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First look, Toa Ignika
Posted by Richard on December 17, 2007 at 01:33 AM CST:
Packaging

The packaging is nothing complex, just your simple toa shown riding a sort of jet, with a blast shooting out of the Midak Sky Blaster. BIONICLE® sits in bug letters just under the Phantoka emblem, overshadowing the name "Toa Ignika" written in much smaller font right underneath. The emphasis is clearly on Toa Ignika's picture on the box, and pretty much demonstrates what you get, which would be....a toa riding on a glider. If you look carefully at the box, you see a smoke trail starting from the back of the jet reaching off into what might be mistaken for as Mahri Nui, which it could actually be anyway. You might also notice it seems like his arm holding the Midak Blaster is bending more than it really can, The back of the box shows you more of the same, again he dominates the back of the box as he does the front, only his glider is parked and you have a picture showing how the Midak's trigger is pulled in the upper right corner, and the lower third is dedicated to showing off the other currently available Phantoka sets.All this overlaps a background with caves, a few bats, and a giant version of his mask partly rusted away. At first glance you might not even notice the impossible mistake on Ignika's right shoulder. the armor is flipped the opposite way and actually goes through the lower arm in a way it never really could. How this could have been missed is a mystery to me assuming it wasn't an intentional mistake to grab a bit of attention to this guy. Another mistake if you can really call it one is the only halfway loaded projectile on the barrel of he Midak in the same picture as the other mistake.




Parts of interest

The new parts included are some old parts in new colors, the Ignika mask, two wings (as seen on Kopaka), a two stud long bar with a plus peg and a regular peg hole on the same side (basically just like the common part thats just those two plug holes only without the ninety degree angle separating the two plug holes rather than being on the same side), the revamped sockets, double sockets and extra long double sockets, the couplers that bind two axle bars together only now its designed so it can be plugged between four LEGO® studs on the bricks, and new to the full sized figures, a capsule half. Some of the black pieces that make up the back end of the jet might also be new to the BIONICLE sets, but have been around in other themes for years. The new version of the mask of life mildly resembles the old version that was fused to the back of Vezon's head. It more so resembles the mask the Barraki fought over in the animated videos we saw earlier, and may very well be exactly the same. I think I like it more than most of the other masks out for this year so far and its got a very nice look to it. Id say it properly captures the look of being a powerful mask. This is also the only mask Ive seen other than Maxilos' that has a plus peg slot to attach a plus rod rather than having the plus peg built in.








Construction/articulation

Toa Ignika

Here we have yet another toa based on the ignika/piraka torso style, nothing very new and he has the same matoran harness as Kopaka's. While he lacks a dedicated matoran, any matoran should do, perhaps with the exception of the ones that go with the Makuta characters. The shoulder pad armor is locked securely in place by a blue friction peg and a three long pin with a stud topped end, and permits a great range of motion, plus they hold on two short claws just behind the shoulder pads. One of the newer parts first featured on Nuparu Mahri's arms and upper legs as armor makes an appearance as lower leg armor that loosely clicks into place over the rahshi lower legs. These plates plug in with a tan swivel peg that tends to let them rattle back and forth. I don't know why a blue friction peg wasn't used, since all the other pegs are blue or black making the tan stand out to the rest of the set's color. This makes me think they wanted the armor to swivel back and forth more easily when the blue peg would hinder this, but if that is true I hardly think this detail would be appreciated much or hardly even noticed except by particularly picky collectors. When I first saw the part pictured on Toa Ignika, I thought it was made to snap snuggly onto the rahski legs, so I am a bit disappointed that for cosmetic purposes this piece keeps getting bumped out of alignment with the leg. But though it would probably get in the way, its a cool part and just to have two more in the set Id like it if this armor adorned the lower arms too. I might complain about his head being too far forward but the socket that holds it in place surprisingly sturdy and upon moving his neck back I found the mask rested on the edges of his body and limited its articulation more than I would be willing to give up. The head doesn't look too bad in the proper position though.




Jet thingy

The sled is very nice if you ask me, and its construction is more massive than Toa Ignika himself, and though around the same size makes Lesovik's sled look small. From the top it it looks very streamlined with the exception of the very middle where the main construction and footholds are located and tied together, which is only particularly obvious form the underside. The back end of the sled is a more rounded section built to house the capsule half which is used to look like one of those rocket engine valves like on the space shuttles, missiles, and rockets.The front holds the wings, landing gear, and frontal plating parts. The landing gear cant fold up, but they look like they're part of the flight wings anyway. When resting on the ground the jet booster acts as the back landing gear, and it's front end pivots up just slightly as if ready to launch from that spot. The only parts on the jet intended to move are the flip out wings, held in place by a single plug. I think they look best when folded up against the jet itself, but I would have preferred that they locked into an open or closed position using the rubber rod system to keep them from shifting into more uneven positions.




Simple changes I would make

If I could change it for functional purposes, Id make it so the plugs wouldn't stick in Toa Iginka's foot when I took him out, along with the blue three-stud-long friction plugs which would be replaced with the same part in the color black for cosmetic purposes, which is a part readily available for MoCers. To prevent the footholds from staying in Ignika's foot when removed, you could simply remove the back blue peg, remove the capsule half, and plug the peg in from underneath the same spot on the bar instead of from overtop the same spot so the stopper keeps it from being removed, and then plug the capsule half back in. The front peg is a two-stud-long, so if you don't mind changing the set in such a mild way, you could partially disassemble it and replace it with a three-stud-long plug with the stopper and attach it from underneath the side that Ignika will be standing on, just like the other peg. While your at it, you might want to try reinforcing the top middle bar since often the process of pulling Toa Ignika's back foot off of the plug also pulls up the middle bar itself partially off the sled with it. A simple reinforcement would be grabbing one of the #1 axles (you know those plus peg connectors with a hole for a plug or plus peg in the center that have different angles and a number on it? This is the #1 labeled part that only has one plus peg spot and the plug and is used on Pohatu Phantoka to hold his spinning helicopter blades together), and plug a blue friction peg into the spot for the plus pegs. Remove the capsule half, plug the unused end over the exposed bit of three long plug that was keeping the capsule half from rotating, and then plug the capsule half back over so the blue friction peg holds it in pace at the top along with the one that holds the capsule at it's center. If your willing to make this alteration might I recommend taking existing black three-long-plugs and replacing all of them except for the footholds with the black color? That would color code the footholds as blue for neatness, but you'd have to take one of the spare blue three longs after this modification to replace the front foothold in that color.


Colorscheme and Appearance

Toa Ignika is silver, keetongu yellow, and black. Strangely enough he doesn't seem to disappoint me in the same way Kopaka does who also has this style of body I've become tired of. I suspect its because of how well his three colors go together and that the piraka body looks better than the grey inika armor. Im wondering if Kopaka just didn't live up to my hopes as a favorite or if something as simple as a more decorative torso would have made me warm up to him? The jet's colors are simply a bit of grey, with mostly black and some silver. These go together very well and as I said before it looks very streamlined. A lack of yellow on the jet keeps it from looking like it's only for Toa Ignika's use, while the black and silver is able to go with about any rider, while still matching Ignika's own black and silver parts.


Overall

For $19.99 USD, this set has many great MoCing parts, the large black plates being of my favorites. Toa Ignika and the jet are both very interesting and worthwhile in my own opinion, and though I would have preffered that the jet had a mechanism or some other feature, or that Toa Ignika was a little more of an uber toa with a slightly more complex torso, he makes a nice addition to the toa team without standing out like a sore thumb. I even suspect Ignika usurped Pohatu's yellow colorscheme since yellow looked better on Ignika and the designers didn't want two of the same colored toa. (And give us some purple and black Earth elementals already would ya!). Christmas shoppers couldn't go wrong with this set, and I would definitely suggest grabbing one of him.for yourself, though you'd probably be interested in him regardless of my input.

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