Sunday, December 19th, 2010 at 7:03pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
This week it's time for another review from yours truly - today I take a look at the Furno Bike. We'll hopefully have more 2011 reviews soon, but for now you can take a look at one of the larger 2010 Hero Factory sets. How awesome is this set, or is it awesome at all? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
I guess we'll have to start things off with how I obtained this set. At BrickFair, LEGO had a booth set up with a whole bunch of 2010 sets (most of which the fans got to build). Once they had been opened and assembled, they weren't of much use to LEGO, so they opted to give them away at the closing ceremonies at BrickFair. I won the Lava Dragon board game, which seemed pretty cool. Some other AFOL won the Furno Bike, and, being the unenlightened type who doesn't realize the usefulness of Bionicle/Hero Factory parts, didn't want it. So we traded. Fortunately the set came with all the parts, although the box was a little worse for the wear.
Speaking of the box, here it is. We see our hero Bill riding his sweet chopper with Makuhero City in the background. All the expected logos are there, and of course the age range (8-16, thwarted again!), set number, and piece count (a reasonable 165). Nothing too exciting to catch your eye, unless you're a fan of motorcycles.
The back of the box shows Bill riding his bike into battle against the evil Von Nebula. The certainly-not-Thornax launchers are highlighted, as is the bike's kickstand and the ability for our Hero to actually get off the cycle. It's not really much, but it's something I suppose.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
You open the box and dump out all the pieces and you find yourself with quite a varied assortment of Technic parts in a wide variety of colors. The orange and red obviously stand out the most. But let's get building!
Mr. Furno goes together in short order. The build is less complicated than any of the other Hero Factory, Stars, Agori, etc. sets we've had for the past few years. While not the exact same figure that appears as a standalone set, you can still tell that it's Bill.
The bike is obviously the main building event here. It's certainly not the most complex set I've built, but the construction is definitely interesting. It's neat to see how it goes together and you might even be surprised once or twice by the LEGO designers. Also, be careful with those long Technic beams and don't make any mistakes like I did, small or otherwise (see if you can spot it in the pictures).
I definitely enjoyed the build and think others will too. It's a lot of fun, which is what LEGO is all about!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Now we see the completed set. It's a sturdy model that I think looks really nice. The center of the frame is actually pretty much hollow, although it's hidden well by the repurposed shield and claw pieces. An engine inside the frame might have been a nice touch, but that's a small complaint. There's a bunch of different colors in there, including black, dark grey, light grey, silver, and orange. I think this makes it a little too busy, and if they had gotten rid of the greys it would have had a much more cohesive look. And of course there's lots of blue pins that stand out like sore thumbs.
I want to talk for a second about the wheels, because I think they're the coolest part of the design. Normally with bikes or motorcycles, the front and rear forks connect directly to the center of the tires. On the Furno Bike, however, they're offset, and the offset is then hidden by the orange hubs. This makes the wheels look like they're floating and makes for an awesome effect, in my opinion.
I mentioned before about how the bike itself is rather hollow. It doesn't detract too much from the set in my mind though, because the designers did a great job with the 'armor' on the sides of the bike. The shield and Antroz claw combine almost perfectly to cover the gap, almost like they had been designed that way. The little 'engines' on top of the non-Thornax launchers are a nice detail too. Although not shown, the other side of the bike has a kick-stand to help keep it upright, hence the empty socket joint on this side.
Here we have the two Furnos side-by-side. Construction-wise, they're nearly identical, with biker Bill missing the leg armor and weapon and having different feet than normal Bill. He also has some pin-axel combos in his feet to help keep him on the bike. Most obviously though, are the color differences. biker Bill has all red limbs compared to the keetorange of the original. This didn't make much sense at first, but I shortly realized why.
As you can see, the normal Furno set can fit on the bike fine, as can and Hero with two real arms. I guess the others could as well, but not as sturdily. The lack of pins on his feet means he wobbles around a bit more, but it's not a deal-breaker. What is a big deal, at least to me, is the color scheme that results. If the black/dark grey/light grey/silver was too much (and for me it was) the red/orange/keetorange looks just plain bad. Seeing this, I'm glad LEGO chose to change biker Bill's limb colors.
Like most larger sets in Bionicle and Hero Factory, the Furno Bike does not have any pieces unique to only it. It does, however, have a variety of recolors and other uncommon part/color combinations.
The tires and wheels are only available in this set and the 8051 Motorbike, also from this year. They're interesting in that there are actually holes in the rim, which makes the piece a lot more useful and opens up great MOCing opportunities.
In orange we have:
- Pohatu Nuva Phantoka's lower arm section
- Shield piece first seen on Onua Nuva Mistika
- Bohrok faceplate, complete with the streaky transition to clear
Yes, the faceplate is as awesome as it looks, and it's pretty much the same design as the original Bohrok.
In red we have:
- Hero Factory arm/leg
- Redesigned Toa foot
- Zamor Sphere (also available in 8547 Mindstorms NXT 2.0)
Nothing too special here, but some nice variety.
In silver we have:
- Antroz's claw
- Toa Metru leg armor
- Thornax launcher
I'm trusting the Internet that tells me these recolors are unique to the set. Again, nothing too special, but more variety is always welcome
EDIT: It was brought to my attention that trusting the Internet was not a good idea. It turns out that my source for the piece colors was incorrect and that this shade of silver is the same as the one we had in 2008, 2009, and earlier. As a result, none of the pieces mentioned above are unique to the Furno Bike and have been previously available in other sets. I apologize for the confusion this may have caused.
While nothing here is really amazing, it's not a bad selection. I would have liked to see more orange overall, as there's only eleven orange pieces, and four of those are the wheel hubs.
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?
Biker Bill has nine points of articulation, standard for a figure of his design. This allows for a limited amount of posing.
The bike has its kickstand, two launchers of the non-Thornax variety, and a front wheel that can turn side-to-side. Interestingly enough, the handlebars aren't attached to the front fork, so they don't turn the wheel. I think this hurts the playability and should have been something the designers could have easily added. Also, the launchers don't pivot at all, and are very low to the ground - I guess they're designed for taking out the ankles if the villains? The ability to rotate them would have been nice.
And I guess you can roll it around too? That's pretty cool I suppose.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Awesomely-designed wheels
- Orange Bohrok faceplate
- Fun build
- Nice overall design
What's not to like?
- Handlebars don't turn
- Launchers don't pivot
- Too much grey and silver
For what I paid for it (nothing) I can't complain too much - I think the price tag of $29.99 is a little steep though. It has some nice parts that MOCists might appreciate, but I think it falls short as far as a toy to play with. If you spot it on sale (Target has it 25% off this week) consider it. Otherwise I have to say give it a pass.
There's still a couple more weeks left in 2010, so hopefully we'll have some more set reviews up in that time. And of course there will be plenty more 2011 reviews in the pipe. Meanwhile, leave any questions or comments you may have in the Talkback and keep checking back with more Bionicle and Hero Factory news!
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