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- DISCLAIMER: Star Wars spoilers likely contained within. If you still haven't seen it yet (seriously?), consider yourself warned.
- This set was provided to BS01 by LEGO, but the opinions of the set are those of the reviewer.
Review: 75117 Kylo Ren
The brooding master of all things dark and darkness and the night and stuff, Kylo Ren has the honor of being immortalized in LEGO form. Is this set as deep and complex as his soul, or should you leave him on the shelf scribbling in his diary?
The Star Wars boxes usually have a dark motif (since, y'know, SPACE or something), so there's always a need for an accent color background to make the characters stand out. Doubly so for Ren, who's primary color scheme is black. Finn, had a cool forest to stand in; for Ren, it's a super-subtle village on FIRE. Cool guys look away from explosions, right?
The boxes are taller than many you'll find on the shelves, but they make use of that space, with a detailed feature rundown on the back. Not that Ren has too many features, mind you, but we'll get to that.
I spaced (get it?) and forgot to take shots of some of his individual parts, but in terms of new pieces, Ren has the back plate that doubles as a neck joint, a black torso shell with printing, and of course a unique helmet mold. Unlike the human head molds, which are pretty creepy, Kylo Ren's helmet was an ideal candidate for turning into plastic. The sharp angular features translate well, and the piece is rife with small details like dents and scarring. The eye visor area, especially, exudes an aura of menace.
On top of all that, capes! Not just one cape, but two. I guess one's a glorified loincloth, but still. Wonder if we'll see capes in future BIONICLE sets...
The 2016 Star Wars sets bring back 2015's gearbox, which was an absurdly useful and functional piece in both concept and design. We call it a gearbox, but given the design, there's actually plenty of ways to use it that don't involve gears at all! Here we only get one gear to use, since Ren's feature will be very simple.
Although they did a good job of adapting the gearbox to the standard CCBS torsos in the past, the Star Wars sets are all about functional aesthetics, so both the back armor and the new torso piece conform cleanly to the gearbox. A few wing panel pieces seem slapped on, but at least they adhere to the general shape of a torso rather than Finn's strange coat flaps.
My least favorite parts of all of the Star Wars sets thus far (excluding Grievous, because Grievous) have been the legs. In general, the legs have been super lanky and awkward and the signature shin armor is definitely not conducive to poses that require kneeling. For Ren, it tends to work because we all know Adam Driver is secretly Slenderman, but the weird shin length is notable all the same.
Thankfully the arms fare better. LEGO tends to keep the arms of the Star Wars characters fairly basic (and often identical), but Ren has the right amount of module spacing to prevent the armor plates from colliding and popping off.
But the capes! Ah, the capes. Apparently you're supposed to put capes fuzzy side out, but I much like smooth side out better. Ren wears these capes proudly, and unlike his contemporary Captain Phasma, the capes are super easy to attach and pose. The loincloth is perhaps not quite as good in motion; it tends to catch awkwardly on some of the plating, and one wonders what purpose it serves in a lightsaber duel, but it adds to the overall look nicely, especially when taking photos.
Speaking of lightsabers, Ren has his signature totally-not-impractical crossguard saber, which utilizes a nifty new piece (that we saw on Kopaka and Melum) for the upper hilt. This is his only real "play" function, achieved by turning a gear on the back to swing his arm, but color accents help set him off right. And really, he only needs to force choke people... with his closed fist.
Kylo Ren poses magnificently, when all is said and done. The proportions are just right, and while the helmet's neck lacks anything beyond a realistic human range of motion, the design meshes perfectly with the cape, which add a regal touch to the proceedings. He might be a super emo with (grand)daddy issues, but there's no denying he picked a menacing look perfect for killing apprentices and terrorizing innocent little amnesiac girls.
The Brass Tacks
The Star Wars sets thus far have all focused on human characters (Grievous excepting), and while it's understandable from a marketing point of view - it is based on a movie series starring humans, after all - there's just such a wealth of diversity to the universe that it sometimes feels like a missed opportunity not to include some alien characters, especially since human head molds at this scale rarely work. But when you have a helmeted character, it shines. Kylo Ren could have gone astray at multiple times, with an all-black color scheme, but manages to pull everything off to be an interesting figure AND a good interpretation of the character. Villains have more fun, indeed.
|2016 Star Wars Buildable Figures Reviews|
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