Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 8:32pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Hello all, it's time for yet another set review. Today we have the return of a classic character, Toa Onua Nuva. Thanks to his adaptive armor he looks nothing like the last time we saw him in 2002, but he's still the same guy. Read on to see what Forum Leader Shannara has to say!
Editors Note: This review was submitted a while ago, but wasn't posted since we were waiting for the Jetrax one to go up. Then I was busy and wasn't able to post it until now. Sorry!
Ahh, summer has definitely arrived. Granted, the first day of summer technically arrived over a month ago. But for LEGO fans such as ourselves, there is another indicator. And that, my friends is the arrival of the brand new summer Bionicle sets in stores. It is then, and only then, that we can fully say that summer has arrived.
And, like I said, summer has arrived! With the new Mistika hitting stores worldwide, I'm gonna take some time to give you my thoughts as a fan of the story, the characters, and above all the MOCing they allow, on a personal favorite character of mine: Toa Onua. Let's get to it, shall we?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Our Toa of Earth from the very beginning stands proudly guarding the front of his canister, shooting his Nynrah at an unseen enemy. He stands on the swampy ground of Karda Nui, with roots and trailing vines dominating the background. Just over his left shoulder is the now-familiar image from the Ignika used to represent Mata-Nui, a subtle reminder of what our heroes intend to do by the end of the year. The traditional info (piece count, set number, etc.), the classic LEGO logo, and the word Mistika sit at our hero's feet.
Turning the canister over, we find several of Onua's features showcased above the usual warnings. The back is dominated by an example of Photok and Onua linking up in the same manner as the Phantoka, and beneath we see how to shoot the Nynrah and that Onua can fit inside of his canister. Down the right side we see the Toa of Earth with his fellow Mistika in a series of mugshots with the set number for each beneath.
But now, what is that on the lid of the canister? A giant Ignika! This could be an excellent challenge for MOCists, to incorporate this large piece into MOCs! Excellent!
Oh. Wait. It's not symmetrical. While the right side is the Ignika in perfect condition, the left side is grooved, making it worn and damaged looking. Usually I have very few gripes about canisters, but this I find to be something of a letdown. Ah, well.
The canister is almost exactly the same height as the Phantoka canisters, if perhaps a hair shorter. I find that I prefer the smoother Mistika canisters to the vine covering encasing the Phantoka. Brings me back to the older days of Bionicle with simple canisters.
So let's crack the thing open!
A swift puncturing of the label a la the Inika canisters finds us with the contents splayed out before us. Most of the pieces are loose inside, with a few inside a small, clear bag. The instruction booklet, as usual, is tucked along the inside.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Many of the pieces are straightforward looking and in line with what we've seen opening Toa canisters for several years now, with a few newcomers mixed in. But we will get to those later...
Not a difficult build, by any standards. There are a few variations from the designs of the Mahri and Inika, and the new pieces play some interesting roles, but it's nothing too complex for a buyer with any experience in Bionicle. Even someone new to the franchise shouldn't have much trouble with good old Onua.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Tada! There stands Onua, in all his glory! He's roughly the same size as any of the Inika, and built essentially the same way too. His color scheme seems a bit odd to me, containing predominantly a mix of grey, black, silver, and old school Mata red. It isn't necessarily a bad combination, but the bright red seems out of place on a Toa who prefers the dark as much as the Onua Nuva I remember does. Still, it's an improvement over the Mahri, all of whom had extra red Cordak missiles covering their bodies...
Here's a quick shot from behind, showing off his Av-Matoran connector piece and some of his slick new armor.
Oh boy, the new pieces! As a MOCist, this is the part of a new set that makes or breaks it for me. And Onua delivers. We have a total of nine molds brand new to summer of 2008 on this guy, all of them with excellent MOCing potential. Two of the new pieces are the rockets and fins found on each of the Toa Nuva Mistika, used for propelling them through the swamp. Three are used to form the Nynrah ghost blaster, explored below. One more is Onua's revamped Pakari Nuva Kanohi, explored further below.
The remaining three are armor pieces, used to cover Onua's chest, left upper arm, and Nynrah blaster, respectively. These three pieces are the ones that grab my attention the most. With multiple connection points and a basic, unassuming shape, they could probe extremely useful in the works of many future MOCs.
So here's the new launcher for the summer sets, the Nynrah ghost blaster. It is easily my favorite blaster in ages, probably since the Rhotuka. It features a simple design: insert the air chamber into the back of the launcher body and insert two 3-length plus rods to secure it. Slide a missile into the end, then give the chamber a firm push. With a pop it's sent flying, easy as that!
Onua's Nynrah blaster features a covering that he grips with both hands, making it a formidable looking weapon. It's a very simple build, but I'm a huge fan of these blasters. The Cordak and Midak we've seen over the last few years work well, but there's something about not building the mechanism that makes it so... Un-Bionicle-ish, I guess? Like the Zamor launchers of '06, we get to build something that then is shot, which to me is a lot more fun and more in line with Bionicle on the whole.
This two-handed launcher brings up a whole new issue, though. Onua is left without any kind of melee weapon (or tool, as the case may be), and is thus somewhat defenseless. Kopaka Phantoka was left with little more than a spike on the end of his Midak Skyblaster as a weapon, and we've taken a further step down this road for the summer sets, with both Onua and Gali having only a two-handed Nynrah ghost blaster and not a melee weapon in sight.
Oh look, Onua's showing you his mask! Oh, what's this? Ahhh, it seem we are once again faced with the Maxilos Mask Dilemma. Similar to the robotic Pit guard from last year, to attach the mask to Onua's face you must first insert a 2-length plus rod. Frankly this doesn't bother me too much, but I have seen people irritated by this change to the new masks.
A side note on Onua's new Pakari Nuva that does rather bother me is that he cannot look at anything directly. Onua's head has to be slightly tilted to one side in order to see out the eye holes, as the nose guard is a bit too wide to look straight through. It looks really cool and I like it quite a bit, but one has to wonder: will this hinder his chances against the Makuta? Only time will tell...
One bit of nitpick that I thought would concern me while building Onua was that due to his left arm's construction, the fin on that arm sticks out one stud farther than the one on his right arm. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to realize that Onua's build, asymmetrical as it is, keeps this difference mostly unnoticeable. Only when positioned like the picture above is truly evident that he may have some issues trying to balance while in flight.
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?
Onua is an intense and awesome-looking set. A total blast to play with, absolutely. Hoisting up his Nynrah ghost blaster, he boldly faces any Makuta to come at him! From the left side, that is.
This is about as far to the right as I could get our friendly Toa of Earth to aim. Unless he switches hands, Onua better hope the Makuta only attack him from one direction. For the sake of Mata Nui, I guess we'd better all hope the same.
And here's Photok, along for the ride! He is the only one of the Av-Matoran that truly fit's onto Onua, because of his unique torso. I tried subbing Tanma in, only to find that his head sits at almost the same level as Onua's when he's attached to his back. The body piece used by our resident orange Av-Matoran makes things a litter easier on him, though.
While Photok can look around some to assist his Toa companion, the others find themselves staring straight up, and probably not of much use.
Now here's Onua with his newly modified, fearless, strong... Now hang on! Suddenly something has become strikingly apparent. Onua and Pohatu were always the shortest of the Toa! While Pohatu in his Phantoka form has stayed true to his smaller stature, Onua Mistika towers over Tahu, given two studs of height more in his torso. It seems strange that squat, bulky Onua has become this tall, lanky warrior. Rather out of character, if you ask me.
But it doesn't look like Tahu minds, with enemies haunting the shadows of the swamp. And I guess that's what matters most.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Plenty of great new pieces
- A fantastically fun Nynrah launcher
- A simple set, but in no way a clone
What's not to like?
- Aims left, exclusively
- Skinny, and not very Onua-ish
- No melee weapon
- Painful price
Some other things could be listed as cons, such as Onua's questionable color scheme, his Maxilos-style mask, or his limited ability to link to the other types of Matoran. Frankly, though, those things don't bother me as much. Even the cons I have listed can be remedied with a few extra pieces from one's collection. It is the last, though, the one I haven't yet mentioned, that is the real detractor for Onua.
I enjoyed building and playing with Onua, and one day I will take him apart and, guarenteed, enjoy MOCing with his pieces. But $12.99 is a very difficult price to swallow if you only sort of enjoy him. Something in the play or the parts have to really be worth it in order to feel good about shelling out almost as much as it would take to get, say, another Mutran and Vican for just one Toa.
I fully and completely recommend Onua if you want to buy him. Without a doubt. His flaws and shortcomings can easily be overlooked or altered, and really aren't that major to begin with. But if you are on the fence, it really comes down to the money. Is he worth paying that much? I leave that to you, BZPower.
One thing is for sure, though. It really makes one wish for the older, simpler times of days gone by...
And that concludes our review - I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to thank Shannara for writing it up and taking pictures in the Talkback. And as always, keep checking back for more reviews an all the latest Bionicle news right here at BZPower!
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