Sunday, October 24th, 2010 at 9:07pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's been a while since our last set review, but we haven't forgotten about them! Today BZPower Forum Mentor takes a look at Dunkan Bulk from the Hero Factory line. What sets him apart from the other heroes, and is he worth your hard-earned allowance money? Read on to find out!
Mak Megahertz failed, but we did manage to talk with Sid Asimo, the longest serving employee of the HERO FACTORY. After refusing to do the review for us, we convinced him to write a small paragraph for each section. Here we go!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Not the helmet, not the weapons, but the Hero Pod is a Hero's most useful tool. Of a comfortable size, modern, state-of-the-art shape and with a HERO FACTORY label, Heroes are beamed or transported throughout the galaxy in their Hero Pods.
As you see, the HERO FACTORY canisters are the first canisters since the Inika that have an actual story purpose. Their size is enough for the Heroes to fit in after removing their weapon. The canister itself is the same piece as the Stars canisters with the lid being a different, although very similar piece. The most obvious difference of the lid is the very nice looking H instead of the Valley of the Maze. Interestingly, Bulk's lid is the first one with this shade of silver.
Obviously, the focus on the canister's front is Bulk, looking at the customer in a somehow scary way, maybe saying something like "Buy me or I will pull the trigger". You then notice that he indeed has his finger resting on his weapon's trigger and realize that his hand can't be a usual Glatorian hand, although the lack of an arm and a hand piece is perfecly hidden by the pose.
We also see the HF logo in a silver shade with the words HERO FACTORY and the LEGO logo before. A very interesting fact is that whereas BIONICLE was just BIONICLE, this is not HERO FACTORY but LEGO HERO FACTORY.
Other details include "concept art" of Build in the background, Bulk's name three times in case the buyer has missed it (funnily enough in black and not in his primary colour as the other Heroes), one of those times being his autograph which is very fitting to his somehow brute personality, next to an icon of him. We also find out that you can visit HEROFACTORY.LEGO.com. Why the 'LEGO' in the domain is important is beyond me- perhaps the domian was bought after packaging was done? And there is a nice note with a nostalgic background of the island of Mata Nui, explaining that HERO FACTORY is from the same people who made BIONICLE. Oh, is it?
The back shows a nice pic of Bulk vs. XPlode, the helmet in its actual size, the usual legal text and the translation of said note, all in English, French and Spanish, for obvious reasons.
Something I noticed years ago but never had an appropiate chance to show is that there are some differences between American and European canisters. The most interesting difference is that while the European canisters show an image of the storage function, the American ones don't. See for yourself, but quickly, we have to get to the set or this part will be what we talk about the most. :P
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Inside the soaring Assembly Tower, HERO FACTORY engineers challenge the laws of physics, technology and creativity as they construct Heroes using only the best and most state-of-the-art armor of solid fibre carbide plating, helmets, weapons, equipment and unique Quaza cores.
Not much to say here. In general, the building is quite the same as the Av-Matoran, Agori and Stars in terms of rather missing complexity, which certainly is a pity for older fans who love complex builds (like me). Considering the target group, though, I think LEGO has done an appropiate job.
So if you are an older fan, already familiar with the Av-Matoran and experienced in concluding sets' structure through the picture on the package, the instruction booklet becomes superfluous. You should not throw it away, though, as it contains some nice pictures and links to hidden content on HEROFACTORY.LEGO.com. It is not that "hidden" anymore, though, because I already reported it to the news. Remember the first pics of the HERO FACTORY TV series? :P
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Each Hero has a unique set of equipment. Armor and helmets fitting the power coming from their highly advanced weapons and fitting their personality. For Bulk we relied on his raw strength and power and developed a highly resistant armor and helmet of the best materials we have. His weapon fires projectiles with sheer strength through a visibly complex mechanism.
Bulk has indeed a very elegant design: This may just be my personal opinion, but as far as set design is concerned, very few sets of the nearer past could compete with Bulk and with the Heroes in general.
No Hero has a color scheme as completed and perfect as Bulk's. Contrary to other Heroes, who have at least four colors, Bulk has merely three: silver, black and bright translucent orange. I really like the fact that Bulk's Hero Core has the same colour as his head, which is also the case on Stormer and Furno, while Surge, Breez and Stringer have Hero Cores in cool colours, their heads having, however, a different colour.
But not just that, his main torso armor is designed in a way it perfectly fits his raw strength. You can clearly see where several metallic plates were connected on his torso armor and it looks like it could resist any kind of bullet, as long as they are not shot at those two gaps at the sides.
Other certainly admirable pieces are the before mentioned Hero Core, the new versatile torso, which will be incredibly useful for MOCing, limbs and feet, but all these have been covered enough by DV and Velox in previous reviews. There is one observation about the feet I would like to share with you, though:
As I started regarding the feet more closely, I noticed they had a certain similarity to armored boots from old medieval knight armours. Probably, you will come to the same conclusion when closely looking at them for a while. Funny enough, they do also look surprisingly similar to the feet of the large Knights Kindom figures, which I noticed shortly afterward. I doubt this is a coincidence, so it seems very possible that the feet design was in fact based on medieval armored boots.
Unfortunately, even the most awesome-looking sets have something that fails. I am talking about the hollow one-piece weapon arm. The piece looks pretty good on the set, partly due to the nice detail of the trigger-happy finger. However, the fact that LEGO could have possibly made it as a real weapon that attaches to a real hand is quite upsetting. The arm is also shorter than the other this way. This decision was probably made to save plastic, but I am sure it could have been made differently. The good thing is that you eventually get used to it and that the weapon arm looks very good from certain angles, but for MOCers these pieces are a nightmare.
The helmet is another unique piece, which contributes much to the set's overall look. Like all other Hero helmets, it has a clearly visible headset on the right side, as well as a small headcam on the forehead, which are very cool looking details, despite making the helmet slightly assymetrical. But the HERO FACTORY helmets are more than just helmets to cover the Iron Man head and give the set a cool appearance. Unlike the masks of sets like the Inika or the Mahri, which did not reveal anything of the wearer's personality, the HERO FACTORY helmets do reflect what kind of person the corresponding HERO is: The half-open helmet with the lockjaw perfectly reflects Bulk's power and raw strength. I really cannot imagine any other of the Heroes wearing this helmet.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Prof. Nathaniel Zib has asked us not to publish any comments concerning the Heroes' playability coming from HERO FACTORY employees to avoid creating a wrong impression about how HERO FACTORY employees and especially the Heroes deal with their job. "Fighting[...] against the forces of evil[...] is a serious matter and not a game," he explains.
Even having only eight points of articulation, the set can do some nice poses.
I can't wait to buy some bad guys to play with them. The more natural poses and better proportions of the set add to the playing fun, although it would have been better if the weapon arm were easier to move and pose. Nevertheless, I am sure kids are going to have hours of fun replaying missions and creating their own - the more sets they have the better.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Smooth colour scheme
- Adequate proportions and movement range
- Lots of new, recoloured and awesome pieces
- Awesome torso piece!
- Good overall appearance
What's not to like?
- Construction not complex
- No bendable limbs
- Hollow weapon arm
- Still expensive
Although you may get the impression that there are as many cons as pros, in fact the pros clearly outweigh the cons. Bulk is a cool set, and if you intend to buy on of this year's Heroes, you should definitely take him into consideration. My thanks goes to Black Six for sending me the set completely for free and to LEGO for sending him the set for free as well. Oh, and thanks to Sid Asimo of course! :P
You're very welcome, Gatanui - I'm glad you enjoyed the set. I hope you all enjoyed the review: feel free to leave and questions or comments in the Talkback. Also don't forget to keep on checking back for more reviews and more Bionicle, Hero Factory, and LEGO news!
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