I was sent some of the upcoming Hero Factory sets to review, so I built them with my two sons, 4 and 8 years old, in order to get the reaction of someone in the age demographic for these sets. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. But first, just the facts.
We received four sets: Furno 3.0 (#2191), Stringer 3.0 (#2183), Waspix (#2231) and Witch Doctor (#2283). Furno and Stringer are two of the Heroes, who have appeared in the previous series. As far as I know, Waspix and Witch Doctor are new characters and appear to be “baddies”. Furno and Stringer came in the typical cans, and the other two came in boxes.
My four year old built Furno and my eight year old built Stringer and Waspix. Both of my sons are experienced Bioinicle and Hero Factory builders and neither had any problems building the sets, though the four year old had a few issues with the instructions. I built Witch Doctor as it was too complex for the boys.
Now for the reactions, opinions and general blather.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the theme. It appears that this series of Hero Factory is going with an animal totem theme. Furno has a hawk mask and Stringer is a bear. According the pictures on the back of the box, other Heroes may have a rhino totem, a wolf or fox and a tiger. Bad guy Waspix is naturally a wasp. Witch Doctor appears to be just that, as it has a skull theme to it and has a stylized skull scepter/wand.
The second thing I noticed was that there quite a few new parts that don’t use “bionicle-style” connections, but more traditional connection points, such as clips. The claws on Stringer really stood out in this regard.
Lastly, as far as I reactions go, I was quite impressed with the Witch Doctor build. It was actually quite complex, very rugged and surprisingly large. I wouldn’t be surprised if the skull masks find their way into quite a few fan creations, as they are rather cool. My only complaint is that his left hand has the over-used bionicle shooter, but kids like things that fire. I just wish it had something new there. Waspix was an average build, with a decent amount of pieces. The Heroes had very few pieces and took me about a minute to put together. Even my four year old had one together in less than five minutes and they have an age range of 6-16. They are pretty simplistic.
My sons reactions were very similar but they each noticed different things. My four year old was enamored with the animal theme. He especially liked the Bear/Stringer. He wasn’t as excited about the wasp, but he “flew” the Hawk all over the house and “fought” with the Bear quite a bit. He was impressed with Witch Doctor, due to his size but didn’t really like the skulls as much.
My 8 year old was in heaven. Part of his reaction was colored by the fact that he was building sets that weren’t available yet, but he did come back down to earth to answer a few questions. He loved Waspix, due to the multiple arms, red spikes and trans-yellow wings. Of the two Heroes, Stringer the Bear was his favorite, due to the claws. He said the actual building experience was better than the previous Hero Factory offerings, but he still preferred Bionicle and misses it. He thought Witch Doctor was really cool because he is really into skeletons right now. He liked the animal theme of the two Heroes but felt like they were too simple to build and didn’t have enough pieces.
All of the review pictures can found in the Hero Factory set in my photostream.
This concludes our Father/Son review. Hopefully it gives you some helpful facts about the new Hero Factory sets. Take care!
Edit: I am not an experienced reviewer. If there is information that I left out, please ask questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.
Did LEGO send you the sets?
Yeah, what do we have to do to get in on that action? I would be a totally awesome reviewer.
Besides the skull heads, were there any other new pieces that struck you as particularly useful for the non-Bionicle builder?
Also, I noticed you didn’t discuss whether or not you thought the set was a good value compared to its retail price. Did Lego ask you to not discuss that?
@Nannan – Yes, they were from Lego.
@Ben – Lego didn’t tell me what to discuss. The only stipulation was that the review couldn’t be posted until July 1st. I would have liked to discuss the value vs. price but I wasn’t told what the prices will be. I imagine they will be similar to the prices of the previous series but I really don’t know. My feeling is that the smaller sets aren’t really worth the price for adults but my kids love them. The Witch Doctor and Waspix will be worth the cost, in my opinion, as long as they don’t raise the price significantly from last year. That, however, is merely speculation until they release the actual prices.
That’s a good sign that LEGO is sending sets to fans to review, I’ve not seen them do that before.
@Nannan – I agree. It would nice if they began doing this on a regular basis. If they sent sent sets to the communities that are experienced in those themes, the fans would get good reviews and Lego would get honest, experienced feedback. While I think I did an adequate job with this review, I’m not a Hero Factory/Bionicle expert. I’m sure someone from BZPower would have noticed things that I didn’t.
If they sent Star Wars sets to FBTB, Pirate sets to the Pirate sites, Castle sets to Classic-Castle, Technic sets to the Technic sites, and so forth, they could get experts in those themes to give valuable feedback.
I think these look even less LEGO than the earlier ones. Good guys in particular.
Great review! I especially like that you have gotten your kids involved! After all these sets are geared towards children!
Nice move from LEGO to allow fans to review upcoming sets! I hope they follow this trend!
I’m not a Hero Factory fan, but I see some real nice parts in this! Especially the skull and the bear-mask! :)
Josh, you forgot to add ‘send Space sets to Ben’ on your list.
But really, how did they pick you? The sets didn’t just show up at random did they? I would think that part of it must’ve been that you have two boys the right ages for HF, and that Lego was interested in their experiences being part of the review. But again, you already said Lego didn’t tell you what to discuss, so maybe they just lucked out on that one.
@Marin – I agree about the Heroes. I wasn’t impressed and I don’t think my boys would have been if it weren’t for the fact that they were brand-new and they got to see them “first”. Witch Doctor is made up of a lot of Technic pieces and that surprised me. Waspix seemed like a normal continuation of the Bionicle/Hero Factory progression.
@BrickBlogger – Thank you for the kind words. My boys had a blast. I also hope that Lego continues to do this and gets the other fan sites involved. I tried out a Father/Son approach as an experiment. Members of the TBB staff have reviewed items in the past, both freebies and things we have bought, but this double-team approach was something new. Only time will tell if it is worth doing again sometime.
@Ben – I said “and so forth” so that includes you. ;) I wasn’t chosen at random. Lego contacted The Brothers Brick about reviewing the upcoming Hero Factory release. We don’t have a Bionicle/Hero Factory expert on staff and I’m the only one with kids in the target age range.
I’m loving those skulls.
I’m not into Bionicle or Hero Factory, but I’m liking the Witch Doctor a lot.
I see parts I can use in future MOCs.