Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at 5:11pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
We've been looking at some of the Hero Factory sets, and today we're going to get red-hot and take a look at Xplode. He is one of the villains released this year to combat the Hero Factory warriors, but how is he as a set? I, Xccj, will review him and see if I can answer that question.
First of all, I have to speak about Xplodes character. Most of the villain sets this year are henchmen of Von Nebula, but not Xplode. Heís a villain for hire; his own boss and master. Or so I assume from his Bio. That makes him
Xtra cool. Plus, his name starts with an X, a concept that I am personally a fan of.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you
see before building the set.
Although Xplode is technically a larger canister set (on par with the Glatorian both set wise and price wise) he no longer
comes in a canister. Instead, you have to pick up Xplode in a box. And the image on the front really does explode out at you.
Seriously, it looks like a big explosion is going off directly behind him. (No doubt he was responsible for it.) On the front is the usual stuff: Hero Factory logo, set information, a warning label, and the Lego logo. Thereís also a neat ďFrom the
Makers of Bionicle CharactersĒ sign, so that the Bionicle legacy can live on a while longer.
The back of the box features Xplode confronting Bulk in a fight-to-end-all-fights. I donít know who to root for, because
Xplode looks much fiercer than Bulk. Also included are some stats for Xplode, as well as a diagram showing how to use the
launcher. (In case you werenít around last year to play with the Thornax.)
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or
challenging is it?
Now that the larger buildable figures come in boxes, the pieces are held within plastic bags. Xplode comes with two bags
holding the larger and smaller pieces, while some of the larger spikes and torso piece just fall out on their own. Thereís
also a short instruction manual and (strangely) a piece of paper again warning of the choking hazard associated with Lego
pieces. I donít know why it was included, but maybe since this was one of the first sets purchased from [email protected], they forgot to
print an additional page in the instructions, so they included it in the box separately.
While the build for Xplode is much nicer than those of the Hero canister sets, Bionicle Stars sets, and even the Ben 10
sets, it is still relatively bland if youíve built a canister set in the past few years. He has some interesting connections
for his spikes (note: interesting doesnít mean I like them, but Iíll get to that soon) but everything else is rather
commonplace. But itís nothing Xceptional.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or
interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Xplode comes with a nice selection of parts, but there are some inconsistencies that bug me. First of all, the main colors
are clearly Mata red and black. (And these colors do go great together.) But then there are some Metru red pieces mixed in
(leg connectors and Vorox armor piece) and grey pieces (which wouldíve been better in black). The colors donít clash too
badly, but I still wouldíve preferred more conformity.
Then there are the pieces themselves. Xplode comes with a fair amount of good pieces, but few of them are brand new. This
is slightly disappointing, especially after all the new molds the Hero canister sets got. The new molds include the body
piece (seen on all the Hero Factory sets this year, I presume), the spikes (also seen on Von Nebula), and Xplodeís helmet (of
There are some nice recolors, such as the red Toa Metru limbs, the black Thornax launchers, and the wicked Krika spikes.
And there are some other nice pieces like the Slizer arms and tri axle connectors. The selection could be better, but itís
still not bad for a larger buildable figure set.
The three pieces pictured above are the coolest in this set, in my opinion. The recolored Krika blade is amazing; doesn't
quite give the same flaming effect as Tahuís swords, but it still looks pretty deadly, especially in the new colors. The
spikes are also a lovely new piece. The bulk of the body is Mata red, but the spikes shoot out and gradate to yellow, which
adds an explosive feel to them. The spikes are also rubbery, so they look cool without posing a great risk to those who might
step on them. And the head just completes Xplodeís look. Personally, it reminds me of the Piraka heads, with the spikes and
wicked grin. Heíd fit right in with Von Nebulaís crowd.
As for the actual set designÖ well, it leaves something to be desired. The hunched head design is nice, filling out a bit
of his torso where he lacks real armor and giving him a, well, a hunched shape. And the back spike connecting is intriguing.
Itís a new idea and more mobile than previous spikes-on-the-back designs, but it still leaves some gaps if you look at it too
But where this set is really lacking is in the arms. First of all, thereís the use of the Slizer arm piece. Yes, again,
itís a new idea, but one that just doesnít seem to work. Only a few angles really look natural, and most of the time it seems
that Xplode has some really lopsided and lengthy arms. The Slizer arms work fine as one-piece arms, but not so much when you
try to connect them with other joint pieces.
And then thereís the spiked armor. Itís attached to the socket piece via a tri axle connector, so itís hanging off the arm
at an angle. And it looks AWFUL. There is far too much empty space between the spike and the arm. I have tried to find some
good reason for having such a design, but I cannot think of one. Granted, the spike piece has no easy way to attach to the
arm, but the method used just does not work. And this is what ruins the set.
And one last thing to mention: although the arms are horrible, the weapons help make up for it by being awesome. I donít
think I need to describe how cool the recolored Krika blade is; thatís obvious. The new launcher setup is also nice, as it
comes with old molds in new colors. I was Xspecially fearful that the zamor piece would be lime green like
it was for all the Piraka sets. But no, this Xplode came with a darker shade of green. While it does clash with the general
color scheme of Xplode, I can still appreciate 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?
Xplode is as playable as any canister set from the last couple of years. You can pose him, you can roleplay with him, and
you can even shoot his launcher. But thatís about it. Xplodeís arms do allow for some funky and unnatural posing. But what
heís best at is roleplaying. Despite any of the set flaws, Xplode has character. The helmet and arm spikes add to this,
making his design stand out. So he was fun to pose with other characters.
And I must say, something about Xplode reminds me of something else. Maybe itís the red and black color scheme? Maybe itís
the hunchback with flames leaping from his body. Or maybe itís just the Slizer arms.
They may have been released ten years apart, but you can still tell that theyíre brothers!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Spike pieces with lots of potential
- Recolored Krika blade
- Lots of other cool pieces
- And a green zamor (as opposed to a lime one)
- A good overall color scheme
- Lots of character
What's not to like?
- OH MY GOSH THE ARMS!
- Standard build
- Use of Slizer arm pieces in his arms
- Design for connecting the spike pieces to the arms
- Too much dark red and grey
- No, seriously, the arms just about ruin the set
I think Xplode had more character than some of the other villain sets. And if you are looking for some good pieces, heís
not too bad. But the overall set design just has too many gaps in it, which is a major drawback. So I guess it depends on
what you Xpect from your set.
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