Saturday, October 13th, 2007 at 3:03pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It appears as though it's that time again. For those of you who read my blog (all five of you ;-) ) you knew there was a set review coming this weekend. Today we have a detailed look at Toa Mahri Kongu, written by BZPower Staff Member Nukora. It would have been posted a while ago, but got lost in the tubes of the Internet until now. So quick, make up for lost time and read it now!
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, which is really what it should be called as it is far from a canister, will catch your eye with a large picture of Toa Mahri Kongu. Partially covered by his head on the upper part of the canister...er, box...are "BIONICLE," "MAHRI," and "TOA KONGU," on three separate lines, with "MAHRI" being the largest in size. In the lower left corner of the box is the usual age limit, set number, piece count, "Building Toy" in three different languages and the Bionicle.com URL. To the right of these sits the LEGO logo.
On the back of the box, above the cautions and manufacturing information, is a circle of images centered around a picture of Kongu. The pictures around the Toa of Air are: Voya Nui and part of the Stone Chord, Mahri Nui and the other part, a close-up of Mahri-Nui showing the air bubbles, the five other Toa Mahri, a visual of how to fire the Cordak Blaster, and a picture of Kongu kneeling down inside the plastic lid of the box.
The back of the packaging before opening.
An almost duplicate of the image featured on the front of the box is also printed on the instructions manual cover. The instructions show the set being built, starting with the body and moving on to the legs as usual. In these instructions, the head is built before the arms. The background image on the instructions alternates between a faded graphic of Mahri-Nui's air bubbles and air bubbles floating up to the surface. As with most recent sets, the page immediately following the instructions shows the piece count, which is good, in my opinion. A small ad for the Barraki follows, which in turn is followed by an ad for the playsets. An ad for Bionicle.com and the Lego club cover the following three pages. Finally, an ad for the other Toa Mahri completes this booklet on the back cover. It would appear that no ads for the titans are featured, for what reason I don't know.
The graphics on this box and instructions are amazing. I think Lego really worked hard on these, especially the circular scroll on the back of the box.
The playsets advertisement.
Though the cardboard on back has a small perforated tab, this doesn't help the box out any. This basically has to be ripped off. There is only one alternative to ripping. I used a knife to cut an opening in the box, which worked out much better, though was difficult.
The contents, after cutting the box.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The building of this set is rather easy. Lately, canister sets have been getting slightly more complicated, which is good news, in my opinion. I've had to get the instructions out for all of my Barraki, though usually only for small matters. With Kongu, as always, I took on the challenge of building the set instruction-less. I had the advantages of studying pictures, so it was no surprise that I achieved this. I will say, however, that if I hadn't seen BZPower's ToyFair picture of Kongu's head, I would not have been able to build that part of this set. While it is still fun to build, it is not very challenging.
Built up to where the torso is added.
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 contains twenty-three pieces not seen before this year. Sixteen of these are Cordak Rockets, two are Cordak Blasters, and the other five are: the breathing tube, Kanohi Zatth, eyepiece, and main body piece. There is nothing too incredible about the Mask of Summoning. It looks much less like a Miru on the actual set than in pictures. Fans that didn't like how the Toa Inika masks connected will be glad to hear that at least this Toa Mahri's mask is connected by a classic Metru plus rod connection. The mask gets a little bulky on the bottom, to allow the breathing tubes to connect. The eye piece is basically a Toa Metru eye piece, cut off where the Metru head ends, and with a plus rod hole on the flat side. The body is where it gets interesting. Unlike previous humanoid sets, this body is not made of one large piece with ball joints for the shoulders. There are no ball joints on the entire piece, but rather holes to attach pieces to. The Hordika lower arm piece fits nicely on to these to create the shoulders.
Not much can be said for the arms and legs. They are classic canister set limbs, with an armor-covered double-socket piece connected to a double-ball piece with feet and hands at the end of these. The body is almost a standard build, but varies a little as mentioned above. I like that they're going away from the one-piece torso in this set by connecting the Hordika lower arms to the main torso piece. Also connected to that piece is the hip joint, as usual. A little Toa Metru "gear guard" is connected onto that for a little armor. The head is the annoying part. Because of its length and proximity to the body, Kongu cannot look up at all; only sidewise and down. I was, however, able to fix this using only the included pieces and a blue friction axle-pin. A slight problem with the head is that because of the system piece connected to the eyes, light cannot shine through the eyes. It takes the glow away, which I liked. I also would have preferred a shorter breathing tube to the one that was used, but this would have meant that Lego would have had to make a new piece for it.
Fixing the body with a blue friction axle-pin.
Although some would argue that the "gear guard" piece would have worked better on the front of the body, I disagree. I tried that out, and it doesn't look all that great. It also forced the legs to bend out more. Others say that it was unneeded, but I personally think it was necessary to fill that gap between the torso and hip. The hip can be moved up to fill the gap by itself, but it would have made Kongu shorter, which I don't think would have been good.
Gear guard on front of body.
The color flows nicely on this set. Green is the main color, being the classic air representative. The secondary color, which there is a lot of on this set, is Metru grey. I admit that a lighter shade of green would have represented the set's element better, but I don't think it would have worked better as it has with Ehlek and Lesovikk. Light green also tends to break. The lower arms and legs would have fit better in the primary color, in which case, a secondary color of Metru grey isn't so bad, as seen with the Toa Metru. Perhaps the grey was present to make up for the Cordak Blaster's color, which is red, silver, and grey. Silver isn't all that balanced, but it doesn't seem out of place. Red is only present elsewhere on the set in the Cordak Rockets, and the 2-length plus rods. Red looks extremely out of place. Green may have been better, for the Cordak Blasters and Rockets, but apparently Lego is making these pieces in only those colors.
There are sixteen Cordak rockets packaged with this set. The four on the back of the arms stand out, and though I haven�t had problems, may fall out. Two of these can be placed in a small hole at the center of the Blaster, which holds them in tighter, solving part of the problem. The other two must remain on the arm, or be connected to more convenient locations using pieces not included in the set.
It could be worse.
Many people do not like the fact that Kongu's primary weapons are Cordak Blasters. They say that just launchers are bad, and he needs a better weapon for fighting up-close. The way I see it, he carries two Cordak Blasters for the same reason the military uses guns and not swords. If the enemy can't get to you, melee weapons don't mean a thing. A nice thing about the build of the Cordak Blasters, is that the piece contains an arrow on the side that the Rockets fire from.
Another point I considered a main plus, was the fact that the box has a few holes that can be used to build on. I can't see many uses for the piece, but I'm glad to see the return of set-compatible canisters/boxes. If you're into playing with the sets, it could also be used for the crater or opening of an undersea volcano, considering its shape.
The plastic part of the box.
There are no unused pieces with this set, which isn't really a problem for me, but could be for others.
As you'll see, this Toa of Air has shrunk considerably since his Inika days on Voya-Nui.
�Do I know you, tall guy?�
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?
As mentioned in a previous review, the Cordak Launchers don't work that well. I was expecting a press-and-fire semi-automatic. You have to be sure that the red button is pressed all the way, past the part that has a little more resistance. This is to revolve it. One must also move fast in order to fire this new projectile, as, I believe, the rockets are fired using the air forced rapidly into the chamber. Also, because of this inconsistency, sometimes you'll have to rotate several times before all six rockets fire. The red button also gets stuck in part way on occasion. This is a problem for Kongu, because they are his only weapons.
A main drawback, as mentioned earlier, with this set, is that the head will not face up. It can be fixed with an extra friction pin-axle or a friction pin, but if you don�t have one, swimming poses are impossible, unless you'd like him to be looking at the ocean floor while swimming. I have nothing else to say about pose-ability, except that the elbows can't be bent less than ninety degrees.
�I hope I don�t run into anything.�
I played around with this set underwater for a few minutes. One problem with it is that after the water level rose to Kongu's shoulders, he started floating on his back. He would not stay under the water unless I hooked his hand around something. Perhaps with more pressure and deeper waters it would have stayed. The Cordak Blasters, however, work wonderfully underwater. Though they too float, they seemed to fire more consistently. Mine hold an underwater record of six inches. The short distance aside, I found a few tricks to help them fire differently and better.
- If one submerges the Blaster, and fires six times while underwater to empty the chambers of air, it will sink. It will also fire water up to seven times if fired rapidly above the surface, though the first shot is always best; the others are mere sprays.
- The Cordak Blaster can be made to shoot better and more consistently by using water as well. Again, submerge the launcher and empty the chambers. While still underwater, load all six Rockets. When above the surface, they will fire both water and Cordak, but the rockets will fire almost every time, and with a slight touch. I've pressed the red button twenty percent of the way in and made the rockets fire, but because it wasn't all the way in, it didn't revolve.
�Uh guys. This could be a problem.�
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- If you like Cordak Blasters, this is the set for you.
- The body design takes a step away from one-piece torsos.
- Canister is set-compatible, and can be used for building on.
- Extra Cordak in case you loose any, which is likely.
- Four new pieces, not including Cordak and Launchers.
What's not to like?
- Cordak are somewhat hard to fire, though much easier than the squid.
- Arms and legs are the typical humanoid canister set limbs, with no new pieces.
- Price may be a difficulty for some.
Inspired by the back-of-the-box artwork.
Shoulder-mounted Cordak Blasters.
The pros, which there are more of, outweigh the cons by far. Definitely try to get this set, despite the high price. Of course, this is all my opinion; yours may be different.
Thanks go out to Nukora for writing the review and eventually asking me why it hadn't been posted yet. Hopefully you all enjoyed; if you did, let us know, and be sure to thank the reviewer too! Each time we post one of these, we come closer to wrapping up our 2007 set reviews. Keep checking back to see who's next on the list!
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