Friday, January 2nd, 2009 at 8:04pm by Andrew M, BZPower Reporter
[Source: Smeagol4 & Nikira]
It is no secret that superheroes have rather busy lives, what with dashing about heroically and fighting crime here and there in addition to their supposedly mundane lives in their civilian secret identities. However, underneath the capes and spandex, superheroes are people just like any other, and fans of things like any other person—and some are fans of Bionicle! So when they get the chance to spend some precious time together, some certain superheroes may wish to review a Bionicle set for the front page of BZPower. Well, dear denizens, that happened today with 8991 Tuma: read on to see!
Introduce yourself to the Dumbfounded Duo:
||Smeagol4 aka Dazed
|| ||Nikira aka Confused|
With a special guest appearance by…
|Stormy aka cute li’l fluffy kittycat with a bad attitude today|
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Watch a totally rocking VIDEO by right-clicking this link and selecting "save target as." Please do not stream the video; download it instead. We like our forums to stay in one piece, thanks.
Now that you’ve watched that lovely video, enjoy the textual review.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Look at that box; it's so boxy
Smeagol4: The box is essentially standard fare for a Bionicle set—the front shows a CGI rendering of the set in question, emblazoned over the majority of the cardboard face’s surface area. In the case of Tuma here, he is positioned in a particularly imposing manner, hulking over potential buyers from his elevated spot on store shelves (Toys “R” Us in my case—they got the ’09 sets first around here!). To be honest I am unsure what the role of this character in the storyline is, but from the way he is portrayed on the box, I assume he is a villain.
The Bionicle logo is superimposed over the northern polar regions of our magnetically malevolent monster, and his name is positioned underneath that in a smaller font size. Other standard things, like piece count, recommended age, and the Lego logo, are also plastered on the front of the box. As I said, it is fairly usual stuff. I do feel the need to note how breathtakingly beautiful is the rendered background of the environment Tuma stands within. It is the prettiest thing on the box and I applaud the artist.
Nikira: The back of the box shows a smaller image of Tuma in a more straightforward pose, surrounded by the normal logo, functions, set number, stuff like that. A picture of the “Action Figure Game” counter is shown in the upper-right corner – somthing introduced on all of the 2009 sets. Below Tuma are pictures of the six canister sets, as well as the Lego logo and the bio code (which, if you know your leet, is actually Tuma’s name. We love you too, Kelly.) The background is one of the images currently on the front page of Bionicle.com and, just like the front of the box, has the 2001-Kini-Nui feel to it and is very well done. I like.
The other thing different about this box set that I’ve never seen is the large overlay of the Bionicle logo around the sides of the box, rather than just the flat colors or other designs. Simple, but I think it’s very effective.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Contents of the box and new pieces
Smeagol4: Within the box we found two booklets and two plastic pouches. But this was slightly deceptive—there actually was a third plastic bag hidden within one of the larger ones! Tricky, Lego, tricky.
As for what pieces these packages hid within their bowels, this set seems to be a veritable goldmine of useful bits, to some degree. Several different assorted connectors and types of ball-jointed thingamabobs, which are all quite useful for MOCing—and in fairly universal colours too, like black. Oh, and a couple of those completely and inalienably amazing three-way, one-hundred-twenty-degree-angle plus-rod connector doohickeys are present. Rockin’!
Pardon the dust; it's under construction
As for new pieces, there’s a mask, and some wings, and pieces for this launcher, and hands which are seriously pretty cool. But most of these pieces are not super for building things other than the functions for which they were moulded. The hand pieces function perfectly as hands, however, and look rather good. I’m quite glad we have finally received appendages with digits, a thing for which some BZPower members (Hi Jinzo) have been clamoring for years.
I am Iron Man
Nikira: Lime green and black is awesome, by the way. Awe. Some. Yeah. Remember that!
The construction was pretty simple, but it wasn’t horrible at all. There was some fun in building it, some of that because of the articulation at the shoulders and hips (I geeked when I saw the shoulder movement. Really. Ask Smeag!). Nothing was very difficult or challenging overall.
Smeagol4: She definitely did geek out over the shoulder movement. It was cute.
Ta-Da! It's done
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle.
I have articulation!
Smeagol4: Firstly, one must note that this set has an astronomically large number of articulated points: a massive twenty-eight! Tuma moves at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles; two places in the neck, and at the connection points for the wings. The unfortunate thing is that this is the only place at which the wings are able to move, and furthermore these static seraphic structures are so ridiculously petite that there is obviously not the slightest chance they could lift this hulking brute aloft. They must be vestigial wings. How pathetic that is!
But wings aside, the set actually looks better than I expected, and the colour scheme of lime and black is really aws—ah, ack, I’m being pushed aside—
Nikira: LIME GREEN AND BLACK. IS AWESOME.
It’s like the equivalent of the Matrix in a set. Yes.
The articulation was really nice – it reminded me of Maxilos from 2007, minus a few points. Especially the shoulder blades. The movement, although restrictive compared to other sets, is more realistic and, in my opinion, worth geeking over. Gwaaaah. <3
Most of the pieces have been seen before, although they are in newer colors. Twenty or so are new pieces for the year, such as the counter, the head (Iron Man, anyone?), and the mask. There’s also stickers! More black and green to put on black and green! Yay!
And yes, the wings are sad. The designs are really interesting, but there’s no movement other than a static up-down function. We cried.
Look, I learned how to use the macro feature on my camera
Smeagol4: A final thing I would wish to mention before concluding this section of our review is that the set is actually fairly aesthetically pleasing, in general. The figure’s proportions are actually not ape-like, unlike many Bionicle sets, instead favouring a better humanoid appearance. Score one notch up for the real bipeds! The mask looks pretty neat and the colour scheme, as my associate mentioned, is especially lovely.
Smeagol4: It is not perfect, however: there are some areas with obvious and unsightly gaps. This is particularly noticeable in the placement of the bulbous shoulder pads. Though the lime-esque verdant hue of this armour (read: they’re feet) are quite pleasing to my cornea, the MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SPACE BETWEEN THEM AND THE ACTUAL ARMS makes me sad. Tears.
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?
It is totally okay for adults to play with Lego sets
Smeagol4: You inquire, gentle reader, “What does this set do?”
The answer is crushingly mundane: “Not much.”
Nikira: Other than sitting there and looking strikingly awesome.
Smeagol4: …or strikingly adequate, anyway. Regardless, there are not real “functions” to this set other than the spiky ball launcher knickknack. Its construction is rather simple: two identical pieces are stuck in opposing ways on the figure’s hand, and when they are squeezed the projectile is forced forth due to general pressure. This causes the spiky-ball-thingy to launch a few feet (maybe a metre, for you metrically-inclined) and bounce, as it is cast from a soft and pliable rubber substance.
Did I get a little camera-happy? Naaah.
Nikira: I enjoyed the spiky ball thing as a projectile mainly cause it bounces, rather than rolling or just static flying. Makes it easier to find and less painful to shoot at people, hee.
Smeagol4: Oh and, uh, don’t shoot it at people’s faces. That’s, uh, bad. And unsafe. We are bad role models, DON’T WATCH THE VIDEO!
As said, it is quite fun to play with (did I just end my clause with a preposition? For shame), although I was saddened that they lack any connection points and thus are rendered almost entirely useless for MOCing purposes (did I just use the passive voice? For shame).
Nikira: And you call yourself an English major, Smeag. *rolls eyes* Let’s lay down the shame, boys and girls. Shameshameshameshame on Smeag.
As with all the other 2009 sets, Tuma comes with numeric counters (but no instructions!) for the “Bionicle Action Figure Game.” Basically, you just shoot one set with another set’s spike ball. Each hit causes the opponent’s counter to go down. When the counter runs out, you get a skull and lose the game. Easy!
If you need more instructions, they can be found on the Bionicle website. Or so says the Tuma instruction booklet.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
This is the set we reviewed. Yep.
What's to like?
- Nikira: LIME GREEN AND BLACK YEAH!
- Numerous points of articulation.
- Decent build and a stable structure.
- The spikeball. <3
- Smeagol4: It is fairly cool-looking. Thumbs-up.
- The launcher thing is pretty neat.
- The construction was nothing to write home about but it was actually pretty enjoyable—moreso than most recent sets, anyway
- That background on the front of the box is so pretty! Seriously, enough for me to make it a pro of the set. I might keep the box. Oh yes.
What's not to like?
- Nikira: Open pins = no. Red and blue pins = no. Open red pins = NO.
- Not very many functions, other than the launcher and whatever movement you could get out of the “wings”.
- The foot design, although stable, looks like it was just thrown together last-minute.
- Smeagol4: The wings are pathetic. Come on, Lego, seriously.
- Unsightly gaps are unsightly. And redundancy is redundant.
Smeagol4: This set cost twenty US dollars, and for a single Jackson it is a rather good deal. The construction is satisfying, the figure looks nice and is well-articulated, and the launcher is fun for simple play. I do wish it has a mote more “playability”—some sort of action feature or ability that would give it greater “oomph” than just being placed in action poses. Alas, there is none, except for the game, which is another point I wish to bring up.
The fact that there is an overarching game in the set line is a clever move by the Lego Group on several accounts. Firstly, it is welcome in that it gives the sets something more to do, and will be especially well-received by children, no doubt. Under the surface however, it is a stroke of business genius in that it may provide what the original collectibles attempted to do but failed: a serious incentive for fans to “buy them all.” Gameplay apparently is increased as more figures are present, and thus impetus is provided to buy as many sets as possible.
But fear not, parents: the need to shell out more money and purchase more plastic, while present, is not strong. The game can be played with only two figures, and due to the modular nature of Lego bricks, one could even take one of the life-counters used in the game off Tuma (it has two) and place it on another Bionicle set he or she already owns. Kids will likely want to buy multiple sets, but unlike some toylines that is only a periphery thing here.
Nikira: Simple but effective build and a wonderful design and color scheme (black and green!) makes this set enjoyable for me. Articulation was also excellent. The gaps in the armor placement and open colored pins were a slight problem, and although the launcher does qualify as a function, playability is very limited and is obviously not the main reason you would buy the set. If you’re aiming for something that looks cool and is fairly easy to pose, then this is probably down your alley.
Until next time!
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