Protector Of Ice Review
Posted by on January 14, 2015 at 09:15 PM CST:
Before you begin reading, I recommend taking a look at my Kopaka 2015 review as a primer, I've tried to detail everything but some features I talked about in Kopaka may be missing from the Protector Of Ice review below.
Starting with the box, it is one of three sizes each of the new BIONICLE® sets are packaged in. It is the smallest of the three, and this size is exclusive to the "Protectors". Compared to the original Kopaka, the box is about as tall, but much wider. Inch for inch I believe more of these can fit on a shelf than the canisters, and ship more to a box as well.
Of the three sizes, the small and medium each have perforated edges to allow the stores to tear along the top of the box and raise up a a flap with holes to fit most store hooks. The LEGO® store I obtained these at opted to pop every applicable flap up to hang it in their display, so I do not have any un-popped box pictures, and I'm curious if the hook holes also needed to be popped out. It was mildly amusing that the pop up hangers didn't fit well on The LEGO Store's own hooks.
Protector Of Ice
Skipping directly to the figure, he's surprisingly cool looking. Visually, its impressive that you can look at him from every side and the placement of armor creates the illusion of being bulky and not as hallow as he actually is. The saw-blade shield and six shooter with a bayonet rounds out his overall appearance.
Out of the six protectors, he is one of only two (The other being the Fire protector) that lacks a lower arm, with a hand that connects directly to the upper arm. He doesn't really need lower arms, they have a great range of motion and I could aim the six shooter anywhere I wanted, and the shield mostly where I wanted.
I found holding the saw/shield at a resting position was just about impossible, though you could rebuild the saw's components to hold it at a more casual stance if you wanted at the cost of the spinning feature.
It seems each Elemental master and their corresponding protector come with the same color variant of Skull Spider, in this case Kopaka and the ice Protector share the silver Skull Spider. Gali and the Water Protector also come with silver Skull Spiders.
These little guys are incredibly fun, and a great addition to the set, giving the buyer a complete play experience without having to buy a villain. They can hang from virtually anything in my room that's not a flat surface bigger than their legs can fit around. If you want a tougher adversary and bought two good guys (There's only one villain set), then you can pop off their mask and attach the Skull Spider to turn him into a villain, which I think Is brilliant thinking on the part of the design team. Additionally, the more sets you buy, the more spiders you get to form a horde like the ones seen in the videos and mini comics.
The comic always show these sneaky looking guys latching on over the Ice Protector's mask, but the clips that grab their face get in the way, so its actually not possible to wear it overtop. The Skull Spiders also seem to grip the face better than the Protectors mask, which can be irritating when trying to knock one off his face with another character.
The six Protectors all share the same mask shape, though with different primary and secondary colors, and out of the new masks revealed so far they are the largest because of the crest reaching to the back. The crest gives them a tribal aspect, while the face adds a fierce look. I don't know if these masks have any power, the rebooted story indicates (If I'm reading it right) the masks contain both a character's elemental power and functional ability, like Kopaka's X-ray mask contains also his ice elemental powers. In the previous story, only the Toa could use a mask's power, and the dual colored masks were to indicate a lack of power in the mask to prevent confusion. A Matoran needed the mask to function, where a Toa could survive without it if needed. However, I've seen nothing that indicates these rules are true in this version.
The process of the mask's creation in the mold gives it a fairly random swirl color, and out of my six protectors, the ice version has the largest transparent color portion. I can see some level of collectability based on the amount of solid versus transparency in the mask trade market, if BIONICLE® reclaims it's popularity.
In total, he has three mechanisms:
*The mask ejector, pushing down on the back of the eye piece will eject the mask forward from the face. I have a hard enough time picking up the figure without popping the mask off, so I don't feel like I need something else to avoid grabbing. I might have found it advantageous to manipulate the head by this piece if it had been fixed in place, since manipulating the head by the mask more often than not pops it off. Then again, the Skull Spiders grip the face more tightly, and while its not difficult to remove, the ejector seems like a feasible feature to remove them with. It would be nice if all masks had the same gripping power, but I suppose the tighter gripping masks make the mask battle game harder.
*The shield/saw mechanism deigned to be spun from a gear that comes out behind the hand. The saw attaches to the spinner by a bolt since a regular axel would not offer any friction to allow the gear in the back to make it turn with any real force. As a result a strong spin on your part diffuses most of the inertia it would get by spinning the bolt inside of the saw rather than spinning the saw with it. I found that spinning it with less force was more effective as a result, of course it wasn't better by much.
While the effort in the spinner's design is notable, I feel like it goes to waste since the lack of lower arms prevents the shield from being turned so the teeth faced the opponent. If it was up to me, I'd have replaced the saw for a drill. As an alternative, I would have just added lower arms and attached the shield to the hand by a non-friction peg.
*The Six Shooter (as I'm calling it since I don't know any official terms for it) is the greatest part of the entire set. For all intents and purposes, I didn't buy the Ice Protector, I bought the Six Shooter and it happened to come with a decent action figure to hold it. To better understand my amazement with this feature, you have to look back at the Toa Mahri and the Cordak Blasters.
Unlike the cordak, which turns the barrel around the base as the red button pumps air through it to fire, the barrel stays bolted in place and you rotate the flipper inside of it via an axel inserted through it. I'm not sure what exact forces are at work, but I think the force comes from the flipper pushing the stud against the skinnier outer prong on each barrel. As the flipper turns, the curve eventually pushes the stud out of the socket's grip, and the force of the outer prong pushing back on the stud against the flipper's curve is what I think causes it to launch forward.
They improve upon the cordak blasters in a number of ways, most notably they are far more compact which makes them easier to integrate into a custom creation. They also fire those tiny round studs as ammunition, and since the firing mechanism is based on studs, you can fire a number of other smaller LEGO elements via their stud ends. I tested a number of other parts, each much heavier than the intended ammunition, and they were all launched a satisfying distance. Even flick-fire missiles I had on hand, when plugged in by the stud end, were launched farther and more reliably than I've ever managed to flick them.
This gives you a large option for improvised ammunition, and even some degree of customization for projectiles. This comes in handy especially when they are so easy to lose. Even worse(Or better, since they get more distance as a result?), they are very bouncy and will ricochet off most surfaces. I accidentally shot one of my Earth Protector's purple rounds toward one side of my room, and found it on the other side of my room a week later.
Back when they had some Hero Factory parts in the Pick A Brick at my local store, I stocked up an a ton of the tiny single stud tiles to help fill in the gaps of empty space in my cup to help get my monies worth, and have a ton of extras ^_^. Perhaps if you find yourself at a LEGO® Store, you can do the same? If your a parent and your kid wants or has one of these, I urge you to make a rule about leaving the ammo at home. If you are a kid, I urge you for your parents' sanity to leave the ammo at home.
The Six Shooter comes in two parts, the yellow inner spinner with the flipper that looks like a heavy duty bolt, and the gray outer body/barrel that holds the ammo in place. They don't appear intended to be taken apart once assembled, so if you want to use the barrel for something purely decorative, you may not want to attach the bright yellow part at all.
The yellow flipper spins freely inside the barrel, which provides some benefits like allowing you to use it as a turntable for something. The flipper does not grip the axel that turns it, so it needs a stopper on one end to keep it from falling off, but I can think of a number of ways this can be used by a builder for something imaginative.
These are the parts he comes with. He's actually got quite a few useful small technic pieces. I've tried to note the more interesting pieces I haven't talked about below:
The transparent pieces. Don't count how much ammo there is if your superstitious. I think the set officially comes with 12, but there are some specific parts that always gets a spare included in the box, so that makes 7 extra pieces of ammo after you've filled the barrel.
The saw blade is another cool piece. technically its transparent too, but its kind of a foggy transparent.
I think these feet have been used in a number of models all the way back to the Ben Ten constructable figures. Besides the obvious connection points on the side, you can attach the Skull Spider's claws between the toes.
These armor pieces are always cool, and without them the ice Protector just wouldn't look anywhere near as good. Should also make any custom creations look much better, too bad they only attach to the ball joint plates.
I love these little skeleton frames, I wish I could buy a bag of them in the pick-a-brick. On top of making a smaller figure without a lot of extra parts getting in the way of mobility, they are great for building all sorts of larger frames and weight support systems. One of the larger hero Factory mech suits uses three of these.
Another part I'd love to have a ton of, the gray piece on the bolt. Two are included in the set, and they are supposed to be used for spacers and keep pieces from sliding back further on a three long bolt when theres nothing else available to prevent it from slipping. I've used a different style of spacer to help hide bolts sticking out on larger MOCs. For scale I'm showing it attached to a bolt.
This piece gets a bigger role in "The LEGO Movie" than the BIONICLE reference does. It's incredibly useful when building technic creations, and I wish I could buy bags of them.
Some other very useful technic parts, especially since they come in black which suits most MoCs better than the usual gray variants.
Protector Of ice is a great deal for the price, including several interesting parts that are great for custom creations, on top of the Protector Of Ice being a fun model in his own right. I find no reason not to recommend him unless your on a budget and might benefit from the parts unique to other Protector models.