Tahu Master of Fire in Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL] and in Kopaka Master of Ice in White. In battle mode, Tahu’s elemental fire blades are separate and held in his hands like swords, and Kopaka’s blades are combined into a large frost shield. To switch into adrenalin mode, Tahu combines his two blades into a lava surfboard (the blades’ scalloped edges are designed to interlock perfectly), while Kopaka separates his shield into two avalanche skis. The designers took care to ensure that even in adrenalin mode, the characters are armed, so Tahu has two smaller swords mounted on his back, which can be moved to his hands, and Kopaka has an ice spear that I reckon also serves as a ski pole.
Lewa Master of Jungle in Titanium Metallic [TLG]/Pearl Dark Gray [BL] and in Gali Master of Water in Silver Metallic. In battle mode, Gali uses them at the end of her elemental trident (I’m using the official names here, but it’s really more of a double-bladed axe) and Lewa uses them on a pair of battle-axes. To switch into adrenalin mode, Lewa’s axe blades snap to his forearms to become his X-Glider, while the handles become a pair of swords. Gali switches to adrenalin mode by snapping her trident’s blades to her feet as shark fins, while the handle becomes a power harpoon.
Pohatu Master of Stone, who uses four of them. Connecting them in the center with a Technic friction pin, they become a pair of Stormerangs for battle mode. By using the same pin to attach them to his feet, they become a pair of Jeterangs for adrenalin mode (you are welcome to laugh at the absurdity of the names).
When riding the Jeterangs, Pohatu wields a small Silver Metallic dagger (Design ID 44817) that he carries on his back. If that design ID seems out of place, the reason is that this is not a new part — it is actually a classic BIONICLE weapon design from 2003 that the designers were able to bring back into production! The piece is also used for the tip of Kopaka’s Elemental Ice Spear.
Onua Master of Earth. Two are used for his shoulder armor in both modes, while the other two are used for his weapons. In battle mode, they are attached to a handle to become an earthquake hammer (like the blades used for Tahu and Kopaka, they are designed with scalloped edges that interlock perfectly). In adrenalin mode, he holds the pieces individually and they become a pair of turbo shovelers. The earthquake hammer also uses a foot piece from the Ben 10 Alien Force sets (Design ID 87841) in Silver Metallic for the first time.
Interestingly, the turbo shoveler pieces include two 3.2mm handles, which allow a clip to attach. Since neither of the set’s two modes uses these handles to attach pieces with clips, that might be an indication that this part will serve yet another function in a future set.
Even more important to the BIONICLE theme’s identity than its weapons are the Masks of Power. Traditionally, these were called Kanohi, and they granted the Toa new superpowers in addition to their innate elemental powers. In the new story, the Masks of Power enhance the Toa’s elemental powers of Fire, Water, Jungle, Stone, Ice, and Earth.
Each Toa includes two masks inspired by their various mask designs from the previous generation of BIONICLE: a brightly-colored mask that they arrive with, and a more powerful Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] mask that represents the treasure the Toa are seeking. Tahu’s default mask is Bright Red [TLG]/Red [BL], Gali’s is Dark Azur [TLG]/Dark Azure [BL], Lewa’s is Bright Green, Pohatu’s is Dark Orange, Kopaka’s is White, and Onua’s is Black. My brother and I were only able to work three of the Toa’s masks into our MOCs: the golden masks of Gali (Design ID 19062), Pohatu (Design ID 19082), and Kopaka (Design ID 19064).
whole bag of them, several dozen of which will be distributed through BZPower and BIONILUG).
The Kanohi masks of the original BIONICLE sets were more than just collectibles or a fashion statement. They were inherently tied to the sets’ action features to allow for competitive play. Attached to the figures’ mouths by just a single stud, players could use the action features of the 2001 sets to make them do battle, with the goal being to knock off the foe’s mask. According to the story, this would weaken the heroes severely and force them to surrender, but also free their enemies from the evil Makuta’s mind control. However, many buyers considered the ease of accidentally knocking off a character’s mask a design flaw, so starting in 2003, all new mask designs were attached by a Technic cross axle rather than a stud. This made the masks more secure, but also eliminated the competitive play function.
I am not really qualified to comment at length on the new masks and weapons of the Protector sets at this time. This is because most of these sets were not on display at NYCC, let alone available for guests to handle, so I can’t be too specific about colors or functionality. But they are still worth mentioning. Each Protector features a generic mask in a unique two-color blend, as well as a new two-piece rotating blaster that fires six 1x1 round plates in sequence. Cerim Manovi demonstrated one of these blasters at the NYCC BIONICLE panel, and it appeared to be very effective, not to mention nice and compact compared to many earlier BIONICLE blasters.
The Protectors’ equipment is otherwise all built from existing designs, though there are some recolors worth mentioning. The Protector of Stone wields an Elemental Sandstorm Blaster that features a flame piece from the 2013 Hero Factory lineup (Design ID 11302) in a new two-color blend. The Protector of Earth wields a Crystal Star Drill built from a half spike ball (Design ID 98578) in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Purple [BL]. And the Protector of Water has two turbines driven by what appear to be Transparent Light Blue [TLG]/Trans-Light Blue [BL] rotors (Design ID 46667).
The Skull Spiders are led by the new wave’s only dedicated villain set, Lord of Skull Spiders, which comes with a Warm Gold Skull Spider body representing a mask of undisclosed significance. If Warm Gold is not shiny enough for you, the first 14-karat gold mask to be distributed is itself actually a Skull Spider body. It will be given to the grand prize winner of the Battle for the Gold Mask Competition, a multi-site building contest organized by the LEGO Group.
Overall, the new BIONICLE theme has a lot of new elements for constraction fans of all stripes to be fond of. Moreover, with its compelling mythology and exciting set designs filled with personality, it will probably be many new fans’ first exposure to the constraction category, and many old-school BIONICLE fans’ first experience building with the CCBS.