Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 at 10:54pm by Yannick, BZPower Reporter
Yes, yes, I realize itís almost 2011. Summer has long since gone and itís much more fashionable to be reviewing winter sets right now. This is one of those cases where BZPower and real life ended up clashing horribly as far as time to do things went. But here we are, and though things in this review wonít exactly be a revelation at this point, hopefully youíll at least stick around to read how Natalie Breez (version 1.0, this time) holds up as a set.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Okay. First. Name. What the heck. ďBreezĒ? Without the e? Really? Really? I just donít understand this choice at all. We have enough spelling problems in the world as is, folks; they donít need to be encouraged.
But, letís not dwell on it, though do forgive me if I call her ďBreezeĒ every now and then. Iím not sure I can bring myself to call her Nat.
I actually really like Breezís canister design. The grid (of triangles? Not exactly realistic, but itís a nice aesthetic) and blueprints behind her managed to both suggest the Heroesí mechanical nature and, to me at least, the newly-designed line that Hero Factory is. Was. Whatever, it makes me think of newly-developed mechanical things.
The back features Breez facing off against Thunder for no specific reason I can discern, as well as a picture of her mask and another lovely blueprint of it. And the legal text DeeVee is having an affair with.
The colors on Breezís can in particular are just very lovely. The dark green in her Hero Factory logo and her name on the side complement everything else very nicely.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Thereís basically nothing to say here. Breez uses the same snap-together template as the Stars and Agori and Avotoran before her. I found it a little surprising that the instructions call for attaching her helmet nearly first, after so many years of the mask being the last part to get added to any Bionicle set, but thatís hardly a distinctive element of the building process.
Just a curiosity, I guess.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
So by this point, none of these really count as new pieces any more, but I think theyíre still worth commenting on.
Also worth commenting on is the phenomenon of how the Hero Factory 1.0 sets got this huge splurge of new molds -- the only old pieces in Breez are her hands, head, and the sockets in her feet -- and then the 2.0 sets have even more. I would really, really like to see the line of thought that went into this. The Stars, after all, were so lacking in new molds so that Hero Factory could launch with a large amount of new pieces -- and then Hero Factory 2.0 uses barely any of those pieces. What the heck?
But anyway, pieces.
Despite all that they embody of the evils of blocky, specialized parts and one-piece limbs, I actually really like both the Heroesí new torso and limb pieces. And Iíve actually never hated one-piece limbs the way some people do. These ones are probably the best weíve gotten so far! Theyíre a good length and angle and have lots of connection points, and the axles right under the socket (like in the normal socket pieces) are really convenient.
And the torso is beautiful, even if itís a giant blocky piece. Technic connections everywhere (though thereís clearly room for a couple more along the spine). And it has shoulder blades! And curves like a real, human back does! For the first time ever in ... well, itís not Bionicle now, is it.
The thing I dislike about the armor pieces from the Heroes (which are otherwise quite shapely) is how few connection points they have. Like, that little bowl where the ankle-ball rests on the feet could easily be a pin hole. Iím sure there are places you could sneak axle holes onto the leg armor and the breastplate. Itís just really frustrating to have an already huge and specialized piece see its use restricted even further by limited connection possibilities.
I should say, though, that the leg armor is actually one of my favorite parts of the Heroes. Itís dramatic and Iím rather impressed by how its design interacts so smoothly with the leg and foot.
Some people have commented on the exposure of her arms compared to the armor she has on her legs, but I actually think she looks fine as-is. Her colors are balanced well; the fact that her arms are bare keeps black prominent in her color scheme without being overwhelmed or overwhelming. Maybe some kind of armor restricted to her shoulders?
Iím, uh, really kinda confused about Breezís weaponthings. Are they harpoons? Boomerangs? Boomerangs that attach to harpoons but canít come off?
They look cool and all and the colors work well and the silver is actually appropriate (hooray!), and from how well they fit itís clear theyíre meant to attach to the back of her arms, but ... what are they doing there? Is it just storage? Are we supposed to be interpreting them as some kind of booster-type deal when theyíre back there?
Iím so confused.
I have mixed feelings about her helmetmaskfacething. I like the light by her eye and the mic over where her mouth would be, but it also has this general insectoid look and I canít decide whether it works with the rest of her armor or not. The shape echoes her chestpiece nicely, but the tabs and fins all over it donít, and it has this organic, insectoid vibe that clashes with the mechanical nature of the rest of her armor. But then the details are all geometric rather than organic, so itís no less mechanical than the rest of her.
Whatever it is, itís stranger and much more alien than a lot of the other Heroesí masks. I think in the end it works.
Now, unfortunately, I didnít get a good picture of her Hero Core for you all, but I think you know what it looks like by now.
However, that does relate to what I think is the most notable design flaw Breez has: her Hero Core and her head donít match. Itís rather jarring, since the transparent red of the Hero Core works great with the lime and black color scheme, and the orange ... just doesnít. Would it really have been so difficult for Lego to bother recoloring the Glatorian head for her? (and for Surge, too, while weíre at it?)
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?
As with all the other Matoran-sized sets since the Avotoran, Breezís play options are kind of limited to assuming dramatic poses and standing around. Her range of movement is wide, but the pre-bent angle of her limbs limits what poses you can put her in severely (as usual).
If nothing else, the Heroes do have it going for them that the angle their limbs are at is very natural, so poses tend to look good, but youíre still left wishing Breez could actually do something. Or at least had more points of articulation, like, oh, say, her 2.0 form ended up having.
Also, awesome though they are, her ankle guards do get in the way of posing now and then. I think itís a fair trade because said ankle guards look great, but others may feel differently.
And you can always, after all, have her stand with a teammate or face off against one of the villains.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- pretty awesome aesthetic throughout
- lots of new pieces
- really cool new pieces, too
- ankle guards!
What's not to like?
- new pieces are really lacking in connection points
- mismatched Hero Core and eyes
- helmet is really alien and weird
- limited articulation
- little innovation
Well, I like her. As far as the Heroes 1.0 go, I do think Breez is one of the better ones. Even though she has no distinction from the rest as far as build, her color scheme is solid and the lime/black combo is striking. The fact that she has two symmetrical arms spares her from the awkwardness of the giant weapons three of the rest have, and I donít think her bare arms leave her looking wimpy -- they make her a bit sleeker than she would be with them armored, which works with her association with Air.
Iíd recommend her. Even though you canít do much with her, she still looks pretty spunky -- and I personally think sheís better than Breez 2.0. Her 2.0 form lacks a lot of personality and real character, and those are things that this Breez has a lot of Ė from the flare of her ankles to the strange alien-ness of her helmet.
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