Sunday, June 29th, 2014 at 9:32pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Today it's time to look at another summer Hero Factory set, namely 44029 QUEEN Beast vs. FURNO, EVO & STORMER. BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru has taken a look at the largest Hero Factory set coming out this year and will be sharing his thoughts on it with you all. Will this queen of the invaders break through into your own home or will it lay a big fat goose egg instead? You'll have to read and watch on to find out!
Welcome, one and all, to this BZPower review of LEGO Hero Factory's 44029 Queen Beast vs. Furno, Evo & Stormer! Before I start, I have to give a big shout out to TLG for sending us at BZP these sets (and to Matt for signing this copy!), and also extend my thanks to Andrew for shipping this particular product to me; I love free stuff.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Unusually for a Hero Factory product, 44029 comes in a box - a real, honest-to-goodness six sided prism of cardboard - rather than in a glorified Ziploc. Though both forms of packaging are disposable (re-sealable doesn't equate with the old permanence of the BIONICLE canister), I prefer the box. It feels more substantial, and brings me back to the Titan days.
This box is pretty neat, with a gritty "Invasion From Below" picture in the header, and a dynamic diorama of the parties included within - Queen Beast, Evo, Stormer, Furno, etc. - that really showcases the fact that this set, unusually for a constraction product, includes some intra-package strife. We get both good guy and bad guy models in the set, and the box makes that quite plain. I like the subterranean landscape, and appreciate that the Queen Beast (Henceforth, "Her Majesty") is separated from her dark background by a divine backlight.
The back of the box shows off the product less showily and more objectively, with the two models posed fairly neutrally, the better to demonstrate their highlighted functions. Some others of these - including the stud-blaster, the jumping Kaijette, and the flexible blossoming pod - are given their own black-green boxes. It's both strange and nice not to see a block of legalese on the bottom portion of the rear of this package, like we'd normally see on a constraction set; the subsequent spaciousness of the display almost induces a Zen state.
Enough on the box. Let's pop it open.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The first things that come together are the herofigs, with weapons, and the Kaijette. Next, the set's two pods (one green, one blue) are assembled. This all comes together without a hitch, and without much excitement aside from playing with the new pod parts. Evo's beetle-walker thingie is built next; it's a knot of HF system parts onto which six legs, a cockpit, a tube, and a few stickers are applied. We put together Her Majesty starting with her thorax, and moving on to the different limbs.
There were no build snafus; everything came together easily and quickly, as is usual for HF system constraction models. The use of Technic system pieces was confined mainly to the beetle-walker's tank and Her Majesty's pincher staff.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
44029 includes a couple of fun new pieces and recolors. They are (left to right, top row to bottom):
- Two colors - trans-green and trans-blue - of the new pod piece. The lower, black portion is molded in solid plastic, and the top is rubbery. These have one 1-length axle attachment point at the base.
- A new ridged armor piece - seen also on several new Legends of Chima constraction figures - in gold.
- Recolored parts in gold, including a "Savage Planet" armor piece and a foot-prong first seen on the previous wave of "Invasion From Below" sets.
- A trans-blue, segmented curved appendage. This is also a new mold for this wave of sets, which can be found too in Legends of Chima products (including on 70212 CHI Sir Fangar).
- A newly printed face for Her Majesty, and an exclusively unprinted teal jaw piece.
- Many, many delicious teal ball joint sockets.
- The new-ish stud blaster assembly, which we haven't gotten before in a constraction set.
- HF system pieces recolored in yellow.
- The Kaijette top piece, recolored in blue.
- A newly-printed chest armor part.
Here's the finished model. At a glance, it's obvious how much bigger Her Majesty is than the heroes and the beetle-walker that dare to challenge her. Like I said before, it's cool to get two constraction models in one set; the last time we saw that was, I think, in the first wave of Hero Factory sets. Color-wise and in shape, the two models are very distinct from one another, making clear that they're of opposing natures.
Below, we'll take a look at the component parts of this set in more depth.
Firstly, and least significantly, we get three herofigs in this set. While I suppose getting three at once is a first, none of these heroes are new to the wave, so we've seen them all before. The only thing new here is Evo's blaster, which we've gotten in Star Wars sets for at least half a year now, but haven't seen in a Hero Factory product yet.
The Kaijette is identical to the ones we got in the first "Invasion from Below" line in all but top coloration; the hatching pods, however, are very new. Built simply from three of the new petal pieces attached together at their bases by a three-way Technic joint, they're sturdy and enjoyable, the perfect size for Kaijettes and misfortunate herofigs. The way that the petal parts are molded is clever, because the toothy edges of the lips are designed to interlock slightly.
I'm not a huge fan of the beetle-walker. Although it has a sound color scheme (the yellow, black, and trans-apple that worked so well for 44022, Evo XL Machine), it isn't very visually appealing, being short, squashed, and top-heavy; although it's something of substance to make 44029's internal matchup more combative, it feels like a waste of pieces. The advertised detachable parts on the model aren't really made explicitly easy to detach, and the Zamor launcher is so close to the ground that any tilting forward of the entire model results in the sphere being pushed out from between the claws. The Zamor launcher also prevents Evo (or any hero) from sitting in the cockpit without slightly raised legs.
In short, although I appreciate the gesture of the beetle-walker vehicle's inclusion, I'm not very pleased with its execution.
Her Majesty is more... majestic. With a clean, fresh color scheme of gold, neon green and teal accents on black, formidable size (relative to the herofigs, that is), and a motif of long spikes, the Queen Beast is a formidable-looking creature that also seems regal. The staff - tipped on both ends with gold - and the trans-blue back spines (wings?) - seen here in a similar arrangement as appeared on 70212 - are, I think, mostly to thank for this, as are the splashes of gold around Her Majesty's maw.
The construction of the Queen Beast figure is solid. I'm happy with the bulkiness and flexibility of her torso and thorax. The attachment point for a petal-pod as her insectoid abdomen is a lovely touch, and the way the gold segmented armor part is attached means that its inherent swoop is perfect for subtly overhanging the top of the pod. I also like the recurring trans-green armor punctuated by black spines that's found all over her, and the color reversal at her fingers (speaking of which, fingers!). The staff, though it feels pretty insubstantial in the haft, makes the Queen Beast stand out from her minions and complements the gold that appears elsewhere on her body.
As a constr[i]action[/i] set, only part - and really, the smaller part - of 44029 is the construction. The rest is in the action: design and play value. Let's look at them.
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?
Aside from the stud-gun on Evo, the Zamor Launcher on his beetle-walker (both of which work as well as they always have) and the jumping Kaijette (again, not a new function), 44029 doesn't have any play features. However, the role playing value is pretty high. There are a lot of stories to be told with this product; the petal-pods, the herofigs, the Kaijette, the beetle-walker, and Her Majesty are all moving parts of whatever scene you want to create. 44029 has far more characters than we're used to seeing in a constraction setting, and that's a plus for play value. This isn't just a lone figure to be posed: it's the ingredients for countless vignettes.
Speaking of poseability, Her Majesty is a lot of fun to play around with in that regard. The staff is a nice prop, and with her eight appendages, the possibilities are much less limited than those of the beetle-walker (which can basically only be positioned in shades of underwhelming). Her Majesty's bottom four limbs are attached at their hips(?) with friction joints, which lends the Queen Beast stability, at the expense of some ease of posing.
The inclusion of established conflict in 44029 already gets the ball rolling on storytelling; however, I'm not so sure the sides are exactly equal...
I neglected to give Furno and Stormer the beetle-walker... Whoops.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, that's the depth of the review. Let's see how things stack up:
What's to like?
- Comes in a real life box, without legalese on the back
- Easy and quick to build
- Oodles of fun newish parts, including many a recolor
- Includes three heroes
- Petal-pods are well designed
- Beetle-walker makes this the first "Invasion from Below" set to include both a Kaiju and a (pseudo) Jaeger
- Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
- No seriously the Queen Beast is one of the more solid Beasts we've seen
- Role playing value is high
- Few gimmicky play features
What's not to like?
- Easy and quick to build - I mean, it's a HF system set
- No exclusive molds, few new molds
- No new hero characters included
- Beetle-walker is lame, jacks up price point
- Few gimmicky play features
44029 Queen Beast vs. Furno, Evo & Stormer distinguishes itself as a flagship set for the latest wave of "Invasion From Below" by including both a beast and a vehicle in one box. Though the vehicle is lackluster, the beast's virtues of appearance, the set's assortment of new and recolored pieces, and the sheer number of separate entities and characters included in this product are reasons enough, I think, to invest in it.
It's not Furno's day.
Big thanks to Nuju Metru for putting this extensive review together for you all. Join me in thanking him in the Talkback, where you can also ask any questions you might have. We still have more Hero Factory and other 2014 sets to review, so keep checking back on BZPower for them and all the latest LEGO news!
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