Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 at 9:17am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Thanks to BrickFair Alabama and some other things, we're a little behind in our set reviews, but not for long! Today Forum Mentor Gatanui takes a look at 44003 Scarox, one of the new Hero Factory villains. Should you welcome him into your home or keep this brainwashed monster as far away from you as possible? You'll have to read on to find out!
Prepare the LEGO Hero Factory Team for emergency action! The evil brains have latched onto a dune crawler and transformed it into a venomous spider beast with red eyes! Stay away from its deadly striking blades and spiked spider legs! Not even armor can protect you from its armor-piercing poison fangs. Send that brain-infected bug back into the sand dune it came from!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
As you probably all knew, Scarox comes in one of the bags which got known as Capri-Sun-bags in 2012 due to their resemblance of said product. The size of the bag is identical to that of the small-sized sets from 2012, so all in all, the packaging has not changed. Decide for yourself whether this is an advantage or not. I for my part like the bags, as they are more practical than canisters. The only downside I see when comparing them to canisters is that the bags have no playability function whatsoever, whereas the canisters in BIONICLE and Hero Factory and their components used to have different play functions apart from merely serving as packaging (the lids of the Toa Mata canisters served as Suva, the canisters themselves being transport vehicles inside which the Toa Mata washed on the shores of Mata Nui, while the Hero Factory canisters could be used as landing capsules called Hero Pods).
What is this mysterious flipping function advertised for Scarox' upper limbs? We'll see.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
As soon as we rip the bag open and let all the pieces roll out... wait! It turns out the pieces come all in an additional, transparent plastic bag, which we will have to open before starting the build. Merely the most interesting piece of the new Hero Factory line, namely the brain-crawler-sluggish-thingie which we will regard more closely later on, comes loose in the bag.
Once you have gotten all the pieces out from the bag, you open the instruction manual and start building. "Instruction manual? Why should I need an instruction manual for a Hero Factory set?" you may be wondering. Well, although building Scarox proved to be all but challenging, I must admit that I would not have known how to build the back... at least not right away, as his back displays an interesting Technic construction with a red technic liftarm acting as "lever" which enables us pull the upper pair of arms up and down. But more about that later. For now, let's just say that I am always grateful for the integration of Technic in the building process of Hero Factory sets.
Let me close this part of the review with one final remark: building Scarox' head was surprisingly fun, as it was the most innovative head construction we have seen a while. And who doesn't like building something completely different for a change?
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Once you finish building the set, you obtain a villain which, at least at first sight, is mostly coherent and visually appealing. The colour scheme is well balanced, basically featuring three colors: Bright gold, black and accents of transparent-bright-green. Being out of rubber, the brain invader does not have the same tasty color as the poison (?) fangs and the head, but personally, I can live with it. What I find more disappointing is the number of gold pieces, having preferred at least two more gold cladding pieces. Gold is a rather rare color in LEGO sets and man has always been known to feel attracted to gold, so I can only say that it would not have hurt if the designers had hauled in a few more pieces with that shiny color.
Speaking of pieces: Scarox totals a respectable amount of 46 pieces. Out of those, eleven are new molds or recoloured, the absolute highlights being the new headpiece, Scarox' face and the brain invader.
We already talked about the headpiece in previous reviews, so let me sum up my main impressions: although it is pretty obvious that the new headpiece was derived from the Glatorian heads, it is lacking a face, which may be a plus and a con alike. One thing is obvious, though: This headpiece is the most versatile LEGO has ever produced, featuring a total of 6 connection possibilities; out of those, one ball joint connection, 4 axle holes and one system claw connector. Consequently, the head can be arranged in two different ways, the flat head-side being the face for the heroes and the claw-connector side being the face for the villains. But I am sure this gorgeous piece cannot only be used as head and I bet we will be seeing other creative applications before too long.
Next on the list is the brain invader piece, which may not be as versatile as the headpiece, but makes up for it with its awesome look. Interestingly enough, this piece is actually composed of two pieces, which to my disappointment cannot be detached from each other: the rubbery, translucent part and a red, hard plastic piece which emerges through the rubber piece as two horns and the brain creepers' eyes. When we turn the brain creeper piece upside down, we also notice an axle connector on the hard plastic piece through which our parasitic brain can attach to its victim's headpiece. I am not sure whether this piece will come in handy for MOCing, but you might want to prank your sister or your little brother putting this creepy crawler thingie in her/his bed.
And last but not least: Scarox' face, which completely explains the name choice. You would certainly not want to meet a creature with these looks on your own or in a dark room.
Something I should remark is that you can plug the the tail of brain creeper into Scarox' back, giving him a Piraka-esque look... or at least this is what the instruction booklet tells us, for in reality, doing so will massively infringe the head's free movement and the tail will pop out almost instantaneously anyway. Not that this disappoints me very much, but just a heads up. LEGO: if there is something that doesn't work, don't pretend it does and there won't be reason for your customers to be disappointed.
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?
There are two aspects which limit the playability. First of all: the short limbs. For my taste, the arms are slightly too short and unarticulated. Please do not misunderstand me: it is not a torture to move Scarox' arms, but I would have preferred longer arms with three articulation points and not just two. Then again, some people out there may disagree with me.
Second: the back construction, which allows the proud owner of Scarox to swing the upper two arms forward and backward... a play function which adds to Scarox' menacing appearance and may be fun for some children but which could have been implemented in a better way. I for my part would have found it better if the construction featured a rubber belt so the arms would quickly rush forward and backward instead of falling back, which looks somehow cheap. Again, I may stand alone with this opinion.
All in all, Scarox is still fun to play with, and your heroes will have a hard time battling this four-armed alien.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Most versatile headpiece of all time!
- Brain invader piece looks awesome!
What's not to like?
- Action feature could be better
- Short arms
All in all, Scarox is a decent villain, with pros and cons mostly outbalanced. I myself am not very fond of this year's villains, but if you insist on getting one, I would recommend you either get Bruizer or Scarox. The decision is up to you... unless one of the brain invaders attaches to your head and influences your decision. Let's just hope that that won't happen...
Nevermind, Rocka took care of it already.
Thank you all for reading and thanks to Gatanui for putting this review together - I hope you all enjoyed it. We'll hopefully be picking up the review pace shortly, although there may be some delays with Toy Fair right around the corner! So keep checking back for that and more coverage, right here on BZPower!
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