Tuesday, March 19, 2013

REVIEW: Lego Minifigures Series 9 - Heroic Knight

Produced by Lego | Released February 2013

The Heroic Knight
I'm sure by now we're all familiar with the Lego Minifigure range, a series of blind-bagged toys based on the core Lego figure. The line's current wave - Series 9 - features an assortment of fantastical, historical and ''everyday'' characters, including the subject of today's Review, a medieval character Lego has dubbed the ''Heroic Knight.''
The Heroic Knight is constructed from the basic Lego Minifigure parts (head, torso, legs), augmented with a number of additional pieces in the form of a helmet (complete with moving visor and removable plume), a chest-plate (which fits over the neck peg and is held in place by the head) along with a sword and a shield.
Of the Minifigures I've seen so far, the Heroic Knight is certainly the most complex and well-equipped and this assortment of pieces allows not only for some creative poses but are also some great little play features. I'm sure a large part of it is simply because he's a knight (and therefore tends to do a lot of derring-do) but I can imagine a lot of kids enjoying creating scenarios for the Heroic Knight to act out, especially if he were to be paired with some of the more monstrous figures from the line.
As cool as these accessory pieces are though, they're not entirely without flaw. He has no major problems gripping his sword or shield (and the latter even includes a T-shaped peg that allows it to be held in a variety of ways) but the visor can be a little fragile. A little pinch may be enough to reshape it to grip the helmet a little tighter and although it's not as if it drops off of its own accord you may find it comes loose during play.
The plume itself is much looser, though. Lego has introduced a smaller peg-and-port system for such ''flourishes'' (the skeletal horse's ''eye flames'' in the Monster Fighters Mummy set and the ''jet flames'' on Rodney Rathbone's motorcycle in the Vampyre Hearse use the same size pegs so if you have either of those kits then you'll know the kind of arrangement I'm talking about) and it doesn't quite seem to work, resulting in a connection that feels weak and tends to see pieces dropping out whenever they're handled. Again, it's not like it will just drop out of place by itself but it's certainly something to watch for when you're playing with/posing the figure.
The tampo transfer work is neatly applied, as you'd expect from a Lego kit and the detailing is overall really cool. The cuirass piece that covers the chest is particularly good, although it's a shame to see the reverse is completely devoid of decoration. It's a minor point but worth noting.
Personally I'd have loved to see a pop of red or blue in the plume, as I think this would have really enhanced what's an already great-looking figure. The white coloring is fine for what it is but given how the figure sports an assortment of metallic gray/silver shades something more vibrant would have really set the figure off.

Still, that's a very minor point in what is an otherwise excellent-looking minifigure.

Final Thoughts
The Heroic Knight wasn't really a figure that was on my ''must have'' list, so when my wife revealed he was the figure in the blind-bag I'd given her to open (while I was assembling ''my'' figure) my initial - and I have to admit, only - reaction was ''phew, it's a figure I don't already have.'' And at that point I pretty much put him to one side.

It was only later when I took a closer look at him that I realized just what a superb minifigure the Heroic Knight is. And after spending some time playing with posing him, I think I've figured out why he's so much fun.

Firstly, the figure is great value for money. I really like that he's not only sporting a number of items but that they're also all character-specific. Yes, I'm sure that a lot of them have already been released in the Castle/Kingdoms sets but seeing them all together in minifigure form - especially when you compare him to some of the other, admittedly quite generic/under-equipped figures in the line - really makes me wonder just how Lego's designers got their accountants to approve production on so large, so complicated and so specific a range of pieces. But they did and for that, we should thank them.

The choice of Heroic Knight as a character theme is also great, as it offers so many possibilities for adventure and fun. I could see kids using him to battle this wave's Cyclops or going on a quest with the Forest Maiden to consult the Fortune Teller. Or if you're looking for a more decorative use for the figure, he'd make a great suit of armor to stand in your Vampyre's Castle or City Museum. It's neat to see Lego's designers creating toys that inspire the imagination in this way.

The Heroic Knight really is a prime example of just how much fun Lego can be. Start feeling those blind-bags now, as you need to have this figure in your collection.

Final Score: A-

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