Saturday, September 30th, 2006 at 9:57pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Toa Tilius]
Last week, BZPower Reference Team member Toa Tilius spotted the combiner set Vezon and Kardas on Lego [email protected] in Europe. He obviously wasted no time buying it and putting it together, for today we bring you his review of this great set. Well, is it really great? Read on to find out that and everything else you may have wanted to know about the Kardas Dragon.
The the most superficial part of any LEGO product, but the one that often determines whether or not the set is a success or failure.
The Kardas Dragon’s box is in the same style as the other figures of 2006, complete with the black marks down the right-hand side. The background is interesting, with Vezon and Kardas stood in the mist at the edge of what looks like a cliff. The streaks behind them give the appearance of rain, meaning the box overall looks quite dark, and gives a nice feel of what Voya-Nui is like. The Voya-Nui logo is once again prominent in one corner.
I like the dragon’s pose here, too. The hunched appearance with the swinging tail shows that this guy is ready to attack. The neck isn't entirely visible, though. And, of course, you have Vezon standing proudly beside his newfound friend. From a glance, Vezon would seem identical to his Fenrakk version, but he is in fact slightly different. The front of the box is finished off with a similar logo to what was on the Vezon and Fenrakk box, but this time reading '& Kardas', since it includes Kardas and not Fenrakk. Obviously.
Flipping the box over, you get treated to a couple of Kardas poses. One shows his extending wings and the leg piston function, and the other is a pose of Vezon riding the big dude. I would have perhaps liked that on the front and have the box in a portrait view, since that might have shown the set more accurately, and have been a bit of a change to the regular Bionicle boxes. Along the bottom is a little equation of the sets included, though it's not entirely true. More on that later... In the top right is a more detailed map of Voya-Nui. On the sides is the Bionicle Heroes advert and, once again, the set ‘equation’ from the box's back. As with most sets this size, the box opens by lifting the ‘hinged’ front.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
So you've bought it and taken it home (or at least made it to the car), punched the perforated tabs and dump out the contents. What do you get for your money?
Once you open the box and pour out the contents, you'll find nine bags of parts and two instruction booklets, one for Vezon and one for Kardas. Oddly, no instructions for the three titans are included. But all hope is not lost, as the final pages of the instruction books show each titan next to a screenshot of their instructions on Bionicle.com, so it's not too bad if you don't mind sitting in front of a computer whilst building. The part bags aren't really arranged in any order, so it's probably best to open all the bags and put the contents in different piles, so you can remember which pile to go to for each part. Tip from a master there…
Here's where we start to cut to the heart of the matter. You didn't buy this box for all the glossy booklets & creative artwork. You want to know about the LEGO bricks & bits that are included, and what (if any) new & interesting parts you'll find inside. Here's also where I'll talk about any new and/or interesting pieces that you will encounter.
The pieces included are simply those of Brutaka, Axonn and Vezok and Fenrakk. No extras are included for Kardas, so apart from the instructions, there's no major incentive to buy Kardas.
After building, there are still a lot of parts left over:
I'm sure these will be pretty useful in a spare parts bin, but I'm going to add them on to Kardas, to improve both looks and maybe stability. Eventually.
What can you expect while putting this model together?
In total, the entire set took me around two hours to complete - and that includes shifting through heaps of parts. The build of Kardas can be quite confusing if you're not careful - the body is made using a lot of those small and large black Technic pins, which can get you confused if you’re not paying attention, but if you can count to at least 20, you should be fine... Once you get the hang of it and the piece numbers go down, it's not too tricky.
This is the main body structure of Kardas. There's a lot of bulk around the chest, made mainly by using the Toa arms from Fenrakk to wrap around the main skeleton. At this stage, the body is already quite weighty.
The legs aren't the greatest. They could do with a lot more armour on them to bulk them out, and they're not quite strong enough to support Kardas' huge body quite well, or so I’ve found, so if you’re displaying, then don’t move the guy when you’ve got him in position. But considering the creators had limited parts, it's not a major problem. The legs join the waist twice, similarly to Botar’s build. This restricts opposability, but it does help support quite a bit.
Meet his feet. The gold Piraka foot keeps the set stable, and three posable clawed toes sit around and look nice. Very dragon like.
The final build on Kardas that I'm going to comment on is the tail. As you can see, it's much more interesting than, say, the Kikanalo tail of 2004. There's more detail, it's more armoured and it's generally a lot better. And keep in mind that this is still with limited pieces. Very nice indeed.
But let's not get too wrapped up in Kardas, because Vezon still exists. And he’s still cool...
This is the main change in Vezon's design - his shield. It's made of the Axonn blades and a few other parts. It clips onto Vezon's elbow like so:
Whilst I still prefer the other Vezon, a shield adds to the dragon rider look. Other changes on Vezon are the lack of the brown Inika armour on the staff (that is now the start of Kardas' tail) and an extra piece added beneath the shoulder armour to slightly bulk him up. Very slight...
So you've got the model together, but is it more like playing with a block of wood or an interactive toy?
Kardas is quite fragile, due to the weakness of the legs. Once you've positioned them, you won't really want to move them again. The legs are also stuck to a crouching position, which doesn't look too bad, and goes with the rest of the set's bulky figure. One downside I found, and many other people will probably find, is there's no actual way to have Vezon ride Kardas in the instructions. They're left as two separate sets, but, luckily for you, sir, there are Technic pins left over to put on the dragon's neck for the chain to attach and on Kardas' lower back for Vezon's foot though. Since photographing the set, I've found that Vezon is more stable if you simply sit him on Kardas' shoulders. The chain proves to be important, as the head is heavy and often droops down, so it's a good idea to have Vezon holding the head up for posing.
The arms of the dragon are short and dinosaur-like, which suits the overall look of the set just fine. They're similar to Brutaka's arms, and use the Piraka claws as hands. Again, I’d have liked more bulk, but, also again, there’s the whole limited parts issue.
The neck style matches the tail style, and is spiked all the way along it with black and gold spikes. On the other side of the neck are three silver 'V' pieces, made to look similar to a collar or possibly armour.
An interesting feature is Kardas' extending wings. Move the Brutaka blades on the end in, and the whole wing will fold up and retract. I like these sorts of functions, where changing one thing affects a large portion of the set.
And pull them out and the wings extend and rise. The only thing I'm not too fond of is the skeletal appearance of the wings, but once again, limited parts.
Kardas' face is build similarly to that of Fenrakk's. The way the teeth all fit together when the mouth is closed is good, and the look of the gum makes him look that bit more…gory, is possibly the word. The main difference between Kardas' and Fenrakk's faces is that the connection between the head and the neck is much firmer on the dragon. I found I had to push the neck in quite hard to link up all of the '+' holes for a rod to go through and attach the whole thing together.
I don't think Kardas would be as much fun alone. Vezon riding him adds to the set greatly, and does look great when posing. As I've said, he's been changed slightly to suit his new steed.
Here's where it all boils down to whether the model is worth your money and time or not.
Kardas is an excellent set. My original concern was the price – and I apologize for using British pounds - this set appeared to be £59.99, but is, in fact, half that price, at £29.99. If you already own the three titans, this set is worth getting for the full price, though if you’re unsure about whether you’ll like this model, it might be a good idea to use instructions that you can find elsewhere on the internet to decide, before you spend such a large amount of money. If you don't own them, and are prepared to build each model over and over again, then also get this for full price. If you own only one or two of the titans, then get Kardas if you like the look of him, but build the other titans before building the main model first to decide if you want them too.
Phew...so yes, great set to build and pose, and at the same time, still worth the full price tag if you already own the three titans. Though remember, he is really more for looking than playing, due to his weak legs, but I don't think it would be too hard for people to beef them up and make him stable.
I’m not one that just ends a review with ‘You must buy this set now!!’. I prefer to help others decide for themselves. So, don’t be rash and run out to buy this set. Just think about my points in the last paragraph before you buy the guy, yeah?
And one more set gets marked off on the list of 2006 sets to review. I hope you enjoyed reading about Vezon and Kardas, I'm sure the review helped you decide whether or not it's worth your hard-earned allowance. Be sure to thank Toa Tilius for the review, and keep watching for more set reviews!
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