Review:71313 by Dorek

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BS01 Reviews

71313 Lava Beast

By Dorek (View Gallery)

  • This set was provided to BS01 by LEGO, but the opinions of the set are those of the reviewer.

Review: 71313 Lava Beast

What better way to kick off the summer sets with a fire-based set? Today we look at the ferocious Lava Beast; is this set cooking, or just burned out?

The Box

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Lava Beast's box continues the BIONICLE reboot tradition of being hexagonal (except for you, Mask Maker vs Skull Grinder. Nobody likes you.); unlike last year's summer sets where the "opposing" good guys were out of frame, Lava Beast's CGI proudly displays a defeated Toa in the background. Ironically, they chose to use what appears to be Tahu's Master form instead of his Uniter one, but oh well.

The Bits

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Lava Beast sits at 114 pieces... according to Brickset, at any rate, because the box copies I get never include the piece count! Not bad for a medium set, and the best parts count of all the beasts.

For new parts, we have the beast mask and lower jaw, and a crystal armor piece. There's also some fun recolors, including the year's semi-obligatory blade piece (now in a nifty black base instead of silver; much appreciated) the head piece in entirely trans-neon green (yes!), a torso plate printing, and Tahu's Unity Mask of Fire, now in a trans neon green and red blend. I was worried about how this color combo would go over after seeing pictures of it, but it weirdly works, maybe because it's more red than even it's previous incarnations.

The Build

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Even though he's a beast, Lava takes more design cues from the Toa, and has the rotating waist setup. It's a super cool setup, so certainly no complaints from me there, but how bestial will he ultimately look if he has a humanoid base?

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The torso design is unfortunately pretty boring. We've seen that shoulder setup before, and while it's passable, it's far from the best one they could have used at the piece count. The torso plates are also not doing it a service and creating a huge gap in between the armor and the build. People give the Uniter torso plates a lot of grief for being clunky, but they also had the perfect form factor, so I generally prefer that.

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I'm not entirely sure why Lava Beast uses brown for the lower leg piece; it comes in black and grey, so surely they could have found something else? I suppose it doesn't stick out too badly with the surrounding orange, but it's a weird choice. Like several of the Skull baddies, Lava Beast also has a foot stabalizer, which is a nice touch (helped balance it when I forgot to attach the friction joints initially!)

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The final leg construction is, like the torso one, passable but uninteresting. Lava Beast got some flack early on for the simplistic construction, and while it's not inherently a bad thing, it needs to serve some sort of educational purpose; I need to learn how these sorts of attachments inform a larger principle of building. Lava Beast doesn't capture that ideal.

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The claws, conversely, do articulate that kind of idea; the construction is very basic (using all the pieces you would expect) but functional and interesting to toy around with. And thankfully, they come attached to an arm setup that doesn't use fixed elbow joints (surprising, given what you'll see later).

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A single included shadow trap half becomes a sort of cowl for what will be Lava Beast's head; I like that there's at least more than a mask being devoted to the construction, but it's hard to get a sense of where it's going from here, so we'll see.

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And here we have the transparent head, complete with the eye stalk from 2015; they appear to have brought back the mask pop off game from 2015; an interesting choice, though I'm not sure it was a good thing to design specifically around that. You run into what is probably the biggest issue with beast sets, and that's the general awkwardness of the lower jaw. It sits completely agape, and can't move in the only direction intended without popping off the mask, so it's a crapshoot. Thankfully they've made the head assembly very poseable overall, just not the jaw, so it's hard to advocate playability.

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But we're not done yet, peeps. Those blade pieces (four glorious ones in total) have a little bonus functionality in them; turn one of the gears and they can separate. It's not necessarily a function as much as it is a clever way to prevent the blades from just flapping all over the place, but this is what I was referring to earlier with the simple-but-effective methods of construction; here it works. As I mentioned earlier, I'm happy the designers went with the free range movement for the elbows, considering they usually don't when something is going to weigh it down excessively.

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Despite the weird jaw, Lava Beast poses very nicely. The head construction is a boon for this, and poseable finger joints make a world of difference for a creature who's supposed to be, well, a creature. The colors are well balanced, too, with orange underbody and black overlays. I could have actually done with some more of the smokey trans-grey, but that's okay.

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Alas, poor Tahu; I knew him, Kopaka, a Toa of infinite jest and wisdom.

The Brass Tacks

Should I get this set?

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  Good for people who like:

• Monsters - Despite a humanoid build, Lava is sufficiently beasty in his final look.
• Clever constructions - Particularly in the arms, Lava Beast's intended standout pieces of construction are the best parts.
  Not for those looking for:

• Bomb bodies - From the legs until the head, the standard parts of Lava Beast are actually pretty substandard.
• Chompers - Bringing back the mask game was an interesting idea, but falls flat in execution
  Other Comments:

I hope these guys get names, but probably not... --Dorek

Lava Beast is definitely a mixed bag, but when he works, he works. There's a sense that not much thought went into the lower half of him, but in a weirdly intentional way; he's supposed to be pretty raggedy, to let the cool parts really shine. With the neat blades on his arm and the surprisingly mobile head, he makes up for the disappointing jaw that will unfortunately come to hobble the other beasts.

2016 Set Reviews (2HY)
71312 71313 71314 71315 71316
Review #1 By Dorek By Dorek By Dorek By Dorek By Dorek