Guest contributors Alex Van de Kleut, Mitch H and Matt Goldberg conclude our celebration of the 20th anniversary of LEGO® BIONICLE with three more parts; examined and utilized in builds.
Bionicle Piraka Arm - Alex Van de Kleut
One of the great things about the LEGO® BIONICLE theme was the endless supply of parts featuring pistons and other mechanical details.
The Bionicle Piraka Arm Section with 2 Ball Joint (53563) available from 2006 to 2008 was one such piece. This limb originally appeared in the six Piraka sets in 2006 and was used as limbs in a few Bionicle sets in 2007 and 2008. It appeared in uncommon colours, including very light bluish gray (affectionately called "Thok White") and bright light orange (or "Keetorange"). I personally find that this black variant of the part best matches its mechanical appearance.
The piece features a ball joint on either end, in addition to two Technic pin holes and two 3.18mm bar holes. Most Bionicle parts featuring two ball joints have one "free" ball joint fused to an axle to allow movement in any direction, and one "fixed" ball joint that allows movement along one rotational axis. This part features two fixed ball joints. It was originally designed for Piraka weapons which fold under the arm and can be flipped out which is not possible with the other style of ball joint.
The part measures 8 x 4 x 2 modules. There is also a 1 x 3 module hole running down the centre of the part, but due to the ball joint it can snugly fit 7 studs.
Like many other Bionicle pieces, this part features unofficial bar connections on the cosmetic piston details. You can clip parts to these pistons to introduce some unusual connections and interesting angles. However, as this was not designed to be a legal connection, use it at your own risk.
Building with Piraka Arm
I used this part for two MOCs.
A literal alien mothership. I used the piston details and two skeleton arms with three Piraka arms to create three-way symmetry.
I used other small black parts to match the mechanical aesthetic of the part and contrasted this with two large smooth balloon pieces in white and a trans purple alien pod. This build was more about highlighting the part itself and making it the main focus of the build.
Master of the Southern Wind Temple
I wanted to use the Piraka arm in an unexpected way: as a torso. I connected the arms and legs to the piston details on either side of the part. This build was more about integrating the part in a seamless way.
Stronius Club Half - Mitch H
Of all the LEGO® BIONICLE canister sets at the end of the theme's life, 8984 Stronius was one of my favorites. One of the better sets from the lackluster Glatorian Legends wave, Stronius features a distinct jagged black rock aesthetic and great bruiser silhouette. This is perhaps best emphasized by a large, brutal, barbaric club. Bionicle Weapon Thorned Club Half (Stronius) is what element 64305 is referred to as on BrickLink, but we'll just be calling it the Stronius club half.
The club halves are 2L long as the base, 6L long at its widest point (including the spines), and an unusual 13L long. Thanks to the spines, the height of the element is out-of-system but is roughly 2 stacked bricks tall. The club halves only come in Black.
The Stronius club half has three standard Technic connection points. Two pin holes and 1 axle hole. Thankfully the inside of the club halves have a opening that's the height of a thin liftarm which can functionally transform the pinhole into an axlehole (and even add one with a Technic cam).
There are two out-of-system holes near the base but these are too small for an axle and too large for a 3.5 mm bar. However, the inside of the club half has a lot of empty space. Perfect for the classic constraction technique Max H highlighted in an earlier article of "just jam something rubber in there." The myriad of spines also offer many homes for a rubber liftarm.
The Stronius club half is an unusual element for Bionicle, with one side of the halves being completely flat. This is rare for Bionicle elements, especially of this size, and the geometry is much simpler overall. The club half, like the Nuparu Mahri armor piece (reviewed by Max H in Part 3 of this festival), lacks many of the trappings of late-Bionicle elements, trading the technical detailing and tubes for a rocky and jagged facade. While the aesthetic of the piece might sound like a hindrance there are a number of Constraction elements that are quite similar.
For my MOCs, alongside the club half, I've tried to showcase some of the elements you see here.
Building with the Stronius club half
Thanks to the element's (relatively) simple geometry, the Stronius club halves form the sides of the shins of the ostentatious LORD OVERDEATH. The shins were the first part of the MOC that were built and dictated not only the size of the character but also the general aesthetics: spikes, spikes, spikes.
The Club halves here create Rockjaw's… well, jaw. Its bottom jaw is the helmet of the eponymous Stronius who wields the burly club.
The Stronius club halves haven't seen much use in constraction building. Perhaps because of their large size or their relative rarity. This just means the door is open and waiting to be walked through! Consider the element the next time you're in need of barren rocky terrain, organic architecture, a spiky crocodilian Kaiju, or anything else you can think of!
Bionicle Foot Wedge - Matt Goldberg
The LEGO® BIONICLE theme was known for introducing scores of new elements, many of which only saw limited use. Most famously, the masks the characters wore often made only a single appearance.
A similarly uncommon part is the Bionicle Foot Wedge 3 x 7 x 3 (32560), or as the LEGO Group colorfully calls it, the Voodoo Spur. As the name suggests, it is not a weapon or a piece of armor, but instead an armored toe. It was the tool of choice for another of the six protagonists of Bionicle, Pohatu, which explains the similar naming by TLG to the recently featured Voodoo Hook / Claw Hook w/ Axle. "Voodoo" in these names appears to originate from Boneheads of Voodoo Island, a name used in the development of what would ultimately be named Bionicle.
The unique shape of Bionicle Foot Wedge is due to its original use as an armored toe; it was designed for compatibility with the Voodoo Foot (32475) / Bionicle Foot with Ball Joint Socket 3 x 6 x 2 1/3, where an axle through the middle of the foot connects the two securely. This also explains much of the geometry of the foot wedge, particularly the angle on the back side of the toe tip and the angle of the upper bar, which lie flush against the foot.
This part was produced in two colors: Tan and the older variant of Flat Silver that was prevalent in the first few years of Bionicle. It appeared in both 8531 Pohatu and 8568 Pohatu Nuva in each color, respectively, used as part of the character's feet. Another interesting appearance was in 7153 Jango Fett's Slave I, released between the two incarnations of Pohatu, which utilized the tan foot wedge as part of the starship's wingtips.
In keeping with the Technic roots of early Bionicle, connections on the foot wedge consist of a 1-module axle on the back end, and a 1-module pin hole one unit further forward. Additionally, like many other Bionicle elements, the thinner piston segment at the front of the wedge can be used as a rod, accepting a clip as one more connection point.
The part itself can fit in a 3 x 7 x 3 volume, however its width is actually slightly less than three units, and its height slightly less than three units as well.
Building with the Foot Wedge
Although I've built primarily with Bionicle for a long time, I don't recall ever using this element until now! The length, sparse connection points, and shape of the toe tip all make it unusual, even for a Bionicle part, and an uncommon shape for a build to accommodate.
One of the first things I did was use it in the admittedly conventional way as foot armor, although for a different foot element than its original match. Hero Factory Foot, Type 1 (87797), the first foot element introduced in Bionicle's successor construction line, has a sloped front that also conveniently aligns with the foot wedge.
Additionally, Bludgeoner Zharok uses two of the part for much of the core of his hammer. The flat bottom of the part gives a smooth edge on the top of the weapon, while each element's pin hole attaches to a Wolf Head, Fenris Wolf Upper Jaw (53457), which has grooves along the snout similar to those of the foot wedge's top bar. The piston clip connection allows attaching a Hero Factory Armor with Ball Joint Socket - Size 4 (90640), which fits nicely due to its inner curve similar to that of the toe's outer tip.
The rounded tip of the food wedge is another feature that stands out; it has a curve suggesting that enough of the part would be suitable for forming a circle.
Okoto Reliquary uses eighteen of the foot wedge in a complete ring. Flex tube chains the upright foot wedges together, and stud-pins in their pin holes are used to hold the segments together. An 8x8 dish covers the inner assembly, especially the technic connectors at the center. In the completed build, foot wedges frame the body of the shrine, pairing a more industrial element with the smoother pillar in a way meant to evoke Bionicle's fusion of mechanical with tribal designs.
The underside of the part's front tip also has a slight curve carved out. This curvature is greater than the outward curve of the front end, and it turns out eight of these parts can encircle an 8x8 dish, aligning reasonably well.
I experimented with some other round elements and radially symmetric designs to create this piece of technology, which both resembles an arc reactor and a sci-fi engine component of some kind.
8531 Pohatu also featured a secondary use of the foot wedge in a combiner model with 8533 Gali, where the foot and foot wedge combination formed the head of a bull (with the Claw Hook w/ Axle making another appearance as its horns).
The head of the Okoto Mukau uses the same combination of parts but with newer elements for more organic features. System bricks that fill out the crown of the head are connected using the axle on the far end of the foot wedge.
Finally, Harvester Drone once again uses the foot wedge and foot together, as the core of this microscale harvesting robot. The flat bottom edge provides a transition to its wheeled undercarriage.
Festival Curator: Áron Gerencsér. Editor: Chris Baginski.
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