Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 2:48pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time to travel back underground for another Hero Factory Set Review. Today BZPower Reporter Xccj takes a look at 44024 Tunneler Beast Vs. Surge. Is this set worth spelunking for, or should it remain buried underground? Read on or watch the video review to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
First let's have a look at the bag. Tunneler Beast comes in the smaller bag, which is re-sealable if you want to store your monster or its pieces within it. The front shows Tunneler Beast charging down towards Surge, who is firing his blaster at the oncoming menace. In my opinion, it's not the best pose for Tunneler, but what have you. There's some nice detailing on the background, including a small image of the Queen Beast in the distance.
You might have noticed some odd scribbles on the pictures above. No, that's not a lens glare; rather it's the signatures of some of the designers who worked on this set. LEGO was generous enough to send us these sets with their packages signed. Unfortunately, the designers must be well educated, because their signatures are hard to read! I can make out Matt's name, but the other two are harder to pin down. Still, it's really cool of them, and makes the package worth keeping. Want some of your own? The latest BBC Contest is giving away signed Hero Factory sets as prizes, including a Tunneler Beast. Enter today for your chance to win one!
The back, meanwhile, shows off a second (and again, in my opinion, better) pose of Tunneler Beast. A few of the main functions are featured, as well as an actual size image of Surge. The bottom of the bag (not pictured) also shows a scene of Surge firing at Tunneler. The instructions (also not pictured) include various pictures of the other sets from the summer wave. Additionally, a combiner model is advertised, which can be made from the parts of the beast sets from the summer wave. You'll be able to find the instructions for that online soon.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is very simple. Attach two pieces together to form the body, then built a limb, attach it, and repeat. The only fairly interesting bit is the technic bits that are used to attach the shell. Tunneler Beast just doesn't have a lengthy build, and comes together before you know it.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with 59 pieces, plus a few spares. The piece that immediately jumps out at me is the new egg-shell piece in black and green. It's rubbery, and the top part is very bendy. In all the other summer Hero Factory sets, three of these shells come together to for an egg-pod that can hold a small monster or a hapless Hero. Unfortunately, Tunneler Beast only comes with one shell, but unlike the other sets it is utilized in his build. The shell is dual-colored black and trans lime green, and has one axle connection.
There are still a few other interesting pieces. You get new blue limbs and a red head that go with Surge, as well as his new helmet mold. There's also the black fin pieces that are used on the legs, which have been seen in the earlier wave of Hero Factory but are nice to see more of. The monster head and jaw are not new molds, but the red is unique to this set. You also get the smallest of the body pieces, which has only appeared in a few models. Finally, there's Surge's new blaster weapon, which is new for the summer wave of sets but is appearing everywhere from Star Wars to Ultra Agents, and each Hero this summer is also armed with one. It comes with two of the grey launching mechanisms and three trans lime studs, which means you get one more extra than usual. (It'll come in handy, because those are going to get lost quickly.) More on that later.
This is Surge's first appearance as a herofig, and this is the cheapest set to get him in. All the elements about him are the same as the other herofigs but in different colors, with the exception of the helmet, which is a new mold based off his larger one. The legs and arms are in blue, and the head is a standard minifig head in red. He also comes with the silver version of the armor, complete with connection rods on the back. He carries the blaster weapon and has a technical tile attached to his arm. This is all pretty standard for herofigs, but at least Surge is trying to be prepared for his journey into the beasts' nest.
Tunneler Beast is the bulk of the set. As I mentioned earlier, he doesn't have a substantial design. The limbs are all very basic, and connect to the body without any hint of armoring on them. Luckily, the shell piece does an excellent job of filling out the back and making Tunneler look well armored. From the front and above, it looks pretty good; there would be a gap at the front of the shell piece, but a well-placed standard armor piece fills it in. There is a bit of a gap visible from the side, but it is possible to tilt the legs up to disguise it a bit. The legs themselves are very basic, but the use of the black fin piece really fills them out and lengthens them, so they feel substantial with only a few parts.
The arms, however, are a different story. Tunneler Beast has two Exo Force fingers on one side of his hand, and then a horn piece on the other. And I really don't like the design. At first, I thought it was for the practical purpose of grabbing onto things like herofigs, but alas in practice Surge slips away with ease. The hands just have an unnecessarily clunky feel to them. To me, they look more robotic or "technic-y" which contrasts badly against the otherwise organic feel of the beast. This is a shame, because the shell piece on the back pulls off the natural, organic look so well. The claws, however, just feel added on. They could've used more substantial designs, or even reused the claw pieces that first appeared in the Ben 10 sets. As is, I just don't like his current hands.
But one last good thing about Tunneler Beast are his colors. The red does a really good job of standing out from the black and gray of the rest of the body. Surprisingly, the lime green compliments the red rather than conflicting with it. The use and placement of the colors help Tunneler Beast stand out while still maintaining an overall flow, and I appreciate the color design that went into him.
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 main purpose of this set is clearly for role-playing. You have a scary monster and a smaller hero who must now battle it out. While the odds are clearly on Tunneler Beast's side, he's not so large that Surge doesn't stand a chance. But Surge better be quick, or he'll be monster chow.
To Surge's advantage, he has the new stud launching cannon weapon. The blaster allows for a regular stud to be attached to it, and then you push down on the trigger piece and send the stud flying. And this little weapon works remarkably well, sending the stud flying quite a distance. You'll need the replacements for sure, cause you're bound to lose some when firing them off. This is a remarkable mechanism that works wonders compared to the now-traditional flick fire missiles, and you can already tell that LEGO is going to use it for all its worth, because it's appearing in a ton of sets this summer, including every Hero Factory model. I suppose one disadvantage is that this weapon could actually do some damage if you aim it at your eyes, so start paying attention to all those warnings in the instructions!
Tunneler Beast may not have a blaster on him, but he's got mobility. Each leg has two points of articulation, with a third one added to the arms. But the legs are short, so while the mobility is decent, it's still somewhat limited. I suppose you can also count the finger movement on his claws, but considering he can hardly hold onto a herofig, I wouldn't count it as much. His head also has a good range of movement, but more impressive is his moving jaw. It works using a click hinge connection, the same as all the monster heads from Hero Factory this year. And his jaw can open wide enough to catch those studs being shot by Surge. . . or he could just eat Surge himself in one gulp.
There's a fair amount of play between Tunneler Beast and Surge. If you want to add more to the conflict, you could also throw in a Hero machine to bring the duel to another level. Or, in classic LEGO fashion, you could combine Tunneler with some of the other beasts and create a new monster to terrorize the underground passageways!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Nice pieces, especially the egg shell piece
- Cheapest way to get a Surge fig
- Stud launching blaster works well
- Shell piece covers the back and makes Tunneler Beast look substantial
- Decent mobility with the six limbs and head
- Nice use of colors
- Affordable price at $9.99 USD
What's not to like?
- The claw design on the hands is awful for so many reasons
- Build not that exciting
- Limbs are kind of basic
- Now we have a new and faster way to lose studs with the blaster!
For a small set, Tunneler Beast really delivers, and the use of the shell piece on the back and the fins on the legs really fill him out while only using a few pieces. However, the clunky claw design on the hands does take away from the overall flow of the set. But besides the hands, Tunneler Beast is a decent monster, and the herofig Surge with his blaster will provide an ample opponent in this underground conflict.
Thanks again for reading and/or watching this set review! If you liked the video, please subscribe to the BZPower Youtube channel. Once again, I'd like to thank LEGO for providing these sets for us to review. Stay tuned to BZPower for even more Hero Factory set reviews and LEGO news!
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