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 Post subject: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 1
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:33 pm 
Swage Fitter
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 12:21 pm
Posts: 116
Location: Cincinnati, OH
The next review I have planned is a three day series comparing the new Spartan elements to the existing BrickForge items, specifically the helmet, round shield, and javelin.

Each day will focus on one item to break it all up into bite-size little chunks, something that I feel fits the blog format well.

I've attempted to throw in historical details for flavor using materials largely from Wikipedia and HistoryChannel.com. Given that these are not the end all be all of reference, if you believe something is not stated correctly please let me know.

The plan is to have this first review debut on Wednesday for the helmet, and then release the shield and spear/javelin over the next two days. The shield review is already written, but I'll put the draft up tomorrow for feedback.

Thanks in advance.

(Start draft review)

Title: Comparitive Review: LEGO and BrickForge Spartan Helmets

One of the most sought after figures from LEGO set 8684, Series 2 Collectible Minifigures, was the Spartan Warrior. Never before seen in an official LEGO set, this exciting character has inspired many to recreate the Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans sacrificed their lives to fend off the Persian hordes. The only problem is that The Spartan is one of the rare figures (three available on average of a case of 60) from the set, and secondary market prices can be quite high. What is a collector or customizer to do?!

Fear not citizens of Minifig Nation. As we all know TLG is not always the final word in the land diminutive ABS heroes. Custom house BrickForge offers up similar offerings for your half-pint hoplites and brick based empires. The objective of this review is to compare the LEGO and BrickForge versions of three elements of the Spartan arsenal to allow fans to choose the right product for themselves.

A hoplite was a citizen soldier of one of many Greek city-states and primarily fought in the phalanx formation. Spartans, or Lacedaemonians, were some of the most feared of these warriors, beginning their military training around age seven and ending their military careers at age 60. There were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will cover each element in separate reviews over three days. First up, the helmet...

Image
Caption: LEGO Hoplite Helmet (front, side, rear)

The Corinthian helmet was made of bronze which covered the head and neck while allowing for openings for the eyes and mouth. This style of helmet came in many variations, some including a crest running from front to back or side to side to distinguish military rank. The LEGO version of this helmet, appears in a metallic gold color with a red, printed crest running front to back. The helmet and crest are one molded, ABS piece with firm connection to the minifigure head. The opening for the eyes and mouth are angular in design, resembling the helmet design depicted in the film '300'.

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Caption: BrickForge Hoplite Helmet with Officer Plume (front, side, rear)

The BrickForge piece is actually a modular design. The helmet and crest are two separate items (shown here in bronze with a red crest). You can decide if your hoplites will or will not bear one of the many color crests that are available. A picture of the post hole where the plume can be seen here(http://bit.ly/9X1AIf). The design of the eye and mouth openings are more rounded and appear to more closely correspond with the classic Corinthian helmet design. All parts, helmet and crest, are made of ABS. The helmet has a nice, tight connection to the minifigure's head and the crest fits snugly in the post hole.

Image
Caption: (Left to Right) No Plume, Officer Plume, Commander Crest

There is also a style of crest called 'The Commander's Crest' which attaches to the hoplite helmet and runs from side to side. This style of crest was often used to identify officers in the phalanx.

The hoplite helmet is available in bronze (pictured), black, blue*, brown, dark blueish gray, dark gray, and silver. Both the officer's plume and commander's crest are available in black, bronze, red, silver, trans dark blue, trans green, trans red, and white. The officer's plume also comes in blue, brown, dark gray, dark orange, light gray, and tan.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Hoplite Helmet
Custom House: BrickForge
Website: http://www.brickforge.com
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Bronze, Black, Blue*, Brown, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray, and Silver
Retail Price: $1.50 USD

Additional Stats - BrickForge Officer Plume
Colors Available: Black, Bronze, Red, Silver, Trans Dark Blue, Trans Green, Trans Red, White, Blue, Brown, Dark Gray, Dark Orange, Light Gray, and Tan
Retail Price: $0.50 USD

Additional Stats - BrickForge Commander Crest
Colors Available: Black, Bronze, Red, Silver, Trans Dark Blue, Trans Green, Trans Red, and White
Retail Price: $0.50 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Hoplite Helmet
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Metallic Gold
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure) $7.51 USD** / Average BrickLink price (helmet only) $4.10 USD**

*This item is currently out of stock.
**BrickLink prices as of 9/12/2010

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 Post subject: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:15 pm 
Swage Fitter
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Posts: 116
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Day 1 will go up tomorrow (helmet). The draft for day 2 (shield) is below and scheduled for Thursday. The plan is to have the draft for day 3 (spear) up tomorrow for launch on Friday.

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback.

(Begin draft)

Welcome back to day two of our comparative review of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. As we mentioned yesterday, there were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will now turn our eye to the shield...

The aspis or hoplon was the circular shield which formed the impenetrable defensive barrier of the phalanx. A convex shield often made of wood and covered in bronze, Spartan women would present these shields to their warriors before battle saying, "with this, or on this," meaning come back victorious or die trying.

Image

The innovation of the shield was in the design of the grip. Instead of centering the handle on the shield, the handle was offset and a leather strap added for the forearm to slip through. This gave the hoplite additional leverage and force when forming the phalanx. Neither the LEGO or BrickForge piece used a handle design that mimicked a real hoplon, likely due to minifigure articulation and the limitations it would have in shield placement. Both pieces use a similar handle design in the center of each shield. Both pieces fit snugly within the minifigure's hand.

Image

The LEGO shield is medium dark flesh in color and flat with a hallow stud in the center of the shield. Items can be attached to the hallow stud on the front of the shield if desired. The shield measures 2 cm in diameter and has a ridge around the rim. It was not uncommon for hoplite shields to have designs on the front of the shield. The warriors had the Greek letter lambda on the front of their shields for 'Lacedaemon' the ancient name for Sparta in the film '300'. You could place decals or painted design on the shield, but they would have to accommodate the hallow stud in the center.

The BrickForge shield, shown here in bronze, has a convex design with plenty of room for decals or painted touches. The shield is slightly bigger than the LEGO part with a diameter of 2.2 cm, theoretically providing more coverage. The BF round shield comes in several flavors including black, blue, bronze, brown*, dark blueish gray, dark gray*, dark orange, dark tan, light gray, red*, silver*, tan, and white.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Round Shield
Custom House: BrickForge
Website: http://www.brickforge.com
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Bronze, Brown*, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray*, Dark Orange, Dark Tan, Light Gray, Red*, Silver*, Tan, and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Round Shield
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Medium Dark Flesh
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure with accessories) $8.14 USD** / Average BrickLink price (shield only) $1.15 USD**

*This item is currently out of stock.
**BrickLink prices as of 9/13/2010

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 Post subject: Re: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 1
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:25 pm 
Mould Mason
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Wow. Wonderful comparative review, and well put together. It seems to be very articulate, and you've put far more work into this thing than I ever would have been willing to. Wonderful job, can't wait to see more reviews from you.

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 Post subject: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 3
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:35 am 
Swage Fitter
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 12:21 pm
Posts: 116
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Here's part three for your review. The spear and shield reviews felt a bit anemic in that there wasn't much to say (looks good, fits well, lots of colors). I was worried that putting everything into one big review would be overwhelming. Oh well, it is a learning process after all...Thanks in advance for your feedback.

(begin draft)

Welcome back to day three of our comparative review of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. As we mentioned previously, there were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will now turn our eye to the spear...

The doru was a spear seven to nine feet in length with a leaf-shaped spearhead and a spike called the sauroter, or 'lizard killer', on the other end. The rear spike was used to leverage the spear against the ground. The rear spike could also be used as a secondary weapon if the doru were to break.

Image

The picture above compares three types of spears in the brick-based arsenal. The top most spear is the classic LEGO design, a shade over 7L in length, and composed of a single shaft tapering into the spear point. This part has appeared in many colors over the years including black, brown, dark-blue violet, dark brown, green, trans-light blue, trans-neon green, pearl dark gray, pearl light gray, and metallic silver.

Next we have the BrickForge javelin. The javelin, like the doru, has spear points on both ends, and is approximately the length of a 7.5L bar. The javelin comes in 12 different colors: black, blue, bronze, brown, dark blueish gray, dark gray, dark orange, light gray, red, silver, tan, and white.

Finally we have the new Spartan spear that comes with the Series 2 Collectible Minifigure. Similar in length to a 8L bar, this new weapon is composed of two pieces. The spear tip is light pearl gray and fits into a pearl dark gray shaft. The spear tip is not easily removed, however. There is no rear spike on this new LEGO spear.

Image

Both the BrickForge javelin and LEGO Spartan spear fit tightly in the hand of the minifigure without any slippage issues.

This concludes our comparative reviews of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. Whether you are looking to outfit 3 or 300 Spartans, we hope this review has given you some ideas on the alternatives that exist for your minifig hoplites. If you have other suggestions on insights, please let us know in the comments.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Javelin
Custom House: BrickForge
Website: http://www.brickforge.com
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Bronze, Brown, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray, Dark Orange, Light Gray, Red, Silver, Tan, and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Spartan Spear
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Pear Dark Gray Shaft and Pearl Light Gray Tip
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure with accessories) $8.14 USD* / Average BrickLink price (spear only) $1.32 USD*


*BrickLink prices as of 9/13/2010

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 Post subject: Re: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:53 pm 
Chief Smithy
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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:25 am
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Agreed!!
Great review, excellent photos!!

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 Post subject: Re: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:02 pm 
Smelt Sire
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:45 pm
Posts: 1870
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The Lego helmet is nice but so limited. The new shield is awesome and because of that stud it can provide so many uses. As for the spear, I prefer the BF one. Not because that it is BF, it just looks more appealing.

Overall you did a nice review!

-Omi

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 Post subject: Re: Feedback - Spartan Comparative Review, Part 1
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:09 pm 
Swage Fitter
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The review has been consolidated into a single post and is now up on Eurobricks.

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