Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 9:05pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
We're back to interviews today, with BZPower Global Moderator Toaraga sharing his thoughts on the largest set so far this year, Fero & Skirmix. What does this rider and beast have to offer? Well, you'll just have to read on to see for yourself!
So you've decided to spend some money on one of the bigger sets (those ones LEGO sells in boxes) for this year of 2009, but you want something other than your regular boxed set. You want something that is limited in stores and sold with the words "Special Edition" affixed somewhere on said boxed set. You, my fine friend (or maybe enemy, acquaintance, or stranger) are looking for the set known collectively as Fero & Skirmix. But what makes Fero & Skirmix such a "Special Edition" set?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Whether the action-y shot of the Thornax fired by Fero or the "Special Edition" words in the lower right corner or even the redness of Skirmix, there are several things that will likely catch one's eye when noticing this set. There is the prominent BIONICLE logo at the top and the age math at the bottom (you must be negative 8 to buy this set). Much more action or words and it might be difficult to tell what's being promoted. The background is covered by the desert arena of Bara Magna.
Glancing on the sides, you will see the word "BIONICLE" superimposed twice around the box (it totally looks shopped) with a tiny picture and name of the set on one side, likely serving as some sort of avatar and signature for the box. Opposite the tiny image, you will see the "Limited Edition" text in a language I can't read, and every side has the word "BIONICLE" to remind you what LEGO line this is. And of course, let's not forget the all-important LEGO Club promotion.
(Oh, and the barcode, don't forget the barcode.)
As for the back, one might notice a surprising lack of legal text (seriously), but pictures fill the space with a few BIONICLE words or numbers sprinkled in. There is Skirmix breathing down on or get ready to eat Fero in front of a Bara Magna background, but his right arm appears to be broken or at least in a rather painful position; either way, he does not pose much of a threat. In the upper right, there are an advertisement for the Action Figure Game and images of Thornax firing instructions and how to move Skirmix's mouth.
Down at the bottom are the various Glatorian's images, not actual sets, and this set's code. There's even a couple places with pictured directions of how to open the box (nifty for those who need it).
But enough about the box; I'm sure you want to know about the candy inside the piñata. So let's break open the box and see what we get.
First we find the expected: LEGO pieces and an instruction book (a time-tested tradition).
Now that you're familiar with the expected, let's move on to the unexpected and even see how this does with its two primary purposes: building and playing.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
In brief, Fero can be built without looking at the directions, with the exception of a couple hidden pieces that are used to connect Fero to Skirmix. He poses no challenge whatsoever in this department: Look at the picture, connect pieces, and you have Fero.
Skirmix, on the other hand, has a mildly fun build. I say mildly because sadly, the leg design is practically based on at least one other design, so I was able to build most of it before looking at the instructions; I guess that means the design is reliable, so long as it is not overused. However, the rest of the set did need the instructions, which is a good thing.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Next let's look at the pieces. If you have Skrall plus a few other sets from previous years, you have this set; the only difference might be the color. It comes with a paltry 7 new pieces (all but one being part of Fero) and 6 dark red recolors of previous years, for a whopping total of 13 previously unused pieces. Out of 148 pieces, that really is not a lot.
We have the Skrall helmet/head, Thornax, launcher, game piece, and the orange head that some people claim looks like a famous character. (It's totally Batman. Yep, it's Batman.)
For recolored red pieces, we have the newer, shorter double socket pieces, Bitil's feet and leg armor, and Fenrakk's head. All in all, the pieces themselves are not bad.
As for the completed sets, Fero is just not that interesting, and his only real value is having new pieces, unless you already have Skrall; in which case, he has no redeemable value except spare parts and can promptly be made into Skirmix chow. On the plus side, his colors match the set well enough.
Skirmix, on the other hand, has at least a somewhat interesting design; he kind of reminds me of a raptor from Jurassic Park, albeit red. (Spielberg's not directing one of the BIONICLE movies by any chance?) I started having little hope for the set, due to the leg design and the few unique pieces; fortunately, the completed set is not too bad to look at.
I am even happy that the Life Counter is set in a place where it does not look out of place; I might not use it, as I don't play the game, but it doesn't stick out. It pretty much blends in with Skirmix.
Even the compilation of dark gray and dark red for the color scheme is lovely to look at, but silver not so much; then there are the now-standard blue pins.
Now that I've told you the good points of Skirmix, there are some flaws I must point out. First, there's a somewhat noticeable hole in the neck; even a couple of the Toa Metru shin guards might have added some meat. I don't think they would have hindered movement, but if the head is in the right position, it won't even be noticed.
Second, what is with that tail? Without the sharp end, it's about as dangerous as a puppy's wag; a couple extra pieces might give it some pizzazz, but it's an otherwise worthless weapon except maybe against an unsuspecting rider.
"What we have here, my faithful companion, is what's known as a stalemate."
Then there the hand/claws and feet; the pieces used for the hands look a bit awkward because the hands look almost separated from the arms if not placed in the right position. I like those pieces, but they do look awkward and uncomfortable positioned like that.
As for the feet, Piraka feet really don't seem to flow with the rest of the set design; everything else screams raptor, but those feet scream something else.
As a set, Fero and Skirmix are not all that bad together, as far as looks go, but a couple of pieces hidden on Fero's back are the only things keeping them together.
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 far as playability goes, I'll get right down to it: Fero is just not that great. He's difficult to pose due to restricted movement, looking perpetually sitting or hunched. Frankly, Skirmix is a fun enough set without the extra weight attached by a small connection point. Most of the decent pictures I took of Fero involved including Skirmix somehow.
It's probably the best "Charge!" pose I could get.
As for Skirmix (the real star of this set), I actually had fun trying to make him imitate a raptor, though I wish I had a vehicle to go with it or drive away from it, as the case may be. Despite its inability to really move its arms or hands, probably not unlike a raptor, I was able to get Skirmix to do a bit of performing. I like him; I really do. In fact, just scrap Fero for parts and keep Skirmix together.
Fero looks a bit tasty.
So much for stalemate.
Some creatures are just so dramatic.
Skirmix would soon learn the importance of "wax on, wax off."
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Jurassic Park Bara Magna raptor design
- Counter placement is unobtrusive and looks good in its location
- Good color schemes
- Skirmix is fun to pose
- Skirmix in general
What's not to like?
- Lack of new pieces and recolors (13/148 total pieces)
- Fero. Period.
- Skirmix's leg design is tolerable but overall not too interesting
- Skirmix's hollow neck
- Is that a tail or a twig? I laugh at your defense and even stand within two feet of your vicinity.
Honestly, I cannot wholly recommend this set if you already have the pieces to build Skirmix from other sets. Granted, he is fun to play with, but as one of the bigger sets, I was half expecting something different, especially since he is toted under the label "Special Edition." What makes them so special anyway that they could not just be released at any store that sells BIONICLE sets? Perhaps it might be better to save up for one of summer sets.
And that is it. Hope you enjoyed the review and found it informative. Be sure to thank Toaraga for his hard work. We have one more review before it's time for the summer sets. So keep checking back for the latest Bionicle news and more reviews.
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