Saturday, December 8th, 2007 at 2:17pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Two reviews in two days, how can it possibly be? Well it can, and it is. Today Blog Assistant Nukora brings us a review of one of this year's Titan sets, namely Hydraxon. To see how this behemoth of the deep stacks up, read on!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box, whose purpose it is to catch the attention of possible buyers, does its job well. The Bionicle logo, in the upper left corner, is simply white text here and nothing special as it has been in previous years. Underneath the large text sits the name of the set, 'Hydraxon,' in slightly less plain text, though smaller. The upper left corner advertises Bionicle's website with a simple URL in more of the white text. The lower left corner shows, in several darkened bubbles with white borders, the piece count, set number, age listing, and 'Building Toy' in three languages. The lower right corner is decorated only by Lego's red logo. Finally, inhabiting the blue sea background, inside a faint digital read-out like circle, centered on a light area in the water, is Hydraxon, posed for battle. It should be noted that the silver two-toed Piraka foot on the set's body is here shown slightly different than the part of 2006. Off of Hydraxon's right foot winds a dark line.
The back of the box, lined with the rusty color that covers most of the box's sides, contains several more of the circles, with images such as Voya Nui, Mahri Nui, a hand firing a Cordak launcher, the movement of the fin-like parts represented by the Mahri-Matoran weapon piece, and several ways to arrange and pose the hands, centered around a not very cool pose of Hydraxon. Maxilos & Spinax and Gadunka each have their own circles in the lower areas of the box. The Lego logo, Bionicle.com URL and a Kanoka Club code are also shown on the back. The purpose of this side of the box is to show more of the set to further convince those who were attracted by the front to buy. The pose isn't anything amazing, and I'm not particularly fond of the image. But I guess it does its job alright because I did buy it.
The Back View
The front of the instruction manual shows a similar image to the one featured on the front of the box. The inside shows the building of the set, as well as a background images which you should all be used to as they are the classic instructions background images this year. It should be noted that the two-toed Piraka foot shown in the manual is the one from last year, not the one on the box image. Once the set is complete, a page is dedicated to illustrations of loading and firing the Cordak rockets. Page 42 shows the parts list. The following five pages show flashy advertisements for the other summer Bionicle sets, the Lego club, and more. The back cover shows the typical advertisement for Bionicle.com. Basically the images shown are the standard, but cool, images for this year's instruction manuals.
Advertisement for the Toa Mahri.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Building this set takes no longer than ten minutes. There are no real challenges with this set. The hardest part to build is probably the hands, but they should provide no real trouble. One part on the foot can be tricky to get into where it's supposed to be. The body is a simple build. Nothing too fun here, but the experience overall is alright.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with 165 pieces, making the cost per piece 12 US cents. Of note are the pieces new to this year: the two-toed silver Piraka foot (which is the same build as it has been previously, not as shown on the box), a silver Kalmah armor piece, the face of Hydraxon, Mahri-Nui Matoran weapon, Cordak rockets, Cordak launchers, a three-way plus rod piece with a plus hole in the center, breathing tubes, and Matoro's cutter blades. Also of note: the silver Viking horns, the gunmetal grey playset minifigure arms, and a T bar.
New & Interesting Pieces
This set's color scheme is well-balanced, though some colors could have been removed for a more consistent coloring. The gunmetal grey on the hands are the only pieces of their color, so they stick out some. A few pieces of Metru grey show up at various places, including the upper arm and head. It would appear as if we will never get the Metru head in any other color. Blue friction pins and red rods show up in several areas as well. The eye piece is the only piece that is transparent green.
The feet of this set are fairly standard these days. The only thing that provides a slight escape from simplicity here is the piece between the two socket pieces, which serves to keep the pieces from sliding out and also to hold a Cordak rocket. According to the instructions, the three extra rockets are supposed to go on the hole in the back of each foot, and the other one to go on the plus hole of the previous mentioned piece on the left leg. Doing so, however, limits the articulation of the ankle, and I find it better to insert two of the rockets in the bottom plus hole of the upper arm double sockets, and the other Cordak inside the middle of the launcher.
The lower leg is simply a black Rahkshi leg with a blue pin in the middle hole. I have no idea what purpose this piece serves as it certainly does nothing for the look. The thigh area is actually interesting, though not a whole lot. The seventeen pieces (if you count the four pieces included in the joint support system that was introduced in 2006) connect well, though the back is unarmored. The back of the thigh sticks out too far at the lower end, in my opinion.
The body is also not very complex, as noted above, though it does have its interesting points. Because of the way in which the head is connected to the torso, the set is unsymmetrical. The entire body is covered with tubes coming and going from various areas. Two three-length pins near the top of the body appear useless at first, but after examination it is revealed that their purpose is to keep the Piraka foot from slipping down and off the body. It would have been nice if these could have been covered more, but there is no room to do so. The two Mahri Nui Matoran weapon pieces are moveable, apparently meant to be either a weapon or a fin.
The Body, showing the unsymmetrical part.
The arms are made interesting by a few facts. First, the shoulder armor is a Nuparu Inika foot. The way in which it was connected isn't the best, though. A few of the many weapons included in this set, Matoro Mahri's cutters are located behind the shoulder, causing them to stick out three units beyond the end of the double joint. This makes perfect room for the Cordak to fit on the back of the lower plus hole. Once again, the two sides of this model aren't identical. One Vahki leg piece, which is the lower arm, is faced one way, while the other is faced the opposite way. It would appear that the weapons could have still been connected if both of the arms had faced the way the right arm does, but a closer look reveals that it can't be done with just be a simple flip and rearranging of a few pieces.
The way in which the weapons connect is different on each arm. Neither weapon is held, or even meant to appear as if it was held, by the hands. Both are connected to the lower arm in their own ways. The idea of having weapons on each arm and the hands still free is good, but the way in which it was done for this set isn't the greatest, especially for the left hand, which will sometimes not be able to pose quite right because of the trident weapon. I would have preferred the Cordak launcher above the arm (in which case both Vahki leg pieces could have been as the left arm) instead of below, because it looks odd below. Moving it above the arm restricts the elbow a great deal, unless it is tipped to one side or other.
The Two arms, showing the weapon connections. The trident connects to the arm shown on the left; the Cordak launcher connects to the arm shown on the right.
The hands are a great deal better than Axonn's. I like 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?
You've all heard about the Cordak launchers, their troubles and their advantages. After having thought I had mastered them, being to the point where I could launch all six within one to two seconds, I got this set. The Cordak is now having problems described in earlier reviews. My conclusion is that the launchers take some breaking in.
Capturing a Barraki
This set has its problems posing, but they are limited. The breathing tubes connect to the head, which are connected so loosely they aren't the source of many head posing problems. The head cannot, however, spin all the way around without one such tube popping out. The fins/weapons on the back, due to the way they are connected, can not lay against his back, but only point up or strait back. Other than that the only problem I've encountered with limited posing is the ankle problem when the Cordak rockets are positioned in that area. Limited posing is not the only problem, however. The hips and shoulders can be weak, and ruin poses by slipping. In some poses, balance plays a larger role than it should in the set staying upright.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great hand build.
- Cordak is fun to fire once it has become easier and you've gotten the hang of it.
- Extra Cordak in case you loose any, which is very possible.
- Several new and useful pieces.
What's not to like?
- Posing is sometimes difficult.
- Price could be a problem for some.
- There aren't as many pieces as there have been in the past.
- Shoulder armor isn't the best.
- Set isn't symmetrical, which could bother some people.
As you can see the pros and cons here are pretty even in number. This simple list hardly expresses all my thoughts on the set (that's why there's the full review), but I'd have to say my view of the set is pretty even as well. A few great poses can be made, the pieces are great for MOCing, and the cons aren't major issues. I'd say that overall, the pros outweigh the cons, mostly because of those hands.
Hand of Desolation
As always, be sure to thank Nukora for taking the time to write this review. There's less than a month left in 2007, but still plenty of time for more set reviews. Keep checking back as we wrap up our 2007 reviews, and maybe even provide a sneak peak at some of the 2008 sets!
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