Friday, December 7th, 2007 at 5:07pm by Robert, BZPower Reporter
Rock on with the Toa of Stone
With time ticking and my back to the wall, I once again ventured into the depths of the Black Sea to review yet another character--this time it's the unlikely submariner Toa Hewkii Mahri--is he up the task of being bought and built? Find out!
Plunged (literally) into a new threat, Toa Hewkii is changed into a more powerful foe...but first he must confront his worst fear. SWIMMING!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Well, as Everyone has said previously to me, these are not the canisters of yesteryear. Nay, these are some sort of strange future-canister, a bizarre blend of Form and function—or some other such mumbo-jumbo.
This new canister is composed of two pieces, which are very different from the standard twisty-poppy-openy canisters which have come before. The entire outer frame is moulded in the primary colour of its respective Toa—in this case, it’s a nice bright Keetorange.
This outer bit is actually rather cool, all sorts of bevels, lines, angles, tubes, raised edges and mini-platforms. In fact, if you wanted to paint it, I bet it’d look great. Plus it has holes for standard pins, as well as smaller holes for either Mahri tubes, Viking horns, or Cordak Ammo.
Unfortunately the other component is nowhere near as cool as the first—it’s basically a standard blister pack, like you’d find on any action figure. I mean, sure, the CGI picture of Hewkii looks rather cool (the pose is fairly bland, but the darkening of the colours make his colour scheme look far better than it is, plus the silver looks shinier. In fact his knees are like Spinax all over again)
The word MAHRI is obviously meant to be key here, eclipsing both Toa Hewkii’s name and the header of BIONICLE, and when put into context with the outer shell draws even more attention. I must say, though, the standard information of ages, piece count, and set number has been spiced up and looks really cool now. Simple but effective, I like it. A rather neat thing that can only be found by removing the outer framework is on the bottom of the cardboard insert (on which the CGI picture rests) you can find the edge of the Mahri circle with a hexagonal pattern overlayed on top, and juxtaposed on this is a rather nice gradient between black and green, which really brings to mind the “Black Water” of the pit. Graphically this is some of the coolest artwork, with lots of small stuff thrown in.
The back is in high contrast with the rest, being done in nice light shades of blue. The most prominent feature here is the semicircle within a circle—that being the Mahri circle with a semicircle showing off one way to use the outer frame (And a rather funny way, in my opinion) how to shoot the Cordak blaster, the rest of the Toa Mahri, and the standard images of Voya Nui, Mahri Nui, and the cord. In the very center of this is another Mahri circle with Hewkii—in a rather unflattering pose.
Take close note of the pictures here, as the canister opens differently it’s now far easier for thievery to occur—and far easier for you to notice. Here’s a hint, if it looks anything like the backing in that picture, don’t pick it up!
And now the manual which will instruct us through the rest of this process, and pay attention, there will be a test on this later.
Honestly, I am absolutely impressed, whoever LEGO’s graphic designer is they cannot be paid enough for the work they did on these manuals. Completely disregarding the actual image of the set. (‘cause who buys these for the sets? Plus his Cordak blaster is mounted wrong on this and the blister packed image) the graphic work done on this is amazing, the overlayed image of the Mahri circle (Actually rather clearly visible this time), the bubbles caused by Hewkii’s breathing, movement, and firing Cordak, and the overall muted colours—heck, the green-yellow gradient at the bottom actually looks like sand being stirred up underwater. REALLY COOL (excuse me while I have a graphic designer geek out) My one minor niggle here is that the hexagonal pattern doesn’t really fit in, but it’s used sparingly, so it’s not really a problem. The gradient from blue to green is really neat, though. (Okay, no more talking about the design, promise)
Just like all the other instructions of this year, the inside has the alternating images of Mahri Nui in Duotone, and the airbubbles, the standard “Please don’t shoot people in the eyes with Cordak Blasters”, the standard “Here’s how to shoot Cordak Blasters, but still no eyes, please” the standard piece inventory, and two cross-sell pages. One for the Barraki, and the other for the rest of the Mahri. YAY
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Wellllll, it’s a canister set, and we all know what that means. Ten minutes is absolute TOPS (Unless you’re in the middle of heart surgery as you’re building, and if you’re in the middle of heart surgery please don’t build Toa Hewkii). Here’s your basic breakdown.
1. Put his hips on his body.
2. Put his legs on his hips
3. Put his spikey death guards on his legs
4. Put his arms on his shoulders
5. Put those cool Cordak holder thingees on his arms
6. Put his Cordak on his….stump?
7. Put the blades on his arm as well
8. Don’t forget the chains
9. Put his head on
10. Put his mask on
Really, that’s it…and that’s acting like any of those will actually be interesting. This is an incredibly easy set to build, although the shoulder blades and stump-Cordak do have some interesting connection points. Unfortunately it’s mostly same-old, same-old.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
I’m of two minds here—Hewkii looks both cool and uncool—the colours don’t mesh at all well and that instantly creates a visual dissonance (never a pleasant thing) It really needs to decide what it wants to be, as right now it’s trapped in a limbo of Yellow/Black fighting for dominance, and then silver thrown in for some reason—not to mention the bits of red. Honestly, at times I find it rather painful to look at Hewkii, because his colour scheme just doesn’t work. (in my humble opinion)
While overall his appearance is very dynamic, with all sorts of blades and edges—once you take a closer look his flaws become more and more apparent. To begin with, the mouth covering doesn’t really cover much, and actually looks rather awkward, moving downwards we have the obvious hips-in-front problem (Seen with others, such as Kalmah—it didn’t look very good there either.) But from there the problems just continue to add up, with two incredibly disproportionate arms leading him to look far more primitive and ape-like than he should. However I will say that those shoulder Cordak holsters just plain look cool, and give the impression of a warrior—unfortunately it simply doesn’t mesh with the rest of the set.
The chains, which could be incredibly awesome are attached rather ineffectively, and so you have a Toa with chains he can trip over—not exactly something you want underwater—or anywhere else…ever.
But it continues, being completely lacking in a right hand, and instead having a large unwieldy cannon in its place doesn’t help the set with its problems (plus imagine how sore his back must be from carrying that thing!) and the gap between the arm and the Cordak blaster looks incredibly awkward.
But wait, there’s more! On top of longer than usual arms, he also has shorter than usual legs, which makes him look even more disproportionate and awkward. Another personal issue are those mace pieces, while cool looking pieces, they just don’t work as kneepads—plus they muddle up that colour scheme. (as mentioned above.) Finally we have that breathing tube, which looks absolutely fine from the front—but turn him to the side and you just have this weird looking tube thing sticking out of his back for some reason. It just plain doesn’t look good.
Overall appearance-wise, he has cool bits, like his angles and ridges (and especially that ‘mask’ he comes with. Unfortunately the flaws eclipse what cool pieces there are. And don’t even get me started on what he looks like without his mask on.
As for new and interesting pieces, Hewkii comes with quite a few of both!
Two black Inika spike-feet
Two red Takadox spikes
Two silver mace halves
Two Metru grey System chains
Two keetorange double hipjoints
One keetorange Piraka body
One keetorange Piraka weapon arm
The new pieces however, are much more notable.
We’ve all gone over the tired Cordak Blaster thoughts—so I’ll spare some mercy on you and tell you to check Maxilos, or Jaller, or Matoro for thoughts on this unwieldy cannon.
Next on the list is what I call the mini-warblade (or shoulder blade, haha, bad joke!) This is the same blade that came with Sarda and Idris from the Karzahni set, and man does it look cool. Vaguely evocative of Takadox’s mantis-like blades, this is far, far thinner but with all sorts of interesting details. The prominent shape here is an incredibly thin and narrow blade being overlapped and reinforced by the framework (the only problem of course being those duller areas which move onto the blade). It’s rather hard to describe, but man does it look like a wicked blade. Plus it has connection points for both pins and Viking horns! Bonus!
Moving onto the big-daddy (Or mommy) warblade…well, it’s just plain cool. Designed very similar to the mini-warblade it has the same general motif—that being a smaller, thinner blade reinforced by the outer frame of the blade, but naturally, this one’s bigger. With all sorts of incredibly detail, including pistons, ridges, and even the ‘ridges’ which overlap onto the blade, this thing just looks deadly and cool. Plus it has multiple attachment points! Five for Pins, three for sockets, and four for Viking horns! Both of these blades really manage to feel aquatic—despite the fact they’d never be practical underwater. Ever.
And the piece that’s been inciting riots since we first got a glimpse at it…the Kanohi Garai, the mask of gravity. What’s it like?
Well, in short, it’s not really like a Kanohi at all. Obviously this mask attaches like a Piraka spine (as is obvious from the images), but there’s more to it than that. Everything about this mask is like an organic face coated in angles—it looks neither natural, nor carved, it’s rather interesting that way. But don’t get me wrong, just because it doesn’t really look like a Kanohi doesn’t mean it’s not cool! There are angles and ridges galore on this piece, which leads to an incredibly dynamic look. Additionally the ‘face’ is very prominent and stern, which makes it look rather cool on a Toa (Or Piraka) head. Penultimately it is one of the many pieces to undergo the colour-merge process, which looks incredibly cool (it’ll probably be a hastle for MOCers, though), and finally this again has multiple connection points. A single point for an axle and four separate points for Viking horns (including two right where Brutaka had them)
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?
This is where the noble Toa of Stone runs into serious problems. With the removal of any ‘gimmicks’ (minus the Cordak blaster) the only playability we get from the new Toa is poseability—unfortunately for Hewkii the way he’s built restricts that incredibly. Trying to move his head causes the breathing tube to detach (and your Toa to drown…uh oh.) His disproportionate arms and legs makes it incredibly difficult to get him into cool poses-as do the shoulder blades, as incredibly cool as they look, they also heavily restrict movement on that arm. The Cordak Blaster, while cool looking to some (and incredibly awkward to me) is also ridiculously heavy, making some poses with it a genuine impossibility, as the arm joint simple won’t hold. Unfortunately the cool looking chains also cause a problem in this regard—I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone to get Hewkii into a semi-cool looking pose and the chains have tangled around something on him, wrapping up a limb and making it a pain to move him around. Unfortunately one of my favourite things also fell flat here…the Cordak shoulder holsters, while cool in theory (And they do look cool) Also don’t work—at all. Trying to pull out a Cordak will detach both the Cordak and the light grey pin—which you then have to attempt to detach from said Cordak. Good luck.
As for the Cordak Blaster, it’s more of the same—unfortunately my magic-fix for MAXILOS seems to be dumb luck more than anything, as Hewkii’s frequently jams.
However theere are some interesting things you can do with that 'canister' of his--while not exactly play value it's something cool, and I had no idea where else to put this. First off: you can use it like a frame around your Toa--which actually looks quite striking. Secondly: you can actually paint it (as mentioned above) and use it as a the frame for a halloween mask.
Honestly, I’m disappointed. There’s really not much play value here without some serious modifications.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, once again I’ve said both the good and the bad, praised the interesting bits, and pointed out the flaws—so where does Toa Hewkii stand in my eyes?
Not in a very good place—while there’s some interesting things about him, his lack of play value and incredibly awkward appearance just cause me to say pass him over. Unless you’re really desperate for some more Keetorange (Who could blame you?) want that cool looking mask (again, who could blame you?), or the blades he comes with (Blame You Who could?) I’d say leave this guy on the shelf, he is an overall disappointment.
Despite only being $9.99 USD and $12.99 CAD he simply doesn’t live up to price-to-quality expectations (At least on my end) He’s got good pieces, but that’s it—so If you’re just looking for pieces, feel free to pick him up, but for a set I’d say nooooooo.
Overall Hewkii had possibility that was ultimately squandered, resulting in a set that I simply cannot recommend. ONLY pick it up if you’re an absolute diehard or desperate for those pieces. In my eyes he’s simply not worth the price.
That mask is rather cool, in my opinion
Best Cordak holsters of all the Mahri
Black Inika-spike feet, 'nuff said
The warblade is a rather cool looking weapon
More System chains are never bad
Shoulder blades also look reather cool
More Keetorange is always good.
He does come with rather good pieces, pieces which can make a far better Toa Hewkii.
What's to like?
That darn tube keeps disconnecting from his mouth
Proportions. This is just way too disproportionate
The lack of a lower part on the mask might bug some people
The lack of a right hand--poor guy.
Colour balancing is a nightmare, a painful eye-gouging nightmare
Those mace halves look really awkward as hip armor
The tube just kinda sticks awkwardly out of his back
Shoulder blades lead to reduced posability, a dissapointment
Next to impossible to pull the cordak ammo from his shoulder holsters
The chains impede his movement heavily
Hips in front of body looks owchy
What's not to like?
For Halloween, I'll go as Mahri Box!
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