on November 29th, most likely to capture the holiday spirit of frantic gift-buying. I was swinging by my local Toys R Us for something completely different (My branch for some reason has four Lego-related giveaways all around the $30-$50 price range - Geoffrey the Giraffe, Kai's Dojo Pod, Friends Ski Pod, and R3-M2) and happened to see this - the only 2018 set on the shelves. They seem to be appearing out in the wild at greater frequency and earlier than they've ever been, so stop by your local TRU - chances are at least one or two 2018 sets will be on shelves. But you didn't come here to read about how I got the set - so without further ado, let's jump into the box art! Packaging/Box Art (First of all, apologies for the slightly blurry pictures of the box - I noticed my camera lens was smudged after I had already thrown out the box) Emblazoned on the box art for 72004 is Clay's Tech Wizard Mech, facing off against the much smaller crawler mech that Monstrux boasts. The Infecto Byter appears to be attempting to block stud shooter bullets with his scythe (not a good plan), while the Cyberbyter is doing his best to impede the mech's progress by whacking it with his tiny axe. Neither seem like they are going to accomplish anything here. On the other hand, Monstrux is firing infecting bugs at the mech - which may seem small at first, but who knows if they'll manage to take over the mech's systems... The back of the box boasts seven golden Merlok Powers, each corresponding to a knight plus Merlok himself - a Claymore for Clay, Bow for Aaron, Lance for, well, Lance, Mace for Macy, Hammer for Robin (I guess he's a full-fledged knight now), an Axe for Axl, and a Wizard's staff for Merlok. On an aside, typing out each of these weapons and their corresponding knight really hammers in the pun names. Enough of the box though - let's get into the minifigures! Minifigures, Named Characters, and Accessories Starting off the minifigures we have Clay Moorington, the only knight not to boast golden armor due to the mech suit he fits in. I expect some sort of retailer exclusive or other set we haven't seen yet to include him with full armor, presumably the only unrevealed set containing the Merlok Staff Power. But for now, this is all we get. Here's a shot of the figure's back printing to get a good look at the sweet blue and gold printing. Everything about this figure is pretty superb save one detail - the Tech Wizard arm. Spoilers for Season Four of the TV show follow, as well as comparison photos to how it should look. As you may or may not have seen in the spoiler box, Clay's arm look pretty drastically different in the show than it does in the set - in the show, without giving away spoilers, it is part trans orange and part blue, with technology lines receding from it. Pretty cool, right? In the set, however, it's just... orange. Yeah, that's right. Just a plain orange arm. This feels like a missed opportunity here - In Ninjago, for example, when Cole unlocked his Elemental Fists, his arms gained an effect in the TV show not unlike Clay's arm here, except the set version was trans-black with orange rock highlights. That arm looked amazing, whereas this plain orange arm is a bit of a let-down. I don't know anything about how well Nexo Knights is performing financially, but presume that this lack of detail could have arisen from budgetary constraints, not technical difficulties in making it look good. Here's a look at all variants of Clay we've gotten so far - it's more than I realized at first! From left to right: 2016 Knight Clay, 2016 Ultimate Clay, 2017 Knight Clay, 2017 Battle Suit Pilot Clay, 2017 Cursed Transformation Clay, 2017 Gray Knight Stone Clay, and finally 2018 Battle Suit Pilot/Tech Wizard Clay. Note how the sword molding has changed over the years to reflect shifts in color scheme - silver, gray, and gold. Anyways, with Clay done, let's take a closer look at the other character on the side of good: Merlok. The Merlok we get in this set is indeed a printed part - thank goodness he wasn't a sticker, or there would be fingerprints all over him. Here's a lineup of all Merlok variants we've gotten so far, from left to right: 2016 Fortrex Merlok, 2016 (Sticker) GWP Training Pack w/Shield Merlok, 2017 Merlok Mech Suit, and 2018 Tech Wizard Merlok. Of all of them, the worst is by far the obscure promo version, which makes sense, as he's a sticker and way too small as well. As for the 2018 vs 2016 hologram variants, it's not obvious as first but the 2016 variant is printed in silver on the piece whereas the 2018 variant is in warm gold. It's a really nice way to emphasize the change in color scheme between the years (more on that later) but especially the change from silver highlights in 2016, orange highlights in 2017, and gold highlights in 2018. It's a cool detail I didn't notice at first glance, but am really liking how the Merlok holograms evoke that year's secondary color scheme. But now, we must move onto a more... monstrous side of the figures, starting with the CyberByter. This cute little fellow seems to be a Squirebot who has been infected with Monstrux's tech virus. A closer loom at his face shows he is trying very hard to appear as menacing as possible, to somewhat comedic effect. His alt-face is a bit more grumpy - but evil nonetheless. Now if only this virus will improve their lackluster fighting abilities as well as their facial prints... but we'll have to wait and see for Season Five of the show. Next up is the Infecto Byter, sporting a brand new vampiric helmet. Personally, I'm a bigger fan of this figure than I was of other generic baddie types in the past, like the magma and stone/lightning monsters, but I appear to be in the minority in that regards. Perhaps it's because I've never been that big of a castle fan and more of a space fan, but I really welcome these new, high-tech designs. With the helmet removed, we get a better look at that creepy face - I absolutely love this vampire-esque mask and suspect it will prove very useful in custom Space characters in the future. Turning the figure around, however, and we see one of the major flaws in the helmet - much like the masks of the 2011 Hero Factory Fire Villains (anyone remember these?), it is double sided, serving as a different helmet from the back. The only problem with this unique design, however, is the inclusion of an alternate face, which sticks out more prominently than Han Solo's scowl underneath his old hair element. Now, these may be elements of the story - perhaps these villainous fiends do indeed have eyes on the backs of their heads (props to Tommy Andreasen if he's worked this element of the sets into the show) - but until that's confirmed, this is an unfortunate side effect of having both a dual sided helmet and an alternate expression. Speaking of that alt expression, here's a look underneath the helmet, as well as a side shot for a close-up of the new mold. Next up is Monstrox and his creepy crawler platform. The hologram element is indeed printed, which came as a nice surprise. Here's a look at all iterations of Monstrox over the years, from the diminutive Book of Monsters, to the Cloud of Monstrox, and finally the Hologram (?) of Monstrox. I've obviously excluded the Stone Colossus of Ultimate Destruction, another form of Monstrox, because of his, well, colossal size. The crawler alone sports three new molds as well - a tiny tech bug (I'm sure the official name is in some set description somewhere, but it's a tiny tech bug) and a cool new wing/claw element in trans green with hexagonal patterns, a bit like a tiny version of Galaxy Squad's Insect Wings. Here's the element in question: And here's the most exciting element of all - the new shield. It's both insectoid and techy, with what appear to be coiled wires streaming down the sides of the element. It's much more visually appealing than the rock shield, and is my favorite new mold from this set. Also, here's some shots of the new tech bug element, in case you were curious. It's a neat amount of detail for such a small piece, down to the legs at different angles. I dig it! Before we move on, I just wanted to highlight the new Merlok Power: It's cast in some sort of gold, although the shine is a bit different from the other warm gold parts. It may be just me, but it looks really great and feels like a high quality collectible item. I really like this element! With all the figures and and characters covered, let's move on the the main build! Build/Model We're a bit ahead of ourselves - let's backtrack to a nice surprise inside of the larger mech suit... A baby mech suit! It's a standard build, nothing too exciting - but it's to be expected with builds piloting other builds (see 8943, 8942, 70810, the list goes on). Here's a comparison to another rather standard build: Clay's original Battle Suit. (Excuse the lack of Nexo Powers - they're all part of a large wall display) The Battle Suit features the cockpit in element in warm gold, the first time it's ever been in that color, but otherwise features no other exciting recolors or molds. The weapons can be held in a back jetpack attachment, also featured on the main mech. This attachment, while looking alright from the front and back (save the awkward giant sword placement) really does not look good at all from the side: As you can see, it juts out with the thickness of almost another Battle Suit entirely. It does this too, but to a much lesser extent, in the larger mech, and I feel that it could have been executed a bit better and way slimmer than it is. Let's take a look at the battle suit fitting inside the larger Tech Wizard suit: There's an orange click-hinge attachment point to the suit that fits the Battle Suit nicely. The box art and instructions show the legs and arms hanging out rather haphazardly; I prefer folding the legs back and squeezing the arms together as you can see in the photo. The legs especially are unwieldy as they hang out - they hamper the already extremely limited leg articulation if you pose it like it is on the cover, and can cause the mech to dislodge from the already fragile connection. Once it's in there, close up the front plate (yes - that is a Nexo Combo Power shield in glorious light blue/aqua) and fold down the shoulder pads and helmet to secure it. It reminds me a lot of 8557 Exo-Toa, a set I loved as a kid because I could remove and add a large scale figure to it, and I expect this set will be just as well-loved by children as well, as this is a really neat play feature. Once situated, here's a look at the overall suit with the helmet, shoulder pads, and chest element closed. It really brings it all together, don't you think? The Battle Suit is remarkably well-concealed, and I didn't even notice it in early images of the set. Compared to the two other mechs we've gotten, it stands about as tall as King's Mech (without its amazing 21109 Exo Suit-esque knee articulation) and is dwarfed by the Black Knight Mech. This shot especially highlights some of my issues with the mech's legs - the upper torso and arms feel like they belong to a mech the size of the Black Knight Mech, but the legs are way too stubby for it - it's almost like they took upper legs/thighs and attached feet to the bottom, foregoing lower legs completely. It's a less extreme version of the legs on 70904 Clayface Splat Attack, if you know what I mean. Because of this stubbiness and lack of articulation, you can't do much with posing in terms of the legs, as you can see: The last photo here really shows the extent to which you can pose it - and this isn't a unique issue. For better or for worse, Lego mechs in recent years have swung on thew opposite end of, say, Exo Force mechs, with lots of articulation but not much stability. Recently, they've gone with extreme stability - just take a look at 70615 Fire Mech, for example - its legs are pretty much just thick, long stalks, with no knees or feet articulation at all. Personally, I'd like a better engineered mix of two extremes - articulation and stability at the same time. I will concede, however, that this is quite difficult to accomplish. Moving upwards, I wanted to pause and highlight this bit of neat shaping - the SNOT connections with the half arches really mesh well together - props to the designer (probably Mark Stafford, he does pretty much all the mechs) to making this work out really well! Moving to the sword arm, here's another look: The cylinder hilt is stickered all the way around with an attractive gold pair of stickers - they're a pain to put on, but look so good when applied. moving along the sword you'll notice a clever resting spot for Clay's dual molded minifigure-scale sword. It also may not seem like it at first glance, but there's a solid amount of articulation here - the sword can be slashed from left to right and right to left diagonally (as well as up and down), making it good enough for play to me. Too bad the vertical placement is a little awkward to pose. Moving onto the other arm, here's a look at the gun shield: It offers a neat place to store Clay's new warm gold Nexo Shield, but the placement of said shield is a tad awkward, and it leaves an exposed clip on the other side. I do, however, love the shaping of the build - it's simple, yet visually attractive - the slight angles of the wing elements along with the circular stud shooter make it the best large-scale Nexo Shield, in my humble opinion. Moving to the back of the mech: You'll see its decently armored-up, complete with a jetpack that is much better scaled to this than it is to the Battle Suit, although it still juts out a tad. The natural shaping of the mech's back, while attractive, doesn't help this lopsided side view. And there you have it - 72004 Tech Wizard Showdown! It's a solid set for $39.99. $29.99 would have been really nice (Like the King's Mech), but I understand the pricing due to the extra Battle Suit inclusion. Does it have its problems? Certainly. The sizing is the one major problem, making it look like a dwarf with its large torso and short legs. Is it a solid parts pack? Most definitely. Would I pick it up again? For sure. Despite the problems, it's a solid mech, and the Battle Suit really blends in well (the helmet that covers it is a sweet build as well). I'd recommend picking this up if you see it on store shelves. That's it for now - hope you enjoyed the review! I'm a relatively new reviewer experimenting with different techniques (I don't think any of my reviews have shared the same background, as I'm playing around with my setup), so any feedback, good or bad, will be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!