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- This set was provided to BS01 by LEGO, but the opinions of the set are those of the reviewer.
Review: 71315 Quake Beast
The last of the three beasts, Quake Beast comes charging through the fray. Can this set provide a shakeup to the roster, or does he not even register on the Richter scale?
I've heaped praise on the graphics designers before, but they always find ways to outdo themselves. In this case, you have Quake Beast's shoulder blades literally punching through the logo and coming out the other side. It's slightly lost with the way the boxes are folded, but still, it's a super cool way of making it stand out.
Quake Beast (henceforth QB, or Quarterback if I feel like it) has primarily blacks and grey for the construction, with only a few armor and shell bits having any semblance of color. Like SB, he has a small undercurrent of trans-neon green; in theory this is supposed to represent the sort of slime that these creatures apparently are born from, though I had forgotten about that because Lava Beast has practically none at all, while Storm's meshes well with his overall color scheme so it stands out less.
QB has some fun new parts, from the shorter armless/headless torso, and the crystal add-on. Amusingly, QB tries to bring back some of the solid purple that was otherwise summarily ditched for 2016, but only manages to use it on the Beast Mask piece, so it sticks out a bit (and not necessarily in a good way).
Early on it's pretty clear that QB is going to be asymmetrical - if the CGI pose hadn't already tipped you off. I'm never quite sure how new those right angle axle pieces are, but they are definitely a godsend regardless, and features here.
QB has the good sense to use the gearbox from 2015; if there's anything I'm partial to when looking at waves as a whole, it's diversity, and QB is successfully distinct from his two beast compatriots. LB was based around traditional gear functions, SB has the heretofore unseen tail/shoulder mechanic, and QB takes a fan-favorite and puts it to good use.
Thankfully, Quake isn't content to just be different from his fellow Beasts; the set designers have also put a new spin on the process of the gearbox by turning it 90 degrees and giving him a single function arm turned by a crank handle. I'm not sure it's the most efficient way the feature could have been done, since the arm is set back a few studs and the crank handle is rather tiny for my totally-not-in-age-range fingers, but it definitely gets points for being a creative take.
QBs leg construction more resembles Storm's than anything else, though some armor placement and a few accenting pieces stick to the asymmetry course. I'm usually a fan of asymmetry, but moreso in a deliberate sense; 2016 Gali, for instance, is very intentional with the way it places the asymmetrical armor pieces creating a very visually cohesive look. QB's appears to be pretty slapdash, and while I understand that it's meant to emphasize that these are ragged beasts created from chaotic primordial elements, both LB and SB managed to sell that kind of idea while being perfectly mirror-able, so it feels sort of unnecessary to just stick a few random pieces on and call it good.
The arms manage to work with asymmetry better by being completely different from one another. I'm a little disappointed that QB has a locked elbow joint, when others managed it. But there's the added bonus of a shadow trap! Always a favorite of mine. I'm still curious as to how they'll figure into the story, but we'll see on that one.
The second arm features a spinning portion backdrop to a crystal piece from 2012, vaguely resembling Korgot's drill. This connection is somewhat unique in that it involves an open-ended ball joint/axle stopper connecting directly to a joint piece. I'm not sure if we've ever seen that connection used in an official set as a limb (although in terms of unofficial sets, Krakua springs to mind!), so it's interesting to see if they'll take this as a cue to get more experimental and use MoCist techniques in the future.
This limb also probably does the best job with the asymmetry, using the new shells to make it look like the crystal is somehow enveloping the beast, so it's an intriguing style.
I know GIFs are SPI's domain most of the time, but I thought I'd try my hand at one showing the function. It's definitely novel, though a little underwhelming once you've played around with it a few times. It's at least constructed well enough so that it doesn't interfere with the posing, which is more than Storm Beast could say.
The crystal creeps further up into QB's other shoulder armor, which is a combination of the new blades and a crystal armor piece. I'm disappointed that QB doesn't have a recolor of the blades like Lava Beast does; would have gone a long way in making it palatable (or more perfectly, could have been where they introduce the purple versions! Alas).
QB's head construction is identical to Storm Beast's, which mean's that it's both immobile and a pain in the butt to pose. After Lava Beast's odd but intriguing cowl, I had hoped the other Beasts would have clever ways of adapting to the jaw, but that was not to be. At least the mask piece is cool.
The final look of QB is, as with the other beasts, rightfully intimidating. QB's arm is ready to bludgeon, and the rest of him is ready to skewer anything that gets close.
The Brass Tacks
I have a hard time faulting QB on a basic level; his function is innovative and the armor design works when you put it in terms of what it was probably supposed to be. But ultimately he just feels like a rough draft of what he could have been. The feature doesn't feel fully fleshed out, and there's ideas they use elsewhere (i.e. free-range of motion arms) that didn't seem to make their way here. A little more effort (and a few recolors) could have gone a long way; maybe it was budget constraints, but in the end it looks like not enough attention was paid to QB after the prototype phase, and he remains unpolished.
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