Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 10:59pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
This is it folks, the last Bionicle set review for the foreseeable future. The canister simply says, 'Piraka,' but you know him as Nektann, the vicious Skakdi. LewaLew takes a look at the last of the Stars sets and shares his thoughts. Read on!
Ah, the Piraka. Aside from being the most fun gang of BIONICLE villains to read about, they were also the only villains to ever totally own the Toa Nuva, and they had some pretty cool sets to boot. Who would've guessed that 2010 would feature the BIONICLE Stars edition of their species in the last wave of sets? Not me, but I'm glad it happened. Not to mention the fact that it also is the only Stars set that is the first set of a character, namely the Zakaz warlord Nektann. Now for the actual review!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
First and foremost, the best thing about these canisters is simply that- they're canisters. The Av-Matoran packaging was never really worth the plastic lids that made it different from the boxes that had been used since then, and I, like several other Stars reviewers, appreciate the change.
As is common with all the BIONICLE Stars, the front of Piraka Nektann's canister features Nektann in a menacing pose, with the "COLLECT THE GOLDEN BIONICLE" advertisement in the lower right corner. In addition, there is the nostalgic golden Kanohi Hau in the background which we have seen in all the BIONICLE Stars ads. I'd like to say that I am very pleased with the design of the label, if only for its similarities to the Infected Hau/Mata Nui and Hau/Krana images that were seen all over advertising in 2001-02. In addition, Nektann's pose isn't too bad either.
The back of the canister, as with all the other Stars, is primarily dominated by an image of Tahu in the Golden Armor, and the obligatory, well-loathed block of legalese. I for one, loathe legales so much, I didn't give it a spot in the photo. Aside from the legalese and Golden Armor Tahu, there is also an image demonstrating Nektann's ability to be placed inside the canister, which, as usual, is much more difficult to do than the canister makes it out to be.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Simple, we've done this before. Just pour out the parts:
And then start building.v
The build's not that much different than the Av-Matoran or Agori. Just one, two, three and you're done.
If you can consider any part of this build difficult, it would be attaching the spine piece, if only for the many complicated spikes that jut all over the Piraka warlord.v
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The set design does pretty well with keeping Nektann from looking like the Av-Matoran and Agori. The selection of big, bulky arms and, of course, the Piraka spine/face make all the difference in this set.
Out of the fifteen pieces LEGO gives us in this set, four are recolors, and two are new, if you count the Golden Armor piece. The recolors are the limbs, which include two Metru Blue Tarduk arms, and two Metru Blue Solek legs.
The only new parts are the face/spine piece, and the Golden Armor, which, according to the legalese-encrusted packaging, is the right shoulder armor. The spine is the main feature, which is a rubbery redesign of the original Piraka spines. Unlike the originals, this has the teeth on it, rather than on the headpiece, and also lacks the tail that the originals had. Another interesting change made to the spine is the way the face connects to the rest of the piece. Unlike the originals, which had a rubber tube running from the back of the head to the rest of the spine, there are two rubber tubes running from the sides of the face to the spine, which has a certain effect on the playability that I'll cover later.
As far as design goes, there isn't much to say. After all, there's only so much the LEGO Company can stick onto those Av-Matoran bodies to make them look like Skakdi. The one thing I do think they should have changed was the torso. Rather than use the Solek/Tanma torso piece, I think Nektann would look more like a Skakdi if his torso was the bulkier Av-Matoran piece seen on Gavla and so forth. Aside from that, Nektann's about as good as it gets for pint-sized Skakdi. The color scheme also works really well, and does a good job of reminding me of the Vezok set from 2006. Plus, the Metru blue and dark gray work really well together.
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?
Here's where the fun starts, especially if you have an '06 Piraka. But first:
This'll hurt you more than it does me...
There really isn't much to do here in the form of fighting, as all the Stars have the pre-bent knees that have been out-of-date since the Rahkshi. His sword/scythe/giant boomerang also gets in the way occasionally.
This is the result of the new face/spine design. Thanks to having two tubes on the side of his face instead of the single tube that the original sets had, the head can actually stay in one position without moving back once your fingers are off. True, thanks to having them on the sides of the head, it limits mobility from side to side, but, hey, the head stays! Another interesting little effect of having the tubes on either side instead of the back of his head is that Nektann can...
CURSE YOU, TAHUUUUU!
Lean back and scowl at the camera! This was impossible to do in the original Piraka, and I must say, I'm pleased with it. Unfortunately, LEGO still hasn't solved the problem of getting a Piraka to look down, so if Nektann is actually tall enough to step on something, he can't look down to see what it is.
Aside from posing, you can have a lot of fun with Nektann, for instance:
It's always annoying when your boss is shorter than you are...
One of Nektann's main attributes is that he's so diminutive, and I find it fun to have this little punk lord over the other Piraka.
Of course, every Stars review must have a comparison to the original. However, Nektann was never released before, so I decided to grab Avak, the only '06 Piraka I own, for comparison.
Obviously, Avak is better than Nektann, since he has a Zamor Sphere Launcher (My personal favorite), his jackhammer/pickaxe/hacksaw thing, and light-up eyes. Nektann also lacks the cross axle through the head that Avak has, so his face flops around helplessly on his Glatorian head.
In actual design, however, they're actually quite similar. The spike/face piece automatically brands him as a Piraka, and he also features the clawed feet that were seen on Hakann, Vezok, and Reidak. From a purely appearance-based aspect, he is clearly a Piraka.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Classic Piraka look
- His head is more poseable than the originals
- Nice gold armor piece
- He's a Skakdi, and a character that's never been in set form to boot
What's not to like?
- Only two new pieces
- While more poseable, his head still has some of the poseability issues that the originals had
- Prebent limbs are fail
- Av-Matoran/Agori build
The Piraka were a legend in '06, and I'm very pleased to see one make a comeback in 2010, however, if you just want to buy it for the set, it's not really worth the eight USD. But for nostalgia's sake, sure, this is a great set, and a great way to send off the BIONICLE set line. And don't forget, if for nothing else, you can always buy it for some short guy to boss the Piraka around.
Jetson, YOU'RE FIRED!
So, I'm not sure what's to become of our reviews now that there's not going to be any more Bionicle sets - you'll have to wait and see. But that's besides the point; I hope you all enjoyed this review and found it informative and useful. Be sure to thank LewaLew for putting it all together and, of course, keep checking back for all the latest Bionicle and LEGO news.
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