Saturday, January 12th, 2008 at 12:23pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we return to 2008 sets as our focus of reviews. BZPower Blog Assistant Nukora has provided his thoughts on the Makuta Chirox. Read on to learn about this vicious villain and see if the set is right for you.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
These new boxes are a little different from what we have had previously. Sure the grey hard plastic only surrounds less than half of the inner container, but the inner container is a harder plastic, rather than last year's thin plastic.
The Bionicle logo on the front is actually raised on the grey environment surrounding the box. On the actual can we have our rather stylish 'Phantoka' logo where the T appears to have wings. Below that, also in a metallic font, is the name of this set, Chirox. A stunning image of Chirox flying low to the ground (or perhaps taking off) dominates most of the front. The recommended age, set number, piece count and choking hazard warning take up a small space on the lower left, which is cleverly surrounded by the strange structures of the world that feeds the world.
As is usual, the back of the box is split in two, with the bar code, item number and various warnings printed in the lower half. The upper half is taken up mostly by an illustration of how Kirop can connect to this Makuta. A small image toward the top left shows the Tridax Pod being launched. The picture in the upper right corner displays Chirox standing behind the canister cover, which is either acting as a prison or a cave.
Sadly, no part of these canisters are set-compatible, but at least they are cans again. The shape of the actual can reminds me of the Inika cans from 2006, but the new ones are rounder and have their other differences. On the flimsy plastic lid of the can the Bionicle logo, copyright information, and set number can be faintly seen.
The instructions this time around are not decorated by the faint images we have had previously on the building pages of the booklets. This time, the only thing behind the set as it is being assembled is a plain white background. The front of the manual is decorated by the same image we saw on the front of the can, and the back is made up of an ad for the small sets and the Phantoka.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Once you remove the tape and lid, you are ready to start building. Upon dumping the pieces out onto the floor, you will notice that the main color in this set is black. A few transparent orange pieces (the Tridax Pod pieces and the eyes) can be seen in the pile, along with hints of light grey and the silver armor. There are also three red pieces.
As I'm sure you noticed when browsing through Bionicle.com's new set instructions, as many people have done, Chirox has only a few slight variations from the usual build of humanoids. The legs are mainly a 'snap-snap-snap - You're done!' type of build, save for the armored thigh piece. The head is a Toa Metru head, eyepiece and new Kanohi. The most interesting part to build would have to be his body, as it makes use of the new body piece for the Makuta sets, and the Tridax Pod launcher piece. The arms might also be tricky to build for some, but everything here is pretty basic and expected. The set takes a few minutes to build, unless the builder is distracted by sorting out pieces, taking pictures, or other activities.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
New pieces include the Makuta of 2008 body, Shadow Leaches, Tridax Pod, launcher, the new stronger socket pieces, the strange two-toed foot, Chirox's Kanohi Mask, and both weapon sets. The only recolored piece is Nuparu Mahri's armor pieces in silver. The Hordika skulls also have a minor difference in them on at least the set I got: a very small hole on one side of the ball. Not new to Technic, but new to Bionicle (or as far as I know) is the interesting piece used to connect Phantoka to Matoran.
Interestingly enough, the new two-toed 'chicken foot' does not come with a rod where sockets can connect to, but the socket is actually part of this new piece. This allows for a couple of new pin holes to be added. The legs of the set use pieces I hoped I would never see in sets again: the Hordika lower legs. However, Chirox somehow manages to look good using them. Each thigh is made up of three pieces: a long (7 units), black double joint, a silver Nuparu Mahri armor piece, and a red #2 rod. I would have hoped these rod pieces would have at least been black on a set of that color. The build is quite simple. I would have preferred armor that covers more of the leg, but it's alright this way I suppose.
The arms are one of the points of interest on this set. They have three rather large arm segments and another small one. If you fully extend the arm, it alone reaches nearly to the feet. However, the long arm is folded up in order to connect the wings quite a ways above the shoulders. However, the raised shoulders give this Makuta an almost majestic look, which fits a Makuta well, so it all evens out. This does make his arms shorter than they ought to be, however. A little more padding might have been used on the on the segments where it wouldn't limit the movement. The hand pieces are Hordika skulls, though still in the same color they have been in since their introduction in 2005. Considering that these and the Toa Metru skull are the only pieces of that color on the set, they would have been better in black. I'm sure the MOCists would have appreciated the pieces in a new color as well. The hand weapons Chirox uses look pretty awesome. One last problem with the arms is that if you wish to bend them in a certain way, the head will get in the way.
The head of this Phantoka is basically a Toa Metru head with, as has been common in the last few years, orange eyes. My only complaint here is the orange eyes. Though they do fit his color scheme well, a little variety in eye colors would be good for Lego to bring back. The mask this Spirit of the Sky uses is quite the interesting Kanohi. When tipping the mask sideways, you can look through one eye strait through to the other and never see the Toa Metru head. The back of this mask also extends quite a long ways, making for a very long mask. Four fang-like objects stick out from the bottom of the face, giving an appearance you'd expect from an evil creature.
Now for the most interesting part: the body. Chirox uses a body that is similar to those of the rest of the 2008 Makuta. The instructions start with a new, large body piece that reminds me of that of the Hordika. A socket piece is inserted into a tight hole and kept there with a 3-unit rod. I had expected this construction to keep the neck socket from wobbling, but it does not; the problem could be fixed with a rubber band if you like. The lower part of this body has four holes where the round pins can be inserted. Two two-length friction pins are inserted into the first and third of these, and a Metru hip piece is attached in the way that makes the body is long as possible without moving the pins on the new piece. This makes Chirox's body alone 12 units high. Pins without friction are used to attach the new Tridax Pod launching piece. This piece, when closed, gives an awesome appearance of a rib cage. To add the final touch and a little bit of armor, making the lower body closer in width to the upper, a Toa Metru 'gear guard' piece is added to the Metru hip piece.
As you can see from the picture, the piece used to attach Kirop sticks out a good bit, bringing it an entire unit out from the upper body. It has to be this length to attach the Matoran I suppose, but I prefer to take it off.
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?
Since this is one of the first Makuta Phantoka reviews, I get to comment on the Tridax Pod launchers. It is now pretty clear to me that these were not meant to be used as an actual launcher. What I would have called the launching piece just doesn't have enough push to do so. It is simply meant to release the bombs. Good thing these sets fly storyline-wise. When the bombs hit the floor, or other surface, they usually explode, releasing the Shadow Leaches inside. As such, it is easy to loose the little blue/green creatures.
Chirox is quite tall. He is only a head shorter than Maxilos, but much less wide and with much less pieces. I expected this to give this Makuta a look of being much like a toothpick and hard to find a good pose for. However, this set manages to yet again pull something off well that I would not have expected. Relative to the set's body, the legs are closest a set has had to human proportions. If you don't like the long legs, though, you can try a pose with Chirox squatting close to the ground. Putting Chirox in a pose where his arms become a new set of legs works quite well.
Speaking of posing, I would like to bring up an issue with the posing of this set. With the shoulders of the set being raised in the way that they are, the head can get in the way if you attempt to put the arms in certain poses, and the arms can get in the way of the head.
The wings are also limited in their articulation, as they are directly connected to the second segment of the arms.
The pairing up ability used this year's sets use is an interesting one. The way the Matoran attach to the Makuta, or at least the way Kirop is attached to Chirox, is more of a horse-and-rider set-up rather than a piggy-back setup like the Toa Nuva use. This makes the Makuta look more like animals than they ought to, but the variety is nice.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Launchers are fun to play with
- A good number of new pieces
- New sockets to prevent breaking
- Canisters return
- Can pair up with Kirop
What's not to like?
- Simple build, though it does have its interesting parts
- Hordika skulls and Metru skulls are in metru grey - again
- Cans not set-compatible
- Posing has minor problems
Well, there are a few nice pieces here that builders might enjoy, and I'm sure someone will want to find a good use for the new foot piece, weapons and mask. Tridax Pods are fun to drop for the people that like launching and playing. People who pose the sets and display them will find this set quite fun to experiment with, though the arms may provide a problem. Overall, I'd say that the set is worth the money paid to get it, but it's far from being a really amazing set.
Next up on our review list is the Matoran Tanma. After you thank Nukora for this review, be sure to keep checking back for more 2008 set reviews and the latest in Bionicle news!
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