1/25/11

Product Review - BrickTW 2011 Body Gear

A little over a year ago, custom house BrickTW took notice of small blog that featured their products and photos by customizer Tigerggyy. They sent me their first round of products which were the first series of product reviews to be showcased here on this site in May 2010. Nearly a year has gone by since I first discovered BrickTW, and I'm happy to be bringing you a review of their new 2011 body gear, a subset of their recently released line.

We will be covering eight items in all, including three new sets of armor, three sets of clothing, a new body enhancement piece, and skirt. Although BrickTW has primarily focused on the armor and weapons of ancient China, they continue to be innovators with their designs. This will be evident in the female clothing options and the Zhu Bajie body piece.

We will start with the three new sets of armor - Bamboo Raft Battle Gear, Terra Cotta Warrior, and Three Kingdoms Soldier. Each piece has solid ABS construction and fits firmly on the torso once the head is attached. The footprint of the body gear does not inhibit full arm movement. The longer profile of the piece, does prevent the legs from bending through their full range of motion, but this was a minor issue. The items shown here are in Tan, but the part also comes in Black, Brown, and Dark Gray.

BrickTW Bamboo Raft Armor (Tan)
BrickTW Terra Cotta Warrior Armor (Tan)
BrickTW Three Kingdoms Soldier Armor (Tan)

The next three selections are various forms of civilian clothing for men and women - the Male Civilian Clothing, Female Civilian Clothing, and Regular Female Clothing.

The Male Civilian Clothing has a similar look a feel as that of the previous armor pieces. Instead of  plates or rods, however, there are two curved lines to indicate the hem of a tunic.

The Female Civilian Clothing has a longer footprint, like the armor and  Male Civilian Clothes, but is a different style of 'skirt' compared to the other, longer pieces. Here is where the inventiveness of BrickTW shines through. No longer do female minifigs need to have profiles that are stuck in two dimensions! There is a 'bust' at the top of the torso to better resemble a woman's figure.

The Regular Female Clothing is similar to the Civilian Clothes, except the part finishes mid torso. This could represent a midriff style top or be used to blend with a torso design underneath. This part also features a curvier top to better represent the female form.

All three body gear pieces do not inhibit a full range of arm movement.The Male and Female Civilian Clothes do prevent the legs from moving through their full range of motion. As with the armor, any time a part extends much beyond the hips, this will tend to happen.

The pieces are shown here in Tan, but also come in Black, Brown, and Dark Gray.

BrickTW Male Civilian Clothing (Tan)
BrickTW Female Civilian Clothing (Tan)
BrickTW Regular Female Clothing (Tan)
This next piece is also just as original. Zhu Bajie is a character from the classic Chinese novel 'Journey Into the West'. He was one of the three helpers of the hero Xuanzang along with Sun Wukong (The Monkey King) and Sha Wujing. He is often depicted as a half-man, half-pig monster who often gets into trouble due to his gluttony, laziness, and tendency to chase pretty women.

The Zhu Bajie body gear resembles a large man with a round belly. This would appeal to those who felt the Series 3 Sumo Wrestler needed more...'heft'. The footprint of this piece fits within the torso and does not restrict arm movement. This item is shown here in Tan, but also comes in Black, Brown, and Dark Gray.

BrickTW Zhu Bajie (Tan)
The final piece has the most custom potential of all, the BrickTW skirt. At first glance the application of this part seems limited; it's a skirt for female minifigures. However, it can have applications with your Samurai and swordsmen too. Would you like a kama that has more flow on your clone commanders? A little modification and you are good to go.

The skirt fits on the hip posts and is secured once the torso is applied. The connection was good with solid ABS construction. The part thickness at the top near the hips causes the torso to ride a little higher on the hip posts. As a result the connection is not as firm as it would be without the skirt. Again, a minor issue as the connection holds and the leg and torso assemblies stay together.

The skirt is flared at the bottom to allow for leg movement, although it does inhibit a full range of motion. This range of motion is even more constrained than what was seen with the longer armor and clothing designs. Why? The skirt extends even lower on the leg of the minifigure. The further any molded part extends down the front or back of a minifig leg, it will naturally inhibit movement. Based on my measurements, you can expect a range of motion (total front to back) covering an arc of 15 to 25 degrees.

The item here is shown in Tan, but is also available in Black, Brown, and Dark Gray.

BrickTW Skirt (Tan)
All of these parts are recommended buys. Solid ABS construction and firm connections all around. Many of the pieces are inventive and can add a unique look to your custom creations. The longer armor pieces and the skirt can inhibit a full range of leg movement; however, this does not significantly impact play value and is viewed as a minor issue. Check out the full range of BrickTW items today!

Additional Stats - BrickTW Body Gear
Websites: http://shop.bricktw.com/ and http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=bricktw
Location: Taiwan, Taipei
International Shipping: Yes (see the websites above for details)
Colors: Black, Brown, Dark Gray, and Tan (all items reviewed)
Retail Price: $1.80 USD (all items reviewed)

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