analyses of selected sets and parts in the relaunched range. It may surprise some readers to hear that many of these posts are among the most popular in this site's history. Today, Andrew Barnick returns to examine some of the sets in what has now been confirmed as being the final wave of the reboot.
Beast MaskThese three sets share a new “beast mask” piece (Design ID 25531), each in a unique two-color blend. Lava Beast’s mask (Element ID 6151229) is Black in the front and fades into Trans. Fluor. Reddish Orange [TLG]/Trans-Neon Orange [BL] in the back. Storm Beast’s mask (Element ID 6151230) is Earth Blue [TLG]/Dark Blue [BL] in the front and fades into Trans. Fluor. Green [TLG]/Trans-Neon Green [BL] in the back. And Quake Beast’s mask (Element ID 6151227) is Medium Lilac [TLG]/Dark Purple [BL] in the front, again blending into Trans. Fluor. Green.
The vivid colors of these masks are a big change from the neutral-colored masks on last year’s villains, and are certainly attractive, but also limit their reusability somewhat compared to those earlier masks. Last year, there was no villain set specifically designed to face off against Gali, Master of Water, but I was able to MOC my own villain design with Trans. Blue shells and one of those same neutral-colored masks. This year a full half of the Toa get no dedicated foe, but it will be much harder to create custom elemental foes for them considering that the shared mask piece of this year’s villains is only available in three far more elementally-specific colors.
In terms of its shape, this mask design is quite different from other masks in the theme up until now. The asymmetrical crystalline mask only covers the top half of the head piece, and the eye holes are spaced farther apart. To compensate for those wider eyes, the entire head piece (Design ID 19049 | Element ID 6145450) is molded in Trans. Fluor. Green for the first time.
Bonus masksLike most of the new Bionicle sets, each of the beasts includes a bonus mask—in this case, corrupted versions of the 2016 Toa’s new unity masks, each blended with Trans. Fluor. Green. These masks definitely have a unique look to them, though unfortunately, they can’t actually be worn by the beasts due to the jaw construction.
Because these three Toa were not reviewed for New Elementary this year, I’d like to take a moment to look at each of these masks in detail and compare them to the non-corrupted versions from the Toa sets themselves.
Tahu’s unity mask (Design ID 24148) first appeared in 71308 Tahu - Uniter of Fire. His Unity Mask of Fire is Bright Red [TLG]/Red [BL] blended with Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL], while his Golden Unity Mask of Fire is Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] blended with Trans. Fluor. Reddish Orange.
This mask is smaller and more streamlined than Tahu’s mask from last year but still echoes its defining motifs like the large arching “mouth” and vents on the cheeks, and like the other Unity Masks includes a square “Nuva symbol” representing its wearer, originally used to promote 2002’s Tahu Nuva. The Corrupted Unity Mask of Fire (Element ID 6158055) is Bright Red blended with Trans. Fluor. Green, and I’d consider it the best-looking corrupted mask due to its vivid color. Unlike the other corrupted masks, you can also draw a direct comparison between this mask and a mask from the classic theme—the Poisoned Hau Nuva from 2003, which was blended with Dark Green [TLG]/Green [BL] and came in several distinct varieties as a promotional giveaway.
Kopaka’s unity mask (Design ID 24150) first appeared in 71311 Kopaka and Melum Unity set. His Unity Mask of Ice is White blended with Silver Metallic, while his Golden Unity Mask of Ice is Warm Gold blended with Trans. Light Blue.
This mask updated the look of Kopaka’s mask from last year with Kopaka’s “Nuva Symbol” on his left brow and a new scope design over his right eye, which in that set used a standard Trans. Light Blue 1x1 round plate as a lens. The Corrupted Unity Mask of Ice (Element ID 6158189), which is White blended with Trans. Fluor. Green, does not include such a lens, but you could still attach one in any color you wanted if you so chose.
Onua’s unity mask (Design ID 24154) first appeared in 71309 Onua - Uniter of Earth. His Unity Mask of Earth is Black blended with Silver Metallic, while his Golden Unity Mask of Earth is Warm Gold blended with Trans. Bright Bluish Violet [TLG]/Trans-Purple [BL].
This version of the mask has a rounder, bulkier appearance than Onua’s mask from last year and includes Onua’s “Nuva symbol” over his right brow. The Corrupted Unity Mask of Earth (Element ID 6158054) is Black blended with Trans. Fluor. Green and looks neat, if less vivid than the other two more brightly-colored corrupted masks.
Crystal shellContinuing the crystal motif present on many of this year’s sets, the summer sets introduce a new crystal shell (Design ID 25534) in multiple colors.
New and rare parts, by set
In terms of new parts, Lava Beast includes the aforementioned Beast Mask and jaw pieces, printed chest plate, corrupted Mask of Fire, Trans. Fluor. Green head piece, and two Trans. Black crystal shells. It also includes four crystal blade pieces in Bright Orange [TLG]/Orange [BL] blended with black (Design ID 24165 | Element ID 6152476).
70795 Mask Maker vs. Skull Grinder.
In terms of new parts, Storm Beast includes the aforementioned Beast Mask and jaw pieces, printed chest plate, corrupted Mask of Ice, Trans. Fluor Green head piece, and two Trans. Light Blue crystal shells. It also includes six Trans. Fluor. Green Skull Spider legs (Design ID 20252 | Element ID 6145482) and three Earth Blue 4M shells (Design ID 14533 | Element ID 6139224).
70791 Skull Warrior.
In terms of new parts, Quake Beast includes the aforementioned Beast Mask and jaw pieces, printed chest plate, corrupted Mask of Earth, Trans. Fluor. Green head piece, and three Trans. Bright Bluish Violet crystal shells.
71304 Terak - Creature of Earth; and one Trans. Bright Bluish Violet mace half (Design ID 98578 | Element ID 6102835), which only previously appeared in 70781 Protector of Earth.
The completed sets
I’d consider Lava Beast to be the least interesting of the new Beasts in terms of its build and function. It shares the torso rotation function used on many of this year’s sets, and additionally has scissor-like “wings” on each wrist that can be spread open by turning gears attached to the recolored crystal blade pieces. It’s effective, but far from the most dynamic or complex function.
Beyond that, Lava Beast has interesting hands made from click hinges and a very posable neck build, but its lower leg build is dubious at best and most of the rest of its build is bog-standard. Lava Beast’s overall color scheme is mostly solid from the knees up, but the use of two additional shades of orange (Dark Orange for the lower legs and Trans. Bright Orange for its toes) is less effective, and unlike the other Beasts, it makes little use of Trans. Fluor. Green accents except for its head and eye color.
Storm Beast is my favorite of these three Beast sets. Not only is its color scheme eye-popping (Trans. Light Blue, Earth Blue, and Trans. Fluor. Green), but it has a completely custom function that is very effective.
Storm Beast’s arms are controlled via its tail. By moving the tail down, both arms are raised. Swinging the tail side to side raises both arms in alternation. The Technic assembly that allows for this may not be the prettiest but it works amazingly well, and the visual flair of the rest of the set more than makes up any clunkiness on the back. Storm Beast also has very neat custom claws, though they come at the expense of actual articulated wrists. The custom leg build is decent if not exceptional, and the tail is capped off with a Shadow Trap (though this trap lacks the click hinge that gave the individual Shadow Traps from the Creature sets such a snappy and secure grip).
Quake Beast is a very visually impressive set, but while his function is dynamic, it’s not the most effective. Quake Beast uses the gearbox piece from last year’s Toa but uniquely attaches it to the torso sideways, allowing its massive crystal arm to deliver a solid right hook. But unfortunately, there’s nothing there to prevent that arm from rotating too far, and the bulky crystal attachment on the shoulder smashes directly into the side of Quake Beast’s face when the function is overextended. That drawback undermines what would otherwise be a very physically intimidating function.
While the function is a letdown, Quake Beast is still a very visually appealing set, with a solid color scheme (Trans. Bright Bluish Violet, Trans. Fluor. Green, and Black). The Medium Lilac mask is not a perfect match for the transparent colors elsewhere in the build but I find it serviceable. The crystal right arm features a massive spiked club with spinning Trans. Fluor. Green spikes, though there’s no way to spin them other than physically manipulating the spikes themselves (a spinning function attached to a longer axle might have been preferable). The crystal blades and spikes on the shoulder also look great even if they have a negative impact on the set’s function. The smaller left arm is paltry but has a nice claw and contributes to the asymmetric design of the set (as does the Shadow Trap on the left shoulder, which like the one in Storm Beast suffers from the lack of a click hinge). Finally, the short custom leg build, while a minor feature, does help to give this Earth-aligned set that classic dwarfish tunnel-dweller vibe.
I’ve seen a lot of negativity about these Beast sets. This seems to be a bit of a trend with Bionicle, which tends to get more weird and experimental with its monstrous villains at the expense of the solid, well-covered builds typical for more heroic sets. Ultimately, however, I do enjoy these sets for what they are.
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