Making a brickfilm with Ninjago Mechs (“If Ninjago was a Hallmark Film” Behind-The-Scenes)
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Hello good people of Bricks in Motion.
Recently I was shipped (hand picked by me) two LEGO sets for review and to make a film with: Zane’s Titan Mech and Kai’s Fire/Stone Mech. How well do they hold up for brickfilming?
First off, they both come with a good selection of figures.
Zane’s Titan Mech comes with 2 gnarly looking ghost dudes, a golden Jay, and the nindroid the myth the legend, Zane himself. Zane comes with a hood and his metallic “hair” piece, so you can switch between whichever you’d like. None of the other figures in the two sets came with hair, but I was able to use pieces from my own collection for shots where they weren’t wearing their hood.
Kai’s Mech really takes the cake in this department, including Kai, Cole, Nya, and 2 different goblin dudes with some really fancy armour. It also comes with like a butt ton of accessories.
Between the two sets, I wasn’t able to use all the figures and accessories it came with, which is a good thing! Lots of selection there.
But you probably don’t care about that. (Maybe you do idk). The real question is, can you animate the mechs themselves? The answer is… yes!
Zane’s Titan Mech really impressed me with it’s posability. For stability purposes, click joints are used to connect the arms and legs to the chassis, but the knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles can move freely. The walk cycle in the GIF above was actually done without the aid of any sort of rig. It balanced well enough that I was able to make this super swaggy walk cycle completely in-camera. The abundance of non-click joints let me ease in and out the steps nicely. Of course, if you wanted to attach it to a rig and make a more realistic walk cycle, I feel like the mech would also be quite well suited for that. The bottom of the feet have tire pieces to help keep it from sliding around.
What stuck out to me about it in particular was the way the knees bend. It uses an assembly like below to give it full posabilty, while retaining the ability to support it’s own weight. I’d really hate to have one of these on the back of my knee in real life, but for this mech, it’s really neat.
Only potential problem is this limiter on it’s foot. It makes ankle movement very limited. (As a limiter is keen to do.) I ended up leaving it there, but since it’s lego, you could always take it out to free up movement a bit. It does certainly help stability.
Now for Kai’s Fire and Stone Mech.
Not quite as much to unpack here as Zane’s Mech. Everywhere except for the ankle is click joints, and there is no movement in the knees unfortunately. This makes walk cycles somewhat awkward, but I circumvented this by shooting from the waist-up during walking scenes.
You can still make him do cool stuff with the swords and stuff, even if you can’t really ease at the ends of movements. Fast movements don’t look terrible with it tho. Really I’m being picky here because of how posable Zane’s mech was, this one is still perfectly competent. It also falls over less than Zane’s, which is nice.
Do the mechs look cool?
I’m partial to Zane’s mech again, it looks straight out of Gundam or some sort of anime like that. Kai’s mech is cool too, with it’s bold asymmetrical design and traditional, samurai-like appearance. I think they are both very neat looking, but you can judge for yourself from these pictures.
The two mechs on a custom set I re-used from a commissioned project.
Would I recommend these sets for brickfilming? Yes!
Zane’s Titan Mech is especially recommended if you intend on animating movements with the mech itself, as it’s very well suited towards that. You can do some stuff with Kai’s mech as well, and it comes with even more figures and accessories.
See for yourself how the sets look and move in my new brickfilm!
LEGO 71738 Zane's Titan Mech Battle and LEGO 71720 Fire Stone Mech were provided by the LEGO Ambassador Network for review.
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