Review: Official Set - 2003 Bohrok-Kal
We’re on to 2003. Kicking it off are the Bohrok-Kal, which were destined to free the Bahrag Queens from their prison to unleash the Bohrok swarms amongst the island of Mata Nui once again.
My first impression is rather unimpressed. This feels like a cash grab that LEGO® tried to take advantage of after seeing the financial performance of the Bohrok in 2002.
Each of the six Bohrok-Kal contain 40 pieces and are recommended for ages 7 and up.
Essentially the Bohrok-Kal packaging is the exact same as the original Bohrok ones from 2002, with some minor differences. The background renders on the front all take place in a location rather than in a murky cavern, and the tops are a much more saturated versions of the different colors than before. I’m pretty sure that the back graphic is identical to the ones from the Bohrok other than the fact that the set images are swapped to the Bohrok-Kal.
Inside there is a bundle of pieces accompanied by the instruction manual, a small comic, and in some cases, a CD. Some of the Bohrok-Kal came with a promotional CD that was loaded with content about the powers held by that specific version and some cool animations.
Okay, so this set inevitably is exactly like the Bohrok sets from 2002. The only real difference with the base models are the color schemes. These models feature a much blander color scheme, the bodies, arms, and legs are all the same color shade, with the remainder of the Bohrok-Kal being composed of silver parts. There’s just very little contrast across the base models as a whole, I think the designers went a bit too far with the silver in an attempt to make them look more prestigious.
The functions are the same as the base models, nothing new here. I think this was a missed opportunity for LEGO® to have created a bulkier, bigger Bohrok rather than just changing the color schemes. This was very clearly a cash grab of a set, which is a shame because the lore behind the Bohrok-Kal is really interesting and the comics are some great content, I highly recommend checking them out.
The Bohrok-Kal include Kaita models, and I was extremely nervous about these. After the base models proved to be nothing more than a reskinned Bohrok, I had a bad feeling that the Bohrok-Kal Kaita were going to be the same thing for the original Bohrok Kaita. Thankfully, I was dead wrong.
Both of the included combination models are very different from the original Bohrok Kaita. The functions are much more advanced this time around, and they break the mold of what we know as a Kaita model. Normally when we see a “Kaita” combination model this means big begs, skinny arms, and a basic function. This time around we get one very bulky, armored model, along with one that blatantly skips leg day.
The play functions still rely on the standard Bohrok function of pressing a lever that punches forward, but in mostly different ways than we’ve seen before. The model with skinny legs has the enormous arms that incorporate this function to punch forward independently with each arm. It also has a Bohrok-Kal head that can lurch forward as well, but the main focus of this model are the arms. The other Bohrok-Kal Kaita uses two rubber bands to create a very powerful and determinant lunge. Unfortunately this cannot be retracted back automatically and requires someone to push it back into place before lunging again.
Overall, this is a really nice set and definitely cracks into the top tier of Bionicle sets so far. There’s a ton of new things to love in here, and your Toa will thank you when they go up against a tough enemy. The only holes lie in the ability to pose the models and the ease of inserting a Toa into the suit, along with the bizarre design choice of simplifying the arms in the second model.
Price-wise the Bohrok-Kal currently sell for values of around $10 for used versions and $50 for sealed ones, but the value for new versions of the Bohrok-Kal fluctuate depending on which one you’re shopping for. I don’t see why you should buy them brand new, the pieces are solid and reliable, and you can get 5 times the amount of sets buying them used as opposed to new.
I didn’t feel good about this set going in, and the base models were certainly the worst ones from this theme so far, all things considered. But the combination models saved the day.