Review: Official Set 8596 - Takanuva
Showtime. This week we’re taking a look at set 8596, Takanuva. I have been counting down the weeks until it was time for this set, and I know a lot of people who tune into Mata Nui Monday every week have been eager as well.
This set contains a grand total of 197 pieces and is marketed for ages 9 and up.
The box is slightly larger than the other Titan sets from 2003, but the design hasn’t been affected by this at all. There’s a dark blue background behind a larger image of Takanuva and his Ussanui bike. In the background are images of both the mask of light and the mask of shadows, which sit behind a glowing silhouette of the island of Mata Nui. The back of the box shows several different images, the main focus being the Ussanui’s transition from being landed on the ground to flying. The combination model that’s previewed on the back of the box is however different than the other 3 Titan sets we’ve seen so far. The back has a sneak peek at Takutanuva, which is a combination model composed of Takanuva and Makuta.
This set includes 2 numbered bags, several unnumbered bags holding various tube pieces, the instructions, and advertisement material.
I was genuinely surprised to find the build to only take about 17 minutes. I figured there was going to be a few holdups with the different mechanisms, but as it turns out it’s a very smooth, mildly difficult build that definitely requires you to look closely at a few steps.
Starting off with the Takanuva build, it came out great. It’s incredibly clear that he is the Toa of Light as he suits an all-white appearance with gorgeous gold armor on his chest and shoulders, completed by the gold mask on his face. Along with the gold mask, Takanuva comes with an exclusive transparent-glitter version of the Mask of Light. This color is supposed to represent the Mask of Light while it is being activated. I think it’s a great inclusion to the set and one heck of an exclusive mask to get a hold of.
Takanuva’s staff is able to clip onto his back, which if I’m correct this is the first time anything like that has been possible. There’s a Technic axle-pin on his back that locks the staff into place, and as you’ll find out later, this is crucial to allowing for a display option for the entire set.
As for the Ussanui, it’s a really impressive build. The flow is flawless from front to back in terms of the shaping and the look of this thing actually being a vehicle. It doesn’t feel like sections put together; it genuinely feels like one solid vehicle that would actually run. There is a lot of silver used in this set, and generally I don’t like this for Bionicles, but in this case it’s an exception to that thought process. The silver parts make the Ussanui feel as prestigious as it should given that it is a big part of the culmination of the 2001-2003 storyline.
A nice touch on the front of the Ussanui is a dark gray Hau mask. If you’ve seen the Mask of Light, then you’ll know that this is a reference to Jaller’s lifeless mask that Hahli put on the front of the Ussanui just before Takanuva descended to the Makuta’s lair. This is another example of LEGO® really putting in their full efforts for this set. They very easily could have declined to include this after including the two Mask of Light variations, but thankfully they chose to put it in the set anyways.
Something that interests me about the vehicle design is the choice to use six Rahkshi capsules on the bike. I’m assuming that this is supposed to represent the six Rahkshi that were defeated by the Toa Nuva and Takanuva moments before constructing the Ussanui, but I could be wrong.
There are two main play features associated with this set. The first is created by a simple, yet effective mechanism connecting the front of the bike to the back. By flipping a single red liftarm, the 3 landing gears can flip up/down depending on if you want the bike to be landed on the ground or soaring through the air. Of course, when the bike is flying you’ll need a pilot, which is what Takanuva can be used for. Two tan axle-pins on the back of his hands can snap into two silver parts on the Ussanui, which gives the appearance that he is driving the bike. This is unfortunately a tad more difficult than it should be. Takanuva’s arms get spread out just barely too much, which causes the arms to fall out more times than not. But it is a really cool look once he’s locked into place, don’t get me wrong.
The only other downsides I see in this model starts with the choice to use red liftarms to signal the mechanism function. I understand, this is meant for kids and the red really points out where to push on the mechanism for them. But here me out, what if these parts were gold instead? This would serve the same purpose of standing out from the other colors on the Ussanui but would also connect it to the gold of Takanuva. I also would have liked to see Takanuva’s arms be a different mold than his legs. I believe Gali Nuva had the same design choice, which does connect him more to the Toa Nuva, but it would have been a perfect Toa if the arms were their own mold.
As a whole, the Makuta set is a great display piece, but just a good playset. It will look fantastic on your shelf and will draw attention, but it doesn’t offer any spectacular new play feature that I had expected from the climactic villain of Bionicle.
This set isn’t outrageously expensive when it comes to used condition, you can find it for around $60. But if you want to get it in new condition, you better have either a really good reason or a really big budget. Brand-new this set will set you back a whopping $315. I can’t find a reason why you would want to buy this set in new condition and pay the extra $250 just to build it, but it would probably be a great investment, the price will only continue to shoot up.
A stellar way to wrap up the 2003 Titan line of Bionicle. A darn good set with a lot of generous inclusions, thank you LEGO® designers for getting this one right.