Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 at 10:00pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's time to start off the new year with some new reviews! Forum Mentor Gatanui picked up some of the 2013 Hero Factory sets, and today has decided to share his thoughts on 44002 Rocka, the upgraded version of the character from past years. Will he help you hold back the brain attack? Read on to find out.
Head for the LEGO Hero Factory briefing room immediately, ROCKA! The evil brains are rampaging through the galaxy and must be defeated. This is one tough mission, so you have been equipped with LEGO Hero Factory Recon Team weapons: a plasma blade sword, a 360-degree spinning razor shield, armored visor and hero core locking clamps. With equipment like this, you're ready for anything those evil brains can throw at you!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
And this year we get the bag packaging from last year once again, albeit with a new theme, obviously. For the first time, the Hero Factory logo is printed perpendicularly, probably to make space for the menacing brain hovering over Rocka's head, not visible on this picture. Rocka stands in a heroic, almost knightly pose. Considering the kind of equipment he wears, that's most likely no coincidence.
The back promotes the spinning shield and flipping visor features, but more focus is granted to the combiner this time. I haven't tried it yet but the combiners seem to be getting better every year. Note how they purposefully gave Rocka and Scarox similar colours so they could be combined without causing any chromatic atrocities like the Splitface/Surge combiner had. Again, the game code comes in the Hero Core just like last year. This time, the game app is advertised on the packaging as well.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
You can't really expect any challenges from a small-sized set, though this one comes with a small amount of Technic we'll come back to later. However, new and beautiful pieces you can't help admire will add at least thirty seconds to the build this time. :P This said, let's talk a bit about the pieces included in this set.
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 comes with 43 pieces - the smallest piece count this wave, but still fairly impressive for a small-sized set. It gets better, though. I count five new molds (left batch) and seven recoloured pieces with a total of four recolours (right batch). Don't let the pics fool you: while the visor, head and cladding are transparent, the blade is only translucent.
I think it's enough to say about the recolours that they are beautiful and worth getting. 4M shells in gold, gunmetal and trans-bright green (which I and my brother call "apple green")? Check. You can't get enough of 4M shells. It's already worth it for the glorious trans-bright green alone, though. :P Add an awesome big golden dish to that, and you're set.
Let's take a closer look at the most notable of the new pieces, the head. I think the photo above does justice to the glory of the sword, the helmet, the torso and the visor, but the new head deserves some special treatment.
We asked, and we got. This is the new head design LEGO will surely be eager to use for the coming years. Not only has it a remolded ball cup but it adds two new connection points to the ones the Glatorian head had, one at the front and a clip connection on the back used for the visor. Gone is the Iron Man face, though. This said, the new head has no face at all. I guess this is fine, though, as this makes it far more versatile and the face is covered up most of the time anyway. If you want a real face for one of your MOCs you can still use a Glatorian head, which has roughly the same size as the new head.
Alright, enough of the pieces. Time to discuss some design!
What can you say about Rocka? He looks noble and heroic. His colour scheme, even with the added bits of silver on the hands and feet, looks good. He has two hands, which is great, too. At first sight, there are no design issues to be seen.
That is until you get to the back. What is that protruding red piece, you ask? Is that LEGO's answer to the apparently still present hollow-back problem? Seriously? Well, in a way it is. The piece itself is not the solution, however, you can attach the shield on there so Rocka carries it on his back, covering it at the same time. A great idea reminiscent of the good old Toa Metru.
The execution could have been better, though. Not only is the red piece kind of eye-glaring, the shield sticks out way too much when looked at sideways. There could have been more clever ways to fix it, though I'm not sure the price point would have allowed it. This is not really an issue, though. If it bothers you so much, simply remove the silly red piece or come up with a better solution yourself. ;)
Before I move on to the playability, I'm going to point out some good design decisions. The torso armor is not only an excellent piece, the four golden reinforced Exo-Force arms also complement it very well, giving it more colour, thickness and even a small play feature. Obviously, you can open or close the clasp around the Hero Core to offer protection against evil brains.
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's got the usual thirteen points of articulation, which is still something to be happy about, but not particularly notable anymore either. Gone is the launcher in favor of a couple of melee play features. You can flip the visor up and down, as well as the Exo-Force arms on the torso as I said earlier. You can also spin the shield which is a great touch. You'll never get enough fun out the swooshing sound it makes. :P All this together is quite good for a small-sized set. Not much else to say about his playability, so just gaze upon these pictorial manifests of Rocka's knightly heroism.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Glorious new and recoloured pieces
- Good colour scheme
- Trans-bright green!
- Looks awesome
What's not to like?
Overall, what can you say about this set? He's quite a treat to look at, and I can imagine he's great to play with as well. If you want a good-looking small set with lots of marvelous pieces, this may be your choice.
Way to start the new year, Rocka.
And that concludes our first review of 2013 - I hope you all enjoyed it. As per usual, you can thank Gatanui and ask any questions you might have in the Talkback. We already have a bunch more sets lined up, so keep checking back for more reviews and LEGO news, right here on BZPower!
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