Sorry, still pictureless. Forgot to get pics of the building process, and I'm sure you can find plenty of poses and comparison pics to smaller Toa, as well as pics from different angles, on Brickshelf. In fact, building-process pics should be easily accessible thanks to LEGO's highly convenient online building instructions. Anyway, on to the review!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of Takanuva's box is much like the front of Rockoh's. Naturally, the speed line effect is gone, although there remain speed lines behind the Zamor/light sphere, which originate from a stunning flash of light in front of the launcher. The border details still involve the Vitruvian Man pattern of the Codrex in the center of BIONICLE's O, with concentric circles and intersecting lines radiating from that central point. The studded hexagons that interspersed Rockoh's, though, are gone from both the front and back of the box, replacing the industrial feel with that of something pure and mystical, like the big man himself.
Speaking of "the big man," the pic of Takanuva on the front of the box is, like Pohatu on the back of Rockoh's box, actual size. Well, to an extent. It is impossible to perfectly match the size of a 3-D figure to the size of an image when perspective is brought into play, so only at around waist-deep does it correlate perfectly to the set. Further back parts will appear smaller than the set, and further forward parts like the head appear larger (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if LEGO expanded the mask a bit just to make the leaning-forward pose more dramatic).
On the back of the box we see a smaller image of Takanuva (though not by much) in a simpler pose. He no longer leans his left side towards us so dramatically in this picture. Like on Rockoh's box, we see the large vehicle/titan sets bursting from a "window" on the right side of this back panel. Below the vehicles in the same window are the Mistika sets, clustered around their series logo. Naturally, Takanuva's B.I.O. code rests between his feet, while his "action features" are demonstrated below (if you can call them that-- the first is merely the ability of the staff to spin in his hand, while the second is the by-now-familiar Midak Skyblaster).
The left side of the box features a smaller version of the front image, while the top features a (relievingly) actual size image of the new Kanohi Avohkii. Nothing else of note appears on the box.
The instructions of Rockoh of course featured the usual ads, but nothing of note (really, they were only "filler" for the back page of each booklet). Takanuva's one instruction booklet, however, is thicker than any of Rockoh's and features two-page spreads advertising first the Phantoka and Karda Nui Matoran, second the Mistika, and third the vehicle sets (including Toa Ignika and Vultraz, two not featured on the box's exterior, but not the exclusive set Mazeka). But before we get to that, let's go through the front of the booklet and the processes involved in building.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Takanuva's parts are divided into bags numbered 1-3. Bag one contains his torso pieces, including his "shoulder blades" and waist support joints. The build is as basic as one might expect for a Toa set with no particular distinctions in stature. Of course, it still has its intricacies and is thus not a fast build even if it is an easy one. I should probably note that this section is mostly attached with pins, which for me slows the build down a bit-- pressing pins is kind of more difficult than sliding things along smooth axles.
The next bag is for the two legs, which are identical and begin with the construction of the feet. These also largely rely on pins, but as you reach the ankles you'll shift into the use of axles for much of the remaining construction to be done on the set. The feet, much like the torso, hold themselves together well,even though you see the first and not the last of pins/axles that stick out beyond where they are needed.
The leg pistons are next constructed, followed by the lower legs. Both are very simple, but that changes with the upper legs. They use ingenious methods to hold the bulky thigh armor on with-- surprise!-- no exposed pins, blue, red, or otherwise. You move on, attaching the legs to the body and then affixing a few more pieces that attach to those support joints we saw earlier.
On to the #3 bags, which contain the arms, Skyblaster, and Power Lance. I should note that the arms, as well as the legs, are somewhat tiresome thanks to being mostly symmetrical. The arms manage to mix it up a bit, since they cannot be built at the same time as one of those "2X" things LEGO loves, but it doesn't take a genius to put them together without needing to consult the two instruction sections individually. The right arm has the Midak Skyblaster, of course, but since it comes first in the instructions it is no great sacrifice to skip the instructions for the left arm.
Shoulder armor attaches to the arms after they are affixed to the body, most likely to make the places the joints attach that much clearer.
The staff is very basic in structure. I'm sure you already know all you need to know about this from the pictures alone. The set is now complete, let's look at what we've built.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Before we cover the overall aesthetics of the set, I'm sure people would like to hear the nitty-gritty of Takanuva's expanded height. Taka is 41 modules tall, 42 with the mask attached. For comparison, the usual Toa set of today (reference: Toa Inika; Kopaka Nuva Phantoka) is roughly 27 modules in height including the mask. Takanuva's mask is also noteworthy for being six modules tall, a bit above most masks (but equal to the height of Gali Mistika's mask). Takanuva, wearing his mask, therefore appears to be seven heads high-- a realistic measurement for humans, but far taller by proportion than is usual for Toa.
The only new piece exclusive to Takanuva is his mask, which oddly enough fits on 2001-2003 Matoran heads! Onua Nuva Mistika's mask also had this trait, but on Takanuva it seemed far more deliberate, with the lower side-spines truncated to line up perfectly with the "whiskers" of the Matoran head. Of course, it comes at a price: Most of the masks this year follow in last year's tradition of not fitting on the more often used Toa Mata heads (even if you remove the visor, the easy solution among the Toa Mahri masks).
Takanuva also features the new Bitil wing piece for his torso armor, Gorast's claw piece for his fingers, three Lewa Nuva Phantoka swords on his tool, and Pohatu Nuva Phantoka's arm pieces on his upper legs. As I explained in the "Building" section, these work marvelously. Older parts that appear in new colors include white Hordika feet and gunmetal/dark silver Takadox heads.
Takanuva is a very sturdy set, and incredibly stable compared to some Titan/Warrior sets of recent years. This is helped by his marvelous suspension, which is for the most part not overly stiff and which furthermore prevents his knees from being double-jointed (able to bend forward as well as back).
Some people complain about Takanuva's red and blue pins. However, when the set is shelved they draw little attention, besides the blue pins on his hands and all along his back. Others are clearer when playing with the set, for those whom it might bother. His back, too, has drawn much criticism for the straight beams used on it which produce a striped effect. Trust me, this is not too bothersome, and the shoulder blades more than make up for it. These, by the way, are Matoran arms on his back that produce added support for his arms.
The biggest flaw I personally found is that his thumbs stick out too far. This could be solved by moving the hand pin onto the other hole in the thumb piece, but it forces you to redesign the attachment of the Power Lance and interferes with the beauty of Takanuva's hands when closed.
Overall, Takanuva is a great set and a cohesive one-- his structure has few gaps or irritating hollow areas and leaves little to be desired.
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?
There's not much to be said here that wasn't addressed above-- while devoid of entertaining action features besides the usual launcher, he poses extremely well and holds together even better.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Beautiful new rendition of the Avohkii
- Well-structured set that holds together and poses well
- Beautiful new gunmetal armor pieces
- First completely custom-built legs on a humanoid set ever
What's not to like?
- Not very entertaining in terms of action features
Overall, you know what Takanuva is: A titan set, not your average Toa. If that's what you're in the market for, go for it. But he won't be anything spectacular in the field of action features, and will look a little strange in a lineup with the Toa Nuva of this year. There are no serious flaws in his construction, and none in his color scheme unless the pins prove too bothersome. In other words, if you liked the titans of 2006 and 2007, this is the set you've been holding out for to fix their flaws. I encourage anyone who feels differently to get the set just for the mask and the beauty of the set. It's worth every penny.