Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 12:00am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Darth Vader]
Two reviews in two days, what are we, crazy? Well, the jury's still out on that, but we figured you wanted to find out about these new Stars sets. Today Darth Vader takes a look at the new Takanuva. What makes him tick? How does he compare to the original? Well, there's only one way to find out!
This is the end (if you want it), kids. This is the last white canister set in our beloved line of BIONICLE sets. After nine years, it comes down to these last six.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The Stars come in smaller canisters than those we've been getting since the Inika. You won't hear me complaining about that, no sir. I've long thought the canisters had gotten too large. There's not a lot going on with the cansiter sizes, they're oval-ish, and the top of the lid is flat-ish with a raised section containing the Skrall-shield-Maze-Map symbol.
The front of the canister has Takanuva, our beloved Mask of Light hero, standing in front of a glowing Hau. It's very classic, and it's very neat. I can feel the nostalgia from 2001 with the giant Hau symbol overwhelming my senses. And that's probably why TLG did that. Haha. There's an advertisement on the front for the extra collectable piece found within Takanuva, a gold version of the chest armour good ol' Takanuva is sporting in his third incarnation.
The back of the canister has a large picture of Tahu in the Golden Armour, looking extrememly too-not real. And an image of Takanuva being placed into his canister.
Not the most interesting canister of all time, but it's small, it's compact, and it has that giant Hau that distracts me from the block of legalese I've fallen so attached to these nine years.
Legal disclaimers, will you promise never to leave me?
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Alright, it's time to come out and say it. Nostalgia aside, Takanuva is a slightly more-armoured version of the same Matoran of Light build we received in 2008, and I hated it then. Takanuva's lucky that he has a piece of chest armour, and two shoulder pads, or he'd basically be Solek, with different limbs. Regardless, this is a simple build, and you won't need the instruction book (book?!?) for this one.
And that brings me to one of my first areas of criticism:
This is the last line of sets for the entire BIONICLE line. It would have been great to go out with the now-standard sized builds, but using the same nostalgia-inducing ideas used in these sets. Sure, that would make Skrall and Gresh silly additions, but really, they're silly additions already. I would have been fine with something else (maybe a female character, TLG? Girls exist, you know.)
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Alright, new pieces:
It strikes me at this moment that I'm not sure if we've gotten these Av-toran limbs in white before, but I've already taken the photos.
So, in brand new molds, we have:
- A white piece of the new armour
- A gold piece of the new armour
- Two new white feet
- That's it
I really like the new feet, it's about time we got something smaller and flatter than some of the larger feet molds. I love that they have an axle connection on the bottom of the feet, and think that connection will come in quite useful in MOCing. Which, as we all know, is what I love.
The new armour pieces are oddly shaped, but I'm digging them anyway. I'm disappointed they have only one connection point, but the shape and the piston decoration in the center sells the piece. The small circle on the top fits into the torso piece used here perfectly, and they really bring the aesthetic value of this build up several notches.
That said, I wish there was a little more new in this set. This is the end, let's go out with a bang! It is my understanding that few new molds were used for the end of BIONICLE because the designers wanted more new molds for the as-of-yet un-named mystery replacement line, but still. I want to pout anyway.
I'm pleased beyond belief that Takanuva is built using his original Avohkii. I don't know if I could handle another new mask. I wish it was the new pearl gold, but I also understand that Takanuva being gold would lessen the importance of Tahu's golden armour. White would also be acceptable. Anything but silver, really. The silver Avohkii is sort of a bummer. But at least it's his original Avohkii!
I still want Takanuva to be gold, though:
Easy fix. These are buildable action figures, after all. Haha.
Takanuva is stuck with all the same build problems the Av-Toran build suffered from. His limbs are perpetually frozen in one pose, and his neck sticks way out there, giving him an intense hunchbacked look. This looks especially weird from the side:
However, from the front, he kind of reminds me of the old MNOLG character animations, with the mask almost floating in front of the body. Add in the Avohkii's extreme tribal feel, and I'm almost okay with the hunchback.
Compared to the original Takanuva, this new incarnation has its own pros and cons.
He's about a head shorter, which is a disappointment. Though this really reminds me how tall the Matoran were getting before now. Yeesh. The silver Avohkii lacks some of the charm of the golden one, and the gold is one of those things that made ol' Takky so unique. Until everyone else had some gold, but I digress.
The Nuva shoulder pads do hinder arm movement, because they push up against the torso piece. Of course, compared to the original Takanuva (Takanuva Olda?), this is still a posing improvement. The gear system didn't exactly lend itself well to posing, geared (haha, pun) far more towards the mask-knocking-off game as BIONICLE originally conceived.
I have to say, I prefer the aesthetic value of the original Takanuva, but I prefer the posing abilities of the new one. The Nuva shoulder pads don't do a bad job reminding you of the original Takanuva, and the limb pieces used here recall the old Nuva-era bell-bottom legs quite well. I prefer the two swords used on this version to Takanuva Olda's staff, but that's a personal preference if I've ever seen one. Haha.
I also wish the Av-Toran head came in old transluscent yellow. I liked that colour better than the neon-lime.
All that said, this is still a modified Av-Toran build, and I'm still incredibly disappointed in that. In comparison to the original Takanuva, this may be a better figure for playability, but compared to today's Toa standards, an Av-Toran build is woefully inadequate.
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?
I touched on this above, but Takanuva Star has the same points of articulation as an Av-Toran, hindered by his shoulder armour, and restricted by his pre-bent limbs.
Still, that's not exactly too shabby. Especially in comparison to the original. I had forgotten how terrible the original toa designs were when it came to posing them (probably because we were too busy tearing them apart for MOCs, or banging the masks off of other Toa in my house). And of course, if you don't have Tahu Star, you can always have Takanuva Star wear the gold armour piece.
There's not a whole lot else you can do, after all. Nostalgia aside, this is still just an Av-Toran build. And I was tired of those when they first came out.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Comes with new armour
- Comes with new feet
- Better posability than predecessor
- Uses the original Avohkii
- Recalls the original better than the Mistika Toa did (cough cough)
What's not to like?
- Av-Toran build cannot be disguised
- No gold
- Few new pieces
- Silver Avohkii?
- Part of a disappointing end to a great toy-line
I love that this is Takanuva, and mostly looks like Takanuva. But I cannot deny that this set can be both boring, and disappointing. For the end of BIONICLE, why couldn't we get something more worthwhile? Regardless, Takanuva was a wonderful choice to be represented in the Stars line, no matter how much I wish he was Kopaka Nuva instead (I really, really wish he was Kopaka Nuva instead). He may be worth the purchase just for being Takanuva. That's up to you. He was for me.
So that's two of the last wave of Bionicle sets. Hopefully they've provided you with a good look at these revamps. Keep checking back for more reviews of the Stars and, of course, more Bionicle and LEGO news!
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