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Review: 71306 Pohatu - Uniter of Stone
The former resident quickster zooms in to be the next review. Should you make a stop for him, or is he just another speed bump on your travels?
Po-ha-to. Mash 'im, boil 'im, stick 'em in a [box]. I'm sort of curious as to where these box settings are; both Kopaka and Tahu look like they're in unforseen shrines (and really, what are the odds of two mask-keeping shrines in one region?), but Pohatu now looks like he's stranded in the desert. He also looks more defensive than offensive, unusual considering the general style of the boxarts.
Last year's weird-but-good color inclusion makes a return; the trans neon green that Pohatu used as his limbs. Here it looks like we get even more of it, with a few shells, accenting bits, and even as the blend on the crystal armor piece. On the blade, too, which we unfortunately only get one of. I'm starting to get bored with the blade a little bit, although it does work to emphasize the "unity" aspect.
Rolling (get it?) with the theme of surprises, Pohatu brings back another fan-favorite color: tan! Only in two parts, disappointingly, but hopefully it can see a resurgence in the same way brown did.
Although... DID brown see a resurgence? Only two brown parts here as well; five, if you count the darker brown axle and pin connectors, and a liftarm. But in terms of Pohatu's "primary" color, there's the straight Hordika neck and his mask, along with the printing on the (tan!) torso shell. With Tahu, at least, red is easily available elsewhere, but here we definitely need to see more brown, since it's a rare color as is.
Pivot up! Pohatu starts off with the newly minted waist articulation bones standard to the Toa. This is definitely a function that doesn't get old, being tight enough for standard play or using the function itself to achieve some neat poses.
Pohatu's body fills out. 2016 is definitely more dedicated to internals; simple bits and pieces added here and there just go a long way in fleshing out the frames. And, as with the other Toa, we have custom shoulders means to connect with custom arms. I always wonder about the Hordika necks used as shoulders like this, but in the end the less-than-90 degree difference is hardly noticeable.
Pohatu getting a tan on his legs... or not? Really, the one usage of tan shells, and it just gets obscured by the crystal armor. What a waste. At least the lower legs have some decent color layering, helped by the dual-injected crystal armor pieces.
Custom arms, ahoy! Instead of the usual CCBS limb pieces (like he does for his lower legs), Pohatu has some constructed biceps, using the only real brown that is his primary color. These custom limbs are always interesting; not every one is perfect, but it's good to see the designers try new things.
But the Skrall armor, which is usually integrated into the build itself somehow, is just kind of... slapped on there. Not even two points of connection, making it pretty loose. Thankfully it doesn't lose any functionality, and has the added bonus of resembling the shoulder pads from his 2002 counterpart (not the last resemblance of that, either!) but at the same time adds to the overabundance of silver on the set.
Finally, we get to the weapon, which (in another throwback) uses the old boulder halves from way back in the day. Grey is sort of a boring color choice for the piece(s) but I've always liked these. The construction is the highlight here; instead of just simply combining the two halves and relying on the inbuilt friction, there's some fancy internal work with a nifty SNOT technique that means the boulder halves will be staying stuck together.
Once you get finished with it though, it's just sort of... there. Flail weapons are always a risky venture for LEGO sets, since it's a lot harder to create and enact battle scenes with them in the mix. Apparently realizing that, the other half of Pohatu's weapon is the new blade piece. I'm also usually not a fan of two-handed weapons, and this just doesn't work for me at all. It just looks like Pohatu's carrying a boulder around as a counterweight for absolutely nothing. More focus on the flail aspect and ditching the blade entirely would have been better, since the blade adds very little to the ensemble. It's not as uninspired as Lewa's weapons, but doesn't look like much thought went into the finished look.
That mask, though! Of the masks we've seen, this one reminds me the most of his old Nuva form. The cheek curvatures are a wonderful dose of nostalgia, and his "hair" is much less ridiculous looking than others. One of my favorites of the wave.
The Golden Mask, conversely, is probably one of my least favorites; there's barely any brown for it to accent in the first place, so it's just another color on one who didn't need more. Imagine if they had done some of these in silver, though...
The Brass Tacks
For all he does good, Pohatu Uniter suffers from many of the same problems that plagued Pohatu 2015. It's great to see brown again, and tan makes a surprise inclusion, but there's not enough of either. His build is solid, but he doesn't introduce anything new that you wouldn't find in, say, Lewa. And the weapon, while amusingly silly, just doesn't feel tough enough to use in a fight. Perhaps the most baffling thing is not making his Skrall armor piece tan, when the part totally exists (and is used in Ketar). It would have gone a long way, even if some other sacrifices would have needed to be made in color distribution.
Last year's disclaimer applies: if you like brown, then yes, Pohatu is still Pohatu and looks good. But he's dragged down by an inability to capitalize on anything he does right, so I would say give him a pass.
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