Heroes of the Storm: Thrall (Warcraft) by NECA

After being locked into Marvel Legends reviews for over a week, it’s nice to stretch my legs and write about something different. I have piles of stuff to choose from, but ultimately I decided to go with NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line, because the final wave is out and I want to both celebrate this line and sob mournfully because it’s going away. This last assortment includes two figures from Warcraft and one from Starcraft.  And, today I decided to open up Thrall, Warchief of The Horde!

Because who rolls Alliance, amiriiiight? Well, I did once just to see how the other half lives, but most my time in WoW, I was Horde through and through. As usual, the figure comes in a sealed clamshell, which means it is not collector friendly, but it will give you a delightful plastic fume high when you open it. Just a reminder, I’ve never played Heroes of the Storm, but I have played the games that it draws its characters from. In this case the hundreds of hours I spent playing World of Warcraft served as a buttress to my life when I needed it the most. I also really love the aesthetic, characters, and lore. Oh, and it ran pretty well on the shitty laptop that I had at the time. Previously, Warcraft characters have included Stitches, Arthas, and Illidan Stormrage. It’s about time Orgrimmar was represented. What about Stormwind? Pahleeeez!

Mmmhmmm… NECA gives good Orc! Despite already putting out three Warcraft figures in this line, this is NECA’s first crack at one of the Orcs. I wasn’t worried, because they have proven that they have the Warcraft aesthetic down pat and Thrall here is yet another example of that. Just look at the love and detail poured into this sculpt. The figure feels so layered, as if all that armor could be removed, even though it’s mostly part of the buck. Each of the heavy armor plates are thoroughly convincing, with hammered finishes, sculpted rivets, and a gorgeously worn bronze paint making up the reinforced weathered edges. This is some incredible work!

Thrall features raised Horde emblems sculpted into his large disc belt buckle as well as the plates on his gauntlets. The furry fringe on his boots and gauntlets have that distinctive angular flavor to them that comes out in the games’ Toons. The cloth sash has subtle sculpted wrinkles, which are beautifully brought out with a paint wash, and I love the sculpted feathers, which give the outfit a tribal motif. Behind those heavy plates on his legs, you can make out a cross-thatched pattern to the underlying suit, as well as the sculpted straps and painted buckles that are meant to be holding them on.

And those shoulders! Warcraft is infamous for its ridiculously proportioned shoulders and Thrall here is displaying the latest in Horde shoulder fashion. You get more of that wonderful hammered texture in the panels, laid into the bulky bronze frames with chunky spikes protruding outward. As for the portrait…  Those narrow eyes, the protruding tusks, those sharp ears, no doubt a handsome devil like Thrall has all the She-Orcs of Grommash Hold under his spell. I really dig his incredibly long braided hair as well. These are cast in fairly flexible plastic, and spill down the front along either side of his neck. I also love the color paint they used for his orc flesh. It’s a fairly bright green that contrasts beautifully with the armor.

With plenty of rotating hinges throughout the figure, Thrall features a respectable amount of articulation and all of those points do the best they can against a design that is not by nature intended to be limber. The shoulders threatened to be the biggest impediment, but they are designed to be flexible and lift up to allow for a fairly good range of arm movement. The elbows are a lot more restrictive. Still, all in all I’m quite pleased with the posability in this figure.

Thrall includes one accessory, and that’s Doomhammer. The hammer actually comes in two pieces, allowing you to pass the shaft of the handle up through the bottom of his closed right grip and then peg in the head of the hammer. It works well and gives him an infallible grasp on the weapon. Although, he can actually hold it in his left hand as well, just not as securely. It’s a heavy and bulky chunk of plastic, with all the same great level of paint and detail that is exhibited in the figure. And damn does it look great in his hand!

At this point it’s safe to say that, Blizzard’s art design and NECA go together like PB&J, which makes it all the sadder that this line is dying and NECA isn’t going to be doing Overwatch figures. Yeah, I was really hoping for that to happen. But rather than end this review under a cloud of doom and gloom, let’s just revel in what we’ve got. Thrall is a fantastic figure, which exhibits all the passion and craftsmanship that NECA pours into the licenses they work on. The coloring and complexity of sculpt bring this figure to life and make him look like he just stepped off the screen. He’ll likely be spending a while sitting on my desk, so that I can keep glancing over and admiring him, before joining his friends on the shelf. Thrall is available now at NECA retailers for around twenty bucks.

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Heroes of the Storm: Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft) by NECA

Last week, I started looking at NECA’s new Heroes of the Storm line with Nova Terra, a great looking figure that unfortunately suffered from fragile hip syndrome. Today, I’m opening up my second figure in the series and hoping he’s made of tougher stuff. Let’s check out Illidan Stormrage, aka. The Betrayer!

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Here he is in package, which gives you a great look at the figure you’re getting. Heroes of the Storm eschews collector friendliness and goes for a sealed clam shell. I’m not going to complain because it gives me a perfectly good excuse to not keep the packaging. Also… plastic fumes. Gotta love the plastic fumes when you cut into one of these babies. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been hoping to get proper Warcraft action figures. So much so, that I nearly went for some of those DC Direct statues back when they were out. Needless to say, I’m damn excited to get this guy out…

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And he does not disappoint! Illidan dons his blindfold to cover the vacancy left behind by having his eyes seared out. Or, if you prefer, it’s because he’s a Demon Hunter and they cover their eyes because the eyes cannot be trusted when hunting disguised demons and instead they hunt auras. Ooooor, if you prefer, it’s so they aren’t tempted by the evil they hunt. Maybe it can be all of those things. Or none of them. Warcraft lore is deep and complex. And to think I spent most of my 10,000 hours of playtime just trying to not get ganked. Where was I? Oh yeah… he wears a blindfold and it makes him look like a badass. And just to please the lady Blood Elves, he doesn’t wear much of anything else. Just a pair of brown fur-lined pants and a loin piece that screams out the familiar aesthetic of the World of Warcraft universe.

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NECA invested just enough detail on this guy to keep the ‘toony look of the game while still delivering on their rep for quality sculpts. The fringe on the pants looks great, as does the stitching up the sides. I really dig the shade of purple plastic used for his skin and the sculpted muscles are a little on the chunky side to further mimic that great WoW style. The green tats on his upper body are sharp and crisp and look great and they are not only painted on, but also part of the figure’s sculpt.

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The portrait here is damn solid. I’ve already mentioned his blindfold. He sports a crazy mane of sculpted hair, a massive pony tail that has to be pegged into the back of his head, and a glorious scowl on his pus. If I had to nitpick something, I’d say the teeth could have been a bit better realized, but I’d have to be really looking for something to complain about.

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I might have started this Feature off with articulation, since it’s the first thing I checked when I got the figure out. Thankfully I found no stuck joints and no breakages. I can tell the hips are the same design as on Nova because when I move one leg, the other moves a little with it. It’s that same pin design and seeing as it’s perfectly fine on this figure, that gives me hope for trying my luck on another Nova. Anyway, Illidan’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The hips and ankles are rotating hinges and the knees are double hinged. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. All in all, he’s a fun figure to mess around with.

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In addition to his plug-in ponytail, Illidan comes with the Twin Blades of Azzinoth. AND OH, MY HELL YES!!! These are beautiful, big, and chunky weapons that come sealed in individual baggies to protect the paint. And what fabulous paint it is! The blades feature a sumptuous metallic green with black lines etched into the blades. The hilts are gold and red and have sculpted wrapped handles inside the guards. Once again, NECA has just done a beautiful job of translating that familiar WoW aesthetic to plastic form. These blades look magnifcent in Illidan’s hands.

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Every now and then a figure comes along that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a stand out piece, but it winds up just hitting that sweet spot. Illidan here is exactly that kind of figure for me. If Nova didn’t already capture my heart for Heroes of the Storm, well Illidan certainly would have done the job. Everything about this guy from the sculpt to the quality and colors of the paint, right down to the fun articulation makes him a treat. And, of course the fact that he didn’t come with any joint issues is a huge win too. Illidan The Betrayer indeed… Betrayer of my wallet! I’ve already got orders in for the next three figures available in this line, including the beefy Deluxe figure Stitches, which constitute a couple more Warcraft figures and my first from Diablo. And thankfully, NECA teased the roster for more Heroes of the Storm figures releasing later this year and you can bet that I’m on board.

World of Warcraft: Demolisher Attack by MegaBloks

Once again, I’ve managed to kick my World of Warcraft habit, but I’m still picking up the Megabloks sets now and then. This time around, I’m up against a WoW set bigger than anything I’ve looked at before. It’s the Demolisher Attack and at 299 pieces, it’s twice the size of Sindragosa and The Lich King. Let’s check this beast out!  

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The set comes in a massive box with some really nice, colorful artwork. In the past, MegaBloks has had a habit of using oversized boxes with a lot of extra room, but that’s definitely not the case here. This big box comes stuffed with 7 bags of unnumbered bricks, a bag of mystery loot, an instruction booklet, and a B&W addendum sheet because I guess they screwed up when printing the book. You also get a single loose brick, which they either threw in there because they forgot it or whatever.  When you’re done you get everything almost everything (more on that later!) you need to build a Horde siege engine, an Alliance outpost and three minifigs. As always, let’s check out the minifigs first.

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MegaBloks’ WoW minifigs, or micro-figs if you prefer, always impress the hell out of me and that’s the case with this pair too. You get a Horde Blood Elf Death Knight, Severin, and an Alliance Human Warlock, Markov. The Warlock even comes with his Voidwalker Minion. As usual, the minifigs come assembled and the sculpted detail and paint work on these tiny guys are amazing. You can break down their armor and swap it between figures, which is awesome because it means that any minifigure can loot another after he ganks him. Severin comes with a mace and Markov comes with a staff and they each have clips to store the weapons on their backs. Once again, Megabloks, these figures are absolutely stellar!

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The Demolisher siege engine takes up more than half of this set’s parts and it was a very fun and satisfying build. It’s bigger and more intricate than I had anticipated, and while it does make use of some rather large pieces, like the wheels and a frame, it still uses plenty of other smaller parts, so building it doesn’t feel like a cheat. Indeed, there are at least a few very tiny parts involved, so try not to sneeze while building it!

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Some highlights of this cart of rolling destruction include a working catapult on the front, beautifully sculpted and painted wheels, a cauldron on the back to store flaming projectiles, Horde standards on each side, and some cool spikes and chains that really add a lot of character to the model. I’m still not a big fan of the swirly paint used on some of the brown bricks, but it isn’t as unsightly here as in past sets. On the contrary, I just love the way this thing looks!

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There’s a single seat with a peg to hold a figure, and while The Demolisher is really only designed for the single pilot, the whole thing is big enough to have a couple extra passengers, maybe hanging off the back. The finished build holds together very well and it rolls along great. The printed addendum page seems to correct the instructions for rigging the rubber band for the catapult. It’s nice that they found and corrected the error, but it reminds me that I’m not dealing with the higher quality standards of Lego here.

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Completing the Demolisher would have left me plenty satisfied, but it’s nice to know that there’s more to build, and the Alliance outpost is no slouch either. While the bulk of the tower is made from two panels, the base of the structure is a pretty involved build. I love the way the set uses a mix of rounded and regular stone pieces to give it a realistic masonry style and the paintwork on the “stone” bricks works quite well. You do, however, have to be extra careful when doing the build because the difference between rounded and squared bricks is subtle in the illustrations. With a similar architecture and design, building this outpost offers a nice taste of what the Stormwind set is going to be like. No monies in the budget this week… must… resist… buying Stormwind set.

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The outpost features three levels, and while not terribly large, you can easily get a figure on the second and third floors and two or three on the ground floor. The second floor features a Horde shield in the wall and a clip to store a weapon. The outpost doesn’t feature an actual base, so if you happen to have a spare Lego base kicking around you may want to make use of it here. It’s not necessary, though, as the building holds together just fine without it.  I’m pretty sure I could drop this thing and it would hold together. On a carpet, mind you… I’m not crazy! You also get a firing catapult, which can be mounted on the roof or placed strategically around the outpost.

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Alas, this really fun set suffers from one flub: Mine was missing a piece, and that piece was a big ladder. Now, on the plus side, it’s a good thing that the set wasn’t missing something crucial to completing the build. The ladder is a nice extra for the interior of the outpost, but it’s probably the one piece in this set that could be missing while not being essential to the build. On the other hand, it’s a huge f’ing ladder… how do you leave that out??? If it were a small piece, I’d have given MegaBloks the benefit of doubt and assume I lost it, but there’s no way I could have lost the ladder. I was half hoping my mystery loot would be a ladder, but nope… it was a nice pair of spiked red shoulders. The infuriating thing is that I had 17 extra pieces in the set. If only I could melt them down into a ladder.

[Update: While I was going to just let it go, I wanted to give Megabrands a chance to make this right, and I’m glad I did. Their customer service was really cool and professional about this and quickly had the part on its way to me. I was expecting to be told I needed to produce a receipt or buy the part. Nope. No charge, and no proof of purchase required. You’re a class act, Megabrands, and my Alliance Warlock will appreciate being able to reach the second floor of his doomed little outpost.]

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Missing ladder notwithstanding, Demolisher Attack is a great set. You get three awesome little figures, and everything you need to have a battle. And since I only roll Horde, I love that the Alliance outpost doesn’t look like it will stand a chance against the Horde Demolisher! Yeah! Horde gonna roll right over you! Suck on that, Allie bitches!!! Nothing against Severin, but I’ll probably have one of my Goblins or Orcs driving the Demolisher, just because. But yeah… The build is not only satisfying, but rather challenging since the bags aren’t numbered and you’re dealing with nearly 200 pieces all at once. I had a lot of fun putting it together and I’m already looking forward to my next WoW set.

World of Warcraft: Barrens Chase by Mega Bloks

And it’s time for more World of Warcraft from our good friends at Mega Bloks. I manage to finally kick my habit of playing the game (for the third time) and now I keep getting dragged back to WoW via the building sets. Like the last set, this one was a Christmas present and also like the last set, I was very happy to get it because while I had decided to stop investing money in them, I apparently have no problem with getting them for free.

There’s the box, and I have to say I still really dig seeing the WoW logo and motif in the toy aisle. I wish someone would give the franchise a proper line of action figures like Halo gets, but at least it’s cool to see WoW represented in the toy aisle in any fashion. Once again, I take issue with the fact that Mega Bloks uses CG models rather than actual photos of the toys, but as we’ll see in the case of this set there aren’t any real discrepancies to complain about.

Dump out the contents of the box and you get a large instruction booklet, a bunch of unnumbered baggies of pieces, the mystery loot baggie, and a trial card for the game that lets you play up to level 20 for free. Oh yes, friends, like any good dealer knows, the first taste is always free. Altogether, you get 128 pieces, which is only 22 pieces less than the more expensive set we looked at last time. The difference is this set is made up of mostly tiny pieces and that’s not a bad thing, because building this one felt more like a Lego build and less like I was just assembling some toys. The 128 pieces comprise two minifigures, a couple of battle standards, a Horde X-53 rocket and an Alliance mount. As usual, let’s start with the minifigs.


The minifigures come completely assembled. All you need to do is plug the weapon clip into their backs. This set comes with Tanavar, a Night Elf Warrior (Alliance) and Dragath, an Orc Warlock (Horde). I’ve made no bones about the fact that the minifgures are my favorite thing about this line and that continues to be the case here. The Tanavar and Dragath figures perfectly capture their races and character classes from the game and I’m always happy to add a couple more players to my display shelf instance. Tanavar comes with a translucent purple sword and Dragath comes with a large and very cool staff. As always each figure’s armor is interchangeable with any other figures in the collection. I still haven’t gotten around to playing around with this feature, but it sure is cool.


The Nightsaber mount is a very simple build. All you do is attach the legs, the head, the tail, the reins and the saddle. The finished beast is very cool looking and features some very impressive sculpting, particularly on the head. The angular nature of the sculpt replicates the polygon stylings of the game really well and the coloring on the figure is spectacular. The saddle fits the figures very well and they can actually grip the reins too. Each of the legs is ball jointed at the body, which gives a decent amount of articulation for such a little guy. He’s certainly won me over for Mega Bloks’ mounts and I’m rather anxious to get some of the flying mounts now. Well, played Mr. Bloks… Well played.


The X-53 rocket represents the bulk of this set’s build, and as mentioned already it feels more like an actual Lego build than any of the previous Mega Bloks sets I’ve put together. The bricks are without any of the annoying color issues that I’ve seen in previous sets, and the build is very well designed and the finished rocket holds together solid. The nose art is cool, there are some adjustable exhaust pipes, and the back engine of the rocket can spin with the flick of a finger. Admittedly, the figures look a little awkward sitting on this thing, the windshield is undersized, and there are no controls to speak of, but I still dig it a lot. Maybe the thought of an Orc flying something that looks like it was cobbled together by Wile E. Coyote just tickles me.

In the end, I love everything about this set. The figures are awesome, the mount and rocket are both very cool, and while the Nightsaber mount was a very simple assembly, the overall set was still a genuinely fun and satisfying build. I’m always a sucker for sets that give you everything you need for a self-contained battle and that’s exactly what you get here: A couple of foes and their rides to chase each other around The Barrens or Thousand Needles or wherever. It seems like the set goes for around $24.99 at most retailers and that seems like a fine deal to me. In fact, this set is so good, it’s restored my confidence in the line. I’m going to grab a few more of the smaller sets and if I like what I get, I just may convince myself to pick up that Horde Zeppelin that I want so badly.

I actually have one more Christmas present to look at, but I’m going to come back to it on Saturday so that tomorrow I can get to TFC’s first Project Uranos figure, F-4 Phantom, before the second Project Uranos figure arrives at my door next week.

World of Warcraft: Sindragosa and The Lich King by Mega Bloks

I have returned from my Odin Sleep, it’s back to business as usual here on FigureFan and I’ve got some Christmas presents to look at this week! The last time I featured one of Mega Bloks’ WoW sets, I wasn’t terribly impressed and I decided that I was going to back away from these for a little while. Nonetheless, I got a couple for Christmas and I was surprised at how excited I was when I saw this one: The Sindragosa and Lich King set. Obviously this set has some serious gravitas in WoW lore so I thought it would be cool to have these big baddies in my collection. How’d they turn out? Can this set wash out the bad taste of the last one? Well, let’s see!

The box is pretty glorious and it’s absolutely huge. A Lego set in a box this big would run you around $150 and have a zillion pieces. This one only has 150 pieces, but as we’ll see in a bit, some of them are pretty damn big. The artwork on the front of the box is gorgeous with really nice colors. The box alone has tempted me to pick it up in the store and gawk at it more than a few times. The artwork is also slightly embossed on the front, which is a cool little touch but one which hardly anyone is likely to care about. The back of the box shows you the completed set, but instead of showing you actual photos, you get CG models. That’s hokey, Mega Bloks. It feels like you’re trying to hide something. Why won’t you show the actual product? Well, hang on kiddies, we’ll see why they don’t do that before this feature is over.

Open the box, spill out the contents, and you get a large, but thin, instruction booklet, a small mystery bag containing your random piece of loot, six un-numbered baggies, and a lone, loose brick that looks like it was either thrown in there by mistake, or Mega Bloks suddenly realized they left it out and tossed it in before the box was sealed. I guess we’ll find out which! (Hint: It was thrown in there by mistake!) All told, the 150 pieces make up the dragon Sindragosa and The Lich King and his Frozen Throne. Cool! Let’s start with The Lich King.


The Lich King comes fully assembled with his sword in his own bag. I can understand why Mega Bloks has the individual minifigures pre-assembled, because they wanted to go with a window box package, but I think including the figure assembled in a set like this is a mistake. I buy these things because I like to build them and when you take away from the build time, I tend to feel a little cheated. Nonetheless, Lich King is a great figure with tons of sculpted detail on his gorgeous armor. It really is stunning how much work went into this little guy. He has a removable cape, so you can plug in the weapon clip and have him store his sword, Frostmourne, on his back. The sword is an exceptionally cool piece. It’s so detailed it even has the runes sculpted and painted on the blade. I’ve been blown away by every WoW minifigure that I have, and The Lich King continues to hold that standard if not raise the bar a little higher.

The Frozen Throne makes up a big part of this set’s assembly. It consists of a large white base with translucent blue bricks used to make the ice throne and some of the other ice formations. The build itself is well designed and it even includes a piece to hold Frostmourne while The Lich King is on his throne. The problem here, however, links in to the reason why Mega Bloks won’t show the actual set on the box. Some of the ice bricks are painted with white and blue paint to give them a frosted look, but in truth it just looks like crap. The paint is slathered on some, drizzled on others, while some bricks have none at all. I suppose if you carefully sorted them all out you could get something that looked fairly consistent throughout the build, but it would be pointless since the actual brushwork just looks like someone tried out a shitty custom paint job. It was a terrible idea, as I think the set would have looked just fine without the paintwork at all. In fact, it would have looked a lot like the CG image on the back of the package!

Moving on to Sindragosa… I should forewarn that I am not usually a fan of beasts in the Lego and Mega Bloks lines because they turn out looking too mechanical. It’s just the nature of the build and I try not to hold it against the designers. In the case of Sindragosa, the design of the finished build looks pretty good and makes for a solid, well-articulated, and overall fun toy. He has ball joints in his legs, neck, tail and the base of his wings, so you can get good poses out of him, and he’s big enough to pick up a minifgure in his hinged jaw. The bulk of the bricks used for this build are brown and blue, which is all well and good, but it still makes use of some of the badly painted ice bricks, which is very unfortunate. Again, you can try to pick some of the better looking ones for his back, but I just resent having to do that.


I think my biggest problem with Sindragosa is that too many of his pieces are complete right out of the box. If this were a Lego set, his wings would have probably been made out of 50 pieces each. Here they just come right out of the baggie as two large molded pieces. On the other hand, a lot of the pieces that go into the dragon are just stacked bricks used to make up his belly. You can barely see these, and they’re completely unnecessary for the build. Seriously, you can completely leave them out and it will barely even be noticeable!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot my loot. It’s a pair of shoulders. I like this idea of mystery loot, but there’s nothing special about these pieces and I can’t imagine ever swapping these out onto any of my figures. I guess I’ll just have to put them up on the Auction House when I get back to port back to Ogrimmar.

This set was a gift, so value isn’t really a concern for me. Nonetheless, it looks like the set sells for around $35 at Walmart. That’s a pretty good deal for the number of pieces and the complexity of the build. In the end, I think the Lich King figure is absolutely fantastic and Sindragosa is certainly cool enough, but I’m really soured on the whole crappy paint job on the ice bricks. It’s completely unnecessary and only serves to ruin a major part of the set for me.

I’m taking Sunday off… I know, I just had a week off, but I’m going to be taking Sundays off for good from now on. I’ll be back on Monday and Tuesday to check out last month’s Club Infinite Earth offerings and then I’ll swing back and take a look at the other Mega Bloks set that I got for Christmas. Then Thursday and Friday I start my treacherous journey down the dark path of third-party Transformers.

World of Warcraft: Goblin Trike by Mega Bloks

A few months ago, I dedicated myself to spending more time at home and less time getting loaded at the local Pub. Sure, I’m usually still getting loaded, but now I do it at home with FigureFeline, and it costs a lot less. Of course, I needed something else to do. With my Xbox still on the repair heap and my PS3 little more than a glorified Blu-Ray player, I decided to venture back online to World of Warcraft. It seemed like a good idea and it gave me time to get my characters ready for the new expansion. I dove in with both feet and started playing like a crack addict all over again. Well, after Mists of Pandera launched, it held my interest for only a very short while. In fact, it’s been weeks since I’ve been back. I don’t know if that’s a statement about the quality of the expansion or just my shifting interests. Either way, it’s a good story that gives me a nice segue into today’s feature… another WoW building set from Mega Bloks.

 


This one is the Goblin Trike. I think it’s cool that Mega Bloks is doing a lot of the steam punk shit from the game because these designs seem to work better as building sets than the beasts. It comes in a standard box, about which I have two issues. First, there isn’t an actual photo of the toy anywhere on the box. The best we get is a CG model on the back. Second, the size of the box is seriously misleading based on what you get. The box is absolutely huge, and what’s in there only takes up about one-sixth of the space. Sure, having built my share of these sorts of sets I can gauge the size based on the number of pieces printed on the box, but it’s still damn prejudiced against the ill-informed. Anyway, dump out the contents and you three baggies with a total of 65 pieces, plus the color instruction booklet.


Let’s start off with the figure, Pitz the Goblin Warrior. I’ve been really impressed with Mega Bloks’ WoW minifigs and Pitz here is no exception. The head sculpt perfectly captures the cartoony and distinctive design of the race in the game. He has the same system of interchangeable chest and shoulder armor as the other minifigs, and might I say, they look gorgeous. The amount of sculpted detail and paintwork on the tiny little armor pieces is downright impressive, right down to the textures on the shoulders and the teeny little gilded spikes on his wrist cuffs. This is some seriously nice work! Pitz comes with a red warhammer, which can clip to his back for storage. Everything about this little guy is a win.

 

Moving on to the trike, it’s a pretty cool build, made up primarily of two large pieces, one is the sculpted wood-grain body and the other is the grey frame. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of other tiny pieces that make up the rest of the build. In the end, you get a nice little three wheeled steam punk cruiser, complete with crazy exhaust pipes sticking out of the back and a cool little clip to hold Pitz’s Warhammer. There’s an extra post that can be used to secure Pitz to the seat via the socket in his back. He fits on it well and looks good riding it.

With all that having been said, there are some serious QC issues with these bricks. Several of them have weird and ugly swirly patterns in the plastic. It’s like when you go to Dunkin Donuts and get a muffin, but the muffin you get has a vein of some other muffin running through it because the batters got mixed up at the Muffin Factory. And you get a sudden mouthful of some nasty other muffin flavor that you didn’t want. It’s just like that. No? Just me? Fair enough. Thankfully the color flubs are mostly part of the brown wood-grain bricks, so I guess you can pass them off as just weathering. But still, how hard is it to stamp out a bunch of bricks in a specific color? I’ll also note here that the rear axil likes to fall off a lot. I’m all too aware of the fact that Mega Bloks is not Lego, but even so I expect better production values than this crap.


Speaking of color, there’s something about the color schemes on this set that I’m not crazy about. The greys and browns and blacks are all standard enough, but the bare red plastic looks a little cheap and that yellowish-orange color is strangely off-putting to me. Not to mention there’s a fair amount of paint slop around the spokes and the tires. There’s certainly a disconnect between the excellent coloring and paintwork on the minifig and the trike model itself.

In the end, this set is ok. It’s nothing great, and QC issues aside, it’s not awful. I absolutely love the figure, but then $25 is a lot to pay for a little minifig, so the trike has to factor in there somewhere. Everything about the trike model screams the differences between how dodgy Mega Bloks can be versus the peerless quality of Lego. And how about value? $25 for a 65 piece set with questionable QC versus, oh let’s say Lego’s Marvel Super Hero’s Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape, which contained 181 pieces, including three minifigs, and only cost $20. Yeah, no contest there!

Between my apathy toward the new expansion of the game and my general “meh” feeling about this set, I think I’m going to give Mega Bloks’ WoW series a bit of a rest for now. I’ve got a couple more sets sitting around here waiting to be built, so I’ll get to those eventually. I’m not completely giving up on it, but part of me just wishes that Mega Bloks would focus on producing the minifigs, because they truly are the shining point of this line. Besides, strictly from a dollar perspective, the money is way better spent on actual Lego.

World of Warcraft: Blood Elf Priest (Valoren) & Orc Warrior (Ragerock) by Mega Bloks

Yes, it’s World of Warcraft season again. Time for a new expansion, time for me to dust off my level 85 character, time for me to say, “Oh shit, I need to get my mining up another 30 points before I embark for Pandaria.” In honor of the new expansion pack, I thought I’d finally get around to looking at the other two of Mega Bloks’ WoW Faction Packs, which I picked up a quite a few weeks back. Last time, we checked out one of the Alliance minifigs, and today we’re going to see how the Horde makes out with two of their Faction Packs. This should be good, because everyone knows the Horde is awesome and the Alliance is a bunch of pussies.

Here we’ve got the Blood Elf Priest, Valoren, and the Orc Warrior, Ragerock. I’ve never rolled an Orc, but I’m pretty partial to the Blood Elves, as three of my four high level characters are of that racial persuasion. Of course all of those are chicks. Why? Because if I’m going to stare at a character’s ass for a hundred hours while playing a game, you can bet your life it’s not going to be a dude. Let’s look at the toys…

Again, the packages are pretty cool, and I love seeing the WoW logo in the toy aisles. The sets come in little window boxes that are designed to hang on a peg or sit on a shelf. The window shows off the figure, his weapon, and his faction symbol, while the instructions and the baggie of parts to build the base are concealed within. The back shows the completed set and has some info on the character and class. These are some pretty intricate and attractive packages for a couple of little 29 piece sets. Plus, I’m happy not to have to deal with any of that blind bag bullshit that Mega Bloks did with Halo.

Let’s look at Ragerock first, since the Orc Warrior is pretty iconic for WoW. Mega Bloks nailed the head sculpt pretty well, and I like the overall build of the character, which is cartoony, but not too cartoony. He’s not as elaborate as the Paladin we looked at last time, but he does have some nice shoulder armor and a belt that crisscrosses his chest. I also dig the little sculpted chains that hold on his knee plates. There’s lots of love in the little details here. The coloring is all good too with the skin a pleasing green, two tone brown for his pants and gear, and a little red and silver for his shoulder armor to break up the rest of the colors. Ragerock comes with a big purple sword, which you can clip to his back. As always, you can swap out armor with the other figures to customize him as you so desire.

Ragerock’s stand is a simple little build, but very evocative of Ogrimmar. You get a brown base, some heavy masonry type blocks to build a little corner of wall, a spot to hold his Horde banner and some stubby horns, and a flag. Nicely done!

Moving on to Valoren, the Blood Elf Priest is looking very dapper in his majestic priestly robes. They’re mostly black with some very nicely sculpted ornate scrollwork. Actually, the scrollwork is really impressive for such a tiny figure. The trim and the scrollwork are painted yellow and you get some red trim to tie the whole ensemble together. Tres Chic! The headsculpt is pale with long white hair, and piercing green eyes. As with Ragerock, the overall look of this little figure wonderfully evokes the art design from the game. Valoren comes with a spear, which can also be clipped to his back.

Valoren’s stand is even simpler to build than Ragerock’s, as several of the pieces just go into building the little column. It’s still a nice display stand, though, and very reminiscent of the architecture of Silvermoon City. Maybe the stand could have been green, as I tend to think of a lot of grass in that area, but it still looks fine as it is.

Each of these sets contains 29 pieces, so they’re obviously pretty easy builds and the figures themselves are built and ready to go right out of the box. They ran me $6.88 each at Walmart, which is not at all bad considering that a lot more sculpting and paintwork goes into them as opposed to a Lego minifig and they display really well on their little stands. At some point I need to pick up the last of these Faction Packs, which appears to be some kind of Night Elf. But next time we revisit Mega Blok’s World of Warcraft series, we’ll be checking out one of the slightly more substantial building sets.

World of Warcraft: Human Paladin Colton (Faction Pack) by Mega Bloks

I haven’t looked at any of the toys or statues based on Blizzards ridiculously successful MMORPG game, World of Warcraft. And while I have looked at my share of Lego and even some Not-Lego (Character Building and Kre-O), I have only really looked at a few of Mega Bloks’ blind bagged minifigures, and not any of the actual sets. Well, for the last two or three weeks, I’ve been falling back into the dark, evil addiction of WoW, as I try to learn all the ins and outs of the new Patch before the new Expansion drops in on the 25th. It seemed like a good time to start checking out some of what Mega Bloks has done with the WoW license.

I’m starting off small, with some of their so-called “Faction Packs.” These are little boxed sets that contain a minifigure and a couple of dozen bricks that let you build a little display base. It’s a really cool idea that gives you something a bit more substantial than the blind bagged minifig format. I really dig the packaging, which consists of a little window box that shows the figure. The back panel shows the figure and base in detail along with some of the other available Faction Packs. Inside the box, the figure (which comes completely assembled), his weapon, and his faction symbol are all nested in a tray and the baggie of pieces for the base is concealed above. You also get an instruction sheet. The whole thing is wonderfully collector friendly, providing you don’t mind taking the base apart to store it.

 

The minifig in this set is Colton and he’s a Human Paladin, which makes him one of the hated Alliance *ptoowey* I spit on the Alliance, as in the game I only roll Horde. That having been said, Colton here is a pretty cool little guy with a design that really matches the game pretty well. His face is pretty generic, but the armor is very nicely sculpted for such a small figure and the shoulders and torso armor can all be removed and swapped out with other sets to customize. His five points of articulation consist of ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips, which is not at all bad for a minifig. He comes with a double-bladed axe.

The base consists of a fairly large platform and a number of bricks that look like… well, stone bricks. These make up a little corner of castle wall. You also get two long torches, and the aforementioned faction symbol. It only takes a couple of minutes to put this thing together, but it makes for a very nice way to display the figure. On the downside, it doesn’t hold together as well as Lego, so moving it requires a bit of care.

Of course, the other cool thing here is that Mega Bloks is compatible with Lego sets and that means I can slap the faction symbol on one of my Kingdoms sets for Colton to hang out in.

The whole set includes 28 pieces, which compares pretty closely to Lego’s impulse sized sets. I picked up this set at Walmart for about $6.88. It seemed a tad high at the time for just a minifigure, but when I saw how big the base was, I was a little happier. It seems like Mega Bloks only has four of these Faction Packs out right  now, and I’ve already grabbed two more, so we’ll be checking them out in the near future.