Avatar: The Way of Water is already smashing records and one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, a testament to James Cameron’s box office prowess.
Its US$99.99 places it in a competitive price bracket, alongside other great sets like 10497 Galaxy Explorer or 75336 Inquisitor Transport Scythe. As the flagship set of the wave, let’s find out if this set holds up in this review!
This review set was not provided by The LEGO Group.
75579 Payakan the Tulkun & Crabsuit Set Details
Set number: 75579
Retail Price: US$99.99 / AU$159.99 / £89.99 – Also available from Amazon.com or Amazon Australia
Release Date: 1 January 2023
Designer: Atticus Tsai-McCarthy @AnAverageViewer
75579 Payakan the Tulkun & Crabsuit Unboxing
The front of the box has a vibrant design, showing Payakan and the crabsuit underwater. The border of the set features Pandora’s colorful wildlife for an extra splash of color.
The back of the box has a more subdued design to allow you to get a clearer view of the builds and cutouts to showcase the play features.
Inside the box are numbered bags from 1 to 5, along with a new cardboard packaging for the instruction manuals instead of the usual clear plastic bag.
It seems LEGO has started using paper bags in sets now! This bag contains the specially moulded pieces for Payakan’s head, in line with their commitment to replace inner single-use paper bags with more sustainable and recyclable paper material.
75579 Payakan the Tulkun & Crabsuit Minifigures
The first minifigure in the set is Lo’ak, Jake Sully’s youngest son. He has the new moulded head and hairpiece for the Avatar figures, but uses a regular minifigure torso and medium legs due to his younger age.
The prints are certainly detailed and look good, although I’m still mixed on the new moulded heads.
Here’s how he looks from the back. His hairpiece has the bar which represents the Queue allowing them to connect to the Pandoran creatuires, and he also has a rubbery molded tail element that makes him slightly taller.
Next up is Tsireya. She has a lighter skin tone as she is from the Metkayina clan, but still uses the same head and hair molds as Lo’ak. The bluer skin is a great way to differentiate the ocean-dwelling Metkayina Clan from the tree-dwelling Omatikaya Clan that Jake and Neytiri belong too.
The printing on the torso and legs is great, although the face looks a bit odd to me as well.
Like Lo’ak, she has a molded rubber tail and some back torso printing. The tails are a little incorrect, as the Na’Vi from the Metkayina Clan have evolutionary adaptations such as finned tails to help them manoeuvre and swim, so repurposing the same tail piece just doesn’t feel right in this case.
The final minifigure is one of the few normal human minifigures in The Way of Water wave, an RDA Crabsuit Driver. He has a generic face and a hat that’s pretty common in LEGO City sets, but his brand new torso and leg printing is fantastic – I love the digital camouflage look!
The back of the torso has some more camo and a pair of printed pouches. Unfortunately he doesn’t come with accessories – a small gun or harpoon would’ve been nice.
The minifigures included in this set are very detailed, but including only three in a US$100 set doesn’t feel like a great deal.
I also have mixed feelings on the Avatar minifigures – yes the prints are very detailed, but the head molds and faces (with their molded ears and printed nose) look a bit uncanny to me.
Whether you like them or not will come down to personal preference, but they are definitely unique.
75579 Payakan the Tulkun & Crabsuit Builds
The first thing you build in the set is the Crabsuit, a four-legged RDA submersible vehicle. I must say that I liked this build a lot more than I expected – it’s compact but still detailed and very cute.
Like other RDA vehicles, it has a militaristic sand green colour scheme, and uses several studs-not-on-top techniques for the shaping at the top around the cockpit.
The cockpit uses a LEGO City helicopter canopy piece in trans-black, but thanks to the angled plates mounted sideways gaps around this piece are effectively minimized. There’s a pair of stud shooters flanking the cockpit for extra firepower.
The crabsuit has a pair of arms with clips at the end. These have three points of articulation and can be extended or retracted, although due to their small size they can’t grab a lot of things.
They can hold on to the Avatar figures by their hairpiece, though!
The crabsuit’s four legs are attached via ball joints, and so can be posed at various angles, although it’s still tricky to get a convincing walking pose.
The cockpit canopy can be hinged open, with space for one minifigure inside. He’s not attached with any studs but it’s a pretty snug space so it works to keep him in place. He has a control lever and a 1×1 trans-blue slope for a display.
The back of the crabsuit has this propeller attached to an engine housing, as the vehicle can also be turned into a submarine!
You can fold the four legs into a flatter position, and retract the arms to a more compact look.
This is the crabsuit in its submarine mode – it’s a lot more compact, but still pretty cute, and although it’s not 100% accurate to the movie design, I like this model.
In its retracted submarine form, the crabsuit can be attached to one of the reef display stands included in the set.
All of the LEGO Avatar sets have come with some form of side build depicting slices of natural life on Pandora, and this set comes with a small section of underwater reef.
It basically serves as a display stand for the Crabsuit – and it looks good in that form – but as a standalone build it really doesn’t do anything.
The colors are nice but the exposed Technic pieces basically ruin the display value of this model as a standalone, and you can’t connect it to other reef builds to make a larger underwater scene.
The main build in the set is Payakan, a whale-like creature called a Tulkun who befriends Lo’ak over the course of the film.
The model is fairly sizeable for a LEGO animal, measuring around 39cm (15″) long, and has a nice dark blue and white colour scheme.
The part that immediately catches your eye is the massive head, which uses three huge new molded pieces. These have great printing on them, and recreate the unusual shapes of the creature that would’ve been impossible with regular LEGO pieces.
You can open the sides and the bottom of the jaw, and there’s a hollow space on the inside of the model which allows Payakan to swallow several minifigures. The bottom of the jaw looks a bit under-detailed – maybe some tiles would’ve made it look neater.
Payakan measures 30 metres long in the movie, and while the LEGO version is nowhere near that, it still dwarfs the average minifigure!
I’m glad that he was done at this price point so that the size and impressiveness of the creature can be done justice in LEGO form.
The model looks unique with its four fins, although the front left fin is shorter due to the events in the movie.
There’s also two long appendages that extend from the front fins towards the back of the body, although the exposed Technic pins are not optimal.
The tail of the model is built with ratcheted joints at two angles, so you can put the tail into a lower position, like this…
…or raise it at a higher angle!
The tail of the model is also connected via a click hinge, and despite its fairly simple construction I like how this build looks.
Payakan has several connection points on the top of his body and on his fins, which allows you to attach minifigures.
This allows them to “swim” through the water on the fins of the tulkun, an effective look!
Payakan also comes with his own section of reef, which also doubles as a display stand. He’s connected via two Technic axles which is secure enough to balance the model’s weight.
While Payakan looks great on top of his display stand, the reef build itself leaves more to be desired – again, the Technic bricks are much too exposed.
I am torn on these reef side builds included in the Avatar sets. On the one hand, they help enhance the main builds to look better on display, but by themselves these reefs are very mediocre.
If you collect the entire Avatar wave you’ll have multiple small reef builds that don’t really serve a purpose other than holding up the models.
I think it would have been more effective if the reefs could join together via clips to form a bigger underwater ecosystem, just like the sets from the first wave.
Overall, this set is good, but there is definitely room for improvement as well. The design of Payakan the Tulkun is great – although it relies on custom moulded pieces, I think that can be excused, especially since the rest of the model has great shaping.
The Crabsuit is a cute model, and both main builds look good when placed on the reef display stands.
However, the minifigure count is on the low side, and I would have liked the reef builds to have a bit more versatility/playability.
I think the price point of US$100 is fair; the piece count may be a bit low but the inclusion of large moulded pieces does go some way to offset that, and the final models are impressively-sized.
There may be better US$100 sets out there, but if you are a fan of Avatar: The Way of Water and have the spare cash, I think this is a worthy purchase.
Build  – Payakan and the crabsuit are great, although the reefs are lacklustre.
Minifigures  – The included minifigures are good, but three minifigures feels far too low for the price.
Real Value  – The piece count is low, but the size and quality of the final models feels justifiable for the price tag.
Innovation  – Haven’t seen an official LEGO whale at this size and scale before, and it’s great. Hopefully we get more large-scale underwater animals from LEGO.
Keepability  – The Avatar film franchise clearly holds tremendous sway over the box office, and this set is a worthy model in any Avatar fan’s collection.
Rating and score: 3/5 ★★★✰✰
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