Set Review: 8924 Maxilos & Spinax
Friday, November 2nd, 2007 at 9:52pm by Robert, BZPower Reporter
Maxilos is Baxilos
Once again our set reviews return, and once again I am called upon to review the most terrifying and evil of characters. Join me this week as we tackle the mysterious and cruel Maxilos--along with his dog. But be warned, there be pictures about!
Rising from the deep comes the dark and evil Makuta, taking possession of the Robot Pit-Guard Maxilos, he's back--but first can he escape from his cardboard prison?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The first thing you’ll notice about this box is the sheer size of it—this cardboard receptacle manages to dwarf nearly everything around it, even giving my computer monitor a run for its money, and completely towering over any nearby BIONICLE set. (The reason for this, I would guess would be to attract attention via how much shelf space it takes up, additionally it allows the CGI images to be that much bigger.)
The second thing you’ll notice (I’d hope) would be the large CGI pictures of a scary robot-thing and his killer dog staring at you. Done up in a rather nice palette of colours (And including all sorts of cool shine and shadow effects that make it look cooler than the actual toy) this dastardly duo manage to catch attention quite easily—not that hard considering how shiny Spinax is (I would kill for a Spinax that shiny) and just how big they are! (Bigger than the actual sets, actually)
Spinax manages to look quite dynamic (and shiny, oh so shiny) in this position, with his legs spread out to grab hold of the CGI rock and his red eyes glaring RIGHT AT YOU. His teeth also look quite scary here, this could easily give a small child nightmares. On a side note, I had nightmares last night. I’m sure it was unrelated.
Maxilos on the other hand towers above his diminutive friend being posed in…well, I’m honestly unsure what to make of this pose. He seems to be half ready for combat (complete with a bright yellow glow from his Blackfire sword—oh the irony) and half pulling Spinax back, like he’s trying to run across the street to sniff another Spinax. His leg also kinda disappears behind the glow and the CGI rock.
Of course we also have the usual information (but bigger this time!) such as the LEGO symbol in the lower left, the age division (16? Sure, make me feel old, LEGO) the set number, and the number of pieces. All standard, boring information.
But what’s not boring is the very cool colour usage, and design pattern used on this box (And this is just the front!) subtle blues permeate the background, constantly shifting from one tone to another to create a very oceanic feeling, additionally the darker blues in contrast to the bright colours on Maxilos makes him stand out even more (yay, marketing!) as for the design, I have no idea what it is but I know it’s cool. It actually reminds me of the Bohrok symbols in the days of olde.
As for the rest of the box? Well, moving away from the front you see a drastic change—gone is the oceanic blue with the near-runic tracings—all of a sudden we’ve got very rusty corroded metal (not diseased like the original infected mask, natural rust from water) with a very interesting symbol etched into both sides, as well as the top. Now I’ve no idea what this symbol means, but dang is it cool. (I’ll be honest, upon seeing the rust the first thing that jumped to mind was BioShock—and that’s never a bad thing)
The back, however integrates the best of both worlds, trimming the center with the reinforced metal look (you wish the box was reinforced metal) and showing off Maxilos and Spinax (minus the shiny), how Spinax’s mouth joint works, how to fire the Cordak blaster (and just how many Cordak missiles are included) a super-top-secret Kanoka Code, a really, really cool picture of Voya Nui, Mahri Nui, and the cord that connects them, the required cross-sells of Gadunka (dunkadunkadunka) and Hydraxon. As well as the header and footer of BIONICLE and BIONICLE.com respectively.
Overall, it’s a box.
It does its job, and it does it well, it grabs attention, and it holds things. (Plus it was easy to open, yay!)
On to the instruction manual!
The instruction manual displays the same picture as the box, complete with the super shiny Spinax—and aside from that, it tells you how to build your set, yaaay! The instructions are once again in the more realistic style, banishing the LDraw stuff from whence it came, and bringing rejoicing in the streets. Once your set is completed you’ll notice the standard “Don’t fire Cordak’s into people’s eyes!” warning, as well as pictorial tutorial on how to fire them (not at people’s eyes, though.) Following that we’ve got the standard parts inventory (Which I love), the cross-sells of Gadunka and Hydraxon (Though no Mahri, interesting) and a two page spread about the LEGO club, and the LEGO survey site, wherein you can win stuff, hooray!
The back of this, though, has got a really cool spread for BIONICLE.com, unfortunately I lost the I had for those of you missing out on this really cool spread. Because it's really cool.
Additionally, every page of the instructions has a Mahri Nui background done in a pale blue. Very cool.
AND WE’RE DONE HERE.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
As Maxilos and Spinax (Or, as I prefer, Spikepuppy) are essentially two different sets, from this point on I’ll be reviewing them separately.
The build on this wee one is…well, expectedly dull, but there are some neat little bits—or at least they were neat to me.
First off, the positioning of the silver Kalmah armor for some reason really appeals to me…it gives him a nice rounded belly shape, and overall just looks cool. Secondly, removing the legs makes me think of an insect chrysalis—always cool. The very simple mouth feature is both smart and effective, and finally I find it really cool that the silver Ehlek spikes actually curve over in the construction, rather than just sticking straight up.
Is he the most fun set to build in the world? No, he’s rather boring, actually, but he’s got his cool parts—and his build time is five minutes max. He’s an appetizer and nothing more.
Good thing he wasn’t sold on his own.
Now this is more like it! While I haven’t owned any real titans from 2006 – 2007 (minus Vezon and Fenrakk), the construction has seemed too simple, essentially, as others have pointed out turning the Titans/Warriors into big Toa-modifications. But all that’s gone with Maxilos, and I like it.
You begin with his Torso, and while for a while I wondered exactly why I was doing what I was doing, it gradually all clicked into place—because rather than having a Piraka or Toa torso, this bad boy (literally, it’s Makuta in a tin can) has got a fully custom-built torso—and what a torso is is!
After building it you realize just what you’ve created—which is one of the most ingenious set ideas as of late. While it’s nothing compared to the Boxor, or Bahrag of old, it still manages to get me interested in his build. It’s just plain cool.
Unfortunately all that fades away once you hit the legs—there’s nothing particularly AWESOME here, nothing that really stands out, sure you’ve got the pistons—but the way they’re used here is so standard, and everything else seems much the same way. The designers were running out of pieces and needed to make legs, so they did. The arms, unfortunately, aren’t much better.
The so-called twin-bladed Black fire sword (That glows yellow and looks little like a sword) is interesting, but as a build it falls flat.
Overall, I’d rate this set at about average. The build is nothing spectacular, but it’s not atrocious. It honestly shouldn’t take more than half-an-hour to complete, I took 45 minutes with frequent distractions.
Unfortunately with Spikepuppy’s dismal score, Maxilos & Spinax fall just below average in terms of interesting build. It’s still not terrible, but it’s not something terrifically interesting either.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Well, for all his failings beforehand, I will say this. Spinax looks cool. Unlike Takadox who had some minor issues with posing, Spinax looks cool from just about every angle—mouth open or closed. This is one intimidating puppy, but a very cool one at that (Though I’d still kill for his head to be as shiny as it was on the box)
New and interesting pieces on the wee spikepuppy? Well, not many—but with such a small set, who really cares?
Four light grey long double hipjoints (I honestly can’t think of a set this has been on, help me out here, guys)
Four silver Piraka armor (once again, seems exclusive to this set alone)
Two silver Ehlek spines (Also available in Gadunka)
One silver Kalmah armor (Also available in Hydraxon and Gadunka)
And of course the Spinax head piece. Now, I remember when images first came out prompting people to believe that Spinax, like Vezon before him, had the Mask of Life fused to his head---well, as can be clearly seen, that ain’t no mask of life. While it’s possible for MOCers to use it as a mask, it certainly won’t be pretty. This head however, is pretty. This is a very pretty head. With all sorts of ridges and folds adding layers of depths to it, this is possibly one of the most complex Barraki-like heads we’ve seen so far—if not the most!
I like it.
For new pieces Spinax is nothing to write home about, but for a small set he’s not bad. For a small set bundled with a larger set, he’s downright awesome.
Unfortunately the larger of the two is also the lesser in this regard, while looking rather interesting from the front, Maxilos’ enormous flaws become quickly apparent from either the side, or the back. From the side his legs are reduced to their inner workings, being covered by almost no armor and creating gaps big enough for my entire finger to fit through. The Torso suffers similar, but I’m willing to forgive it in that it sacrificed appearance for the sake of something greater—the legs unfortunately can make no such claim.
The back is similar, laying out almost all of Maxilos’ internal workings in plain view, including the connectors in his legs, and the joints in his back. Unforunately a very slapdash attempt was also made to cover the inner back workings (as well as plug some of the holes) with a reversed Toa Hordika chest armor serving its purpose there—and looking terrifically awkward doing so. Honestly, the only area of Maxilos that manages to stand up to critique from every angle is the arms, with the Masks of Life serving their purpose as armor very well, and leaving only a few holes where the innards are exposed. Plus that Cordak blaster looks really awkward on his shoulder from any other angle.
I must mention my sheer confusion at the choice of Bohrok shields, although cool, they also expose yet another clear gap—while all it would take is changing them to..oh say, Pahrak Kal, rather than Lehvak Kal to create a more solid image.
Overall, I’m just glad this guy’s a robot, because he’s got more holes than Swiss Cheese—after being shot point blank multiple times.
New and interesting pieces on the Robo-Kuta? You better believe it!
FOUR of the new cut-through Toa Chest ball piece (previously found in…well, the Inika, the titans, the 2007 titans. It’s a good piece)
Three translucent red ridged axle connectors (Previously only found in Star Wars sets, I believe. Debuting in BIONICLE for the first time ever)
TWO Gunmetal coloured Masks of life
Two Gunmetal coloured Lehvak Kal Handshields
Two Gunmetal coloured Toa Metru Feet
Two (more) Silver Piraka Thigh armor
Two of the new thick Throwbot foot in black (As found in Takadox)
Two silver Mahri tubes (not rare, but cool nonetheless)
Two Toa Hewkii warblades
One Gunmetal Kalmah foot
One Toa Matoro Twin Cutter (can it be called a Twin Cutter with only one?)
Standard Cordak, plus six missiles. Not really interesting, but for someone who’s never seen one, it can be pretty cool.
And of course the piece du jour which makes Maxilos…well, Maxilos. The not-Kanohi, face-thing.
It’s a very, very, very bizarre looking shape—While at its core it resembles nothing more than a Movie styled Great Hau, it has all these odd little additions to make it more unique. Including the breathing tube, what I can only assume is an oxygen cylinder (albeit with a massive gaping hold in the back) and the strangest of all for most people—the light bar. The light bar is the extension from the upper portion of the mask that drops down slightly, allowing for the placement of two Blue Barraki eyes—while there’s a great amount of detail on this, and all across the mask—it still just looks plain bizarre. The most interesting thing about this not-mask, though, is the removal of the standard peg as is found on most masks. Instead there’s a socket where it once was, plug in a red #2 axle, and you’ve got your mask—or I guess if you want to use it for something different, plug in a different length axle—heck, do what you want. It’s your toy.
Overall these guys manage to offset each other well. Spinax just LOOKS plain cool from any angle, but is semi-lacking in new or interesting pieces. Whereas Maxilos has all sorts of awesome pieces—but as an overall set is plagued by far too many gaps to really look very good.
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?
While small and not at all complex, Spinax still manages to be fun to play with -- being easier to pose than most other four-legged sets certainly helps in this regard. Honestly, Spinax’s entire design is very dynamic, and lends itself to incredibly dynamic posing—mouth open or closed (like I said above!) As an added bonus, if you flip him vertical and switch around those two Rahkshi legs, you’ve got a very cool looking humanoid to menace your Toa Mahri.
Spinax’s big let-down in my opinion is simply that there’s nothing we haven’t seen before (minus the mouth, which is tons-o-fun). While four legged, he’s essentially a Barraki—heck, he’s basically Ehlek with different coloured spines. So while his poses are really cool, they’re also poses you can do with both Takadox and Ehlek.
Oh well, he’s also a small set. Overall I’d rate him just below average in the play department.
This is where the big bad ‘kuta manages to earn back big points in my book
While his appearance may not be the best, and those pistons might not look very cool—they also allow him to be the most poseable BIONICLE set to date. Don’t believe me? Check this list.
Double-jointed neck (For more realistic posing)
Reinforced waist joint (So he can’t do a full 180 degree turn)
Realistic shoulders (Made with two joint-connectors)
While some of those are standard (especially for a set of his size) many of them are not only new, but realistic. Maxilos has a near-full range of human motion—and those pistons just look plain cool when you’re moving his arms up or down. (He can shrug! HE CAN SHRUG). Maxilos is without a doubt one of the most dynamically poseable sets. Get him in just about any pose and he looks good doing it—including the oft remarked upon One-legged pose (It takes time, but he can do it)
Maxilos’ one flaw in regards to poseability is his hips. They’re not reinforced in any way, and thus in comparison to all the other reinforced joints are far too floppy. Many-a-pose has been ruined by his weak hips.
While it’s not a big deal, it still effects the play aspect him, so it’s certainly a disappointment.
Maxilos’ only other methods of play are his weapon—which while rather cool looking doesn’t really do much (It can make him look rather intimidating though, and looks great in poses with other sets) and of course his Cordak Blaster.
Now everyone’s heard Everyone Elses Thoughts on the Cordaks, but now it’s my turn—while it throws off his visual aesthetic in a rather unpleasant way—and isn’t what I would prefer for Toa to wield, it’s also just a plain cool weapon—and despite what others have said in the past, it’s also rather easy to work. Grip the two finger holds firmly and push hard and FAST into the red drum, using this method I have successfully fired every Cordak missile in rapid succession, without a single jamming on me.
Maxilos also gets a bonus in that his primary colour is Mata-red, and thus the Cordak’s don’t clash brilliantly against him. In fact they don’t look too bad with him at all—minus the gigantic bulbous cannon hanging off one shoulder.
Overall, Maxilos manages to bump up Spinax’s score to just over average. He’s a fun set to play with, of that there can be no doubt—plus the chain for Spinax adds in about a million new poses that you can get this colossus into.
Definitely a great set for playing with.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
And we’re down the wire here, I’ve said both good and bad about this hulking Robo-Maktua, so what’s the final decision?
Maxilos and Spinax are undoubtedly a good set, even a great set, in terms of pieces, build time, and of course playing around with.
But the main thing that really holds me back from highly recommending him, is the price. Plain and simple I do not feel that Maxilos’ complexity, pieces, or even his ridiculously cool posing ability are worth $39.99 CAD or 29.99 USD (though I lean more towards the USD price.) Is he cool? Absolutely, of that there can be no doubt. Is he good for pieces? Undoubtedly, he’s one of the best new sets that I’ve seen in a while. Is he fun to play around with? You better believe it. But is he worth his (in my opinion) Exorbitant price? I’m hesitant in answering—for some he may be absolutely worth it, others however would be greatly disappointed with him. Even the addition of Spinax simply isn’t enough to make it feel like the set is worth its price.
As it is, Maxilos falls under the category of something that could have been great, but price held him back.
Overall, I’d have to rate both Maxilos and Spinax as recommended, but not highly. Pick it up if you’re a set/story diehard, or can only get one set and are looking for good pieces, otherwise leave this Robot to rest in his pit.
Spinax, while small, is also awesome
An assortment of new and interesting pieces
More Mata-red is never bad
The inclusion of two Mahri weapons
GUNMETAL MASK OF LIFE YES
More gunmetal is also never bad
One of the first sets where the air-tube doesn’t interfere
Man, does this guy pose.
What's to like?
Weak hips make baby Janus cry
Spinax has so much silver on him it’s almost overkill
Gigantic gaps give guys groans of grieving
A rather disappointing back
What's not to like?
And after all that, there’s only one thing to say.
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