Monday, December 28th, 2015 at 8:43pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for our last Winter 2016 Bionicle review. Today, BZPower Reporter Xccj focuses on 71307: Gali, Uniter of Water. Is the latest iteration of our favorite Toa of Water a set that sinks or swims? Read on or watch the video review to find out!
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 has Gali swimming in some underwater environment, looking for her new gold mask. Akida, the creature of water, can be seen in the background facing some Shadow Traps. As with all the Bionicle sets this year it comes with the Makuta Mask of Control next to the logo, has the combiner and function images on the back, and a fancy comic featuring Gali, Akida and Umarak. Gali�s Nuva symbol is also on top of the box, next to a symbol meant to represent the creatures.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is a bit interesting because Gali has a more-custom torso design than standard CCBS (Character and Creature Building System) sets. However, all the Toa have custom torsos this year, although Gali�s is still unique to her.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Gali comes with 87 pieces, plus a few extras. Most of it is silver and grays, but there�s a fair amount of blue elements and a couple of orange pieces. Some of the interesting pieces are the trans blue bone pieces, the silver spikes, the short chain, the orange tooth, and the 2-part-axle-1-part-rod technic piece. We also see the return of the Vorok armor from the 2009 Bionicle sets, and it�s unique in orange in this set. Also brand new recolors are the trans dark blue and dark azure #4 shell pieces; that particular shell has not come in those colors before, and it�s particularly nice to have some more dark azure pieces, even if you only get three shells here.
We do get some new pieces too. The sword element is the only new weapon piece in this wave of Bionicle, but while most of the Toa and creatures get one, they do come in some different colors. Gali has a silver and blue design, although this piece does come with Kopaka. Similarly, the crystal shell piece mold is also widespread, but Gali�s the only one to have it in silver and trans blue. She also has the new, shorter eyestalk in light blue, which all the other Toa also have. Plus, there are a couple of technic bits that are new and useful. The dark grey piece has an axle connection in the middle and bar connections on the side (and I believe it forms the hilt on Kylo Ren�s lightsaber in next year�s Star Wars buildable figure sets.)M
As mentioned earlier, Gali and the other Toa have new custom body designs, and they all use these new body pieces. The main torso piece does without the shoulder ball joints and allows for a lot more technic connections, and also attaches to the hips like a turntable, which allows for waist movement. The two pieces snap together easily, but they are much harder to take apart, which makes me think they weren�t designed to ever separate, similar to the Protector�s six stud shooter guns from last year. I was able to separate them with some force, but then it also resulted in a looser connection, so I fear that repeatedly separating them might wear down on the parts. The main torso armor is a new piece with lots of intricate details and some nice blue and orange painting on it, which includes Gali�s Nuva symbol. While it looks okay on the Toa, it is a bit of a one-use-only piece. (But that is the case with most torso armor, really.) Finally, you get the new silver armor piece that has some nice ridges in it, and only comes with technic connections. It�s very reminiscent of classic Bionicle armor, and all the Toa and creatures include this element.
Finally, we get Gali�s mask. Again, we get a standard version, which is dark azure and silver, as well as a gold version, which tapers off into trans dark blue. It�s a neat design, complete with Gali�s Nuva symbol on the forehead and some crystal-like texture on the top of the head. The shape of the eyes and chin look very similar to the 2015 mask of water, so it�s cool to see the distinct evolution of the mask. It doesn�t quite resemble the original Kaukau or Kaukau Nuva, but I think there are some similarities to Nokama�s Great Rau of 2004, such as the ridges on the forehead. (Actually, the new mask reminds me more of the movie version of Nokama�s mask in Legends of Metru-Nui.) A cool design, and worthy of Gali.
The first thing that really stands out to me on Gali is the orange. It contrasts nicely against the blue, but there�s not too much of it either. Although it is disappointing that Gali has so many shades of blue (instead of just more nice dark azure pieces) they all do blend in together well enough that I think it works. Better yet, the silver doesn�t overpower the blue, so her color scheme looks balanced. I understand some people are disappointed that she got orange instead of yellow, which harkens back to her original eye color in 2001, but I personally think the orange works better than yellow would.
I do like Gali�s newer torso design. Her shoulders aren�t quite as wide as her previous incarnation, which I feel slims her down to better match her sleek water character (and more feminine) design. For the most part, her limbs are standard CCBS. Although I like the attachment of the orange Vorok armor over her shoulder (it looks nice and doesn�t really get in the way) the same can�t be said for the orange leg armor. It looks okay from a couple of angles, but otherwise it leaves quite a gap and just doesn�t look right. I almost would�ve preferred them just using standard shell armor, even if they make it orange. It just looks a bit too awkward. The other problem with Gali�s legs is that she has friction joints at her ankles and at her hips. While this is probably to provide stability in her Uniter mode, it does make posing her a bit more difficult and makes her ankles seem too tall. (Unfortunately this is a problem that all the 2016 Toa share.)
Gali�s weapon is a neat looking spear, with some silver spikes on one end and the blue sword piece on the other. It also comes with some spinning orange blades! The weapon itself is nice, but I found it was a bit awkward to pose Gali with it when she�s clutching it in both hands. It�s a little bit better when they separate it so she carries the main spear in one hand, which really opens her up and allows for more dynamic posing.
You can replace her mask with the golden one to see her in her power up mode, or whatever the gold mask does this year. Although it looks better in the pictures, in real life I find that the gold doesn�t quite fit in with the color scheme, as it looks a bit too light against the orange. If there had been some more gold additions on Gali, this wouldn�t be a big deal, but LEGO decided that the mid-sized Toa would be silver and the larger ones would be gold, so the mask is the only gold element that Gali comes with. Because of that, I prefer her dark azure and silver mask myself.
It�s cool to see the similarities between the 2015 and 2016 versions of Gali. (One thing that the original generation of Bionicle often failed to do was make updated characters resemble their older versions.) Last year�s Gali was certainly much bulkier with her shoulder pads, and she does use yellow as her contrasting color. But there are still enough similarities between the two that you get the sense that they�re the same character, and I�m glad the designers took the effort to accomplish this.
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?
Gali�s main function involves her new torso design that allows her to swivel at the hips. She has a gear at the back of her hips that allows her to rotate 45 degrees left and right. This allows her to swing her weapon side to side, as opposed to last year�s up and down swinging motion. This reminds me more of the action feature of the Rahkshi, 2003 Matoran, and 2004 Vahki sets, although they had their swivels built into their shoulders rather than their hips. It�s an okay function, but it can be a bit awkward to turn the gear on Gali�s rear end compared to when it was behind her shoulders. Additionally, it�s easy for the gear you�re turning to come loose while in action, so thus the teeth don�t connect and the torso doesn�t spin.
She does have a few other noteworthy functions. The orange blades on her spear have a gear attached to the back, allowing for easy spins. It�s not a super detailed function, but a fun one nonetheless. The new eyestalk, while shorter, still functions to pop Gali�s mask off. The benefit now is that it�s harder to accidentally pop it off, compared to the longer eyestalks from last year.
However, Gali�s main function is to unite with 71302: Akida, Creature of Water. Gali�s back is fairly empty, as is Akida�s underbelly, but this is intentional so that the two can fit together easily, similar to how the Phantoka and Matoran sets attached together in 2008. And, for once, this is a combiner set that brings out the best of both characters. Akida�s head fits nicely over Gali�s mask, and her lame action feature actually comes in use as it props her six stud shooter guns over Gali�s shoulders. Additionally, Akida�s fins and tail give Gali more of an underwater character look, and it works.
It�s not entirely without flaws. While the six stud shooter guns are visible, they are a bit confined so you can�t shoot them easily. Plus, with the helmet on, Gali�s head movement is severely limited. However, Gali�s swivel hip function still works, and the added friction joints in her legs keep her from falling over. So this United character is still good enough to go and take down any aquatic Shadow Traps they come across.
Still, the biggest issue is that if you want to make this character, you need to buy both Gali and Akida, which will cost you about $25 USD. And I think the Uniter model looks better than the combination of the parts; Gali on her own is okay, but still a little plain. She doesn�t pop out as an exciting character until you add Akida to her back. So it can be slightly disappointing to be forced to get two sets just to make one really good character.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
A fair amount of new and cool pieces
Color scheme works with the blue, silver, and orange highlights.
New torso design allows for slimmer shoulders
I like that this model looks like a clear evolution of the 2015 version
The Uniter model is epic looking
What's not to like?
Orange upper leg armor is a little wonky
She is hard to pose when holding the spear with both hands
Swivel hips can be problematic
Gold mask doesn�t go well with her colors
You really need Gali and Akida to make the cool looking character, and that costs more
In the end, Gali is a decent Toa set. Alone, she doesn�t have the flair of some of the other Toa, but she has a solid color scheme and a slimmer torso design that�s benefiting a female Toa of Water. The spear limits her poses when she holds it in both hands, but that can easily be fixed. And when Akida is added to her back, Gali�s Uniter model is quite amazing. Plus, her set comes with some nice pieces too, which is always useful.
Thank you for reading and or watching another BZPower set review. I hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the upcoming 2016 Bionicle sets. Gali and the rest of the Toa, creatures, and Umarak will be available for sale in January 2016, where Gali will cost $14.99 USD. Make sure to like and subscribe to the BZPower Youtube channel to check out the rest of our Bionicle reviews, and to get updates for new reviews, live streams, and other LEGO and Bionicle news!