Bionicle was Lego’s wildly successful and long running product line that mirrored easily-built, high-playability robot models with a convoluted storyline that included comics, novels, and even short movies. It told of a colossal battle between two essentially identical armies of robots. All things come to an end, however, and Bionicle’s run has concluded. In its place, refreshingly story-light, is Hero Factory.
Just like Bionicle, the Hero Factory features a lot of unique parts as well as Technic-compatible Lego elements. If you have a lot of Bionicle bricks lying around, you can be sure that these new sets will be compatible. Also like Bionicle, the age range for the sets seem to skew a bit lower. For instance, the kids and I played around with a sample of Meltdown, a robot featuring two toxic waste buckets mounted on its back and a ball launcher, and it sported a mere 50 elements including Technic pins.
However, some of the models are much more complicated. The Von Nebula model (pictured above) was wonderfully complicated and Lego rates it 9+ with 156 pieces.
This model, incidentally, was deemed less fun by the kids because it lacked a ball launcher, but I loved it. It was the most cunningly designed humanoid Lego figure I think I’ve ever seen. The hips and knees are two ball joints each, and the shoulders are as well, making it incredibly sturdy and poseable — very high playability!
And for those of you concerned that Hero Factory’s incompatibility with System bricks limits its use as a building medium, be sure to check out artists like Guy Himber, whose Clockwork Coconut Crab makes masterful use of obscure elements. Ultimately, Lego is what you make of it!
I’m looking forward to seeing all the cool models coming out of the Hero Factory line.