Review:70795 by Dorek

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70795 Mask Maker vs. Skull Grinder

By Dorek View Gallery

Review: 70795 Mask Maker vs. Skull Grinder

It's all been leading up to this. The Mask of Creation, the first official piece of BIONICLE's second generation revealed to the public, is the subject of an intense battle between the fabled Ekimu and the dark Kulta. Is this a fight for the ages, or should both of these guys have stayed in their graves?

The Box

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A real box! Be still my beating heart. Finally, some proper, thick cardboard in a nice traditional shape. The hexagonal boxes have been all well and good (not really they were pretty awful) but nothing beats a square (except maybe a rectangle). On the outside, you have the Mask Maker doing battle with the evil Skull Grinder. It's amusing how both of these characters are actually named in-story (one of the few apart from the Toa) but are reduced to monikers on the box. It fits with the honorific motif, though, which is something I definitely support for the year.

The Bits

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Chock full of parts, befitting the largest set of the wave (and the year). Lots of trans-orange bits, which hammers home the underlying color scheme of the wave; since the Skull Creatures are all evil, it makes sense that they share certain colors with their "dark creator". A fair few gold parts too, along with some contrasting trans-blue for the Mask Maker's secondary color.

And, the one we've all been waiting for, the Mask of Creation. This mask is absolutely amazing. Ornate, intricate, and yet somehow well-sized. Especially compared to the rather nebulously shaped Protector mask.

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The mask alone might be a selling point for some, but we're not done yet. There's a nifty shield piece previously seen in Ninjago (and, as I discovered after double-checking, used as carriage wheels for a Cinderella set, which tickles me). There's a few pieces previously seen primarily in Chima sets, including an armor add-on only available in one set in the US, the last big Hero Factory set Queen Beast vs Furno, Evo, and Stormer. This piece in particular gives a cool armored feel, and it's surprising they haven't used it as much, although they probably wanted to emphasize the newer add-ons more.

The Build

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Good guys finish last? The instructions direct you to build Kulta the Skull Grinder first. Coming off of Skull Scorpio, Kulta's build is fairly average; in fact, the legs are almost identical to Skull Basher's, with a slight change in length.

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Things start to get a little more interesting with the upper torso, which uses the much-loved gearbox. The use of a small turbine to beef up his shoulders works well enough, with dual armed gear articulation (something you didn't see much of in the Toa), although it does contrast the generally unused shoulder joints, which are now even lower and look even weirder.

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Add some horns for a menacing touch. These generally function the same way as Basher's, helping weigh down the eyestalk so it's less vulnerable, but are slightly more aesthetic than functional, since they don't really present an easy target (Grinder is OP needs nerf). Adding in the armor brings us to what will be close to the final look; there's a few gaps on him, but he's definitely a spooky skeleton.

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Needs some weapons first, though. Two weapons is a bit much, especially since he doesn't really have anywhere to put them, so he's always dual-wielding. The Mask Stealer Staff is pretty cool, combining the second blade piece for something much more ferocious looking than any individual use. However, the massive weapon unfortunately weighs his arms down, and with a friction joint on each side, means that his posing is somewhat limited. An extra gear or two on either side would have gone a long way to making his arms more posing friendly.

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But we still have all these pieces left! Every villain needs a foil, and Ekimu is (supposed to be) it. I love the blend of trans-light blue and gold. Something about it is just so heroic; we didn't really get much chance to experience this combination with Gali or Kopaka, so it's fun to see here.

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A gearbox on a Protector build? Scandalous. Apparently LEGO saw fit to give Ekimu a third gear to support his arm (seriously, his hammer can't be THAT heavy) instead of throwing an extra one or two on Kulta, but I digress. The gearbox is actually integrated pretty well on the smaller build; some smartly placed armor helps cover up any obtrusive ball joints, and it certainly makes the little guy look buff.

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Buff ain't gonna cut it though. Dude needs some weapons. And weapons he shall have! First up is the shield. Using the aforementioned carriage wheel (why is that so funny) as well as a saw blade, Ekimu gets a spinning saw shield fit for a king. Literally, the crazy detailed wheel adds this regal feel to the thing, and it looks way less tacky than it could have.

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Second is the "Hammer of Power", which really didn't need the extra gear to support it. Especially since its primary function appears to be shooting it and not swinging it. Their insistence on using a colored version of the rapid shooter is appreciated though, since grey would have definitely stuck out.

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Wait, we're not done yet? Nope. As a final token of goodwill, the set designers took a few spare pieces and constructed a mask stand for the Mask of Creation to rest on. It's a really cute touch, and makes me hope that we'll have more scenery elements for sets in the future.

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Ready... FIGHT! Each may come out victorious, depending on your preference. A lot of the advertisements have shown Kulta ultimately claiming the Mask of Creation at some point (reminiscent of 2007, where Maxilos claimed the Ignika at the end of one of the online games), and can wear it if you choose to let him. Both look great with the mask on, because it's a really fantastic mask and would look good on basically anybody.

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The Brass Tacks

Should I get this set?


  Good for people who like:

*Scene setting - 70795 is all about constructing your own battles and playing out your own story. Mask stand is a wonderful inclusion.
*Visual flair - Between the Mask of Creation, the various weapons, and the coloring, there's a lot of design intricacy at play.
*Mask lovers - Seriously the Mask of Creation is so cool.
  Not for those looking for:

*A "big bad" (or "big good") - Kulta is competently designed, but doesn't differ much from the standard Skull experience. Ekimu is solid, but short.
  Other Comments:

I actually like lil' Ekimu. Kind of hope that he stays a background character, and this is his one incarnation. --Dorek

Does BIONICLE's "finale" set deliver? You betcha. That said, it's definitely not for people who were expecting a lone figure for the price point; while each figure iterates very well on the previous styles we've seen, neither transcends what we've come to expect. In light of all the included elements, though, it's an easy set to appreciate; the color schemes are top-notch, the various pieces they use give it a lot of personality, and the Mask of Creation makes its grand debut. It might not be what we're used to in terms of larger BIONICLE sets, but it's worth owning for what it is, and has plenty of fun to offer.

2015 Set Reviews (2HY)
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