Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 at 9:54pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today our 2016 summer Bionicle sets reviews carry on with a look at another of the vicious beasts. BZPower Blog Assistant Ta-metru_defender takes a look at 71313 Lava Beast, the second of the creatures we're sharing our thoughts on. Will the set get you all fired up to go to the store? Or will you be better off passing on the set like a hot potato? Check out our text and video reviews to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Alright! Summer Bionicle! This guy, the box tells me, is the Lava Beast, a villain who fights the Toa!
The box is much the same as the Winter Wave, coming in a similar shape and featuring the same design style with the Mask of Control along the top. Lava Beast is prominently displayed, roaring at the viewer. Tahu is in the background maskless and defeated, and along the edge are these habitat-house things. It's a really striking box.
Poor defenseless Tahu
The back, besides a wall of legalese, shows off some of the play features, a combiner with the other beasts and Umarak the Destroyer, and a comic showing a face-off between Tahu and Lava Beast.
But anyway, enough of the box.
Inside we have two bags, four of those swords that came with the Winter Wave, only in black and orange, and the instruction manual (with a comic).
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Lava Beast is a lot like the Uniters. He uses the same torso, and adds some custom bits here and there. The most interesting part of the build is the blade assembly on the Beast's wrists, which, even then, is kinda boring.
All this to say, Lava Beast isn't a really interesting build.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Alright, new parts!
First, the obvious one: the new mask/head. It's crystalline in shape, a lot like the elemental creatures, but a little more evil. It reminds me a lot of the movie Kraahkan, for what it's worth. The black blends into the trans-orange really well and helps give it a very lava-y feel.
The other new-new piece is the jaw. It's in keeping with the overall crystalline aesthetic and in gunmetal; certainly a part that has MOCing potential.
We also get four of those cool new marbled sword parts, only this time in black and orange (and it looks fantastic) as well as Lava Beast's cool new torso printing.
There's also the corrupted/poisoned Tahu mask which looks really striking with its trans-neon green infection. I dig it.
Lava Beast has some neat parts.
But, as a whole?
As a whole, Lava Beast is, well... He's a lot like the Toa Uniters in shape, biggest difference being the neck, head, and wrists.
There's an extra joint in the neck, which, due to how the socket is positioned, ends up restricting movement rather than enhancing it - he can't look straight up. There's a shadow trap half as a mane-thing, too. I dunno, I think they could have done it better.
Also I have a mild issue with Lava Beast's jaw. It can't be closed, meaning it's in a permanently agape position. It's also in gunmetal (and the only thing in gunmetal besides the shadow trap mane/ruff), which makes it seem apart from his head sometime. If it were in black it would look so much more cohesive and jaw-like.
The head also has Bohrok-eye horns, which are threaded through the trans-neon green skull. They also serve as the connection point for the jaw, meaning the whole thing moves as one. Which happens to mean that it moves with the brainstalk and so pops off the mask. That's right, if you accidentally move Lava Beast's horns or jaw, the mask pops off. Which wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that it's the easiest way to position his head.
Not that that's frustrating or anything.
Lava Beast has spiffy claws built with click joints so he can grab stuff, like a mask.
Then there are the swords. They go on Lava Beast's wrists, not in his hands. They use a friction pin and gears to prevent them from swinging around - which is cool, because you can position them.
But the question is: what are they meant to be? They aren't pincers, since they aren't in a good position for that. According to Shop@Home, they're 'lava crystal wings,' so, okay. Not really sure why its wings are attached to his wrist as opposed to his upper arms or even his forearms, where they'd make more sense. You can't really get him to spread those wings either, nor can they be used as a weapon terribly easily either. They're well, a bit of a mess.
Which begs the question: what is Lava Beast supposed to be? A bird monster? Would explain the legs, but, I dunno. He's odd, I'll say that.
But he doesn't look awful. The color scheme feels fairly cohesive - minus the randomly brown calves and gunmetal jaw - and gives him a very lava-y vibe. The trans-black armor on his shoulders and smattering of trans-orange really make him glow. It's just, well, that's the most interesting thing about him.
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?
You can twist the gears on his lava crystal wings to readjust them, swivel his hips with a gear like the Toa Uniters, or touch his head to make his mask pop off.
Then of course there's roleplaying and all that.
It's always nice to have some formidable villains for the Toa to fight, so Lava Beast has that going for him.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Dope color scheme
- The blades look great in this color
- Woohoo, villain!
- Poisoned Tahu mask!
What's not to like?
- Touch his head anywhere and his head pops off
- I wanted a cooler action feature
- Wings don't look like wings and kinda make it look messy overall
My biggest gripe with Lava Beast is the utter apathy I feel when I look at him. There's no "Oh that's cool!" thing to him. Not even something as awful as some of the later Bionicle G1 canister sets were (Hewkii Mahri, I'm referring to you here). He seems cool in some positions and for some angles, but overall, he's just, well, meh.
But he's got good parts. Lava Beast's value improves if you want those sweet sweet pieces he's got.
Thanks as always to Josh for putting this review together. Join me in the Talkback to thank him yourself and ask any questions you might have. Are you planning on picking up this set? Let us know! Keep checking back on BZPower for more set reviews and all the latest LEGO news!
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