|Glatorian Strakk, First Look|
Posted by on December 26, 2008 at 07:04 PM CST:
The Glatorian cannisters are just a basic container, I found nothing of interest to report. The lids seem to serve no specific purpose and do not store any components like some of the older and more interesting lids.
You will find that Strakk doesn't have a particularly great part supply for a newer set, much of what he contains we already have readily available in other sets, however he does have that matching shoulder armor, mask, and axe set. On top of that he has the "Bioniclix" (As a certain member on our forums has deemed them) health wheel, the new hands, and projectile launcher/ammo. Last of all we have the headpiece which his mask plugs into.
The new headpieces are transparent and compact in design. Its one of those parts thats hard to photograph and even then doesn't look good in a picture, so you really wont see how interesting the part is until you have it in hand. It's similar in concept to the Av and Shadow Matoran of last year, but a significant improvement as far as looks and function go. They both come with a socket to snap onto a ball joint neck and so far Ive seen them in transparent Blue, Green, and Red. The part is very noticeably ape like, and I would compare them to Iron Man's faceplate in design which is a good thing. Ive heard one of the characters in last year's storyline was in a dimensional rift where he saw an ape like species, perhaps that was a reference to these guys?
The headpiece and mask work a bit differently from the masks we've been getting the last few years, and the head is so much smaller because the new "masks" are smaller, resulting in more proportionate heads to the completed models. You will see there is no mouthpiece connector on the face, and instead there is a plus peg hole on the top of the skull, from which all the masks in the Agori and Glatorian plug into like helmets, which also frees up the front of the face on the helmet/masks for some interesting designs focused around the exposed mouth.
The head pieces can be conveniently flipped around for use with the older plus peg masks, but are not compatible with the original toa masks, krana, and despite their shape are too small for Toa Inika masks (Who uses them anyway?) to snap onto. Annoyingly, the new headpieces being smaller, the new masks designed in their proportions and the proportions of the completed model, do NOT fit the older toa heads.
Strakk's mask is a bit plain in my opinion, but it does match his shoulders with that top half folding back into an ice pattern. Mine has some blue highlights toward the top that look ice-like to match the patterns on his shoulder armor with a light blue streak going down the face. These mixed color parts usually have a basic pattern but the injection process means no two are exactly alike. His mask is mildly asymmetrical just above the eyes, but not enough asymmetry is present to spot it without thinking to look for it. There's nothing particularly interesting about it though, as the mask just looks like a generic snow monster face.
These two plates of armor are a bit over-sized, and unlike the mask, the blue portions are flexible rubber. They're a little asymmetrical just like the mask, but the detailing on the shoulders are a bit better. The shoulders pretty much tie in the axe along with his mask to establish the theme of this set. When added to his upper arms, they angle away from the arm and do not contour around it like some of the more interesting armor now available.
Another multicolored part in Strakk, it sort of reminds me of Lewa Olda's solid green axe, but a more evolved version. Mine has some faded blue in the crevices of the axe, as well as in the blade where it is more prominent while the one in the box art just seems to have a blue blade. The white mixes into the blue at the blade in a way that matches and compliments the other mixed color parts, and like the mask the blue portion is hard plastic instead of rubbery. Its one of the best parts in Strakk.
Back when the prototypes were circulating around they seemed much bigger, I don't know if they simply changed it or if the pictures just misrepresented them. These parts have been a big part of the discussion on our forums for the Glatorian, and after having them in hand, they aren't great, but they're decent. Each hand has three immobile fingers and a neutrally positioned thumb. The thumb was molded in place at the middle of the three fingers so the same part could be used for both hands, rather than having to create two hands with thumbs at the "normal" position. The hands have two plus peg holes, one on the left and right side in order to plug tools into where it looks like the hand is actually gripping the item, though you can't slide larger plus pegs through the hand since it has a stopper to prevent that. You can always use two smaller plus rods together to make it look like the hand is holding a larger one at least.
Ammo and Launcher Prongs
The ammo launcher (I don't know it's official name yet) is comprised of two prongs. To build Strakk's, you simply put two small plus pegs into the hand, and then plug the prongs onto the pegs. In essence, its a modified disk launcher based on a more sound ammunition. Once the ammo is loaded, you simply squeeze the prongs together from the middle. It will take some practice to learn where to squeeze but Ive found it to be an excellent launcher.
The ammunition itself is a cross between the shadow leeches and a zamor. The leeches were made of rubber and had prongs to stop them from rolling too far, while the zamor is really a plastic marble. Each of the six glatorian come with one rubber ball that has eight spikes, with a hard plastic ring around the center. The plastic ring helps it slide and lock into place within the launcher prongs, and without the plastic ring the rubber ball could not be launched. Anyone worried about the prototype pictures depicting a zamor sphere with spikes plugged into it will be satisfied to know that each glatorian has the new launcher and ammo, and not a recycled zamor sphere launcher. The downside it that you only get one of these spike balls per Glatorian, though since they wont roll far off your not as likely to lose it. Also, if you wanted to use it to launch a zamor, you can.
"Bioniclix" wheel and Battle Game
Each Glatorian includes a wheel that acts as a life counter, it has six positions that lock into place once plugged into one of those old Toa Metru gear covers via a blue friction peg. The positions are 5,4,3,2,1, and a skull, and they are a part of the counter so you don't have to worry about these numbers peeling off. The counters are usually plugged into the back or the foot of the Glatorian figures for a simple battle game.
Each player puts a Glatorian cannister on the floor and places their glatorian of choice in front of it. They then take turns firing at their opponent with the projectile. After an opponent takes a shot, they then move their Glatorian to where their ammo landed. If they hit the opponent's Glatorian, the opponent reduces his life counter by two, while if you hit your opponent's cannister, he lowers his counter by one. Once a player's life counter reached zero, he loses. It's that simple, but perhaps the game proves more interesting with the environment it's played in?
I imagine advanced players will fire their ammo to higher positions such as a desk or coffee table to take their next shot for a more strategic game. I guess it's like playing "Battle Golf" in your house. It would be nice if advanced rules were established, but I think we can make up our own twists on rules to make the game more interesting.
Strakk's color-scheme is light blue with white and a touch of dark (metru) blue. The dark blue seems a little off but I think it was used to create a little more depth to his color by keeping a white part from clicking into another white part, and so on. The solid white and light blue parts are tailored to match his multicolored parts, but I think it would fit the scheme a little better if his double sockets were transparent blue to match the transparent blue in the other parts. Still, the light blue parts do match up pretty well with them, so it's not a big loss.
He's more or less a Toa Inika with one of those right angle bar/clips (used to dock the Makuta figures with a Shadow matoran rider) bending his back at a right angle. The Inika armor plate on his torso plugs into the clip and uses a little gali-olda blue stud-plug to keep it from flopping out-wards from his chest. His neck also wobbles a little but the way the doubled neck is attached reduces he wobble compared to other sets using a toa inika upper body.
Well, his arms and legs have very good articulation, and he's got a neck with two articulation points. The new head piece does have a very good range of motion from the neck, and can flip around even in some of the tighter spaces.
Well, he is a little interesting, and the shoulder armor tends to make you want to bend the arms so that the armor faces to his side like in the pictures rather than the front. His axe is the most imposing piece and the focal point when looking at him, if not the shoulder armor.
Stakk as a whole
Well, I think too much focus on his guy is left up to his mask, axe, and shoulders. The other Glatorian seem to have some extra little detail, like Skrall's shield, sword and beautiful color-scheme, Malum's fire claws and bulky build, and Vorox's scorpion tail. My favorite is usually the ice element set, but he just seems to be lackluster and unimpressive compared to the others in his series. To make it worse, their pricier this year, and while I know it's because of the cost of the oil their plastic is made from, Strakk just doesn't have anything to make him seem worth the price. He also looks more like a generic snow monster with an axe than a warrior. As a whole, he's simply sub par, with maybe a few good MoCing parts and nothing else to make him a very desirable set, not even for people who have ice based sets as their favorites. If you're on a budget, I say skip Strakk, and go straight for Skrall unless your differences in opinion happen to make him appeal to you, or you plan to tear him apart for your custom creations.