Saturday, March 8th, 2008 at 10:54pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: ToM Dracone]
Today we wrap up the reviews of the early 2008 canister sets. Our ace reviewer and Forum Assistant ToM Dracone has gone out an reviewed Makuta Antroz in all his terrifying glory. Read on to see his thoughts on the set and decide whether or not it's right for you.
So here we go again, with the last of the Phantoka, Antroz. Commander of the forces of the Brotherhood of Makuta in Karda Nui. You've heard all about the canisters from my dear colleagues, so I'll hit this first section quickly...
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
It really does look like a melted Mahri canister. It's also bright red, which is certainly eyecatching, but it makes one wish that Antroz himself (and dare I suggest Tahu Mistika?) were that color, instead of dark red.
One thing I do wish were that the frame-thing had some Technic connection points of some sort. As it is, the only thing the box suggests to do with it is to make this odd cave for Antroz to stand in, which looks a bit silly.
Still, at least there's a canister of some sort under there...
Demonstrating the Tridax pod dropping, displaying Antroz behind his cave, and reminding us for the dozenth time that Radiak can ride on his back. And the cautionary tales. Yatta yatta yatta.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Here it starts to get interesting.
Although, it's only marginally interesting. If you don't have Vamprah, Chirox, Mutran, or Icarax, then the ribcage-Tridax pod assembly might provide a spark of interest, but on the whole he's not much different from your standad humanoid canister set from the past... let's see... two years. Wings are good, though.
You can, if you really want to, plug the L-shaped beam that Radiak attaches to into his posterior, but unless you have Radiak around you might just want to leave it off. It looks very strange just sitting there with no Matoran on it. And the whole connection is awkwardly placed, anyway. I'm not sure why Radiak and company can't just attach directly to the Makuta's backs like Tanma and Co. do, perhaps using that row of three pin holes right under the Tridax pod "launcher." It would look far more natural.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Antroz has 53 pieces total, among them an effective blend of old and new. He's much like the Barraki in this way � despite using so many old pieces in old colors (joints, Piraka legs, armor, feet), the Tridax torso and his wings serve to tie all that old stuff together into a new overall look. And the result is mostly good.
Above, the new pieces: wings, Tridax assembly, little mutant Kraata, the Kanohi Jutlin, and his hook-claw-things. The torso piece is absolutely enormous, possibly the biggest Bionicle piece to date in terms of sheer volume (if you ignore the playsets' giant Kanohi). I'd rather have had something made of two pieces that one could assemble, which would leave each piece smaller and more MOC-able.
Aaand, of course, the redesigned socket pieces. The new ones are on the left of each set. As far as I can tell, they've been reworked to be less likely to snap. Which is a good thing. But in my experience (both in Antroz and Chirox), the redesign also causes them to be less tight, so, for example, Antroz sometimes slides out of a pose because his leg joints aren't strong enough. However, that's really only a slight annoyance rather than a glaring flaw.
His wings are nice pieces, but very long for their not very broad width. I'd like to see more webbed surface area so that they look more realistic, and thereby cooler when posed.
And when you couple his wings with his mask, Antroz's overall look is really that of a dragon, contrasted with Chirox and Vamprah's battyness. Which is awesome, just because. He's a dragon. You don't need more reason than that. It's mainly the teeth that do it in the mask, and the whole bulk and spikiness of is much more draconic than bat-like.
Also interesting to note is that it has both an actual, open mouth and an axle-based connection.
Although some have complained about all these blended pieces, I don't think Antroz's wings and mask are bad. They both look good by themselves and also provide a couple more dark red-black pieces to augment those from Kalmah last year.
His biggest flaw is that he's simply very, and awkwardly, thin. His waist, for example, is just ridiculous � it's only a stud wide, which does not work when his chest is huge and bulky, and even has the wings on top of it � making his width go rather suddenly from a single stud to a couple dozen.
Then there's also the fact he looks like parts of him were squeezed and stretched out, but the rest left bulky. Again with his waist, and then also his elbows and knees, because the Piraka leg is really thin there. It's possible to balance thin and bulky for a scary look, but Antroz's design doesn't. It makes him look awkward more than anything else, really.
What would have been good would be adding a Metru chest plate to his waist, like Chirox has. That would solve the waist problem, which is the biggest issue.
His proportions, too, leave a lot to be desired. As with every set these days, his arms are as long as his legs. (In fact, the two are built exactly the same.) The real problem is his body, which is just too long, makes his legs look short, and looks even worse because of the tiny little waist.
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?
Probably the single biggest impediment to Antroz's posability is his wings. The way they're attached to his shoulders, with the Hordika neck pointing upward, and then the socket piece pointing up as well, means that if you try to make him spread his wings, more often than not they hit his head. As a result, putting his wings into dramatic poses can be difficult. Fortunately, this is easy enough to fix, if you just have the wing-sockets point down instead of up.
After that comes the neck socket. You've heard about it a lot by now � why the designers left the neck socket as a pin-hole instead of an axle-hole is beyond me, because the neck flops around incessantly and can be frustrating when posing his head.
And next in line is the length of his torso. Because it's so long and awkwardly thin, he only really looks good in poses that either hide that (like above) or involve a crouch, to create the appearance of a shorter body. However, because he's so top-heavy, crouches can be difficult.
But once you get past that, he has all the normal posability of a hominid canister set. The claw-things he has are nice enough; they're not as big in real life as I had thought they would be.
Of course, one has to have him in a flying pose at some point...
Or dropping the Tridax pod. The thing's held in his chest quite nicely, I must say, and if you drop it onto any sort of hard surface at all, it breaks open as it's supposed to.
About those Shadow Leeches, by the way. They're a great color, bounce entertainingly, and have axle holes, but they just look silly to me. Bug eyes and toothy mouth � it's so cartoony that it doesn't look remotely frightening. Contrast with the Kraata, some of which simply dripped with evil.
And then, of course, he can combine with Radiak. But, as seems to be a plague among the staff this year, I have only Antroz, but no Radiak...
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Good color scheme and ordering
- Pretty good mask
- Tridax pod is original and functions well
What's not to like?
- Awkward proportions, including really skinny waist
- No recolored pieces
- Wing attachment causes posing problems
All in all, Antroz isn't bad, but he's nothing exraordinary, either. In fact, one might say he's the embodiment of ordinary: arms exactly the same as his legs, lots of old pieces balanced (quite well) by new pieces, proportion issues...
So it all adds up to a set that can be justly described as "good" but nothing to rave over. One thing he definitely has in his favor is that Antroz is one of the few Makuta this year who truly looks formidable and powerful. Most of the other canister-Makuta are scarier-looking, but much thinner and even spindlier than Antroz.
But if you like dragons...
And there's another review completed. Be sure to thank ToM for his reviewing of Antroz, and keep checking back for even more set reviews and all the latest Bionicle news!
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