Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Lego Review - The Werewolf (9463)

Set:  9463 – The Werewolf
Series: Monster Fighters
RRP: $29
Pieces: 243

Build Time: 1-1 ½ hours


The Background
Well, I know I said I didn’t think I was going to get any more of the Monster Fighters range – but the Kmart near my work still seems to have a whole bunch of in stock, and I am a bit of a sucker for werewolves. So a month or so ago, I found myself walking home from work with the kit tucked beneath my arm and an excited gleam on my face. A werewolf to accompany the Swamp Creature was an exciting prospect, as was the idea of having a regular minifigure-sized werewolf to accompany my giant Lego CHIMA werewolf.

The Minifigures

The Werewolf, front and side-on
When I first saw this kit’s Werewolf minifigure about a year ago, I was not particularly impressed. I had previously owned the Werewolf from the collectible minifigures (series 4), who was styled after the Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman, and was quite endearing. This one is a little more Dog Soldiers in its approach, which was part of the reason for my caution. Non-standard heads are very hit and miss when it comes to minifigures. Also, oversized Wolverine claws? Even if they did glow in the dark, I wasn’t quite convinced. Though I prefer the wolf-man hybrid look in most other forms of media, I thought the 1940s approach was probably the better one to take when it came to Lego.
But almost a year and several close inspections later, I’ve changed my mind. As I’ve mentioned before, my Lego purchases tend to be very minifigure driven, and this one definitely fits that pattern. Of course, my love of all things glow in the dark definitely gives my overall enjoyment level a boost – I’ve changed my mind about the claws, and think they’re a nice little touch, and they do glow in a highly satisfying manner.

                                                              Major Quinton Steele

The Monster Fighter – Major Quinton Steele –has a stern, colonial look about him. I suppose he’s meant to be a bit of a Van Helsing-style mentor figure for the Monster Fighters team. He’s somewhat older, presumably highly knowledgeable about the subject of monsters, and though his best combat days are behind him, he can still kick a good bit of butt when push comes to shove. He’s not bad – but I already have the Explorer from series 2 of the collectible minifigures. They’re definitely two distinct figures, but it does feel like there’s a lot of similar ground covered between them. Still, the Major does have a badass rifle – a cool toy gun will make up for a lot of other shortcomings.  And as you’ll see, he does have a pretty cool car.

The Build

There are two builds contained within the kit – Major Steele’s hot rod, and a tree which incorporates the Wolf Moonstone.
We’ll tackle the hot rod first. I don’t really “do” cars. I know virtually nothing about them, only got my Provisional license earlier this year and I don’t really enjoy driving. But with that said, I can still appreciate a cool-looking car. This particular vehicle is exactly that. It looks somewhere between FAB-ONE (of Thunderbirds fame) and one of those hot rods that you see at tattoo or rockabilly festivals. No doubt there are many flaws more knowledgeable people than I could pick with it, but I think it looks pretty cool nonetheless. 

Major Quinton Steele's Hot Rod

The only real letdown is its colour. While I appreciate it’s meant to be functional rather than edgy, I think it would have been better to have it as a reddish or metallic colour, rather than a similar shade of beige to the driver’s outfit. Nonetheless, it remains a very cool piece - close observers will note that the hood ornament is actually a frog.

The tree, though, is the true centrepiece of the kit, and I’m quite pleased with it. It’s one of the more unusual Lego builds I’ve seen in an official kit. While it’s obviously intended to have an eerie, low budget horror vibe about it, I think it works just as well in a fantasy setting.
Conan discovers the lost secret of the Wolfstone, after slaying countless hordes of evil monsters.

The Wolf Moonstone is placed in a vaguely altar-y setting, though with a little tweaking it becomes a wolf-throne – or if we’re going for the fantasy vibe, a wood-elf throne. Additionally, it works quite well with the little piece of swamp that came with the Swamp Creature set. Going off the box art, it looks like 9467 is driving through a swampy area, too. I can only infer from this that the Swamp Creature and the Werewolf live quite close together. As a bonus, it’s got an action function which allows the werewolf to “jump out” from among the leaves. Not a feature I’m overly fussed about as an adult, but I would definitely have appreciated it as a kid.

The Werewolf poised for launch


I still have fairly mixed feelings about the Monster Fighters theme, but it has grown on me a lot. I do like the Ghost Train (set 9467), but it’s primarily because of the abundance of glow-in-the-dark pieces on the kit. I could see myself picking up a glow-in-the-dark ghost or two, but buying the (very expensive) set itself would be quite hard to justify.  
With this said, I have heard rumours that Lord Vampyre's Castle may be on the way for Christmas...
The minifigures receive a combined score of 6/10. The Werewolf is great on his own, but I’m not really fussed on Major Steele – he’s not a bad minifigure, just not really the sort of minifigure I prefer. As for the build, I’m giving it a 7.5/10. It’s far from the most difficult one I’ve ever done, but it’s certainly one of the most unique. The car is pretty boss, and the tree lends itself to a variety of different settings.  All in all, $29 I’m quite happy about spending.

The set in its entirety

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