Last week I was extremely excited to open up the Swift Wyvern 91020 with Tauren Hunter with tons of enthusiasm and the highest of expectations–but I ended up being surprisingly let down by what is very abnormally bad paint applications and quality control by MEGA Brands’ standards. So when I busted open the box for the Swift Gryphon with Worgen Death Knight figure, I was a little more wary than I’d expected. But rather than coming face-to-face with more disappointment, the World of Warcraft Mega Bloks Swift Gryphon 91021 is instead an example of the top-notch work I’ve come to expect from MEGA Brands…
Considering that the Horde got a tremendously cool flying mount in World of Warcraft Mega Bloks Series 1, it would have been a real disappointment if the Alliance didn’t get the same treatment. Luckily, MEGA Brands knew this and came through for Warcraft fans with one of the most well-known mythological beasts in the world: the legendary Gryphon with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. This particular one happens to be the Swift Blue Gryphon, a good color choice to complement the Mega Bloks Swift Red Wyvern.
When you first open the World of Warcraft Mega Bloks Swift Grypon 91021, you may be taken aback by just how little is in the box. There are only three little plastic bags: one containing the Gryphon’s wings, one containing the remainder of the Gryphon, and one containing the Worgen figure and his axe. The Swift Gryphon set is only 24 pieces total, and that includes all of the pre-assembled pieces of the included Worgen figure!
All in all, the full build for the Swift Gryphon will take less than a minute–and most builders probably won’t need to open the instruction booklet at all! In this case, that’s fine with me–the Gryphon mount is more a figure than a buildable object anyway, and I was glad to put him together with zero difficulty and allay any fears I had about the set quickly.
Like the Wyvern, the Swift Gryphon is positively covered in ball-joints–every single moving part on this figure is a ball-joint! The Swift Gryphon has a ball-jointed neck, legs, wings, and even tail, for a grand total of 8 points of articulation. It isn’t a ton of points, but every joint that is there has a wide range of motion and work beautifully.
The Swift Gryphon comes with one of two Warcraft Mega Bloks Worgen figures in the Fall 2012 assortment of World of Warcraft Mega Bloks. This one is Graven, the Worgen Death Knight. Like the Scarbuck the Tauren Hunter that came with the Swift Wyvern, Graven is a hulking and bulky Mega Bloks figure. His shoulder armor plates (or spaulders), are based off the Scourgelord Battlegear from the World of Warcraft games (obviously).
While the sculpt of the Worgen isn’t quite as intimidating as that of the Tauren Hunter, nor is his armor quite as intricate or terrifying as Scarbuck’s, Graven’s paint deco is far better applied and he ends up looking better overall than the Tauren Hunter figure that I got. In addition, I think that Graven’s giant skull-adorned battle axe is probably the most foreboding weapon in the entire World of Warcraft Mega Bloks line thus far.
Not only are the World of Warcraft mount and figure in this set quite attractive–so is the packaging! Despite being a small set, MEGA Brands put the same amount of great effort into the artwork and graphic design of this box as they did the larger ones. The box art is huge and colorful, and clearly displays the Swift Gryphon and Graven “flying out of the package”. The front of the box also has the embossed texture on it that make the packaging look three-dimensional and extremely slick.
While the Swift Gryphon 91021 has literally none of the quality control issues of the Swift Wyvern 91020, he shares the same lack of articulation. For whatever reason (perhaps otherwise general satisfaction with the Gryphon), the lack of articulation doesn’t bother me as much here, but I definitely wouldn’t mind if MEGA Brands revisited the Gryphon and added an extra one or two points of articulation per leg in the future. It’s really the only deficiency I’d like to see improved in this particular mount.
I got my Swift Gryphon early because I ordered all of my World of Warcraft Mega Bloks from BA Toys, which also saved me the time and trouble of hunting them down in stores. If you’re looking to buy your Swift Gryphon locally, it should be available in most stores like Target and Toys R Us by mid to late August.
Overall: One of the nice things about coming into a review skeptical is that it leaves more room for me to be pleasantly surprised. The Swift Gryphon has masterfully-applied paint deco, as does its Worgen rider figure (Graven). There’s no quality-control issues of any kind, and the set really does look terrific. I was momentarily put off by the issues I had with the Wyvern, but the Swift Gryphon has quickly wiped that bad taste out of my mouth. While I’d like to see knee and wrist articulation added to a revised Gryphon sometime in the future, this one is more than good enough to satiate my need for a Gryphon for the moment. The World of Warcraft Mega Bloks Swift Gryphon 91021 is an excellent small mount set, and earns a well-deserved strong recommendation.