Review: Official Set 8537 - Nui-Rama
So far on this site we’ve knocked out all of the “good guy” sets from Bionicle 2001, which means it’s time to get on to the “bad guys”. First up are the Nui-Rama, which are the smallest of the evil forces of Mata Nui known as the Rahi. The Nui-Rama are large, insect-like Rahi that could deliver fatal blows with their stingers or claws.
With a suggested age of 8+ and a 138 piece count, this set isn’t too large or complicated, and appears to knock it out of the park in terms of the Nui-Rama looking like insects.
The Nui-Rama box is a cardboard, rectangular box. On the front the art depicts both of them flying around above what appears to be a river of lava. This struck me as extremely similar to the river that Takua hops across to discover the Mask of Light later on in the storyline. One side of the box shows Tahu face-to-face with a Nui-Rama, really nailing in the fact that these are the “bad guys” on Mata-Nui. Of course, that only implies while they have infected masks, otherwise they’re just creatures on the island. The back of the box shows the key play function of the Nui-Rama, as well as a preview of the combination model. In the bottom right corner there is a glimpse of Bionicle.com circa 2001, and there’s also some images from Mata Nui Online Game I.
The contents on the inside consist of two bags, one for each Nui-Rama, two instruction manuals, and advertisement material that was relevant two decades ago. The instruction booklet for the orange Nui-Rama is much thicker than the green one because it contains the instructions to build the combination model, which will be covered later on in this review.
As I’m sure you could have guessed, the builds are nearly identical. The green pieces and orange pieces are exactly the same across both models, the only difference between the two models is the face element. The green Nui-Rama has what looks like a lime green claw-mouth, while the orange one has a large hook that I’m assuming is its nose. Each Nui-Rama has two transparent blue mask, which I think is a great contrast on both models to the existing colors. It really makes the eyes stand out and emphasizes the fact that these are to depict insect/wasp creatures. Speaking of the colors, I think there is an excellent balance going on in each model between the amount of, and layout of black pieces and green/orange pieces. This also strikes me as a great model to customize. By switching around the brighter-colored parts for another color, you could easily make Nui-Rama that appear to come from all over the island of Mata-Nui.
The main play feature of the Nui-Rama is the ability to make their wings forcefully “flap” forwards. This is done by pushing a small piece on the back of the Nui-Rama forward, which uses a series of gears to turn the wings forward, while rubber bands snap them back into place. A game can be played between two people where the goal is to knock off the other one’s masks, whoever flaps their wings and knocks off the other’s masks first is the winner. This function was rather inconsistent for me as I had issues with one of the Nui-Rama. The green Nui-Rama was able to snap the wings with great speed, but the orange one got stuck once the wings went forward, the rubber bands did not pull them back to the starting position. Perhaps I just have a cracked piece or something in my model, but it is a little disappointing that the sole play feature is inconsistent.
The Nui-Rama set includes instructions for a combination model known as the Nui-Kopen, which is a type of wasp on Mata Nui. As stated before the instructions to the Nui-Kopen are found in the instructions to the orange Nui-Rama.
What stood out the most to be about the Nui-Kopen were the wings. The base models use single flex hoses for each wing, but the Nui-Kopen has THICK wings. They really give the impression that they would mow through any material, and they move with much more power. The other main differences between this model and the base models are the inclusion of four arms instead of two, a top stinger, and the use of both a mouth piece and a nose piece on the face of the model. The color scheme looks a bit goofy and jumbled together though.
The Nui-Rama strike me as an interesting model, and certainly a good one, but lacks in terms of being super memorable. I think for the time they were released they were a good way for people to get their hands on some Rahi for cheap, but out of all of the sets in the 2001 lineup, these ones feel the most forgettable.
If you want to buy the Nui-Rama for yourself, I strongly suggest going the used route. A brand-new Nui-Rama set will cost you about 100 Dollars and a used one will cost around 30 Dollars. Overall, a cool introduction to the Rahi of 2001, but they leave me wanting a bit more.