Tuesday, December 26th, 2006 at 5:43pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
With Christmas just past, I'm sure many members' pockets are burning with money and they're looking for something to buy. So, if you didn't already get some, the new 2007 sets might be something to look into. To that end, Reference Guru Pekel has provided us a review of Pridak, one of the new Barraki sets. So read on to see if it's worth spending your Christmas cash (or you can insert your own appropriate holiday).
Before 2007 my brother and I decided that enough was enough – we were both getting busier, with less free time and space, so no more buying the entire series of clones Lego was inevitably going to put out. Yes it had been a way of life for us for the past 5-6 years, but we were finally sick of the clones. Then Lego decided to release the Barraki. We caved in and got all six, and, in all honesty, can’t bring ourselves to regret it a bit. So here’s Pridak – enjoy!
The the most superficial part of any LEGO product, but the one that often determines whether or not the set is a success or failure.
The Barraki canisters are very interestingly designed. Like the Rahkshi canisters of 2003 they open at the bottom and feature a translucent main piece. Unlike the Rahkshi, however, the stickers are not designed to peel away easily to display the stored set (a bit of baby oil and elbow grease will let you get the stickers off, however, if you do wish to have an unobstructed view of the set inside).
The main canister image is obviously of Pridak. I can’t quite figure out what the pose is about… his feet are flat on the ground, he’s turned a bit towards the viewer, and his big eyes and round mouth make him look a bit surprised. Perhaps Takadox just popped out of a cave, causing Pridak to turn in surprise and accidentally set off his squid launcher? We may never know, but it’s Lego. Use your imagination. Also, please ignore the fact that my Pridak was obviously opened before the shot was taken. It was opened about 30 seconds after landing in my hands, so don’t take it personally. Consider it a warning: if the Pridak canister in the store looks like the one below, don’t buy it.
Anyhow, this dynamic image rests above a sculpted “rocky seafloor” of subtly blended white plastic. The blue canister sides feature fissures and bubbles. On the back is a clearer picture of the set at hand surrounded by a display of the squid launcher action feature, Pridak sliding into or out of his canister (fun fact: disassembly IS required to fit him in canister), the other five Barraki, and the standard Lego logo and warnings.
Overall a very eye-catching canister and – if the stickers are removed – an attractive display piece.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
So you've bought it and taken it home (or at least made it to the car), punched the perforated tabs and dump out the contents. What do you get for your money?
The canister spills out 47 marvelously bouncy pieces (keep the bouncy part in mind when deciding where to empty out your new canister) and an instruction booklet.
Interestingly enough, the Pridak on the cover of the instructions has red eyes. Perhaps this was an earlier design for Pridak, or simply a coloring error that wasn’t corrected for the cover.
Here's where we start to cut to the heart of the matter. You didn't buy this box for all the glossy booklets & creative artwork. You want to know about the LEGO bricks & bits that are included, and what (if any) new & interesting parts you'll find inside. Here's also where I'll talk about any new and/or interesting pieces that you will encounter.
Looking over Pridak’s parts I had quite a few pleasant surprises. I tend to avoid photographs of canister sets before I get them myself, as I find it lessens the excitement, but ignore that and keep reading! Pridak has three of the large red and white blades, and the Mahri Nui Matoran blades are white. Overall the black, red, and white makes for a very striking pile of parts.
New molds for this set are the large blades, face, eyes, mandibles, squid, squid launcher, and feet. That’s seven new molds (excluding the blades from the Mahri Nui Matoran). The re-colored new parts are the white Matoran blades and white double-sockets. The white double sockets in particular will be very useful for MOCing.
My Pridak came with two of his large blades blended slightly differently from the third (which has a more solid red coloration on the short end and a red tip on the middle point). This makes me wonder how much the face coloration varies. The face I received was very red – much more so than the canister picture – and I’d actually prefer a bit more white showing.
The squid are interesting parts. Much more rubbery than the Krana and Kraata, they’re jellylike and translucent. Within my three Barraki I found a spectrum of colors from pure yellow to deep orange (note that Pridak and the other Barraki include only two squid each, though the colors included are most likely random blends).
What can you expect while putting this model together?
Pridak was an easy and fun build. The torso construction had more going on than massive armor plates snapping to a back, which was a nice change from the Inika. Pridak also has something which I believe is entirely new to canister sets – waist articulation!
The mandibles are also great parts – MOCers note the three different connection points at the base. This gives a lot of flexibility to the use of the piece.
The headpiece snaps into the two open holes in the mandibles. Soon after, Pridak’s complete.
So you've got the model together, but is it more like playing with a block of wood or an interactive toy?
The final result is interesting. The “double-elbow” look as a result of the Toa Nuva legs used in the forearm construction can be alleviated by tucking the upper arms back. The massive feet look almost like skis, but this near-goofiness is offset by Pridak’s red-tinted maw and blades. The color scheme is simple and striking, and overall Pridak looks very remarkable. The look can be further improved by removing the squid or replacing them with blue ones from the squid ammo packs.
Pridak’s soft mandibles can be pinched together to mimic biting. He’s got waist articulation and 14 total points of articulation. Overall a neat looking set, with a promising action feature.
And if you have a hard time imagining Pridak being too comfortable in water, you can always contort him into a more shark-like shape.
The Barraki’s squid launchers work by wedging the bulbous head of a jellyfish-like “squid” into the launcher, pulling back, and then releasing. Once this action feature is tried out, however, it can prove to be just a bit annoying. At first I thought that because I was too old (two years above the 7-16 age range declared on the front of the canister) I was doomed in my every attempt to fly my rubber squid through the air in the dignified fashion they so deserved. They always shot almost straight down or popped out before I was done pulling back on them. After a bit of experimentation, however, I found the reason for this. The instructions show the firer pulling the squid’s tail straight back. To get them to shoot properly, however, you must lift the tail a bit above your wrist. It takes some experimentation to get the hang of.
The squid also seem tricky (though certainly not impossible!) to integrate into MOCs, so I’m afraid this latest action feature comes off overall as being a bit of a let-down.
Here's where it all boils down to whether the model is worth your money and time or not.
Overall I’m very happy with Pridak. His original construction and interesting new parts make him worth his money. Some of the “specialized” pieces – like the face and feet – would work very well on MOCs if used creatively. The Barraki addressed all of my major concerns about the Bionicle canister sets: they were clones, they seemed to be getting larger and larger, and in the storyline they were getting too many powers (look at the Piraka!). If you can overlook the terrible squid launcher, Pridak is a worthy purchase. He’s also a viciously worthy leader of the Barraki, as the storyline buffs know!
There you have it, the first of many 2007 set reviews to come. I won't make any promises this time around, but we'll do our best to review as many sets as possible. Be sure to thank Pekel for taking the time to review the set instead of playing with it over the holiday. Keep watching to find out more about the 2007 sets!
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