Set Review: 71312 Ekimu the Mask Maker
Sunday, June 5th, 2016 at 4:38pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
It's time to continue our summer 2016 Bionicle set reviews. And today BZPower Forum Assistant Nuju Metru is looking at 71312 Ekimu the Mask Maker, the lone good guy in the wave, and the heroic figure of legend. Does this guy stand out amongst the bunch and make it worth your purchase? Will he light up your world, or at least your building space. Or will he make you (transparent light) blue in the face. You'll have to check out the review to find out!
Hey guys, and welcome to BZPower's review of 71312 Ekimu the Mask Maker! As always, I'd like to heartily thank both TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff... I love my job and I love my free LEGO. I'd also like to remind you all that the opinions expressed in this review are not those of TLG, nor of BZPower as a whole: they're just those of me, the reviewer. Feel free to disagree with me about anything.
Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and a text/image format - on this character. Will this version of Ekimu forge a new love in you for the character, or will the first solo appearance of our Mask Maker leave you disappointed?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
What's really left to say about BIONICLE boxes? They're tapering cardboard hexagons... I feel like I've covered this subject so many times. The only thing that changes here between 71312 and other products is (duh) the packaging's printing. Voila Ekimu, in all his glory, set against a greenish craggy backdrop. The shield and hammer are spiced up with crackling blue CGI, the eyes glow artificially, yadda yadda - nothing too new here, either - no innovations in terms of how TLG presents their BIONICLE characters. They found a formula years ago and have stuck to it. I do like how Ekimu's curb-stomping the recolored Umarak face, though.
But oh, no, Ekimu, better watch out - big scary Umarak the Destroyer is creeping up behind you, seeking vengeance for his old mask!
Similarly to the front of the box, the back offers little new stuff. A legalese lower half works like a foundation for the stylized comic, atop which sits an alternate pose of the main model surrounded by function boxes. Note how (unsurprisingly) the Mask of Creation has been used for 1:1 reference. It's all a familiar template, to say the least.
So the box is a bore. I tore through it like a butter through hot knife. Wait, did I mean -
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Out pour two baggies, and an instruction manual. To nobody's astonishment, the picture on the instructions matches the front of the box! Opening the baggies, one is aware of how much gold and transparent-light-blue (TLB? Nah, that looks stupid as an initialism - we'll go with an acronym pseudo-blend, and call it "transelbee!") 71312 consists of. More, I'm sure, on that later.
Now's the point in the review where maybe you say: "Aaron, where are the pictures of the build process?" I'll tell you: I didn't take any. A few reasons for that: a) I got into building the set myself and don't feel like taking pictures; b) I never look at those pictures myself in other reviews, I mean, it's basically always the same steps; c) I like the little surprises that come with building something for the first time, and who wants that spoiled for them?
Besides, you'll form your opinions (and I'll articulate mine) on 71312 when it comes time - right now - to look at the completed model.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
BAHAH! Fooled you. I said we'd look at the completed model. And I lied. We're gonna look at some pieces, first. Here are the new/interesting parts that come in 71312:
Winter 2016 torso armor shell; recolored to transelbee with new printing
I find this mold itself too detailed, and think that its hypercomplexity looks messy. There's an aesthetic of pistons all over... Who even uses all those pistons? Would the torso even bend in all the places there are pistons? These are questions for the great philosophers. Anyway, my qualms about the old part itself are kinda irrelevant to this review (just like my qualms about the packaging) because they're long-established. This one has been around since the winter.
And, actually, the hypercomplexity of the mold sort of serves this recolor: being transelbee, the torso armor earns more refractive depth and solidity with every interruption/discrepancy on its surface. If it'd been a flatter part, the torso might have looked less solid. So do I find myself liking a part I hate. So do the end times approach us all.
The printing on the part wins my approval, too. I noticed as I was writing how the blue parts of the design (e.g. the Nuva symbols) aren't actually areas without printing; rather, they're printed on in medium blue, or something. In case you wondered. The print looks elegant, and the inclusion of the Nuva symbols along the pectorals is a swell nostalgic touch. I like the look of the brown straps over the left shoulder, and wish more of that kind of pseudo-tribal aesthetic manifested in other parts of the figure.
"Molar" armor shell; new mold, in transelbee
This is actually the only new mold in the entire set. And there's only one of them included in 71312. Geez... I don't know if I've ever gotten a BIONICLE set with fewer new molds. The "molar" also comes in this color on Storm Beast, one of Ekimu's contemporaries in the wave, so it isn't even an exclusive new mold... blergh. The part has just one point of connection, a ball socket at its base. It looks like it's a hunk of asymmetrical crystal, because it essentially is. Looks like a diamond molar; I'd love to see a MOC with these as used as teeth. Challenge issued.
Umarak face; recolor, in gunmetal and trans-orange
Here's another recolored element: this time, it's Umarak's face from the winter 2016 sets. You can find my thoughts on the part itself in my review of 71310 Umarak the Hunter. The recolor functions along similar principles, with a transparent exterior and a solid interior. The part's color combination reminisces the Skull Grinder aesthetic.
Mask of Creation; recolor, in transelbee
Wow. This is my first Mask of Creation - I never got MMvSG - so the detail on the mold astonishes alone, and I know that's old news, but I felt compelled to say it anyway. That aside, the recolor really serves the part. Just like on the torso armor I talked about earlier, this hypercomplex mold actually elevates the plastic's hue. The ways the transelbee Mask of Creation catches light is frankly magnificent. I can't think of the last mask I liked as much on its pure aesthetic principles.
Sorry I took so long discussing new parts when there were only four; I felt the need to give them a little more attention than normal. Anywho:
Here's the finished Ekimu! Let's look at him from a few angles...
Transelbee. Transelbee. Transelbee. I personally find transelbee one of the most attractive of TLG's trans-hues; so, the awesomeness of the fact that Ekimu is probably the heaviest trans-hued set in the history of ever only gets compounded by the color itself. Splashes of gold (a tasteful, well-tested complement to transelbee) on the peripheries of the figure and a black/grey underbelly (standard stuff) really take a backseat in this color scheme. It's transelbee's moment.
Okay, looking past my transelbee ecstasy, let's move onto design itself. Broad shoulders and a long torso give Ekimu a powerful appearance, which is somewhat exaggerated by his short legs. The legs' shortness almost works - Ekimu feels, at a glance, like a football player - but a closer look leaves them feeling disproportionate compared to the rest of the figure. They're disproportionate even alone; the thighbones are lengthy, especially with the frictioned hips, and so the thighs are far too long for their 4M shells and Ekimu's short shins. Adding insult to injury, the bulk of the shin armor prevents Ekimu's feet from bending very far forward, excluding him from a number of poses.
The upper body, though, is pretty enough that I can almost ignore the legs. The angled shoulder armor, with sharp Chima accent parts on the ends, make for a distinctive silhouette at once both regal and powerful. A Protector body armor on the back finishes out the torso. Viewed from every angle, except maybe the direct back, Ekimu feels satisfactorily full; and even from the back, he's far from heinous.
I also like Ekimu's tools. The way the shield - reminiscent of the MMvSG Ekimu's shield, but without a turning function - is attached to his forearm shell is cool: it's flexible, but also easily removable. The shield arm itself is almost entirely transelbee, and I know I said I wouldn't bring that color up again but like come on. Speaking of: the transelbee Mask of Creation shines even more (if that was possible) when placed on Ekimu's face. I love how the trans-lime eyestalk and eyes glimmer through the mask.
Back on subject, Ekimu's got him one badbutt hammer, don't he? A knot of Technic parts hides under the trans-blue molar and shell, obscured further by a nicely-chosen gunmetal element. If Ekimu was a baseball player, I'd tell him to choke up a little less on the bat; however, considering how he's supposed to be able to hold the hammer with both hands (a fact I became aware of after photography, sorry), I think the placement of his hand works. Besides, it makes the hammer that much easier to remove from Ekimu's hand in peacetime. He still looks good without accessories, see?
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?
Stable hips and whatnot mean that Ekimu can take on a number of fun poses. I still think he looks best standing stoically, though; his skinny, short legs look a little better that way. Aside from his ankles, no part of Ekimu's design inhibits poseability. The shoulder armor doesn't really get in the way of anything, since it's flexible.
Ekimu comes with not one, but two gear functions! A nice combo of 2015 and 2016 Toa, Ekimu has both a 2015 arm-chop function and a 2016 waist-pivot one. Note how, in the style of 2015 Onua, Ekimu's arm-chop system uses the prodigious friction of a ball in a socket, which means the hammer arm doesn't flop or fall when you turn the gear. I'm happy about that.
Ekimu's other play feature should come as news to no one: press on the back of the eyestalk, and send the mask flying/toppling off. The fact that 71312 comes with an extra/alternate mask, which by now is a staple of BIONICLE Gen 2 products, is no less nifty than it was back in the beginning. Ekimu (obviously) looks worse with the alternate Umarak face than with the Mask of Creation, but having an option is neat nevertheless.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
That's the in-depth review. Let's tally up the score.
What's to like?
- Torso armor part takes an egregious mold and makes it look good- thanks, transelbee recolor!
- Included masks are both super cool; and transelbee Mask of Creation shines with the glory of a shining star <3
- Ekimu is one of the first sets to have a trans-color as his primary one. How neat is that?
- Solid design and powerful silhouette in the well-crafted upper body
- Shield and hammer are easy tools to remove, plus they look good
- 2 gear functions in one figure, and both work swimmingly
- Inclusion of extra mask, what's not to love there
What's not to like?
- The box brings nothing new to the table- but this is hardly a critique of just 71312
- Very few new or recolored elements; just 4, and only 1 of each
- Let me reiterate: only 1 new mold! And it's not even set-exclusive!
- Legs are disproportionate to body + legs are disproportionate to themselves + legs prevent foot poseability = legs suck; Q.E.D.
- Also legs look lame in a lot of poses
71312 is, I think, a really good set. I say "really good" and I mean just that; this version of Ekimu brings a lot of interesting stuff to the table, from his dominantly-transparent color scheme, to his sturdy-looking silhouette, to his dual gear functions, and a gorgeous recolor of the Mask of Creation. But the set isn't perfect. The legs, from a design standpoint, are weak, and 71312 comes with a disappointingly small number of new or recolored pieces. Overall, though, I think the good outweighs the bad here, significantly, and believe Ekimu to be a must-have for a BIONICLE collector.
"Don't feel too bad about it," scrapped-for-parts Umarak consoled soon-to-be-dismantled Ekimu. "It's just the circle of life."
Thanks as always to LEGO for providing this set, to Aaron for putting the review together, and you all for reading! Let us know what you think in the Talkback. Is Ekimu a set for you? Don't forget to check back soon for more summer 2016 Bionicle set reviews!
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