In 2016, the Bionicle theme features the return of last year’s Toa with new designs, masks, and armor. But instead of the humanoid Protectors from last year’s sets, the smaller sets of 2016 are elemental creatures which can “unite” with the Toa, attaching to their backs to grant them additional powers and abilities. I’m happy to be reviewing two of these creatures for New Elementary: 71300 Uxar - Creature of Jungle, and 71302 Akida - Creature of Water. So without further ado, let’s look at the unique new parts these sets have to offer!
Instead of traditional masks, all of the creatures share a head mold in one of six unique blended colors, which is designed to slip over the new Toa’s masks as part of their new “unity” feature. Uxar’s head (Design ID | Element ID 6135057) appears in Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL] blended with Trans. Bright Green, while Akida’s head (Element ID 6135046) is Silver Metallic blended with Trans. Blue [TLG]/Trans-Dark Blue [BL]. The heads of the creatures that go with the more expensive Toa (Ikir, Terak, and Melum) are blended with gold and a transparent color instead, but I prefer the silver heads since rather than matching their respective Toa’s gold masks (and creating the impression of an elongated forehead when combined), the silver creature heads instead give the impression of a helmet or crown. Unlike masks, these heads have ball cups molded into them rather than attaching to a separate head piece, and they also feature other 3.2mm bars and holes for attaching horns, antennae, or other details. Aesthetically, they feature angular runes on their foreheads that slightly resemble the runes from last year’s Mask of Creation, this year’s Mask of Control, and the new Toa masks, and the backs of their heads transition to a detailed crystal texture that is shared by many of the other new parts for this year. Of course, these new heads aren’t without drawbacks. The way they combine with the new Toa’s masks makes them very hollow underneath, and their molded eyes feel much less vibrant and alive than the transparent eyes of most other Bionicle figures.
CCBS bones like a shell, but unlike typical shells, this piece has a highly detailed texture and all of its actual connection points are Technic-based. The high detail of this piece has been divisive between fans of the older, more greebled Bionicle parts and the newer, smoother CCBS shells, but I feel the added greeble is a boon for sets like the creatures that don’t allow for added torso armor due to their gimmick, and its large number of connection points is essential for allowing these parts to be attached very securely to bones without risk of them coming loose when attaching or detaching other parts or figures. Also, its traditional mechanical texture is much more versatile than classic Bionicle parts like the “Kalmah armor” (Design ID 57558), which had similarly useful connection points but combined those with textures that didn’t match many other parts.
Apart from those new molds, both sets feature a few interesting new recolors. Uxar includes three CCBS 4M “A” bones in Trans. Bright Green (Element ID 6106244 | Design ID 90611) and five 7M claw pieces in Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray [BL] (Element ID 6133824 | Design ID 15362). Uxar also brings back the classic “Vorox/Skrall armor” mold from G1 Bionicle (Element ID 6016585 | Design ID 85079), which appears once in Silver Metallic. Like some other Technic-based sets in 2016, Uxar uses a 5M cross axle in Bright Yellow [TLG]/Yellow [BL] (Element ID 6130008 | Design ID 32073). It’s unclear at this point whether Bright Yellow will be replacing Medium Stone Grey on all odd-numbered cross axles in the long term or just remaining an alternate color, as it seems to be this year, but in any case the Bright Yellow works with Uxar’s color scheme. Uxar even includes System parts in its build, a rarity for Bionicle sets—the most notable of which are four 3x12x2/3 flaps in Trans. Bright Green (Element ID 6133118 | Design ID 57906). Rare parts in Uxar include six 3M chain links in Silver Metallic (Element ID 6124042 | Design ID 53551) and one 3M perpendicular Technic connector with two pin holes in Bright Green (Element ID 6097398 | Design ID 42003).
Akida’s new recolored parts include four small Bionicle wings in Dark Azur (Element ID 6133113 | Design ID 61800), and two tribal flame pieces in Bright Orange [TLG]/Orange [BL] (Element ID 6133821 | Design ID 18395). Rare parts in Akida include two 4M CCBS “A” bones in Trans. Light Blue (Element ID 6043678), two six-shooters in Trans. Light Blue (Element ID 6100096 | Design ID 18588), two 4M Technic half-beams in Trans. Light Blue (Element ID 6102824 | Design ID 32449) , four “Bad Robot Arms” in Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] (Element ID 6014032 | Design ID 76116) one 9M CCBS “A” bone in Black (Element ID 6077856 | Design ID 90605), and four small Chima spider legs in Black (Element ID 6076566 | Design ID 15064).
Both Uxar and Akida feature unique Shadow Traps. All Shadow Traps have somewhat similar builds, being bear trap-like minions with a single transparent eye. But as mentioned earlier in the review, each Shadow Trap features some different detail parts to help them function in the diverse environments of Okoto. Uxar’s Shadow Trap features legs that resemble spiky vines and a short chain, while Akida’s has legs that call to mind a spider crab and trades the chain for a propellor to help it maneuver underwater. The Shadow Traps are fun to play around with despite their simplicity, and their “mouths” have a full 90 degree range of motion, ranging from laying almost completely flat to snapped tightly shut.
Final ThoughtsI’ve longed for a series of Toa figures with animal companions ever since the 2007 Toa Jaller set came packaged with a small crab creature. The 2016 Bionicle lineup finally grants that wish, with a series of very unique non-humanoid creatures. In addition to being great designs on their own, these creatures can also “unite” with the Toa to give them the powers and features of both figures.
Stay tuned for my brother Scott’s review of 71305 - Lewa Uniter of Jungle and 71307 Gali - Uniter of Water, where he’ll not only show off the new Toa and their parts, but also take a closer look at what this new unity feature is like in action!
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