Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 12:48am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Today we're looking at another Hero Factory 3.0 set that LEGO sent us. This time, xccj takes a look at the newcomer Rocka. Is this lion themed Hero worthy of your purchase? 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.
Rocka's container is just like the last wave of Hero canister sets, except this time it comes with a lime green lid. All the lids in this wave are lime green, which shows off the jungle theme for this wave. Beneath the lid, you'll see Rocka 3.0 in all his golden glory. (Wait, 3.0? But this is the first time we've ever seen this guy… oh never mind.) Rocka, disguised as a lion, has come to this jungle planet to restore peace and harmony. But, as seen in the background, he's somehow found himself in some sort of cavern littered with decapitated Hero heads. And if that's not spooky enough, you can see the shadow of the Witch Doctor in the back. Rocka is in for quite a fight.
The front has the usual information: LEGO and Hero Factory logos, age range, and a teaser for the special code printed on the lid that you can enter online for bonus material. Strangely, the piece count is missing from the front. The back of the canister mostly features DeeVee's favorite legal disclaimers in multiple languages. Yet it does show the combiner model for Rocka and Stormer, an in-scale image of the Hero core, and an image showing how Rocka can be stored in the very canister he emerges from. (He totally stole that idea from the original Toa, of course.)
Once you open the canister (which required cutting through the display sticker, which can be troublesome) you get to the contents. Here we find (and can finally count) the 30 pieces that are used to construct Rocka, along with an instructional manual showing exactly how to proceed with the construction.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Rocka's build isn't too complicated. In fact, if you've built a humanoid from the last few years, then it's downright predictable. If this is your first set with the new ball joint building system, then you'll have pleasure seeing all the new pieces and how they go together. If you've already bought a ton of the 2.0 Heroes, then you know what you're doing, and are probably busy admiring the new elements or gold pieces. But in a few snaps, Rocka's together and ready for action.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Rocka only has 30 pieces. It may not seem like a lot, but it's about average for a canister set these days. (Actually, the original Toa had about 30 pieces to them way back in 01, so I guess the number isn't that bad). Since Rocka is from the second wave of sets that are using the new ball joint system, he has fewer brand new pieces. On the other hand, most of the other elements are borrowed from the 2.0 Heroes, which isn't bad. (He does have some old Exo Force robot arm though).
Rocka has a few decent recolors going for him. First of all, he has the Hero core and head in white. (I originally thought they were silver, based off the promo picture, but nope, they're white.) He also contains a lower limb piece that is now dark grey instead of black, which seems to be the case for all the sets in this wave. And then he has number 5 armor and Hero feet in gold, which is a decent color. Plus, he also has a new hand piece in black. Sadly, he only has the one hand piece; but Stringer 3.0 also has a black hand, so you can get a pair by getting those two sets (if you don't feel like buying duplicates).
As far as brand new molds go, Rocka's got it all in his claw. Seriously. Although none of these pieces are unique to only Rocka, they're a nice addition. The silver spike is seen in lots of sets in this wave, and it has plenty of peg attachments to fit into the armor pieces. The gunmetal claw is also new, I believe, and has a clip on it to attach to the main paw piece. The paw piece has four handles on it, spread out so that the claws can be attached in a realistic manner. It also has a socket connection on the back, so that it can be attached just like a hand piece. (A large hand piece, to be sure.)
Also, while this isn't a new mold, Rocka's nametag armor piece needs special mention. I also had bad thoughts when I first saw these in the Toy Fair pictures. I didn't like the designs of the 2.0 Hero nametags, and the trans-green color looked like it would clash horribly. Well, I can't say that the piece doesn't clash badly on Rocka, but the design is epic. The lion head and the winged banner around Rocka's name are amazing. It might've been better if it was instead printed on a gold armor piece, but I can't complain too much about it.
Then we have Rocka's lion helmet. I have mixed feelings for this piece. On one hand, the details on it are amazing, from the lion's face and fangs to the mane. On the other hand, it's ridiculously large, and placed oddly over the Hero's head. Is the face above the mouth or inside the mouth? Maybe it's a camouflage design; so that the enemy strikes at what it thinks are the eyes, while missing Rocka's real ones. But if I stare at it too long, I just get all confused.
Rocka is a pretty impressive figure, but he does suffer a little bit due to proportion. For one thing, his middle claws are super long compared to the side ones. I think he might have looked better if the long spike pieces had been replaced with the other claw pieces, but I guess that would've shortened his reach. Instead, he's left with somewhat of a claw / sword hybrid hand, which looks slightly odd. (But maybe that's what he was going for.) And, as mentioned before, there's the confusion with his head, which is also enormous when compared to some of the other Hero heads this wave.
The only other real complaint I would have here is the lack of extra armor on the arms, but Rocka has enough going for him that these empty spaces don't look too bad. His coloring also works out nicely; the gold really stands out from the black and grey, and then the white adds a royal touch to the gold itself. The trans-green nametag is a bit off, but its dark enough that it kind of blends in with the rest of Rocka's black pieces.
(Oh, and he looks pretty empty when viewed from behind, but that's a flaw that all the Heroes suffer from. I guess they don't handle sneak attacks all that well.)
Overall, Rocka doesn't look bad. He has some features of a lion, and the gold really makes him shine as the coolest Hero in the jungle. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if his helmet isn't used in a future Castle set for a Lion Kingdom ornament. It has that cool of a design.
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?
Rocka has full articulation for a standard Hero set; that is, 13 points of movement, not to mention his claws. And although Rocka has a one-handed weapon, he does have as much articulation in his claw as he has in his hand. The one weak point would be his head, which is so large that it bumps into his shoulder armor when he looks to the side. Even so, Rocka has enough movement to be a decent role playing model. Now it's up to him to defeat the wild beasts and take down the Witch Doctor.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Gold pieces
- New claw design
- Lion helmet is excellent design
- Nametag piece exceeds expectations
- Colors work together nicely
What's not to like?
- Middle claws are too long and make the whole paw look awkward
- Lion head is somewhat weird since the face is in the mouth
- Lion head is also a little too large
- Could use more gold armor pieces
Overall, I think Rocka is indeed one of the cooler Hero sets. If you're looking for pieces at a cheaper price (he'll probably be $7.99 USD), he'd be a good buy for some nice gold elements. He's also a nice figure overall, but I think his overly large lion head makes him less appealing to look at compared to some of the other canister sets. If you do decide to pick him up, he will surely defend your collection with the honor and courage of a lion.
I would also like to thank LEGO again for sending us all these sets. I really appreciated getting to test out Rocka's new build, and I hope this review also showed you what you wanted to see. And we've got even more coming up, so stay tuned!
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