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- This set was provided to BS01 by LEGO, but the opinions of the set are those of the reviewer.
Review: 71312 Ekimu the Mask Maker
The lone hero, standing tall against an army of savage creatures. Can Ekimu battle his way to victory, or will he succumb to the darkness?
Ekimu is the only hero of the summer wave, but you might not necessarily be able to tell from his box pose. For one thing, he's standing over what appears to be Umarak's discarded Hunter Mask, ready to grind it into the dust. Not to mention Umarak the Destroyer in the background, who (unlike the Toa facing the creatures) has yet to be defeated. It's an interesting take for a selling point, especially since the main villain also features a blend of gold and translucent colors like Ekimu. #ekimubigbad2018
Ekimu's parts feature a healthy dose of both trans-light blue and gold, a welcome departure from the greys and blacks of the villains. There's a sense the trans blue might be a little overpowering, but it's not readily apparent from the parts alone.
In general the summer wave has seen has seen only a few new part molds, and Ekimu takes that to the extreme by including only a single new piece: the crystal armor shell. As you'll see, though, it's very much an intentional design aspect; Ekimu's focus is on blending together previous elements.
For recolors, we have the glorious Mask of Creation piece in TRANS-light blue! I was glad when it was confirmed that this piece was not going to be a blend like the other masks featured in the wave. The Mask of Creation is just such an intricate, beautifully wrought piece that having a blend would feel like a disservice. That's not to say blends are band overall, and Ekimu also includes a nicely blended mask, Umarak's Hunter Mask. Now in trans-orange and a surprising Titanium Metallic blend (or gunmetal if you so prefer), the Hunter Mask looks a different kind of evil than it's original green/black incarnation, but not in a bad way. I'm curious as to what the story significance is, though, unless there isn't one.
And finally, for recolors, we have the one-piece Uniter torso, featuring all six Nuva Symbols (plus others?).
Ekimu starts off with what I initially assumed was a custom torso assembly like the Uniters have; Hordika necks attached to some Technic. Ekimu also features the spinning torso, a great introduction to the year, which definitely brings him in line with the heroes of the winter wave.
Surprise surprise, however, I completely forgot that Ekimu also has the old gearbox from 2015! This piece was recycled for the 2016 Star Wars ultrabuilds, but it had yet to resurface in 2016 BIONICLE sets. Only one arm swings, in this case, but it's held firmly in place by a ball and socket joint pair, one of the many smart techniques first seen on Master Onua.
Throw in some back armor, and you see a lot of old ideas being interpreted in the new style, which is really Ekimu's whole shtick; take what we've learned over the past year and a half and make the best of it. What Ekimu lacks in new parts he makes up for in perfecting old styles, and I'm glad; every wave needs at least one set like this.
The leg construction is basic, but effective. The layering is done just right; none of the shells overlap, but the armor add-on does slightly to create a powerful, compact feel.
The arms, similarly, are also very basic, although constructed a smidge differently. Ekimu's right arm (your left) has a locked elbow joint, which implies that he will be wielding something heavy. I had hoped the ball and socket combo in the shoulder would have helped prevent this, but then again the upper arms don't use any friction joints, so it's understandable. Thankfully the other arm has more range of motion.
The final touches of armor and mask; those Hordika necks I had assumed would form the basis of the arm actually pull a Kopaka 2015 and connect to some shells/add-ons for a well-armored look.
There's also the one-piece torso plate; unlike the solid colors of the Uniters, Ekimu's is a trans-light blue with gold printing. This is sort of where the trans colors threaten to overwhelm, but I understand how difficult it would be to have a gold plate with translucent printing, so it's perfectly fine with me.
And, of course, there's the Mask of Creation. Just a perfect complement to the figure.
However, as is the case with some of the more important figures, there's actually more to be done. In Ekimu's case, we haven't even built the weapons yet! The hammer (of power?) is a fun affair, utilizing some impressively specific parts from the Phantoka days, along with the crystal armor shell, to create a solidly constructed hammer.
The shield is a bit of a mixed bag; the design is nearly identical to the previous year's Ekimu shield, but with a tweak to attach it to the shell piece instead of being handheld. It's a clever piece of construction, though the end sticks out more than I'd like ideally. All things considered, though, it's a minor gripe when looking at the versatility and poseability in conjunction with the rest of the set.
Ekimu is advertised in some parts as being able to hold his hammer in both hands (presumably why they constructed the shield the way they did) though I don't recommend this. It doesn't gel with the gear function, and makes posing a chore. Ekimu is much better wielding both of his weapons freely, and looks mighty fine doing so.
The Brass Tacks
Ekimu's gotten some flack for looking generic, and in a sense he is; he's got everything the Toa have had, yet doesn't have anything new to his name. But he most definitely doesn't need it. The gearbox AND the waist articulation are fantastic features of their own, and work surprisingly well in tandem. He comes with two beautiful masks in brand new colors. He's got useful weapons and a solid construction. He takes everything we've learned over the past 1.5 years and pushes it to the pinnacle of what it can do. Maybe the trans-light blue can be a little much, but Ekimu is one of the wave's must-buys regardless.
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