Set Reviews: Black Panther Royal Talon Fighter and Rhino Face-Off
The Black Panther movie was pretty epic, and there were two Lego sets to go with the film (in addition to a jet released with Civil War). So today I’m taking a quick look at 76100: Royal Talon Fighter Attack ($29.99, 358 pieces) and 76099: Rhino Face-Off by the Mine ($19.99, 229 pieces). There will be some moderate spoilers, but I won’t go too in depth to the movie.
Between the two sets, you get seven figs from the movie, hitting most of the main cast. T’Challa appears in both sets in two different uniforms. Black Panther’s suit is a bit plain to make in minifig form compared to some of the other super heroes we've gotten before, and honestly I would’ve liked to get a non-uniform T’Challa fig somewhere. The fig in the Royal Talon set is only a slight costume update from his Civil War version (furthest on the left in the pict above), which looks a bit more organic. The Rhino version includes the blue highlights from the movie’s finale.
Killmonger also gets to show up in both sets, but in very different outfits. The Royal Talon set has him in his main heist outfit, complete with the very cool tribal mask. The head, however, is a generic one that’s appeared in a couple of Star Wars character, as well as Spiderman’s Shocker fig from last year. Killmonger’s Black Panther suit from the Rhino set is only moderately different from T’Challa’s, with some gold highlights to make him stand out. Rounding out the villains is Klaue from the Royal Talon set, who is also the only non-black fig in these sets. The vest printing is pretty cool, but I’m a bit disappointed that they gave him a hand weapon instead of a full on robotic arm, since we’ve seen that happen before.
The female characters in the movie were some of the best, and we get two of them with Nakia in the Royal Talon set and Okoye in the Rhino set. (And it looks like we might get Shuri in an Infinity War set later this year.) The two figs here have similar torsos, which reflect the uniforms of theDora Milaje with only a few slight style differences between them. I’m disappointed to see Okoye’s uniform in dark orange, when she’s in red from the movie, from what I remember. I guess they wanted the color to differ from Nakia’s red uniform, but since Nakia didn’t wear that uniform for most of the movie, I would’ve preferred to see her in one of her other outfits. Still, it’s great to see more women of color as figs, and Nakia’s round weapons and unique hairpiece are also nice.
The Royal Talon Fighter is an impressive vehicle, and looks similar enough to the one from the movie. (Although I would’ve preferred to see some of the dragonfly-style ships from the movie... maybe as future sets?) The main stand out from the model is the twelve Bionicle fin blades along the edges, which are angled out to give a cool effect on the wings. The rest of the ship is well rounded, and the two flags on the front poke up like panther ears. It’s swooshable, and has a compartment in the middle to hold one of the baddies prisoner, but doesn’t have a lot of other features. The cockpit has room for two figs, but you can’t put a fig with hair in the back because their hair will hit the windscreen. It’s a decent model, but not exactly as iconic as the Milano. It does have a fair amount of cool black pieces to use, including a new style for the base.
From the two sets, I think the Rhino is the best model. The legs are single molds, but they work well and still have some connection points for additional armor. The body is solid and well rounded, and the head has a detailed and fairly realistic look, with decent motion on the neck to allow for a few poses. (The head also uses two of the 1x2 round plates with holes in the studs, so that’s a useful piece to have more of.) The stud shooters and handle bars on the top work for minifig playability, but if you want to make the rhino look more natural, then they’re easy to remove too. It’s nice to get a decent rhino model, especially since we were cheated out of a Rhino Legends Beast from Legends of Chima.
The last model is the mine cart from the Rhino set. The roller coaster track pieces are nice, but not much you can do with just two of them here. The cart reminds me of the Temple of Doom carts from the Indiana Jones set, and the Nexo Knight armor fills out the ends nicely. Unfortunately, the track is too short to really have much playability with it, which is disappointing, but I see what they were trying to do. Having more of those track elements in these sets is never quite a bad thing.
So, of the two models, I think the Rhino Face-Off by the Mines is the better choice. The mine cart is lackluster, but the Rhino is great. Royal Talon Fighter Attack’s vehicle is a bit less impressive, but the fig selection does make the set worthwhile. The various Black Panther figs are a bit meh, but all the other figs are really nice. Still, at $20 and $30, these sets are fairly affordable and do a good job at representing the movie. And since the film was such a big hit, maybe we’ll see future sets also focusing on the movie. (Although I guess there hasn’t been a case of LEGO releasing sets based on a non-current movie. Oh well.)