Set Review: 8987 Kiina
Saturday, August 1st, 2009 at 12:04pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we bring you a full-fledged review of the only female character this year. BZPower Forum Leader Shannara shares his thoughts on the Glatorian Legends Kiina. How does the unique torso design affect the set? You'll have to 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.
So you've waltzed through your local LEGO-carrying store, decided to get yourself a nice new Bionicle set, and Kiina has caught your eye. You pick the canister and what do you see?
Ah, this year's lone female Bionicle set stands proudly displayed across the front of her canister. She's ready to strike with both her Thornax launcher and her "dual-headed vapor trident," as Shop@Home words it. There's the nice Skrall shield image behind her as well, lit up against a blue and watery looking background.
The back you've seen before. Other Glatorian, Thornax demo, Bio Code, the works. Nothing new, nothing special. Onward and forward.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Canister opens, and the pieces tumble out. Nothing new, right? Now let's get started on the Inika body structure, the usual one that has been around for years that we can all do in our sleep. That one. Let's do it. Right?
This is something new. Something entirely new. This is a torso composed of many pieces. A torso based not on a single piece for the upper body. This is a fascinating turn for TLC. Now don't get me wrong, the build is not a complex one nor even remotely challenging. But I can't help but enjoy this step in a new direction, moving further away from the years of clone sets just a little bit more.
The arms and legs, on the other hand, are business as usual. Now through on some armor, and...
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Alright. New pieces. Kiina has four new molds.
The new double socketed hip joints are excellent. I don't even know exactly what to call them. They've got three pin holes on the opposite side as usual, with the middle one being a plus pin hole. These will open some interesting new MOCing doors. The trident heads are straightforward new weapons parts, which are reminiscent of Nokama Metru's hydro blades. Kiina's armor pieces and helmet are sleek and streamlined, and both are covered in small circles which viewed at a distance remind one of fish scales. A nifty little trick on the designer's part.
Two recolors are also found in Kiina. The Glatorian hands and clawed Inika feet both appear in light blue, a new color for both pieces.
All put together, this is Kiina. She's sleek and dangerous looking, but the word that sticks out in mind the most is fast. Her long, thin design looks exceptionally quick to me. It's an interesting vibe and one I like quite a bit.
Her first impression is excellent, but a closer look at Kiina reveals some truly ridiculous proportions. Refer to the picture above. This Tajun Glatorian has hands that hang down past knees, halfway down her shins. Her upper arms alone span nearly the entire length of her torso. If you're looking at her with a critical eye and her arms are at her sides, these proportions become glaringly obvious. So, while in most poses the absurd shape of Kiina's body is not too obvious, in some stances she becomes very lanky and awkward looking.
I'd like to bring up the torso one more time. As I've said, it's not the most innovative build of all time. But I feel I must compare it to the alternative. The Av-Matoran torso would have been an easy, quick way for TLC to go on this one. But in doing that, they avoided this potential monstrosity:
*Shudder.* I feel that I must applaud LEGO for this move. This move to the more complex torso build for the canister sets is one I support entirely. Well played indeed.
Before we move on, I'd like to point out that Kiina's color scheme is lovely. The only serious violation are the four red pins used in her construction, only three of which are visible at once anyway.
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?
Kiina is fun. There's just no way around it. Wonky proportions be danged, she looks just great.
Whether she's standing still in a static pose...
...or fighting bravely in the arena, there's something about Kiina that's just a blast. Really, I can't articulate how much fun I've had throwing Kiina into pose after pose, each more fun and expressive than the last. Most canister sets look uncharacteristic or silly in some stances, but I haven't found one yet for this little lady. I can't say enough about this. But I'll stop, for time's sake.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Excellent new pieces
- Great overall shape
- A total blast to play with
What's not to like?
- Not the most thrilling build
- Funky proportions
- Red pins...?
My expectations buying Kiina were as low as could be. I thought beyond maybe a nifty piece or two she would be a total bust. I don't know whether this low initial standard is what has made Kiina so excellent in my eyes, but that's the way she's ended up. She's got a great set of parts, she' s a set in the right direction for TLC's design team, she's got an excellent overall appearance, and she is tons of fun to play with.
I may well be asking for a review rebuttal, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I found Kiina to be an awesome set, definitely one of my favorites in a long time. I fully and entirely endorse Kiina and recommend her to anyone interested in picking up a new Glatorian Legend.
Be sure to thank Shannara for doing this review when you're able - hopefully it was insightful and informative. Keep checking back on BZPower for even more reviews and, of course, all the latest Bionicle news!
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