This is just a repost of my Lugnet review from 12/28/05, but I guess it's appropriate for here (if not large).
(Castle) System / Vikings
Viking Warrior challenges the Fenris Wolf
Le guerrier Viking défie le loup Fenrir
El Guerrero Vikingo reta al Lobo Fenris
Ages 7-14, 76 Pcs. (C)2005. 12 page manual: 1 model (1 Minifig, 1 Shield stand, 1 Wolf), 20 steps, Building Time, about 13 minutes
Price Range: $5 (USD)
RATINGS: (Scale: Must-Have / Excellent / Very-Good / Good / Fair / Poor)
Set: Must-Have / Models: Excellent / Playability: Excellent
Viking Warrior challenges the Fenris Wolf is a set containing one Viking minifig, a stand holding a spear/shield device, and the Fenris Wolf himself! As the Fenris Wolf will kill Odin during Ragnarok, unless the Viking Warrior is actually Odin’s son, I don’t think he’s going to win this fight. The Viking is in dark grays and blues, sporting a shiny black glittery helmet with horns and new battle-axe, while Fenrir is in blacks, grays, and a splash of brown. Instructions are specific to the main model. The various pictures show the wolf in different poses.
As my first set of the Vikings line, that I’ve opened at least, many of the pieces were new to me, as was the building technique used in the wolf. Since so much of this was new for me (wolf’s head, wolf’s back, wolf’s ears, shield, new minifig accessories), for a list of Special Elements, just look at the sets inventory list on Peeron.
I think this set is a wonderful introduction to a new line for me. I haven’t been this excited about a line in quite a while, and while there are things I would rather see changed, I’m still looking forward to playing with them all. Christmas brought me almost all of the sets (the last was sold out at the time, I’ll get the ‘Viking Boat vs. Wyvern Dragon’ later), but the 28th was the first day I had the chance to open one, and as I only had a few minutes I started small.
I’ll work my way through the set as I remember putting it together, which took a little under 14 minutes, from opening the box to matching Fenrir’s pose from the back of the box, on the carpet while listening to Enya. The Viking was the first to be assembled, and unlike so many figures before which were snapped together with an “ok, yet another one of these”, this one made me smile multiple times. I didn’t even notice the torso, which is a nice cross buckle over chain mail, because of my excitement of the black plate armor. The new bearded head was missed because it was overshadowed by the horned helmet! OK, sure, Vikings didn’t use horned helmets, but it still looks neat, you can take them out, and they are great little pieces to boot! I already want hundreds of the little things to line walls, or huge mouths. The battle-axe is a nice addition, and I’ll be glad to have a bunch of them, I can see interesting decorations coming out of these, as well. The only real disappointment with the minifig is the use of the Knight Kingdom sword, which is something that will probably bother me more in the larger sets.
The second part of the set was something that confuses me. It’s some sort of shield with a spear sticking out of it on a stand. I’m not sure what this thing is, and I wonder if it can be integrated as a neat design somewhere, but I’m not sure how yet. The only purposes I can see to this part of the set are to use up some extra Bionicle shields and to have at least one regular Lego plate in the set somewhere. If this unit were missing from the set, I wouldn’t miss it.
Fenrir intrigued me though. I can’t say I’ve assembled too many things like this. It is sort of a trade between form and articulation where articulation won out, and I think I like the end result. Lots of pieces I’m not used to using together come in bulk, and in a new color, which is very cool. In an effort to keep some detailed form while not losing articulation, a new molded head and a body piece I’ve never seen before were used to sculpt the top half of the wolf. Assembly hurt my fingers a little, and it was strange following instructions that didn’t entail putting some new bricks on top of a growing structure. The end result is an interesting looking wolf with good articulation. The only real problem with the wolf is that it has no jaw! Here’s hoping someone comes up with a creative, easy way to add a nice jaw to this model, as that would enhance its play value quite a bit, and make Fenrir a bit scarier as well! Does anyone else think Fenrir’s eyes’ being red is creepy?
For pieces, this set is a must have. Sure, you might end up with a few extra wolf backs, but once you find a way to mount the giant rat-like heads, you’ll be happy to have them all. With 8 black mechanical arms, 1x1 plates with teeth, 8 Technic T-Valves, and 5 Viking Helmet horns there are plenty of neat little elements, plus the Viking warrior himself. The only pieces I’m not excited about right now are the Bionicle shield and the Knights Kingdom sword.
The model is very good for what it is, as the wolf is quite interesting, and I think I’ll feel this way about the dragons in the other sets (I’m reserving judgment on the Midgard Serpent, though I’m suspecting that will be my least favorite set of the line overall).
Playability wise I think this set is great, and only misses the mark in one place, which I’ll repeat later. First, minifigs always have inherent play value, especially when they have so many accessories. If only minifigs could have robust articulation in their tiny little scale, and cheap! Fenrir jumps right in to fill this role though. A ball-jointed neck, articulation along the spine, and multiple points of articulation along the legs make this one action oriented monster! The only thing missing here, like I said earlier, is the lack of a jaw! It doesn’t look like this can be fixed though a piece connected directly to the wolf head, as there is no molding like in the heads of (classic) dragons for the alligator head jaw-piece. I think this is an acceptable trade off for the amount of articulation the wolf has over those classic dragons, though without a jaw Fenrir will not be able to reenact the biting off of Tyr’s hand or eat the Sun and Moon. The only other thing I foresee being an issue is not being able to stick Fenrir’s feet to studs easily, but I’m sure this will be easily worked around.
Like – Piece selection
Like – Interesting wolf model
Like – Viking Minifig
Dislike – Shield and KK Sword
Dislike – No Jaw
Standard minifig scale, though Fenrir likely isn’t as monstrous as he should be, but overall I think building it in this scale works much better than a realistic one (something that may hold true for the Midgard serpent as well).
The extra elements made me wonder a few things, and looking on Peeron made me think of a couple more. First, are the extra elements 100% consistent for a product, or might they change a little between production runs? The most exciting extra piece in my box was one of the helmet horns. I can see use for lots of them, so an extra one in the set made me smile!
Would I buy this set again? I sure would! Will I buy more of this set? Quite possibly, and if I see them on sale, I’ll grab as many as I can! I don’t know if I’d recommend this for younger children (7-10), if only for the large number of tiny pieces (thus the 7.8 cent per piece price mark), but for anyone else, AFOL or younger, this is a must-have. Even space buffs should enjoy the pieces in Fenrir, and they’ll have an easier time finding a use for that “Technic Connector Block 3 x 5 x 1 & 2/3”.