8115 Dark Panther
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Packaging & Parts
The Build

Packaging & Parts: Exo-Force is an anomaly in my LEGO interests. I don't know why I like it so much or why I keep buying it but I do. This is a very cool set with a lot of great new parts and some smart building techniques. Let's start with the simple shots of the front of the box, the back of the box and the instruction manual. Notice the new packaging—the front has cutouts in it which are covered from the inside by a cardboard backdrop. There are some excellent new molds in this set. Not to mention some old parts in new colors, like the purple 1 x 2 grill plate and yellow teeth. I can't wait to see what Bricklink comes up with to describe these cool new pieces, shown with purple 2 x 2 33 degree roof tiles. Here is another great new wedge grill plate and a 1 x 2 modified plate with 2 clips. There are four figures in this set including the mini-robot weapon. The iron drones come equipped with jungle foliage cutting backbacks. The mini-robot is pretty cool. The constuction of a robot like this this reminds me of the ones that come with classic space sets. It's nice to see a set in this price range that comes with a good number of mini-figs. Parts monkeys will be happy to buy several of this set for it's unique pieces and abundance of robot parts.

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The Build: This is certainly a quick build with a lot of repeated steps. Although I don't like the use of decals, this one is pretty cool. I didn't notice at first but the set number is part of the design. I'm a huge fan of quadriped mechs and the leg construction here is simple and clever. This set loses points for it's canopy placement. The cockpit itself is constructed very well but the canopy seems like an afterthought, closing on to the robot's head and leaving his back and sides completely exposed. The mini-robot rests in the mech's neck. I like the way the robot fits in with the mech construction. This entire mini-robot concept could be pretty lame, but it seems very well executed in this set. The spine of the panther is a pretty ingenious piece of construction. The hinges roll back over the curved slope creating a sturdy feature and a very cool effect. Here is the completed mech and again from a slightly different angle.

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Stay tuned for an overall rating and fun story with 8115-Dark Panther...
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