Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 9:02pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's set review time! Today Blog Assistant Bfahome takes a look at this year's largest set, Skopio XV-1. How awesome is this massive battle machine and should you add it to your collection? You'll have to 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.
The first thing you should notice is the immense size of the box. It's definitely bigger than most other BIONICLE boxes, and even most other LEGO boxes.
The Skopio XV-1 dominates a majority of the front of the box, dramatically posed over what appears to be lava (most likely due to that large volcano in the background). Telluris sits in the driver's seat, controlling the massive machine and shooting its single Thornax fruit at something.
In the lower left, there's a smaller picture of Telluris standing beside his vehicle, seen in its alternate "tank" mode, while a mysterious plus sign hovers between them. Then there are the usual bits about the suggested age range, set number, piece count, and that it is, in fact, a Building Toy.
The central picture on the back of the box is a large image of Telluris next to the Skopio, similar to the small image on the front corner. In the upper right of the back, there are small images demonstrating the Skopio's various features, like the firing Midak blasters, the opening jaws, the fact that, yes, you can pick the set up, and of course the firing Thornax launcher. Along the right edge of the box, you will see an indicator that this set can be included in the BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME, along with the now-standard BIO code in "leet". Along the bottom is a series of three images showing how to convert the vehicle from "walking" mode to its "tank" mode, and next to that are ads for the Baranus V7 and Thornatus V9.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
This set comes with two instruction booklets, each with the same pic of the Skopio that is featured on the box front. "Why only two?" you may ask. I am positive that this is because that the legs are all identical, and so the instructions for them aren't repeated. At the end of the instructions you'll find the parts list that all sets have nowadays.
The back of the first booklet features an advertisement for the upcoming BIONICLE movie, which I think most people have seen. On the back of the second booklet, there's the usual "Join the LEGO club!" and "Win free LEGO products!" snippets. One thing I find interesting is that at the end of the second booklet, there was enough room to advertise the Glatorian Legends and other Vehicles twice (well technically one was for the ACTION FIGURE GAME, but whatever), the Agori from the last wave of sets, and BIONICLE.com.
I apologize for the lack of in-build pictures, but at 10 PM, the last thing on my mind was writing a review. However, I do remember that this set took at least an hour to build, probably longer. And it was very, very repetitive. Also, a word of warning - read the instructions carefully. Don't jump ahead thinking that you know what's going to go where, because there's a good chance that you will miss something.
The first thing you put together is Telluris, the pilot. The parts needed to build him are bagged separately, which is helpful. The build is simple and straightforward, although it combines two techniques: Av-Matoran/Agori and Toa/Glatorian. He's pretty much a cross between a Glatorian and an Agori. Probably the only person that couldn't build him with their eyes closed is someone who's never assembled an Inika-style figure before.
Of course, there are some things that I didn't know about his build, such as the fact that there are pins hidden under his shoulder armor to keep it from flapping all over the place. Also, I was unaware of the fact that one of the life counters could be attached to his back (it even comes in his bag).
Obligatory Iron Man reference.
The next part of the build is the legs. Each leg is packaged in its own little bag, as is every separate part of the build. Now, this is the most time-consuming, mind-numbing, finger-aching, and tedious part of the build. The legs should take five to ten minutes to build each. You can either build multiple legs simultaneously, flip back in the instruction booklet to read the same thing over again for each leg, enlist the help of someone else, or do some combination of the three.
After all four legs are completed (and if the repetition hasn't driven you mad), you are instructed to connect them to each other in pairs. You end up with two sections, each with two legs attached.
Next comes the main body. It's very solid, but very simple, using three new(?) frame pieces connected by beams. It's also very gappy, and you can look right through it.
After that, you attach the legs to the main body. The two leg "sections" slide into either side and are held in place by 8-length plus rods that have a stopper on one end (they're also used in the piston pieces). These rods also help hold the attachment for the "upper" pair of pistons on each leg. Now it's beginning to look like the set you're trying to build.
Finally, you get to the last part of the build, the "upper" body. This includes the head, back panels, and tail. This part of the build starts with the thin "upper" body, which has the two beams for the tail built into it. This bit is also sturdy in its construction. After that, construction begins on the end of the tail. The tail array is actually constructed directly onto the beams, as opposed to building it separately then connecting the two (like most of the build). Since Telluris has one of the life counters on his back, you're only told to attach one at this point. The next part is the set of panels that sit on the Skopio's "back". They're built in such a way that they can open and close. Nifty. The Skopio's "head" is built last, separate from the body. When completed, you're instructed to attach it to the front.
vNow it's simply a matter of joining the upper and lower parts together with the 2-length pins that have the bushing on the end, which are being used more and more for this purpose. After that, all you do is put Telluris in the driver's seat, clip his feet onto the sides, and attach the hoses to the back of his head. The instructions also say to move the second life counter from Telluris' back to the back of the tail when he's seated. This build left me fairly satisfied, though not quite as satisfied as Axalara's build. Maybe because of the repetition, maybe because there weren't as many clever twists. But it is much better than building a standard canister set.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Let's start of with some new pieces, shall we? Sadly, this set only comes with five brand new pieces, and four of them are similar. Two large tapering panels, two small tapering panels, and Telluris' helmet. I do want to make it clear that the small panels are in scale with the curved panels that were introduced in last year's vehicles, and can be attached onto the end of one.
The semi-new pieces, pieces that were introduced earlier in the year, are the Glatorian head, Thornax launcher, and one Thornax piece. You'd think in a $90 set that there'd be more than one, right? Wrong.
As for recolored pieces, you get the newer version of the Mata feet, some Kalmah armor, and the Glatorian hands in Keetorange, as well as a single dark grey Glatorian hand.
Telluris' construction is something that hasn't been used before, and in my opinion never should be used again. His torso is that of an Av-Matoran or Agori, but his limbs are that of a Canister set. The proportions look all wacky.
Apparently he's double jointed.
Telluris' arms are weird. They are. A short double-socket with a yellow forearm? I know that changing it would require making the arm pieces in a new color, but as is it just doesn't fit with the rest of the figure.
Telluris' helmet is the same helmet used on the Spikit's heads in the Baranus V7 set, only in Keetorange. This gives you a 2-in-1 helmet like some of the other vehicles, and is what allows the hoses to plug into the back of Telluris' head.
One thing I am sad about is that his helmet doesn't cover the bottom of his chin. Why is that? I don't know.But enough about him. I didn't get this set for the figure, and chances are that you won't either.
The Skopio XV-1 is a large vehicle. A very large vehicle. When it's stood up and its tail is raised, it stands 14 inches tall. Your standard figure with an Inika/Piraka torso are as tall as the main body, but not tall enough to reach the top. Some Agori should be able to stand completely under it. When it's in its tank mode it's obviously not as tall, but is about 21 inches long (the length of my entire forearm, including hand).
The legs are rather cleverly designed to fold into tracks. The "knee" of each leg has three hollow ball joints, first seen in the necks of the Toa Inika (every set needs more of these), attached to three socket joints. This gives the "knees" a very solid means of rotation when joined with the piston pieces. Those of you with superb observational skills will notice that, when folded, the lower parts of the legs aren't exactly horizontal. I'm pretty sure they were designed that way so that the tracks, each having a large sprocket on one end and a small sprocket on the other, would be resting evenly on whatever surface the vehicle is on.
You may not have known this, but all of the Skopio's legs have the ability to rotate more than 90 degrees on the corners of the body. This allows you to make it drive in different directions, even sideways. In the fourth picture, you'll see that the legs are aligned in a somewhat curved way. This is an effective way of steering. That's right. If you thought the Cendox V1 was the only vehicle capable of turning left or right, think again.
The Skopio's "head" is rather simple and flimsily attached. It's pretty much two bent TECHNIC beams covered by some fancy paneling. The jaws, however, add a much more menacing feel to the entire vehicle by using the enormous curved blades previously associated with Antroz. When pressure is applied to the little "tab" at the base of the blades, the jaws open wide, and a rubber band snaps them back together when they're released. It works in such a way that I wonder if the set designers had this sort of function in mind when they were designing the blade pieces. I've also noticed that you can hook the "tabs" underneath the Hahnah crab piece in order to keep the jaws open.
The panels on the back of the vehicle can be folded out to "open" them. This allows you to possibly store weapons or ammo or various other things. The only major issues with the Skopio I can see are that the "back" is a bit sparse when the panels are folded out, and that the legs are all the same. And that tail.
That tail had potential. It could've been more than just two beams supporting it. It could've been reinforced with more piston pieces so that it doesn't keel over whenever it's at a slight angle. It could've had a stopper so it wouldn't constantly swing forward and smack Telluris in the back of the head. It could've been an actual function; turn the knob and the tail springs up, ready to fire!
Is this really necessary?
But it's not. It's just two beams. I know you're probably reading this, DV, so one last thing I want to point out is that the silver distribution in this set seem to be pretty well managed. The four identical legs help to keep the color evenly spread, and none of the silver pieces looks like they're just slapped on to fill a gap or two. I'd go so far as to say the silver looks like it's supposed to be there.
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?
The Skopio XV-1 (and pilot) probably makes for some good fight scenes with other Glatorian or Agori. It's large and imposing, and would be a beast to fight in the arena.
When in "tank" mode, I can imagine some epic chase scenes with other vehicles could be set up. Not to mention the fact that it could ram into other vehicles or Glatorian with those blades sticking out the front and back. It rolls along fairly well on carpet (smooth surfaces never seem to work well with the plastic tracks) and makes a loud VROOM sound when it's pushed fast. If you plan on driving it over rough terrain, don't make it too rough. While the front blades do act somewhat like miniature skis, helping to boost the tracks over certain obstacles, the low ground clearance makes it a challenge to go over anything taller than, say, an inch. Not very high from our perspective, but probably good enough for a desert.
An excellent little detail is that the legs have a slight give to them, making it look as if each track piece has its own shock absorbers.
When in "scorpion"/"walking" mode, it's not as mobile as it is when it's in "tank" mode, so it basically becomes a turret. The Thornax can be rotated to the side and fired, but the Midak pieces are stuck in the forward-facing position. This might be a problem for some, but I don't think it's that big of a deal.
I find that the construction of the legs limits movement when in "scorpion"/"walker" mode. The pin joiners on the upper piston pieces keep the legs from raising any more than one "click" of the ratchet, which I don't like. You could put the Skopio in some wicked crouching poses if they weren't there. There's also two small pieces on each "knee" that keep the leg from folding out more than a certain amount. I do see the point of these, since folding the legs out causes some stress on the pieces, but it would be nice if the legs had a bit more freedom to move. There would be more potential for poses and awesome scenes if these hinderances were removed.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- It can transform from a scorpion thing to a tank. You know you can't resist that.
- Massive amount of useful parts
- Somewhat challenging construction
- It is very large
- The silver is evenly distributed and unobtrusive
What's not to like?
- The high cost
- Rather strange driver
- Flimsy tail supports
- Repetition during the construction
- Only one Thornax? Really?
- Use of dark red as well as Mata red
You may see that the "Cons" list is longer than the "Pros", but that does not in any way make this a bad set. It's a great set, and the "Pros" outweigh the "Cons". In my opinion, about half of the "Cons" are pretty minor issues that can be fixed, and the "Pros" are significant things that make me happy. It's sort of a quality vs. quantity issue. So if you have $90 burning a hole in your pocket and you like giant quadrupedal vehicles, I highly recommend getting this set.
A pretty massive review, and certainly a massive number of pictures for an exceedingly large set. Hopefully you found it informative and enjoyable. Be sure to thank Bfahome when the forums come back online and stay tuned for the latest Bionicle news and more reviews!
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