Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 at 8:51pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Today weíll look at the final winter Hero Factory villain; 2194 Nitroblast. Is he worth buying so you can bring fire and destruction to your collection? Letís jump in and find out.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Nitroblast comes in a long box, just like the last group of Hero Factory bad guys. On the front, you have Nitroblast looking very menacing. In the background, you can see the melting remains of the fuel station. Judging by the look on his face, Nitroblast himself is responsible for the redecorations. The front of the box also features the usual information; age range (7-16), piece count (57) and a warning (donít swallow those pieces, kids!). If you flip the box around, youíll have a side view of Nitroblast challenging Breeze 2.0 (or rather, Set # 2142). Additionally, there is a small image showing you how to operate the launcher.
The next step is to tear apart the box and free the individual pieces from their plastic bag confinement units. Then, with the help of the glossy instructional booklet, you can bring the pieces together so that Nitroblast can be whole again.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Nitroblast utilizes the new ball joint system found in the 2.0 Hero sets. Only he gets to stand a little taller and gets more armor and spikes. If youíve built any of the canister sets from the last couple of years in Bionicle and Hero Factory, this build shouldnít be too complicated. At most, you get to play around with a new selection of pieces. But there is nothing in Nitroblastís construction that is truly extraordinary.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Nitroblast comes with lots of new pieces. And I mean lots. Most of these are new molds, since Nitroblast is in the line thatís introducing this new building style. However, Nitroblast lacks any molds that are unique to him. Even his mask appears in Jetbug (since itís double-sided). He does include some nice recolors, like the red Inika feet, red Hero Factory body piece, and orange spike pieces. And, of course, he has a large variety of new limb pieces being introduced in this building style, which is a plus to MOCers who want to stock up their inventory.
These are the best of what Nitroblast has to offer piece-wise. He has two of the new flame pieces, which are a nice design that fits into the new pin holes on the armor. He also has three of the new villain armor pieces: 2 in red and 1 in metallic gray. These seem to be the bad guy equivalent of the Hero Factory chest badges, and work well for armor. Then he has a new claw weapon, which has pins to connect to the new armor and an axle for more traditional Bionicle building styles. While all these pieces are pretty cool, it must be noted that they all do appear in the other fire villain sets released with Nitroblast.
I must admit; the low angle on the box made me think that Nitroblast was a tall, lanky figure who went around melting stuff for the fun of it. Thus, I felt let down when I built the set and found Nitroblast to be a bit of a hunchback. What also put me off was how asymmetrical he is. I understand that some people prefer something that isnít symmetric, but this was taken to the extreme on Nitroblast to the point where he hardly has any balance visually. (He does balance well enough as a set; the new joint system is very sturdy.)
Nitroblast does have some nice design features. I especially like the spikes on the leg armor, which gives a certain feel to the design. I wish more sets included multiple spikes like this, but instead Evo, Nex, and Surge just have a single one attached to their armor. The spikes make Nitroblast look bad to the bone, and you know that you donít want to be on the receiving end of his kicks. Another nice touch was the trans orange bucket attached to his shoulder with the red tube connecting it to his flamethrower.
Of course, now I must talk about the worst part of the set; his reinforced left arm. He has two sets of arms that are connected together, much like what Sisen described in his review of Drilldozer. In theory, this should give Nitroblast a steady arm in which to shoot fire at people, but in set form it is just cumbersome. The joints donít properly line up on the two sets of arms, which makes bending them at the 'elbow' difficult. And while thereís no lack of armor on the outer arm, it fails to cover up the massive gaps between the two sets of arms. I donít know if this was designed to reinforce a flimsy arm or to increase the piece count, but it just does not work. Perhaps Nitroblast couldíve been given a third arm, or an over-the-shoulder launcher - anything but this design.
However, if you just take off the inner-arm pieces... well, that solves most of the problems. So thatís always an option.
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?
Nitroblast is best used in role playing with other Hero Factory sets. He has decent stability, which gives credit to the new joint system. He does have some mobility flaws. As mentioned earlier, his left arm is very difficult to maneuver thanks to the reinforced limbs. The blade piece on the right arm also tends to get in the way of operating the fireball launcher, but it can be shifted to make room. And, as cool as the leg spikes are, they can make grabbing his leg a painful experience. Let this be a lesson to you; do not grab Nitroblastís legs. Because if you do, he will end you.
Other than that, Nitroblast is just a typical canister set, and the only thing that can limit you while role playing with him is your imagination.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Lots and lots of great pieces
- Spike armor for the win!
- Plenty of new joint pieces to MOC with
What's not to like?
- That reinforced arm is unnecessary
- Perhaps a little too asymmetric
- He likes to burn down fuel stations
In the end, I would say that Nitroblast is best for his many new pieces, which is great if you want to start building using the new Hero Factory joint system. As a set, heís decent, but has enough undesirable characteristics that I prefer to see him as a pile of MOCing parts. The price of $12.99 USD might seem a little high, but Iíve gotten used to that price now and I think heís just as good as any of the other villain sets.
However, I donít think Nitroblast offers much more than either Jetbug or Drilldozer. Unless you are looking for a specific piece that Nitroblast has, like the red Inika feet or trans orange bucket, then it might be worth your while to grab one of the other baddies instead. Nitroblast isnít a terrible set, but heís not the best of the best. I guess it depends on what youíre looking for.
But thatís not going to stop him from raining destruction down on your fuel station. So Heroes be warned: donít mess with Nitroblast!
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