I've been holding my breath for the theme that has been chosen to replace Legends of Chima: the half-castle, half-sci-fi Nexo Knights, coming January 2016. Now, thanks to Eurobricks hackers' discovery of a stash of new images on LEGO.com's servers, we can finally stop guessing and see some of these exciting new sets for the first time.
Oddly, I don't think Nexo Knights - a "big bang" IP in the same vein as Ninjago - has been getting the same hype as Chima was before that came out in 2013. Maybe it's that Nexo Knights has had less time to sit in everyone's brain: before a logo was discovered, the theme was mere speculation, and it was only a few days ago that LEGO released some teasers and showed off two of the sets at New York Comic Con.
Regardless, I'm pretty excited about Nexo Knights. In my opinion it's looking better than Chima, but still not on par with my perennial favorite Ninjago. It seems like it'll have plenty of time to prove itself though. More than the storyline, I'm just excited about the new pieces and sets themselves, so without further ado, let's jump into the newfound stash of images!
UPDATE 10/23/15: While going through Brickset today I decided that I could match some of the known names listed there to some of the sets in this post, just based on intuition. I have edited the post accordingly.
UPDATE 1/7/15: These sets have been out for some time now and I thought I'd point out that I accurately predicted the price for all but two. Merlok's Library was predicted at $30 and is really $25; the King's Mech was predicted at $35 and is really $30. So overall, these sets ended up being even cheaper than I'd thought! (Now I just need to decide which ones to get...)
First, let me be clear: Brickset lists the item numbers of the 14 Nexo Knights sets in wave 1 (plus polybags), but as of right now we don't know exactly which set goes with which number, and we don't know any set names except for the two revealed at NYCC. I'm not going to speculate on any of these things. Instead I'll talk about the builds themselves, and my favorite part - all those juicy new pieces.
Also, the images are gonna be a bit small, since the ones that have been discovered at this point aren't super high-res. For the purpose of making this a half-decent post, I decided the pics are better small than scaled-up and ridiculously blurry.
Anyway. Here's the first set, 70310 Knighton Disc Launcher:
Even in this little kit, there's a lot going on visually. As with any new "big bang" theme, there are plenty of new parts. My eyes were drawn first to the vibrant trans-orange: a windscreen, treasure chest lid, and a couple of new blade elements. The minifigures are some of LEGO's most complex yet, and the baddie seems to be holding a new type of stud-shooter. The vehicle itself is of fairly good build quality in my opinion, and it appears to function as a giant disc shooter.
Price estimate: $9.99
Here's the next set, 70311 Chaos Catapult:
This looks a lot like the first set, and I soon realized why: it's the same formula (small war vehicle and two minifigs) with the roles reversed. This time it's a bad-guy war vehicle, and a catapult rather than a ballista. The same new stud-shooter crossbow is included with a similar baddie minifig, and the knight minifig seems exactly the same as the one from the other set!
I think this and the previous set will have the same price point; they are too similar not to. Army builders for the win!
Price estimate: $9.99
Next up, something more reminiscent of Chima: a giant horse, or rather, set #70312 Lance's Robo Horse.
I'm not sure about the head - it's kind of weirdly featureless - but this looks like a pretty solid set overall. I'm not quite sure what there will be in terms of action features but it definitely looks like there will be something.
Price estimate: $19.99
This one, 70313 Moltor's Lava Launcher, reminds me of 70161 Tremor Track Infiltration from Ultra Agents:
It has pretty much the same action feature: big "fists" that move back and forth and are controlled by a lever. The Nexo Knight in this set is heavily suited-up and features a new shield mold. There's also a new book piece that can be seen on the ground. Hopefully that will find its way into medieval MOCs once these sets hit stores.
Price estimate: $19.99
This next one's weird.
My first thought was "podracer." I have no idea what the purpose of this vehicle is but I assume it flies or hovers. The robo-horse hoverbike for the Nexo Knight supports this idea. The main feature of the baddie vehicle is a catapult on the back; those hungry-looking pods in the front must have some function, but I can't for the life of me discern what it could be. Presumably the designer had been smoking something interesting prior to working on this set. I guess we'll find out more later.
There's another new book here, in a different color, and next to it is part of the new shield. It looks like the different-colored shield emblems can be separated from the generic pearl-gray part, which will make both pieces more useful to MOCers, I think.
As of right now, I don't know the name of this set; it's the only one not accounted for on Brickset, although the item number is most likely 70314.
Price estimate: $29.99
From a mere glance it's easy to see what the point of this next set is: those two motorbikes are designed to detach from the rest of the vehicle. This is a pretty nice design, very reminiscent of Chima:
There's an interesting new windcscreen mold in trans-dark-orange - it's very pointy and should make for some interesting new MOC constructions, particularly starfighters. Also, what on earth is that little red demonic creature holding an oversized cleaver, there in the upper left corner? This theme keeps getting weirder and weirder. I'm starting to worry about what they put in the water over there in Billund.
Based on my guesswork from Brickset's listed names, the above set is probably 70315 Clay's Blade Cruiser.
Price estimate: $39.99
A theme can't be all vehicles - there has to be a base in there somewhere:
This one isn't much more than a low wall and a small tower, but it's well-built, and contains plenty of nice pieces (mmm... trans-dark-orange...).
Price estimate: $29.99
Of course, you can't have a castle theme without a princess. In this set, it looks like a Nexo Knight on his trusty lime-green, blue, and trans-dark-orange (?) robo-steed has to save the damsel in distress from a very angry monster:
The designs on the monster almost look like molten lava; I assume the evil faction must have some connection to fire?
Price estimate: $24.99
Wow. I haven't seen a mecha LEGO set this well-built since... maybe since Exo-Force:
I think the mech has a pilot but it's hard to tell from the picture. You also get a king minifigure.
Price estimate: $34.99
I won't bother to post the two larger sets that were officially revealed by LEGO, since those images are on plenty of other sites already, and I don't think I can add anything new or interesting to the discussion on them. However, I will post four polybag images, because I'm excited about them and I really hope they won't be hard to get (so I can get a lot of them...).
A few days ago, upon release of a teaser poster by LEGO, New Elementary commented on Twitter about what looked like some very interesting new elements in that poster. The polybag set below confirms that those pieces are very real, and I for one am very excited - and I'm sure I can't be the only one in the MOCing community.
The piece I'm talking about is that delicious 1x1 pyramid element, shown here in - what a surprise - trans-dark orange. I hope and pray that other colors are included in other Nexo Knights sets, and sets from other themes in the near future. They could be the new cheese slope, my most-hoarded element. I need me some 1x1 pyramids!
(Also, how cute is that little tank?)
I don't like this one as much, as there aren't any 1x1 pyramids, but it does highlight a new shield element. I'm not sure exactly how it's connected in there, though. Plus, this is a cheap way to get a generic knight minifig.
This is probably the best-looking of all these polybags. If recolored, it would almost look like something from a Star Wars battlepack. There aren't as many nice pieces though - the best one I see is that trans-dark orange panel. Still, this is a nice army builder.
The bad guys wanted a polybag too. Unfortunately they were rewarded with this horrible catapult vehicle thing. I mean there aren't even tires on the wheels. Come on guys...
Overall, my thoughts on Nexo Knights are overwhelmingly positive, even if I'm a little disturbed by some of the more bizarre inclusions in the sets. These sets are very well designed and there are some great new pieces, recolors, and minifigs. The storyline seems interesting.
And you know what's really nice?
Every single set I've shown in this post is cheap. None of them can be more than 50 bucks; I predicted them all at 40 or less. That means it'll be really easy for even a poor TFOL like me to get a whole bunch of Nexo Knights products, which I would like to do (mostly to get parts for MOCing, but there's more than one I wouldn't mind displaying on a shelf...). Excepting the polybags, there are still none of the awesome $5 army builders from older themes (come on, LEGO...), but a lot of these look really nicely priced. That, combined with the fact that they're actually nice sets, makes me happy.
All images in this post are from The Brick Fan: http://www.thebrickfan.com/lego-2016-official-set-images-partial/#more-18826. Since I stole his images I might as well give blogger Allen Tran a shoutout: I consider The Brick Fan to be the source for LEGO news on the internet. It's informative, prolific, and timely.