Saturday, December 6th, 2003 at 9:05pm by Kelly, BZPower Co-Owner
The third version of Bionicle villagers have been released. These "Metruan" fling disks and have multicolored masks - what else makes them the same (or different) from their earlier versions? Read on for a Metruan review, focusing on Orkahm.
We'll focus on Orkahm in this review, since these figures are very similar - the only differences are color and masks. At the end we'll see how all three come together.
The first thing you'll notice is their size. They're fairly massive figures, quite unlike the diminuitive bow-armed figures distributed with McDonald's Happy Meals a couple of years ago. Unlike the previous Matoran version, however, these are better proportioned and not quite as "husky" as v2.0 Matoran. They don't look like bodybuilders, in other words. On the other hand, the one-piece body is very reminiscent (to me, at least) of some Galidor figures, especially the inverted triangle of the body piece.
The next most obvious thing is probably the character's masks. We've returned to the original Kanohi design, but with a twist: they're only partially colored. LEGO has been teasing us for a while with multiple-colored pieces (like the contaminated Hau Nuva) and now are providing a large variety of multi-colored plastic. Unlike the original Infected Hau, these are actually different colored plastic mixed together, so each mask is unique to a certain extent.
Now for their armament: each figure totes a "Kanoka Launcher" which shoots a disk. Disks were used by original Matoran to defeat Rahi, but were flung by arm strength, not a separate tool. The Kanoka Launcher itself is well made, and seems to perform adequately, shooting disks between 5 and 8 feet. The disks are the new "collectible" released by LEGO. They appear to be the same disk shapes released originally with the Throwbot series.
There are only three new shapes to the set: the Kanoka launcher, the arm and leg pieces, and the one-piece body. The Launcher is new and will undoubtedly be a good challenge for MOC (My Own Creation) builders to integrate into their original creations. The arm and leg pieces are very much like the Bohrok/Bohrok-Kal arm and legs, only smaller (see picture with comparison). The piece that'll probably get the most attention is the body, a triangular shape with several holes suitable for detailed attachments. The shape is generic and interesting enough, with enough connection points, that MOC builders will be able to use them in hundreds of different ways.
This is the first Bionicle set to use the new, updated gray pieces, which contain much more of a blue hue than previous neutral grays.
Speaking of colors, the Metruan follow the same red-blue-green-white-brown-black color scheme from before, but the colors are deeper, for the most part (except brown, which seems lighter).
Building The Set
The Metruan go together quickly. Each set contains 27 pieces, with a few left over. There are a lot of blue pins that need to be manipulated, which makes fingers sore after a few Matoran are completed. And they're very tight - you'll need to pry them out with your teeth to get them loose. Whether that's because they're new, or there's another reason, is unknown.
Matoran v3.0 (how many more versions does LEGO have in mind?) are a good introduction to the 2004 storyline, with their distinctively colored masks and impressive armament. The return of the original Kanohi shapes are welcome, at least to me, and makes sense considering Metru Nui is set in the time before time - Nuva were yet to come.
Considering the increase in sophistication from Mata Nui to Metru Nui, these larger Matoran make sense, and makes us even more interested in Toa Vakama and the other Turaga-that-were-Toa. They are original enough to be worth getting, and familiar enough to fit into the storyline and make sense. LEGO has done a good job with these Matoran, and even if they are a bit spendy at US$3.99, they're worth collecting for the masks and different colors.
Oh, and one more thing: LEGO included instructions for the Kaita this time. Below is a picture of the combiner from Orkahm, Ahkmou, and Nuhrii, a scorpion-like critter.
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