Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 at 9:08pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's time for another Bionicle 2016 set review! Today BZPower Blog Leader DeeVee takes a look at 71303 Ikir - Creature of Fire. As one of the smaller sets, it will have to be pretty great to justify a purchase. Will Ikir flap its wings and fly through your window into your collection? Or will it be a lame duck sitting on the shelf? Read on to check out our review and find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box for the 2016 sets is a slightly heavier-duty version of the boxes introduced with the reboot in 2015. Ikir's box is of the Protector-sized variants, and his fiery form is on full display on the front. Across the top is the 2016 BIONICLE header, with the 2015 Mask of Creation replaced by 2016's mystical mask, the Mask of Control. There are some added linear designs around the BIONICLE logo, and they do a nice job of creating a distinction between the 2015 sets and the 2016 ones.
Ikir's pose on the front is a nice one, showcasing the breadth of the wings along with the shadow trap in the bottom corner. Tahu, Ikir's heroic companion, is seen on the right, and the background is a volcanic location with another spinning mask of power on the left.
The back showcases the uniting gimmick, as well as a quick look at Ikir's functions.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Ikir, like most of the small creatures debuting in this winter wave, is a different sort of build. Where 2015 had the Toa sets integrating gear functions with the CCBS builds, here we have the small sets doing so as well. Ikir starts off with the generic small CCBS torso, with some generic (albeit well-designed for bird talons) feet, and then everything else changes. Instead of arms, the ball sockets sit empty, and a gear-function backpack is integrated into the torso via the "piece of unity" that Ikir uses as his main torso connections. Instead of arms, Ikir has two regal wings, and the lever is built to become his tail feathers.
Overall, it's a very interesting build, and quite enjoyable. I'm a fan of well-integrated, well-designed functionality and Technic compatibility, and here I find it integrates into the CCBS build very well.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Ikir has a smaller selection of new parts compared to some of his other creature friends, but that isn't to say his part selection isn't neat!
- The two halves of the shadow trap
- The piece of unity, in gold
- The second-to-smallest CCBS skeleton bone in trans-orange
- The new gear piece in light grey
- A new axle/pinhole connector in light grey
- The beast head in gold/trans-orange
- The new crystal blade in silver/orange
Unlike some of the other creatures, Ikir does not include the new CCBS add-on crystal bit, but that's okay with me.
The shadow trap is the dark titanium metallic ("gunmetal"), and is a very well-designed piece of work. With two half-pin openings on each side, the two pieces come together with a single pin connection when put next to one another. There is an axle in the center which is used with a click-hinge to allow the jaws to open and shut on a ratchet. The pistons used on these parts are well-done and unobtrusive, and the entire piece fits the aesthetic established in 2015 with the Toa, Protectors, and especially the Skull villains perfectly.
The Technic bits will be quite useful and versatile for a wide-swath of builders, I am certain. That little axle/pinhole connector is something I've been eyeing for some time now, and Ikir lovingly includes four of them. This is a piece I've been dreaming of for more than a decade, and I'm so very excited it is now a reality!
The trans-orange bone is a boon, especially considering the wide array of sizes this colour is suddenly available in, when one includes Tahu Uniter. This is the way to do recolours, one colour available in many different pieces. Let's see more of this!
The piece of unity is a piece marred in contention within the community, and as a long proponent of smart texturing and smart visual cues, I've been looking at it warily since the first images surfaced. The dark shadows that become apparent in the CG work are not as obvious in the real world, and that is a good thing. While the piece is a bit more busy than the piston add-ons from 2015 were, it is a lot more manageable in person. The shape is very similar to the Barakki armour from years long gone, but with a more mechanical, perhaps art nouveau meets art deco inspiration. Honestly, it reminds me most of some sort of steampunk/old-timey radio microphone more than it reminds me of anything else. It's not a bad piece, and its use on Ikir is well-done. The biggest oddity is the lack of any ball connections, as it is molded with only pin and axle connections. I'm fond of the CCBS ball and socket connections, but a piece that works in tandem and creates new connection points isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The new blade is a gorgeous mold. The linework on the hilt is very reminiscent of Tahu 2001's fire sword, and the crystal structure for the blade itself is very well done. That said, the part is solid coloured instead of being mixed with a transparent colour, and I can't say I'm a huge fan of the result. The silver shows through in weird places and ways, and the resulting spots create some weird colourations.
The creature head is spread out over all six creature sets, and Ikir includes the part in gold and trans-orange. Wow these colours look alive in person! The gold and trans-orange, both being warm, vibrant colours, work amazingly well together, creating a very powerful and ethereal look. The part has a peg hole in the nose/beak for add-ons, and two bar clips behind the head for more accessories. I like the addition of some small customizable options, it helps each creature remain a little more distinct. And while I can't say I'm a huge fan of its use on all of these sets, this review is about Ikir, and I think it works very well on him.
Across the top the head has a set of runes, the uppermost center reminding me greatly of the Mask of Creation, and the others seem to be the same motif playing off the original Nuva symbols from 2002. I like these. I've said a lot about extraneous detailing in the past, but these feel mythical and on point, like magical runes designed to showcase something beyond comprehension. The molded eye seems half-closed and seems a little dopey, to be honest. The head is indeed hollow on the underside, but on Ikir I find I notice it very little. Because of his build, the head tends to be viewed from above more often than on some of the other sets, and the emptiness of the piece is avoided.
The shadow trap included in this set is very simple, with the single blue eye and the orange legs being the only details added to the basic trap shape. Still, the trap is striking, and the blue eye offsets enough to create a distinct visual presence. I like how it looks, and I like the ratcheting open and shut function. While I preferred the visual look of the skull spiders, I can't help but admit that these are far more functional and playable than the spiders were.
Ikir himself looks fantastic. The small body contrasted with the larger head and the fiery wings is something I'm all about. He looks regal and powerful, and you won't even notice the open balljoints on the torso. The silver on the blades used for the top feathers is mirrored in the talons, and I find the colour spread to work marvelously.
That said, Ikir's gear function might throw some people off visually. It's a very large grey chunk, almost like a back-pack, when viewed from behind or partway from the side. Considering very few folks will probably play or pose the set from behind, it's not a huge concern of mine, but your mileage may vary. It may even be in kilometers!
Ikir is striking. The gold, the orange, and the silver create a very mythical, very Phoenix-inspired motif, and this is DEFINITELY the Creature of Fire!
(I love it)
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?
Ikir has a gear function.
When you pull his tail up or down, his wings flap. This is way more fun than I expected, and I expected it to be fun! The nice part is, however, that even with the wing-flapping function, the wings are attached to balljoints. This means that you can move them independently of the function, or even move the directions the functions create. This is pretty nice!
His talons have a good range of grip, and the shadow trap adds a nice "conflict in a box" for Ikir.
And of course, the combining gimmick with Tahu.... but we'll get to that later.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great colours
- Visually dynamic
- Well-done and fun gear function
- Nice new parts
- Good recolour
- It's a bird!
What's not to like?
- Chunky Technic construction
- Simpler Shadow Trap than other creatures
- Less new parts than other creatures
Honestly, as you can see, there are very few valid reasons not to like Ikir. I think this is the strongest of the creatures, visually, and I'm definitely impressed with it. And it has so much packed into such a small pricepoint!
Now that you're done with the review, head on over to the Talkback to thank DeeVee for putting this together. While you're there, if you have any questions or comments you can share them there as well. We still have a bunch of 2016 Bionicle sets to review, so make sure you keep checking back, right here on BZPower!
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