Review:71309 by Dorek

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BS01 Reviews

71309 Onua - Uniter of Earth

By Dorek (View Gallery)

Review: 71309 Onua - Uniter of Earth

Last year's Onya was the real star of the winter wave, evoking a sense of the character we hadn't really see before, but nailing every aspect besides. Can this year's slimmer model succeed for a second year running?

The Box

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Onua's box, despite being on the same level as Tahu's, emerged from shipping unscathed. Clearly Onua is mostly muscle.

Primarily black sets are often hard to distinguish in their box poses, especially with BIONICLE sets that have such intensive CGI backgrounds. Onua manages to set himself apart (color aside) through an interesting cavernous setting, well-lit despite being underground.

I haven't talked much about the Nuva symbols, but they are out in full force on all of the Toa sets this year. The box features it, along with the now-standard box comics and other assorted set functions and funzies.

The Bits

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Lots of pieces to Onua; a solid 143, compared to Uniter Tahu's 132. In a smart move, Uniter Onua ditched the solid purples of his 2015 interation in favor of entirely transparent purple as his secondary color. It's a bit sad that he has more of his transparent secondary than some Toa have as their solid primary, but it is what it is. Obviously black primaries need the color to balance it out, so it's not that it bodes ill for Onua himself.

Onua's got most of the new pieces for the wave, but interestingly doesn't have the blade pieces we've seen everywhere else. Neither does his little buddy Terak (more on that in his review), so even together they don't have any of the blade pieces between them. A shame, since it would have been nice in that one extra color.

However, Onua makes up for it by having the crystal armor piece... but blended with completely transparent plastic! Unlike all of the other crystal armor pieces, this one is a metallic color co-injected with no color at all. I don't understand the logic behind it, but I won't decry it either. It'll be super useful going forward.

The Build

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An interesting thing about the torsos from this year is that they've all been the same "size", relying on customization for the shoulders and supports. Compared to previous years of CCBS, with the varying torso classes to help you tell the body types apart, it makes building a little more surprising and fun to see how it comes together.

But, before you get that far, you have the gear-based waist articulation. A solid plus to the year, although for someone with intermittent OCD (not me who said it was me tell me who it was), aligning the gear to the turntable in a symmetrical manner can be a pain.

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An angled Hordika neck next to the straight Hordika neck? I... I don't think I'm ready for this guys. I need an adult.

Onua also has a nifty ribcage (armpit?) assembly to give him a bit of extra mass. I like these little added bits; they're not necessary, but they help personalize the sets that much more.

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My, what big feet you have, Onua. Both years Onua has had some larger variant of feet than his brethren, and it works in his favor again. Some don't like this foot piece because of how robotic it is, but I like it for how different the contours are compared to other feet types, and way better than seeing the beast feet on humanoids.

Edit @9:35am: I was going to gloss over the fact that I didn't have the friction extenders for his feet, but then I found them! Protip: don't build in the same place you wrap Christmas presents.

The armoring shores up Onua's not inconsiderable mass. No custom limbs for this guy; the arms will make sense in a moment, but I was kind of hoping to see perhaps a new technique with the legs. Hardly a dealbreaker, though.

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Ah, another ammo wheel. We know what this means... rapid shooter! I'm still on the fence about these additions. I'm curious to see how they're written into the story (and I could see it making a neat visual in the upcoming TV series), but from a purely set perspective, they stick out a bit more than I think is worth the assistance it provides in keeping track of the pellets. That said, they could also stick out a lot worse, and Onua's blends well into his frame.

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As I was saying with the arms, Onua has a bit of asymmetry in that his upper arm joints are two different types. I said in an earlier review that while i generally prefer the range of motion provided by not keeping arms locked into the fixed elbow joints, if needed to adequately bear the weight of a weapon, I can abide it.

Some of the skeleton torso armor from the summer helps Onua fit the profile we've come to expect. Returning bits are always welcome, although my previous assertion of those pieces being too specialized for their own good fits the bill here. The pieces are cool (and trans-purple, which is probably why they were chosen at all since they existed in that color previously) but the ribbed textures don't quite gel with the rest of Onua's aesthetic. Being transparent alleviates that to an extent, but regardless.

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The remaining liftarms and panels coalesce around the rapid shooter to form a cool casing. Better still, there's a drill piece affixed to the back, which finalizes a wicked looking tool, although it muddles the purpose a bit. Is it supposed to be a hammer? A drill? A shooter-on-a-stick? Some combination of all the above? It also spins on its neck, which is not generally something I go for. It's definitely not a bad weapon, not in the way Pohatu's useless flail was, but not quite as good as Master Onua's multi-purpose Turbo Shovelers.

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In the end, though, the hammer definitely flows with Onua's style, which he has in abundance. The masks fit nicely; the silver on his original perhaps a bit out of place considering the rest of his color scheme (the feet being gunmetal don't help), but a nice, pleasing shape. In fact, looking back on it, the Mask of Earth was absolutely tiny; this Uniter version is much more filled out and consistent. The Golden version, though, makes it shine, completing the color scheme and accenting the colors in all the right ways.

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The Brass Tacks

Should I get this set?

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  Good for people who like:

• Distribution - All of the colors present create a cohesive, visually impressive set.
• Parts usage - Onua utilizes all of his pieces to full effect, even the shoulder plates.
• Details - There's a lot of small, but welcome additions to make you appreciate the build, like the ribcage or the spare ammo.
  Not for those looking for:

• Distinction - More noticeable as an iteration of Onua, but the Uniter is definitely more in line with his counterparts, even with the extra bulk.
• Looseness - The shoulder pads and the various spinning bits are good for posing, but less so for emphasizing an imposing Titan character.
  Other Comments:

Not QUITE as good as 2015 Onya, but close, which is a credit more than it is a slight. --Dorek

Does Onua tunnel his way into your heart like last year? Lacking any sort of digging weapon (uh, I think) I guess technically the answer would be no. But he will definitely smash into it instead. Gone are the exaggerated proportions, replaced with a leanness that means Onua only has room for essentials. Ultimately, though, it's the small details that actually help it the most. The half-clear armor pieces. The (fairly) strict three-color limit. The extra few parts to fill out the torso. Onua is less blustery this time around, but appears to have an eye for the finer things, which makes it a winning set all its own.

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