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- This set was provided to BS01 by LEGO, but the opinions of the set are those of the reviewer.
Review: 71314 Storm Beast
One of three fearsome beasts introduced for the summer, Storm Beast certainly looks to incarnate the chaotic element it's based on. But is it flying on the winds of change, or is it just a mild breeze?
You'll probably hear the word "chaotic" a few more times in this review, because that's ultimately what appears to be one of SB's selling points; the build and colors are all over the place, and the box design includes at least three or four different elemental representations. But unlike many of the other summer sets, Storm Beast has an incredibly dynamic pose, charging straight at you with the slumped body of his most recent victim fresh in the background.
Storm Beast is an interesting set in that he's meant to be in conflict with Kopaka, but doesn't share his same primary color scheme; thankfully there's a certain amount of commonalities nonetheless, but while the other beasts share a closer color association, SB's is a bit of a step to the side. However, he does right by taking a severely underutilized color from Kopaka - Metru blue - and giving us three glorious 4M shells in the color. Some cool other recolors too, including a fully transparent head and a new chest plate printing (symmetrical, whew, since it would have looked out of place otherwise), and a Uniter Mask of Ice with a new green blend. Not a huge fan of this color combo, and they don't even give us an eyepiece stud to work with, so I could have done without.
Not too many new pieces, a trend with the beasts. Like the creatures, they all utilize the same mask mold, just in different colors. Given the reuse of Skull Masks from the previous summer wave I guess I can't be too surprised, but the beasts all have a nice diversity of build, so it's a shame to see them all have the same face. I have mixed feelings about the crystal piece, too; it's not horrifically unusable, but it reminds me of the rock armor add on from Hero Factory, which was not only nice and compact, but it wasn't a whole pre-molded piece. Still, it's nicely designed.
Taking a cue from the Star Wars sets rather than a fellow Beast, SB gives us a short torso (that appears to be new, far as I can tell) lacking ball joints for the neck and shoulders, leaving us to more custom alternatives.
Custom alternatives indeed. It's a rather curious, Technic-heavy machination that I'm not quite sure what they're going with. Last time I saw the mini-knobs was on Skull Scorpio, but there's no rubber bands, so... let's see what that turns into.
An additional joint for a tail, also held in place by some mini-knobs. When they all come together, the addition of some cross bars creates an intriguing function for the arms, synced up with the tail. We'll examine the actual function looks like a little later, but it's interesting, and it's new. So many years later, seeing a brand new function is always a treat.
Much as the Uniters had quirky custom arm builds, the Beasts all have a custom lower leg build of some variation. They're all pretty simplistic (Lava Beast's perhaps moreso than Storm's, but anyway) it works mostly because it's not supposed to be super complicated, it's just supposed to get the job done. SB, like LB, also has a small bit of Technic to act as a foot stabilizer, which is a little odd since it uses the ridiculously useful large beast foot... I can only assume they did some QA testing that said it was a good idea.
(Ignore the fact that I inverted the knees in these pics! It gets fixed later on.)
We knew SB would have a tail, but lucky day, it also has some Shadow Trap parts at the end! I do love the shadow trap functionality because it's just so adorably brilliant. These aren't quite as useful since they are only attached by friction pins instead of click joints, but it looks cool. Alas, the tail is just a TAD too short; even an extra small joint would have made a world of difference, but I get why they would want to keep the piece count lower for that.
But what's this? We still have feet joints left? Well, do I have news for you; they're not feet! No, they're actually hands. And forearms, I guess? In place of a hand joint, we have three claws. The overall look is nicely imposing, but the fingers are a bit of a pain to pose, since they don't angle into perfectly proportioned grips.
The jaw assembly is the unfortunate weak link of the set. I guess the set designers felt the need to include a second gimmick; where the Toa had waist articulation and Unity connection, the Beasts have some sort of movement function and the jaws. But the jaw piece severely limits head articulation, especially on SB with the way the neck is attached, and the sensitive nature of the jaws means the mask is always popping off. It's a disappointing step backwards from the Uniters, who kept the overall functionality but reduced the annoying parts by switching up the eyestalk shape.
The play function is definitely SB's claim to fame. Twisting the tail from side to side changes the position of the arms, but with some flexibility allowing it to angle the arms in certain ways. It's a really interesting design, and while it doesn't necessarily help with posing (actively working against it sometimes...) it's super neat to toy around with. I was also impressed with the color scheme; there's a lot to it, and while its hard to identify anything dominant, the placing and layering is done very well.
The Brass Tacks
Storm Beast definitely brings a lot to the table, a chaotic hodgepodge of different ideas and features. Not everything is perfect; the same things that drag down the other Beasts aren't something he can magically make work, and the majority of the inventiveness seems to have gone into the swinging arms function. But it's a heck of a function regardless, and considering the cohesiveness of his overall look, he's definitely a set worth getting for the experience.
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