Sunday, July 29th, 2012 at 10:43am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Time to get back to the Hero Factory reviews. Today our Blog Leader, DeeVee, shares his thoughts on 6230 Stormer XL, the largest hero set of 2012. How high above the competition does he stand? 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.
Preston Stormer is moving up in the world. Now he comes in a box! No silly bag for him. I guess he's too good for a small set and a bag like the rest of the heroes this wave. Probably why Von Ness tried to kill him or something in that story Hero Factory doesn't have.
The box has Preston looking a little chunky, because that pose hides the "V" shape his body has and just makes him look big and bulky. Kind of unfortunate. He doesn't look that bad in person. But the big yellowish goldish banner across the top with the HERO FACTORY logo is eye-catching. The back of the box has advertisements, and a slightly better look at Stormer.
There are legal disclaimers, but I am not sure what's going on with them. I think we're in limbo, so I didn't search them out.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Preston is a bit of an odd one, for a Hero Factory larger-price-point set. He eschews both the tired Fire Lord build and also the more complicated Witch Doctor build for what really just feels like a larger hero set. Which makes sense, he's really just a larger sized hero, after all. He makes prodigious use of the new friction socket parts from the Superhero Build-A-Figure sets to allow him unrestricted movement, unlike so many of the Fire Lord style sets, including his fellow XL hero, Rocka XL. In a way, this is nice, as it allows Preston to not feel like a Fire Lord rehash like Black Phantom and Rocka XL did. But at the same time, those sets at least offered a smidgen of complexity and I miss some of the technic-style build. It was nice to see TLG trying to incorporate traditional Technic build with the Hero Factory aesthetics. But Stormer is basically a giant snap-and-connect hero.
He is a pretty quick build. He also has stickers you can put on. Sorry, but I don't use stickers.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Preston comes with a few new and recoulored parts. Included are:
- Hulk chest in white
- New "drone" pieces
- Black Phantom/Batman/Breez blade with blue
- New feet
- New small double socket!!!!!
- New technic connector with socket in the center
Not new but still important, he comes with six of those handy friction sockets.
The new drones are pretty neat, very aerodynamic looking, and I'm excited to get some in other colours.
The new feet are interesting, very large, the double toes look cool and remind me of large-scale Matoran feet.
But let's be honest, the heroes (haha pun) of this are the two awesome new parts that let things connect in more efficient ways. These small double sockets are only three technic lengths long, and oh man are they gorgeous. I want so, so, so very many more of them. I can see so many ways these are going to be useful.
Same for the three length technic connectors with a ball in the center. I'm very surprised to see the pin hole in the center of the ball connection, but this hole allows the part to sit flush on technic connections. This part is going to be incredibly useful for utilizing hero factory cladding with your bionicle and technic parts. Like wow.
Preston himself is actually kind of impressive. His shoulders hang weirdly low, and his arms seem pretty short once you realize how low his shoulders hang. But he has a good range of motion in his arms, and Fire Lord and Rocka XL didn't, so I'm not going to complain too much about that. Unlike the Hulk Ultrabuild set, the torso works, and I think those new double-connectors really help with that. Hulk could have benefited mightily from those. Stormer looks very impressive and powerful. If not a little overly bulky and a little boring. The underbite I feel is implied by his helmet really doesn't help the "dumb brute" look the set kind of has going for it.
On the plus side, the lack of Fire Lord style build means we no longer have to deal with the awkward double-limbed legs of past larger builds, I never thought those worked very well. And the way the past chest plate is used evokes a pretty neat pants look as they flare out on the bottom of his legs. Of course, this just calls attention to the fact that the double cladding like that used on the lower legs here is still insufficient to properly attain aesthetics. As the Hero Factory cladding arsenal grows, I hope to see parts that can be utilized more efficiently in filling these sort of gaps and armouring situations.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Preston's colouring is just flat out gorgeous. He is almost entirely white, dark grey, and silver, with a black skeleton. These colours are all very monochromatic, but then he has the two blue cladding parts on his shoulders, and the blue blades, and the blue zamor sphere. And oh wow. That blue. It just pops. It is so very pleasing. I love everything about this.
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?
Because of his more smaller-Hero-style build, coupled with the friction sockets, Preston is capable of a huge range of motion. His arms are not hindered by any other parts, and neither are his legs. He can be posed into just about anything you can come up with. I had more photos of him doing crazy things, but man, you would not believe what a slight breeze in a room will do to long exposure photos.
Anyway, I digress.
Preston has a zamor/thornax launcher, so of course there's that. These are still my favourite launchers, because they seem so much less obtrusive than so many of the gimmicky stuff we went through with BIONICLE sets over the years. I'm glad to see TLG thinks so too, since they've stuck with them. I'll take these over Midak and Cordak blasters any day.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Amazing colouring
- Great new parts
- Not reliant on old builds
- Great range of motion
What's not to like?
- Honestly kind of bland
- Weird shoulders
- Proportions seem off
- He just kind of looks clueless, to be honest
You know, Preston is kind of a mixed bag. I think he's a great "XL" update of the Hero style build, and I wouldn't mind seeing a "Bill XL" someday, no matter how much everyone seems to tire of Furno. But he seems pricey for the build, and while some of the new parts are glorious, there are very few of them here. I think he's dynamic, but at the same time, he can look a little dull in a lot of poses. Maybe it's just that helmet. He's a lot more solid and well-thought-out in person than in the promo material, but still, something about him just seems lacking. But the colouration might just have pushed me over. I'd probably say you should get him. At least over Speeda Demon, who is just wow way too pricey.
Thanks of course to DeeVee for taking the time to write this review - please leave any questions and comments you may have for him in the Talkback. There's still a few more Hero Factory sets from this year that we've yet to review, so keep checking back right here on BZPower for those and all the latest LEGO news!
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