Member No.: 1
Joined: 20-June 09
Im still working on the review, it needs spellchecking an etc, plus the pictures will be added to the front page news version. With BZP's review already up, I figure you guys might use that as a guide along with my review here until I have the finished version up, and maybe throw me a few suggestions.
Rocka, First Look
Rocka comes with a great number of new and interesting parts, and for the breakout series he has undergone another resize to that of which had been previously reserved for villain sets. With the resize also comes a bigger price tag, but depending on your opinion it may be more than worth it.
If you have not already discovered this for yourself, the Hero Factory Breakout series comes primarily in plastic pouches. To my knowledge, (and I have not seen his packaging yet) only the Black Phantom has a traditional cardboard box as a set of his size should. The rest come in one of two sizes of pouch (One size for $8.99 sets and a size up for ones with a $12.99 price tag) that are very reminiscent of Capri Sun drink packaging. These are not something designed to be torn open, and in fact require scissors or some other sharp object to open. If you were to nick a corner with a knife or something, you could then simply rip it open, but for neatness and because the "cut here" line is not far off from a zip lock seal, you should consider using the scissors to preserve that feature if you plan to keep the packaging. Once the parts have been removed, they fold neatly flat, and provided you had something to weigh them down, fifty of these would take up about as much mass as a single cannister. The best part of the new packaging perhaps, is that your less compelled to keep it around and can toss it in the recycle bin with fewer regrets. This is coming from someone who has only thrown out the extra 12 or so Hewkii Inika cannisters he bought on sale to get enough zamor clips to make a giant ring of them, and if I could bring myself to throw more in the recycling, I wouldn't have to worry about space in my room.
Going into the graphics on the packaging, as usual it does it's best to show off the character's best features. Each character's packaging seems to show a unique environment, in Rocka's case inside some large structure. If you look, almost hidden in each set's background is the recommended villain that each hero has been equipped to take down #read the LEGO Shop At Home descriptions#, in this case the Black Phantom. Likewise, in each villain's packaging, you will see the corresponding hero stalking them in the background. On the back, you see the usual information showing off a few features like the handcuffs, cannon, and an "actual size" picture of the character's head, with the lower half reserved for trademark and choking hazard information.
Whats rather unusual to me about these breakout sets is that the parts are mostly sealed up in one of two bags, with only the largest parts like the rubber pipe #This time Rocka's ammo clip# sitting outside of a bag. The larger parts are mostly in the bigger bag with the smallest parts in a small, seperate bag. I'm used to this with boxed sets of course, but the sudden implementation of it for the zip lock packaging came as a surprise. Either it must have been decided to package all parts like this or it's to prevent them from coming loose if the outer bag should tear.There are a number of new and interesting parts, the rest is just recolored or recycled from the 2.0 series and onward.
Sadly, the hero core has been changed to the point of being uninteresting, it no longer fits in a custom slot on the armor, and of the cores I've seen they only come in one color now: white. They now have two of the prongs on the back, which makes them much more versatile for building with, but unless they add more colors, the part becomes far less desirable to MOC with, perhaps defeating the purpose of unspecializing the part to the chest armor. They serve another purpose though, on the back of each one is a code for an online Hero Factory game.
For lack of a better name, the "cannon plate" is one of my #and the community's# favorite new parts. It's a solid, inflexible part that works in tandem with one of the old thornax launcher parts to fire a marble like before. It's functional in that it replaces the other half of a thornax launcher, and doesn't simply cover up one of two prongs as some people have thought it might. It seems only designed to launch zamor spheres, as I could not manage to fire a thornax round out of it. I should also point out that two cannon plates cannot be used as a single cannon, as they are inflexible and require the thornax part to be squeezed, on top of being too bulky to attach two onto the same socket.
One of the best new parts is the energy shield plate. When you look at the packaging, you can't tell that it has a sort of textured, almost holographic visual effect. Within each of the hexagons is a texture that creates an inner honeycomb pattern, and moving it around makes the inner honeycomb shift around with it. It kind of reminds me Gorast's wings. It's just big enough for some great MOCing, though I would love for an even larger version to be released, with different colors available.
Varia Shoulder Pad
The Varia Shoulder Pad, or Varia Pad as I like to call it, is very reminiscent of Samus Aran's Varia suit upgrade #the shoulders specifically# from metroid. They come in red too#three come with Splitface#, and I imagine they will spawn a series of Samus MOCs soon. They are just the right size, and have an interesting pattern. Among one of it's more interesting features, you can add them to your last generation heroes and they are so wide they mostly fit around the old shoulder pads on the chest armor. If they have a drawback, it's that they were only designed for hero factory armor #using the two plug system# and have no other methods of attachment, that is unless your clever enough.
These hard plastic handcuffs are another great addition. They attach to the "hewkii chains", and besides the skinny parts on each side for the mini clips to attach to, they also have the full size peg hole on the side. They easily attach to most joints about an axle thick, and hold a good amount of weight, so I imagine they will be useful for much more than handcuffs. If you've seen the Rise Of The Rookies video #I have, but have not seen Savage Planet#, they were using energy cuffs, so I was a little disappointed that they didn't think to make them a half transparent part. They are still one of my favorite new parts.
The new torso armor is a big improvement over the old, adding in a great deal more detail, compared to the older design that was so smooth and streamlined that the armor plate overtop of it was the only redeeming factor. Since that part has been removed to make room for the varia pads, they pretty much had to innovate on the part's details, and what they came up What?! is great. If I have any particular disliking for it, its the white stripe graphic that looks out of place. This is probably there to spread out the white of the new Hero Cores and make it fit in a little better, but I don't care much for it, and of course it makes it harder to MOC with.
Steam Punk kopaka Helmet
I couldn't decide whether to call it Steampunk or IronKopaka #after Ironman#, it's almost a mix right down the middle between the two styles, especially in his particular shade of gold. Of the new helmets, it is my favorite, I really hope it is released in white, or a more MOC neutral color.
I have no doubt in my mind that there will be some very clever uses of this part, if you couldn't tell by the pictures, it's a flexible part which has some holes of which you can fit the skinnier parts into. Its pretty flexible, but I wouldn't stress it too much at certain angles, or against "the grain", which I suspect might damage it.
These are all too useful, that two complete pairs come with Rocka in a fairly neutral color is even better.
As with most small Hero Factory sets, theres not a lot to say about the construction. The usual armored bone system makes up ninety-five percent or so of his design, with his "crossbow" arm and back having a little more effort placed into the design.
The crossbow itself replaces his hand, and even requires a small arm extender to give him the articulation to hold the cannon at the appropriate angles, and without it the set would effectively be unplayable. Rocka has a foot attached to his back, which makes him look significantly less hallow, from there the chaingun clip plugs into the crossbow with a little clip grabbing the spear at the base of the chain to keep it aligned with the barrel of the cannon plate. Whether the foot is there on his back to hide the gap or only there to act as an anchor for the chaingun clip, I cannot tell, but I'm glad they opted to cover up some of his back in the process.
Another single clip is plugged into the side of his left leg, this is for the handcuffs to be holstered. Unfortunately this clip by itself leaves the second of the handcuffs to dangle down to his feet, which is annoying. The designers of the set, as usual, like to provide us with a spare of the smallest parts. I opted to take advantage of the spare clip they provided and plugged the extra in just under the first holster clip, allowing me to clip both pieces of the assembled cuffs neatly on the side of his leg.
Rocka is a bit clunky, but mostly because of the flip out blades that give it a crossbow look. Once you've figured out how to manipulate his arm, which at first gets in the way to the point of annoyance, he becomes a very interactive toy. I cant say I like the crossbow design much, or that it doesn't actually fire the spears that "feed" into it, but the improved look of the zamor launcher more than makes up for it.
The shield arm takes a little more imagination to be fun, considering it barely protects him. I imagine Rocka must simply be agile enough to twist his hole body around to bring the shield into a protective position, and I could articulate him into a sort of sideways pose that actually guarded his vitals pretty well. The Shield arm does lose some articulation if you position it exactly as the directions show, but if you tilt it back at just the right angle he still can have a full range of motion in that arm. If I made one change to the shield design, it would be to get rid of that extra bit of black socket sticking out of it, or maybe rotate the shield and connect it through the top of the socket part thats sticking out with a longer axle/pin.
Finally, the handcuffs themselves are a perfect addition to the set, giving you a way to restrain a villain. Connected with three hewkii chains, they may be a little long for some people's taste on how restrained the villain should be, but three works perfect for me, and you can always remove a couple links.
Rocka has one major drawback, at least in my opinion: The gold armor. While it is nice to see the continued support of a particular color, this one I could do with less of, but thats simply a preference based on buying him for MOC parts. Between the new parts, the balanced colorscheme, how he looks, and playability, this is by far the best Hero Factory figure I've added to my collection.