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    Set Review: 8725 Balta
    ReviewMonday, July 10th, 2006 at 8:50pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
    [Source: Schizo Kaita]

    It may seem like we're regressing, but I said we would review all of the 2006 sets, and I intend to do just that. So today BZPower Forum Leader Schizo Kaita brings us a review of Balta, one of the last two Voya Nui Matoran to be reviewed. So read on and see what this little red guy is made of, and if he's worth your time and money or if you should save up for one of the new Toa Inika.

    THE BOX
    The the most superficial part of any LEGO product, but the one that often determines whether or not the set is a success or failure.

    Balta Box Front

    From a marketing point of view, the box is definitely appealing enough: Balta plunging into action with Voya Nui’s vague outline behind him, danger stripes on the side finishing the urban-themed layout, and vivid, contrasting colors.
    Red always works well for packaging, as it stands out and appeals to the buyer. The added yellow orange or ‘keetorange’ finishes it off nicely.
    My favorite part remains the ‘profile portrait’, which can also be found on the side:

    Balta Box Side

    My least favorite part is, of course, the age limit. I haven’t looked sixteen since I was fifteen.

    Balta Box Back

    Onto the back of the box: uniform and standard for all ’06 Matoran sets, the only distinction being the circle around the set in question. The view of Voya Nui will definitely please the fans who discovered Bionicle during its first two years, and brings back some of the mystic island atmosphere of those days.

    WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
    So you've bought it and taken it home (or at least made it to the car), punched the perforated tabs and dump out the contents.  What do you get for your money?

    Balta Contents

    What’s in the box? Pain… Okay, no more Dune references from me, I promise. In fact, this might be the least interesting part: there are no actual new pieces in this particular set which you couldn’t get in any other one. Except for the instructions, of course, which also feature one third of the instructions for the Piruk-Velika-Balta combiner.
    Then again, some of the sets which used to include these pieces are no longer available, so it might still be worth your dollar.

    THE BRICKS
    Here's where we start to cut to the heart of the matter.  You didn't buy this box for all the glossy booklets & creative artwork.  You want to know about the LEGO bricks & bits that are included, and what (if any) new & interesting parts you'll find inside.  Here's also where I'll talk about any new and/or interesing pieces that you will encounter.

    Ox blood lower arm pieces, three ox blood Bohrok feet, a gray double joint socket as found in the Reidak set, a Toa Metru head sans eye piece, single joint sockets plus tools, mask and connectors. The legs are rather traditional, as they’re the same shape and color as used for the Metru Nui Matoran and the Rahaga.

    Balta Contents Bricks

    There are, however, a few notable pieces: The ‘repellers’ as they are called in Balta’s case, are in the new ‘pearl’ shade of silver, as are the Bohrok eyes. If you feel this is a downside for the set, remember that all ’06 sets feature this shade of silver, so there’s no need to worry about the difference in shades with your older silver pieces.

    Balta Contents Notables

    There’s also the Great Huna. Admittedly, it’s exactly the same as Toa Vakama’s, even the colour, but having a second one at hand will prove to come in handy if you’re the MOCing type. If so, you’ll also like the inclusion of keetorange joint sockets, previously only found in the Visorak Oohnorak set, as Keetongu, for all his yellow orange splendor, did not contain these particular pieces.

    BUILDING EXPERIENCE
    What can you expect while putting this model together?

    With the limited amount of parts and easy constructions, you won’t experience any trouble putting it together, as it can hardly be called a confusing process. I would offer one tip, though: when putting together the model, finish the limbs before attaching them to the set, contrary to what the instructions say. I do this for just about any set, because things can get clumsy otherwise.

    Balta Construction 1

    Still, it’s pretty straight-forward construction-wise, which only brings you closer to the next stage, with only three extra parts left: two friction pins and one 2-axel. Although they might come in handy later on, and not just for the combiner…

    Balta Construction 2

    PLAYING EXPERIENCE
    So you've got the model together, but is it more like playing with a block of wood or an interactive toy?

    Balta Playing 6

    “Resourceful and brave, this Matoran can improvise a tool out of whatever is at hand. When he crosses his twin repellers, they can block any attack and strike back at the enemy with equal force.”

    Balta Playing 7

    Well, you can’t blame Lego for false advertising, because he can certainly perform said action, while looking intimidating at the same time. For such a small set, he can pull off quite a few moves that would befit any great swordsman. This is mostly thanks to the construction, allowing the double joint socket to swivel, thus creating a lot of sideways arm movement.

    Balta Playing 3

    Balta Playing 8

    As in most small sets, there are a few downsides. One is the view from the back, which you will find is hardly appealing.

    Balta Playing 5

    Luckily, he looks his Voyatoran best from the front and sides, so I’m sure you won’t mind this particular aspect.

    Balta Playing 4

    Most unfortunately is the limited articulation of the limbs. Contrary to what I mentioned above for sideways movement, forward/backward articulation is hardly possible, which can be seen below:

    Balta Playing 9

    The limbs in this picture are moved as far front and back as possible. This you can solve, but not with only the pieces at hand, and you’d have to heavily customize it. Even switching the hip pieces won’t work, as he’d end up being even shorter, with hips broader than his already impressive shoulders.

    Now, about those extra friction pins: it’s not in the instructions, but if you add them to the back as seen below, you can have Balta store his twin repellers on his back.

    Balta Playing Extra 1

    Balta Playing Extra 2

    OVERALL
    Here's where it all boils down to whether the model is worth your money and time or not.

    Balta arrives with a lot of arm and shoulder articulation, plenty of attitude, a few handy pieces in both old (ox blood) and relatively sparse (yellow orange) colors. He’s fun to play with, fun to pose and just plain fun to look at.
    And if that didn’t convince you, you should see his Travolta impersonation:

    Balta Travolta

    And there you have it, Balta from beginning to end. I hope you enjoyed the review; be sure to thank Schizo Kaita for clearing out his busy schedule to write this up for us. Keep checking back, we have quite a few more reviews in the pipe, both brand news sets and slightly older 2006 sets, coming up. Also, I'd like to remind everyone that while we appreciate the offers, we are not currently accepting guest reviews.

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