Saturday, August 4th, 2007 at 2:57pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's now August, and the Toa Mahri and other summer sets have begun appearing all over. If you're still deciding on whether or not to pick them up, perhaps we can be of assistance. Today BZPower Reference Keeper Utopia brings you his thoughts on Toa Matoro. Should you pick up this new Toa of Ice? Read on to find out!
From the depths of the watery Pit, I give you Matoro!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The Toa Mahri's canisters this year are... well... not really canisters. They're not exactly boxes either, so I guess I'll use the term "containers" as a generalized definition.
The container is a nice piece of work. Somewhat saddening that you have to destroy it to get to the treasure inside -- I suppose LEGO didn't want to do canisters this time around. The container is essentially an outer shell that holds (by tape) the plastic case on the inside. To get to the pieces, you have to rip off the cardboard top that's sealed shut to the plastic case. As I said, you truly have to deface the container just to get to the instructions and pieces.
The computer-generated image is just a cardboard piece that nests inside the plastic case, but is still a pretty nice forefront image. It's a prototype image, as Matoro's eyes are red, not yellow, and the prototype image has Matoro holding the Cordak with the top of his "hand", not the "sides" -- but those are really minor fixes they made before getting to the final product.
By looking at the back of the container (which basically means: "looking at the cardboard top to the plastic case") you can see cool images of Voya Nui and Mahri Nui, the other Toa Mahri, Toa Matoro himself (standing tall), the Cordak Blaster in use, a Kanoka code, and the usual list of disclaimers and such. One unusual image I found, however, is in the upper right-hand corner of the back, which shows Matoro using the outer shell as a sort of gun turret. The outer shell does indeed have three pin holes (and other assorted holes at each corner) which can be used to place the Cordak Blaster upon. I suppose this is the "function" of the case as seeing that you can't place your set in the container as you could with the other canister lines from before.
But, let's move on to the good stuff:
Rip off the cardboard top, and out comes: the instructions manual, the Cordak Blaster, Matoro's Twin Cutter pieces, three tube-esk pieces... and everything else inside a neat little plastic bag. I'll get to the pieces later, but for now: the building.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build for all of the canister set lines is easy and (as everyone else has said about building BIONICLE sets) straightforward. With Matoro, you just build the torso, then the legs, and finish off the arms. Needless to say, I still found myself having fun building him (I always do).
The only possibly interesting build is how Matoro's chest is actually a Toa Mata foot. But after following the directions, it all seems easy enough.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Matoro is your typical humanoid build -- with the possible exception of Matoro's chest being a foot piece, he is your average hero set. A color blend of simple white and light blue, with a few silver pieces here and there. Nothing too surprising here. The one un-human-esk design of Matoro is that he looks like a hunchback, due to the position of his head: it's connected to the Toa Mata foot in front of his chest, not on top of his shoulders (like Onua Mata). I'm indifferent to this hunchback look for the most part, except for when you look at Matoro from a bird's eye view, because there is a fair sized gap between the Toa Mata foot on Matoro's chest, and the chest piece itself.
Here's a side view and back view of Matoro, so you can see him from a few more angles:
There's one annoying piece that totally ruins the color scheme on Matoro, and its the red piece that connects the Toa Mata foot to Matoro's chest/shoulders. Just like blue pins and red plus rods, this piece disrupts the nice flow of colors on Matoro.
The new pieces for Matoro aren't really in abundance. You have Matoro's mask and the little blue visor (to complete the underwater look, I suppose). Then you have his Twin Cutters and his two shoulder armor pads (both, if used creatively, could be good MOCing pieces). Finally, you have the Cordak Blaster, the nine pieces of ammo for it, and three tubes. I wonder when LEGO will start making new limb pieces...
Just because, here's all of Matoro's set pieces -- as you can see, most of them are the same pieces as used on the Inika, with exception to the new pieces.
The Cordak Blaster is a neat design -- and for some reason I just thought it looked so much cooler upfront than it did in all of the CGI images of it. As for firing them: I'll get to that later.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Playability is essentially pose-ibility and how well the firing weapon shoots. For poses, Matoro is no different from most any other canister set -- 13 points of articulation, resulting in tons of fun poses. I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Matoro strutting his stuff. There are a few flaws with posing him, and those are that the Cordak Blaster adds a lot of weight, so posing with it may end up with Matoro's arm slowly sinking down, and also that Matoro's feet are two Toa Mata feet -- they were large for the Toa Mata at the time, but for posing on a Toa that's almost twice a Toa Mata's size? It's sometimes hard to find balance.
Say hello, to my little friend.
Think I knocked him out too hard?
Toa Matoro, meet Toa Matoro.
(And is it just me, or did Matoro go from being right-handed to being left-handed?)
In the universe of BIONICLE they are weapons with explosive power. In the world we know as Earth, they're fun little shooter toys. They are: Cordak Blasters.
(Hand not included)
With Squid Launchers not working as well as they should (if, at all...), I'm glad to see a simple design for firing something, that works every time if done correctly. They may not be up to snuff (in my opinion) to the Rhotuka or Zamor, but at least they fire.
Firing a Cordak Blaster is quite simple -- no tricks, just pressing the red button on the back fast and all the way. Be sure to hold it the right way as well -- you can't really pump it without your fingers pressed against the two tabs on the side. Doing it slow or only pushing it through 80% of the way won't work -- you have to fire fast and push it until you can't anymore for it to fire, but it'll fire all right. I get a range of anywhere from 10 to 20 feet, depending on my speed and such. Though do note that you have to pump it 20 times or so for it to start firing. Also note that these little buggers can get lost easily -- so either shoot on a wide, open surface, or be prepared to use one of the three extras on Matoro's back.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Awesome Toa set, as they all are.
- The Toa Mahri aren't clone sets (though they all have the similar Toa/humanoid form).
- Cordak Blasters actually work, if done correctly.
- Fun to pose/play with (if you like to do that).
- Fun to fire the Blaster (if you're into that).
What's not to like?
- Typical Toa/humanoid form.
- Toa Mata feet are a bit small for him, causing some balance issues for certain poses.
- The container isn't a canister, and must be ripped apart.
- Tons of reused pieces (especially from the Toa Inika).
- Price might be an issue for some folks (your grand total being $10+).
This is all subjective anyway, but there's my take on things. Sure, I listed as many cons as pros, but each pro vastly outweighs each con. Essentially, if you can, get Matoro. If you can't, at least go for one of the Toa Mahri.
A big thanks to Utopia for writing up this review, taking the time out of his schedule working on BZPower Reference Projects and BS01. Also, we owe our thanks to Lego for sending us the set to be reviewed. Keep checking back for more set reviews of the 2007 Bionicle line!
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