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Concerning clone sets

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You know, I went back and starting rebuilding all of my Bionicle sets for no particular reason, and I was kind of shocked at the sheer amount of clone sets. While the Toa Mata/Nuva/Metru at least have some diversity, the Tohunga, Bohrok, Bohrok Kal, Rahkshi, Vahki, Visorak, Hordika, Piraka, and Inika hardly have any at all - the only thing differentiating any of them are different tools, colors, and occasionally a piece or two. 

 

Now, I am not saying that I hate clone sets - I am especially fond of the Tohunga - but really? Was there a need for such a lack of diversity? I mean, building them was more monotonous than you could believe!

 

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It helped the set designers in that they could throw their effort into making one very good design and have that design repeated over multiple sets, and it helped MOCists in acquiring new molds in new colors immediately.
 
I used to give clone sets a hard time, and once 2007 hit, it got a lot better ... but we also had a lot of questionable set design decisions as well.  (Kalmah and Hahli Mahri having backwards Piraka torsos and nothing else, anyone?)  While the basic Inika design stuck around, it's clear that, say, the Mistika weren't to the same level of clone-ness as the Metru ... and the Mistika were much worse.

 

Basically, as much as we got the Inika torso, it was the best pre-made torso we ever got and the designers found new colors and armor and uses for it.  It wasn't ideal, but it was infinitely better than the Piraka torso.


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You know, I went back and starting rebuilding all of my Bionicle sets for no particular reason, and I was kind of shocked at the sheer amount of clone sets. While the Toa Mata/Nuva/Metru at least have some diversity, the Tohunga, Bohrok, Bohrok Kal, Rahkshi, Vahki, Visorak, Hordika, Piraka, and Inika hardly have any at all - the only thing differentiating any of them are different tools, colors, and occasionally a piece or two. 

 

Now, I am not saying that I hate clone sets - I am especially fond of the Tohunga - but really? Was there a need for such a lack of diversity? I mean, building them was more monotonous than you could believe!

 

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I see a problem there. Mata were just as cloney as the Inika.

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Early sets prioritized wide variation in design between waves, at the expense of diversity within them. So while all the Bohrok or the Rahkshi were basically the same, you still got the Bohrok and the Rahkshi - vastly different constructions with completely different appearances. 

 

Around 2006/7 they sort of traded off that ability for diversity within a wave. The Barraki and Mahri have some of the most diverse builds in comparison to each other in the history of the line, but they all fundamentally relied on elements and a design structure from the previous year. So you ended up with individual waves with more distinct individual characters, but on the whole the waves started to mix into a muddy samey-ness due to never evolving past the Inika/Piraka framework. 

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I actually think clone sets are fine if they're small, and I mean really, really small. Like Tohunga sized small, but they should then at least have unique masks and/or tools. Them being so small makes them more of collectibles and so I'd be less hesitant to buy all of them, and they would even still have a little bit of diversity to give a basic impression of the character that separates it from the rest of its clones.

 

But I agree, looking back Bionicle has had some awesome sets, but a ridiculous amount of clone. Why did they sell? Well I think because people cared about the characters and their roles in the story, as well as the few things that made them different, like masks, color, and weapons. But people understate the role of story in selling toys, and how important it really is.

 

G2 set-wise has been great in my opinions since really none of the sets were basic clones. They could share a theme or motif and small aspects, but overall each was different. G1 felt more creative at times, but they'd pretty much juice whatever cash they could out of one model just by saying "Oh, but you do want another Vahki because this one's the ice version. Totally different, totally worth your money!"

 

EDIT: Also what Pereki said, well put!

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I'm pretty sure there was another topic along these lines before.  I think clones are fine if you have combiners, then you can build said combiners with whatever same-wave sets you have.

 

Also - this is just me - but clone waves kinda look like a uniform of some sorts.  To me it makes sense all the Toa on one team have similar armor, it's their distinguished 'team' look.  The Bohrok are all the same basic type of minion, the Rahkshi are the same brood, so on and so forth.

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You know, I went back and starting rebuilding all of my Bionicle sets for no particular reason, and I was kind of shocked at the sheer amount of clone sets. While the Toa Mata/Nuva/Metru at least have some diversity, the Tohunga, Bohrok, Bohrok Kal, Rahkshi, Vahki, Visorak, Hordika, Piraka, and Inika hardly have any at all - the only thing differentiating any of them are different tools, colors, and occasionally a piece or two. 

 

Now, I am not saying that I hate clone sets - I am especially fond of the Tohunga - but really? Was there a need for such a lack of diversity? I mean, building them was more monotonous than you could believe!

 

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I see a problem there. Mata were just as cloney as the Inika.

 

Hrm. For some reason, I don't quite agree with that, if only because the Mata had two stand-out variations (Pohatu's upside-down gearbox and Onua's hunched stature), as well as more varied weapons (with actual differences in structure and utility, rather than Sword Or Gun), while the Inika's variation was pretty much entirely limited to what pieces were used as opposed to how they were used.

 

I mean, both were still pretty clone-y, and I definitely don't agree that the Metru had more variation than the Inika (since outside of varied molds, literally the only thing setting the Metru apart was torso length), but I don't think the Mata were just as clone-y, since their individual builds still had an element of diversity to them that the Inika simply discarded.

 

 

I'm pretty sure there was another topic along these lines before.  I think clones are fine if you have combiners, then you can build said combiners with whatever same-wave sets you have.

 

Also - this is just me - but clone waves kinda look like a uniform of some sorts.  To me it makes sense all the Toa on one team have similar armor, it's their distinguished 'team' look.  The Bohrok are all the same basic type of minion, the Rahkshi are the same brood, so on and so forth.

 

I don't think sets necessarily need to be clones to look like they belong on the same team. The 2015 Toa all had shared motifs, such as their piston armor, similar tool aesthetics, and chest patterns, that drew them together visually as belonging to the same team, while still having varied builds with individual personality.

 

For something like the Bohrok, where they're intended to be a literal swarm of identical creatures, I don't think being clone sets was all that bad, because yeah, it made sense. But for Toa, where individual personality matters as much as, if not more than, team cohesion, being exact clones of each other is more of a detriment than a benefit.

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I guess it has something to do with budgeting. If you look at the transition from the Toa Mata to, say, the Bohrok, you have a new wave of sets primarily composed of new molds. Again, the Bohrok to Rahkshi (nuva didn't have many new molds, and the bohrok kal were just recolors.) transition introduced many new molds. Same goes for 2004, and all of the others you've listed. New molds for Lego are actually pretty costly, which is why once they have a whole set built almost entirely from new molds, they only have enough budget left for recolors.

 

If you look at the point where we stopped getting clone sets - 2007 -, that also happens to be the point where the number of new molds drastically drops. The Toa Mahri were basically built by mashing the Piraka with the Inika and throwing in a very small number of new molds, while the Barraki were a more diverse group made of recolors, existing pieces and once more very few recolors. This trend continued on until the very end of Bionicle.

 

It seems that with the budget Lego was working with during G1, it was a question of either having clone waves or having new molds every wave. You couldn't have both.

 

As for my actual feelings about clone waves: mixed. It all depends on the wave really. Personally, I don't consider the Toa Mata or Nuva real clones, since there was variation in limbs and stature. I love the Bohrok, both regular and Kal, so even if they would have released a third recolor Bohrok wave, I'd still be happy. The Rahkshi are among the best sets in all of G1, so I don't mind having six slight variations of them. 2004 wasn't as good though. The Toa Metru had some pretty obvious flaws, and the Vahki just weren't interesting enough to carry a clone wave. In my opinion, things turned back to the good side of things in 2005, as I am one of those few and weird people who like the Toa Hordika. The Visorak are also cool, since they are the only full wave of non-humanoid canister sets. 2006 is among my favorite years for sets, as I am a massive Piraka fan, and it did introduce the Inika build which ended up catalysing the non-clone era of post-2006. While many hate it for become the go-to build for canister sets, I think Lego made a good choice by introducing such a versatile body-type. 

 

So in the end, I'm basically happy with all clone waves except the ones in 2004. In terms of small sets, I have a weakness for them, so those I liked without exception. The Turaga were varied enough in my opinion to not be considered clones, but things like the Tohunga, Bohrok Va, Rahaga... even the Metru Matoran were great. Interestingly enough, the non-clone trend started with small sets earlier than with canisters. While the canister sets of 2006 were clones, the Voya Nui Matoran featured unique builds (okay, Velika and Garan were pretty much the same, but the rest were unique). You can argue as to the success of said builds, but they weren't clones at least.

 

Either way, that's my two cents. Clone waves are justified so long as they introduce an overwhelming number of new molds compared to the previous wave, and, you know, are good and well designed.

 

:kakama:


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I didn't mind clone sets. The pieces come in great colors that really help the MOCing process. As long as there are interesting designs with new elements, I am fine with clone sets. The only clone sets I did not like at all were the Vahki, because a majority of the pieces were recycled. 



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The thing is, many clone waves had very distinct, memorable body shapes - the Bohrok, Rahkshi, Vahki (Visorak, not so much). So that kinda excuses it.

 

Odd, I'd exchange the Vahki and Visorak in that statement. The Vahki resemble Rahkshi, but are less cool, while the Visorak are the only non-humanoid canister set wave in all of G1 - if that isn't distinct, what is?

 

I'm not taking a shot at you, just interested in why you think this.

 

:kakama:


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I write stories, which you can read at A Beach, Somewhere. My MOCs can be found on Flickr and Instagram

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The thing is, many clone waves had very distinct, memorable body shapes - the Bohrok, Rahkshi, Vahki (Visorak, not so much). So that kinda excuses it.

 

Odd, I'd exchange the Vahki and Visorak in that statement. The Vahki resemble Rahkshi, but are less cool, while the Visorak are the only non-humanoid canister set wave in all of G1 - if that isn't distinct, what is?

 

I'm not taking a shot at you, just interested in why you think this.

 

:kakama:

 

I mainly compared it to things that had been done in other IPs. Visorak are kind of a generic arachnid design (not really a real spider, more stylized portrayals of spiders).

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The thing is, many clone waves had very distinct, memorable body shapes - the Bohrok, Rahkshi, Vahki (Visorak, not so much). So that kinda excuses it.

 

Odd, I'd exchange the Vahki and Visorak in that statement. The Vahki resemble Rahkshi, but are less cool, while the Visorak are the only non-humanoid canister set wave in all of G1 - if that isn't distinct, what is?

 

I'm not taking a shot at you, just interested in why you think this.

 

:kakama:

 

I mainly compared it to things that had been done in other IPs. Visorak are kind of a generic arachnid design (not really a real spider, more stylized portrayals of spiders).

 

That's actually an interesting point. Now that I think about it, there are plenty of things in other IPs similar to the Visorak, but the Vahki are pretty unique overall in terms of design, even if within the Bionicle universe, they are sort of recycled and dumbed down.

 

:kakama:


:kakama: Stone rocks :kakama:

I write stories, which you can read at A Beach, Somewhere. My MOCs can be found on Flickr and Instagram

:smilepohatunu: :smilehuki:

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