Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 6:23pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Look out, Chima! Chi Cragger is on the loose! Is this ultra-build set worth your chi, or should you toss it back into the swamp from which it came? Read the review by BZP Reporter xccj and figure it out for yourself!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
It's a bag. It's about the size as the larger Hero factory bags. Only, instead of a random hero, you have a mighty crocodile-humanoid leaping away from a swampy background, with a redish glow all about him. He is CHI Cragger.
The back of the bag shows another image of Cragger as he prepared to fight CHI Laval in the mystical world of Chima (not China). There's also an actual size image of the croc head, a promotion for a crazy wolf-croc combiner built from Cragger and Worriz, and some art panels detailing how Cragger goes from a minifig to a construct-a-fig with just one orb of CHI.
Cragger is, of course, the main antagonist in the Legend of Chima television show, and in my opinion he's way more interesting than that lion kid. But regardless of my opinion of the quality of the cartoon, it can't be denied that CHI Cragger doesn't really show up on screen. When he powers up with CHI, you see this brief outline of the larger figure, but then it goes away and he stays as a powered up minifig! I wanted him to go all Power Rangers and grow super big and stomp through downtown Angel Grove. Maybe they're saving that for later in the show... I only made it through the forth episode.
Anyway, enough about the show, because there's a set to focus on here!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is nice and satisfying... as long as you don't mind repeating the same basic build that every ultra-figure and Hero Factory humanoid has had for the last three years. It's a solid design, but as with the Inika builds of Bionicle, it does get old. On the other hand, Cragger's biggest design changes are on his back and neck, and as I'll touch on further, they're not the best. So I guess whenever you attempt invocation, you risk messing up the classic system that just works best.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
If you're really into building your own construct-figure, then you're probably less concerned about a reused design and more interested in new parts. Cragger comes with a few goodies. He has a total of 65 pieces, plus some extras. (Not even going to bother with price to piece ratio, it's always skewed for construct-figures.) While the dark green armor isn't new, this is only the second time it's make an appearance, so that's always worth noting. The olive green limbs and hands, however, are unique to this set. Other notable parts are the 3L beam with a ball-joint, the new-ish connector beam, and the friction joints. Totally new parts include the new weapon designs and the two parts to Craggers head. His chest armor also has a scaly pattern printed on it complete with a glowing orb of CHI.
My major complaint about CHI Cragger overall is his back/neck. On one hand, the designers tried to give Cragger a fully armored back and neck, but the effect of it all just doesn't seem right for me. The back armor still doesn't mesh, and it leaves plenty of unsightly gaps when viewed from the side. It also seems to make Cragger into more of a hunchback. You can adjust the angle of the neck and head slightly to get it to what you want, but it can still be problematic. The other flaw for extending the neck is that it makes the body seem bigger, and as such makes the normally-fine limb lengths appear out of proportion.
In my opinion, if the designers had just done away with the neck pieces and given Cragger a more standard head design, the proportions would look better. So, alas, the innovation makes me pine for the classics...
But neck length and proportions aside, Cragger's not that bad. The color scheme works nicely, with the dark green and olive green colors highlighted by dark grays and blacks. The red and brown weapon is a little bit off, but it kind-of matches the color scheme of the minifigs, so it's not a huge complaint. It's nice that the lower-body joint is utilized to give Cragger a full-length tail, and the mold and printing on the head pieces is excellent.
However, why are there's spikes in every armor piece? Wait a minute... clawed feet, long tail, blades everywhere, colored olive green, and with a reptilian head; this isn't supposed to be a crocodile, it's a Hork Bajir! He just needs to swap out the staff for a Dracon Beam and he'd be set for leading the conquest of the Yeerk Empire. (Even Hero Factory had brain slugs this year… next think you know, LEGO will release a blue centaur with a scorpion tail, stalk eyes, and no mouth.)
That's right: LEGO Animorphs.
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?
Cragger has a lot of articulation points: 19 by my count. His arms and legs are standard, but there's some added movement in his neck and tail that's a plus. So there's a lot of poses he could get into. Mobility is restricted when his weapon is connected together (remember the Rahkshi), but it's easy enough to split apart or put in just one hand. Cragger has all the benefits of role-playing as any construct-figure, and he could easy spar with CHI Laval if given the chance.
But perhaps the best feature of CHI Cragger is his working jaw. The jaw piece attaches to the main head in a click joint, so it can be held at one of three positions. What's remarkable is how well the teeth mesh when the jaw is completely closed. However, the ability to open and close his mouth gives Cragger more character than past construct-figures, and it's a great feature!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Some cool pieces, especially in olive green
- Color scheme is good too.
- Yay Tail!
- Working jaw is excellent
- So is the overall head design
- Good role play potential
- They tried out a new design for the back and neck!
What's not to like?
- They tried out a new design for the back and neck... and it doesn't look that great
- The above makes him hunchbacked
- The above also throws off his arm and leg proportions
- He doesn't get nearly enough screen time in the cartoon
In case you couldn't tell, what bugs me the most about this set is the armored back and neck design. Maybe they could've improved it by adding in more armor pieces to fill the gaps, while making the arms and legs longer to fit the lengthened body. Or maybe they should've just stuck with the standard design that's been working this whole time; they certainly didn't deviate as much for the other CHI Contraction Figures.
But if you can get past that, Cragger's still not that bad. He's a decent representation of the character in Contraction Figure mode, and his working jaw alone should make up for most of his shortcomings. He has some good parts too. He's not the perfect humanoid crocodile, but he's not terrible.
A big thanks to LEGO for providing this set for us to review! Please leave any comments / complaints about rampant 90s media references in the Talkback Topic. Thanks, and keep an eye on BZPower for more LEGO set reviews!
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