Produced by Lego | Released February 2014
Melt mountains with the sizzling hands of Vulk! One-eyed Vulk is the strong but dim-witted member of the Infernite tribe. The scorching-hot hands of Vulk can melt escape routes through solid rock and fend off Nixels.
Mixels is the latest line of toys from the uber-block creator, LEGO. With an animated series accompanying the line's launch currently airing on The Cartoon Network, it looks as if LEGO is confident that these new, and very unusual, toys will be a hit. Is that confidence justified? Read on and find out!
Meet the Mixels!
The Mixels are small, monster-like creatures who live together in an (as yet) unnamed land. The Mixels all come from different Tribes, with each exhibiting the specific characteristics of their clan. Currently there are nine Mixels available - three Infernites, three Cragsters and three Electroids, with LEGO planning to release further figures and - presumably - Tribes as the line expands.
Mixels - as their name suggests - can be ''mixed'' or combined with other Mixels to create new characters. When this is done with three characters from the same Tribe, the form is referred to as the ''Max'' type. Mix Mixels from different Tribes and it's - not surprisingly - a ''Mix.'' Create a random mash-up that doesn't quite work and that's a ''Murp.'' From what I can see, it appears that this interchangeability is the thrust of the line, unlike other LEGO themes, which are more focused on accessories, locations or vehicles.
The subject of today's Review is Vulk, who - as you may have gathered - is from the fire-themed Infernite Tribe.
Each Mixel comes in a simple, polybag-style plastic bag, with the figures displayed in a pack not dissimilar to the boxes used for the LEGO Minifigures.
The graphics are eye-catching and bright and it's fairly easy to quickly distinguish the different Tribes, thanks to the color-coding used on the packaging background. Similarly, the large front image makes selecting your desired Mixel a simple process.
The rear of the pack (not pictured) continues this same bold, bright theme and features images of the nine currently available Mixels and an image of the Max Infernite, the ''combiner'' version of the three Infernite characters.
At 69 parts total - a dozen or so of which are used to build the included Nixel (again, more on that later) - Vulk is a quick, easy build. As ever the enclosed instructions are incredibly clear and you'll have your Vulk figure assembled and ready for play in a matter of minutes.
One minor point, though: the recommended age for the Mixels line is 6+, which I found surprising given how many tiny pieces were included in the set. As with all LEGO sets, I would advise against opening the packaging until you (and your child, if applicable) are ready to build, as it would be very easy to lose the pieces in the pack.
So with the assembly done, let's take a look at Vulk.
Vulk stands at around 3'' tall, with an arm span of around 4''. As you can see, he's a fairly chunky, bulky figure and there's a nice tactile feel to him.
If you're a fan of cutesy, gribbly little monsters then you're sure to like the design. He's weird enough - with his oversize hands and feet, fat fingers, horns, single eye and fangs - to be interesting but not so abstract in his proportions and design to be so weird that he loses his cute appeal.
I particularly like his cloven-hoof feet and big, expressive hands. And, as you may have noticed, his eye (which is a round ''plate'' attached to a Lego hinge) can be removed and replaced to add additional expression. That's a cute little touch.
Articulation is particularly impressive, with the hips and shoulders featuring a new ball and socket (or rather, ball and c-clip) set-up. Although we've seen something similar with the Hero Factory toys, this new rigging does pretty much the same thing but at about a quarter of the scale. Vulk also includes six fingers that can be posed individually and a mouth that can be opened/closed.
The articulation is very impressive, with the joints holding nicely yet being flexible enough to allow a wide range of movement. Like the Hero Factory figures, motion is limited on some planes but there's still a very impressive range of movement afforded by the new joints and they're used in a smart way to maximize their potential.
As you may also have noticed, Vulk is very well balanced and is not only very sturdy but can even be balanced on one foot with ease or - as the above image shows - do the splits and remain perfectly solid.
As mentioned above, Vulk also comes with a Nixel. Nixels are small, annoying little creatures that love to pull things apart and destroy the things the Mixels love to build. It's my understanding that not every Mixel includes a Nixel (presumably this is to either make them more collectible or is down to the number of pieces used to build each Mixel) so having one here is a nice added extra.
The Nixel is a fairly simple toy, built from around a dozen pieces and featuring limited articulation (basically you can rotate his arms/claws.) I'm fairly indifferent toward it but it's nice to at least get something for Vulk to interact with.
Vulk is a really cute, super-fun little figure. At $5 - which is less than half the price of two LEGO Minifigures - you get a 3'' tall, cutesy little monster with bags of personality and some really neat articulation.
If you're a fan of monster-style cuteness then you'll love Vulk. As I mentioned above, he's enough weirdness to him to mark him as something unusual but not so weird that he alienates or comes off as creepy or too bizarre (or indeed, even scary.) Add to this the expressive - and very impressive - articulation and you'll see why I'm really digging this little fella.
I think this is probably a case where the images will do more to sell you on Vulk than anything I can say but all I'll add is that if you've been sitting on the fence about this new line (as, I have to admit, I initially was) you should gamble your $5 and grab a Vulk for yourself. You'll be happy you did.
A cute-looking monster figure with great articulation at a great price.