Review: 2063 Stormer 2.0 Storming to point Zero

NOTE: This review is written by our guest reviewer, Von Nebula.

Set Index: Stormer 2.0


Preston Stormer is back, and he’s as delusional as ever. Just look him; practicing a hero pose while Jetbug is doing his thing. Dork.


Combining with Breeze? Let me do the maths;

Half a woman + Half a man = Defeat at the hands of Von Nebula


I designed this to trap the heroes in. It holds on well, but annoyingly they still seem to get out. One of my rare failures.


This is what goes into Preston. Note the lack of a brain.


I like this view. I still shed tears of joy whenever I look at it.


Sadly he’s easy to fix.


One of the lesser know things about Preston is he has a horrid memory. Thus he made a rule this time that all of the heroes need to have name badges. Back in the day he’d call me “Ron” all the time. Does he forget his own name? No, not a chance…


As an attempt to be able to handle the raw power of me and my new friends the heroes have have re-designed their joints. They do seem a lot stronger too. No matter; he did it though a wholesale part manufacturer and we now use the same parts. Dolt.


It’s common belief that the screen covering his left eye is some sort of tactical display. It’s not. Sure it can be used for that reason, but most of the time it’s just has a slide show of his latest photo shoot. With reluctance, I do admit that the redesign looks cool, especially with the transparent element in.


Likewise, while it does make him look grimly cool and determined, the face plate is mostly there to cover the drool that flows out of his mouth. True fact.


Classic example of form over function. This quite beautiful hose does what exactly? It goes from his back to his weapon… why? The weapon is part of his arm, so why can’t any power connections be done there? I’ve yet to confirm this but I think it’s just ornamental.


As I knew all too well, Preston can’t be trusted with sharp things. Thankfully that problem has been resolved; these spears look normal but bend as needed. Nice part actually.


OK, here’s the section I’ve been dreading; Hero poses. This is what Preston does best. If I didn’t know better I’d be impressed.


From the back, he looks less impressive, but to he fair due to his darker torso it’s less obvious.


On that subject, at the core all the heroes are stick figures with padding… but Preston is special.


Due to having a slightly longer lower leg, he’s just a tad taller that the rest. (Lower leg armour has been removed for this photo.) His vanity is truly wondrous.


But he’s nothing compared to me. No, I’m not going to explain this photo, but let me just say that I’ll never drink Bundaberg OP Rum ever again.


“I’ll get you Von next time…. next time.”


Nice fair fight there hero.

Ratings

Posability:
It’s what Preston does best. 8/10

Parts:
Very good. While at 75 grams he’s a lightweight, he wins out on bling, especially that hose. 9/10

Looks:
One of the better ones, even with the shield. 8/10

Fudge:
I’ll be blunt; he’s all show, no go. Soft spears, pointless hoses… but he looks good while doing it. You have to respect that. 8/10

Overall:
I need someone to defeat. Get him! 8/10


Ten-hut!

Review: 2141 Surge 2.0 Can you reFUSE him?

Set Index: Surge 2.0


Like many of the Heroes, Mark Surge has had a change of life and is now a sniper. I think it looks good on him!


His combiner is with Nex.


It’s really pleasing to see that the part numbers in the action figure sets is up again. Some of the recent lines, such as the Stars, were of questionable value.


The parts spread looks pretty good too. Interestingly in my recent LEGO catalog the new line has a big sign; “Up to 50% more elements in each can”. I haven’t done the maths, but I think they’re right!


I think this is my favourite part of the new HF line. I’m a huge Gundam fan and just looking at that part gives me ideas…


Hmmm… Gundam…. moving on!


Definitely one of the best head pieces. I could go on about the oddness of a communications headset on a robot… but I wont. 😀 Ultimately the whole sniper-scope-plus-headset is a cliché and that’s just what I think TLG are doing.


Doesn’t look the best from the bottom but that’s OK.


The weapon assembly is simple but smart. I quite like the colour combinations of this figure.


Surge wears his name badge on his shoulder. I find it interesting how, while they all use the same head, due to different parts of it being exposed they seem to have different expressions. To me, for example, Surge seems to be smiling smugly!


My biggest complaint with Surge is his possibility; the gun is cool, but you’re limited to…


…this angle if you want him to be lined up properly and have both hands on the gun.


You can cheat though by doing side shots.


From the rear he has mixed successes. The side-mounted armour pieces help flesh him out, but the black/white contrast makes his torso look non-existent. An extra piece or two to go on those spare back ball joints would help a lot.


Aim for the skies!

Ratings

Posability:
Due to the gun his action poses are a bit limited. A different way to hold the gun for either hand would have helped a lot. Otherwise he’s quite good. 7/10

Parts:
A quite good blend of parts, especially in regard to the amour pieces. One of the best head pieces. 9/10

Looks:
Probably my favourite of the lot. Good colour combination, he has the new gun piece… and he doesn’t have that shield piece. 10/10

Fudge:
At 77 grams he’s one of the heavier ones and I like how his weapon is less radical. (Sub note; it would have be easy to drop his weight slightly by removing the spike.) 8/10

Overall:
If you buy only one of these sets, I’d advise Surge. 9/10


“This’ll shoot the fleas off a dog’s back at five hundred yards.”

Space Update Episode 4: Shuttle Sadness

“supposedly regular” eh? In any case…

Shuttle

Discovery has been retired. It’s last mission it seem is a trip to the Smithsonian Institute. It’s a logical call since she’s the oldest and has been the most active orbiter, but it’s sad news just the same. As much as I am opposed to the retirement of the shuttles, the fact is Discovery and Atlantis are in need of major refurbishments. Personally I think they should get them, but at this time it seems to not be an option. Atlantis is due for one more mission prior to being sent to a museum (no decision yet as to which one). Endeavour also has one mission left (the now second last one), but she was refitted in 2005 so there’s no hurry to retire her.

My preference is to make two+ new orbiters with minimal upgrades (new computers, chairs… the kind of stuff that doesn’t require too much testing) and keep the fleet active for another 10+ years as is. During that time a new booster and launch method could be developed to reduce costs. (Electromagnetic rail boosters for example.) That tech could then be used on the next new shuttle and then we’d at last have a good system. To retire the shuttle now when it’s been so useful and has taught the world so much would be rather insane.

Dreaming I might be, but it’s not impossible; there are some proposals to extend the program for another five years to fill the gap. I’m not convinced five years would be enough, nor am I convinced that Atlantis will last that long without a major refit, but it could be a good start. The fact is Soyuz is the only other active vehicle, and it’s due for a replacement as well, and… it’s a lot smaller.

Space Shuttle vs Soyuz

As a final point, it’s important to note that even after being donated, NASA still can (and has) taken back things on display for use again.

…and in old news

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Returned on the 3rd of December last year after over six months in orbit. No released details of her mission due, but there’s been plenty of speculations. My favorite is testing the ability to track from orbit hypersonic craft; the Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (also funded by DARPA) was launched with similar timing. A second X-37B launch occurred on the 5th of March using the second prototype. No details on this one either…

IKAROS Passed Venus on 8th of December last year, and thus its primary mission is now over. There is a similar mission in progress now called NanoSail-D2.

COTS Falcon 9 is making good progress; a second launch with the Dragon orbital capsule was a success. The next flight will involve a ISS approach, and possibly even a docking. This should be around the mid year mark. Taurus II has still yet to launch; it’s due to do so in the next few months.

Hayabusa Samples have been confirmed but not much analysis has been done at this stage as they are still working out the best way to transfer and test the particles.

Review: 2142 Breez 2.0 She’s gone (even more) butch

Set Index: Breez 2.0


Natalie Breez is back! I like the new canisters. I must admit though that I am surprised that TLG keep making them. I personally find them useful and still have all of mine, but I keep reading how people often throw them out. As a guess they’d add 10% to the cost which for many people would be better spent on extra parts.


Hmmm. Preston and Natalie combine… no I won’t go there.


Full parts list.


No pins. No axles. No gears. As a long term buyer of this type of LEGO it’s interesting… and good. It makes the line fresh. Even so, there are no spares in this set.


Having a custom printed part each set is smart. I think it would have been better without the name, but I suppose it has it’s advantages and disadvantages. It is more relevant for the theme, them being heroes and all.


At last it’s possible to get inside the head of a woman….!


The visor head/headband/face thing. It attaches top and bottom using the common HF tabs.


To me the rear is the highlight; it’s a classic! As Peppermint_M said to me…


“Yay, Masamune Shirow bunny ears!”


Each hero set uses the same head, which is hardly surprising. It’s a nice new mold though.


At the bottom is a well re-enforced ball joint receptacle…


…and the top has the HF tabs.


While I do like this head piece, I think it would have been better if the piece covered her head less. In fact, some of these pieces give me naughty knife-involving customisation thoughts…


I like the new head top, but I think TLG should have had at least one of the sets without it for variety reasons. The “goggle” part in particular is too dominant.


Same standard HF connection.


Finished! Her head is hard to pose; I think she looks odd if you can’t see the “eyes”.


Nope! Still didn’t manage it!


The new parts do give the figures a more fuller rear, but it still is a weak spot. Does her butt look big in this? No! (In fact at 75 grams she’s one of the lighter Heroes!)


Battle!

Ratings

Posability:
If you want her eyes showing you’ll either need just the right angle or a really bright light, but aside from that very! 8/10

Parts:
A quite good blend of parts, especially in regard to the amour pieces. 9/10

Looks:
Err…. this is female? It’s an odd enough idea that they even have male/female, but I really wish TLG would make their female action figures look more distinctive. To my knowledge they’ve only done it once with 8761 Roodaka, who had hair, heels, earrings… and boobies! I’m not saying that boobies-make-the-girl, but I do think there should be some difference that seems feminine. The most perplexing thing is that the core piece is the wide shoulder version…. 5/10

Fudge:
She doesn’t look like a she. Bla bla bla 5/10

Overall:
Sorry to say I’m a bit disappointed again with the female hero. 6/10


Take that Von!

Review: 2067 Evo 2.0 Evolved Bulk?

Set Index: Evo 2.0


I see (Nathan) Evo as the replacement for Dunkan Bulk. Time will tell if he returns or not to prove me wrong! In any case he looks manly in his canister shot.


As I said in my Furno 2.0 review, I quite like this combiner. Most look good in fact. Maybe I should make a few…


Similar parts list to the other HF 2.0 sets, so no surprises here…


…and here are the real parts!


To get the worst out of the way, I don’t think much of this shield. Yeah I’m being picky as it is a shield afterall, and it looks like one, but it just doesn’t excite me.


The highlight is the “roughened” prong pieces, and I like how this texture is on both sides.


I do however like the mask piece. The vent at the front deepens and darkens the face, which works well with the purple head.


Doesn’t look as good from the bottom, but what is apparent is the effort TLG have gone to to make a quite complicated piece well re-enforced.


Head assembly. Sometimes I think I need a page like this for my own…


Evo proudly displaying his shield he knows I love so much. I do however like how the big spiked shoulder piece looks…


…especially how it fleshes out the arm when viewed from the back.


Like the other sets he has a custom print. Very nice…


“La La La, Someone Save the Hero Factory!” A patriotic moment. Please note that these are the soft spears, which for the most part look normal. Wonderful parts!


Intimidation practice. The shield/weapon part looks better from this angle.

Ratings

Posability:
Very. All the heroes are. His big shoulder piece is good in that it doesn’t restrict the movement while making him look solid at more angles. 8/10

Parts:
Probably one of the better blend of parts, and it includes two of the new gun piece. 9/10

Looks:
Another interesting but successful colour combination. …and purple! :sweet: 9/10

Fudge:
If you don’t want to buy the lot, I think Evo is one of the better ones to pick. 9/10

Overall:
Buy a 77 gram buddy for Nex! 9/10

Review: 2068 Nex 2.0 The Nex best thing?

Set Index: Nex 2.0


I see (Julius) Nex as the replacement for Jimi Stringer. In any case… Nex 2.0? Where’s the 1.0?! He’s got a nice cannister though, and those ships in the background makes me hope that TLG experiment with a system crossover line.


On the back is the usual combiner as well as the usual massive amount of text.


Read it all? As a reward, here is the parts list…


…and the parts themselves! Orange and white is a common colour blend for TLG, but I think the green is a new aspect.


I love the new metal colours. I think they are the same as the soldiers to the right, but I’m not the best a judging things like that. It’s a nice part too!


Random instruction page.


All of the Heroes have one of the new power cores. I’m a bit undecided if I prefer the unique colours over a consistent colour.


It’s held into the chest piece via the HF standard shaft. I wonder if anyone will make use of this part as an “I”…


I find the top of his mask part a bit odd; to me it’s a repetition of his arms!


The lower part make me think of a Grid-iron football player.


I like his ID panel. I think the printing works especially well on white.


Nex reporting for his next game! 10, 42, 36, hut, hut, hut!


Oh… he doesn’t seem so amused.


TLG are a bit conflicted about the correct configuration of this shield, but in this case I prefer the instructions over the cover photo. Thanks to the new ball joint panels the Heroes look quite decent from the side…


…at the usual expense of the back. It’s especially bad here due to the colour contrast.


The face part concept of this line is really smart. To me this one simple part make Nex look far more beefier in the face.


Flex!

Ratings

Posability:
It’s hard to complain about the posability of the heroes. All have elbows, knees, wrists and ankles. His shield weapon does make posing a bit harder though. 8/10

Parts:
Beefy look aside, at 76 grams he’s one of the lighter heroes. While the parts are well made I don’t like the new shield piece. 8/10

Looks:
It may be overused, but the orange/while look works well. However it does highlight how nothing the backs are. 8/10

Fudge:
A more solid looking character and excellent articulation! 9/10

Overall:
Let him join your team!. 8/10

Thanks go out to TLG for this exciting new line.

Review: 2065 Furno 2.0 The one with nothing to prove any more

Set Index: Furno 2.0


When he first appeared, William Furno was a rookie with something to prove. He even had a motorbike. Now he’s a geek with big glasses.


I bet he even sold his bike, afterall; how many geeks ride motorcycles? Nice canister photo though. Hopefully he’ll turn around soon and notice the guy burning stuff.


Geek+muscles=shoulder launched missiles? I do like these combiners.


Parts list. Most LEGO sets don’t look as impressive as a list of parts due to duplication…


…but I think this looks more appealing! Loads of the nice new HF parts.


The Heroes are built much the same for the first half; it’s just a matter of what panel goes where.


They all use this part as a chest plate. The HF armour goes on top, with the Power core on top of that.


Most of these new parts look really solid; note in particular the corner braces. The center ball joint receptacle looks strong too.


All things considered, shouldn’t this be Furno 3.0? Or was the bike version just 1.1? In any case it’s a cool print.


All jokes aside, this is one of my favourite head piece. I like how his eyes are completely covered.


He’s also one of the few that has possibilities of using it backwards.


Aside from the big glasses, he also has the gun-blade-thing that several other heroes have.


Overall I think he’s one of the line highlights. He really highlights how different you can make a head look with an extra element.


Since the head is shown more with him than the other heroes, the complete mouth looks more like a grin! Very smart. Shame he has the shield…


From the rear he looks far less impressive. Since his panels are all front on he looks rather sparse.


Billy gets back to his roots and wears his hat backwards. Cool dude!

Ratings

Posability:
It’s hard to complain about the posability of the heroes. All have elbows, knees, wrists and ankles. His shield weapon does make posing a bit harder though. 8/10

Parts:
He ain’t heavy, he’s a geek…. actually at 77 grams he’s one of the “bigger” ones. I think he’s one of the most appealing of the line due to his visor. 9/10

Looks:
He looks so different!.I can forgive the other flaws due to this. TLG has done some really smart things with this line. 9/10

Fudge:
As much as I like him, aside from the colour I don’t see how this is the same character. 8/10

Overall:
Love your inner geek! 8/10

Thanks go out to TLG for this exciting new line.

Review: 2194 Nitroblast I love the smell of Nitro in the morning

Set Index: Nitroblast

I like the presentation of this line, especially the interesting background that isn’t too distracting. I do have one complaint about this one in particular though; the right eye is glowing green… I realise that these images are always enhanced these days, but that’s a case that could cause confusion and/or disappointment.


The punch-to-open-box lingers on to my annoyance. Other than that it’s an OK rear, possibly too bland. Please note that the box shots have a different attachment position for the “fuel” hose than the instructions.


I find it interesting checking what TLG choose for the standard 1:1 shot. This choice is interesting as it arguably makes up for the cover implying the right eye is green!


De-boxed!


Random instruction page.


Set list; doesn’t look like much as per normal with this style of set, but I think the piece size and complexity make up for it.


Here’s the lot! The best aspect to me is the lack of pins/axels. This new line takes this genre in a new direction with panel parts being balljointed rather than pinned. It’s an interesting idea and at the least it’ll be great for MOCs. System integration could be harder with this line however.


This to me is the highlight; it’s a great looking panel with great potential; in this case it’s used as a flame thrower.


As you can see it’s ball jointed; no pins, no studs. However the two sets of two holes do fit the standard bar accessories (such as claws), and they are a studs distance apart. Thus system scale has not been forgotten.


This weapon is interesting; note the two holes. This seems to be the new HF accessory standard. (Interestingly an axle is still included.)


Here you can see that it is system compatible.


Like all of this line, there is a printed part in each set. At a casual glance I thought that the villians parts were all the same, but upon being told I was wrong I realised that aside from the fire and lightning the exact designs are very different.


On the subject of sharing, the head is interesting. This is the “front”…


…and here is the “back”. Two faces; this part is used in “reverse” for Jetbug. More on this later.


This is also one of the few new parts that is not ball jointed.


It’s building time! I stopped at this stage to highlight how different these sets are. Ball joints galore and a reduction (but not elimination) of pin holes. Looking at this I can’t help but think of the potential as a general mech frame.


Lower body panels fitted. They snap on firmly and are movable to a slight degree. (I got a bit confused and put one of the thigh pieces on wrong in this photo.)


It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the colour issues with yellow don’t seem fixed yet. (The top one is darker.)


The sole spare part! This is a negative side effect of the reduction of pins.


Finished! Like most of these figures, he looks great from the front…


…but not so great from the rear! In particular I find the “second face” a bit distracting.


The Zamor spheres are very nice in this set. It’s hard to appreciate how interesting they are from just one view.


So here’s more!


His head reminds me of the Aliens. (As in the Ridley Scott movie.)


The head however is too minimalisitic for it’s size so off front it doesn’t work as well.


It’s an odd hobby of mine to look for differences between the box shots and the instructions. In this case the hose has been moved. I’m assuming it was done to avoid forcing the hose at a bad angle, but I prefer it the original way regardless. This photo also shows how the head really needs more bulk on the sides.

Ratings

Posability:
Very. The left are has additional reinforcement that does reduce it somewhat, but it’s not a major issue. His big feet helps him balance as well. 9/10

Parts:
This set includes most of the new ball joint panel parts as well as some longer pieces that don’t come with the heroes. All the parts go together well, and the new ball joint system seems more sturdy than the last. 9/10

Looks:
From the front he’s perfect, from the side less so, and from the back he’s a bit freaky. But that’s nothing new for this line or for LEGO in general. Even so, I don’t think the villians are as good looking as the heroes this time. 7/10

Fudge:
I (think I) realise why TLG did it, but the double head is odd. It’s a great compromise… but it’s a compromise.
8/10

Overall: He’s my least favourite of the new baddies (I like DrillDozer), but I still think he’s a good buy. 8/10

Thanks go out to TLG for this exciting new line.