BATTLE AT THE ANCIENT VILLAGE REVIEW
The Battle at the Ancient Village (76177) is one of two sets based on the MCU’s latest film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings. This set depicts a moment and characters from the latter part of the film. The primary build is The Great Protector, a mythical dragon that comes to aid the heroes in the big fight. I managed to purchase this for only 40% off the retail price on the Wal-Mart website – it was too great a deal to pass up. I am also going to look at the Shang-Chi and The Great Protector (30454) polybag GWP. This polybag is a simple build which I think will make for a fun comparison with the larger one. And in case anyone is worried, there will be NO movie spoilers ahead 😃
For a breakdown of the rating system, please click here.
- NAME: Battle at the Ancient Village
- SET #: 76177
- THEME: Marvel
- COST: $49.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 400
- MINIFIGURES: 4
- RELEASE DATE: April 26, 2021
- VALUE: 80% (good value overall, amazing value thanks to a 40% discount)
- BUILD: 80% (simple fun build with great colours and some nice poseability)
- MINIFIGURES: 93% (great selection of minifigures with great printing, no unique faces)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 85% (fun set for a small display or to play with, no ‘ancient village’ buildings though)
- OVERALL SCORE: 84% (good value for the money, especially for minifigure collectors)
The Battle at the Ancient Village retails for $49.99 in Canada. At full price, with 400 pieces, this is a cost-per-brick value of $0.125. The current average for all superheroes sets is approximately $0.13 which gives this Marvel set a score of 84%. If we look at it with the amazing sale price of $29.89 that I managed to get, we get an even more amazing cost-per-brick value of $0.074. That basically nets a perfect score of 100%. At 40% off the MSRP, this is an amazing value for a set this size. But even at the full price that we judge on, this Shang-Chi set still gives you a decent purchase for the cost.
My start-to-finish build time on Battle at the Ancient Village was a comfortable 63 minutes. At just over an hour, this is a cost-per-minute of $0.81, for a score of 77%. Taking both numbers together, we get a decent score of 80% overall for value. Using the sale price we of course get a much higher score of 97% from a cost-per-minute value with $0.47. The sale price value is a VERY desirable 98% overall. So if you can get your hands on this for a decent discount, it’s very much worth the pick-up.
The Battle at the Ancient Village is packaged in a standard box with colourful cover art. The illustrations show the main hero and the village in the background, with the build front-and-centre. Inside the box are 3 numbered bags, 1 bag of trans ‘power’ elements, a sticker sheet and a 75 page instruction book. There are few repetitive sections which is always nice – the only x2 portions being the legs on either side. The stickers are a bit more tricky as they are all quite small and therefore harder to place. The majority go on fairly small parts as well, adding to the finnickyness. You can certainly omit them, but they do add some nice detail.
The Great Protector is the sole build and it builds very smoothly and easily. Each segment of the dragon is connected by technic joints that can pose up or down. The head and tail are on ball joints that allow for more side-to-side movement. The legs and claws are nicely poseable for a bit more dynamic action. Colour choices in this set are wonderful thanks to a nice mix of white, reds and blues. The base is very useful as the dragon can be posed upright atop it and it looks great with that mix of blue and trans elements. It really has a lovely water look to it. Overall I give the build a solid 80% score.
A great selection of minifigures is included in this set: Shang-Chi, Xialing, Wenwu and Death Dealer. Each one is a key character from the film and is represented nicely in their final costume/outfit. All minifigures have great torso and face printing. Death Dealer’s face print in particular is very nice and spot-on to the film design. Only Wenwu doesn’t have a secondary expression or print on the head. But he is the only character with leg printing, so I suppose that evens out? Also included is an adorable sculpt of Morris, a mythical creature known as a Dijang. He’s essentially a faceless fluff ball with six legs and wings. He is adorable in the movie and just as cute in brick form. The set gets a very decent 93% based on minifigures alone.
Each minifigure has a weapon or accessory, the coolest being 5 of the 10 rings. I love the way they use standard gold rings attached to the angled clear elements that come with Marvel and DC collectible minifigures to create the rings in use. It’s super clever. To get the other 5 rings you’ll have to pick up the Escape from The Ten Rings (76176) set. The brick-to-fig ratio is a nice, clean 100/piece. That gives a really solid value of 91%. For comparison, the theme average is about 170 brick/fig, so minifigure wise, this is a superb value. And again, at the 40% discounted price the score is basically 100% and a total steal. Taking into account the minifigure and brick-to-fig ratio scores, we get a very impressive 93% overall.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the best MCU films in a while. The action was thrilling and perfectly filmed. The story also has great comedic and dramatic notes that strike a nice balance. It’s also an incredible homage to martial arts films and Asian/Chinese mythology and culture. The representation is great and I hope to see more from this part of the MCU moving forward. A small building or something that can be ‘defended’ or built/broken would make this a greater set in my opinion. The ancient village part is sadly missing and I would have loved to see a small temple or structure included. It would be something simple to enhance the playability of the set.
Overall the movie is highly recommended, and this set is a great way to recreate a scene with some neat play elements. It’s a decent display set or minifigure set for AFOL collectors. It also happily has great playability and can really spark the imagination in younger builders. Dragons are always a hit and this is a well designed and constructed creature that you can pose and interact with easily. The posing is slightly limited and the design is a bit blocky in places, but that doesn’t take away from the fun. The stickers are a bit tricky to place since they are all fairly small, but they do add some nice texture to the Great Protector. I rate this set at a very solid 85%.
One of my recent LEGO purchases came with a small polybag set. Shang-Chi and The Great Protector (30454) is (was) a gift-with-purchase for spending $55 or more on Marvel sets in-store and online from August 1-15. This is a very simple but well done polybag. The Shang-Chi minifigure is exactly the same as the one found in the two main sets. In this case, he comes with a pearl gold staff instead of a brown one. The Great Protector is only 50 pieces or so, but is nicely scaled down. Looking at it side-by-side with the larger build, you can appreciate the closeness in accuracy.
The articulation on this tiny build is really nice, using simple ball joints that allow for slightly more poseable directions compared to its big brother. Blue energy elements nicely recreate the blue water base of the larger build and the colours of the dragon are nearly spot-on. A nice touch is the angle element on the dragon’s back that enables you to put Shang-Chi in the passenger seat. It’s a fun way to make a displayable piece and also great for playability.
What do you all think? Have you seen the Shang-Chi film and does this set make your wish list? Are you on board with the latest phase of the MCU? Are you eager for more or are you on superhero burn-out? Please comment below and let us know. And as always, keep on brickin’.
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