Today’s a special day for a number of reasons, and before I begin my review, I’d like to make a shout out to those who serve in honor of Veteran’s Day. Your actions and self-sacrifice allow us to freely enjoy our hobbies and live a life that we can call our own. Not only do you help give us the opportunity to live in a free land, but you are amongst us as members of the collecting community; you are always welcome amongst us.
My deepest respect to those who are still with us, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and are not.
Not only does November 11 mark Veteran’s day in the US, it also is a huge media release date, with some of the biggest games of 2014 hitting the shelves. Amongst them is my most anticipated title, Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
To coincide with the release of the game, we’ll be looking at Mega Bloks set 94303: the Cannon Strike. This modest 74 piece set is a basic build with a play feature and, as expected, a top-notch micro-figure. Accompanying the set is our newest hooded hero, Arno Victor Dorian, a French-Austrian Assassin with a history as rich as the time period from which he originates. For the ~$10 price range, you can’t go wrong.
A few weeks back I reviewed one of the Fall 2014 Mega Bloks Assassin’s Creed Sets, Da Vinci’s Flying Machine (Spoiler alert, I loved it). I suggest you have a look at that review, as much of this will touch on deeper concepts from that write up. While this set certainly does not match the grandiose nature of the iconic winged contraption, it’s a good piece, and definitely worth your time.
Like before, I completely stand behind my statement that Mega Bloks has increased the quality of their materials and the durability of their build. This same improvement translates directly over to this set as it did with the last.
To begin, we have our newest Assassin, Arno, fully realized here in his small micro-figure form. As with Ezio, Arno features wonderful amounts of detail for such a small figure, from the panels of his vest to the folds in his jacket. The outfit is truly realized in a stylized brick form. If I had to gripe, it would be that Arno’s blue coat is open on the sides, as it “slides” over the figure for easy removal. I won’t dock the score for this, as it is not all that noticeable, but I would have liked to have seen the sides of the exposed torso painted an appropriate hue. However, the coat does feature brown leather applications throughout, which looks great.
The figure again features a unique headsculpt exclusive to this Assassin, which is a nice touch. The head, as with Ezio and other figures of the line, also features the “hole eyes” instead of paint apps, which I’ve come to like and appreciate. I’ll take this option over wall-eyed Assassins any day of the week. He also features an additional hairpiece with a ponytail, so Arno can comfortably remove his hood.
Arno is equipped with a strong load out, just as any proper Assassin should be. Prepared to fight Templars, Arno has a cutlass, a flintlock pistol, and most importantly (and uniquely) his iconic phantom blade; a “A modest little update from the traditional Assassin’s Blade”. All of these are realized as best the can in such a small-scale, especially the phantom blade, which features many of the landmarks that make the device stand out.
What’s a set with such a title without a cannon? This set delivers just that, a cannon; not just a replica, but a little firing cannon. Place a 1×1 column in the barrel, pull back the lever, and take down those who oppose the Brotherhood. The build is extremely solid, and for a brick design, it’s certainly accurate looking. As I said before, it’s not as eccentric a set as Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, but it is well made nevertheless. The wheels rotate, the cannon raises and lowers, and it is equipped with a removable ramrod.
As with the other small set, the Cannon Strike features a small base, this time in green. Resting upon it is a palette with additional “cannon balls” (6) and a small barrel to store additional items.
As it stands, my opinion remains the same as in the Flying Machine review, the construction is top-notch, the piece durability is notably better, and it’s apparent a lot of love went into these sets. Paired with a great micro-figure that out articulates McFarlane figures, you’ve got one heck of a deal. The icing on the cake is the affordability of a “main character set”, something other companies could learn a lot from.
Conclusively, these are some of the best pieces of Assassin’s Creed merchandise on the market. I can’t wait to see the line expand and continue to collect it.
Now if you do excuse me, I must see to the Templars throughout the streets of Paris. Au revoir!
Where to Buy?
If you are interested in purchasing this set, you should be able to find it at your local Toys “R” Us. If you prefer to shop online, Amazon seems to have the best deal, or you can always take a jaunt over to eBay and see if you can find a deal on this Assassin’s Creed Cannon Strike set from Mega Bloks.