6221. However, it is a full module thick (the old version was .16 millimeters shorter) and has perfectly smooth sides.
Also specific to Lewa are the Mask of Jungle in Bright Green (Design ID 19061 | Element ID 6102750) and Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL] (Element ID 6102752). This mask has had mixed reception in the BIONICLE fan community since it’s one of the most different from the original Dark Green [TLG]/Green [BL] Kanohi Miru (Design ID 32565 | Element ID 4143780) worn by set 8535 Lewa in 2001. The original Kanohi Miru granted Lewa the power of Levitation, but the Mask of Jungle instead grants him elemental jungle powers — what those powers might be remains to be seen.
Some of the original mask’s hallmarks are still present, like the holes on either side of the mouth that evoke a playful grin, but other things have been radically altered. Gone is the original mask’s protruding nose/beak, replaced by a more spherical curve with a layered texture. The eyes have been made considerably smaller, and the mask has gained air intakes on the top and sides. Some of these changes might have been made to evoke 8567 Lewa Nuva’s Miru Nuva (Design ID 43614 | Element ID 4175745), an enhanced version of the Kanohi Miru released in 2002, and particularly its distinctive appearance in the movie BIONICLE: Mask of Light.
Gali includes a Mask of Water in Dark Azur [TLG]/Dark Azure [BL] (Design ID 19062 | Element ID 6102755) and Warm Gold (Element ID 6102757). Gali’s original mask, the Kanohi Kaukau, granted her the power of Water Breathing. The new mask instead grants her elemental water abilities, but water breathing might still be one of these abilities. Aesthetically, the biggest differences the Mask of Water has from the classic Transparent Blue [TLG]/Trans-Dark Blue [BL] Kanohi Kaukau (Design ID 32571 | Element ID 4143784) are its color and the fact that it has actual eyeholes rather than a transparent visor.
As with Lewa’s Mask of Jungle, a lot has been said of this mask’s differences from the original, but in a side-by-side comparison I was actually struck by the similarities, particularly in the curve of the forehead when viewed from the side. From front view, the mask’s forehead takes on the appearance of streamlined ridges similar to those of 8570 Gali Nuva’s Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] Kaukau Nuva (Design ID 43856 | Element ID 4175743).
The outline of a visor like the one on the classic mask is apparent from front or side view, and likewise the vents in the cheeks have an analogue in most previous versions of the mask. The triangular mouth area is another hallmark of the original Kanohi Kaukau. However, the chin has been made less square than either of these previous masks, lending the mask a more feminine appearance. And the mouth and nose area protrudes less when viewed from the side.
I also ought to mention her Warm Gold minifigure spear (Design ID 4497 | Element ID 4600529). Even though its Design ID and Element ID are unchanged from a version of the part that has been appearing in Ninjago and Castle sets since 2011, it is the flat-bottomed variant that first began appearing in 2012 sets, so it can be attached to a hollow stud. Neat!
Unlike Kopaka, the construction of both Lewa and Gali actually begins with the legs, then the torso beam. The gearboxes aren’t constructed until the legs are fully armored.
Gali’s gearbox feels more ordinary at first glance. The eight-tooth gears and friction pin are centered behind her neck rather than mounted under her shoulders. And like Kopaka’s gearbox, only one shoulder is geared — the other is locked in place with a Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/Light Bluish Gray [BL] Technic steering arm. However, the 7M axle in the center is longer than the axles used for most of the Toa, and after attaching the gearbox to the torso beam the reason becomes apparent — another pair of eight-tooth gears and another friction pin are mounted in front of her torso beam, behind her torso shell! This trait is unique to Gali, but it makes sense, as her weapon in Battle Mode is easily as heavy as both of Lewa’s weapons combined, requiring at least two pins’ worth of friction.
Other than the gearboxes and Lewa’s shoulder armor, the sets are no more complex than what you’d expect for a $15 set with less than 90 pieces. The arms and legs snap together very quickly, and an experienced builder will be able to build these parts of the model without even using the instructions. Thankfully, the variety in their armor and weapons still results in what I consider a very enjoyable building experience.
The fully assembled Lewa set is truly a sight to behold! Swinging two battle axes, he seems ready to clear a path or defend himself in even the densest jungle. His gearbox is raised so high that his shoulder joints are level with his neck joint. Combined with his lanky arms and legs, this gives him a bit of a simian appearance. Both he and Gali have shoulders two modules narrower than Kopaka. The talon pieces used as shoulder armor do a great job filling out the extra height of his torso, though the single talon used as back armor still leaves his lower back fairly exposed and results in a considerable gap from side view.
Lewa’s color scheme is very exciting, and generally very cohesive despite the use of both Bright Yellow and Flame Yellowish Orange. My biggest criticism of Lewa’s design is that his head doesn’t have a huge range of movement. The raised gearbox limits his ability to gaze upward. His head still has plenty of side-to-side movement, though.
Gali differs from the other two Toa I’ve built in that the instructions tell you to build her in Adrenalin Mode and then show you how to convert her to Battle Mode. But for comparison’s sake I’ll look at Battle Mode first, as I’ve done with the others.
In Battle Mode, Gali’s wields the Elemental Trident (somewhat of a misnomer, since it’s really more of a double-bladed axe). It makes her look extremely powerful, although when using the Battle Arm function, the inertia of such a huge weapon is a bit much for the ball joints in her arms. But of course, that couldn’t be helped without adding high-friction ball cups, which would not lend themselves to such nice proportions in my opinion.
Since seeing the sets at New York Comic Con, Gali has been my favorite, and actually building her has not changed that one bit. Her color scheme is well organized, and her design feels remarkably feminine to me. It’s helped by the streamlined design of the armor shells on her thighs and shins. You’d think such bulky shoulder armor would give her a masculine appearance, but seeing it in person I actually feel like it really helps her appearance — don’t ask me why. Of the four different Gali sets there have been over the years, this design is by far my favorite!
Interestingly, instead of using one red pin pointed inward towards each flipper like in Battle Mode, the instructions show both red pins on the right flipper, pointed left. This seems to confirm my suspicions that she’s meant to be able to join her two flippers together into one mermaid-like tail fin. Unlike Lewa, Gali’s head can tilt upwards with ease, which really lends itself to great swimming poses.
character page on the BIONICLE website boasts that she has “the ability to out-swim any known creature”!
The Skull Spiders can of course latch to the heads of either of the Toa to control them. Gali’s Skull Spider actually matches her color scheme pretty well, while Lewa’s contrasts with his color scheme. I’m not entirely sure which I like better. A matching color is more photogenic, but a contrasting color makes the spider stand out and results in a more eerie, unnatural appearance.
Even just taking these photos it was clear to me how much play value the ability to turn a hero into a villain stands to offer. I tried to evoke the altered personality of their Toa through their body language. As always, a quick strike to the back of the eye stalk will dislodge whatever mask or Skull Spider is attached to the Toa’s face.
Incidentally the original BIONICLE storyline often showcased Lewa’s recklessness by having him jump headlong into dangerous situations and end up mind-controlled by the baddies. According to Lewa’s new character page, the 2015 Lewa is just as reckless, so the chance that a Skull Spider might steal his mask and taking over his mind in the new story is a very real possibility!
The new Lewa and Gali sets measure up really well to the originals from 2001. Their proportions feel more natural and more varied, and their color schemes are brighter and more complex. At 25 modules tall, they also stand three modules (about one inch or two and a half centimeters) taller than the original Lewa and Gali, and have thirteen points of articulation instead of eight or fewer. Of course, these are $15 sets instead of $7 sets… but even so, they have close to the same price-per-piece as those classic sets even without adjusting for inflation (the price per piece is slightly lower than the originals in USD and slightly higher in GBP).
The original Gali set had both shoulders geared, while the original Lewa had just the right arm geared. Ironically, the functions have switched for the new sets. The original Lewa also used a non-friction Technic pin to attach his left arm, meaning that BOTH arms would dangle when on display. Thanks to the use of friction pins in the new sets and the locked left arm of the new Gali, this is no longer an issue for either of the new sets.
Gali’s new tools are a far cry from her classic hooks, but as mentioned above, they closely resemble the Aqua Axes of her 2002 Toa Nuva incarnation. The Adrenalin Mode of both sets echoes the dual functions of their Toa Nuva weapons — Gali Nuva could attach her Aqua Axes to her feet as flippers, and Lewa Nuva could hold his Air Katana at his sides to function as glider wings. However, the designers took great care to ensure that neither of the Toa was unarmed in Adrenalin Mode.
The instructions and packages illustrate how the Toa can “power up” with the corresponding Protectors’ weapons. I will be going into more detail on these models in my next review, but you can get a good feel for the changes just from these pictures.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with both of these sets! I think they are a great taste of what the new BIONICLE theme has to offer, and a great value for money. Gali remains my favorite of the new Toa, and Lewa is one of the most unique of the six in terms of his armor and body proportions. I definitely recommend them to any BIONICLE fan or any LEGO fan that wants to dip their toes in the water of the constraction (buildable action figure) category.
Our thanks to LEGO's Community & Events Engagement Team for providing this set.
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