Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 4:38pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we bring you yet another set review, where one of our heroes returns, but back in black (or grey and white, maybe...). BZPower Forum Leader Shannara shares his thoughts on Takanuva, the Toa of Light, or Twilight, or something. Read on to see how he has changed, and if the set is worth your hard-earned savings.
The Matoran Universe as we know it sits at a crossroads. The Toa Nuva have returned to the core of the universe to finally achieve their destiny of awakening the Great Spirit. However, with the doomsday countdown of the Ignika, the energy storms of Karda Nui, and the insidiously complex plot of Makuta Teridax to contend with, Tahu and the gang have a lot to contend with. However, things in the core are looking a little brighter (pun fully intended!) with Takanuva, Toa of Light, here to help save the universe!
*Cough.* So there's the little story spiel. While our buddy Takanuva is out to help the Toa Nuva fulfill the task set before them, we're not here to judge his actions today. We're here to see how he measures up as a set in our world. So, without further ado, let's take a look!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Takanuva's intimidating image is displayed proudly across the front of his box, a threat to the Makuta that have invaded Karda Nui. The guarded stance, aggressively firing Midak Skyblaster, and gunmetal armor all indicate the darker, light-drained Takanuva is not here to mess around. In the background lays the swamp on the floor of the core and the stalactites that housed the Av-Matoran villages. Across the top the word BIONICLE is proudly displayed, along with Takanuva's name. The bottom left corner is devoted to the age range, set number, piece count, and the label of "Building Toy" in several languages, while the bottom right shows the well known LEGO symbol.
The back of the box shows our Toa of Light again along with a few of his functions. Down the right third of the back we see a number of the other summer sets: the three T-series vehicles and the six Mistika gathered around their umbrella name.
Overall, the box is an eye-catching affair. It's quite larger, as you can see, and many BIONICLE fans, both newer fans and seasoned veterans of the line, will be quick to snap up this re-release of Takanuva.
Nearly unnoticed in the flash of the box, on the very top edge sits an "Actual Size" image of the Avohkii, a preview if you're standing in the store undecided as to what you will be purchasing. Now let's open it on up!
Out of the box tumbles three plastic bags, a Midak Skyblaster, an instruction booklet, and three Lewa Nuva Air Sabers. At a glance, it doesn't look like a lot of pieces. But let's not sit around staring at the pieces. Let's do something with it!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Fittingly, each of the bags makes up each of the three sections you build Takanuva in. First up, his head and torso:
Next is the building of his legs, which are immediately attached to the torso:
And we finish the building with Takanuva's arms and brand spanking new Power Lance:
And that's just about gonna do it! The build overall is actually quite fun. I found Takanuva to be one of the most fun titan-sized builds in quite some time. While many of the recent larger sets have entailed almost the exact same arm and leg design, Takanuva's lower arms are the only truly simplistic bit of his construction, utilizing only an Inika leg for each arm.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Let's begin with Takanuva's new pieces.
Our brave Toa of Light has three pairs of pieces in colors we've never seen before: Pohatu Phantoka arms and Takadox heads in gunmetal, and Hordika feet in white. I'm quite excited with these recolored feet, as it's the first time we've ever seen true, unedited Hordika feet in any color but silver. Takanuva also comes with four molds brand new to this season: the new Gorast claws in white, a single Bitil wing in gunmetal, and, of course, the darkened version of the Avohkii.
This reworked Mask of Light was the key for me as to whether or not I could accept this set as Takanuva. I've found myself disappointed by some of the Toa Nuva's recent rereleases simply because they don't remind me of the characters from the early years, especially in the masks that are still supposed to be their Kanohi Nuva. But this??
This WORKS. A direct comparison shows that this is quite clearly a remolded Mask of Light. A lot of the edges have been smoothed down and the three gaps running down the side of the mask have been replaced by a single gap on each side near the very bottom... But it is most definitely the mask that so captured our imagination in 2003. And look!
This is one of two major ways Takanuva does not fail as Maxilos did last year. First, his mask has a pin molded into it! I was a bit nervous about this feature for Takanuva's return, seeing the Mistika Toa Nuva require a red plus pin to secure their masks to their faces. Let's look at this guy on the whole.
From the front he's just a solid looking Toa, if a little larger than most of his brothers- and sisters-at-arms. My complaints about Takanuva are few. The pieces chosen as armor all do their job perfectly, leaving only a couple glaring gaps, which I will attend to momentarily...
And here is the second success over Maxilos! Taka's back is not that well armored. But compared to the Hordika chest armor slapped onto the back covering almost none of the gaps left after construction, these Technic beams are a welcome sight.
Now I'd like to point out a few parts of Takanuva that caught my eye, for better or worse.
Having opted out of purchasing Icarax, this is my first experience with this new double hip design. I'm actually quite impressed with this design. It makes Takanuva's hips quite strong without limiting his range of motion very much at all. Impressive!
This, though, is the double-jointed marvel I love. It utilizes Photok legs and Hordika brains in a way comparable to his leg design, yet decidedly more subtly placed. Movement of Takanuva's arms now require some thought as to how to position the back portion of the design, but it's a strong design once you have it posed to satisfaction and won't often slip out of place.
Let's talk weapons. Or tools, as the case may be. Either way, Takanuva's got a huge, rockin' new Power Lance. It's an extremely basic weapon, but visually fitting. I find this to be a fitting weapon for Takanuva; it's similar enough to his staff from 2003 to help it seem as though he is the same character.
Unfortunately, Taka's grip on the Lance is a bit loose. Held painfully through a hole in his thumb, the Power Lance tends to slide out if posed tilting downward. There is hope, however, and you don't need to break into your collection to remedy this fault!
LEGO has kindly provided, amongst the leftover extra pieces at the end of Takanuva's construction, an extra half-bushing! It's an easy fix, now our Toa of Light won't have any butter-fingers problems in the face of the Makuta.
Shifting over to his right arm, we find Taknuva wielding a Midak Skyblaster to supplement his drained Light powers. Nothing groundbreaking to point out here, only that it seems to me that Takanuva is the best equipped to handle such a weapon with his huge size. The Phantoka, excluding perhaps Kopaka, don't really look big enough to handle such a weapon one handed. But on Takanuva, the blaster looks right at home.
Now we turn to the three main problems I find with Takanuva. First and foremost is the sheer number of extra ends of studs poking out all over his body. 2003 Takanuva has kindly volunteered to help me point their presence all over his future self:
Frankly, it's a bit clumsy looking. Fixing the situation would require no more then a handful more of the half-bushings I mentioned earlier, or something similar. As it stands, the extra bits poking out disrupt Takanuva's flow if you take anything more than a passing glance. Then what are the other two issues, you ask?
Both are perfectly illustrated in the photo above. First, look at Taka's shins! LEGO did an excellent job in armoring our larger-than-life Toa of Light up in most places... But there is a gap two studs wide and three long in each of his shins. Yikes! Worst shinsplints ever!
Also, I cannot let this review go by without pointing out Takanuva's color issues. Frankly, I can get over the greyscale mixture of black, white, light grey, dark grey, silver, and gunmetal. It's a wide range of color, but at least they're similar. But Takanuva is fully peppered with spots of reds and, to a lesser extent, blue, because of the recent change of pin colors. I haven't the slightest idea what prompted this switch, but I'm not a fan of it.
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?
Remember the arm and hip designs I pointed out earlier? Well, between those, the typical piston leg design introduced in 2006, and double jointed knees, Takanuva is incredibly strong. Depending on how one classifies a point of articulation, he's got anywhere between 17 and 34. A wide range, yes. But it's difficult to decide with so many moveable pieces working to satisfy the needs of one joint. You have to give some thought to how to maneuver the arm and hip pieces need to be moved to pose him as you wish, but once in such a pose he rarely slipped out of position.
Taka's weapons are simple, but fun and fitting. The spring-loaded Midak Skyblaster is good for knocking around some Makuta, and then spinning Power Lance allows for great fun as well. This is one Toa of Light ready to fight for Karda Nui!
Though he towers over and is now darker than his fellow Toa, there is little doubt that he is still one of them. As shown above, he, Tahu, and Onua confront Antroz, who so foolishly got out of Jetrax T6.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
"High five, there, little man."
What's to like?
- It's really Takanuva, mask, Power Lance, and all
- Fun, interesting build
- Complex AND solid construction
- Some awesome new and recolored pieces
- Highly posable and a blast to play with
What's not to like?
- Ends of studs poking out on Takanuva's body
- Scatterings of blue and red throughout
To me, the choice is obvious. Takanuva, or Takua as he was for those first few years, has been one of the most endearing characters throughout the years of BIONICLE. He's been with us since the beginning, and I was excited to see earlier this year that he would return again in set form.
But to have him be an excellent, well-built, fun set that (though much larger than the old Takanuva) is still the same Toa of Light we know and love? That seals the deal for me, without a doubt. At $30, he's not the biggest bargain on the market. But his pros far outweigh the minor cons, and I fully and completely endorse him. At the very least, I recommend keeping an eye on your local stores or Shop@Home for a good sale and then snatching him up. Takanuva is an integral part of BIONICLE as we know it, and having the plastic to back up the legacy is something no fan should go without.
Until next time...
It's off to Karda Nui!!
Thanks everyone for reading, and be sure to thank Shannara for writing up such a thorough review. Stay tuned for more reviews and the latest in Bionicle news!
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