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First look, #8996 Skopio XV-1 Posted by Richard on July 3, 2009 at 12:41 AM CST: Box and Movie Teaser
The front shows the Skopio XV-1 and it's pilot walking across a craggy pit with what might be lava underneath. The emblem that can be found on the Skrall cannister set's shield illuminates the background, and can be seen engraved in the stone underneath the XV-1 in the picture showing it in it's tank/tracked vehicle mode. There is plenty of room for extra large letters, but to enable the XV-1 to dominate the view unobstructed they only supersized the word "Bionicle" and the suggested age. They aren't much interested in boasting the name of the set, which hides under the word "BIONICLE" in the top left. I imagine they didn't believe it necessary to emphasize the name, since the picture does all the work, and its an impressive view.
One big difference can be seen on the box that is different from the set you build, the pistons attached to the upper leg (the big red half-cylinders) each have one sliding spacer, while the pictures on the back of the box and the set you actually build have two of these spacers on each piston. I think they had to remove one of these spaces on each piston to give it the articulation necessary for the picture.
On the back of the box, we have the tracked vehicle mode with the pilot standing at the left of the frame. The bottom row shows a picture of the Baranus V7, and Thornatus V9, but the other smaller sets have been left out to make room for pictures showing how to fold it into the tracked mode. The top right shows the firing cannons, the thornax launcher, opening "mouth", and demonstrates that the cannon fixture is also a handle.
The sides of the box mostly just extend from where the front edges are cut off, but the only notable addition is the advertisement for the movie. The pictures were too small for me to get a good shot of, but they show the movie case and DVD (the DVD being decorated with the skrall emblem, and Mata Nui on the case with his toy-form mask), a close up of the Toa sized Mata Nui looking at an organic version of the beetle from the magazine and DVD promotional, where the mouth of the mask is cut away to reveal a metallic blue mouth and chin. A hint of the metallic blue can be seen through the eye holes of his mask surrounding his glowing blue eyes. I think this is a good translation of his toy form into the movie form.
The other two pictures show what looks like Mata Nui running from the Skopio XV-1 in one frame, and standing on the side of the thornatus V9 while it is piloted by another character. I cant say for sure but it appears this movie was designed to be more accurate to the toys, since each visible detail shows minimal liberties taken to make the characters look organic unlike the other three movies, and looks more like what we usually see with the video games based on the toys.
I believe the pilot is an Agori like the other smaller tribe members, but this one is much more articulated. He doesn't look too bad either, and the old throw bot/toa olda arms are perfect for his size, even if they don't quite match the rest of his colors being bright yellow instead of keetongu yellow. I think his legs are on the long side but I'd rather have a bending knee than those locked right angle legs the other agori have. His helmet covers up two attachments on his skull which the rubber tubes plug into, and when unplugged from the XV-1 I prefer to detach the tubes from the vehicle and pop them somewhere onto his arms or back since the box shows them as being apart of him when he's not sitting in the XV-1. When he's riding the vehicle they plug from his head into the ports next to his hand grips on the "steering wheel". His construction is pretty simple, the only thing you cannot tell easily by looking at him is that the shoulder armor has a grey plug under it to keep it from flopping around. If I would change one thing, I'd probably make his arms and legs match in color.
Skopio XV-1, "Tank Mode"
The tracked/tank mode (from now on called tank mode) is about the size of the Axalara T9, but is far easier to be stored stored or put on a shelf since the dimensions aren't as uneven or tall as the T-9. The tank mode is about the length and width of two and a half glatorian cannisters laying flat on the ground one right after the other, and about one cannister tall. The tracks roll smoothly enough that you can give it a good push and it would roll a good distance, but on a perfectly smooth surface like a wooden table the tracks do not work as well since they have nothing to grip as you push it. Folded up, the upper legs have to be parallel to the ground, otherwise the tank would pitch back and forth if you tried to roll it, but properly set the tank will sit perfectly flat. When you fold it up into tank mode, you may notice you cant get the knee to bend just enough so the bar rests on the supports that keep the upper leg from resting on the tracks (The supports look similar to old throwbot feet), but once it's flat on the ground the vehicle's weight will hold the tracks in their proper position. If this still bugs you and you want them to be closed shut when lifted off the ground, you can get rid of the gap by pinching the top and bottom of each piston on the lower legs, since the pistons put some force against the direction the knees are bending.
Obviously the tank mode is only one side of the XV-1, and it's other form is what makes it more than a simple tank. Each leg connects to the body on two joints that click as you turn them, which locks the legs in place at whichever angle you want, specifically for the tank mode so the legs stay in place when you roll it around. Each joint has two of the locking clickers, so two clickers lock it into place as you move it horizontally, and two more lock the leg vertically. The vertical joint does not have as much articulation as the horizontal joint, and it really is only used to lift the upper leg just slightly which makes it look more natural and allows the lower leg flip out at an optimal angle to stand on.
The knees on the XV-1 are supported by three technic balls and two pistons (on each leg). Two of the three sockets the balls plug into on the leg have a small gray part to keep the legs from opening beyond a certain point. I cant tell if its to keep the legs from collapsing in the opposite direction or if they were meant to protect you from breaking the pistons, since after testing the joint without the grey parts plugged in, the pistons seems to bend when I closed the legs. I imagine if I closed it too quickly they COULD break.
The XV-1 also has it's mandibles, powered by a rubber band that holds the jaws shut. The blades they used for the jaw have that smaller blade hooking back in the opposite direction, which is the perfect point to pull on to open the jaws. Mine came with two rubber bands in a cardboard envelope rather than that annoying block they've been shipping on for years now. I had the fortune of getting a rounded rubber band which does not deteriorate as easily as the ones my rahi sets and a few visorak came with. With the pilot in place and plugged in properly, his weight holds down the head and mandibles with enough force to hold a glatorian in it's mouth with his feet hanging off the ground, but since the head attaches on a hinge with two friction pegs, it will not hold much up without the pilot holding it down. I wish it had a better joint, and maybe a transparent piece to act as eyes.
The cannons on the back of the XV-1 attach with two long technic bars. The cannons can move forward and backward on the two bars, but they are locked parallel to the body of the XV-1, so they cannot tilt in any other direction unless you count the slapped on thornax launcher. If I designed the set, I would have taken the turntable parts from the mazeka set, and built that on the back of the XV-1, so the cannons could turn left, right, and tilt up and down. The cannon fixture at least has the utility of being a handle, but I wouldn't use it too often since it feels a little flimsy.
Just behind the pilot's seat we have the big red angled shells. These have been designed so you can flip them open to move the rear cannons forward, but they usually push through the shells without any trouble. If you wanted you could open these up to make room to seat a larger rider or a couple more agori. Of course you can plug some gear in there too, but whatever you use it for, moving the cannon forward can knock it out.
The majority of the XV-1's construction is it's four legs. When you open up the box you will have four bags marked with the number two. The instructions will tell you to repeat the steps to build the first leg three more times. Depending on if you prefer to make the set exactly like the instructions down to the angle the lines on the spacers face, or if you like to make the set as symmetrical as possible you might want to reverse some components on two of the legs so you can have them match a little better once built. I only changed the direction of the wheels the tracks sit on so the hubcaps look the same from all angles. Once the legs are done, you build a box to hold the four legs together, and your more than halfway done. After that you put together the frame for the head and the tail and pin it to the body, you have yourself a walking tank.
Most of the parts are from other sets, including the tracks, so theres almost no new parts, just a few that are new to BIONICLE. I've cropped a few pictures to give you close-ups on some of the more interesting parts.
Its Mine I say! MINE!
One of my favorite shows features a small batch of spider-like robotic tanks with four legs, with the rare appearance of a larger tank much like the Skopios XV-1. Ive been looking forward to this model partly because of the novelty of it's similarities to the show's tanks, but I think anyone can enjoy this model if they can get past the price tag. MOCers get a good assortment of parts too, though they may prefer to hunt down an Axalara T-9 on sale than pay full price for this model, though there are 16 pistons and 12 technic balls, and 16 heavy duty clicking joints that might help you out.