Thursday, April 25, 2013

REVIEW: Lego Minifigures Series 9 Cyclops

Produced by Lego | Released February 2013

Lego Minifigures Series 9
Series 10 of Lego's hugely popular blind-bagged minifigures may be landing at retail as we speak, but thankfully we've still a few places stocking Series 9. Why thankfully? Because this wave features some pretty awesome figures, including the Heroic Knight and Mr Good and Evil. But is the Cyclops another one to add to that list? Read on and find out!

The Cyclops
The Cyclops is one of Lego's mythological/monstrous minifigures, meaning he's as much at home alongside the Monster Fighter line as he is some of the more historic figures from previous releases but if you're a fan of modern or more realistic Lego sets and figures, then you may not be quite as enthusiastic about the concept behind this figure. Don't let that put you off, though, as from a design/construction point of view, there's a lot of good here.
Here's how he breaks down: the core minifigure features a set of tampo transfers, showing his muscular torso and back, thick, skull-headed belt and torn loincloth. And it's all very nicely done. But the character-specific piece you'll notice first is the head, a part more akin to a helmet, which sits upon the core figure's standard head. And this is where whoever designed this figure earned their extra Brownie Points. You see, the core head is printed on both sides, with the eye visible through the helmet's opening. On one side, the eye is fully open (as seen above.) But as you can see here, on the other...
In addition to the open and half-closed eye, the figure also sports two ''blank'' faces (essentially the featureless sides of his head), meaning you can even display the Cyclops with his eye closed, as if he's snoozing, blinking or - as I've done with mine - being knocked unconscious by Jack McHammer! It's a simple but incredibly effective bit of design and although we've seen minifigures in the past with such reversible heads, it's never been as much fun as it is here. I mean, did you ever expect to see a Minifigure you could actually change the expression and mood of?
The other accessory comes in the form of the giant club the Cyclops sports. It's a cool-looking piece but I do wish they'd cast it from a brown or wood tone, rather than the grey it comes in. Is it supposed to be rock or even metal? I'm really not sure and although I'm not going to let a simple accessory affect my view of this figure too much, it does stick out as a misstep on Lego's part.
Final Thoughts
Conceptually the Cyclops is another one of those figures that can be used in a variety of scenarios. He's a great character to put up against your historical figures (the Cyclops and the Series 10 Warrior Woman are made for each other) but that also fits perfectly into the Monster Fighters line. At a stretch you could even include him lurking in the woods in your Lego City forest diorama or even as a new villain for the Super Hero or Ninja Turtles to battle. 

As for the figure itself, the double-printed head and helmet concept may not be a new one but this is the first time it's been put to such good use. Not only do you get two eye ''moods'' to select (three if you include ''closed'') but you can also further modify the ''mood'' with a slight twist, where a look to one side can become a shifty, sideways glance or even a suspicious glare. It's a really neat little touch that adds a whole lot of depth to the figure.

If I had to pick fault with the Cyclops it would be with the club accessory. Or more specifically the fact that it's cast from grey plastic rather than brown, a color that seems at odds both with the figure's overall palette and also - at least for me - the concept. As I said, a wooden club would seem more sensible to me but this really is just nitpicking. And if you wanted to be really critical you could point out that the head/helmet piece does make the Cyclops' proportions look kind of baby-like (although I personally find that more amusing than annoying.)

He may not have the most accessories or custom pieces but if you're a fan of fantasy/monster characters then the Cyclops is an absolute must-have.

Great fun.

Final Score: A

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