|First look, Fero and Skirmix|
Posted by on January 14, 2009 at 10:07 AM CST:
As you can see, my ability to take pictures of boxes has not improved much, the usual camera flash makes a bright orb appear on the front of the box, whilst the back, lacking the flash, is a little grayed out since I lack a good lighting rig.
Looking at the graphics on the box, you will see the professional work of the photographers who always tend to get that pefect shot which demonstrates the model from the best possible view. You can see some interesting background CG work that gives us a look at what seems to be a Bara Magna arena, with a different set of buildings in the background of the back of the box. As usual, the back shows some of the special features, and the Glatorian that make up the front line of this year's main characters.
Parts Of Interest
Skirmix doesn't have a whole lot in the way of new parts, but he does give us a pretty good set of parts to work with. As for new parts, we get the thornax launcher and ammo, as well as a skrall tribe helmet and another color variant of the skrall sword, this one being black with green (The other two are black with red and black with glow-in-the-dark material). Of course we also have the "bioniclix" health wheel. Thats it, everything else is an older part, but we do get some older parts in new colors.
Among the new color variants we get the Fenrahk skull, Takanuva's (Mistika) three fingered claw/hand and Gorast's feet in metru red. There's also the two toed foot with the socket built in, also in metru red. Besides that stuff theres nothing else to my knowledge thats an older part thats been recolored for this model, you might find it's particular assortment of metru red and other colored parts to be of interest for your MoCing needs, but a good portion of these parts are already available in other sets that you may have amassed already, which might make him obsolete for your MoCing needs.
Depending on how long you've been collecting, you may remember the set "Toa Lhikan and Kikanalo", this set is eerily similar in deign. It might even be considered a remake of that particular set's building concept, though not quite as complex a build as Kikinalo originally was. I'm mildly reminded of the Kardas Dragon's torso too. That aside, this is a fairly easy build that uses a few particularly large parts to simplify the construction and add a good amount of bulk to the set without it looking particularly hallow.
Fero is just a basic matoran/agori construction, and uses the same helmet the skrall tribe glatorian wears, though I understand he is actually another species from them. Theres nothing special about him, with the exception that he has a simple plug in the rear that lets him sit at a ninety degree angle on Skirmix's back. Placing him on Skirmix is convenient, though you have to adjust how Skirmix stands so he doesn't look as though he's about to fall off his back, and you tend to want to pose Skirmix to loom higher off the ground rather than positioning the torso more parallel to the ground where Fero seems to ride more naturally. It does concern me that Fero lacks the new hand parts and uses the revamped sockets (that are replacing the older sockets in every set now) even though you could just switch those out and have no real difference in function and get a better appearance. I can only speculate that either they just didn't think to use the new hand sockets, or they have planned ahead for a combiner set that requires two more normal sockets that they didn't feel like tossing in mysteriously, so they axed the hand parts for the classic sockets. But as with all speculation I could be wrong and it could be for some odd storyline purpose.
Looking at Skirmix, starting at his feet, he's got the two sockets to support the rahkshi leg and piston to reinforce the ankle. To cut down on bulky part configurations and lock the sockets in place, they've reused that very innovative design where they peg a little part in between the ankle sockets to keep them from popping out of place during play. Its not as solid feeling as the more common configuration where they bolt the ankles in place, but it does help preserve the raptor like feet design from looking unnatural. We have a doubled joint system to support his weight better at the knees too, as well as the doubled hip design that has shown up on some of the newer titans and a couple older models, which I think even originated on the Kikinalo model he was based off of. At the base of the spine we have a simple socket that hinges on blue friction pegs which give the tail more maneuverability without the tail's weight pulling it out of the pose you stick it in. The torso is actually very skinny, but a couple pairs of old feet and a av-matoran torso serve to bulk up the body without looking slapped on. The avtoran torso acts as a point for the arms to attach to, as well as his doubled neck.
The head itself is interesting, and works perfectly with it's neck, where it attaches to the body from two short double sockets that hook together with a right angle matoran-arm from the metru nui series. From this matoran arm, the base of the head plugs into the arm via a blue friction peg. This does make the neck slightly asymmetrical which bothers me a little, and I hate the idea of the head sitting on a blue fiction peg, however it is locked into place where it wont pop off accidentally during play, and the pull of gravity wont be able to make the head teeter or wobble out of it's current position unless your holding him sideways rather than letting him stand properly on a table where the force of gravity cant disturb it much. The jaw also is built a little bit asymmetrical, and sits on a blue friction peg. As a result it wont support much weight before popping open by leverage and gravity, so only a few small and light objects could be held in it's mouth (So no poses with a matoran sized victim held in his mouth would work out, unless maybe you used a McDonald's marotan?) .
His key points of articulation are really his head, neck, and legs, at least in relevance to posing him, where they are key to making him look like a giant lizard-like creature that was out on a hunt. The neck has quite a bit of articulation, which is limited primarily by the odd use of an old matoran arm that makes the double sockets sit at an odd angle from each-other. I guess it wouldn't be right to say the neck was limited, since it bends about every way you'd need it to in order to pose it along with the head for the pose that you would want.
As for the legs, the hips are doubled in such a way that while they reinforce the legs to support his weight, while still allowing for an almost phenomenal level of articulation, much of it being unrealistic to how you'd want him to stand. However his legs limit him from bending down quite as far as you might want him to go, making it mildly difficult to pose him at angles where his body is more parallel to the ground, while if you wanted to you could stand him straight up and hunch his neck to make him stand tall.
Fero by himself is almost entirely black, with the exception of his gray hands, the green in his skrall-tribe sword, and the the transparent orange skull beneath his mask/helmet. Theres also the color of the red pins in his hand and torso to hold the thornax launcher and the peg that lets him sit of Skirmix. The red pegs are a little annoying, especially when you see the bright red plus sign in his stomach, and we know that plentiful black pegs used to be used for these models. It seems that the red variant has just taken over in order to fit the task of being more easily identified for construction, sort of like how all blue friction pegs used to be black.
Skirmix seems to be just the right combination of metru red, gray, and silver. It would be nice if they used a silver fenrahk skull to balance the color of the tail and feet into the body, or perhaps even just the two toed feet that make up his hands, but at least the silver looks good where it was placed. Another advantage of a silver fenrahk skull would be that we could use it more easily with custom creations but this limits it to a red colored MoC, but the red skull is necessary for the colorsheme anyway and gives us an alternate color to use when we need it. Putting my interests aside, the gray and red that make up the majority of the model fit together very well, unlike some models where the gray is just this sort of ugly color they threw in to give the model some depth so it doesn't look like some mass of one particular color. Maybe they could have switched out the silver in the feet and tail for a matching color but at least it seems to fit.
Those of you that have a spot to display their favorite models will surely be content. Theres a variety of good poses you can get out of this model, which focus primarily how you pose the legs and neck. I recommend hunching his neck down-wards from his body at a right angle, and turning his head out-wards from the nearest wall with his mouth a little bit open. Then put his arms out so it looks like he's balancing on a surf board and with Fero's head and loaded thornax aiming in the same direction Skirmix is looking at with his sword arm in the air. Place him at about eye level on display for best effect.
"Fero and Skirmix" isn't a bad model, especially at $19.99 USD. Fero is a little bit slapped on and seems to be just there to sit on him, but at least he's better than nothing. Skirmix is clearly the star of this pair, and a little more attention could have been given to Fero, but otherwise I really think this is a good model, and I'm glad the high price jumps seem to have ignored him along with Tuma. He has a good supply of parts that could make him appeal to your needs for a custom creation your working on, but with a majority of his parts already available you might not like him so much as Tuma if you plan to tear him down for parts, who has a few desirable elements included. If you could only get one or the other, I couldn't recommend F&S or Tuma over eachother since they vary quite a bit and are both interesting in their own ways, but for the price I can definitely recommend skipping your least favorite Glatorian to nab one or both of these models.
I seem to have made a particular mistake on something in this review, and if you can find the particular mistake I'm thinking of, you will win a small assortment of about 5 older common Konohi masks from what I have available in my collection. If you are under the age of 18 you will need to ask your parent or guardian for permission to submit an entry to this contest.
To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject of Fero and Skirmix Mini Contest, containing ONE thing you noticed that was wrong in the review. You may send multiple entries, each with a single different thing you believe to be the specific mistake I am looking for, only the first correct entry wins the prize. If you win, you will be notified by email and asked for an address to ship the prize to. Staff of our website cannot enter, I cannot replace a prize lost in the mail.
UPDATE: The prize has been claimed, Ive gotten a couple entrants since then so I'm leaving this note to let people know the contest has ended.