Hello all! Baxor here, reviewing the 70789 Onua, Master of Earth. I'm going to go through this methodically with the hopes of forming a method by which I can later review all of the BIONICLE models. Here it is:
Stats: 70789 Onua, Master of Earth costs $20 and contains 118 pieces. He is 8” tall, comes with a gold Mask and black Mask, as well as a tan skull spider. He wields either digging claws or a hammer.
Canister/Box: I must admit, if there was one thing I could change about BIONICLE 2015, it would be the box issue. My guess is that LEGO wants to use less plastic as part of their clean air initiative, but, while I think stewarding the earth is a great idea, I think that the canisters made BIONICLEs both unique and cool. Honestly, it was probably one of my favourite parts about BIONICLE as a whole.
Onua's box is fairly simple. For BIONICLE 2015 there were three sizes of boxes, small for the Protectors, medium for Lewa, Gali, and Pohatu and the Lord of Skull Spiders, and large for Onua, Kopaka, and Tahu. It has a short comic on the back, and that comic is the same as the one in the front of the instruction booklet, with a few more frames. I don't like the weird shape of the box, and the fact that it doesn't hold Onua (for that matter, none of the boxes effectively hold their figure).
Due to the fact that these 'canisters' aren't very interesting, in BIONICLE 2015+ sets, I will not have this section. Of course, there is always the chance that LEGO will decide to amend one of their few mistakes with this reborn theme and make actual canisters, but only when that happens will this section re-emerge for future BIONICLE sets.
Elements: I do this section for MoC'ers that might want to buy the set for its parts. Although I realize that places like Bricklink offer you specific parts there are some people that want to buy sets for a random assortment of pieces. I'm just going to tell you what is included in the set, and some interesting elements.
This set contains plenty of black and silver elements, with four gold 'Protector pieces', and a gold mask. Silver, and especially black have traditionally been part of an Earth Toa's armour, but a new, more interesting addition is purple. I must admit that, while I have always liked the Onu-Toa, they have always struck me as being solidly coloured and kind of bland. I like the fact that LEGO has decided to add the sort of amethyst purple to the Earth colours. This set, like the other Toa, contains the 'Gear box' mechanism, for gears, and has several of the X-shaped gear pieces, including one in yellow.
I must admit, my favourite piece in this set is the neon-purple piece that is used for Onua's thigh. There are only two of them, but they are quite interesting. It could be quite useful in both Toa of Earth MoCs, but also in a Toa of Water or Lightning.
This set, being part of the Transition Year*, contains plenty of attachable Hero Factory Armour pieces.
This set contains one unique element which none of the other Masters contain. This is actually one of my least favourite elements due to its bulky nature. Personally, I don't really think that any Toa should have a bulky figure, even if they are strong. This element is the shovel piece which was created for BIONICLE 2015, and is only in the Onua Master or Earth set. While I don't think this piece works well on a Toa-sized figure, it could be great for a titan-like MoC. Personally, I would use this piece as a knee-cap (on a really big titan) or chest plate on a more Toa-sized figure. It might even be interesting to use this as foot armour, or even as the foot of a titan itself.
*that's a bit of my personal Lexicon. The Transition Year is the year when LEGO switches from one distinct Constraction theme to another. The Transition Year figures are usually made about half of new parts, and half of elements from the other theme. Any time you see an asterisk in a future section of review, it will define a new term of personal Lexicon.
Aesthetics: For someone who has never liked the idea of Onua being a deep-voiced, grumbling, gorilla/Toa, I must say that this Onua isn't my favourite incarnation. While his broad chest solves the, 'bare-ball-and-socket' issue that most of these Jan. 2015 sets suffer from, I think it makes him too large. I don't really care for how stout he is, but this Onua does cut a fearsome figure.
I have already mentioned that I like the addition of purple to the Onu-Toa colour ensemble, but the four gold 'Protector pieces' seem out of place. Given that this is a new piece, it almost seems like the designers put it in there to say “look, I have a gold Protector piece.” Honestly, though, the piece itself isn't the issue. The colour distribution is the real problem, because the gold seems out of place. The only other two things with gold on the model are Onua's Gold Mask of Earth and the highlights on his chest armour.
Otherwise, the colour distribution is good. The silver looks perfect and the purple/black contrast is looks smart.
Best and Worst Element: This section just details what I consider the best and worst elements.
Best – The Protector Piece: Even though I don't really like it in the way they used it in Onua, I think it has plenty of uses and looks cool. It fits figures of just about any size, and can be used for a chest-plate, knee armour, shoulder-armour, or even the hand-guard on a sword.
Worst – The Chest-plate: Although this is a great piece and solves the issue of exposed ball joints, it has minimal uses in other MoCs. You're pretty much stuck using it as a chest-plate.
Cool Stuff: One of the best decisions LEGO made with the re-emergence of BIONICLE is to allow the Gear-system to return. The uniform attachable Gear Box has allowed an efficient method of this, though it has left the figures with the exposed ball-socket issue discussed above.
The reason I like the gear-system's return is that it allows a unique function for the actions figure, rather than it being a simple G.I. Joe doll. I 2006, after all of the sets went Ignika**, BIONICLEs no long had any unique functions. While LEGO sort of made up for this with the introduction of fire-able weapons, and amended the fact of the DohGears*** of 2005, BIONICLES were never quite the same. Now, figures can be both posed, and do something with the gear-system, offering something for the Active-Play consumer (people like my little brother who obnoxiously turn the gear system around, making Tahu's arms helicopter blades), or the people who like to display their figures. The friction system added to the gear-system allows you to pose your figures for stop-motion animation as well.
Originally, the gear-system was cut because LEGO didn't do it too well. In addition, the knock-off-able mask feature on the original Toa was cut because it doesn't work well. This has been largely amended with the new Toa, who have a new way to fit the mask on, and an extended Membrain**** which allows you to lever the mask off. I say that the issue has mostly been amended, because Lewa's head, when facing forwards, doesn't allow the lever to come all the way down. In addition, most of the masks don't come off forwards like you would expect them to, but instead shift up, and simply drop off. Onua's mask actually works well, which is why I like the model so much. It seems to be the only mask that works correctly.
Another fascinating addition (or re-addition, if you will), is the dual-weapons idea. Much like the Toa Nuva, all of the Masters have a dual weapon function. On Onua, this means digging claws which can also become a hammer.
** To 'Go Ignika' means that the sets have gone from having a gear-system, to being purely action figures. It is called this because the first full line of sets without gear-systems was the Toa Ignika of the 2006 Season.
*** A 'DohGear' is a gear that doesn't really serve a purpose in a model. It is simply there to say, “Look at me! I'm a gear mechanism!” The 2005 Toa Hordika are fine examples of DohGears, because the only thing the gear mechanism did was move their arm up and down.
**** A Membrain is the distinct transparent part of a BIONICLE head, which usually makes up the eyes of a figure and rests in the back of the head.
My Opinion: For a Transition Year set, this isn't bad. While still using a lot of Hero Factory pieces, it retains a distinctly BIONICLE air. I don't honestly care for the size of the figure, and it is probably my third favourite of all Onua incarnations, but it still is fairly cool. I don't really like the fact that the hammer is the only cool dual-weapon options (honestly, the digging claws look rather dumb), whereas in the other Toa, in my opinion, both of the dual-weapon options are cool. If I could change any one thing about this model, it would probably be the gold colour distribution. Because of the four Protector pieces, a Gold mask that normally would have looked cool instead seems rather dumb. This is unfortunate, because I have always liked the look of the Gold Kanohi Pakari on the original 2001 Onua Mata.
Rating: I rate most things on a 1/4 system, so I will rate these too. Keep in mind this is my personal unprofessional opinion. Here are the ratings:
4/4 = great set, totally worth buying
3/4 = a good set probably worth buying
2/4 = mediocre, but if you're a collector probably still worth it
1/4 = bad enough to be Megablocks
0/4 = whose idea was this?
I rate Onua, Master of Earth 3/4, because he has a working Technic gear system and working Mask-ejection system as well as a sweet looking mask, and some great colours. I docked some points because the gold protector pieces seem out of place (and because of this the Gold Mask doesn't fit), his hammer seems rather stout for his size, and the shovel-tool looks a bit foolish.
Till next time, Baxor is signing off! Remember to post your comments, as well as any sections you think I should add in the future!
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