Once more a matter of trying to be complete within a specific subset of a themed series, of course I couldn’t let the Flying Jelly Sub stand on its own. In fact things were the other way around and while the sub was just the conclusion (after much hesitation due to its relatively high price), the Piranha Chase (70629) had been the first of the lot. It’s also the cheapest/ most affordable one, so there’s your explanation.
I won’t pretend that this is the best of the series, but for the around 13 Euros it is being sold in most places, you actually get some quite acceptable value. There are four minifigures and a number of larger parts, after all. The main build is also bolstered by the little rickshaw, which perhaps isn’t the most useful item unless you really build your own version of Ninjago City, but regardless is cleverly put together and doesn’t look all too shabby. The lanterns could also easily be reused on buildings and the large wheels might come in handy as round windows or decorative gratings somewhere.
The figures are your basic run-off-the-mill Ninjago stuff that you’ve seen a million times with only the scared unnamed extra guy providing a bit of comic relief and surprise.
The actual “piranha” vehicle doesn’t look particularly threatening and if it wasn’t for the name, you’d probably not even come close to thinking of a piranha’s frontal face. To me at least it looks more like a cute, googly-eyed monster of sorts. That’s not bad in any way, I just feel that it would have taken a lot more for it to count as one of those little annoying sharp-toothed buggers, including possibly a completely different color.
Thanks to the use of pre-formed large hollow parts, there’s plenty of room inside for a cockpit. While what’s there is certainly adequate and sufficient, this could have been quite a bit more elaborate. There’s clearly enough space for a chair/ back rest plus some overhead instrumentation attached to the hood. Not that anyone would get to see it much when in the lowered position, but it would just give this satisfying feeling of knowing it is there. Perhaps it could even have been designed in a way that the front part was open to show all the detail.
The exterior parts, including the rear section mostly suffer from the sub-assemblies just being plugged on with single pin connections. This makes it dangerously simple to whack everything out of alignment just by handling the model. This could very likely have been done better, though of course the extra parts/ different parts would have slightly increased the price.
Within the limitations of its price, this is a nice set despite my niggles. You get a pretty decent return value and in its simplicity it looks elegant and convincing enough. If it wasn’t for the flimsy attachment of the add-on items, this would even be reasonably playable and safe as a regular vehicle replacement for your kids – opening the hood, placing a driver in it and all that. You can still do that of course, but a bit of caution is required. Otherwise you get an okay-ish model that will fit into the overall theme, but doesn’t stand out particularly.