Saturday, April 19th, 2014 at 7:01pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
It's time to move onto some larger Chima sets to review. Today BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru takes a look at 70130 Sparratus' Spider Stalker (okay, maybe not much larger). Will this webbed machine from LEGO Legends of Chima wrap you up? Or will you use your sting to free yourself of its web? More importantly, will you be the lucky one to win a free copy of the set? You'll have to continue on to watch the video and read the review to find out!
Hey guys, and welcome to the BZPower review of set 70130 Sparratus' Spider Stalker from the Legends of Chima line! As always, I'd like to thank TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff, and thank Andrew for passing some of it on to me. Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and BZPower's traditional text/image format - on this model. Is 70130 worth snagging in your web, or does it belong beneath a swatter? We'll find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box of Sparratus' Spider Stalker (How shall we refer to it in the rest of the review? SpaSpiStalk? Triple-S? The Stalker? 8-Legs? Hairy? Harry? Harry! Let's go with Harry) is slick and cool. On top - as usual for Chima boxes - we get the LoC logo, and an close-up on the eyes of a main character in the set, in this case Sparratus (henceforth christened as Sparry). The gold accents of last year's packaging have been replaced with green, thornier ones, evidenced most strongly in the revamped LoC logo, which really succeed at conveying something of the wild jungle emphasis of this line. The teal-and-green backdrop behind Harry creates tropical vibes, too.
Harry itself is, typically, lunging out at us, scorning those imaginary borders on the box. One of its web flick-fire missiles whistles over Gorzan (from now on known as Gorzeous, ain't I clever), who clutches both a banana fist weapon and a glowing crystal of Chi.
The back of the box shows off Harry's features, including its stamping legs and web flick-fire launchers, and a vignette of Gorzeous running pell-mell away from Sparry and Harry. The backdrop here is a map of what I assume is the land of Chima; this reminds me of the back of the packaging of the LEGO Lord of the Rings sets, which also used a map as the background of the features callouts. In the top right corner of Harry's package, there's an advertisement for LoC online.
Enough of the package; we care about what's inside it, so let's get to that!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Before actually making Harry, we assemble Sparry and Gorzeous, their weapons, and a little piece of jungle with a spider web and Chi spot on it.
Harry comes together in a nice amount of time. I personally always have a good time putting together mid-sized products like these - the build isn't as long and committed as, say the 2523 piece 71006 The Simpsons House (an excellent product, by the way), and not as quick and unfulfilling as a Legend Beast. Though some parts of the build are repetitive, notably the legs, these come together extremely fast, and there's no weariness.
There were a few surprises for me building Harry, particularly in the middle of the body (I'm pretty sure spiders don't have thoraxes); the way the leg striking mechanism works, the way the middle/raised legs attach, and the addition of minifig accessory clips were nice things to encounter. There's very little SNOT construction, but a fair amount of Technic building. Sticker application was straightforward, but some of the stickers didn't feel very necessary.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
We get some cool pieces with Harry; I'll tackle them roughly left to right:
- A curled grass/foliage part. This is a new mold that also appears in a few Star Wars sets this year.
- A Hero Factory spike. Used both in the "Invasion From Below" products and here as the sharp end of an appendage. This set comes with eight of them.
- A normal LEGO spider, in normal red. I wasn't sure if we've ever gotten it in plain red (and I was wrong), so it's included in this snapshot.
- A new weapon part, a multi-directional studded 2x1 almost-brick with a gun-style handle underneath. This is the central element of Gorzeous's banana fist tool, and appears in several other LoC sets this year. I look forward to seeing some creative applications of this part.
- Sparry's head, a new mold present on all the Spider characters of this line.
- One of the new-ish clips with bar sockets. This part isn't new, or in a new color, but I adore it and so here it is. The two included in the set are the bases of Harry's mandibles.
- Various parts in trans-apple, including a 1x1 stud, a 1x1 cone, and a 2x2 dish with printed web pattern. The stud and cone may not be new in this color, but the printed dish is definitely a Chima exclusive part (can also be found in 70133 Spinlyn's Spider Cavern).
- A 1x2 plate with a Technic hole attachment. This, like the clip, is a recent rather than new part, but since it's useful and Harry includes several of them, I decided to include it.
Harry comes with two figures: Sparry and Gorzeous. They've been extensively mentioned above, but now it's time to look at them in depth. Both figures have detailed printing on torso, legs, and head, and most of it's new. Gorzeous wears hefty Chima armor in silver on top of the cool new armor printing shared by most of the hero figs in this wave; with new kneepads and equipment about his waist, Gorzeous looks even more battle-ready than his previous incarnation. I really like the sand blue/light green contrast on his face.
Sparry is without special adornment accessory. His grass skirt is charming, and the idea of a webbing bandolier/strap is great. It's worth noting that Sparry has abs - very prominent abs - which don't feel quite right on a spider... but what are you gonna do. I tested Sparry's spider helmet on Gorzeous' body, and to my satisfaction its mandibles didn't prevent the wearing of a Chi-loaded article of Chima armor.
In the back view, we can see that both figures have reverse torso printing of equal quality to the front. Gorzeous' back of head is his alternate expression: Sparry only has one face, so I turned it around here to be seen without his helmet part.
The finished Harry is a satisfying set. Look at how nicely Gorzeous is outmatched! We'll talk more about Harry itself shortly; in the meantime, I'd like to point out that webbed nature vignette in the background. It's a little nod at setting, and I like its inclusion, although I wish it'd been a little but more in depth, or less crowded. Also, notice Gorzeous' banana-fist weapon. I don't quite understand what it's supposed to do, and it's huge; if Gorzeous wants to lift his tool off the ground and stay standing, he has to lean back quite a bit. Even so, I kind of adore it: the bananas add just the right amount of whimsy to the set as a whole (look at the intense expression with which Gorzeous wields weaponized bananas, it's rich).
Sparry, if you didn't notice, has been outfitted in this and subsequent pictures with one of his weapons, too: a spider axe. Sparry also comes with a gunmetal spear - a single-piece Chima weapon, it's bizarre - but I stowed that on one of the convenient accessory clips behind the last pair of Harry's legs.
Onto Harry itself: look how cool this spider is! Resplendent with all eight sharp legs (splayed in various degrees, giving the spider the appearance of motion), poisoned spines and mandibles, four sinister headlight-eyes, and an artillery piece for an abdomen, Harry looks pretty swell. I'm a big fan of this color scheme; the dominant black, accented with splashes of brown and hints of toxic lime and trans-apple, excellently conveys "sinister and wild" to me. Subtle details also help on this front; things like the weathering scratches included on some of the stickers, the Technic half-width beams attached to the main balance legs, and the exhaust pipes near the middle of the machine communicate its unadorned efficiency for savagery.
The view from behind is a little less composed than the view from the front, but not terribly. We just get a better look at the Technic portions of the set, and the knob for activating one of the set's functions. You can also see Sparry's simple spear making a cameo from its clip on Harry's side.
I find Harry's head section to be one of its strongest areas. With four poseable, green-tipped mandibles, those relentless red eyes, and a heptagonal (why not octagonal, I wonder, if this is a spider?) control panel, all the right bits are there. Some rounded slopes elegantly achieve the head's curve into the rest of the body, which happens in the region where Sparry sits. Although it's impossible to see beneath Sparry's rump in this picture, his seat is lined on sides and bottom with lime green.
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?
The first of Harry's play features is a dual flickfire web launcher, installed on the spider's abdomen. Two lengthened triggers, easy to flick from the back, push out the missiles, adorned with those 2x2 printed plates we saw earlier in the review. A Technic L-beam gives the abdomen launchers some mobility, letting it rise above the body or adjust its angle. While flick-fire missiles feel to me like a lazy function, and always have, it can be nice to see cares taken to make them easier to launch, or less conspicuous, which has been done here.
Harry's more notable and exciting feature is its stabbing front legs. By turning a gear at the back of the model to and fro, the front legs pound alternatively into the ground in front of the spider. Whatever surface you're on, the strikes make a delicious thwacking sound. These feel like powerful legs, and the human motion needed to harness their movement is nicely minimal; if you flip quickly between the two pictures above, you can see how little my hand moves while turning the gear from leg to leg.
I greatly enjoy this play feature; it gives the spider a real feeling of speed (if moving it across the ground while twisting the gear) and of danger (if striking down Gorzeous or treading over the web vignette). While writing this part of the review, I've been unable to stop myself from playing around with it.
Another play feature of the set - something unadvertised but supremely nice - is its stability and elasticity. When dropped right side up from a low altitude (maybe about 2 feet, maximum), Harry's Technic legs absorb the impact, making the model bounce into the air but land upright and undamaged. This, too, is quite fun, and I've been doing it for the last few minutes.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Good parts-to-price ratio
- Build was more fun than I expected
- Some cool recolors and useful parts
- Figures meet normal LoC caliber and introduce new designs
- Chi nature vignette adds sense of setting without bumping up price point
- Spider is definitely spider-like in form and color, and feels nicely rugged
- I really like this spider
- Flickfire missiles are unobtrusive and well-integrated
- Leg-thwacking feature is addicting
- Unexpected droppability!
What's not to like?
- Some minor repetition in build
- Few new molds
- Chi nature vignette feels like an afterthought
- Banana-fist weapon is too big
- Flickfire missiles are still labeled as a play feature these days
70130 Sparratus' Spider Stalker is a fun product. It looks good on display - the aesthetic achieved by its deft color scheme and sinister design ensures this much - but it also, delightfully, excels as a playable toy. This is one of the strongest Legends of Chima sets that I've encountered; for its price point, Sparratus' Spider Stalker achieves all that could be hoped of it, ultimately making it a gratifying presence in the theme's latest line.
Harry and Sparry never wanted Gorzeous' Chi: they were after his bananas all along.
To find out how you could win a FREE COPY of this set, watch the video review. Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Nuju Metru for putting together the review of this set - hopefully you all found it informative. Questions and comments can of course go in the Talkback topic. We've got plenty more Chima sets to look at during our Chima Month, so keep checking back, right here on BZPower!
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