Wertman 8 Bionicle Review: Skull Scorpio

Hello Royal Brick fans! I am Wertman 8, an English TFOL based on MOCpages. Though I have dabbled in other themes at times, I am primarily a fan of constraction, particularly the Bionicle line. I do a range of stuff for it, such as MOCs, Fumetti comics and reviews. The Royal Brick has graciously invited me to share a sample of the latter with his audience, so here are three of the five Bionicle reviews that I posted last week. I hope you enjoy them!
Brave the dark burial ground of the ancient city in search of lost masks of power with Skull Scorpio! Coming at you with set #70794, which contains 107 pieces.

Skull Scorpio has the most parts of all the smaller sets released in the summer. However, a lot of these are generic Technic parts, leaving little in terms of CCBS. While that would be helpful to a Technic MOCcist, surely they would get a better deal buying an actual Technic set. There are a few interesting parts, though; like the gunmetal grey spider leg pieces and the size four lower limb pieces in trans neon green.

Two masks are included in this set; a Bull Skull Mask and a gold/trans-neon green Mask of Stone. The Bull Skull Mask is more stylised than the design on Skull Warrior and Skull Grinder, with a narrower chin, larger eyes and a longer mouth. This does a good job of contrasting with the other Skull Mask, the snout-like face looks more animalistic and a little more alien. It even has that same ridged brow/forehead that all of the skull themed masks have. This is a good mould, though I do prefer the other one due to its realism and more rugged texture.

The Mask of Stone is also very nice. The neon green and the gold mesh so well and are so similar that it looks like someone is shining a light through the forehead, and the mask looks like it’s actually glowing, as opposed to just being transparent.

It looks good on Pohatu too, as if his mask is really powered up. While my favourite of these infected masks is the Mask of Jungle, just because it’s more unique in its look, this is in at a close second.

Enough stalling, onto the mighty Skull Scorpio!

As we take a look at the profile of this set, something may be drawing your attention;

What on earth is up with that tail? Well, It’s another one of those technic functions! Yeah, a lot of people have issue with this, and for good reason. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to say that it’s ugly and weird looking; as clearly that’s not a bad thing, as the 2001 Rahi taught us. I think that the problem is that it doesn’t match the look. The more modern CCBS pieces at the front, although not exactly without texture here, definitely have a smoother and more solid look to them than the monstrosity of technic beams at the rear. Clearly the two styles don’t fuse well.

However, The function here more than makes up for this. It works in a similar way to the Bohrok of 2002, in which you pull the switch, and the thing lurches forwards, the blades snapping together. It’s a satisfying function like the Bohrok, providing a lot of fun in play. Even when you angle the tail back, it has enough reach to strike an object in front of it, though obviously you will want to angle it further forwards if you want it to hit something far away. It’s one of these instances where I think the function was worth the visual aesthetic. Even as a near-adult I get a lot of satisfaction from it, so I can imagine keeping a child busy for hours.

I would also like to point out that when positioned forwards the tail looks a little more like an actual scorpion tail, and I assume that with a little modding one could get that to hold.

Better still, if the end of the switch is resting against the ribcage piece, you can get the pose to hold without any additional parts. This does take a little more patience and gentle handling though.

One thing I would like to point out is that although this is a fairly small character, this build still achieves the task of looking large and intimidating. The use of that particular leg design, how they’re angled and also that huge tail all contribute to a menacing design.

So although the Lord of Skull Spiders in the diegesis is supposed to be the bigger and more threatening baddie, Skull Scorpio, a simple ‘mook’ (You can see in the comic on the box that he is one of many) ends up being much grander looking and more like a boss. Should’ve switched the designs, I think.

I’m torn on the use of the legs. While these Chima pieces look wonderful and really contribute to the both the arachnid and the skeletal look, they are completely static. It’s a shame, because after the two steps forward that the tail took in terms of functionality, this is like taking two steps back. But, I can’t help liking it; They look so nice! They also increase the width of the model, creating that grand look that I was talking about earlier. Also something to note that these are in gunmetal grey and not black. I prefer this choice, as it adds a nice shine to the legs that you wouldn’t otherwise get, while still looking dark.

This is the best use of the ribcage armour piece of all of the sets. I think these ribcage pieces are a little too flat and wide, and that can serve as a detriment to characters like Skull Slicer. However, it works brilliantly as a carapace to Skull Scorpio here! The use of the size 3 armour pieces also defines the triangular shape better. It’s only a shame that they couldn’t be closer to the torso armour, though there’s nothing that could have really been done with this particular set up.

The Bull Skull Mask looks nice against the head like that. Unfortunately this one does suffer from cross eye syndrome quite a bit, but there really isn’t much to be done about that. I like how the chin of the head is slightly visible between the grill of the mouth. This whole set up with the humanoid head looks slightly weird with this design, I must admit, though weird in a good way.

The claws do have a bit of a questionable design, and when I first saw it, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t see the resemblance to claws. In person though, the design choice makes a little more sense to me. It requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief or squinting of the eyes if you prefer, and it helps if the trans-red claws are positioned in parallel with each other as opposed to splayed apart, but the design is kind of passable if you’re willing to accept it.

The colour scheme could have worked, I think; trans-neon-green and the trans-orange isn’t the best or most obvious colour scheme, but I can imagine it working… with a lot more trans-orange, that is. I do like how the orange is symmetrical and plotted, unlike Skull Slicer or Skull Warrior, but I believe that it would be a lot more at home if there was more of it. I think there needed to be a lot more of both translucent colours on the tail too, as the big block of black does disrupt the colour scheme a bit.

Now we’ll get on with the evaluation of this set:

I’m going to rate this set in three different categories; Toy value (how good it is to play with and pose etc.), Design Value (The design, including the colour scheme and how it was built) and MOCcist Value (The amount of good pieces).

Toy Value: 6/10 (It’s kind of half and half with this one. The function of the tail is lovely, but the ridged nature of the legs is kind of a problem. I subjectively think it’s worth a pass though.)

Design Value: 7/10 (I think that in terms of the look it would be nigh perfect if not for the tail, which doesn’t look good. That being said, the build for the base of the legs and the tail itself is fun and interesting, and that function works so well, so I think it’s fine.)

MOCcist Value:6/10 (Four points for the second largest parts count, two for the limited amount of interesting parts.)

Mean Score: 6.3/10

Comments: I think that this set is a little underrated. Sure it’s weird and a tad awkward, and I can definitely understand one not liking it, but I feel that it’s quite a strong set with its unique appearance and it’s wonderful function. Not by any means the best, but I think a little more love is in order.

Thank you for reading this review. You can check out much more on my MOCPages account!


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