Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 at 5:01am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for another BZPower Hero Factory set review. Today BZPower Reporter Xccj glances at 44026 Crystal Beast VS Bulk. Is this set a gem to be greatly valued, or is it merely another dusty rock? Read on or watch the video to find out for yourself!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the bag features Crystal Beast attacking Bulk, who just narrowly avoided a blow from her staff. Besides showing off the characters, there's some really nice background details, with crystals and those eggs visible in the distance. Another remarkable thing about this bag is that its been signed by the set designers, although only Matt's name is legible. There's some nice art on the top with the "Invasion from Below" logo, and also on the bottom of the bag is more cool artwork showing the clash between Hero and Beast.
The back of the bag includes some of the action features of the set (egg shell, launching weapon, movable claws, jaws, and staff) as well as an actual size image of Bulk. Crystal Beast is also visible in her full glory with an alternative pose.
Inside the bag are two more bags full of parts, the body piece, and the instructions. The instructions now have a robot fig on the back, and inside is also an advertisement for the combiner model that can be made using the three beast from the summer wave.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build for Crystal Beast is generally unremarkable. She's built like most of the humanoids we've seen out of Hero Factory in these last few years, which is a bit of a letdown compared to some of the more unique designs we've seen in this wave.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Crystal Beast has some great pieces. The official count is 83, plus a few extras. Primarily, there are a lot in trans light blue that really stand out. This includes #3 armor, the limb joints, the claws, and the printed head. The claws and armor appeared with last year's Frost Beast , and the limbs show up with CHI Vardy, but you still get a lot of them in one place in Crystal Beast.
One of the new pieces included here is the egg shell piece in black and lime green. The green part is rubbery, and the black part has one axle rod. You get three of these pieces that connect to the tri-connector element.
You also get the new flick fire stud launching blaster gun. While this weapon is currently new, it's appearing in a ton of the new sets, so soon I figure it'll be as common place as regular flick fire missiles. However, it works much better than those do. There's a little trigger mechanism (of which you get a spare of) that you fit into the blaster's body. Then you can attach any stud to the front, and send it flying with a flick. It actually flies pretty far and pretty fast, and works remarkably well. The major downsides is that it will likely cause the loss of countless 1x1 round studs and that it probably would cause harm if shot at someone's eye, so you need to be careful about those.
Other cool pieces include the black and lime spike piece, which I believe is a new color; the new foot design, which has shown up with a few other Beasts or CHI figures this year; the new herofig parts in silvery gray, including a new mold for Bulk's helmet; and finally the 3 length bean with a ball joint in the middle, which is always useful.
This is Bulk's first appearance as a herofig, and one of only two sets that he's currently available in. The blank minifig head he comes with is lime green in color, which I'm not a huge fan of. (Why couldn't he have one in orange?) Like all the other herofigs this summer, he carries a blaster, but he also has rockets attached to the back of his legs. I guess this is a benefit to him since he doesn't actually have a vehicle here, so he needs to get around somehow. Additionally, the rockets have the added benefit of giving him stability when posing on an uneven surface like a carpet.
Next is the egg piece, which is made of three of the shell pieces held together by a tri connector on the bottom. The angles on the shell pieces align just right so that it's fairly even when closed, which is nice. There's also some holes and spike designs on the edges of the shell pieces, making them look particularly hazardous. Best of all, the tops are rubbery and can be pulled back, opening up the interior of the shell for things to be put. The rubbery feel is great, allowing enough rigidity to hold together while also allowing it to be folder with ease.
Finally, we move onto the starlet of the set, Crystal Beast. The thing that immediately jumps out to me is the color. The trans light blue elements look amazing against the black and grays of the set, and that is what makes Crystal Beast stand out. And there's not just a little bit of trans light blue here and there; it's used all over her. What I'm not as impressed about is the addition of the lime green spikes, because I don't feel like that color is the best to combine with the trans light blue.
However, one you look past the colors, more issues start popping up that bother me about Crystal Beast. First off is her proportions seem off. The limbs contribute to this, as they are a bit shorter than normal for constraction figures. However, the main contribution to this problem is her long neck. It can make her look awkwardly long in some poses, and you really have to hunch her over to get a decent look. Granted, she is a monster, so posture isn't really her forte, but it's still something that can detract from her overall fearsome appearance.
The long neck does have the benefit of giving us the appearance of back spikes, but for it to really work they should've included more down her back. While she does have one armor piece on her back, and it pitifully small and leave a lot to be desired. She does have a tail, which ends in the new spike piece, but it also suffers from being rather short. This leads to another issue; when hunched over, Crystal Beast is rather top heavy, and her legs sometimes don't offer enough support. It would've been nice if the tail or staff could've been used to support her, but both are just a little too short to get the job done right. Just another issue I have with the proportions on this set; they might not bug everybody but they do bother me.
Oh, but I saved the worst for last; I really don't like her hands. They consist of two clip claws attached to the technic piece on one side of a socket element, with a lime green "thumb" spike on the other. The overall appearance seems too flat and technic-y. It would've been acceptable on some sort of robot or mech, but this is supposed to be an organic beast, and I think it takes away from the smooth natural look that Hero Factory elements otherwise obtain. It would've been nice if one of the custom claw pieces had been included instead, or even the rubbery claw pieces that first appeared in the Ben 10 sets. But as is, this hand design doesn't quite flow. However, it does allow for the attachment of her staff, which might have been the whole driving reason for this design. But whatever the reason, this same basic design was used on all three beasts this summer, and I'm just not a fan. And, on one last note, I also have a problem of the trans light blue clip claws falling off with ease, so that's just one more strike against the design.
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?
While the main feature of this set is role-play, where you face off Bulk against Crystal Beast, there are a few nice action features.
The primary action function is actually on Bulk's side, and it's his stud blaster. As I mentioned earlier, it's got a decent range, and can shoot at least three feet (or even a meter) without any issue. There's some force behind it, so again don't aim it at your eyes. And keep an eye out for where that stud goes, because I can easily see this as a way to lose tons of those.
Crystal Beast does have a few basic features. The spikes on the end of her staff rotate, and can kind of be used as a pincher to grab Bulk. It's a really flimsy feature, to be sure, and barely has the grip to grab onto a herofig. If Crystal Beast wants to pick up Bulk, she'll have better luck with her clawed hands. Despite their ugly look, the claws do an adequate job or gripping onto Bulk, which is an improvement over the design that came on Tunneler Beast. Finally, Crystal Beast has her hinged jaw. While it's the same design as all the other beasts from this year, it's a good function, and will let her chow down on any unsuspecting herofigs.
Finally, there is the eggshell, which can easily be opened or closed to capture a herofig. Bulk better watch where he steps, because this egg will close on him and leave him no hope of escape. The rubbery piece allows for good movement to easily pop it opened on closed, and is a nice addition to the set. In some of the other Hero Factory sets this summer, the mini-Kaiju can hide in the shell and burst out, but since we don't get any in this set, it serves primarily as a method for capturing Bulk.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Lots of trans light blue elements
- And the trans light blue looks good with the black and gray
- Eggshell design is excellent for capturing herofigs
- One of two sets to get the Bulk herofig
- Bulk's stud blaster weapon is nice
- His leg-rockets offer him stability too
- Crystal Beast's hand design can actually hold Bulk
- Some other nice pieces includes too
What's not to like?
- Crystal Beast's hand design looks awful
- And the claw pieces on the hand snap off easily
- Her proportions are off, because:
- A: Limbs are too short
- B: Neck is too long
- C: Tail and staff too short to offer support
- And when hunched over, she gets top heavy
- Lime green not the best color to compliment the trans light blue
- Her back is unexciting
Overall, I'd be hesitant to recommend Crystal Beast to the casual Hero Factory buyer. There's really nothing remarkable about her design; it's a little too standard, not innovative. She also has proportion problems due to her lengthy neck, and I really don't like her hand design. But the trans light blue colors really work, and if you can overlook the other details, the color alone makes her great. Bulk is also a nice figure, but he's not exclusive here. And while the egg shell is great, it's also in most of the other sets this summer. Honestly, I would recommend one of the other beasts from the summer wave over Crystal Beast, unless you really are digging the color. And if you do like the trans light blue, then Crystal Beast is your girl!
Thanks again for reading and/or watching this BZPower set review! If you liked the video, make sure to follow us on Youtube to keep up on all of our new videos. A big shout out goes to LEGO for providing these sets for us to review. And keep checking back to BZPower for more LEGO set reviews, including the rest of the Hero Factory sets!
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