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    ReviewMonday, September 14th, 2009 at 4:22am by Andrew M, BZPower Reporter


    Who would have thought that a shockingly high density of amazingly cool people converging, thusly making the planets align and having pure, unfiltered, transcendental awesomeness rain down upon the earth, would be an annual occurrence? Furthermore, who could have conceived that the the level of breathtaking majesty would grow with each successive year? This year at BrickFair 2009, even more incredible people rendezvoused in McLean, Virginia, to spread their Aquarian love and camaraderie among each other and those around them - and once again, they've done something just for you, BZPower: a set review of #8998 Toa Mata Nui, by committee. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! This isn't just a text review, there's an incredible VIDEO for your entertainment. PLUS, read on now and you'll be treated to two additional bonus reviews! Don't let this deal slip by - read on now!

    But first let's introduce you to the amazing people themselves:

    Andrew Bossman (Black Six) aka Fearless Leader Rob (Janus) aka The Loony Canadian
    Becca (Hahli Husky) aka Best Boss Ever Andrew the Lesser (Smeagol) aka The Clean Hippie
    Ray (InnerRayg) aka American Psycho Adrian (Emzee) aka Slayer of Bloggies
    Deb (Nikira) aka The Saviour
    Joe (Kohaku) aka Shaved Jos�
    Pat (Darth Vader) aka The Cameraman
    Ben (ChocolateFrogs) aka Benji

    Now that you know the (beautiful) faces involved, let's get to the heart of this review: the video. Know that the video is vastly superior to the textual review in entertainment value. You shan't get the full experience without viewing it. Right-click on the large button below and select "save target as" to download the vid, or dot he same to this link for a dial-up version.

    But hey, why stop there? We told you there would be two extra bonus reviews nestled in here, and here they are:

    And now that you've been enlightened with that magnificence, let us move onto text and photographs. PS: I apologize profusely about the Night Ranger and Def Leppard.

    From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.


    Andrew Bossman: The box for this set is sure to stand out due to its large size. On the front you see Mata Nui in all his titan-sized glory (well, maybe not glory, but we'll get to that later). The front also clearly marks that this is a "Limited Edition" set and also has an advertisement for the upcoming movie - The Legend Reborn.

    The back of the box showcases the various action features, including, of course, the "BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME." It also tells you to buy the Glatorian Legends (as if one Mata Nui set wasn't enough!) and has another ad for The Legend Reborn. There's a BIO code thrown in there too for good measure.

    One thing you'll notice when you pick up the box is that it seems lighter than you'd expect. As it turns out, there's a lot of empty space in there.

    Rob: How then to describe this most glorious of golden boxes? Well, it's glorious for one...and I suppose it's also golden. Really, it's a gigantic box with Toa Mata Nui prominently displayed (Twice!) he's also leading around the Glatorian in the background--including Stronius. This box is not canon. The CGI of the box is fairly nice, but that pose of Mata Nui really is poor. I have no idea why they would put him in a pose like that to SELL this set. The box is also gigantic. Seriously, I think the bags fit into one half of this box--the rest is filler. The back on the other hand displays his action features (Including the BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME EXCLAMATION POINTS) and also apparently removes his eyes. You heard it here, folks. Mata Nui is either blind or wears glasses.

    Overall the box does its job of luring kiddies towards like flies to a light. But will they purchase it? I suppose that depends on the build....

    Becca: Big box is big. But don't despair. You can actually fit about 7 cats into this box quite comfortably. In an economy where cat beds cost as much as crowning Lego sets, it can easily turn into a 2-for-1 deal. There's some graphic spam scattered across the box, mostly on the back, but it's really not that bad. Their rendering of the gold-colored pieces in the picture, however, are a lie. His mask is totally Crayola crayon color Djion Mustard Supreme. Lego is kind enough to provide Canadian translations for those who aren't American. The box design does do its job selling to small children, though. My 6-year-old brother and all his friends when insane with glee when they saw the set in the store.

    Andrew the Lesser: What ho, I spy with eye a giant box
    But sadly not fill'd to brim all with blocks?
    Although the art is flashy; that I see
    Why is there such a waste of space in thee?

    Adrian: The box's size may seem unnecessary, but since there are only certain dimensions the box can be in, this is justified, in my opinion. There isn't really anything interesting about the background design, which I also see as a plus -- the focus should be of the set, not distracting designs.

    Ray: I still love you, so hard.

    Deb: Box is boxy and big and has BIONICLE all over it. It is also very yellow. Janus would argue gold. I say it is yellow. I'm not really sure why they put a Takanuva-size set in a box twice as big, but hey, if it screams BUY ME, then hooray for Lego.

    The $50 price tag on the box is not so pretty.

    Joe: The box is rather large and has some interesting and pretty designs on it. I like the scarbax design on the box however over all it seems a bit empty. Seriously the box doesn't need to be so huge.

    Pat: This is a large box that doesn't need to be so big. Though I doubt the price that goes into these boxes is vast, I'm sure that TLG could have saved some cash by making this box in a more fitting size.

    Also, Mata Nui is on the box cover twice.

    In the same scene.

    Ben: The box is BIG. However, though Mata Nui is a big set, the pieces do not fill up the entire box, so one must wonder why all the extra cardboard is needed. Mata Nui makes his presences known, looking gigantic on both front and pack. The box art looks cool, so will probably attract the eye of both kids and the adults buying it for their kids.

    Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?


    Andrew Bossman: The pieces are broken up into three bags: one for the torso, one for the arms, and one for the legs. During the video, I focused mainly on building the arms and torso. The arms went together very fast and with little difficulty, as they're basically just mirrored versions of each other. The torso had more going on to it, and took a little longer, although that could have had something to do with the fact that I was trying to read the instructions in the same booklet that had the leg instructions that Janus and Emzee were trying to follow. Speaking of the legs, they must be the hardest part of the build, as it took the two of them working together longer to build the legs than it did for me to build the arms, torso, and sort all the rest of their pieces - and I'm not a speedy builder by any means.

    Rob: Oh my sweet monkey. This thing was not pleasant. Now, add in being tied with someone WHO CANNOT BUILD...not that I'm going to name any names. and this thing is a nightmare. I despise the build simply because it was so...unintuitive and left you thinking "They can't be serious. This is going to look painful" and INDEED IT DID.

    Now, to be fair I only built a leg (and a bit, before Niki had to save us BOTH) but it was a fairly painful procedure throughout. Admittedly I haven't built an official SET in quite some time, but I do MOC frequently and I've enjoyed building large sets--so don't think I'm just bias against the big boys. The Bahrag remain one of my favourite builds in the history of forever.

    As a final note for this section: Perhaps I would have enjoyed the build more had I done the torso or arms. It's possible.

    So the build isn't that great, but that doesn't mean the set is flawed completely. What's the design like?

    Becca: My ego is smaller so I just let the hardcore/confident builders go in and conquer. The building process was probably slower because we constantly took breaks to sing, dance, wage war, trip over chairs, charge batteries, kick each other, and perform surgery on Mata-Nui's 2nd right leg, successfully converting it to a left leg. Niki will be releasing the article of her revolutionary breakthrough in medical journals soon. Normally, though, I don't think the set would take near as long to build. Also, no one reported getting pinched or breaking nails from building. To me, that's a good sign that the building isn't extremely difficult. Have friends help you though, otherwise it's boring.

    Andrew the Lesser: Construction of this set was quite a bore
    Our own ineptitude made it a chore
    In fact, we botched it rather heinously
    But Deb came and repaired it expertly


    Adrian: I'll start by saying that this set probably weaned me off of Titan sets for good. Building Toa Mata Nui was quite difficult. However, if you're a fast builder, you'll probably have little trouble with this, except for perhaps a few moments of double-checking to make sure you're actually building it right. All things considered, you'll have to do that at least once.

    Ray: I still love you, so hard.

    Deb: This build was honestly not very much fun. I had an odd sense of de-ja-vu - it was like building Takanuva all over again, minus the aspect of looking nice. It was also very long and tedious. Granted we had several distractions, foremost of those being the fact that a couple of our male staff members can't build to save their life and left poor titan Mata Nui with two right legs.

    Why they left the handicapped staffer to do emergency surgery is beyond me.

    Thankfully, all medical procedures were successful even with Niki's hands up in braces, and Mata Nui is in great health. At least, I think so.


    Joe: Well, let us just say that I have the set and I built part of it in both Missouri and Wisconsin... and let me tell you, the build wasn't any better. Most of the time gaps in construction don't bother me... this time it is a bit annoying. His lower torso is a bit of a mess, it isn't nice and smooth like Takanuva from last year. Really besides that he does have some useful parts if you need the yellow.

    Pat: In a group, this is a very, very, very frustrating build that I did not take part in. Solo, it's much more relaxing. But both ways this is not a quick build. This will take you somewhere between the time it takes to build Takanuva, and the Axalara T9. It is also less interesting than both of those. A lot of the build will remind you of Takanuva, and those are the okay parts. A lot of the build will be you going "Seriously? This connects to this? That won't look good..."

    Ben: The arms are almost exact replicas of Takanuva's build from last year, down to the Mantax claws on his front shoulders. The hands, being flexable, are a nice touch. (Other parts were taken by others, so I can't say much.) The arms were a basic, easy build.

    Set Design
    Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.


    Andrew Bossman: As far as we could tell, there were no new molds in this set. There was one piece which seemed quite new to us, but upon doing some research has been included in at least three Technic sets, the "Axle and Pin Connector Perpendicular Triple." It does look like it will have a number of uses and there were three or four included in the set. Concerning colors though, there were a bunch of new parts in classic yellow and keetorange, and a couple new gold ones including the Mask of Life. If you're looking to increase the number of pieces you have in these colors, you might want to take a closer look at what Mata Nui has to offer.

    Now, putting all those classic yellow and keetorange parts together along with some black and silver, you get a set that doesn't look very pretty. The gold accents don't help matters much and just make the color scheme clash even more. It doesn't help that there's a lot of gaps in the construction or that his lower torso is very skinny.

    Rob: Ow, my eyes.

    Wait, what? You want me to give my thoughts on the design of Toa Mata Nui? Well, I'd love to---but every time I look at him I go blind.

    Okay, seriously: It's a terrible colour scheme and a ridiculously gappy set. You may remember that I gave some defense to Maxilos' gaps--but I cannot apply any of this here. These gaps are inexcusable and don't even leave you with a ridiculously cool effect like on Maxilos.

    As for the colour scheme--I'll be honest. If it were ALL Black/Keetorange with a Golden Ignika I would say buy it. As it is the Yellow/Keetorange/Gold/Black/Silver combination looks ridiculous. And painful to the eyes.

    Also what is up with that silver tummy?

    Becca: Everyone keeps talking about the colors clashing, and I won't go into that. Mata Nui is just a very happy, postive guy who wants the whole world to know the love and sunshine he can bring. Despite the gold being darker, I would've liked to see more of that instead of the primary yellow. The three dominating colors are almost different shades of one another (different flavors of mustard), so it could have been a lot worse. The legs are a pretty good design, the arms are fine if not a bit long, but the torso isn't as evenly proportioned. Mata Nui, you need a little more of Paula Deen's cooking, honey.

    Andrew the Lesser: A scattered scheme of clashing colours makes
    For something inducing migraine headaches
    And furthermore, porportions this thing lacks
    As bulbous calves and rail-thin waists are 'whack'

    Adrian: Even though the long arms are not as noticeable, the proportions still bother me. The colors also clash with each other and I really wish they made it more uniform. I also love that sword, but that's probably because I saw it with the canister Mata Nui. I actually didn't even notice the gaps at first, probably because I don't pay that much attention to sets I don't buy. That being said, the average kid who just buys these sets for the "action-figure" aspect will probably not notice either.

    Ray: I still love you, so hard.

    Deb: I love the piston action on the back of the legs, as well as the hands (yes, including the fact that the fingers can be bent backwards. No one ever said Mata Nui wasn't quadruple-jointed.)

    I also love the mask. The mask is golden. It's big, it's beautiful, and it isn't for a Glatorian head! That's right ladies and gents, this Mask of Life was made for a Metru/Phantoka-era head. Let us all celebrate!

    But the rest of the colors are so. Very. Icky. It's like mac & cheese orange with mustard yellow, with some burnt gold spanning four (yes, only four) pieces. Plus some black mixed in for good measure, some lime green eyeballs, and some silver placed in the most abstract of places.

    I died inside. Going with what another staffer suggested, if all that yellow had been shades of purple, then maybe it would be worth the price tag.

    Nasty colors aside, there was a TON of variety in pieces here, in both piece selection and color. A MoCer extravaganza, I assume?

    Joe: The color scheme is absolutely horrid... it is a jumble of color. The two shades of yellow really hurt the set because they stick out compared to each other. He is a disorganized mess in terms of color.

    Pat: The arms are almost straight out of Takanuva, but missing the cohesive armour pieces that brought that design together. Make no mistakes, friends, this is a Gappy McGapperson set. Have a friend stand behind Mata Nui, and you can see them through his legs, his waist, and his torso. We all know how I feel about that. It's lazy, and it shouldn't still be happening. The neck is ridiculously long, and that becomes really apparent when you try to pose Toa Mata Nui as if he was doing anything but looking straight at you. And while the fingers are a nice touch, the way they attach to the arms is really awkward. The wrist movement suffers a lot because of this.

    The pistons at the waist also make Toa Mata Nui a chore to pose. Not only do you have to get the weight distributed properly, but the waist pistons plus the ankle pistons make this very difficult when combined. This would be okay if the pistons at the waist looked cool.

    But they don't. Kind've like that colour scheme...

    Ben: The flexing, gripping hands are new and innovative, and probably only work on a set of this size. The weapons are big, fittingly for a figure of this size, but the shield has some weird gaps in it, and also doubles as a thornax launcher, where, if we want to get technical, should be a whole lot bigger as well.

    The body has pieces just sticking out of him, like the hydraulics on his waist, and while we are talking about his waist, there is a random gold spot on his belly button. I am confused as to why there are bley Hordika arms for shoulders, as they clash with everything else. Well, as for clashing, the yellow and keetorange mix just does not look good.

    The legs have the weirdest, gapping build, and gave us some troubles.

    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?

    These photos illustrate things more enjoyable than playing with this set.

    Andrew Bossman: Mata Nui's main play features are his Thornax Launcher, his shield with movable 'pincers,' and the two ACTION FIGURE GAME life counters on his back. It would've been nice if there was a rubber band incorporated with the pincers somehow to make them snap closed after you opened them. Other than that, there's not much exciting here.

    Rob: He falls over!

    Basically that's it. You can shoot someone with Thornax (THANKS HUSKY) or pinch them with the pinchy shield bit (Though it could totally use some elastics) or you can bend his fingers and attempt to get him into cool poses. Note the word attempt, it is crucial.

    Mata Nui seems more like a set to display rather than play with. A pity he does both so poorly.

    Becca: You can never have enough of Bionicle's firing weapons like the Thornax Launcher to chase people out of your room, knock things over, and turn off the TV from afar. The shield would be more awesome with rubber-bands added, and it definitely packs a mean pinch. Sorry Lego, I skip the ACTION FIGURE GAME and go straight for the set's poseability, hand-standability, fall-down-the-stairsability, and get-knocked-down-by-the-Toa-Matability. Posing is not as easy as it is with other sets, but if you have slight OCD like me, posing this set can actually be a pleasant, time-consuming hobby. Unfortunately, the Power Miners set owned Mata Nui pretty bad, so I don't think he stands much of a chance against the Toa Mata. I give his ability to fall down the stairs a 13/10. I think the playability has more to do with whether you have an overactive imagination/are easily entertained or not. I can see myself adding some wheels to this guy and having a great time sending him into the highway.

    Andrew the Lesser: This set does nothing int'resting, for shame -
    It only has the ACTION FIGURE GAME
    It has a claw that snaps, but s'quite ugly
    Look: it can barely stand, it's so heavy

    Adrian: We tried after the review to put it in a "cool" pose, and I'll admit, we had some trouble. The fact that his fingers can bend backwards sort of disturbed me though. In short, playing with the finished product was not worth the building time.

    Ray: I still love you, so hard.

    Deb: Making him look as ridiculous as possible is the greatest of fun.


    Really, that's all I got. Other than the launcher and the "snapping" action of the shield, there isn't much to do with Mata Nui. I admit I had great fun trying to make him stand on one leg without falling flat on his mask, but the poor guy has weak ankles. Or just weak joints in general.

    Dude, you can turn his head backwards and upside-down. There's got to be some neck trauma involved there.

    Joe: I actually found him to be posable, the shield is pretty neat, it can be used to block those pesky Thornax. Although the problem is Mata Nui is a giant who doesn't fit in with the other sets. If you want a Mata Nui to play with get the small Glatorian version, this one is a bit large compared to the others.

    Pat: Like I said, posing is a chore. And there are no real action features to speak of. Plus, the size makes any role-playing with the other sets seem weird. And I've been told over and over that the build is not what kids want, they want action figures. So what was the point of this humongous set? To fight half-light-drained also-too-giant Takanuva '08?

    Ben: Yeah, you can play with him.

    However, don't expect him to stand up looking all heroic as you have your Skrall army attack him. He is big, heavy, and will fall over and can not be posed well.

    Final Thoughts
    Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?

    Better than Mata Nui

    What's to like?

    • Andrew Bossman: Good source of yellow and keetorange parts
    • Andrew Bossman: Gold Ignika
    • Rob: Golden Ignika. Let's be honest, this is what you're buying it for.
    • Rob: As I recall he comes with TEN of the new open single ball joint (Toa Ball)
    • Rob: Really, as a parts pack he's not half bad.
    • Rob: Those are neat fingers, I must admit.
    • Becca: Weapons cool, could be 100% cool with addition of rubber band (I'm betting you could add this yourself)
    • Becca: Nice addition to your parts collection
    • Becca: I can't get over that system for the legs bending. <3
    • Becca: Gold Ignika!
    • Andrew the Lesser: The ACTION FIGURE GAME is somewhat fun
      (But do we really need another one?)
    • Andrew the Lesser: The gold mask is the reason this exists
      And it's quite pretty, that I will admit
    • Adrian: Nice of useful parts if you like those colors
    • Adrian: That gold Ignika of course
    • Adrian: Super-cool sword
    • Ray: *huggle*
    • Deb: The Ignika in gold AND made for a non-Glatorian head.
    • Deb: The variety in the pieces is pretty nice.
    • Deb: The hands are awesome, as well as the way the legs work.
    • Joe: Gold Ignika!
    • Joe: Yellow parts.
    • Pat: Good parts package with ten or so ball connectors with the axle all the way through, yellow, keetorange, and fifty other colours represented in piece form.
    • Pat: Gold Ignika
    • Pat: Complex build
    • Ben: Pieces--lots of new and recolored ones, or just cool, old, useful pieces.
    • Ben: Complex build, if you are looking for a challenge.

    What's not to like?

    • Andrew Bossman: Colors do not mesh well
    • Andrew Bossman: Uninteresting design with lots of gaps
    • Rob: PRICE.
    • Rob: Poor colour scheme (The goggles, they do nothing!)
    • Rob: Gappy construction
    • Rob: Poor action features.
    • Becca: Should have spent more time designing the torso (Again, if you don't mind the colors, you could probably redesign and beef Mata Nui up on your own.)
    • Becca: Set does not come in purple
    • Becca: When Mata Nui stands in a breeze, you can hear the wind whistling through his gaps
    • Andrew the Lesser: I do enjoy the taste of mac and mustard
      But truly this scheme lacks of any lustre
    • Andrew the Lesser: The price is an affront to all that's good
      Decency is not in this thing's blood
    • Andrew the Lesser: It's unforgiveable, the way it's built
      It's jumbled and all patchy like a quilt
    • Andrew the Lesser: The set does nothing fun and barely stands
      And did I mention the disgusting hands?
    • Adrian: Awkward movements and poses
    • Adrian: Colors clash horribly
    • Deb: Colors = Iiiick
    • Deb: $$$$$$
    • Deb: Boring build
    • Deb: Few, if any, playabiliy features
    • Joe: Torso isn't designed well.
    • Joe: Legs aren't designed well either.
    • Joe: Jumble of parts
    • Joe: Boring build
    • Pat: No new parts besides the Ignika
    • Pat: Poorly-executed complex build
    • Pat: What do you do with it, besides standing it on a shelf, or taking it apart?
    • Ben: Price--at least $10 overpriced for good piece-to-price ratio.
    • Ben: Clashing colors
    • Ben: Can not be posed

    Andrew Bossman: At BrickFair, Darth Vader and Inner Rayg each got this set for $40 due to the 20% discount we got for spending so much. At that price I'd think it's almost worth it for the parts, but for $50 your money is better spent elsewhere. Maybe go pick up a Takanuva set from last year if you want a large titan-sized set or one of this year's vehicles.

    Rob: Well, as someone who hasn't purchased a BIONICLE set in quite some time--this isn't the set that would bring me back. I'd get his little iteration (Which I want anyhow) before I get this monster.

    Becca: I don't have money to burn at all, so I would probably choose another set over this one. If you really want this set, you'd do better to wait for a sale.

    Andrew the Lesser: As a large 'parts resource,' this is ideal
    If with delight some mustard makes you squeal
    But e'en for that, the price is dreadf'ly high
    A maximum of thirty bucks would fly

    There is no reason to purchase this toy
    It's nothing but an ill-done mark'ting ploy
    I'll skip the fluff and cut right to the chase:
    Take your money to another place

    Adrian: If you're in to the parts and can get this for a good price, then go for it. You can probably search elsewhere for the mask, which alone isn't worth $50.

    Ray: I still love you, so hard.

    Deb: MoCers are the only ones I could see benefiting from this poor guy. Unless you really want that gold mask or are a real complete-my-collection-a-holic, I'd steer clear.

    Pat: If you can get Toa Mata Nui for cheap, do it. I don't think that it's worth the full price, even with the fun assortment of not-new parts.

    Ben: If LEGO had taken a little more time to make him more cool, we probably would not be giving him as bad of a review.

    Pic unrelated


    Man, that was a whole lot of awesome, like a bottomless Reese's cup. Share you own thoughts in the talkback! Who loves ya, baby?

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