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Mazeka Review



Merry Christmas, BZPower! Or... a late Merry Christmas, anyway, if that's how you see it. Anyway, Lyichir was kind enough to give me two wonderful gifts: Mazeka and Makuta Icarax. A review of the latter should come soon. Sorry this will be pictureless, but I'm more comfortable with pictureless reviews-- with my sloppy photography skills, I couldn't really count on the pictures to explain anything by themselves, anyway, so hopefully the text would suffice regardless.



From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.


Remember my Rockoh T3 review? Most of the essentials of that box's design hold true here, with some exceptions:

  • The box stands vertically rather than oblong.
  • The word "BIONICLE" (along with Mazeka's name) is gold on every side of the box, though it retains the Ignikaman in the center of the "O" on the front and back of the box.
  • Mazeka, standing beside his Swamp Strider on the back of the box, is not actual size. Instead, a pic of his mask and head stands above small text reading "Actual Size" on the top of the box. Like Takanuva, though, the front of Mazeka's box features a seemingly actual-size pic of him on the Swamp Strider-- a real treat for buyers who want a good idea of the set's content as they casually browse store shelves.
  • There's a big ol' yeller bubble between the Swamp Strider's legs on the front of the box screaming "Limited Edition" and showing {pic of Mazeka} {plus sign} {pic of Swamp Strider}, apparently to clarify that there are two separate models in this set.
  • Of course the left side also has that yellow text reading "Limited Edition" in three languages

Going beyond graphical content, we find a bit of a layout difference. The back of Mazeka's box advertises all three T-vehicles in the sidebar-- more than Rockoh advertised, but less than Takanuva did with his full blurb of all three vehicles plus the six Mistika. Three "windows" running along the bottom demonstrate the vertical and rotational range of poseability the Swamp Strider has, as well as its "modified Midak Skyblaster" (more on that later). The lower half of the blaster's demonstration pic is cropped off to accommodate the B.I.O. code, as well as the LEGO logo.


Already we have a very splendorous presentation of this set-- thankfully, the set lives up to the expectations set by the box.


Mazeka has only one instruction manual, which features little on the cover besides the set and the gold text reading "BIONICLE" and "Mazeka." But of course, the pieces are what interest a builder most, so let's proceed.



Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?


The Mazeka set's parts are divided into three bags. The first contains Mazeka's own parts, the second the parts to the Swamp Strider's upper section (including the vertical joint), and the third the Swamp Strider's legs and turntable.


Mazeka's construction is essentially the same as Solek's, save for his torso being reversed. The Swamp Strider is far more complicated, but is not a frustrating build. It begins with a flattish platform (not entirely flat, mind you-- that would be boring) to which the blaster mechanism is added, and the clever joint mechanism attaches here. Bag Two is concluded with the addition of the "seat", the handlebars, the Zamor cartridge mechanism, and some auxiliary armor.


The legs are built two-at-a-time and attached together in a modest way. Once all four are done the center section is largely hidden by the turntable piece and some well-chosen armor pieces.


The set has a clever way of using pistons while keeping the Swamp Strider relatively free of Y-joints. Instead, it takes advantage of the rarely-used L-shaped leg pieces from the 2003 Matoran sets. There are double-joints on the legs, though, and while I had no trouble with parts breaking I cannot guarantee this for all buyers of this set.


Set Design

Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.


Mazeka himself has no notable new parts besides those beauties we saw in Solek. If you want some nice one-piece limb joints, these are a good type to invest in. His mask, a silver Volitak just like the one in Toa Mahri Nuparu, was well-chosen for its large, Matoran-like eyes, but it is the only silver part on him and if LEGO were into making it in a brand-new color I'd have suggested dark bley. Another flaw in this mask is that without the visor, the eyeholes stand very far off the face-- something that would have been nice to avert, even if I cannot postulate a means of doing so.


Mazeka's torso, as it is, looks very good, even with an empty chest. Lyichir has found, though, that to improve his appearance and complexity one need only attach two Matoro Mahri shoulder armor pieces to his upper arms. They fit marvelously and look stunning for an OoMN member, though I hope we can come up with something similar to spruce up the wingless Vultraz.


The Swamp Strider, meanwhile, has very sturdy legs and balances well on four Carapar claw pieces. It is easy to keep it in one pose despite the minimal traction offered by the Technic turntable. The modified Midak Skyblaster, as it is addressed on BIONICLE.com, is essentially a Zamor Launcher whose trigger extends all the way through the back of the vehicle. It works very well and holds all nine Zamors in the set. Another would fit, but then the six of them in the top two cartridges would not be able to feed properly into the bottom part of the Y-shaped mechanism. The overally mechanism looks rather like a Skyblaster, if a little squished, and might have looked more like one had it used a regular Hordika foot on top, though that would call for severe alterations in the design. Mazeka clips on the set with a pin on each of his feet and hands, but does not seem to sit all that comfortably in the Inika-foot seat provided for 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?


As I said above, the poseability of the Swamp Strider is very effective. This makes the modified Skyblaster easy to aim at a target. The trigger is conveniently located and, since the set can aim anywhere by standing (unlike most vehicle sets which need to be flying to hit anything not on the ground in the direction they are facing), it is a lot easier to fire. No need to reach around for a small trigger whilst you struggle to keep the vehicle airborne with your other hand-- the button is conveniently located in the back of the platform. I can imagine, though, that when role-playing a flying vehicle would be much more evasive than this one.


The Mazeka figure, being a mere Matoran, is not as fun to pose as the riders to the T-vehicles, and thus has little play value on his own. But he's still an essential part of the set, as a vehicle with no conscious person controlling it is pretty lame to play with. Much more fun to take the role of an active combatant than a hollow robot.


Final Thoughts

Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?



What's to like?

  • Excellent poseability and aiming for Swamp Strider
  • Well designed 2008 Matoran, for whatever that's worth
  • Easy-to-use blaster mechanism with ample ammo

What's not to like?

  • Basic 2008 Matoran means basic 2008 Matoran poseability
  • Not too easy to soar around with
  • No new pieces or pieces in new colors (unless you count Takanuva's dark silver Pohatu Phantoka arms)

Overall, Mazeka wasn't high on my list of 2008 sets to get. He has a minor story role and a vehicle that, to be honest, isn't as thrilling as my darling Rockooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...


*ahem* But that aside, he is a set I and any other BIONICLE fan will be grateful to have. He's a well-designed and clever set, with few considerable flaws that you don't anticipate when you get the set. I can't encourage you to get the set, but I can tell you that if or when you do, you are bound to be more than satisfied.


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