EVO

LEGO Ninjago 71763 Lloyds’ Race Car EVO – A car with an excess of acceleration [Review] – The Brothers Brick

We’ve come to the last set in our preview of the January 2022 LEGO Ninjago EVO theme. Like the others, LEGO Ninjago 71763 Lloyd’s Race Car EVO, will be available January 1st from the LEGO Shop Online and will retail for US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99.  It has an age suggestion of “6+”, an under-represented Ninjago demographic according to what the set’s designer Niek van Slagmaat has shared on Twitter.  This set features an upgradable race car, a small go-kart for the baddies, and three minifigures. Is there enough racing excitement to tempt both the kiddos and the adult fans? And what of the wider range of LEGO collectors? Read on and judge for yourself!

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

The packaging on the EVO theme features a new style of graphics for Ninjago sets. Rather than photo-realistic settings, the background art has been rendered in a line-art style with flatter colors and cartoonish motion and action effects. This results in a much more clear view of the set’s contents, which I see as a strong upgrade. The age range for this set is 6+, which matches the not-overly-complex building it contains.


The back of the box has a plain white background and some isolated product images showing the “EVO” upgrade concept in action. Lloyd’s car starts out in a basic “Cruising” mode, then gets upgraded to “Accelerating”. Then, strangely, it gets a final form that’s also labeled as “Accelerating”. I’m surprised LEGO didn’t opt for “Top Speed” or “Battle Ready” or, well, anything other than just a repeat of the middle phase’s name.

Along the top is a shot of Lloyd holding the set’s “Wisdom banner” – a unique reward granted for completing the set’s mission. As we’ve noted in previous reviews, that “mission” isn’t really explained beyond the implied “thrash the bad guys”, but don’t let that stop you.


The side of the package has a bit more about the EVO theme – the slogan of “Train. Progress. Reward” appears, along a yellow banner with Ninjargon text reading “TRAIN AND PROGRESS.”  The LEGO.com/beninja URL shown at the bottom edge of the package (with the “Be Ninja” Ninjargon above it) currently redirects to the Ninjago theme shopping page – maybe that’ll change once the theme is available for retail sale.

Inside the box are four numbered parts bags, a sticker sheet, and a 128 page, perfect-bound instruction manual. As usual for the EVO sets, the bags follow the “upgrade” process pretty closely. Bags 1-2 handle the core vehicle, bag 3 is the first upgrade, and 4 completes the battle-ready mode.

This set includes a small sticker sheet to add details to both Lloyd’s car and the villain’s go-kart. It has two tiny bits of Ninjargon on sticker 1. One reads “Energy” and the other is the monogram “L” (for Lloyd).

We’ll be calling out cool new parts and recolors are we progress through the build, but here’s a spotlight on the “Wisdom Banner” that comes with this set. This 2×3 printed tile features an image of what looks like the 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple with a bunch of arrows pointing at it.  I guess the arrows are meant to represent the vehicles zipping toward the temple. Or something. I dunno. These flags have been really hit or miss when it comes to matching up with the set they’re included with.


Cruising

Green Ninja Lloyd has had many vehicles over the years, and this car has thematic similarities to 2018’s 70641 Ninja Nightcrawler, mainly due to the green and gold color scheme and clear windscreen. It’s based on a large 6×12 chassis that has appeared in a lot of Speed Champions sets, as well as being the base of the 76239 Batmobile Tumbler.

The core construction is sturdy with white Technic pins providing the axle for the wheels, and a layer of SNOT connections along the outer edges. The car’s rims have appeared only twice before, in 71745 Lloyd’s Jungle Chopper Bike and 76159 Joker’s Trike Chase.

The completed “Cruising” mode is a decent-looking vehicle. The accents on the hood, roof, and sides are sticker-based, while the control surface is a fairly common printed tile.  It looks okay from most angles, although you do see a lot of exposed studs and Technic joins that are necessary for the EVO upgrades that are to come.

The instruction manual adds a light bit of story to the build, showing the car going through the upgrade process while facing off against the snake-themed foes. After completing the first bit of building, for example, you can see the evil Cobra Mechanic interrupting Lloyd’s Sunday drive with a backpack-mounted flamethrower array.


Accelerating

The third bag of parts contains the elements necessary to change the “Cruising” car into an “Accelerating” car. These new sub-assemblies include a front fender, windscreen, gold armor plating, rear thruster, and a bit of side detailing. In a small slip in marketing continuity, the 1×1 green cheese slope details are shown in the instructions as part of the “Accelerating phase” but the box art shows them as part of the “Cruising” model. Lloyd also gets a small EVO upgrade with shoulder armor and a color-coded lime green sword.

There aren’t any surprises when adding the extra parts onto the base model. The only complaint I have here is that some of the upgrades (those cheese slopes, the green side accents) feel more cosmetic than “meaningful”.

Unlike Kai’s Fire Dragon EVO, this middle-stage transformation feels different enough to justify it as a stopping point. This version of the car feels more like a racer, but doesn’t feel like it’s about to head into battle.

Speaking of racing, Lloyd gets a bit of pursuit from Python Dynamite and his small go-kart vehicle. The control surfaces are sticker-based, and the teal and orange color scheme makes for a visually interesting ride.

A minor complaint here is that Python Dynamite has non-articulated legs, so it can’t actually sit down to drive. I suppose if your hands are already full with weapons and TNT, you really don’t care if you’re pressing control buttons with your toes.


ACCELERATING (Again)

As mentioned earlier, the final stage of Lloyd’s Race Car EVO is also called “Accelerating”. This final mode features a wealth of gold armor accents, golden swords, giant rear spoiler, battle standard, and a hood-mounted air-intake and cannon array. Lloyd also gets a new dual-molded cowl to complete his outfit.

The completed Race Car does indeed feel like it has been “leveled  up” to face any oncoming traffic. The colors are bright, the gold toned armor and weapons stand out, and even that Wisdom Banner looks good flying in the breeze.

Overall there aren’t any major missteps with this build It’s a model that stands up well even next to substantially more expensive sets like the Legacy 71737: X-1 Ninja Charger.

That said, there are still a couple of spots that look like corners were cut, particularly on the front fender where some 1×2 tiles could have been used to suggest headlights. The other is a small play nit in that the windscreen doesn’t fully enclose the cockpit, and that Lloyd can’t actually lean back or wear his shoulder armor inside the car.

The instructions conclude with a story panel showing the Race Car  EVO thrashing the snake villains, recreated here in all its real-world glory. A pretty satisfying conclusion to a fun little build.


The minifigures

This set comes with three minifigures: Lloyd, Cobra Mechanic, and Python Dynamite. None of the core figures are unique to this set, but all three are new for the EVO theme. The shared snake head design first appeared in the 2019 Pyro Whipper and Char figures, but appears here with two inverted metallic black and orange dual-molded color schemes.


Lloyd has a standard face and hairpiece, but new dual-sided torso print, printed legs, and new dual-molded cowl. He appears in several of the EVO sets.

Cobra Mechanic could probably count as an “exclusive version” thanks to the flame-thrower backpack accessory that is unique to this set. The base figure also appears in 71762 Kai’s Fire Dragon, 71767 Ninja Dojo Temple, and 71761 Zane’s Power Up Mech EVO. I guess there are a lot of Cobra Mechanics in the snake army.

Python Dynamite has a new dual-sided printed torso and unprinted short black legs. This figure also appears in 71766 Lloyd’s Legendary Dragon.


Conclusion and recommendation

Lloyd’s Race Care EVO is a pretty successful set. Aimed at a younger audience, this set still has a lot of appeal to older fans and collectors. The build is fun, and each of the three versions of the car feel distinct and interesting. The small go-kart provides what you need for a quick and ready chase scene. The three minifigures are interesting, with great detailing and a wealth of new parts. For $30 US for 279 pieces, the cost-per-part ratio is the lowest of the 6+ EVO offerings at just under 11 cents. That’s a little high, but reasonably offset by the interesting parts and minifigures. As much as I love as I have for the new EVO dragons, this is the set that I’d probably suggest offering to new Ninjago fans – it’s a better mix of value and fun. (Unless they’re old enough for Lloyd’s Legendary Dragon.) But what do you think? Are dragons cooler than cars? Inquiring minds want to know.


LEGO Ninjago 71763 Lloyd’s Race Car EVO will be available January 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99. It may also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


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