Chinese Checkers Google Style and other possible posts




Fantasy rockets

Excellent Shuttle writeup



Series of tubes


3d printers

Space arcitecture

Fusion power

The solar probe…

REVIEW: 9446 Destiny’s Bounty

Set Index: 9446

Welcome to my review of the (early?) 2012 Ninjago flagship!


Sail into an epic battle on board Destiny’s Bounty!

On a dangerous journey aboard Destiny’s Bounty, an ancient shipwreck, Sensei Wu and the ninjas have located the powerful golden Hypnobrai staff deep inside of the secret snake shrine. As they land the flying ship in the water to seize the staff, Zane and Jay get a scaly surprise from Hynobrai General Skales and his accomplice warrior, Slithraa. Sensei Wu fires the ship’s cannon into the battle until his ancient enemy, Lord Garmadon, appears. Can Sensei Wu protect the Ninjago treasures on board without the help of the ninjas? Choose your battle in an epic showdown where the fate of the Ninjago world hangs in the balance! Includes 6 minifigures: Sensei Wu, Kendo Zane, Kendo Jay, Lord Garmadon, Skales and Slithraa; Destiny’s Bounty ninja ship, snake staff shrine, golden Hypnobrai staff and 16 weapons.

  • Includes 6 minifigures: Sensei Wu, Kendo Zane, Kendo Jay, Lord Garmadon, Skales and Slithraa

  • Features Hypnobrai snake shrine and golden Hypnobrai staff
  • Weapons include: 2 golden daggers, big spear, bo staff, 2 sai, golden serrated blade, 4 ninja swords, 4 crossbows and ninja claws
  • Transform Destiny’s Bounty into a flying ship!
  • Fire the cannon shooter with 4 cannonballs!
  • Protect the secret treasure on board at all costs!
  • Stow the ninja weapons in the ship’s weapon racks!
  • Launch the working anchor when you reach the shrine!
  • Measures over 16” (43cm) long, 10” (26cm) tall and 11” (30cm) wide

I love how Skales is on the anchor!

Post opening haul appreciation.

For many the figs are the main part so I’ll get to them without further delay! Three heroes are included; Kendo Jay, Kendo Zane and Sensei Wu.

Wu has a nice print under his beard, but the others are unremarkable.

Likewise back prints are a bit disappointing. None of the figs in this set have double sided faces, which I feel is a mixed blessing.

The Kendo mask is pretty cool, although TLG does seem a little confused about the concept.

Three Villains are included also; Skales, Slithraa and Lord Garmadon… who seems a bit taller this year.

I love this tail part. I hope it’s not just for this wave.

I’m not overly happy with this however. It’s too bulky and integrating the armour limits its use.

From the first bag the “treasure” is made. The fang/drip effect is cool.

One of my big surprises of this set was that it included some of the brick-bricks.

I’m not sure if anyone has shown these in detail yet, but in any case I will! Here’s the “front”…

…and here is the “back”.

I’m not really sure of how TLG intend to use these, but I find them odd. Why? Well if you build them “right” you end up with this….

…when you really want this, which is unstable. Ahh well… time will tell.

*rattle* *rattle* *rattle* *rattle* Done! Sorry, I don’t have the time for build photos. I love the sails, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are mirrored.

To deal with what’s important, yes, she has an anchor.

The figurehead, while a cool idea, probably could have done with some printing. A solid black eye for example.

Sleek from the front…

…but square at the back. Looks like a good party ship though!

Sensei Wu loves his new chick magnet, but I think he’d be happier still if he had a teapot.

The roof lifts for access. Note the map; it’s printed and resting on the “cannon balls”.

There’s also loads of room for the scum-bag crew.

But what’s this odd thing?

Oh, it’s a secret hiding place for a knife. Makes sense; cannon and katanas in plain sight, but hide these. :wacko: My camera must feel the same way as me as it focused on the only stickers I used; the “below decks hatch”. Notice the step behind?

That’s another “secret”. On a similar negative note, the gun is mounted very badly and I keep breaking it. It really needed a bigger turntable or tiles around the edges.

So what’s this? Dunno, let’s pull it!


“Ahhhghh! Don’t land on us!”. This feature I like! Before you get too excited, the sails do work (that is pull the lever and they go up) but they are not connected to the back. The back however is linked together, which I didn’t expect and I think it’s very subtle.

I think it looks much better “flying”… but I accidentally closed the mouth so it looks a bit odd. Imagine that it’s open. 😉

Here you can see the mechanics.

The engine concept is a bit weird however. All the thrust is pointing down a the rear, so I’m not sure how it takes off… must be Spinjitsu.

Nice to see that TLG found another use for this “Cars” piece! I wonder if this part will live on…

Previously unseen parts. :laugh: (Some might not be spare… the crate definitely isn’t but I can’t find a good place for it.)


The minor play value parts are really lame and I’ll probably remove them, the gun is badly mounted, but the sail and the swinging engine are cool enough to make up for them. 9/10

Some cool new figs, brick parts, loads of brown, beautiful sails. Pretty darn good I think. 9/10

At $129.99 AUD for 684 parts, many of them big it’s an OK deal. Other Ninjago sets are probably better value though. 7/10

It looks like a dragon yet it’s also so almost steampunk it makes me want to steal Ninjago from Action and put it in Sci-Fi! 10/10

Ninjago is such a cool line that I hope it lasts a long time. It can be tweaked every year to be a virtually new theme! This is a perfect example of where it can go. Sure it’s absurd and it makes no sense, but LEGO is about imagination. 8/10

Buy! 8/10


Crewman – Captain; dragon shaped jet powered sailing ship off the port bow. The ninjas on board are signalling that they want to board and discuss buying some tea.
Lord Monty Zarknell – What?! That’s nonsense. I’m going to close my eyes until you start making sense.
Crewman – I guess that means you don’t want to hear about the pink fairy…

Review: 2145 Stormer 3.0 The rebirth of the greatest hero the world will ever know

NOTE: This review is written by our guest reviewer, Preston Stormer.

Set Index: Stormer 3.0

The clarion call was made, and I responded, as I always do. But new situations call for new bodies, so as good as Stormer 2.0 is, I needed to change.

"Alas, poor Stormer 3.0! I knew him, Horatio."…. sorry, just practicing my lines.

I can combine with Rocka 3.0 and become somewhat more powerful. Sometimes I need that extra 1%.

This is the raw components that make up my new body. The next 20 pages detail how much power I have, but I won't bore you with the details.

Laid out, the core components look simple, but that is just because you don't know what I know. Only the best goes into the Stormer parts bin.

I must confess, I expected a bird, an eagle for example. But a rhino was picked instead. In hindsight it makes sense; I am rather strong.

My mask is especially special. It not only resembles a rhino horn, it also looks like a knights helmet to symbolise the honour, bravery and modesty that I have.

I like the second horn.

It connects to my head in the standard fashion, but in this case it is extra strong.

This part was specially made for my new weapon, but I have allowed the second rate samples to be used by others. I'm sharing like that. This part is especially useful as it's another of the HF-to-clip parts.

This part looks passable inside as well. The ridges may just be there for strength, but they look good in any case.

Here is the same part being used to form my weapon. I don't really need weapons, but I use them anyway so the other heroes don't feel too inferior.

Unlike last time, I am the same height as the other heroes. It comes down to it that I don't need that kind of advantage. I could be half the size and I'd still be the most powerful hero.

Ready for transfer! I like the bulk of the left shoulder.

Transfer in three… two…

Von: No! Two Prestons! Why is the world so cruel?!

Stormer: Rhino power!


Perfect. 10/10

Nothing but net in all cases. 10/10

Like a fine red wine I just get better with age. 10/10

A+++ 10/10

The only thing that comes close to this set is Stormer 2.0 10/10

….errr…. OK.

The REAL Ratings

Very considering many previous lines of this size. His weapon is more posable this time as well 9/10

If you don't have the sets from the last wave then this is a great buy (and add 4 to this score!), otherwise this set is a good buy only for the mask and the name panel. For the other new parts you'd be better off buying a bigger set. 5/10

All jokes aside, I do like the helmet. It's more usable than the other ones as it's animal origins are less clear. 9/10

What's Hero Factory without Preston? 7/10

It's much the same as Stormer 2.0, isn't it? A few different colours, a different mask and different weapon, but other than that, much the same. More and more I do question the logic in this whole "Six Good Guys" concept. This line is very good when compared to nothing, but when you compare them to others in the line and the 2.0 wave I think it's too similar. Perhaps right now TLG are trying to restrict the number of new moulds and that's why these are so similar, but I hope the next batch will have more variety, such as a 100% unique weapon for each Hero. (Note: Ignoring the 2.0 line these get a 8 from me…) 6/10

Review: 2144 Nex 3.0 Sabre Toothed Soldier

Set Index: Nex 3.0

Grrr! Nex is back and this time he bites!

The combiner crosses a tiger with a panther (Stringer 3.0). Scary!

These sets never look too impressive on the virtual parts list, and this is no exception. What doesn't help is that the legs and arms are just 4x the same thing.

The real parts spread looks better, especially the new pieces.

The Sabre Toothed Tiger mask is nice. It looks catish while still looking mechanical.

It connects in the standard way.

I like how the new name panels are on a transparent part. This one in particular heavily resembles the mask.

These parts aren't new, but I do like the metal "colour".

This part however is new. I especially like how this line uses the clip joints; this aids using HF parts with System and vice versa.

Due to the mould being inverted on the other side these look OK on both sides.

Time to build! Heres the 4x that I mentioned earlier…

…and this is how it looks at mid point. I think he needs some "Weight Gain 4000".

Finished! I'm going to pass on the back shots this time…

Nex 3.0 has two hands, which I always prefer and is a big visual change from Nex 2.0, but at the core this is a very similar set.

I do much prefer his weapons; especially the absence of that shield. You can see here how good looking that new piece is from both sides.

Night all!


Very considering many previous lines of this size. His weapon is more posable this time as well 9/10

If you don't have the sets from the last wave then this is a great buy (and add 4 to this score!), otherwise this set is a good buy only for the mask and the name panel. For the other new parts you'd be better off buying a bigger set. 5/10

I do like this colour combination, and it works well with the mask. The claw is very with the whole tiger thing too. 8/10

Déjà vu? 4/10

It's much the same as Nex 2.0, isn't it? A few different colours, a different mask and different weapon, but other than that, much the same. More and more I do question the logic in this whole "Six Good Guys" concept. This line is very good when compared to nothing, but when you compare them to others in the line and the 2.0 wave I think it's too similar. Even the Rahkshi line had a wider part selection. Perhaps right now TLG are trying to restrict the number of new moulds and that's why these are so similar, but I hope the next batch will have more variety, such as a 100% unique weapon for each Hero. (Note: Ignoring the 2.0 line this gets an 8 from me…) 6/10

Review: 2282 Rocka XL Supersize Me

Set Index: Rocka XL

….and so Rocka interfaced the Xtreame Largeness module into his Hero Core and became Rocka XL!… Actually I'm making that up. In any case Rocka XL is a titan version of Rocka 3.0. Is bigger better? Well I don't have the standard version so I can't tell you yet… but I can tell you that someone seems to have sat on this box during transit. :hmpf_bad:

The traditional good vs bad image is at the back… which is too edited for my taste. Back box shots of recent Star Wars sets have been less edited lately; I hope the trend extends to Hero Factory in time.

Let's start with the contents. All bagged except the torso. To my surprise there's a decent size collection of pins, but I suppose it's hard to go pin free for such a large model.

It's got a nice spread of parts though, and loads of gold!

Here's the official parts page with the classic "ouch!" on the left side.

Back on the gold, he's got a gold chest…

…even a gold Zamor sphere. (Yeah, I know they probably aren't called that anymore.)

The gold helmet is quite nice. Not as nice as the CG-enhanced box shot, but it's detailed. (Note that since the helmet is the 1:1 shot on the box it's not completely unclear that the eyes don't really glow.) I wonder if the "H" on the side is supposed to be one?

From the rear it's a bit bland, but I prefer it to the double-heads so I'll try to not complain too much!

It uses the standard two rod connectors; I wonder how many of these helmets will end up being used as figureheads…

Maybe this is why he's bigger; two name panels! Like the 2.0s it's a nice print.

I do like this new piece; I can see this being useful for many MOCs. It's made of a flexible rubbery material and I quite like the metallic effect.

These are also new. There are a few pieces from this new line that have clip style connections. I like this a lot.

Loads of these spiky things. I'm not sure if these are supposed to be good versions of the "Quaza spike" things that the bad guys have, but it'd make sense. As a guess it's not; Bulk 3.0 has two.

The two sides aren't the same, but TLG have done a good job of making them similar.

OK, it's time to assemble! At first a solid core of ball joints is made… it kind of reminds me of a dog!

Instructions at the same stage!

After that the legs are built up…

…spikes are added…

…and with a roar he's finished! My first thought is; "What eyes does he see with?" The front of the box implies it's the helmet, but the rear has the internal eyes glowing instead… :wacko:

From the back he's passable and he still looks nice and beefy.

There's a few spare parts, but nothing exciting.

Rocka XL does deserve his name; he makes Von look rather short!

Compared to a standard 3.0 figure he's vastly bigger…

…and I feel a bit sorry for Waspix too!


Very good, but it's hardly surprising with the titans. I especially like how you can adjust the angle of the big lower legs. 10/10

If you like the gold you'll love this set! It also comes with loads of the new parts, all of which I love. 9/10

There's a lot I like about him, and there's a lot I don't. The white insides looks weird to me (same story with the red but that's not as obvious), I wish they found a different solution to the grey Technic Pin Long with Stop Bush in the shoulder and the front of the lower legs seem unfinished with that grey 3 beam. (I might change mine to a black.) 7/10

As I've already said, the titans of this line look a bit unfinished to me. A different part/colour in the legs, some more bulk in the hips… I think just a little bit extra would have made a big difference. 8/10

Regardless of what I've said, I do like Rocka XL. Not as much as Von, but I still think he's an imposing figure and I think they'll learn to get on. I would love to see something similar at a higher price point however. (Chances are market research and past experience says it won't sell… :cry_sad:) 8/10

Review: 2231 Waspix… he has plans!

Set Index: Waspix

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The face of Waspix reminds me a lot of Waspinator, which gives him an unfair advantage in this review!

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I'm decently sure that is the US Box… and I think Furno 3.0 better be a darn good shot with a bow to be able to hit a wasp…

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Just one bag inside the box, and a loose torso. I'm always interested as to why some sets have a loose part like that.

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The parts! There should be no huge surprises, he's mostly legs so there's loads of limbs!

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I believe this is new, but in any case it's a very useful part!

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Note the ball shaped receptacle; it allows this to be placed in a spot where the is a central ball connector and still allow it to be used on the other side.

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I'm 95% sure that this is the same part from the much loved Ben 10 line, in particular Big Chill and Spider Monkey.

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Waspy prints! I didn't expect three of these, but it's good!

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I think this is new as well. It adds to his buggy charm.

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It attaches via the standard connector.

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I thought this part might be new, but it turns out it's been used once before in Drilldozer. (Thanks LuxorV! :grin: ) I think they look cool being transparent. (Probably too small for wings though.)

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I look forward to seeing this part used more widely.

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Ahhhghh! Evil! I washed my hands ten times after handling these, but I still have dark urges. Be careful with the Quaza spikes!

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The happy fellow himself. It might be my photography, but the eyes don't look as deep-set as the box. (No, I'm not going to let this go.)

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Seeing the disembodied head makes me think of Waspinator even more!

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Standard connection… which annoyingly is flush so it can't easily be used on a Hero head. (Yeah, I tried! :laugh: )

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On to the building… it's all pretty simple so I won't show much. You just assemble the core (exoskeleton?)…

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and put on the shell.

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Spares. Yeah, I was surprised too, but the instructions list only 2, use 2, but provide 6. Since there are 4 panels with no decoration this could be a last minute change… but the prototypes only had 2 as well… :look:

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From the rear he looks bugish still! Looking at this model makes me think TLG should make an insect line in HF parts!

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Three generations of bad guys. I think he's much better than the spindly Nitroblast, but Corroder is too different to compare. Weight wise the 117 gram Nitroblast win over the 114 gram Waspix, and Corroder is the distant loser at 103.

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He's big enough to look like a worthy adversary for the Heroes..

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…and others as well.


With all his joints it's hard not to be! His main problem is balance. 9/10

Want limbs and lots of them? Waspix is great for that, but not so great for new parts. 7/10

This set is among my favourites as the parts work well as insect limbs. My only major complaint is the wings; they are too small. But since TLG needed to bring in a new part to make them as big as they are I'm probably being a bit unreasonable. 9/10

He has a lot of buggy charm! One surprising special feature is the lack of a shooting device… 10/10

I must admit I'm tempted to get a few of these. He's a fun figure. I think that aside from a few pieces he's not the best for parts, but I do think the main model makes up for that. 9/10

MOC: Batspeed

Brickbeard was almost out of luck. The ‘Bounty suffered major keel damage when he was forced to take her over a reef to escape from the new Imperial Flagship. (How dare they get a bigger ship?!) Unable to pay the cost of repairs he made a gamble; using all his hoarded treasure he’d buy a smaller ship and go back to his roots as a smuggler to raise the gold.

With him he took none of his old crew, and at short notice he found he had slim pickings. Two looked like George Michael, one looked as old as his clothes did, and the other just liked hanging around wearing as little as possible. But they were good sailors.

Even so, being a traditionalist he still carried the colours, but he resisted flying them too much and never from the mast!

This ship he found as the “White Pearl” and after buying a replacement figure head he dubbed her “Batspeed”. The ships was ideal for the job; she had a small draft, an excessive amount of sails and she didn’t look so much like a pirate ship.

Only one cannon was carried; any more would have been suspicious.

Being an ex-nobleman’s ship she was fast and had good sea-keeping qualities, so in part to maintain the image, he took on passengers sometimes. This one was reportedly looking for his “rightful” bucket.

MOC Notes:

I needed to build a pirate ship ASAP so it could be sent to Brickworld and this weekend I found the time. I spent about a day on it so I’m happy all things considered. When I get it back I’ll probably buy some of the smaller sails…

Photos of Sydney LEGOLAND Aquarium… sort of!

The group that owns the LEGOLAND parks, Merlin Entertainments now own Sydney Aquarium. As a possible precursor to this deal, in late October a new sub attraction called LEGO on the Loose appeared at Sydney Wildlife World and Sydney Aquarium. I just moved to the area at the time so I didn’t have time to go, but a few weeks back I went to the Sydney Aquarium and to my surprise the attractions are still there. Does this bode well for a future Sydney LEGOLAND or at least an official store? I’d like to think so! In any case, here are the photos!

This is DUPLO!

Vandalism (or old age) highlights how these are made…

MOC: “Forager” Mech at a Garden Party

“Forager” class mechs are heavily used by the Classics as a light enforcement tool. Protesters? Send in a Forager. Hostage crisis? Send in a Forager. Drug smugglers? Send in a few Foragers. Tax evasion? Send in a Forager… OK, maybe not then. Maybe…

Due to their overpowered legs they are capable of some impressive feats; jumps of 20 meters for example, or parachute-less deployment from over 100 meters and a ground movement speed of around 150 kph. Thus they get used for many odd jobs, but they excel at light enforcement, reconnaissance and anti-infantry roles.

Unlike many larger mechs they don’t have a separate “head” or true “arms”. For this reason there are sensors in the “chin” and rear, and light manipulators capable of carrying around 100kg are equipped to reduce the need of the pilot to exit the safety of the cockpit.

Weaponry varies according to the role, but common equipment are missile pods either side for anti-armour, twin machine guns aiming up for anti-air duties, and another machine gun and grenade launcher for anti-personnel. Against an anti-armour mech Foragers will generally do hit-and-fade attacks; their armour is strictly designed to handle small arms and a single hit (via either physical or weaponry) will result in the loss of the unit. Foragers do not have an escape system either.

Even so, pilots usually like piloting Foragers, and races are organised regularly. In this role the missile pods are normally removed.

On the subject of this photo, it’s unclear what’s going on here. The Classics refused to give an official image, so these one were sourced via a contact. This could be a terrorist camp attack, or it could be just that the pilot wasn’t invited to a party and decided to do something about it. What happens next is also unclear; the pilot may have gone home after he grabbed the croissant, but that turkey looks mighty tempting….

MOC comments

The story of this MOC is long and complex. Hinckley from Eurobricks asked me about 2 years ago to make something for Brickworld. He asked one thing, I read another, and I made the wrong thing. I then got caught up in details, didn’t like them, and then moved house twice. Last month I decided I’d finish this, and a few weekends back I did!

It uses a lot of parts from the Midgard Serpent in 7018; using these parts was part of my personal challenge for this MOC.

The head is used as the base, and the back is the cockpit. I then made something around that. When that was roughly finished, I then went onto the legs. At that point I made a silly decision; I want suspension! I then messed around for a bit but never made anything that I liked so the project was “shelved”. (Actually boxed.)

But in the end I did make something I was happy with. My main issue at the time was that I wanted it to be reasonably compact, strong, and smooth. After about 20 prototypes I ended up with this. Here it is uncompressed….

…and compressed.

(This will be used as a De-Classic-Space MOC.)

Review: Hero Factory 2011 (First wave) A recap and final thoughts

After about ten years of Bionicle TLG decided a refresh was needed, and ]Hero Factory was founded. But I must confess that as the Heroes went I was very unimpressed.

I bought most of the 2010 Hero Factory Villains as to me they were interesting, varied and good value. (I especially like Corroder.) But the 2010 Heroes were made of too few parts, had no elbow or knee movement making them look rather stiff when being posed, and were made up of over specialised elements. As many said they were much like the Stars line, which I personalty only bought one of… and felt a bit ripped off over it too.

In the end the only Hero I ended up with was the simplified Furno who came with the

Furno Bike set. But thankfully I’m not talking about that line! This new line is very deserving of the “2.0” title; it’s a complete rethink in terms on construction technique. It’s also a much better value line, and even TLG seem to think so as in some catalogs they are saying “Up to 50% more elements in each can”!

he emphasis on pins/axles has shifted to ball joints; many of the heroes have none at all, and the others have just one or two. (The Villains are not as drastic as this, but more on this later.) A whole new line of ball-jointed panels was made just for this line. The variety is quite impressive, and I intend to try to find uses for them in non-HF MOCs.

It’s very nice to see a return to true elbows and knees. It’s been a on/off feature for years, and as a V2 line goes, the 2.0 heroes are far superior an upgrade than, for example the Toas to Toa Nuvas.

It’s interesting to compare XPlode and Nitroblast. Nitroblast for one has more pieces (57 to 45), but he also looks more substantial, especially in the arms. The Villains so far seem to have more pins/axles in them and I thought at first that it was because they were assembled first (some sets have old pieces) but when I noticed this part…

…it became clear that TLG don’t intend to make pins “illegal” HF parts. (Studs still seem to be though.) It’s going to be interesting seeing the pin/axle count of the next line.

Getting back to looks, it’s less clear who looks better from the rear. XPlode’s back looks better but his arms look odd.

Gundam Virtue! What’s he doing here you ask? Well it’s interesting to…

…compare joint techniques. Notice the holes? Since adding these holes to reduce joint shock is nothing revolutionary, it does make you wonder why they took so long to add them. I believe this feature first appeared on the first HF line with one small hole on each ball joint.

Final thoughts:

No score this time, but it is nice to say I like this new direction. My interest in the Bionicle waned in 2005 when the mechanical/Technic link started to decline and, while I have loved some since (like Thok from 2006), for the most part I haven’t bought much since. Hero Factory (and Von) re-sparked my interest and with this new line it could stay that way. With a new focus on the ball joints and other connections Hero Factory can stand alone on it’s own merits. Long live LEGO Action Figures, long live Hero Factory!

…and now as an extra bonus here’s some behind-the-scenes footage from the making of these reviews!

Preston: Hey look guys, I’m the tallest!

Natalie: Yeah, but I bet you can’t dance!

Furno: This is going to kill my new image.

Von: I… must…. resist…

Von: Stuff it.

Von: [Scuffle scuffle scuffle…]

Natalie: Don’t move or I’ll start doing the moonwalk right here.

Von: I’m back!

Von: I’m Going!

Von: You guys are so hot right now.