Monkie Kid Secret HQ (80013) Review
Of all the Monkie Kid sets released in the first wave, this one was at the top of my list. I have so many ideas for how to incorporate this set into my custom builds. After assembling it, even more ideas sprung to life that will require few changes to it. There is a lot going on in the Monkie Kid Secret HQ. Without further ado, let us delve into it.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review purposes. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.
MONKIE KID SECRET HQ SUMMARY:
- NAME: Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ
- SET #: 80013
- THEME: Monkie Kid
- COST: $249.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1959
- MINIFIGURES: 7 + 1 Big Fig
- RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2020
MONKIE KID SECRET HQ QUICK REVIEW:
- VALUE: 85% ($0.13/brick is good, as is $0.71/minute of build-time.)
- BUILD: 85% (The main build is awesome, just a few minor issues.)
- MINIFIGURES: 76% (Nice minifig design, but too many bull clones and poor brick:fig.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (Great set all around, but hinges limit placement for AFOLs.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 85%
MONKIE KID SECRET HQ REVIEW
Out of the first wave of Monkie Kid sets, Secret HQ is the largest. Consequently, that also makes it the most expensive. However, the value is not bad. The set costs $249.99 in Canada and has 1959 bricks. At that price, each brick costs $0.127. Comparatively, my average is currently $0.14/brick. Therefore, the set is a better than average value. I rate the cost-per-brick at 84%.
I had a wonderful afternoon of building with this set. It took me five hours and 52 minutes in total. Paying full price for this set, that equates to $0.71/minute of build-time. Currently, my average is $0.815/minute. Therefore, you get a good value in terms of assembly time too. I rate that at 86%. Averaging the build-time and cost-per-brick scores gives an overall value rating of 85%.
Let us get the bad out of the way first. You assemble three small vehicles along with the Secret HQ. They are all unimpressive. Of the three, the bull clones have the best one. However, all of them are overly simplistic and lack detail. You also build water jets for Mei and Pigsy. Both feel incomplete. I particularly dislike Pigsy’s because it lacks sophistication. The LEGO® Group has tried to put too much into this set, as they often do. They really did not need to because the Secret HQ has a lot of cool stuff going on already. At most, the set needs one of these vehicles. The bull clones’ boat is my vote. The piece count from the other two should have added detail elsewhere.
In addition to the watercraft, Secret HQ comes with a mech for Monkie Kid. I like this build. It features six ball and socket joints, seven hinge joints, and a couple of stud shooters. Additionally, the mech has a staff that attaches to the hand and swings a bit. Therefore, for a relatively simple build, it is very poseable. Also, it has good detailing for a smaller build. If the LEGO® Group wants to include small builds in large sets, this is how they should do it.
This mech shows how supplementary build should be done.
The main build is a shipping barge that houses the Monkie Kid Team’s Secret HQ. The exterior look drew me to this set in the beginning. The boat looks great and I love the shipping containers onboard. Additionally, the ship swings open on two hinges to give interior access. My complaint is that the hinges are not very sturdy. In photographing the set, the hinges came undone a couple of times. Therefore, I do not think they will stay together in play very well. However, the good news is that they pop back together just as easily.
Inside the ship, the main area consists of a hangar for the mech. Next to it there is bathroom for Minifigs and cats (it has a litter box). Additionally, there is a living area with a TV for gaming, armchair, and boxes to use as tables. Above it is a hammock. This room also has a cat door for Mo (the cat with a mohawk). The aft section of the ship is a mechanic bay with lots of tools. It also stores the heroes’ watercraft. The interesting aspect of this area is that the sides of the ship raise up so the watercraft can launch from the ship.
How do you drive this ship? There’s no bridge!
The ship’s exterior features details like boxes, barrels, tires, a fire extinguisher, and even planters! While stickers are annoying to place, this set has several fun signs too. Additionally, the ship uses a lot of Technic panel pieces to build the hull. The effect is nice. The ship also has a rotating crane with an arm that adjusts in height and length. I wish the ship had a proper bridge though. There is an operations platform of sorts. However, it looks more like the station for operating the crane.
Overall, I really like this set. I wish wasted bricks did not go to un-detailed watercraft though. Additionally, the hinges need stronger attachment and there is no bridge. I am not overly concerned about the hinges or the bridge though. The rest of the ship makes up for them. Additionally, the watercraft are small compared to the main build. I will remove half a mark for each of these issues. Overall, I rate the build for Secret HQ at 8.5/10 (85%).
The Monkie Kid Team’s Secret HQ comes with seven minifigs and one big fig. However, I am mildly disappointed with the selection. While you get the main heroes in the series, you do not get any of the main villains. The set contains four bull clone characters as antagonists. Essentially, each of these characters is identical with minor variations in accessories. A set this big should come with a major villain. This set needs Red Son or Princess Iron Fan. If I buy a big set in a theme, I am probably skipping smaller ones. Red Son comes in two smaller sets. Princess Iron Fan only comes in one other set, the Demon Bull King. In my opinion, each of these characters needs to come in a small set and a large set to make them accessible to all collectors.
In terms of the character designs, I continue to enjoy the Monkie Kid theme. Pigsy is identical to the one that came with the Demon Bull King set. However, you get another pair of small, poseable legs with cargo print. Monkie Kid is like the Bull King variant as well. However, his double-sided face sports two new expressions. All the characters have front and back torso printing. Only the heroes have leg printing. None of the bull clones have face or leg print. Their heads are transparent orange, like the lanterns from the Ninjago Movie series. Secret HQ also comes with 22 accessories. I will not list them all, but you get a lot of great tools. I rate the character design for this set at 94/105 (90%).
This set comes with too main bull clones. It needs a main villain.
In addition to the proper Minifigures, the set also includes the Sandy big fig. He is not a standard Minifigure, so I did not include him in the design score. However, he is a great, colorful character. Additionally, he counts towards the brick-to-fig ratio. Eight characters in a 1959-piece kit translates to a ratio of 245:1. Comparatively, my average is currently 153:1. Therefore, for a kit this big, you are not getting very many characters. The ratio is still passable though, earning 61%. Averaging the ratio and design scores gives an overall Minifigure rating of 76%.
I wanted the Secret HQ the moment I saw pictures of it. However, I wanted it for MOC potential. The shipping containers interested me. Then I built the set. Subsequently, my opinion changed. I really like this set as is. My plans to rip it apart for MOC pieces changed into incorporating the set as is into a larger MOC design. This is a great set. Until I have time to build a MOC around it, I plan to put this set on display. With that said, I would like this set more if it was modular and did not open on hinges. The hinges are a structural weak point. Additionally, that design limits how I can place this set in my MOC. I rate the AFOL score at 9/10 (90%).
Secret HQ is a great playset. There is so much going on. The hinge design that bothers me as an AFOL works well for KFOLs. It increases the accessibility of the interior for play. As a kid, I would have loved this set. It has a lot of play potential as a ship and a secret base. I rate the KFOL score at 100%. Averaging the KFOL and AFOL scores gives an overall entertainment rating of 95%.
OVERALL SCORE: 85%
The price tag for Secret HQ is high, limiting how many people will buy this set. However, the value of the kit overall is good. You get a slightly better than average cost-per-brick, and good build time. I usually expect a better than good value for a set this big though. While it remains a decent value at full price, a sale makes the value better. Additionally, the issues I have with this set are small. I am generally not a fan of undetailed side builds, and this set’s inclusions are no exception. I also wish the Minifigure selection was different and included more characters. Otherwise, Monkie Kid Team’s Secret HQ is a solid set that I greatly enjoyed.
Until next time,
What do others think?
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