Wednesday, May 24th, 2006 at 7:53pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: ToM Dracone]
Recently, BZPower was fortunate enough to receive a number of sets from Lego to help us further our goal of reviewing every 2006 set this year. On that note, today we bring you a review of the Voya Nui Matoran Kazi, composed by BZPower Forum Assistant ToM Dracone. Read on to see what he has to say about this Matoran whose unique construction makes it stand out from the others.
The the most superficial part of any LEGO product, but the one that often determines whether or not the set is a success or failure.
Kazi's box sports the trademark Voya Nui design: a white background contrasting with the recognizable dot and slash patterns running along the sides. Also contrasting are the black boxes sporting Kazi's set information and the Bionicle logo. A new feature of the early 2006 sets is the icon in the upper left corner: a circle surrounding a high-contrast portrait of Kazi and his name. All of these clearly mark the set as being from Voya Nui, and the black-on-white patterns evoke a sense of a danger zone and impending doom, both characteristic of Voya Nui.
Another deviation from previous years is that the boxes all have the same white background, the only indication of the old elements being a small, inconspicuous splash of elemental color at the bottom of the boxes. Instead, the Matoran boxes are differentiated by the color of their tops. (Kazi's box doesn't demonstrate either of these very well, as the white color of ice blends with the rest of the box.)
The back of the box features the familiar map of Voya Nui, bordered with images of the six Matoran. Also of note, to us grammatical sticklers at least, is the word "Matorans," a strange typo since the plural of "Matoran" is just "Matoran".
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
So you've bought it and taken it home (or at least made it to the car), punched the perforated tabs and dump out the contents. What do you get for your money?
You might not notice this on a shelf in the store, but Kazi's box is taller and deeper than the $4-set boxes we've had in the past.
There's a reason for that: when you've punched open the tab and opened the box, you find a fold-up instruction sheet, a bag containing 28 pieces, and a loose Great Kanohi Matatu. For a $4 set, Kazi's mask is huge, and could get stuck in the thinner boxes. However, it can fit into them from certain angles, which makes the bigger box a bit unnecessary. Inside the bag are a collection of white, light and dark grey, and black pieces, which aren't anything like Lego has used in a Matoran set before and would also set one wondering how they all come together.
Here's where we start to cut to the heart of the matter. You didn't buy this box for all the glossy booklets & creative artwork. You want to know about the LEGO bricks & bits that are included, and what (if any) new & interesting parts you'll find inside. Here's also where I'll talk about any new and/or interesing pieces that you will encounter.
So, what's new in that small pile of parts? Nothing of new shape, and only two in a new color, but there are several things that MOCists will be interested in. Present in pairs are the dark grey pieces used as "brains" for the Toa Hordika and Bohrok eyes in ice blue – a color not seen in Bionicle since Kopaka Nuva's eyes in 2002, and found in a Bohrok eye only in a 2004 Alpha Team set. There are also three socket pieces (also called hip joints after their position on the original Toa) in the new(ish) blue-tinted light grey and two Technic pieces in the same color.
In addition to the Matatu, not seen since Toa Nuju, there is also a white Toa Hordika forearm, which is used innovatively in Kazi's construction. We also get Guurahk staffs in the new, lighter silver color.
What can you expect while putting this model together?
Like all the Matoran, Kazi has a simple, straightforward build, which only takes a few minutes if you're working slowly. However, the use of Technic pieces in his chest makes the build a little more complex than most of the other Voyatoran.
The finished Matoran yields four extra pieces, which is rather a large amount for such a small set. The back of the instructions feature part of the directions for the Dagger Spider, the Kazi-Dalu-Garan combiner model, which I assume the extra pieces go toward, or you can just use them to augment your part pile if you're not one for building combiners.
Now, back to that Hordika arm. In addition to serving as Kazi's main body, it also creates complications with his head: or lack thereof, as it turns out. When we first saw the image of Kazi, people wondered how a Metru head got under that mask – as it turns out, there is no actual head piece, just a socket connecting the mask to the ball on the Hordika arm. This results in Kazi's head sitting rather far back on his shoulders, a rather strange look from the side.
So you've got the model together, but is it more like playing with a block of wood or an interactive toy?
Actually, it's somewhere between the two. Kazi's Metru arms and posable head make his upper half fun to pose, but the lack of hip articulation (found on the other five Voyatoran) renders his legs almost static.
And speaking of the legs, there's something that should be addressed on those. Although the instructions say to have the leg pieces lying parallel to the ground, I've found that, if the legs are vertical, Kazi looks much more realistic in that he doesn't seem to be about to fall over backward. If you're not sure what I mean, look in the picture above: the leg on the left, sticking forward, is how the instructions build Kazi, but the leg on the right is how I have him. Of course, you can do what you want, but this small modification gives him a little more realism.
However you have the legs, no hips leave Kazi with only seven points of articulation, two fewer than your standard Voyatoran. But that aside, he can be posed well in his upper half and takes fighting and relaxed stances equally well. His legs still leave something to be desired, though.
Here's where it all boils down to whether the model is worth your money and time or not.
For a Bionicle set, Kazi is almost cute, which doesn't quite match his sarcastic storyline personality. If you're interested in new pieces, Kazi isn't for you, but if you're the builder type, his variety of useful old ones may be attractive. From a play standpoint, he's less desirable than the rest of the Matoran gang, with less articulation than his comrades. But at the same time, he has the only unique body, as all the others' are based on Bohrok feet.
As is mandatory for a Ko-Matoran, Kazi looks cool and composed in any position, although I find that he's better for posing than play. If you prefer to stage scenes of menace and battle, get a Piraka and one of the other Matoran, but Kazi can look very dignified standing on a shelf and staring into space. Or arguing with Velika somewhat less dignifiedly, but I don't have Velika to check.
Hopefully this review has given you an inside look at this set, and helped you decide whether or not to buy it (if you haven't picked it up already). Be sure to thank ToM Dracone for taking the time out of real life and monitoring the forums to write up this excellent overview. Keep checking back for more reviews as we near the completion of the first batch of 2006 sets and await the Toa Inika.
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