Hero Factory

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Hero Factory was a line of constructible figures produced by the LEGO Group from 2010 to 2014. Hero Factory continued the theme of buildable action figures, with an episodic story to support the line and was meant to be a successor to BIONICLE.

Line History

Development

The Hero Factory line was conceived by the LEGO Group in 2009 prior to the cancellation of the BIONICLE series as a way to attract younger children to the constructible action figure line and renew interest. The Hero Factory sets were designed to be smaller and simpler than the previous BIONICLE ones, and the story was made into an episodic format, with single stories not connected to one another. Releases were planned for every six months in order to avoid drawing out the story, a perceived failure of the BIONICLE line. Sets in the Hero Factory line, while simpler than previous BIONICLE ones, utilize similar pieces and styles to BIONICLE.

Release

HeroFactory.png

Hero Factory was officially released in the second half of 2010. Each Hero Factory set in the first wave was marked with an emblem reading "From the Makers of BIONICLE Characters" as a way to keep the line familiar to BIONICLE fans. The line breaks the traditional BIONICLE set release structure, with smaller hero sets released concurrently with larger villain sets rather than as separate waves of similarly-sized sets. The Heroes, the primary focus of the line, were made more affordable in order to increase sales.

The Hero Factory website was first released on May 10, 2010, helmed by BIONICLE.com webmaster Kelly McKiernan. Later that year, the website was finalized when a full update was released in July.

In early 2011, a new wave of Hero Factory sets premiered, with a new design and new structural parts emphasizing a building system based on ball and socket joints. The line was named "Ordeal of Fire", and featured less sets overall than the previous wave. In April the Hero Recon Team website was launched, allowing users to design and purchase Heroes with this new building system as part of the LEGO Design byME service. LEGO Design byME also added a Hero Factory category of parts and four Hero Factory-based starter models to the LEGO Design byME mode of LEGO Digital Designer.

The third wave of Hero Factory sets was released in mid-2011, further expanding the new building system. Titled "Savage Planet", it featured a jungle theme and animal-based villains. The Hero Recon team gained a greater palette and allowed for increased parts selection.

In 2012, the fourth wave of Hero Factory (entitled "Breakout") was released. However, this line departed from the traditions set by the previous waves and removed canisters and boxes from the set lineup. Instead, the Heroes and Villains all came in resealable plastic bag containers (except for Black Phantom, the only large set, which was still packaged in a box). The sizes, which were previously the same among the Heroes and standard among the villains, were now varied, with two different sizes in each division, as well as the boxed Black Phantom. Each set also contains a redesigned Hero Core, with a code for a brand new online game Breakout. Two of the sets, Breez and Thornraxx, received a limited release in Europe, with a wider release as an addition to the summer line in the United States and elsewhere. The Hero Recon Team service, following the cancellation of the similarly based Design byME, had the purchasing aspect discontinued, initially in order to focus on the digital experience.

The Breakout theme continued into the fifth wave of Hero Factory sets in summer 2012. Like the previous wave, the plastic bags were retained, with two large sets (Stormer XL and Speeda Demon) released in boxes. Previous set elements, including the new Hero Cores and Hero Cuffs, remained consistent elements of this wave. Hero Recon Team was cut from the website, though a replacement online building system was briefly introduced.

2012 also saw the expansion of Hero Factory's character and creature building system across additional themes with the release of "Ultrabuild" action figures in the LEGO Super Heroes licensed theme. This was moving towards a goal which the LEGO Group's community coordinators had expressed at fan conventions, which was for LEGO to have multiple action figure themes running concurrently.

In early 2013 a new series was released under "Brain Attack" branding. This series maintained the Hero Core design of the Breakout series, with double the game points for each price point. The game points of this year's sets were for use in the new game Brain Attack. In the Brain Attack series, larger sets began to appear in resealable foil bags just as the small and medium-sized sets had in the Breakout series.

2014's line, "Invasion From Below" introduced an overhaul in the style of the series; Heroes were re-imagined as mini-figures, similar to (and compatible with) the standard minifigs as seen in most of LEGO's other lines, while the constraction aspect was found in mechs that held the minifigs as pilots; the villains retained the typical constraction design, though several minifigs of the villains were also included. Like the previous two years, the theme extended into the summer releases

In late 2014 the LEGO Group announced plans to reboot the BIONICLE franchise, making Invasion From Below the final wave of Hero Factory.

Story

Premise

The logo of the Hero Factory

Hero Factory is set in Makuhero City, home of the Hero Factory. The Hero Factory was built by Akiyama Makuro, who realized that the universe needed a resistance against the growing villain threat. Here, Heroes are built each day and sent on missions around the universe, dealing with a variety of galactic problems such as alien infestations, natural disasters, and criminals.

The series's protagonists are Alpha 1 Team, which is composed of William Furno, Natalie Breez, Mark Surge, Dunkan Bulk, Jimi Stringer, and team leader Preston Stormer.

Rise of the Rookies

In 2010, Alpha 1 Team is challenged by a gang of henchmen formed by XPlode, Rotor, Corroder, Meltdown, and Thunder, and led by the evil Von Nebula, a former Hero that has a grudge against Stormer. The team manages to defeat the villains, and Von Nebula is trapped inside his Black Hole Orb Staff by Stormer and then secured in the Hero Factory.

Ordeal of Fire

A corrupted mining and construction robot known as Fire Lord attacks a fuel depository known as Tanker Station 22 in search of fuel cells and energy. Fire Lord is assisted by his cronies Nitroblast, Drilldozer and Jetbug, and assaults the Tanker Station until Alpha 1 Team is called into action. However, the team is defeated by the villains, with Mark Surge apparently sacrificing himself to give the rest of the team a window to escape. Back at the Hero Factory, Akiyama Makuro has revealed a new upgrade for the Hero building process, which grants more mobility and strength to the Heroes. After the team is given the upgrade, the team returns to the Tanker Station 22, but are still overwhelmed by the villains until the arrival of two new Heroes, Julius Nex and Nathan Evo, both recently made with the new Upgrade system. The Heroes manage to capture the villains, with Fire Lord losing a hand in the process, and finding Surge who managed to survive by hijacking a ship from Jetbug. The corrupted robots are sent back to the Hero Factory in hopes of finding a cure to their corruption, while Surge is given the Upgrade and recommended for his job.

Savage Planet

Savage Planet

A new Hero called Daniel Rocka responds to an emergency call made in the natural reserve planet Quatros, home of the precious Quaza stone which powers every Hero in the galaxy. Rocka is ambushed by the exiled Professor Aldous Witch, who has transformed into a towering giant and gained control of the planet's wildlife and Quaza. The Alpha 1 Team is upgraded once more and are sent to rescue Rocka and see the situation of the planet. When they reach Quatros, they find it corrupted and in a fragile state, and manage to rescue Rocka, giving him an upgrade to his armor and weapons. Aldous Witch, now calling himself Witch Doctor, is revealed to be stripping the planet from the Quaza, which is causing the entire planet to break apart, and will doom all the wildlife and the Heroes if he is not stopped. The Heroes manage to beat the Witch Doctor after Rocka is upgraded once more with ancient armor found in a cave, with the Quaza returning to the planet's core, and the Witch Doctor being imprisoned for his crimes.

Breakout

Breakout

A villain called Voltix is captured and locked in the Hero Factory prison. Once he is inside, Voltix starts a mass breakout causing all the villains in captivity to escape through a black hole. The fugitives head to various locations in the galaxy forcing the Hero Factory to send individual heroes to capture them all. The Alpha 1 Team, sans Rocka, are equipped with new armor, weapons and tools, with each Hero being given a pair of Hero Cuffs which can inmobilize any villain, and are sent to track down villains from around the galaxy, while Rocka stays behind at the Hero Factory. Furno is sent to the water planet of Scylla to hunt down the shark-like Jawblade, Evo is sent to capture Toxic Reapa on the swamp planet Z'chaya, Stormer is deployed with a Ultra Mach Speed Cycle to incercept the mad Speeda Demon on Kollix IV, Stringer chases down Voltix to the galaxy power supply Tansari VI, Surge is tasked with preventing the destruction of a communications satellite in the Sigma Sigma Sector by the hands of Splitface, Nex is sent to Mechna to capture XT4, while Breez tracks down Thornraxx to his home planet of Hivilus 5 and Bulk is sent to chase down the ex-hero Core Hunter who was destroying Heroes in Makuhero City.

While all the Heroes, besides Rocka, are away from the Hero Factory, a villain called Black Phantom takes over the Factory, with plans of destroying it so he can build his own villain factory with a material known as Anti-Quaza. Black Phantom locks the Hero Factory behind a shield so that no Hero can enter or leave the premises. Rocka manages to outsmart the villain and takes down the shield just in time as the Alpha Team returns to the Hero Factory. Black Phantom arrives to the Assembly Tower and tries to cause a chain reaction by overpowering the systems, which would result in an explosion that will wipe out the Hero Factory. The Alpha team manage to defeat Black Phantom, and the villain is captured, but the Heroes are too late as Mr. Makuro and Mission Manager Nathaniel Zib reveal that Black Phantom has sent the Hero Factory schematics to an unknown villain. All the escaped villains are eventually captured and imprisoned again.

Brain Attack

The unknown villain has created an army of Brains, evil slugs that can take control of any living being in the galaxy against their will. The villain uses the plans of the Hero Factory and sends his army to attack Makuhero City and its planet. The Brains quickly take over thousands of the planet's wildlife, who mutate into terrifying beasts and begin marching to the Hero Factory. The Alpha 1 Team is equipped with anti-Brain armor, weapons, and shields, and begin their defense of the City while Evo is sent to the sewer system to fight back against an army of Aquagons and Surge stays at the Hero Factory to defend it. The Heroes realize that the Brains are controlling the creatures and manage to defeat all the Brains by getting them off the animals, who return to normal. However, Surge has been overrun by the Brains and was possessed, while a giant Dragon Bolt appears at the last moment, who manages to evade the Heroes and attacks the Hero Factory. Rocka decides to deal with the dragon as the rest of the team go help Surge. After a brief battle with Surge and an army of blank heroes, Breez manages to rescue her friend while Rocka frees the dragon, which eats the Brain that had possessed it. The Heroes start helping the citizens rebuild the city, while a pair of workers are sent to clean the mess that the Dragon Bolt left inside the Hero Factory. Inside a hole deep in the Hero Factory, the pair of workers find that the Dragon Bolt left a hive of Brains underneath the building, and are attacked.

Invasion from Below

Workers of Antropolis City accidentally awaken giant beasts sleeping underneath the city while drilling a new tunnel system. Antropolis is soon overrun by the beasts, and the Alpha 1 Team is called for assistance. The Heroes arrive and being constructing giant mechs called Battle Machines to combat the creatures. While the Heroes deal with the beasts, Stormer and Furno are kidnapped and taken underground. The team calls for more Heroes to deal with the situation on the surface, and decide to go underground after their friends. The Heroes construct new mechs to help them on their way to the hive, and manage to arrive to the heart of the caves where the Queen Beast has trapped Surge, Furno and Stormer on coccoons. The Heroes try to kill the queen and the eggs she is protecting, but Breez decides against it and tries to communicate with the creature. Breez manages to make a deal with the queen, who wants the Heroes out of their home in exchange for their friends and a recall of the army above ground. The Heroes accept, and begin leaving the caves, but a Jumper accidentally fires a blaster that the Heroes left on the floor and causes some of the queen's eggs to fall to the acid below the hive. The queen believes that the Heroes are guilty and tries to destroy them, but Stormer manages to save the team by throwing a medical capsule to the queen, which causes the creature to splat against the hive and send it down the acid pool. The heroes leave the cave system, and seal off the entrance while Antropolis City decides to build a bridge over the city to avoid any accidents. While the Heroes return to the Hero Factory, they fail to see a coccoon which is hidden inside the Hero Craft.

Hero Factory Recon Team

A facet of the Hero Factory storyline is the Hero Recon Team, based around a web application that allows users to design products using LEGO's Design byME service. The Recon team was founded shortly after the inception of the Hero Factory, with one of the Factory's top Heroes, Merrick Fortis assigned as its head. The intention of the organization, as envisioned by founder Mr. Makuro, was to study the criminals of the galaxy and gather intelligence in order to gain an understanding of them.

After the Alpha 1 team gained animal-based armor and weapons, Merrick Fortis developed his own "combi-weapons" and armor based on those used by Alpha 1, and debuted them on himself for a mission to Quatros.

The direct Recon Team story was discontinued after the HRT service was shut down, though it remains an element in the main story.

List of Sets

2010

Small

  • 7164 Preston Stormer
  • 7165 Natalie Breez
  • 7167 William Furno
  • 7168 Dunkan Bulk
  • 7169 Mark Surge
  • 7170 Jimi Stringer
7148 Meltdown

Medium

  • 7147 XPlode
  • 7148 Meltdown
  • 7156 Corroder
  • 7157 Thunder

Large

  • 7145 Von Nebula
  • 7158 Furno Bike
  • 7160 Drop Ship
  • 7162 Rotor
  • 7179 Bulk & Vapour

2011

Ordeal of Fire

2068 Nex
Small
  • 2063 Stormer 2.0
  • 2065 Furno 2.0
  • 2067 Evo 2.0
  • 2068 Nex 2.0
  • 2141 Surge 2.0
  • 2142 Breez 2.0
Medium
  • 2192 Drilldozer
  • 2193 Jetbug
  • 2194 Nitroblast
Large
  • 2235 Fire Lord

Savage Planet

Small
  • 2143 Rocka 3.0
  • 2144 Nex 3.0
  • 2145 Stormer 3.0
  • 2182 Bulk 3.0
  • 2183 Stringer 3.0
  • 2191 Furno 3.0
Witch Doctor
Medium
  • 2231 Waspix
  • 2232 Raw-Jaw
  • 2233 Fangz
Large
  • 2236 Scorpio
  • 2282 Rocka XL
  • 2283 Witch Doctor

2012

Small

  • 6200 Evo
  • 6201 Toxic Reapa
  • 6216 Jawblade
  • 6217 Surge
  • 6228 Thornraxx
  • 6221 Nex
  • 6229 XT4
  • 6282 Stringer
6202 Rocka

Medium

  • 6202 Rocka
  • 6218 Splitface
  • 6227 Breez
  • 6293 Furno
  • 6222 Core Hunter
  • 6223 Bulk
  • 6283 Voltix

Large

  • 6203 Black Phantom
  • 6230 Stormer XL
  • 6231 Speeda Demon

2013

44012 Evo

Small

  • 44002 Rocka
  • 44003 Scarox
  • 44004 Bulk
  • 44006 Breez
  • 44012 Evo
  • 44013 Aquagon

Medium

  • 44001 Pyrox
  • 44005 Bruizer
  • 44007 Ogrum
  • 44008 Surge
  • 44010 Stormer
  • 44011 Frost Beast

Large

  • 44000 Furno XL
  • 44009 Dragon Bolt
  • 44014 Jet Rocka

2014

Small

  • 44015 EVO Walker
  • 44016 JAW Beast vs. STORMER
  • 44023 ROCKA Crawler
  • 44024 TUNNELER Beast vs. SURGE

Medium

  • 44017 STORMER Freeze Machine
  • 44018 FURNO Jet Machine
  • 44019 ROCKA Stealth Machine
  • 44020 FLYER Beast vs. BREEZ
  • 44025 BULK Drill Machine
  • 44026 CRYSTAL Beast vs. BULK
  • 44027 BREEZ Flea Machine
44021 SPLITTER Beast vs. FURNO & EVO

Large

  • 44021 SPLITTER Beast vs. FURNO & EVO
  • 44022 EVO XL Machine
  • 44028 SURGE & ROCKA Combat Machine
  • 44029 QUEEN Beast vs. FURNO, EVO & STORMER

Other

  • 853083 Hero Factory Mission Log Book
  • 40084 Accessory Pack

Combiner Models

As with BIONICLE, Hero Factory parts from multiple sets can be used together to create new models. In most cases, instructions for the models are found in the respective instruction booklets of the characters, with some exceptions.

In 2010, there was one combiner model, depicting a character named Lucas Valor. Instructions for Valor, who is built out of the Stormer, Furno, and Breez sets, were released in the September–October 2010 LEGO BrickMaster magazine.

The 2011 heroes feature a combiner models (now termed "combi-models") on the back of their canisters. In the 2.0 wave Stormer combines with Breez, Furno with Evo, and Nex with Surge. Combiners also feature in the 3.0 wave, where Stringer combines with Nex, Stormer with Rocka, and Furno with Bulk. Instructions for these six models can be located on HeroFactory.LEGO.com.

2012 sets feature unique combi-models by using the two models paired together (Hero and Villain) as a non-canon combi-model. The LEGO Club magazine also introduced two canon combiners, an unnamed Hero and Villain.

2013 sets also pair Heroes and villains to create new combi-models, though these all feature as upgraded Hero designs, utilizing Hero Cores and helmets.

The combi-models of 2014 take a new approach, combining different Hero mechs together and villain beasts together to create various new designs. Like past years, they do not feature within the story, though they are depicted in certain promotional materials.