Set Review: 8988 Gelu
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 12:05pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Darth Vader]
It is time for another wonderful set review. Today BZPower Blog Assistant Darth Vader shares his thoughts on Gelu, the Glatorian Legend. How does he stack up compared to other sets from this year and before? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Gelu's canister is the same style canister used for all the Glatorian Legends. Slightly reminsicent of the Visorak canisters, Gelu's canister has the image of Gelu that has become so prominent these days. We've seen this image for awhile, and just like on Mata Nui's canister, I wish the background was more exciting than the Skrall shield design is. The elemental backgrounds were awesome - I wish these still had more than just a hint of them.
The back of the canister looks better than the canister backs did with the first wave of Glatorian, but it's still nothing to get excited about. There's an advertisment for the movie, the six Legends figures lined up in a row, and the familiar, comforting embrace of the Legal Text. I don't know about you guys, but I have come to love the Legal Text like a member of my own family. Legalese is the greatest of second languages.
There's a BIO code there too.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
There's an instruction book you won't need, and the cover looks suspiciously like the canister image. Hmm...
Notice anything about the building? It's the same set you've been building for the last three years. Gelu is basically a Toa Inika. All he needs is a light-up sword, and a head that's not compatable with older masks (OH WAIT).
The build won't take you very long. It's a quick two or three minutes, and then Gelu's standing in front of you. There are no tricks to this build, nothing new to add excitement.
If you built an Inika, you've built Gelu.
And with each set, this becomes more and more disappointing.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
So, what do we expect from an Inika clone?
Gelu has three new pieces.
Three, tres, troi.
Though an Inika clone, through and through, Gelu has the luxury of being the first to own the good-looking Inika chest armour in solid white. There's no dark blue marbled into it, it's not silver. This is solid white.
Where was this when Kopaka Nuva Phantoka took to the skies?
This piece will be a welcome addition to many people.
The other two pieces are:
Let's be fair. Gelu's helmet is AWESOME. The T-shaped opening for the face, the angles, everything here (minus the circuitry details that I wish weren't there) is stream-lined and awesome. The extensions going off the back do a good job matching the snowflake pieces, and that's awesome. Consistency like that is something I adore.
The swords remind me a lot of Tahu Nuva's magma blades. They're a similar shape, but Gelu's hold the edge here, since the edge is molded in a cool vibrant blue plastic. The downside of this blue plastic is that it is darker than the blue plastics used on both the snowflake pieces and the helmet. Minor disappointment.
The blue plastic piece is only connected on the top, and the very bottom, so while it looks like those round extensions in the center of the blades attach to it, they don't. Watch out, these may get bent easily.
So new pieces are almost a bust on Gelu. How's the actual product as a whole hold up?
Gelu is, to be fair, mostly boring. I love the combination of the helmet and the snowflake pieces. I also love the snowflake pieces in general. They look really cool on the upper arms.
Gelu is not only a case study in Inika cloneism, he's also a case study in another arena.
I wish the upper arms were the short double-sockets. I don't know how many sets I have to say that on, but it's becoming a depressingly long list. As is, Gelu's hands reach down half-way past the knees. This looks slightly less goofy than on Mata Nui, but far goofier than I would like.
His lower arms, being Metru lower legs, are also longer than the Vahki legs he uses as lower legs. Why?
To make us ask questions, I'm sure.
I'm glad, though, that Gelu uses the clawed Inika feet. They are my preferred Inika feet. The other ones just look like clown shoes.
Gelu's back is the most interesting, though. If the white is armour, and the blue isn't (run with me, this is just how I see things), Gelu's back is so unprotected it's not even funny. He's just this big mass of dark blue, with a little bit of silver (Silver :( ). Just an observation.
Gelu has the life counter, and it's held on by a silver Metru chest piece, instead of a white or dark blue one, both of which exist. Why the silver, TLG?
Another downside of the Inika build is that Gelu is, once again, quite the stick-thin guy. I wish he had some depth in his design, like Mata Nui managed, and even Gresh managed. The set would look so much better for it.
(Of course, it could be worse, design-wise. He could be Tarix!)
So there's not a lot going on here. Gelu is an Inika-clone Glatorian. Is that good? I don't think so, but if you adore the Inika, and the Inika style, Gelu is right up your alley, I suppose.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Of course, there are upsides to the boring build we've gotten for so many years. Gelu is able to be put into several poses, as he possesses all the usual Inika style joints. He can be in a fighting pose, he can show off his agility and balance, he can bask in the Arena's praise (or the caravan driver's praise - whichever you prefer), he can crouch for crouching's sake, and he can shoot Thornax fruit at you.
Unfortunately, with the length of his arms, he can't rub his chin, or shield his eyes. But what are you going to do?
So playability-wise, there's nothing new here, but that's not a bad thing. There's the SUPER ACTION FIGURE GAME, I suppose, and there's the Thornax launcher, the best launcher ever (does not mean I like it or launchers).
So have him fight Ackar for an elemental challenge.
Or just have him stand on your shelf looking regal and awesome.
Because that's what action figures are for, and Gelu is far more action figure than LEGO set.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Snowflake pieces!
- Cool helmet
- Neat swords
- White Inika chest armour
- Poseable like always
What's not to like?
- Boring Inika design is way past boring by now
- Proportions are far from laudable
- Only three new pieces
- Only two new moulds
So, is Gelu a bad set? He's too boring to be a bad set. He's just there. There are things to like about him, certainly. But his overwhelming mediocrity just doesn't have a whole lot going for it.
Pick him up if you are a completionist, like his role in the story, or missed out on the Toa Inika, or love the Inika style build. Otherwise, get Mata Nui. That's an awesome set.
And that concludes another insightful look at one of the 2009 sets courtesy of Darth Vader. Be sure to thank him in the Talkback (when the forums are back) for taking the time to write this up and for snapping those wonderful shots. Hopefully we'll have some more reviews for you soon, but until then you can keep checking back for the latest Bionicle news!
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