Seranikaraira just sent me this letter in the post, dears. He said you'd understand it...personally, I cannot make it out at all. Something about Tower Vinegar, and his sky bread. Enjoy it anyway, dears. x
So, we return for another shining look into the Bionicle world, with the Toa Ignika and his skyboard.
To begin with, the shelf. When I was on my strictly-non-romantic-shopping-trip-date-(lest-Emma's-boyfriend-be-jealous), and we wandered through TRU, one of the first things I saw was the bright redness of Axalararararara* T9. The internal monologue that followed went something like:
Seran: Ooh look! Shiny!
Sam: Oh yes, it certainly does look very eye-catching.
Seranikai: It's got loads of great parts for MOCing...
Seran: Buys it! Get loads of red and sharp silver bits!
Sam: No, it's far too expensive.
Seran: Toa Lewa? His mask! LOOK AT HIS MASK!
Seranikai: Quite useful for MOCing, you could-
Sam: Bankrupt yourself?
Seran: But we have loads of monies!
Sam: Yes, to buy food and clothes and fineliners and PAY FOR UNI
Seranikai: What about a giant red mecha dragon?
Sam: NO IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE
Seranikai: Ok, how about getting a smaller set?
We then tore ourselves away from the Axalararararararara T9 and found ourselves staring into the cold, chillingly venomous eyes of Krika. Emma chose this moment to say, "oh, I used to collect these, I've got loads," then stride over to Gorast and announce that "this one is nice." After scanning the multiple shelves for goodness knows how many seconds, tearing past stacks of Toa, volumes of Vultraz, mountains of Takanuva and whopping great towers of Matoran, I eventually found a lone Toa Ignika. Emma approved of his yellowness and awesome skateboard, btw. Then, to cut a long story short, I found myself home and peering at the box. Which does, rather tragically, bring us to The Box.
The Box. It happens to be a cuboid structure cast in solid cardboard, rather like the Maxxie box of the review from so, so long ago. The box art shows a nice, vaguely bluish background, which sets in mind fog, mist, echoing screams in the dead of night, wild animals snarling from shadows, and Toa chasing Makuta on colourful vehicles. Vroom vroom. We can also see a nice pattern of teardrop thingies and hexagons, which give the box a nicely technical look. A few decaying stone structures are sort of dropped haphazardly around the edge, and one of the stalagtites holding a city thing (or is it a hotel and leisure centre? I'm not sure) lies in the background, blurred and oddly cool-looking. The Bionicle 2008 logo sits right at the top, adorned by the Phantoka stylised car-badge wings, both of them looking all hawt with their bevels and nice, brushed metal makeover.
Toa Ignika's name, which happens to be Toa Ignika, is written underneath, in case you didn't notice. You won't be blamed for this - it is surprisingly small. You'd think that, after ridiculous amounts of time teasing us all with their gorgeous 3D Ignika in the various movies and things, when it came to finally releasing the mask in plastic they'd make quite a song and dance about it. In fact, they should've put all the Toa Ignika sets on golden pedestals, lit by giant neon lights, spelling out the word "Ignika" a million times in red, crimson, scarlet, vermillion, sunburst orange, and lime green. Then, as you approached said set, confetti would rain down from the heavens, fireworks tear the sky apart in swirls of silver and gold, waiters appear from behind the shelves carrying trays of expensive chocolate muffins, and a 100 strong choir would rise from the newly created mists, singing Closer to the Truth and praising the set designers for the beautiful piece of slightly silver coloured plastic that you would be about to purchase, if there wasn't a pedestal, neon lights, waiters, fireworks, and a whole choir between you and the actual set.
As we know, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous 3D render of the Toa himself (mainly the mask, though) practically leaps out at you, hunched heroically over his vehicle, triumphantly firing his Midak, and causing horrendous air pollution throughout the whole of Karda Nui, what with the giant trail of burning yellow exhaust he leaves swooshing out all over the box behind him. Disgusting. Another cause of concern, though how anything could be worse than the Karda Nui Matoran choking to death on Ignika's exhaust fumes I don't know, is the way that the silver pieces sparkle and gleam. You don't need to be an expert on shiny things to know that, disappointingly, the silver isn't the delicious chrome on the box art, but rather a dull, slightly shiny grey. It hurts us Lego, it hurts.
Also of note are the set number and age rating, plonked in the bottom left corner. Now, these beautiful pieces of typography happen to be outlined with a nice little black stroke, which helps make them stand out from the bluish background colour. Allowing our eyes to slide to the right, we find that the Bionicle.com shameless advertising doesn't have anything of the sort, and is instead left to merge painfully into the background, while one hundred Pahrak Va cry silently to themselves somewhere in shame. Probably. They do like good typography, you know. Around the other edges of the box, we can find the same sorts of words and images, but also a few lines of warnings and a rather nice barcode. One of my favourite barcodes, in fact. Just below the barcode for a tin of tomato soup in my Top Ten All Favourite Barcode List**.
The back of the box contains a rather beautiful image of the Ignika, but it is breaking apart and surrounded by evil bat things. Or at least, they could be bats. They might merely be a herd of flying llamas, but I doubt this very much, such is the heart-breaking awfulness of reality. We also get to see a disembodied hand operating a Midak Skyblaster (note the old-style socket joint attached to the underside-the shame!) We can also find delightful illustrations of thumbs desecrating the boxy splendor of Ignika's packaging, but cruelly pushing the tabs in and allowing light to shine on the pieces once more...tragic. Oh, and something about another illustration of Iggy. It will be apparent to anyone with half a brain cell or more that his right shoulder armour is upside down...LEGO! Hire some better Art Monkeys, please! IT IS CUTTING INTO HIS FOREARM IN A PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE WAY! And as if this heinous crime wasn't awful enough, the skyboard also happens to have its wing things attached BY THE WRONG HOLE OH THE DISASTER OF IT ALL.
There are also some more adverts, or something.
Inside, you will find:
A few suffocatingly plastic bags filled with choking inducing pieces
Glossy (well, not that glossy, but still) instructions
Numerous microbes and probably a virus or two, or maybe even seven if you're lucky
THE IGNIKA ITSELF INCARNATE IN PLASTIC FORM OMG HOW DELIGHTFULLY ECCENTRIC
And a distinct lack of very little puppies***. Oh.
Now then, after dumping the various pieces, dead skin cells, air molecules and microscopic organisms on the floor (or bed, if, like Seran, your floor was being used for other things) you may rip open the instructions and start building him. It seems that some lovely person at Lego had the wonderfully clever idea of putting together a few pictures of the set in various stages of completion, so that you can follow said instructions and actually build the set yourself. Isn't that a truly fantastic idea!
Now then, after that insightful look into Seranikai's brain, we find ourselves critiquing the set from every angle.
Hmm. It cannot escape notice that Ignika is Hewkii Mahri with less pointy bits, no chainy bits, better leg armour, a different shooty thing, and THE IGNIKA AS A MASK IN PLASTIC FORM (though it cannot be better than Hewkii's amazing stingray mask, so Ignika fails by default). As a mask though, the Ignika is rather splendid. It has a very swooshy, very slick, very painful-when-stepped-upon design. But we know this, because we've been drooling all over its curvaceous form in the online movies for the last, like, eternity. Basically, Toa Ignika is your generic Toa with massive limbs, thin body, awful armour on the back, and silly sharp shoulder spikes that look lovely but throw practicality straight out of the window. He is a Toa. You know what that means by now - you either love it or you hate it and want it to burn it with fire from the deepest, darkest pits of the earth's most horrid abyss. His colour scheme leaves a lot to be desired...predominantly a decent colour scheme. Yellow and black and silver sounds nice in theory, but this is Ignika. MAKE HIM SHINY CHROME OM NOM NOM please Lego.
His skyboard is meh. On one hand, it is mainly Technic beams and gaps. On the other hand, it has a whole plethora of lovely pieces for MOCing, such as fairings, blades, new plus hole grey thingies...um...yes. Just those...
In conclusion, Toa Ignika is the most awful set ever, for creating air pollution in a 2D piece of art, for not having a small puppy in the box, and for not announcing its existance in the most exciting way imaginable.
*Seranikai knows how to start spelling it but isn't sure when to stop
**Seranikai isn't actually that sad...he only has a top five list
***Or big puppies. Or even kittehs, or hamstairs, or bunnehs come to that.