|Jayko Review Capsule|
|After Bionicle and Galidor, LEGO brings the action figure market a new concept with Knight's Kingdom. Jayko is one of five knights and combines Technic pieces with traditional building bits. The possibilities for expansion are interesting to say the least, but the toy as is may not be everybody's cup of tea. Expected to sell for $9 in the USA later this year.|
A new twist on an old theme is Knight's Kingdom, a new LEGO line with large- and small-scale figures that take fans back to the days of old, generic castle sets. The characters exist in both scales, and the larger ones are more like Bionicle sets in a variety of ways.
Jayko has 45 pieces, one of which is a cardboard shield.
It's an interesting design, but does not lend itself to customization from my perspective.
He's a big baby blue knight, and for some reason, his helmet reminds me of The Shredder from Ninja Turtles.
The figure is covered with LEGO connectors of the traditional and technic variety, so if you wanted to slap on some brick-based weapon, there's really no limit to what you can do. His shield connects through a small piece on his wrist, which is meant to tie into an upcoming card game. The cards are die-cut to vaguely resemble a shield shape, and you can slap one on the wrist. The cards will be available through the LEGO Magazine and other channels to be determined.
The figure is really well jointed, but not as well as, say, the new Metru Nui Toa. It's plenty good, of course, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. It's a nice, solid, chunky figure that seems to have the same kind of appeal as the Spider-Man and Friends or Rescue Heroes style action figures.
The faceplate flips up easily (and often) to reveal the face of the warrior within. The face has a decent amount of detail on it and looks like it could be easily customized to be pretty much anybody. As it is, it's not a bad figure, but the lack of sculpted details puts it on the low-end of the "neat" spectrum. It does give the figure some added personality, and as it seems the only personality given to these toys will come from a bio in a catalog and a card game, it's going to need all the help it can get.
It's not a huge figure, but it's a good size. You can see here how it sizes up next to the new Toa Nokama and the Masters of the Universe Roboto.
Accessories & Gimmicks
As the figure is one big pile of pieces, we will look at the removable accessories.
The sword is made of the same material used for Bionicle weapons, meaning that it's a little flexible. The weapon is an acceptable representation of a sword, but is by no means anything especially special. It's well made, though, and should survive many battles or a sentence to the sandbox.
For defense, the shield doesn't look like it's going to last very long. The thin piece of armor looks like it could be easily shredded, and some extra lamination might have helped it get a longer lease on life. It's a nice design, and how it interacts with the figure (and future trading cards) makes sense, but this is a piece kids will need to be careful with. As the figure feels like it's aimed at a younger group of kids with the card game to the older, it should be interesting to see if any of these survive in the long run.
LEGO has yet to disappoint in terms of at least decent packaging, and these figures have a box that seems to be of the highest quality.
This feels like some Tupperware or Rubbermade storage box. It feels sturdy, and like something you could keep or play with rather than simply use to store the toy or chuck out after it's assembled. There's a lot of texture to the box, I daresay more than on the toy itself, and it really carries the castle theme home. The odd thing about it is that it feels a little old-fashioned, like it could have come out of the 1980's. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it should be interesting to see how these guys act at retail in terms of sales.
LEGO fans and toy fans owe it to themselves to give Jayko or one of his ilk a try just to see what kind of thing LEGO is up to these days. It's a neat action figure with good stiff joints that allow him to assume numerous poses and his feet can be stuck to any baseplate. The company really put some thought into its design, and you can swap parts with some Bionicle or Galidor sets as well as incorporating your own designs. As such, for a kid with a lot of LEGO stuff, these could be the best things since sliced bread. For an older audience, these don't seem to have the same sense of fun and imagination as Bionicle, but if you're 20 and buying toys anyway odds are you can get past this and just enjoy it for what it is. Except for Lord of the Rings, there really hasn't been much success in the way of figures based on a midieval theme, so I'm very curious to see how these perform.
The idea of Knights is one that will always have at least some appeal to the populace, but I'm not sure if Knights in several decorator colors will strike the same chord. Time will tell.
Knight's Kingdom toys are currently available in the UK, but the US release is a few months off. As such, check your favorite stores for availability.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample obtained from LEGO at Toy Fair 2004 in New York
Reviewed on February 24, 2004.