19 November 2021

Old Elementary: Part 2 of the LEGO® BIONICLE 20th Anniversary Festival

Tim Goddard, Aiden Rexroad, Caz Mockett and Disty continue our celebration of the 20th anniversary of LEGO® BIONICLE, the New Elementary way! Five more parts have been examined by our regular and guest contributors.

Bionicle Toa Metru Knee Cover - Tim Goddard

When LEGO® BIONICLE came out the theme did not really grab me so I never bought any of the sets, but a few of the parts did catch my attention over the years. 

Shell 2X3X1.5 W. Hole Ø4.85 (47299), also known as the Toa Metru Knee Cover, was one of them. Available from 2003 to 2010 in ten colours, the fine mechanical detailing means this part is great for adding flair to MOCs such as engine greebles or robot mechanisms.

 

The Part

Part 47299 is 3 modules long and 5 plates wide. It only has one official connection point, the central pin hole in the top. The hole is designed to accommodate a quarter-pin connection, as demonstrated in the picture, but because of its diameter it can also take a standard System stud. The stud connection is not very solid and often pops out though, so it has to be used carefully.

Looking for even more spurious connections I found the lattice work on the top is a snug fit for a 3.18 bar with a bit of clutch. Two bars side by side are the perfect width to connect a pair of binoculars, a part which I recently took a closer look at. On the underside there is a little notch hole which is a comfortable fit for the end of a wand, although what practical use this could be remains to be explored.

Building with Bionicle Toa Metru Knee Cover

As with so many angled LEGO elements, you can not combine multiples to make a perfect 360 degrees – however I have managed to come pretty close with this tablescrap build.

47299 is held in place with an ‘inkwell’ for added stability, and I have made use of the wonderful new 1x1 plate with a handle on each side (78257) to form the octagonal frame. 

The mechanical appearance of the piece is what inspired the full MOC I came up with: 

Construction robots are a subject I have been exploring recently and this was a great excuse to expand my work force.



Bionicle Visorak Fang (Suukorak) & Barraki Carapar Thigh Cover - Aiden Rexroad

The LEGO® BIONICLE theme was filled with novel parts that had unusual shapes. One of those parts is Tool 4X12 Nr. 4 (50914), also known as Bionicle Visorak Fang with 2 Pin Holes (Suukorak), which appeared in 5 LEGO Bionicle sets and 3 LEGO Mindstorms sets between 2005 and 2010. It comes in three different colours: white, pearl light gray, and flat silver.

Another interesting mould, Shell 1 4X5X3 2007 (57557), better known as Bionicle Barraki Carapar Thigh & Shoulder Cover, was only released in 2 sets between 2007 through 2010 and only appeared in two colours: blue and bright light orange with marbled black pattern. This marbled colour is also extremely rare, with only two other pieces being produced in this colour.

The Parts


At first glance the piece does not appear to fit the System well, but its overall geometry does much to bring it in line. The Visorak Fang is 12 modules long and 4 modules (3 ⅓ bricks) tall. Its maximum thickness is equal to a Technic liftarm. 

It only has 3 official connection points: two being the adjacent pin holes and the third being the small notch above the pin holes that fits pieces with pin attachments - its original use was for holding rubber bands. 

There are other ways to connect to this piece though! The large gap in the middle fits a 1x2 brick or any piece of equal width perfectly. Similarly, it fits combinations of 4 cheese (lope 30 1 x 1 x 2/3 – 54200). This means that any piece that is 1 module wide will fit, opening up countless options. The two small gaps adjacent to the pin holes allow a 3.18mm bar to fit into them. A normal bar fits loosely and can wiggle back and forth but Tile Round 1 x 1 with Bar and Pin Holder (20482) holds itself steady because of the anti-stud. 


Switching gears to the Carapar Thigh Cover now, its dimensions are 4 modules wide and 5 modules long. It has 5 standard connection points: 2 holes that fit 3.18mm bars, a thin Technic pin hole on the top, and two Technic axle holes on the side. 


There are a few pieces that mesh very well with the carapar thigh - the Sports Hockey Helmet (44790) fits really well with its curve, for example. The taper of the carapar thigh meshes very well with the Bionicle Armor Cover (Toa Okoto) (19087). You can also create a ring of 8 carapar thighs using 45 degree technic connectors.

Building with Visorak Fang (Suukorak) & Barraki Carapar Thigh Cover

Analyzing a part would not be complete without using it in an actual MOC. 


Here is a head design using two of the Visorak Fang to form a large horn. Both connection techniques shown earlier came in handy; I ended up using both in the head. 

Now for some completed MOCs:


I happen to have over 40 of this piece in flat silver and thought there’s no better way to use them than in a centipede! (Click/tap to enlarge.)

I really enjoy making monster flowers and the angles on the Carapar Thigh Cover work great to create an octagonal shape, perfect for such a creation.


Bionicle Krika Leg - Caz Mockett

First off, I would like to confess that both generations of LEGO® BIONICLE entirely passed me by at the time of release - I was deep in my Dark Age and even if I had spotted them on shelves, I doubt I would have realised that they were anything to do with LEGO, since the models are so far from the familiar System creations of my childhood. I can’t regale you with any of the lore or characters from Bionicle - I will leave that to folks who are eminently more qualified than me.

I’m a mostly System-based MOCer, but I do love finding old or unusual parts in uncommon colours and using them creatively in my own builds. I have been known to use smallish Bionicle elements as architectural greebling on several of my Micropolis models, while others have incorporated bits of Clikits, DUPLO, Modulex, and even Znap!

A while back, I was browsing through a BrickLink store, looking for some items from my wishlist, and checking for other parts in rare colours. I came across two Weapon 13.08/Bionicle Weapon Small Blade with 4 Spikes, Marbled Red Pattern (Krika) (61807) going for a few pence each, so I popped them into my basket along with the rest of my order. Milky white with marbled red, what’s not to like? At the time, I had little idea what I would do with them - and no inkling of this upcoming parts fest!

The BrickLink name for the element is rather a mouthful, so from now on I shall simply refer to it as the Krika Leg, since that was its function in the only set to contain the mould in this colour scheme - the 2008 release from the Mistika wave, 8694 Krika. Each lower leg of the lanky, teetering creature is formed from one of these elements. The same mould also appeared once in 2010, this time in 7147 Xplode, which was part of the first wave of Hero Factory releases. In that instance, it was yellow, dual-moulded with red, and was used as the top of a weapon wielded by a fearsome, spiky character.

The Part

The Krika Leg is a bit awkward to fit easily into System geometry, in that it is a little bit over 6.5 modules in height and a little bit under 12 modules in length, and 1 module at its widest thickness. It has one 1L axle at the bottom, sitting perpendicular to Technic pin holes on each side of a 2L beam which integrates with the rest of the element. 


Part of that awkwardness I mentioned previously is that the far end of the spike protrudes almost 1 module below the axle attachment point, which means you have to raise the cross axle hole of any connecting bricks by at least a plate, if you do not want to stress the element too much when having the sharp end rest on other elements. Another annoyance is that the space between the top of the brick with axle hole and the bottom of the top spike is just a bit over two plates. You cannot add another plate under the red tile in the photo, so there is an unsightly gap with this method of attachment. 

This rear section is two modules high if you mount the axle into one half of a 1x2 brick on its side, but even if you used a solid colour brick with a centre post, there really isn’t much clutch in this method of attachment, so I would not recommend it.

Building with Krika Leg

I have very much enjoyed building a whole collection of speeders, in varying sizes and themes, since putting together my first for the New Elementary 5x5 Parts Fest a few months ago. I thought the Krika Leg would be a good element to try and incorporate into a new speeder design, which I’ve named “Melody’s Lumbering Lobster”, along with another Milky White/Dark Red marbled element I got in the same haul, Bionicle Weapon Staff of Light Blade (44813). This uniquely appeared in this colour scheme in 8102 Blade Titan, part of the Exo-Force theme from 2007.


The Krika Legs are attached to the rest of the build with Technic, Axle Connector with Axle Hole (32039/42135) into a Technic, Brick 1 x 2 with Axle Hole (32064). Two Technic Half Pins (4274) inserted into the Krika Leg’s pin holes allow the attachment of a 1x1 tile and 1x1 plate on which the rear engine fan assembly sits. 

As this in-flight view shows, the Krika Legs make an interesting shape at the rear of the craft, and contrast really well with the rest of the vehicle. 


I really enjoyed the challenge of building with these weird Bionicle pieces, and although I am very unlikely to put together a complete Bionicle figure any time soon, I appreciate the unusual parts which can make other types of MOC really stand out from the crowd. 


Bionicle Toa Metru Foot - Disty


Introduced all the way back in 2004, Block 3X7X2/Bionicle Foot Toa Metru (47298) -  or the ‘Metru foot’ as the community has come to know it - is arguably one of the more versatile LEGO® BIONICLE foot moulds out there. Aside from Bionicle it has appeared in 10 colours across 46 sets including Racers, Exo-Force and Hero Factory.

The Part

It only has 4 standard connection points; a 1L axle connector and 3 pin holes arranged in a triangle at the back of the foot. But as we’ll see, it has a few other tricks up its trouser leg…

The first feature we’ll be covering is the 1-module-wide gap behind the axle connector. Since the axle is enclosed on all sides, this gap is necessary for fitting a Technic socket in there (or any other Technic connector which will fit in the space). However, the gap has other uses beyond accessibility. For example, on the alien guardsman I’ll be showing later on, I used the Metru foot as his cuisses. Trouble is, each foot is only connected to the leg via a Technic axle-and-pin connector hub (22961), which doesn’t offer an axle-tight connection.

Maybe someday the LEGO Group will give us a 22961-style connector with an axle hole instead of a pin hole. Until then, we can keep this little guy’s trousers up by blocking the gap with a 2x2 perpendicular bent Technic connector (44809) or better yet, some stacked 1x1 plates attached to the bottom of a 1x2 tile!


Next up, you might have spotted the piston at the front of the foot. We know what you’re thinking, and sadly the answer is no; while the decorative pistons on most Bionicle parts are roughly the same diameter as a standard System bar, the Metru foot’s piston is a little too chunky to accept clips.

The useful feature is what’s under the piston - a hollow space. It’s slightly wider than a stud’s width, so you can slot a 1x2 plate, tile or grille slope in there (although you’ll need something directly under the foot to keep it from falling out).

Nearer the axle connection, the gap narrows to about the same diameter as a pin. For our little alien, this means there’s actually no need to plug that gap to keep those cuisses in place; we just need to add a pin in the hole directly under the axle hole on the double-socket thighs.

You might have also noticed how small the Metru foot is compared to many other Bionicle foot moulds. It’s only 3 modules across in total, with no awkward wings or fins sticking out of the sides, like the bulky Rahkshi foot (44138), for example.

Building with Bionicle Toa Metru Foot

First off, here’s that alien guardsman using the previously demonstrated connections for his thigh armour.


 

Now, why is the width I mentioned earlier important? Well, if you like spamming parts to create patterns, the narrow Metru foot shape comes in handy. I have a habit of building circles, and an even worse habit of turning those circles into sci-fi portals or particle accelerators. No surprises with this next build, then.


What might surprise you is just how well the layered ring of Metru feet lines up geometrically. As I started daisy-chaining them together, I was already dreading the moment when I’d have to connect the chain at either end to form the ring. 

It was either going to be too tight for both ends to actually reach each other, or so loose that the circle became more of a floppy oval. Unbelievably, the ends lined up almost perfectly. I can tell there’s a little stress on the parts, but nowhere near as much as you might expect. The cross-hole catch connectors in Light Bluish Grey (4211553 / 32039) are simply there as spacers to limit the rotation of each foot.

You can even fit an X-Pod lid (47675) in the middle!

And to round this article off, let’s talk about the two prongs at the back of the foot. Since they’re placed on either side of the rearmost pin hole, they’re effectively a stud’s width apart; so we can use them to wedge plates, tiles, bricks or slopes onto the foot.


In this case, I’ve used them to add some grille slope greebling around the outside of the portal ring. The prongs are actually snug enough to hold the slopes all on their own, but I’ve supported each slope with a stud pin just in case. 

Thanks to Huw for the photos!


Check back next Friday for the continuation of our Bionicle anniversary celebration!

Festival Curator: Áron Gerencsér. Editor: Tim Johnson.

READ MORE: Continue to part 3 for more amazing creations

Help New Elementary keep publishing articles like this. Become a Patron!

Massive thanks go to our 'Vibrant Coral' patrons: Rebranded, Chuck Hagenbuch, Joe Fontana, Elspeth De Montes, Megan Lum, Markus Rollbühler, Mevits Bricks, Baixo LMmodels, Andy Price, Anthony Wright, Chris Cook, London AFOLs, Gerald Lasser, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Huw Millington, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Sue Ann Barber & Trevor Clark, and Kevin Gascoigne. Vale Iain Adams, a great supporter of New Elementary.

LEGO® Shop at Home
USA: Save up to 30%. See what's on sale!
UK: Free delivery when you spend £50 or more at LEGO!
Australia: Discover the latest promotions and offers on LEGO.com

All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.

16 comments:

  1. The foot ring build is quite nice, unusual to see an odd number work out so well for circular structures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! I think they are maybe better at that nowadays but always good to see

      Delete
  2. Now I wanna see a "Cursed Elementary" series about Galidor parts and the Star Wars figure heads and other such pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny, one of the builders coming up sent a WIP and asked... is this too cursed? :D

      Delete
    2. consider my interest piqued

      Delete
    3. Now it has to live up to your cursed expectations :D

      Delete
    4. But it comes with a free frogurt!

      Delete
    5. Hmm, I guess the Star Wars heads aren't too hard too fit into a bonkular action figure with a 32474 Technic Ball Joint / Voodoo Ball with a Technic axle, and the Galidor Pin Heads could be used in a similar way with Pin Holed Technic bricks or beams, etc...

      But overall, the Galidor parts seem just too weird and specialized to cram into a build outside of their intended purpose...

      Delete
    6. oh ye of little faith

      (the use of the Galidor parts in this article is what put the idea in my mind)

      Delete
  3. That knee cover looks like it might work as a spectacular set of shoulder pads or epaulettes for a minifigure? Anyone with one in their collection want to test that out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen that use years ago, it was probably Moko but I'm not sure. The 1/2 module tickness makes the neck very long and the part itself limits most arm movemnt.

      Delete
  4. "Maybe someday the LEGO Group will give us a 22961-style connector with an axle hole instead of a pin hole."

    I too, have been wishing for this part for many, many years.

    ReplyDelete