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Summer Set Thoughts, Part 3



Anyone remember Part 1 and Part II? Well, I figured since I haven't lately done a compilation of my feelings on the sets, and since better pics have shown up of so many, I might as well present one last statement before I actually obtain the sets.


Wrapping It Up

There is only one new set to critique here, and that is of course the much-discussed large boxed set that goes by "Toa Mata Nui". He will be hard to critique, since he did not appear at ToyFair and thus has only been seen from one angle. But let me present an opinion on him, wrapping up my pre-purchase reviews.


Toa Mata Nui

Toa Mata Nui appeared, and as with all sets, opinions were mixed. I have seen people celebrate the set for various reasons, including its variety of useful parts and its overall godlike stature. Others are disappointed in it for its seemingly muddled color scheme and chaotic build (my stance on color schemes has been known to change over time, so I'm trying to avoid judging this aspect too harshly, but the build will be addressed to the best of my ability).


First, I will denounce any statements that this dude is "exactly like Takanuva". His torso can be plainly seen to be entirely different-- only his arms and legs have remained roughly the same, and while his arms are a disappointment, his legs are a mixed bag. True, the upper legs are chunky and overly technical, but the lower legs don't seem to do all that much beyond remedying what many perceived as a flaw concerning last year's largest titan-- the holes in the leg construction. The arms are more of a disappointment, with the corner remaining unfilled rather than joined brilliantly with armor as was done with Takanuva. True, removing Takanuva's shoulder armor does not cost the arms too much of their appeal, but on this Mata Nui the shoulders are not nearly as sloped-- more on the problems there in a bit.


Mata Nui's feet strike me as a nice throwback to the feet on the smaller version. True, their proportions change due to using the exact same foot piece for the main armor. However, they are perhaps one of the most unified areas of the set, and I hope that this impression is not lost when pics from different angles become available. The hands, too, are ingenious, with a considerable range of posability and, again, a generally unified feel.


Tools. Well, for starters, the sword is no disappointment. It is to a reasonable scale with the rest of the set, it is stylistically consistent, and it generally just does a good job evoking the same feel of the sword we saw in the latest Brickmaster's movie stills. The other weapon is a quandary. I have no idea what it is supposed to be. Perhaps another rendition of his shield, but if so it is held peculiarly and does not strike me as very reminiscent of the smaller set's Scarab Shield at all. One wonders why both the launcher and the shield must attach to his arm and wrist, when he has a perfectly good hand without anything to do.


And that brings us to the torso. Apparently, I am the only one who is seriously impressed by the build. The armor style, while a bit awkward, evokes the general shape of the smaller set's armor astoundingly well. The hip-support pistons seem brilliant, and actually remind me very much of the pistons that actually appear on the Metru chestplate that forms Mata Nui's lower body armor. It's all going well until you come to that Inika thigh-armor that covers his groin-- no, it's not terrible, but it keeps the torso from looking like an enlarged version of the smaller set, not looking like any part in particular.


With the construction addressed, let's move our attention to the color scheme. Two colors are easy to recognize, if only by the colors the parts come in-- yellow and Keetorange. Black is the chief neutral color in the color scheme. Truth be told, I do not mind this color combination much. But then we are met with a bit of a puzzle-- what color is Mata Nui's Kanohi Ignika? Many celebrate that it appears to be 2006's yellow-gold, which many had anticipated the old-style Ignika appearing in.


Is it wrong to hope that the Ignika is not yellow-gold? In my opinion that accomplishes a few things: totally spoiling the color scheme, making the set even more inconsistent with the smaller version, and appeasing a fanbase that for some reason can't just be happy with Keetorange. Keetorange has been used to evoke majesty since its debut in BIONICLE-- The novelization of Web of Shadows described Keetongu's armor as looking as though it had been forged from the sun, and of course Keetorange was a key part of Toa Ignika's color scheme. In my opinion it is a beautiful color, and I was thrilled to see the new Ignika in this color. However, it doesn't seem as though the old one will get that treatment for this set.


How is the color scheme organized? I've long held that that aspect, not the colors that are part of the color scheme, is critical to determining a color scheme's look and effectiveness. Overall, this color scheme adheres rigidly to the color scheme of the smaller set which I have come to love, although it substitutes much Keetorange with yellow. I don't regard this as a particular loss-- it is done fairly evenly, and from what I can tell effectively augments the vividness of the Keetorange in places that so need an accent color.


Things fall apart at the lower torso. Between the pistons and the groin armor, the feel of the smaller Mata Nui is lost, even if the pistons are a minor loss due to their continued presence as a neutral color. Moving on, the upper legs are as much a mess in terms of color scheme as they are in terms of construction. Thankfully this situation is remedied once one reaches the lower legs and feet, which continue to be very effective.


Overall, I am starting to wonder whether this set might be worth my investment. In the very least, I hope I or some more capable MOCist will have the patience with the set to produce a revamp which remedies the set's flaws.


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