Review:71304 by Dorek

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BS01 Reviews

71304 Terak - Creature of Earth

By Dorek (View Gallery)

Review: 71304 Terak - Creature of Earth

Ketar's anagramous buddy Terak rolls onto the field. Will this mole be able to tunnel past your defenses, or get lost among the empty caverns of your heart?

The Box

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I still can't get over the fact that the name uses all of the same letters a Ketar. That had to have been intentional.

Anyway, the box is the same as you'll find on other BIONICLE sets. Terak's pose, like Uniter Tahu's, is less dynamic than certain other sets, and looks like he's just floating in midair. Given the inclusion of the Shadow Trap, though, it lends a sense of action that could otherwise be missing.

The Bits

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Terak, interestingly has only one of the new gearaxle pieces available to most other creatures, which makes you wonder what exactly his function will be (since you know he'll have one!). Black, ostensibly his primary color, also takes a backseat to the more vibrant gold, as well as a large number of transparent purple pieces. While Onua discarded all solid purples, Terak has a few claw/horn pieces in the color, which hopefully won't be an unnecessary detraction (like Protector of Earth's studs were).

No blade piece either, which (as mentioned in Onua's review) is a bit sad. On the one had, I was kind of getting bored with it, but now it's not in any sort of purple color, so I could have stood it for at least one of these guys. It's probably a fair tradeoff for the crystal armor piece in trans clear, though. That's just awesome.

The Build

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IT'S A TRAP. No, really, it's a Shadow Trap. These things are the real stars of the small sets, and don't let anybody tell you different. I shall name this one... Lil'er Sebastian. Lil'er Sebastian has a red eye, like most of the shadow traps I've encountered so far, but has some interesting parts for feet; similar to the old droid arms, but a straight, compact clip arm, along with a conical horn piece. I know both have existed in previous sets, but this is my first time seeing them used, and they definitely seem to have a lot of MoCing potential.

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Despite the proportions of Technic on the 2016 BIONICLE sets, the creatures have all started with the small torso bone. It's always nice to see that certain aspects aren't forgotten, as these sets slowly incorporate more and more Technic.

However, one of the more Technic-y aspects is actually one of my favorite parts of the creatures, and Terak especially; using the new Unity piece as chest armor. Every time I see it on the Toa, I think it will end up on the front, but it ends up instead as back armor with some axles and pins sticking out. Given the depth and detail on the piece, it feels like a waste when you don't get to see it, which the creatures make up for.

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The gear function assembly resembles that on several other creatures, but subtle differences make it a whole different beast. One of the ever-present problems of these designs is out in full force, though, that being aligning the gears. It's not so much that it's difficult, but it requires an extra attention to detail, and for younger builders especially, it might be confusing when your arms are out of alignment. Here, especially, putting a standard gear in between two liftarms and then threading an axle through it in the precise manner necessary took me more time than I expected.

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Toldja the function was different than Melum's. Instead of a hugging motion, the arms move up and down in more of a digging aspect, which fits a subterranean character like Tekar.

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Of course, to dig, you need arms. Terak's arms are very similar to Melum's, plus a claw or two. Their heaviness is a definite detriment, though, since Terak's lower body isn't quite strong enough to hold them up, and the gear function is only based on a single connection. Since the majority of the focus on the creatures should be their gear function, this is a bit of a mixed bag; almost the opposite of Ketar, who had an interesting concept but squandered execution, Terak has a straightforward function that's well disguised by the design.

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Throw in the new creature head piece (a very large, detailed part, but perhaps too specialized; we'll see what happens if they ever return) with a bit of detailing, and you round out the set. The final look is cool, and fits the earthen aesthetic to a T. Terak looks like a ferocious little mole, though the surprisingly bright and poppy color scheme might make some forget that it's an earth set at all.

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Lest we forget, Terak also connects to Onua, in the uniting feature of the wave. While I mentioned in my review that Onua could have stood to have a bit of extra mass, this wasn't really what I was talking about. Terak's hands sit awkwardly on Onua's shoulders, and while the helmets look good combined (something all of the Toa have done a pretty good job with so far), Onua didn't really need the change in silhouette to make his frame more interesting, so it's a wasted effort. Overall, not one of the better Toa/Creature combinations.

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The Brass Tacks

Should I get this set?

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  Good for people who like:

• Action figures - Terak is both poseable and playable, with a solid sense of identity.
• Brighter "Earth" sets - Gold and purple help liven up what could have been an otherwise drab color scheme, even better than most Earth sets in the reboot.
  Not for those looking for:

• Perfect gear functions - It's different, but that doesn't always mean good things. Ultimately more boring than anything else.
• Complement to Onua - It integrates well visually, but doesn't provide anything that Onua really needs, unlike the more intriguing Toa/Creature combos.
  Other Comments:

I don't want to introduce a "Maybe" option, but some of these sets I'm just really ambivalent on. --Dorek

As a straight "Constraction" figure, Terak would otherwise be good. It's got the poses, it's got the pieces, it's got the look (and it's got the trap!). But BIONICLE, in its second generation, has come to embody a lot more than those basics. Particularly with the advent of gear functions, there's a higher standard that we've come to expect for these sets. It's not enough to just have a function, it has to be a good one too. Terak doesn't fail hard, but lacking the ingenuity seen elsewhere, along with a thoroughly uninteresting (if not necessarily ugly) "unity" with Onua, makes him difficult to recommend as a purchase.

Still, better than Ketar.

2016 Set Reviews (1HY)
71300 71301 71302 71303 71304 71305 71306 71307 71308 71309 71310 71311
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