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My sons picked up a couple of old Lego Bionicles at a boot sale a while back, and quickly became interested in the line. Although Amazon does have some new Bionicles, they are only sold through Amazon marketplace and terribly expensive, so I believe they are no longer in production. We quickly discovered that Hero Factory are the same thing, just newer models, and in addition to sets to build each figure, they sell books and DVD's as well.
This was our very first Hero Factory toy. We have since bought several more. I chose this for one reason only: it was cheap. Lego set 6229: XT4 currently sells for £8.75 on Amazon, but I picked mine up for under £5, and you can find these on both amazon and ebay at bargain prices if you shop around, as this is not one of the more popular models.
This did make a very good first kit because this is one of the easiest models to put together. My son does like Lego, but he was used to getting the Bionicles from a boot sale, already made. he did look a bit overwhelmed with the tiny pieces in this, but thankfully the instructions are very clear and easy to follow and he had it built in no time. Many of the other models are far more complicated, but starting with this one gave him the confidence to build the more advanced models. Lego does make this a bit easier on the parent by giving an age range for each model. This on is for ages 6 - 12, other models say 7 -14 or 8-16. My son is eight years old, and has built models from all three levels, but I do think he would have struggled if he had tried the age 8+ models without having made any of the other models first. Of all the sets we have bought, I feel this is the very easiest to assemble. The instruction manual details 12 steps, but many of these will repeated 2 or 4 times as you build the limbs. When finished you will have a one eyed monster with 4 arms, a couple of tubes and various weapons, including a huge rotary saw.
The main downside to this toy is that the XT4 is a very minor character in the Hero Factory world. He does not appear in in of our books or DVD's, and children do prefer the better known models. My children do prefer the good robots as well, and this is one of the evil ones, but you always need a few bad guys to fight.
If your child should decide they do not like this robot at all though, the advantage to Lego toys is that you can always change them into something different. My sons have cobbled together several all new creations from bits and pieces found at boot sales. You can take them apart, mix them up and make something completely different. Hero factory is made using Lego Technics pieces. So if you have other Lego technics sets you can add these into the mix as well. Lego technics are designed for older children, so you should be aware that there are some very tiny pieces to this set. Obviously both the set and the finished robots must be kept away from younger siblings who might decide to teeth on it. The small parts can also be a problem when assembling the toy. I building this on a large tray to prevent small pieces from going missing. As a secondary precaution, my son always works over the laminate floor. If anything were to spill over the thick shag rug, I doubt we would ever find it.
To be honest, this is not my either of my sons favourite robots. They both prefer the larger more complicated one, and of course the heroes rather than the villains. I am not rating down for this, because this still gets plenty of play time. I don't think you can expect the smaller and easy to build sets to come out quite as stunning as the larger more expensive ones, and for what it is, this is very good toy. It is reasonably priced, easy to build, and has the ability to be remade into other creations should the child ever go bored with it. I have saved the original instructions in case they do decide to build this into something different and then want to put it back the way it was, but I did find a site which allows you to download the instructions for free should they ever be required again : Brick instructions . com - just take out the spaces between words.
Age: 5-8 Years / Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts - Choking Hazard