Saturday, June 20th, 2009 at 6:35pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It is time for another Glatorian Legends review. Today BZPower Forum Leader Shannara weighs in on Stronius. This Skrall champion garnered a lot of interest after ToyFair this year, but how does he really measure up? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Woohoo! Glatorian Legends are here! But wait! Before you smash open your new Bionicle set with a club, let's have a look at its lovely packaging!
The canister of Stronious is pretty standard, same general shape and size as an Inika canister. The lid I find to be rather interesting, bearing a vague resemblance to the promo pictures we've seen of the Bara Magna areas. Or at least that's what it makes me think of. The set himself is posed in a truly menacing stance depicting Stronius glaring to his left with an intense stare, brandishing a big ol' club and a Thornax launcher. In the background is a lit-up pattern rather like that of the Skrall shield. Interesting...
The back of the canister is also totally unsurprising. Poses (in most cases actually rather dull poses) of the Glatorian Legends crew, indicator of a "Bionicle Action Figure Game" with life counter, image of Stronius going into his canister, example of a Thornax launcher in action, legal mumbo-jumbo, and a promo for the movie coming out later this year. Nothing too exciting. Okay, now we can batter open the canister!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The pieces come falling out, the instruction booklet is opened, and it begins! Construction of this mighty Skrall warrior is quite simple, the usual Inika torso build with standard legs and arms. Nothing to get worked up about. I was rather intrigued that even though Stronious is still classified as a Skrall his build was markedly different. I think TLC would've gotten some cool consistency by taking the basic Skrall design and bulking and tweaking it for an "elite" Skrall warrior. But that's just me.
The minor differences lie in the use of his new armor piece... But that'd be getting ahead of myself a bit. To sum up the building of this guy: short build, no grand surprises.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
I wanna start right off with the new pieces. Because I love new pieces. I love 'em lots. There are three new molds for Stronius: armor, helmet, and club.
All three are very well crafted and all three are made in the same spiked theme. I am quite taken with each one of these different parts, which all have intriguing shapes that suggest endless possibilities in MOCing. Possibilities I look forward to exploring. The club grabbed my attention immediately, as I had never contemplated the possibility of it being two pieces instead of one big lumpy part. Excellent job on the part of TLC!
It's worth noting that thanks to our new pal Stronius here we have Glatorian hands and the short double socket joints (with their new 2008-style mold) in dark red, which are new to the scene. His thighs are covered with the Knights Kingdom mace halves in black, which may or may not be new. Frankly, I haven't paid attention to their presence enough to know for sure. Now, how do all these look in terms of the whole?
Stronius doesn't look afraid to knock you around a little if you get on his nerves. No way around it, he does give off a menacing feel. But something doesn't quite seem right to me. His canister shot portrays him as being very bulky and solid looking. While the real set does capture some of the essence of the CGI stance, I found the multitude of gaps irritating. This annoyance at the set design grew when I realized that the single easiest fix ever solves this problem perfectly.
Seriously. Just change this:
Catch the difference? By simply sliding Stronius' armor up on sliding the pegs into the lower set of holes, his three chunks of armor suddenly look like one solid mass. This is a shift I recommend for EVERYBODY who buys Stronius. It's seriously super easy and it does wonders in my eyes. The fact that this opportunity is here is awesome, but I find the fact that Stronius is designed in the more disjointed way unsettling. TLC should've caught this, I think, as it’s a very simple change. For the consistency of this set review, though, I'll proceed with the armor returned to its instructions-prescribed position though.
What the? Oh no. I'm sorry my friends, it doesn't look good. To lay it all out for you, it seems that our dear Stronius is suffering from none other than the dreaded... Strakk-neck. *gasp* Unfortunately, it's back. Just like the ice Glatorian of this last winter, Stronius suffers from the Metru-limb neck. While I was vaguely okay with this design on Tuma, I'm less permissive with Stronius. With the neck piece around or at a right angle to the body, I have no complaints. But as the neck goes up, it begins to look absurd. This guy is meant to be an unstoppable armored force! Why has he left his long neck so exposed like this?
Judged on this one, TLC. Judged.
Aside from those two complaints, the marks against Stronius' design are few. I would've preferred a bit of armor on his upper arms, but I can live. I would've preferred Mantax feet to these Inika feet, but I can live. I would've loved one more piece of armor somewhere on his back, but I can live. It's nothing too critical to my eye.
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?
Stronius smash! Gotta love a good club, eh? While the Glatorian hands don't let Stronius level his weapon to the same as his arm, he's still fun to mess around with.
He's got the full, standard range of motion on his legs and, thanks to the mobility granted by his shoulder armor, his arms as well. Even his Strakk-neck, much as I hate it, adds two points of articulation and allows for more expressiveness in the overall set.
On the whole, though, I wouldn't say there is anything extraordinary of truly innovative about Stronius and his playability. If you're into the Thornax and the game in the instruction booklet he's got that too. Not too much else to say from my perspective.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Kickin' new pieces
- A few old pieces in new colors
- Bulky, intimidating overall appearance
What's not to like?
- Lacking in some armor departments
- Lackluster build
I'm done mentioning the price of canister sets in my reviews. It's not something that's going away, so while it's far from a "pro," it's become a pretty stable "con" that everybody is fully aware of. That said, I don't feel like there is a lot of compelling evidence either way for Stronius except if you're into the new pieces. Personally I don't regret the purchase one bit, but that's from a mostly MOCist perspective.
Honestly, unless you really want the parts for building, need to complete the six-canister-set-series, or are dying to nab some more Skrall for a massive army in preparation for an attack on Atero, I'd say pass on Stronius. If you're on the fence, I'd say wait and see if one of the canisters catches your eye before settling on this Skrall-y fellow, or maybe use the money to save up for a bigger summer set. There will be other, bigger, better sets that will have a better wow factor than Stronius. Which, I suppose, makes him sad.
Should you feel the overwhelming urge to pick up our special ops Skrall friend here, do yourself a favor and hike his chest armor up.
Hopefully you enjoyed this look at Stronius. Be sure, of course, to thank Shannara for the review and leave any comments you may have in the Talkback. As always, keep checking back for all the latest set reviews and Bionicle news!
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