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Review: 71302 Akida - Creature of Water
Akida, fearsome fish! The Creature of Water is perhaps the most unlike of her fellow beasts, but is that a good thing, or should she just keep swimming?
It's only really now hitting me that these creatures all have names, a far cry from the simple titles of last year. Best of all, they still ALSO have titles, which is a welcome combination of both aspects. For these guys, it might be a bit on the nose; it's obviously a creature, and there's obviously water, but to a story lover, it's just a nice bit of extra detail.
The smaller boxes don't have room for comics, unfortunately, but since the comics are largely photocopies of one another anyway, it gets a pass. They're included in the instruction booklet anyway.
The box Akida cuts an interesting pose, but with no legs, it makes you wonder... how is she going to stand up?
Akida is definitely an oddball in terms of pieces. Lots of small bits and liftarms, not a lot of actual CCBS parts. No shells at all to speak of, and only three distinct "new" parts: the Shadow Trap half, the creature head, and the "unity" piece. Little of the dark azure either, not that Gali had too much to call her own anyway.
Still, 120 pieces is nothing to sneeze at, especially at the price point. It's clear where the tradeoff is, but that often signifies a fun build regardless.
As always, the instructions direct you to build the Shadow Trap first. This trap has perhaps the most pieces of any of the other ones that come with the creatures. In addition to some spindly legs that make it look like some kind of demon crab, it also has a propeller where others have tails, a fitting complement to the underwater motif. On the "front" side, if it can be called that, there's also some clip pieces which I don't quite understand the purpose of, although seeing as I just mentioned demon crab, maybe that's supposed to be it.
Instead of a typical small CCBS torso, Akida's frame is kicked off with a longer limb bone; makes sense, since Akida won't have any legs to speak of, but then how are the fins going to be attached?
The torso is slowly filled out with liftarms and other pieces. I always love seeing parts that aren't normally transparent get the treatment, and these lighter trans-blue liftarms seem like they'll be fun to use.
The instructions always direct you to put the unity piece where it will be and line it up, but don't often have you attaching the axles that will keep it in place until the next step or two, which always weirds me out a bit. I'm used to BIONICLE being very strict in terms of giving instructions, but the new generation has been more lax, basically assuming you know what you're doing already.
A number of filler pieces, but not particular "function" to speak of yet. The dark azure fin is nice looking, though, it's a good color on it.
Ah, here we go. Without a gearaxle, Akida creates an angular "lift" function by using beams connected to what I assume will be the dorsal fin. Novel, to be sure.
Adding a tail and some fins, the fish look materializes. Akida's fins aren't super mobile, but they are connected to the function, which will be good. A few system bits help accent the color scheme; orange and blue works, although I do wish there had been a tiny bit more of the blue overall for balance.
PEW PEW. Almost every size class of set has included one guy with the returning stud shooter, and Akida is it for the smaller ones. However, it's certainly not to be outdone by the bigger sets, and hilariously overcompensates with two shooters. It's a bit much when one would have probably sufficed, but there's something charming about a shark with a missile launcher. Dr. Evil would approve.
I don't know if LEGO was reading my reviews, or if I'm just a psychic, but last year I lamented on the Protector of Water that the shooter was a missed opportunity to include another turbine. Regardless of whether or not I have precognitive powers, Akida's shooter "trigger" is connected to turbines, giving the impression of an augmented MECHA SHARK straight out of a Syfy original.
We're not quite done, though, as the set designers have thoughtfully included a stand! It's little touches like that that make me really appreciate the effort that goes into these sets. Akida would have been complete on its own, but perhaps hard to display on a shelf; the designers recognized that, and included a way to make this easier. The stand rotates freely, which makes it a little difficult to balance properly (especially if you're having Akida fight a Shadow Trap!), but helps one examine the set from various angles.
Even with all that went into Akida, there's still just a bit more to look at: the "Unity" between it and Gali. Together, they form a strange sort of cyborg-mermaid, the artillery on Akida helping beef up Gali a substantial degree. Gali was already a bit awkward to pose, and the added weight doesn't exactly improve that, but when you get it right they look downright graceful together. It would have been nice to see the tail a bit longer for another point of contact, but given the piece count of Akida, it's fine, and easy enough to mod besides.
The Brass Tacks
A fitting cap on the creature reviews, Akida has one of the best set values I've seen. It might not contain a lot of new or big parts, but Akida is very full when just considering the figure itself, and then also has a sweet stand to help on top of a rocking Shadow Trap. It's an entire battle to itself, and also happens to connect with Gali in a thematically appropriate way, making it a definite set to get regardless of what else is on your plate.
|2016 Set Reviews (1HY)|
|Review #1||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek||By Dorek|
|Review #2||By SPIRIT||By Cholie||By SPIRIT||By Swert||By SPIRIT||By KZN02|
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