Tussle for the Golden Mask with LEGO® BIONICLE® Tahu – Master of Fire with convertible lava surfboard/elemental fire blades and battle arm.
Surf molten lava with Tahu!
Heat up the BIONICLE® action with Tahu – Master of Fire! Attach the lava surfboard to the feet of this powerful, posable figure and surf into the volcanic crater in adrenalin mode. Then turn the surfboard into 2 awesome elemental fire blades ready for combat. Activate the bashing battle arm to swipe away the Skull Spider’s attempts to pop off Tahu’s mask and get to the magical Golden Mask first.
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Five years after being killed off and replaced by the less-than-stellar HERO Factory theme, Bionicle is back in the shops! Some of you will be overjoyed and I suspect others of you couldn't care less.
I wouldn't say I'm a big Bionicle fan but I do have quite a lot of the early ones and almost every red one so I thought I'd buy the new red Toa yesterday to get a feel for what the rebooted theme is like, plus of course to ensure we cover as diverse a range of products in our reviews as possible here at Brickset.
The first thing that's apparent is that they come in boxes, not canisters or bags which will almost certainly be down to cost. The box is not square, it's a squashed hexagonal shape which makes it look good on the shelf but because there are no right-angled corners on the sides, plus the fact it's made from flimsy cardboard, it squashes far too easily.
I won't pretend to know anything about the new Bionicle back-story but it seems that the adversaries the first year of the reboot are 4-legged spider-y like creatures. The cool thing about them is that the body is a mask and can be clipped to a Toa's head, like the face-huggers from a certain science-fiction film franchise.
Tahu comes with his traditional lava surfboard and a couple of gold swords.
The swords can be stashed on his back and the surfboard split into two to form far more impressive weapons.
There is gearing in the body to swing the arms to and fro' using the yellow gear at the back.
The shoulder pads look absolutely awful and, if you compare how they look below with the image on the box above, they look nothing like they do in it. A Beam A 3M Ball/Cup Ø 10.2has been used to raise them off the shoulder joint and as a result they stand too tall and greatly spoil the look of the Toa.
It's easily remedied, though. If the connectors are removed and a small gap made between the two balls on the axle they can be clipped to the inner ball. I suspect this restricts arm movement and poseability slightly but it's not significant. This looks to be how they are connected in the box image.
I aslo don't like the superfluous ball joints behind the chest plate. These are there because a standard Beam Torso 7X9 Ball Ø10.2 has been used for the bottom half of the body and neck but not for the arms.
I won't comment on the parts because I don't know enough about the CCBS (Character and Creature Building System) but luckily the inventory has been published today so you can see for yourself what parts come in the set and if you want more information you can read aanchir's excellent write-up at New Elementary.
However, the head is worth a mention. Unlike older Bionicle masks, these new ones are held in place by a tab on either side that push-fits onto the head. The trans-blue part rotates on the axle and when the back is pushed down the mask is ejected. This is obviously a play feature but I found it a bit annoying because every time I picked the model up I seemed to knock it resulting in the mask being ejected.
The surf board is pretty cool although I don't think the parts are new, I'm sure they were used in old Bionicle sets. The flames are pretty common, too.
In addition to the red mask the set also contains an identical shape mask in gold.
Of the dozen or so sets I bought yesterday this was the first one I built because I was curious to see how Bionicle had been rebooted. However I can't say I'm that impressed, certainly not enough to go out and buy any more. I don't really like the CCBS, it's too far removed from the core LEGO building experience in my opinion, and I certainly don't like the shoulder pads on this particular model.
I have no doubt, though, that they will sell like hot cakes and be well received by a new legion of fans who were too young to have the originals. From an AFOL point of view though, if you're already a fan you'll love them, but I can't see them winning over many who are not.
One thing I particularly liked about the old Bionicle era was that every year would bring something new in terms of parts and part of the appeal of them to me was seeing how they evolved. I fear that the use of CCBS will limit innovation, particularly of 'core body parts' and thus limit the appeal of future sets, so it will be interesting to see what LEGO does to keep the theme fresh and exciting.
As you'll see below, there is a lot of discussion about the shoulder pads. I've checked I've built the model properly (I have) and have positioned them as best as is possible in the picture below. I don't like the trans orange end sticking up so much although I concede that when the arms are horizontal-ish as they are in the box image they are not so noticeable and thus conclude that the model probably is photographed with the additional joint parts in place.
The instructions show them how I originally photographed them: