Sunday, April 28th, 2002 at 9:21am by Jon, BZPower Co-Owner
This is a review of the "8556 Bionicle Boxor" set which is scheduled to start appearing in stores nationwide this summer.
Let me preface this review by saying this is the first time I've reviewed a full LEGO set, but this is the way I've always wanted to see sets reviewed. I'll explain each section as we go. So, let's get started.
The the most superficial part of any LEGO product, but the one that often determines whether or not the set is a success or failure.
I quite frankly don't like the box art for this set. The Boxor is such a complex model, that the image on the front of the box just looks like a jumbled stack of Technic bricks with a Tohunga thrown in the middle. I found it really difficult to understand what the model looked like, and what it was supposed to do. The title, "Boxor" (why "boxer" was misspelled for this set I'll never understand) implies that it's gonna be doing some punching, but despite the model in a punching pose with some motion blur on one claw, it isn't really obvious at first glance. The back of the box is some small consolation, as it has a nice 45 degree overhead shot showing the motion of the model, in addition to an exploded view showing the Tohunga separate from the Boxor vehicle, and as with any LEGO set, a second suggested model that you can build -- but there's something very different about this suggested model: more on that in the next section.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
So you've bought it and taken it home (or at least made it to the car), punched the perforated tabs and dump out the contents. What do you get for your money?
Everything you'd expect is in this set:
Parts in plastic bags
Glossy 2002 Bionicle Booklet
LEGO Catalog Offer Postcard
Model Construction Manual
Alternate Model Construction Manual
What was that last one? That's right, that alternate model from the back of the box isn't just a far-out suggestion, but has its own full set of instructions to build! That's one great extra that I really didn't expect to find in the box. I don't know if this is a first or not, but it's the first time I've encountered a LEGO set with a complete second set of instructions for an alternate model. Quite a pleasant surprise.
Here's where we start to cut to the heart of the matter. You didn't buy this box for all the glossy booklets & creative artwork. You want to know about the LEGO bricks & bits that are included, and what (if any) new & interesting parts you'll find inside. Here's also where I'll talk about any new and/or interesing pieces that you will encounter.
This set reports only a measly 157 pieces, but it felt like a lot more. The pieces are about 90% standard Technic pieces, 8% creative usage for existing Bionicle pieces, and 2% new pieces (or new to me). You'll find lots of pins, axles, liftarms & axle connectors in here, and a few things to make the Bionicle collector squeal with delight.
Of course, there's the Tohunga (I just can't get used to calling them "Matorans," so you'll have to deal with it) which has only been available in the PowerPack and as a McDonald's promotion item up until now. And of course there's that new orange Kanohi Pakari that will have to be added to your mask collection. While I'm talking about the Tohunga, it's worth mentioning that this one has two disc-slinging arms, and no alternate arm (one is included in the set, but it's used elsewhere). This was a little odd at first, because one of his arms appears to be upside-down, but you'll get used to it. I did.
Other interesting parts include a new 4-ball gear (hard to explain, see the picture), an orange Bohrok bracket and the dark grey Gali hook.
What can you expect while putting this model together?
Let me say right off the bat that I found this model to be one of the most fun to assemble of any I've had in recent memory. More fun than the Toa, and much more fun than the redundant Bohrok (don't get me started on the Bohrok). The designer that came up with the engineering for the Boxor's movement was nothing short of a genious. There are so many inter-connected bars & pins & axles & gears that depend on each other for movement that I even got a bit confused at one point! That's not a bad thing, though.
The complexity of this model; the very thing that makes it look like a meaningless pile in the artwork on the cover of the box, is the very thing that makes it so interesting. Despite being perfectly symmetrical and having a bit of redundancy (i.e. "build the left leg, build the exact same thing in reverse for the right leg) it's still so intriguing to see how all of the steps come together in the end to create the synchronized movement that it doesn't matter. It's just plain fun to build.
I should point out that I didn't disassemble the Boxor to build the alternate model (which is more of a Karate-Chopper than a Boxor), so my comments here may or may not apply there.
So you've got the model together, but is it more like playing with a block of wood or an interactive toy?
Referencing back to the design of the Boxor, this thing has great movement! You control the boxing arms by holding on to the back of the Boxor vehicle and pressing down. The contraction of the vehicle's leg is what extends the corresponding arm.
So lean left and the left arm swings out; lean right and the right arm takes a punch; press down and both arms give it a go.
The boxing motion is very fluid and intuitive, and I might add: looks very cool.
Here's where it all boils down to whether the model is worth your money and time or not.
This part's easy. For the modest MSRP of $14.99, this set is a must-own. From the return of the Tohunga and the new orange Pakari, to brilliant mechanical design and fun play value, there's no reason to not buy it.
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