I already discussed a lot of the new parts in this set in my earlier posts about the 2015 BIONICLE range, but now that I have an actual set in my collection I can go into more detail. The set includes two large blades in White (Design ID 19992 | Element ID 6103076). These also appear in Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL] in 70787 Tahu Master of Fire, and are designed so that the scalloped edges can join together. The set also boasts four of the new shell detail elements in White (Design ID 19087 | Element ID 6102790). This piece is also available in all of the other Toa sets and most of the Protector sets in either Silver Metallic or Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL], but the white ones are exclusive to this set and 70782 Protector of Ice (who features three of them).
The Silver Metallic head (Design ID 19049 | Element ID 6102606) appears in all twelve Toa and Protector sets, but the Transparent Light Blue eye stalk (Design ID 19050 | Element ID 6102638) appears in only four other sets — the remaining seven sets use it in Transparent Fluorescent Green [TLG]/Trans-Neon Green [BL]. To be honest, a part of me wishes this set used Transparent Fluorescent Blue [TLG]/Trans-Medium Blue [BL] instead, since that color glows brightly under a UV light and Transparent Light Blue does not. The Dark Stone Grey gearbox frame (Design ID 19086 | Element ID 6102645) appears in all six Toa sets.
Aesthetically, the Mask of Ice is slightly smaller than the Akaku, and the lenses are slightly farther apart (also, the center lens actually has a hole so his eye color shines through, something no previous version of the mask has featured). The vents in the forehead have changed shape. The original Akaku’s forehead was a mostly spherical dome, while the new one has straighter sides and a roughly 45-degree slope to the forehead. This change might be inspired by the sloped forehead of the Akaku Nuva (Design ID 43855 | Element ID 4175715), an enhanced version of the Akaku released in 2002 and featured prominently in the movie BIONICLE: Mask of Light.
key visuals, animations, trading cards, and comics.
There are just a couple of recolored elements in this set. This is the first set to include the 6x4 Shell C in White (Design ID 90650 | Element ID 6100088). Two of them appear in the set, and a sticker sheet (Element ID 6103072) features two white-backed stickers with black and metallic silver printing to decorate them.
I applied them with no reservations — they’re extremely ornate-looking with their metallic silver zigzags and triangular vents.
Also useful are this set’s five Dark Grey 3M Technic beams with center ball (Design ID 98577 | Element ID 6001085). These are a great part for adding additional CCBS shells to a model, such as the shell on this model’s lower back and the four shells on its lower legs. Only one other set, 44022 Evo XL Machine from this year’s Hero Factory range, includes this many of this part, and while that set is a better parts pack (including nearly twice as many pieces for just $5 USD/£2 GBP more), this set is a more affordable source for this part in particular.
Next in the building process come the legs, then the arms, then the head, then the armor for the chest and shoulders, and finally the mask and weapons. It is not a tremendously complex process, and an experienced constraction builder will probably be able to build everything but the torso just from looking at the pictures on the box or the cover of the instruction booklet. Before long the figure is complete and ready to do battle.
Kopaka is definitely a formidable figure, standing 26 modules (a little over eight inches or 20 centimeters) tall when completely upright, and featuring bulky armor on every part of his body. His gearbox is raised slightly compared to some of the other Toa like Pohatu, and his shoulders are two modules wider than the three smaller ($14.99) Toa as well. His shoulder armor is attached to his torso beam rather than to his gearbox, so it does not move with his arms; however, it is able to pivot somewhat so that it fits securely without limiting the arm movement.
Kopaka’s element of ice is apparent throughout his design, from his color scheme to his chest pattern to his armor design, which gives him a thoroughly “bundled up” look. Some fellow BIONICLE fans seem to feel like the gold armor is out of place for an ice character (particularly since traditionally, the gold and white color scheme was reserved for characters with the element of light), but I don’t think it hurts his design one bit. In fact, it really complements the Transparent Light Blue of his lower arms and legs.
The defensive design of his bulky armor, raised shoulders, and Frost Shield helps him maintain the appearance of a self-determined loner, in accordance with both his Generation One characterization and his new characterization in the 2015 reboot. It also makes the price a lot more understandable — although this figure’s height is no greater than some less expensive Toa sets from 2004–2008, he is nowhere near as lean or bony as many of those designs.
The Ice Spear and Frost Shield are great designs, both making great use of a 3x10 Flame in a co-injected blend of White and Transparent Light Blue (Design ID 11302 | Element ID 6029783) as elemental ice energy. The shield is definitely a non-traditional design, but it still feels very formidable. If you prefer a more realistic ovoid shield, it’s a simple modification — just flip one of the blades so that they are pointed the same direction.
In the original 8536 Kopaka set from 2001, Kopaka had a sword instead of a spear, but I think the spear goes great with his shield and helps him stand out more from Tahu, who was also traditionally a swordsman. At first it might appear that his spear needs an extra connector to stay in one piece without his fist holding it, but his character page on the BIONICLE website shows that you can link the two sections just by sliding the black half-beams one and a half modules back — a remarkably resourceful solution (albeit a bit wobbly) that I have never seen before in a constraction set’s weapon design.
The instructions say to leave the black connector from the shield on one of the skis, but the illustration on the back of the box removes it and the bright blue pin/axle from the model entirely, and I think that makes the most sense. If you’re worried about those parts becoming separated from the model you can always leave them in Kopaka’s left hand, as I’ve done for this photo.
The back of the boxes invariably show the Skull Spider’s legs wrapped around the Toa’s head, but this is awkward at best — it’s almost impossible to attach the spider this way without removing the Toa’s head entirely, and the legs collide with his chest plate, giving his head hardly any range of movement and making the spider difficult to eject. I find that it is much more effective (and scarier too) to wrap only the back legs around his head and have the front legs dangle in front of his chest.
As with all the Toa and Protector sets, striking the back of the eye stalk will dislodge whatever mask or Skull Spider the figure is wearing. Combined with the battle arm, this adds an element of competitive play reminiscent of the original BIONICLE sets from 2001, with a goal of knocking off the opponent’s mask before they can knock off yours.
You can also see an ad for the upcoming LEGO BIONICLE app for mobile devices, but its contents are not abundantly clear from this photo. Is it just a viewer for the animated webisodes, or a game with animated cutscenes? There’s no telling just yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear more about it once these sets are closer to release.
This stylized visual language is very similar to the style of the new BIONICLE web animations for 2015, which seem like they might be taking cues from the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries from 2003–2005. It’s a bold new identity for the BIONICLE theme, and one that I’m sure will inspire no shortage of fan art.
How does the new Kopaka compare to the original? Pretty well, if I do say so myself. As far as value is concerned, both the price and the piece count of the new Kopaka are nearly triple those of the original, but the price per piece of the new set is actually slightly lower — even without adjusting for inflation. The set even adds extra play value by including an antagonist (the Skull Spider) and a treasure for Kopaka to seek (the Golden Mask of Ice).
In terms of design, the new Kopaka retains the battle arm function and pop-off mask that the original introduced, but boasts thirteen points of articulation rather than just seven, and adds enough friction to the battle arm to hold poses where the arms are raised. He stands about four modules (1.25 inches/3.2 centimeters) taller, has much beefier armor, and has more human-like arm proportions.
Overall, I think the new Kopaka is an absolutely stellar set design. Not only is he brimming with personality, but he also has a great assortment of parts for building your own BIONICLE creations. I think he’s well worth his price, and a great first buy for fans that are new to the constraction category or the CCBS.
Our thanks to LEGO's Community and Events Engagement Team for providing the set.