Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 9:16pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Another day, another LEGO Bionicle 2015 summer set review! Today BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru joins us to take a look at 70794 Skull Scorpio, the only non-bipedal set of the second wave. Aaron shares his thoughts on the set through both video and text and image format, helping you decide whether or not to buy this scary scorpion. So read on to check out his thoughts and find out how you can win a copy yourself!
Hey guys, and welcome to the BZPower review of 70794 Skull Scorpio, one of the new 2015 BIONICLE sets! As always, I'd like to thank both TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff (they're so nice to us) and Andrew for passing some of it on to me. Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and a text/image format - on this model. Should you snap up the Skull Scorpio, or leave it buried in its grave? Let's find out.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Like the rest of the 2015 BIONICLE sets, 70794 comes in a tapering hexagonal box made out of flimsy cardboard. For the umpteenth time, I miss getting canisters, and for the umpteenth time I remind myself that this is a futile wish.
The front of 70794's package shows our Skull Scorpio from a slightly elevated point of view, the better to show off its trans-lime exoskeleton and bladed snappy-tail. In one of its lobster-like claws, the Scorpio yoinks a gold-and-trans-lime Mask of Stone from an outstretched filmic hand that I assume belongs to Pohatu. The top of the box bears the same BIONICLE logo and Mask of Creation as the first wave of sets. In classic fashion for TLG, the box front looks generally dynamic, with some high color contrast to make things pop.
The back of the box gives us plenty to look at. Dominant on the top half of the package here is Snappy the Skull Scorpio again, this time seen from the front and with a demonstration of the motion of his snappy-tail. On the left, an infographic demonstrates that combining Snappy's parts with those of 70795 Mask Maker vs. Skull Grinder yields a dark warrior bearing the Mask of Creation. Next to this, the box uses Snappy's skull mask to demonstrate the requisite 1:1 scale. Over on the right of the main product image are boxes calling out the tail-snapping function and the mask-popping play feature.
Below all this is a comic strip, drawn in the BIONICLE animation style. The story of the comic goes a little like this: Toa journey into city; surprise, it's Snappy!; Pohatu's mask gets jacked; Pohatu's mask gets (what I assume is) corrupted; cue Snappy's attack.
Below the comic, we can find legalese of several languages. It's the usual stuff. Overall, the package is decent; it's light, it kept the instruction manual flat (which is a welcome change), and it didn't fall apart before I chose to open it, so it did its job. Let's move on to the real meat of the review, the bricks 'n things!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Opening up the box, we get those flat instructions, as well as two bags of parts. More on those, later.
First thing that comes together is the hub of the body, built in traditional Technic parts. As this gets fleshed out, the legs are attached, followed by the arms, head, and stem of the tail. The tail mechanism is assembled separately and clicked onto the rest of the body. In keeping with tradition, we add the mask last.
I found 70794's build to be more interesting than that of other BIONICLE sets of this price point mostly because it's our second non-humanoid generation 2 set. There were some parts of the build where I didn't really know what to expect. Discovering how the tail mechanism was assembled, for instance, was sort of a treat. But when I say "more interesting," that doesn't necessarily make the build interesting. Constraction figures aren't usually renowned for their build experience; these products are more about the beauty and playability of the finished product. So let's move on to examining that.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
70794 comes with some new molded parts and interesting recolors of existing elements. These are:
- The Chima spider leg/rib part, in gunmetal gray (6x)
- The new skeleton torso base part, in trans-lime (1x)
- A normal-sized CCBS torso, in silver (1x)
- The BIONICLE eyepiece, in trans-orange (1x)
- The new skeleton CCBS bone with fibula/tibia structure, in silver (4x)
- The new axe piece, in silver (2x)
But the two most prominent new elements are the two masks that come with 70794. First, there's the new skull mask in silver. I like this design; it looks fittingly skeletal and wicked. Then there's the "infected" (woo, traditional terms!) Mask of Stone. This part looks pretty neat, with its blended gold and trans-lime color scheme. The gold is slightly creamier and less metallic than normal.
And here's the finished model: Snappy himself. The scorpion influence is very clear on the model, given its arthropod legs, pincers, and raising tail. I expected the color scheme - trans-lime and trans-orange, silver and gunmetal - to bug me more than it does; the main colors are equally dispersed enough to work together. I would have preferred if Snappy came in less common colors (we've seen silver and trans-lime/orange so often on BIONICLE sets), but you can't always get what you want.
While Snappy's legs are immobile, which is too bad, they form a strong base for the model. I find the claws, with their mismatched pincers (one straight and silver, one curved and trans-orange), a bit jarring. I think my favorite part of Snappy's design is his back; all trans-lime shells, with wicked black spikes, it has a perfect shape and gives solid coverage to the main body.
The snapper tail, though, looks rather less good. The naked (those Bohrok eyes don't fool anyone) Technic beams and axles feel unfinished, and look particularly out-of-place next to the CCBS build of the rest of the set. I also don't really like how wide the splayed axe blades are; the top-heaviness of the striker throws off the rest of the model's shape for me.
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?
Snappy has two main play features: the first is one we've seen on every new BIONICLE set to date, namely the eye-press-mask-launch function. Relative to other mask molds, the skull face has about average grip. The new red eyes certainly give this set an evil gaze.
The more unique and involved play feature on the set is its snapping striker tail. Pressing the butt end of one of the Technic beams causes the tail assembly to lever forward, and simultaneously presses the bases of the claw arms together, leading to a cumulative strike-and-snap action. This works fairly well, and makes a satisfying plastic-y clack. It's unlike play features we've seen for several years, and is reliant heavily on its Technic structure; I appreciate the originality and the gesture, but the feature feels unfortunately misplaced on this modern-looking set. Also, because the mechanical impetus for the snapping is so far from the actual snapping points, they don't have much power, certainly not enough to actually grab a mask off a Toa's face.
Speaking of Toa, Snappy feels outmatched when set up against the imposing, meaty Tahu. Compared to the thick, tall humanoid structure of our hero, Snappy's spindly legs and diminutive stature make him feel at a disadvantage. Maybe against one of the smaller Toa, and definitely against a poor Protector, Snappy would be more imposing.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, that sums up the in-depth review. Let's make some recap lists.
What's to like?
- Neat-o new/recolored parts
- Infected masks are back in fashion
- Non-humanoid build, our second generation 2 set like that
- Surprisingly functional color scheme
- Function works well, is unlike G2 BIONICLE play features we've seen so far
What's not to like?
- Few parts you can't get with another summer 2015 set
- Color choices don't give much that's new
- Finished set feels skimpy from some angles, and makes some weird design choices
- Tail snapping function comes at the cost of aesthetic factors
I find 70794 to be a decent set. It's not great - the design has some flaws and inconsistencies, the color scheme is uninspired (albeit functional), and the Technic tail doesn't quite fit with the rest of the model - but I applaud the designers for trying both a body shape and a play feature that haven't been explored by Gen. 2 BIONICLE. I'd recommend the other summer 2015 sets ahead of 70794, but if you're a completionist, I think it's a fairly valued set with some interesting points.
A hearty thanks to Nuju Metru for taking the time to put this review together. If you found it informative and insightful, head over to the Talkback topic to thank him yourself, or ask any questions you might have. There's one more summer Bionicle set for us to review, so keep checking back on BZPower for that and all the latest LEGO and Bionicle news!
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