Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tenkai Knights: Big 'ol Bricks be Big 'ol Bots

In my previous Tenkai Knights review, you saw the little bricks that turned into little robots.  In this review, you'll see BIG bricks that turn into BIG robots.  However...with some new tricks I learned.

Before that, though: OH MAN!  You see, the first guy up top I bought myself 'cause I wanted to try one of these Titan figures.  The two below him?  My FIRST free toys sent to me from the manufacturer so that I can spread the word of their product.  That's right!  I was given free things for being funny on the internet (along with two other LARGE sets, but we'll get to those in due time)!

Granted, "funny" is in the eye of the beholder, and thankfully I find myself very funny, I laugh at myself a lot.  I'm not sure where I was going with this...

Now of course, you gotta ask: Does this mean you're just gona sing it's praises?  To answer that, I need to remind you of a few things.  Did you know I love robots?  Did you also know I love building block toys and customizability in any toyline where it makes sense?  If you weren't aware; you are now.  So if I'm singin' praises, then you know where that is coming from.  From the soul, brutha.

So lets move it right along (footloose and fancy free): I'ma make this review a bit more organic, in that I'm sorta posting the pics as I took them.  Why?  Because part of the way I feel about this is gona be shown in what I was doing while reviewing this.  It took SO LONG.  Because I kept friggin' playing with these things.

So lets start naturally, by opening the box.  This was before I got my shipment from Spinmaster (or however you'd like me to refer to you folks).  Same as the last!  Bags of parts and some directions.  Simple!

First thing I did with any of these is check out DAT BRICK.

Now I shouldn't have been surprised (considering the little ones are composed of ball joints) but this one has even MORE articulation.  Not only to the ball joints make an appearance at the hips, shoulders, and ankles; these big suckers also have knees and elbows!  The only thing missing (for me) is for the head to turn side to side.  (I neglected to photograph it, but the heads come off on the same peg as the little ones, so you can swap them...for some reason?  I dunno man, I don't question your methods).  A little head turn would add that much more personality to them when they're armored up, but it doesn't hurt the play value one bit.

Ha!  Rascals.  Always nippin' at people.  Anyway, there's a comparison with a classic Joe, to get your toy bearings.  Significantly larger than the little bricks, but still a nice little compact toy.   Honestly, I felt like this body was so strong a contender that they could have made the toyline completely out of these titan bricks (and customizing them) and you wouldn't have felt like the line was missing anything.

On to the parts!  Not a ton, actually.  All you need is armor and a shield to build.  What about the sword, you ask?  Well as it turns out: more things come from bricks than just robots!

Behold, the sword brick!  Plug that baby in wherever you want!  Or...

...unfold it into a sword!  Granted, it technically doesn't have a "cutting edge" along the whole thing, but that's what your imagination is for!  Besides, it turns into a pretty formidable weapon one way or the other.

So there's the body with armor, sword, and shield attached!  The helmet just pops on the head like with the little guys.  In fact, the pegs that slide into the hands are the same size as the hands on the little guys, so you can have the tiny one holding the GIANT sword if you're looking to Final Fantasy 7 this baby.

After all this, you've only got a couple leftover parts (which seems to be the norm).

So, just stick 'em wherever.  I ended up putting them on the shield, but then I also messed with the shield a bit.

So that's the basic shield, and then my detours from my standard review of the figure began.  It was small, at least.  For now.

I attached the shield from the small guy on to the big shield, then threw the little sword on there for good measure.  A punch shield!

But then I moved along and took my final pics of Bravenwolf.  Right on track!

...but that was the early stuff, when this review was just going to be about Bravenwolf.  I held it off until I got my shipment, and found two more titan figures!  Since Bravenwolf was just gona be a sorta-quickie, I figured I'd spend some time building the next guys.  In the last review, on the comments, a representative from the toyline told me that these are more about being bricks with articulation, rather than just bricks that turn into robots.  There are in-between transformation stages that could be useful!  I took this to heart when I opened the next two boxes...and things unfolded along a dark path of unholy customization the likes of which....well, the likes of which was probably already figured out by a child, honestly.  I dunno why I had to think of it differently before wrapping my brain around it. 

So lets move on to the aptly named main villain, Vilius.

Already a detour!  One look at his face and my hands involuntarily grabbed a guitar and threw it on him.  But that's not the only thing that's METAL about him.

That's just a selection of his major parts!  Claws, bat wings, a big sword, and a helmet that needs a crazy zooming closeup to speed metal while fire burns eternally behind it.

There's one other item, though, and it's apparently a gimmick across the line: WEAPON BRICKS.  That's right, the sword from Bravenwolf wasn't the only brick turning into a weapon.

That's right, it's a gatling gun brick!  Like an ammo box with both the ammo and the gun in one box.  This was hilarious to me.  Not sure why. 

Anyway, first thing I did was ignore the directions and begin playing.

That is in no way how the armor goes on him - I just wanted to use the most metal items in my own way, first.  Also attach a giant gatling gun to the giant sword.

Then I ripped it all off him and had an idea.

What if I turned him back into a brick and used his items to build an AIRSHIP?


---but yeah, it took me a few minutes to tear myself away from this modest and simple creation. 

So it was time to put the armor on and take pics of the finished product! 

...and I failed miserably halfway through his transformation OH GOD WHAT IS THAT WHAT EVEN IS THAT.

I called it Vileious, until he ate the yellow one named Lydendor.  Then it became something else.  You see, I realized he was really more of a head.  He needed a body, so...

I call that one VILYDENDOROUS.  As far as abominations go, I was proud of the monstrous wart!

Yeah, I kept going with this.  The photography session took SO LONG.  I wanted apt documentation of this ridiculous and vicious amalgam.

And finally, by that point, I figured it was time to move on!

I'm sorry, buddy.  Everyone, at some point in their lives, must be the butt.  Only then can they truly move on and be their own butt.  Butts to you, my friend.

What now?

There we go, Vilius in full armored glory!  Direct to you from the cover of a heavy metal album.



OKAY.  There we go.  Now, this is standard Vilus.  The sword he's carrying is billed as a "trident", but I think that works better for the item he carries in his small form (of which I do not have, as of yet).  This one is most certainly a sword!  Now, as with Bravenwolf; Vilius has only a few leftovers.

I put those extra blades on his shoulders and moved the big 'old gatling brick to his back, since I felt it was sticking out a bit too much on his shoulder.

And that's Vilius!  I'll take a short break here to mention that these titan figures seem to be "forms" and not just deluxe editions of characters.  I'm sure they somehow transform into these big forms on the show, but I have no knowledge of it yet.  Not that I need it!  These are way too much fun by themselves, but I always understand a good media tie-in. 

So lets move on to our final guy, Lydendor.

You understand this guy is a yellow brick, so I'll cut to the chase and---

---turn him into a wasp.  Okay, LOOK at that breastplate!  It has a FACE on it!  You can't tell me not to turn this thing into a wasp!  Another testament to the versatility of these big brick guys.  You can do more with the little ones than I did in my original review, but you can do more than even THAT with these big ones!  The ball joints give you an wide array of positions to allow for...well, more than I can think of!  This one was so simple that the only additional parts are the wings (attached to the backs of the arms), the stinger (bottom of the feet), the breastplate (on the chest as the face) and one of his shoulder shields on the back.

I LOVE THIS.  This ability to turn them into other things!  I mean it's no less than what Lego has been doing for years, but I love this little articulated body to build on!  I mean, so many toylines have customizability, but often times I don't take advantage of it.  I can't honestly say why, in those situations.  But I DID here.  When it was time to sit down and photograph Lydendor I was planning on getting it done quick ('cause I spent so much time on Vilius).  And here he is as a wasp!  Hopefully that speaks for itself.

I do want to derail you quickly for that, though.  That is not a broken piece - it's just popped off.  Easily popped back on, but I did notice that it likes to pop off while messing with the brick body; either while transforming or messing with it in bot form.  It's the heel, basically.  You need it to complete the brick form, but I predict these to be the common missing parts when people are buying these far into the future on ebay.  I'm not calling it a flaw, 'cause I don't have any better options here, but I thought I'd point it out and have you watch out for it when you or your kids are messin' with these.

Back on track!  Lydendor is very waspish no matter how you build 'em.  I love the color scheme and the wasp look!  Perhaps it's my old love of Waspinator coming back to me.  When I saw this in the store I seriously had no plans to buy it - I didn't like the chain weapon and his shield didn't interest me.  Well, crazily enough, he's actually a favorite now!  I mean Bravenwolf has the sword and color scheme of my usual favorite toys, but Lydendor gets a special recognition for surprising me when I originally had no interest.  Good show, old boy!

He has a chain-lance, of sorts.  I like it, because it's not just a whip and it's not just a lance!  I'm also liking those shields on his shoulders (repainted mini Bravenwolf shields) even though you gotta be careful how you move his arms so you don't pop them off.

Now, Lydendor also has his own weapon brick:

A spinning blade shield!  It spins freely even with the items attached, which is something I always like from toys that spin. 

With everything attached, it's pretty nasty!  Spinning blades all over this biz, and something I'm sure will knock away any incoming blades into an unpredictable direction.  Match that with his mid-to-long-range spear-chain and this guy is pretty dangerous! 

Now of course, you can fold the shield back up.  It just doesn't go back to the original square, due to the spikes.  But it does fold into an oblong regular-looking shield, which is pretty cool.

And finally, he has four little pieces as extra that I just popped on in any old place.

And that's that!  I had a blast with these guys, if that point somehow passed over your head.  I wanted to show all my detours in the order of when they happened to display how much fun these guys SHOVE into you!  It's not like I went into this in a sour mood, either.  I already liked Bravenwolf for being a cool buildable and customizable robot!  But then I took to heart the idea that these are articulated bricks - and things moved from there.

And then things CONTINUED to move from there!  Above were my supposed final shots, but then when I was wrapping up, I realized I could still turn Bravenwolf into something.

...The Bravendion Buster!  Fully capable of not only being a cool space fighter and a robot, but ALSO capable of holding the smaller Bravenwolf!

*WHEEZE* Okay...imagination stretched.  Stretched out gooood.  Each thing was turned into another thing by the sheer fact that each thing naturally transformed into another thing ANYWAY.  Get it?  The basic idea is that the line can be bent to your will! 

I will say, however, that I wish the directions encouraged that a little.  I found out by going on the website that they show off a few ships you can make out of the little guys, but the directions and the boxes all display the bare minimum of what you can do with these guys.  I LOVE that the little ones can form in to a ship!  I just think that info also needs to be on the directions.  And heck, while we're on that topic: maybe a bit of a bio for these as well.  I also noticed the website gives a nice description of these guys (which I'll go into a bit more with the other sets they've sent) but it would have been cool to see it on the box or in the directions.

...not that I personally need any of that.  For all you collectors or collectors with kids, I HIGHLY suggest these guys!  Especially these ones - the titan forms.  Don't get me wrong - I love the little ones, and I'm looking forward to branching out on them in a future review - but these guys just expanded on what I loved about the little ones tenfold.  Just the right size, ease of transformation, articulation, and amount of building space on the body.  I wouldn't want any more or less, and like I said farther up, they could have made this toyline completely out of the titan figures and you wouldn't have felt like anything was missing.

That said: everything has some cons to their pros.  With that in mind, I'd say that the heel popping off was one of the few things that kept happening.  You quickly learn how to work around it, though.  Then, of course (as with any building toyline) the armor can pop off when you're messing with the figure.  I'd be more annoyed if it happened every time I moved them, but it didn't, so I can safely write most of these cons off as minor.

SOOOO....go nuts!  I friggin' love these things.  If you get nothing else from this toyline, then at least try one of these titans.  They work with leading brands, after all, so any mix of special parts from other building toylines will just make these even more crazy awesome.  At the moment you can pick 'em up at Toys R Us, but I think these will be moving into other stores at some point.

Now I leave you with the last thing on my mind when I was finishing the editing process:

...don't shoot at your siblings.  It ain't cool, yo.


  1. Dude, these are awesome!

    Where did you find the first one you bought? I just bought two of the new Lego Factory: Brain Drain figures the other day, but these actually seem a bit cooler. I love the brick weapons, especially the gun in a box.

    1. I got Bravenwolf at toys r us, though I believe these should be coming to Target, soon. Should be cheaper at Target as well! TRU always has their own little personal tax on stuff, so to speak.

      I agree about the weapon bricks! There's only a few styles so far, but I'm looking forward to what else they come up with! Hopefully this toy line sticks around long enough for them to continue this innovation. If they stick to this thought process, then I can imagine they'll be coming up with a lot of interesting stuff in the future!

  2. These larger sets look to be way more enjoyable. Whoever thought of the weapon brick needs a raise.

    1. Yeah, I still like the little ones (I'll always love tiny toys), but the big ones just ramp everything up and provide room for those awesome weapon bricks. They impressed me so much that I'm looking forward to one of the other sets they sent me. I wasn't planning on buying it originally, but I've since been shown that these end up being even more awesome than they look. Especially when I read up on exactly what they are on their website (another reason why I think that info should be on the package).

  3. I love the flying modes. Bravenwolf's in particular makes me think of Zeta Gundam's waverider mode. Also looks like something that would be at home in a Japanese shmup like Darius or Gradius.
    And congrats on getting review gifts - I think if I were afforded the same honor I'd feel like I've Arrived.

    1. On the nose, my friend! Darius or Gradius was the direct theme (or R-Type), but the Zeta's waverider also counts with that general thick side with the narrow cone. I would have liked a bit more sleek, but it works, given the building materials! One way or another I've always had a soft spot for SHMUPS, so if I can build a little one-man fighter, then it'll always be with a nod to Gradius or R-Type.

      Anyway, the review material is a start! I'm not really sure how you seek that out, but I'm glad the folks heading Tenkai Knights were looking around and enjoyed my shenanigans enough to send me more product. If nothing else, they at least got another buyer in myself! I was only planning on getting maybe a few other little guys and maybe another Titan, but MAN I am loving these. Especially when I branched out and started building things. It's not like I can't build with's just...well, ROBOTS. It's the focus, the design, the style...all that draws me more to this than with standard Legos. Not that I'm ever quitting Legos! Tenkai Knights is just one of those things that is directly up my alley.

  4. I think Lydendor is my favorite too! If I were to only try one set from this series, it would probably be him. You gotta love those bright colors!

    Those weapon bricks are cool too. Who knows, maybe these will impress me in hand as much as they did with you!

  5. Nailed it again, Alexx!
    Thanks for having so much fun with the toys!

    1. And thanks for sending them! My compliments to the chefs - I mean seriously. Give some high fives to whoever is in your toy design crew!